Wednesday May 1 Through Sunday May 5, 2019
For the past seven years, Princess Craft, a truck camper, teardrop and travel trailer retailer, has been hosting an annual truck camper rally. We first heard about these rallies in 2018 on Truck Camper Magazine in a regular feature called RV Shows and Rallies.
Drivers approaching the RV park on TX-29 from either direction will see the sign on the side of the road. But from the road, the park looks like a pecan orchard.
The park has some unusual features. Miniature horses are in a field to the right of the entrance road. Miniature horses also roam in a fenced portion of the pecan orchard on the left. The RV camping area is also in the pecan orchard. On the back side of the park, friendly full size horses have pasture space. These areas are labeled Horse Pasture in the park map.
Many of the rally activities were held in Western Town Rally Hall. Along the outside wall of of the rally hall, facing the camp sites, is a small laundromat and three unisex bathrooms with showers. The three unisex bathrooms are the only bathrooms available to campers in the park. Inside the rally hall are two single toilet potties. One for women and the other for men.
At first, I wasn’t crazy about the campground. It seemed run down. When we arrived, I went looking for the closest bathroom. Using the park map, the closest bathroom was in the Club House Rally Hall, a building behind the park office. The first door tried in the club house was locked. Looking in the windows, the interior was disorganized and looked like the building was in the process of abandonment. Walking to the other side of the building, where the map bathroom icon was placed on the map, was an open door to the bathroom. The bathroom entryway had been turned into a junk storage room. The shower had a potted plant in it. The toilet had a sign indicating that it was out of order. Even more junk had been left in the rest of the bathroom.
However, since the rally turned out so well, my heart softened and the campground has grown on me.
We arrived at Johnson Creek RV Park Wednesday. We were surprised and a little dismayed that we had to share our pull through campsite with another truck camper. Our dismay was tempered somewhat by the half price nightly rate. $22 per night. We had to share the electric, water and sewer connections. Sharing the electric pole was easy. The pole had 50, 30 and 20 Amp plugs. We used our 50 to 30 Amp adapter providing our site mate with the standard 30 Amp receptacle. I used a brass Y hose adapter to share water. We assumed both our site mate and ourselves would have to treat the shared sewer connection as a dump station, only dumping when we had full tanks.
A few truck campers were already in the park.
Our site mate arrived Wednesday afternoon after we finished setting up our camp. He been driving long days for three days in a row and was worn out tired. His popup camper didn’t need a water or sewer connection, so he was happy with just electricity. After he connected electric, he disappeared to sleep and didn’t appear until the next morning.
Thursday morning, Linda and I drove back to San Antonio to run errands. On the way back, we stopped at the Kerrville Cracker Barrel for lunch.
In the afternoon, the rally organizer, a Princess Craft employee, was sick delaying the 2:00 PM registration start. Princess Craft’s owner, PJ, delayed until Friday morning, was taking care of her sick husband. Regardless, the Princess Craft team has a deep bench and other players stood up and filled in the void. Before the 5:30 Thursday evening potluck dinner, the rally was well on its way to success.
Potlucks always make us nervous. We always want to bring something people will like that is appetizing, healthy and wholesome, but we worry that our dish won’t be touched. Each crowd is different. This crowd wasn’t into our fresh tomato, basil and mozzarella salad with a balsamic vinaigrette dressing.
Our culinary failure notwithstanding, the potluck was a total success. The free-flowing conversations at our tables were superb. We all share the truck camping bug. We lost track of time and at 7:00, when Game Night was scheduled to start, all of us were still going strong.
Friday started off with a communal early morning coffee gathering at Stablecamper‘s campsite. More conversation. More community. The coffee host’s truck camper wasn’t mounted and their truck bed and bumper were visible.
Attached to the hitch receiver was a 60 inch SuperHitch extender. This solves a mystery for me. What to do with a hitch extender when after the camper is dismounted from the truck.
There is a hitch receiver adapter, like the one above, on the truck side of the extension bar. What a simple and elegant solution.
Cody, who runs the parts desk at Princess Craft led the two-hour Friday morning Tech Talk. During the discussion on rubber roof maintenance and repair, Cody said something that stuck with me. He said, “There is the right way and then there is the right now way.” Choosing a short or long term solution depends on what all is going on.
I asked questions and took notes.
Friday afternoon, during the Camper Tours, we opened our camper for visitors. I got lots of questions about towing the Jeep. Not many questions about the truck camper.
Friday dinner was the Chili Cook Off. While we didn’t make and enter a chili dish in the contest, we did get to sample all of the chili dishes after the judges made their decision. Like Thursday evening, we all hung out and talked long after the food was all gone. Returning to our camper, we put the awning in. Heavy thunderstorms started rolling through the area. It rained hard and long enough to be concerned about local flooding.
Saturday morning was clear and bright. A different campsite hosted the morning coffee gathering. Mid morning, Cody led another Tech Talk. I asked about ways to lessen camper movement in the bed of the truck. The first step to limiting camper movement in the truck bed is to put a bed mat in the truck bed under the camper. We had already done that. PJ, who owns Princess Craft, asked about tie downs. Mine were the ones installed by Princess Craft when we bought the camper. She suggested Cody come and look at my setup. Perhaps he could recommend a solution.
During the afternoon Camper Tours, I found Cody and invited him over to my camper. It turns out, I didn’t have the tie downs tight enough. Tie downs, or turnbuckles, have to provide 300-pounds of pull to hold the camper down. This is a problem. One of our AnchorGuard turnbuckles has to be unscrewed to fuel the truck. Getting the turnbuckle correctly adjusted after fueling is just too much fooling around for me.
A neighboring fellow truck camper showed me his FastGun tie downs. The advantage to the FastGun is once the tension has been correctly set, the tie down can be released with a lever. After fueling (or remounting the camper), the FastGun tension can be restored by pulling the lever down until it clicks. The neighbor told me FastGuns were high theft items. A set costs over $800. The lock, shown in the picture above, keeps the FastGun from walking off.
Cody had FastGun sets with him for sale. I bought a set of grey FastGuns. Cody didn’t have locks. I ordered those from Amazon later.
Before dinner, everyone gathered for the group photo. Lance Campers sponsored dinner. Dickey’s Barbecue Pit catered the dinner. The food was delicious. Everyone hung out and chatted until the music started for the last event of the evening, the dance.
We said our goodbyes after the Sunday morning pancake breakfast. After breaking camp and hitching the Jeep, we left for our next stop.
Hope to see you on the road ahead!