From Fifth Wheel to Slide In, this Adventurer's Story
by Laurie Pedrick
Our Truck and Adventurer
Davis Creek Campground
Washoe Lake from Discovery Trail
A Great Place to Relax
After much anticipation and a little frustration, we have finally taken our first excursion in our new Adventurer 86FB. This was just an overnight, close to home to give us a chance to familiarize ourselves with the rig – get things set up the way we want them and just see how it is to go from a huge fifth wheel to a slide in.
A little about us – we are both in our early 50’s and have been camping for many years – in everything from tents, van conversions, Class A and travel trailer and then onto our fifth wheel. Now the fifth wheel is more of a house in the woods than camping – what with four slides and two fireplaces. Could we go from that monster down to an 8.5 ft slide in camper and still be “comfortable”? In just a few words, you bet! The reason for this purchase is to explore the country in comfort but not have the cumbersome set up and take down of our fifth wheel. We are amateur photographers and look for opportunities wherever we go.
Now just a little more about our camper. The Adventurer/Eagle Cap Campers are sister companies and the Adventurer is made in Yakima Washington. We expect to get up there one of these days and take a tour. We did a great deal of research before determining that the Adventurer 86FB was a good match for us. While less expensive than other brands it has loads of standard features – plus many extras that are very desired. Less expensive does not mean thrown together – this is a well thought out unit and it shows.
While this rig is certainly not our fifth wheel – it has many of the same features and more. Ok, there is no fireplace, but where would you put one anyway? This unit is fully self contained and with generator and air conditioning, a huge refrigerator for a camper this size – much larger than all the other campers we looked at before deciding on Adventurer for our new travels. The wet bath is just that – there is even a special toilet paper holder to keep your TP dry. What is also impressive is the amount of care taken by the factory to not leave wires and other things exposed as we had seen on other models. Are there things I would do differently? I think a few and I will bring those up later. There is a nicely sized dinette with a new style drop down table made in the great old USA of course! Love the shoe storage under the dinette. Add to the mix a queen size bed, a mirrored wardrobe and a great Stereo, TV and DVD player from Jensen. The TV I will admit has not yet been used, but we will use it on one of those cold and rainy nights in the future with a bowl of popcorn from that microwave I mentioned earlier. The Adventurer can be ordered with just a cook top and microwave or you can also add the oven. The model we have has the oven and we tested out my fabulous biscuits and gravy and it worked without a hitch. Speaking of hitches… well not a hitch per say, but the step bumper on this unit is a beauty. It is great for setting down the groceries and then loading up the rig. The generator started quickly and easily powered the microwave so I could have warm milk for my coffee in the morning.
What would I change? I would add a self closing screen door, a place to hang your keys, maybe a pop up counter top extension and the most needed item is another step up into the sleeping areas. I am not a tall person and getting into the sleeping area is a bit of a challenge for me. Even if the step was on the left of the main step up it would be a great improvement. Adjustable shelving in the cabinets would be good to have – I will be adding some wire ones to get the most of my storage.
So our first trip out was to a local campground operated by Washoe County. Just south of Reno, Nevada on US 395 you take the Bowers Mansion exit and head south to Davis Creek. Situated in the tree line below Slide Mountain, there is not a great amount of room for really large rigs – but those 30 feet and under should have no issues in the RV Sites. This nice little campground has 62 sites and as of this writing is only $20 per night – all dry camping, but they have fire rings so you can roast a marshmallow and tell stories by the fire. One couple nearby took their boys out on a camping scavenger hunt! Now when I say dry camping I mean no water at individual sites, no electric and hot showers can be had by using a coin operated system. So save that change when you go through Reno for the showers! They do have a pay dump site as well before you leave the park. I cannot express how pleased we were that this campground is so clean and well maintained. Bring your own firewood – they do have firewood for sale by the main gate, but we wanted to be prepared in case they had run out. We are members of a large organized camping chain which has let us down greatly in the past few years, so this place was a real treat. The grounds and restroom facilities as well as picnic and pond were well kept. The hiking trails were loads of fun too. We took our cameras and explored the Discovery Trail and will have to go back when we are in better shape to do the almost 8 mile hike and 3400 foot elevation change on the Ophir Trail. The views from the top of that trail are breathtaking – and not just from the altitude of 8600 feet!
Now the set up at the campsite was pretty darn easy – they are a little sloped as this place gets more than its fair share of snow in the winter and the slope allows for easier run off with less damage to the sites. We used our sturdy locking blocks on one side of our truck and easily leveled it with our remote Happy Jacks. In no time at all we were setting up our chairs and putting out our electric awning. The awning is also another great feature on this model – easy to use, it will even release on one corner if it accumulates too much rain water!
We had an ice cold beverage in our hand within just a few minutes. Folks walking by commented on our beautiful new rig. Even the Park Ranger remarked how nice looking it was. The Jensen stereo sounded great on the outdoor speakers while we cooked dinner on our BBQ and while we enjoyed our evening campfire.
As I write this the weather is getting ready to turn soon and the lovely Aspens will change colors and create a gorgeous color palette for all to see. We can’t wait to get out there again and explore this wonderful country of ours and take some additional photos to share.
Laurie and JP The Cruisin Campers
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