Jack and I cannot afford the time to take full vacations — like a week away. But we wanted to celebrate my 60th birthday by taking our 1962 Terry travel trailer out camping on its first run since we had all the parts checked out, and repaired or replaced.

We had taken it for a dry run last fall to Lake Hemet but didn’t use any of the hook ups since the couple we bought it from had never hooked it up and had no idea how anything worked.

That includes propane, electricity and water in this 12-footer. A tiny kitchen occupies the back that includes a three-burner propane stove and an oven.

Water includes a city hook-up and a pump with storage tank, so we have a choice of water sources for the little pink sink.

The repairman replaced the refrigerator/freezer because the part for the old one was obsolete. It operates either on electricity or propane. A few electrical sockets and lights complete the utility functions.

We had tickets to “Shen Yun” at the McCallum in Palm Desert for Saturday and two couples we wanted to visit down there so we built our four days around that, ending up at a camping spot in the southeast area of Palm Springs.

Since it was our first real time out camping in an “RV,” if you can call it that, we wanted to be close to places where we could get help, if needed.

We arrived at the campsite Thursday afternoon and not long after, realized we needed things — like an electrical adaptor to plug into the electrical source. I had bought a couple of electrical adaptors but left them at home when I thought we had concluded we already had an adaptor. We did, but it was the wrong one.

And I think we both realized what novices we were when we stared at the faucet hook-up without a clue why we hadn’t thought to bring a water hose.

Good thing we were in Palm Springs. Off we went — striking gold on what we needed and returning in time to hook up the utilities and find ourselves in business.

It was such a delight to turn on the water, turn on the lights and see at night for the first time without a lantern, and light a burner in the morning to make breakfast. Roughing it in Palm Springs!

We expected, without A/C, we would roast in the desert but the campsite included shade and we brought a large fan that kept us quite comfy.

Plus, we spent the first night visiting friends in Palm Desert, the second night spending lunch through dinner with friends in Indio and Saturday at the performance, then dinner out.

Every evening got chilly so we shut the windows down and the fan.

The RV place let us stay late Sunday so we could have one day in the Terry. We thought that would be the day we would use the pool but it also was the day the weather cooled down a bit and we spent more time relaxing by the pool than getting in it. But all in all, we had a wonderful mini-vacation and learned a lot about our new toy.

And, you never know who you’re going to run into in the desert. At the performance, Idyllwild’s own Robin and Sarah Oates, and their family appeared, as well as Roland Gaebert. We exchanged pleasantries there while waiting for the show to begin and then said goodbye.

Jack and I were led to our seats at the sold-out show and found ourselves smack dab next to Roland and Arianna Jones. The chances of that are slim but, hey, stranger things have happened.

Becky Clark, Editor