Sunday, July 10, 2011

Maiden Voyage of T3

As I wrote about on June 21, I was planning on my first travel trailer trip to be to the Ann Arbor KC trial this weekend in Monroe. All DID go as planned. I seem to have given The Travel Trailer the nickname of 'T3'. Much easier to say. I brought it home on Friday June 24, after taking an hour of video of the guided tour of the trailer itself and of the hitching process. This has already turned out to be an excellent thing, since I've referred back to it to figure out several different things.
   I spent quite a bit of time last weekend shopping and outfitting it, and Fritz and the 4 dogs (our 3 plus visiting FCR puppy Little) spent Sunday night (July 3) sleeping in it, parked in the driveway a short walk from the house. I think I got this excellent suggestion from a Facebook friend. It only took 3 extra trips to the house for stuff I forgot. It was hot and stuffy in there but we couldn't get the AC to work. It had worked fine at the dealer the week before, but I couldn't get the breaker panel cover open, so we muddled through. It did cool off over night just fine.
   Fritz was up and out early the next morning to run in a 4th of July 5K. I made myself tea, had breakfast, and took a shower, which meant figuring out the water heater (it can be either electric or propane) and the water pump. Step 1 of the new adventure completed. I also figured out how to open the circuit breaker panel with the help of the video tour, and sure enough the AC circuit breaker was off. My 1st trouble shooting success.
   That afternoon, after reviewing the hitching video footage and improving my list of hitching instructions, Fritz and I got it hitched up, and I took it for a short drive around our country block, then parked it behind the training building, which will be its storage spot when not in use. I am very glad it is such a wide area, since my backing skills are on the poor end of the scale right now. But the wide parking area is plenty wide enough for me to get it turned around in, which is a relief.
   Gina Czapiwski, her husband Rob, and their daughter Tracy were also going to camp at the AAKC trial, so Gina very kindly went to the Monroe Fairgrounds and reserved us adjoining camping spots.
   We were finally packed and ready to leave home a bit after 2 on Friday. The drive was thankfully uneventful. When I arrived at the fairgrounds, I pulled off to the side and walked in to find my camping spot. I didn't want to end up with the Burb and T3 trapped in a maze of twisty little passages, unable to extricate myself. Luckily, the spot was such that I was able to make a loop and pull in, no backing up required. Yeah! A 25' x 50' spot sounds really large until you pull into it with a 23' trailer attached to a Suburban. The show building was close enough that I could walk there in about 3 minutes, so I was able to leave T3 hitched all weekend.
   Next step was to get hitched up to water and electric. I'd plugged into 110 power at the house and behind the training building, so I had appropriate extension cords for that. I dragged my cord over to the pole, popped open one of the covers and... uh, oh, it was a 30 amp receptacle, not a 110. Ack! Deep breath. There was a 110 plug on the other side of the pole. I plugged in, but when I checked in T3, there did not seem to be power. Then I made the dismaying discovery that without being plugged in, the 110 outlets don't function. Uh, oh, what would I do to charge my various electronic gadgets to which I'm addicted?
   Next, I pulled out the brand new water hose to hook up to the water supply, uncoiled it, and... it reached about 1/3 of the way to the water supply. It looked like I'd be unhooking the trailer and driving somewhere to buy more hose. When my neighbors noticed my predicament, they kindly offered me a new 50 foot length of hose, which they didn't need since they were close enough to the supply on the other side to not need it. I got both ends hooked up, turned on the water and it dripped like crazy at the source. So I turned the faucet back off and PHSSSST, the water sprayed liberally out the top of the hose, getting me rather wet in the process. Fortunately, it was a hot afternoon. I switched so that my neighbor's hose was hooked to the faucet instead of mine, but it still leaked. I gave up and finished doing other set up stuff, putting out the awning, pulling out the big straw mat underneath it, and putting up the hardly-been-used X-pen. I put the dogs in it, made myself a cup of tea, and sat under the awning to enjoy it. My neighbors continued their much lengthier set up process - they had MANY more dogs than I did. I posted on Facebook about the fact that my attempts to get the water and electric hooked up had failed. Not 15 minutes latter, a white mini van pulled up and there were Charlotte and Jim Lovelace, who just happen to live 3 miles away from the fairgrounds. I've known Charlotte since my teen years in 4-H, and she's trained several dogs at NDT. They offered much welcomed assistance. The power wasn't working because the GFCI button needed to be reset. Once done, my power was on. The water issue was solved by filling up the tank and then just running off that via the trailer's water pump.

I moved the X-pen to the shady side of T3 late in the afternoon.

Here are all the Czapiewski's Boston Terriers. We figured out their 8 dogs probably weigh about what my 3 FCRs weigh.

T3 has an outside shower with hot and cold water. Within 10 minutes of turning on the water heater, the water was warm enough to give Ty a bath on the adjacent grooming table. That was nifty! The water pressure wasn't great, but it was easy on my back.

   I had a reasonably good night's sleep. All was quiet at 3:15 when I got up to turn off the fan. A lot of dogs erupted in barking at 5:15 - I later found out that some bozo had driven by on M50 honking like crazy, which I didn't hear - but I went back to sleep until 6. I wheeled my equipment-laden cart over to the Expo building about 7 AM and got my crates set up. Many friends were arriving at about the same time. I returned to the trailer, had breakfast, then walked back with the dogs.
   I showed Ty in Utility B first, and alas, she once again did not do her sit signal after a lovely drop. But she did both articles, which have somewhat mysteriously been a problem lately, and everything else very nicely. Her go-outs were better than most of the dogs I saw. There was a lot to be very happy about in that performance.
   Next, we were in Open B. She had failed the down stay in her past 3 trials, and also had some problems with other exercises, but we'd been to several matches and I was reasonably optimistic about our chances. Her heeling ended on a sour note, with a big wide on the last about turn that lasted almost to the halt. Her broad jump front was also very poor, but the rest of her work seemed quite good. And she did her stays just fine, hurray! This meant we accomplished another of our goals for the year, which was to double her lifetime Open Q's to 6 :-). Much to my delight and surprise, she earned a 197 and 3rd place in the class. That is the highest Open score she's earned. 2.5 of the points lost were on heeling, the other 1/2 on the BJ front.
  In the afternoon trial, she once again stuck in the down and didn't do the sit signal, and in spite of a lot of searching, finally gave in and got a wrong 1st article. On her 1st go-out, she pulled up just a bit short, just as I gave my sit command. What flashed through my head was that if I have to do DJ in either of the Versatility classes in which we are entered, I'd better do something about this. On the 2nd one, she again turned a bit early, so I reminded her to go, and she did.
   Because of the stay issues in the past 3 trials, I only entered Open B the one time, and entered Versatility in the other two trials. When I looked at what exercises we'd have to do, my heart sank. SIGNALS. Also the Novice SFE, the Utility Moving Stand, the Retrieve on Flat, the Broad Jump, and the Novice recall. Unlike other times I've done Versatility, the exercises were quite mixed up (vs. 2 Novice, 2 Open, 2 Utility). She once again (ick, 3 times in one day, now that was discouraging) failed the sit signal. Then she trotted through the broad jump. Then when I really looked at it, they boards looked spread too far apart. I mentioned that to the judge, so he had the steward check it, and sure enough, she'd made an error and set it at 52 instead of 44 (she measured to the 1st edge of the last board, not the last). It was reset, and Ty jumped it fine. Without much thought, I threw up my hands and praised her when she landed and just released her. Heck, we'd already blown it and she'd had the too-large jump to contend with, so why not? She did do a very nice front fix on the dumbbell retrieve, which was nice to see.
   I had a lovely dinner Saturday night with the Czapiewskis, then did a bit of bumper training with Little, Gryff and Ty. I did run T3's AC for a bit, proving to myself that it worked, but later in the evening, just running the fan was fine. As I cleaned up my dishes from dinner, I found it very satisfying to be settling into my new home away from home.
   This morning, I had a text message from Brenda Riemer saying she was outside the rig, was I up? So she came in for a visit while we finished our morning beverages.
   We had Utility 1st, and lo and behold, Ty managed to pass everything! She made several stress-related errors - her heeling was sloppy and she slowed up and then stood about 18" away on the signal recall - close enough to Q, but a substantial deduction. Her Moving Stand return was also lacking in confidence - she slowed up about 2 feet out, and walked around to her finish. She was really over thinking things. On her first go-out, she hooked to the left somewhat, but sat fine and jumped the left jump fine. I think it was in response to the pressure of the stay line up on the right side of the Open ring, on beyond the end of the Utility ring. Her 2nd go-out was to about the same place, but she jumped the right jump fine, too. When all was said and done, there were only 4 qualifiers out of 13, and we earned 3rd place with our 188, good for 1 OTCh. point. She now has 3 :-).
   I apprentice judged Open B under judge Michelle Armitage, who is from Ottawa, Ontario, with a break to go do Versatility again. This time, we had to do the Novice Heel Free, SFE, the Open Drop on Recall and Broad Jump, and the Utility Moving Stand and Directed Retrieve. She heeled better than she had all weekend - I wish I knew why! - but didn't come on the DOR. She started to, but froze in a stand after only a couple of steps. I called her right away again, and she completed the rest of it fine. Her Moving Stand was much better than it had been in the morning, and she really had some zip on the Directed Retrieve, so it was a nice way to complete the weekend.
   I had a lazy afternoon, with a late lunch at T3 and packing up to come home.
Here's Ty, enjoying the cool AC blast:

Gryff doing the same.
And finally, Little looking like she has no bones, lying up on the bed.

A kindly gentleman helped me with the thrilling chore of my first fairgrounds dump station visit, showing me the ropes and giving me some suggestions about other items to purchase to make the task a bit less onerous. The trip home went just fine. I got the trailer unloaded and unhitched successfully.
   What a blast!

In case you are wondering who Little is, she belongs to Helen Szostak and her breeder, Cheryl Kistner. After Joker finished his UD in May, I asked Helen if she had a young dog I could borrow to do some basic field training with. I transported Little to and from the Maryland National, and she's been with me for training since. But that is another post. She'll probably be here until the end of July, when we'll be going on vacation. She's now 10 months old and a wonderful sponge for training.

1 comment:

Dianne said...

You are a brave woman, Adele!We have had a couple of TT's and I NEVER towed--that was my husbands job.I did help with hitching it up. I wasn't too good at that. Infact,I recall geting into several arguments with my spouse over my lack of skill. It is a fun way to travel, though.The dogs really enjoy it.Dianne