Nottingham is lovely! Tied as one of my two favorite campgrounds on Mt. Hood! No reservations and no water typically mean no crowds. The sites are huge and almost all are located directly on the bank of the Hood River.
We actually hadn’t planned on staying here. We weren’t prepared for dry camping…no generator, and we’d never tested out our new batteries. When we drove by and saw the beautiful site was open, we decided to just go for it and we promptly canceled our reservations at a state park in the gorge. We know how to conserve power and water. And, after having the Bambi, with just one battery and a combined black/grey tank, we didn’t think three days here would be a problem…..well…..
We pulled into a site that allowed us to situate the windows toward the campsite! That is a huge bonus. I think it’s unfortunate that the window configurations usually have the two big living room windows street side. This time we were able to place them facing the river…plus! We had an amazing view of the campsite and a nice breeze…plus! We had no neighbors…plus! The only downside – our batteries were a HUGE disappointment!
We arrived at the campground with our batteries at 100% They’d been charging for three days at our previous campground (and at home for two weeks prior) so that wasn’t a problem. Before we unhooked the meter read 13.7 (good). We unhooked and checked the volt meter which immediately read 12.5 (not good). That seemed odd but we weren’t sure how to read the new system. We had to drive into the nearest town so Todd could attend a quick meeting so we thought we’d read up on it while we had service.
When we left, nothing was on except for the green light on the water pump and whatever drain the fridge (no fan) causes. When we returned our battery read 12.2. We had used nothing. Since we didn’t have the generator, we decided to really be careful which meant hardly turning on a light and barely using the water pump. I should also say that although we had had record daytime high temperatures, the nights in the mountains can be cold, and it got down to 34!!! at night! No heat for us for fear the fan would draw too much power. Still, it continued to drop quickly. By the third morning, we had just enough juice to lift the hitch. It read 11.5 as we left.
Our Bambi with one battery always lasted several days. I even used to run the Fantastic Fan, use the water pump without reserve and I’d leave the two halogen lights above the stove on. We’re leaving for another dry camping adventure next week. We’ll have a third battery that we usually carry when we’re going to be without power for awhile and our generator, but the fact is the two batteries we had should have done the trick. We talked to the dealer and when we return from our next trip, we’ll have them look at it. We do know our trailer had sat on the lot for at least four months and maybe therein lies the problem!
So, basically we camped in a silver tent with a nice bed 🙂 Still had a wonderful time! I always carry candles and upon suggestion from Laura (Rivited) and Monica (Just 5 more minutes) I had a Fatboy Edison Petit Lamp! It saved the day. It was worth every ridiculously expensive penny I paid for it. So much so that I ordered a second one. This little lamp lights the entire inside. I found myself carrying it around like a flashlight! If you’re interested in one, be sure to order it from Fatboy directly. The little lampshades that are $18.00 on Amazon are only $1.00 on their site with purchase of a lamp!
Okay…and while I was ordering my lamp, I also found this…LOVE this and can hardly wait to get it! The little lamp also has three settings like its big brother and it’s magnetic so it will stay put on the tray!
Batteries aside, what a wonderful few days. A little bit of exploring, hiking, good food and a whole lot of relaxing!
We’ll see how our batteries work on our next outing…fingers crossed….
Your batteries, if fully charged, provide about 150 amp hours. That should last for about 4 1/2 days, if you conserve reasonably. Make sure batteries are fully charged AND that the water is fully topped. Otherwise, you have an electrical leak or something is left on you are not aware of. We want to dry camp longer times, so we are installing solar this week…about $3k. If the dealer did not top off the batteries prior to delivery, that would account for the voltage drop.
Roger, four days is about what we had figured too, with limited use. Something’s not right and we need to figure out what it is. They have water and they were fully charged for two weeks at home and then full hook ups while we were camping three days prior. Todd has a few theories about an electrical leak as the fan in the electrical box is running constantly while it’s plugged in and charging. We’re thinking about solar, too. Have quite a list of things we want to do.
Solar is installed. I will let you know how it works out! We like to dry camp for more than 4 days…so we will see. It sounds likely that the fan is the problem – suggest you test the circuit with a voltage/amp meter to determine how much draw of current is being used by the fan. Does not sound like it should be running constantly. I made a record of all of the 12 volt circuit power consumptions and it is helpful for conservation.
When we bought our Bambi in March we had the same battery problem. I took the batteries into the Interstate Battery store here in Eugene and they discovered 3 of the cells were dead. This was on a brand new Airstream! The batteries are warranted for a year so they replaced them without question. Our best guess was that it was a defective battery, “happens sometimes” the Interstate Salesman said, or the battery was run down by the dealer sitting on the lot, taking it to shows, and generally not caring for them properly.
Absolutely love your new Airstream International! Check out Airforums regarding the battery issue. You’re not the first to buy new and find the batteries are a problems.
Thanks, Linda 🙂 We’ve been doing lots of reading on Airforums, too! Our sales person even mentioned it’s not an uncommon problem. We were lucky with the Bambi and had very, very few problems. Hope this is an easy fix!
They are probably Interstates and if the trailer was on the dealer lot for a while they probably were discharged to nil then recharged by the dealer prior to the sale. Check the specific gravity of each cell after you recharge them. Disconnect shore power and the negative cable. Let the batteries sit for an hour so they loose the surface charge then use a hydrometer to test each cell. If you find some low cells you should put a 15v charge on the offending battery. Disconnect the other battery in parallel before charging, Remove the cell covers. Let the charge go for a couple of hours then take the charger off and let the battery sit an hour and retest with the hydrometer. If the cells have come back then parallel th batteries and recharge. The capacity may be down though. This happened to my batteries. I find the voltage drops from 12.6v to 12.5v then stays for a long time before dropping to 12.4. Measure the voltage at the batteries and compare with the SeeLevel reading.
You are still under warranty and if the same situation occurs get them replaced.
Also, replace the converter/charger in your AS with a Progressive Dynamics PD4655 3 stage charger.
See you on Airforums
Thank you so much for the detailed reply, Kelvin! I’m going to make sure Todd reads this tonight as we’re still trying to figure things out!
Hate to hear about your batteries, but your photos are the usual gorgeousness!
Thanks, Jerry! She’s going in this week, so hopefully we’ll straighten it all out. Just got back from 7 days of dry camping and even without much battery life, we enjoyed ourselves!
Thrilled to see you upgraded from a Bambi to a 25FB, just like we did! We were amazed how much more space, and the separate shower was a wonderful addition. Check out our little travel blog at JuneBugJourneys.com to see our International Sterling Edition. Happy trails to you!
LOVE your blog, Becky! Did you guys have the sign for Naughty Pines made? It’s awesome!! Do you have three airstreams now that you park there. We would have loved to have kept the Bambi…still missing it actually. Just didn’t have the room! Your new Sterling is beautiful!!
The sign was made as a surprise Christmas gift for us, by a SUPER talented friend. Isn’t it fantastic? The June Bug is parked at Peek-A-Boo Park, a turf yard we made with water and electric hookups. The Steely Van lives in a custom-built garage that holds all our camping gear. The first June Bug was traded in on the second. I still miss the Bambi, too, just like you!