Rice Creek Chain of Lakes – June 2020

History of a campground reservation

2018-12-16 — Reserved Fort Ridgely for July 25-28, 2019
2019-03-30 — Changed due to a family event to Fort Ridgely State Park for July 19-22, 2019
2019-06-16 — Changed due to a family event to Wm O’Brien State Park for September 5-8, 2019
2019-07-22 — Changed due to trailer leak to Frontenac State Park for May 14-17, 2020
2020-04-30 — Canceled due to MN Stay-At-Home order for COVID-19

We also attempted a reservation at Nerstrand Big Woods State Park for April 17-19, 2020

Finally, we tried to get into Rice Creek Chain of Lakes for May 5-7, 2020 but look at the title of this post.

And the camping begins!

After a number of false starts the campground finally opened on June 1 with social distancing restrictions. We checked in to site 8 on June 3, 2020 and spent two nights in Centerville or Lino Lakes or wherever the park is actually located. I know that it is in Anoka County. It is 9 to 10 miles from home and takes about 20 minutes to get there depending on which backroad you take. Freeway driving would actually add quite a bit of time and distance.

Rice Creek Chain of Lakes is a great park near to home and that increases the appeal for the first time out with a new trailer. If you forget to pack something, home is closer than most of the stores. Menard’s is 11 miles away and Target a similar distance. Weekday camping is possible even with a regular work schedule. Get up, drive home, shower and feed the cats, drive to work. At the end of the day reverse it and have dinner at the campsite.

This was a short shakedown trip for the new trailer. We went up to Rice Creek on Wednesday afternoon and departed on Friday morning. Since we had most everything from the old trailer packed up, we were able to quite successfully take care of two days with the new trailer. We kept the menus simple. The meat cooking in the one photo is kabobs bought pre-made at the meat counter at Kowalski’s. We have this fire grate that we bring with us. You don’t want to think about what the previous people in your site might have had on the built-in grate.

One thing about COVID camping is that the public restrooms are not always available. That doesn’t matter much to us with a fully-contained unit with bathroom. However, the other part of that does require a stop at the dump station.

At the dump station on this trip, I met a couple with a brand new trailer. Watching them it was clear they had never been to a dump station before. So, to keep my own sanity and the possibility that I would be able to move up to the dump hole, I got out and gave them some tips. They had watched some YouTube videos, but had never actually done anything at a dump station before. To top it off, they had 2 gray water tanks with separate connections. I walked them through the process and they headed on home.

As a shakedown we found a few changes or additions to make. On the old trailer, I had added a push bar on the screen door. We didn’t realize how much we used that bar, so it went on the list of things to get and install. This is the one that we choose both times: Camco Screen Door Cross Bar. We also didn’t have as good of a place on the awning to put a windsock as we had with the old trailer. We would need some place to anchor the windsock on the trailer. Another addition to the list, but not sure at this time what it would look like.

There was also the fact that the bathroom only had a single towel ring and that was mounted too low for normal hand towels. You can find a lot of discussion about that on the Jayco Owners Forum. The way the shower curtain works there is not a rod to put a towel over there either. So another solution will be necessary.

So, we are back home and the trailer now has 32.7 miles on it. 14.7 of that were coming home from the dealership and 18 for the round-trip from home to the campground.

Trailer mileage

DateStart LocationStart CityEnd LocationEnd CityMiles
3/11/2020Hilltop Camper and RVFridley, MNHomeWhite Bear Twp., MN14.7
6/3/2020HomeWhite Bear Twp., MNRice Creek Chain of LakesCenterville, MN9.0
6/5/2020Rice Creek Chain of LakesCenterville, MNHomeWhite Bear Twp., MN9.0
Total miles32.7

Meals have to be planned before we go so that we have the ingredients on hand. Our trailer does not have the luxury of a huge pantry (although it is a nice size) or extensive refrigeration space. So, we plan out a menu before we shop for the trip and get the necessary items stowed in the trailer. Of course, some of the items might get switched up when we actually go to make the meals.

Meals Planned

Wednesday, June 3DinnerGrilled Salmon
Green beans
Small potatoes
Thursday, June 4BreakfastPancakes
LunchBrats over the fire pit
Potato salad
Friday, June 5BreakfastEgg scramble
Sausage links

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