Heaven hill distillers is literally right down the road they have a nice tour and bourbon tasting , they educate you about the different types and you get a few samples to try, I enjoyed it , can't miss it since you will be so close.
I have the truck and trailer in my sig, I am about 8k fully loaded and am right up to and sometimes slightly over the payload depending on the trip and how much stuff we load in the truck. The tundra handles the load fine, however I would not want to go much heavier. Check the gvwr of the trailer if that exceeds the ratings of your truck you have too much trailer, need to add about 1000 pounds to the dry weights and a couple of hundred pounds to the tounge to get a more realistic number.
I have been very pleased with my 08 Tundra 5.7 so far, not a single issue to date, pulls my 8200gvwr trailer well, however you do have to keep an eye on the payload when pulling a heavier trailer, most trips I am right up to the limit of of it but this is likely the case with most half tons. At the time the new Tundras came out I believe they were the best half tons for towing, 4:30 rear, 6 speed tranny, heavy duty brakes, all the others though have caught up now and the Tundra is due for a refresh this year, it is rumored to have a larger fuel tank on the new model, I go about 200 miles a tank pulling the trailer, avg 8-10 mpg towing, 13-14 overall non towing. The ford Eco boost has an impressive towing capacity and payload pkg , hopefully the new tundra will offer an improved payload capacity as well, it debuts in a couple of weeks at the Chicago auto show.
I have a 14ft porta bote since 2004 , I use it with a 9.9 mercury outboard. The boat works great for what it is, yes the hull will flex a bit but it is not really an issue, the boat folds up and is like a very long awkward surfboard, the hardest part is hoisting the 96lb hull onto the roof of the truck, this is a 2 person job, the seats and the motor take up about half of the truck bed and assembly/ disaasembly takes about 20 mins, but hoisting the boat , securing it down to the roof rack , and packing up all the accessories takes about 1 hour for the entire process including launching or retrieving from the water, all in all I really like the boat but only use when we are camping at a waterfront location for multiple days, too much work for an afternoon's use.
interesting , I also live in NW Ohio and was pondering the same thing, we have done the Florida thing a couiple of times but hate the looong drive, last year we went to the smokies the 1st week of April and stayed at Pine Moutain Rv park in Pigeon Forge and the weather was great 70's and 80's but I believe that was unusually warm for that time of year, we actually swam in the outdoor pool, the pine mountain park has an indoor pool available at the hotel across the street you can use. We were thinking of perhaps going back this year but kind of hesitant because, I know we probably lucked out on the unseasonably warm temps and we just went last year and there are so many places we still have not been to yet, someone mentioned Branson wchich perked my curiousity but I think that may be a bit futrher than 8 hours, Mytle Beach is nice but in April the ocean will be too cold still, It took us almost exactly 8 hours with fuel and potty break stops from the Toledo area to Pigeon Forge by the way. As for crowds, yes it is a bit crowded ,but I have been to the area a couple of times before at different times of the year at it seems like its alawys that away especially the main drag connecting Sevierviile/PF/Gatlinburg, just take the backroads , it not unbearable.
We do it a few times a year to local campgrounds, there are things you can do to minimize the work , such as pack very little , plan on going out for dinner, and minimize the outdoor set up this way when it comes time to leave there is less to clean, pack up and put away so you can make the most of the brief stay, I have also paid for the extra night so we could stay all day and leave after dinner, this works good at state parks where typically the rates for 2 nights are close to the same as single night of the private parks.
I have the white hawk in my signature, so far so good, it seems to be built well, I got the trailer in April 2012 and used it for one season, I have owned 2 previous new keystone trailers, a Springdale and a zeppelin and both had plenty of issues the 1st season out.
I had the same issue with an 06 zeppelin , I used entrabond on the roof seam and there was no evidence of water intrusion anywhere, the delam was at the at the curve where it sloped down , a bunch of bubbles, dealer wanted 3500 to fix,, I believe it was only cosmetic damage , I ended up trading it in because it bothered me, we owned for 6 years before the delam showed up. I was upfront with the dealer when I traded the unit in and pointed out the delam, they checked it out and only took 500 bucks off what they initially offered me for my trade so I was happy.
I've had the trailer in my signature since April , so far so good used it about 40 nights and towed some 3000 miles+ , no issues yet, I've had 2 new keystones in the past a Springdale and a Zeppelin and both had many "bugs" to work out in the 1st season.
I had a 2001 with the 5.3 and 3:73 rear, the transmission is the weak link in these vehicles. ok for light towing but I think you are pushing it too close to the limits to be happy with this combo for long. been there done that.
The area you describe is practically my backyard, Mi has some great places to camp, ( Oh too) your best bets it this area have already been mentioned, Sterling state park is off exit 15 on 75 , about 30 mins south of Detroit and 15 mins north of Toledo, all sites have a paved pad and are grassy with a view of lake Erie from almost every site, there are also full hook up sites available, good bike trails there too, the entire place was rebuilt from the ground up in 2002 , if you want a more resort type place Harbortown rv resort is 4 miles to the south off exit 11 with all the bells and whistles, nice paved grassy sites there too , about 15 bucks more a night, we frequent both places, can't go wrong with either, if you are planning a trip in june or early July just be aware of the junebugs, they swarm the area and can be a nuisance ,they don't bite just cover every surface and stick there till they die. Also worthy of mention if your into state parks , Maumee bay state park in Oregon Oh is also an excellent park with huge private grassy sites, it's about 15 mins east of Toledo, I've been to every park in the immediate area and I would have to say these 3 are the best. As for day trips, Greenfield village/ Henry ford museum is about 40 mins away, the Toledo zoo about 25 mins, imagination station in downtown Toledo is good for kids as well