I am continually suprised at the number of people who refuse to camp over holidays. I have to admit, I was worried the first few times, but after camping on all the major summer holidays for five years (in State Parks, no less!) we have had exactly zero problems with sites or traffic or crowds. I had one issue with someone squatting on our site when we arrived late on Columbus Day two years ago because they did't check the reserve list on the kiosk board on the way in, but that was simple ignorance on their part and they kindly moved to another site so we could have ours, which was reserved for over 8 months. Maybe we've just been lucky so far.
I changed out my Chinese bearings and seals for Timkens and CR's after four years and am using a quality anti-corrosion Hi-temp lube. Living in PA, I'm stuck with the state law which dictates an "inspection" every year. They're required to pull two wheels to check brakes and magnets, etc. The two that they pull ( I go to the same shop and have them alternate yearly), I always re-do just for peace of mind. Last time, they loaded up the bearing with some other grease which I have no clue what it was. The end result for me is I get to do two axles every year and the bearings never go more than two years between checking and re-lubing. I feel this is more than adequate and keeps me from become an obsessive RV owner. I didn't buy a trailer to work on it, I bought it to go camping. Go with whatever your peace of mind will allow.
Or, the other thing I've seen several times is a person "utilizing" a WD hitch, but it isn't doing anything. I sat two weeks ago at my dinette watching my neighbor hitching up. He had a brand new Chevy 2500 series truck and about a 26' older trailer. He backed in under the ball, dropped it on and latched it, then proceeded to install his spring bars and latch the chains with his bare hand with literally NO effort at all. Never raised the tongue or anything. Now, OK, he probably didn't need a hitch with the truck's capability, given his tongue was likely 600 lbs or so, but why even bother if you're not going to adjust it to do anything. No sway control, either. I just don't get it.
I have quite a bit more payload than you and use it up pretty quickly with four people and "stuff", and I only tow about 8000 lbs. I'm gonna guess you'll be over quite a bit and will not like the experience at all. More truck, IMO.
I always leave my chains hooked up to the truck while leveling the TT.
This is key. I have always cranked in the x-chocks before unhooking and have never had an issue. On longer trailers the distance from the tongue to the axles means there is very little movement while unhooking. If there is significan't slope, I always add wheel chocks in addition to the x-chocks for insurance. And as mentioned, DO check them after the trailer sits a while. Mine always need re-tightened after it cools off.
Sell yours yourself and offer 40% less than sticker for the new one as a starting point. The mark up on trailers is obscene. If you have cash and are prepared to walk, you can let them call you to accept your offer or make a counter. If you are bound and determined that you're buying tomorrow, they'll likely take you to the cleaners. My .02.
Not sure if I saw it mentioned, but the recoil spring on some of the smaller pistols can be pretty stiff, which makes manipulating them for ladies or persons with compromised grip strength problematic. I bought an M&P 40c for my wife and she hated the amount of tension it took for her to cock the pistol and chamber a round. Not to say she couldn't do it, she could, but she was unwilling to put the effort into training with it because of that factor alone. I now include said firearm in my daily carry items and love it. The 9mm in the same pistol or a thinner M&P shield model would be ideal. I persoanally wouldn't go less than 9mm for a personal defense firearm, but many folks are buying the .380 and smaller under the suggestion that having a gun is the first requirement. Many good choices out there. Get the one with comfortable ergonomics that you can hit with. If you don't like shooting it, you won't train with it, and you WILL want to train with it. I took MAG 40 from Massad Ayoob in 2012 and it was the perfect course for beginners and experienced alike. Best money I ever spent. So much more to know than just shooting!
Re: revolvers. I have two and wouldn't carry either for personal defense, though I'm aware they have their following. In my opinion there is too much to not recommend them. As a home defense weapon I would. The smaller ones a lady might carry generally are bigger, lower capacity, shorter barrel, harder to reload, harder to conceal,etc. People that say they are jam proof have never had someone get a grip on the rotating cylinder or had a piece of dirt or clothing catch in there. Doesn't take a lot of leverage to prevent the cylinder from rotating and the gun from firing. True, you can prevent a semi from firing by pushing the slide out of battery, but human instinct generally makes one pull the gun back which puts the pistol in battery and puts tension on the trigger. Good and bad in both, just know the differences.
I think most of them sag a little. Pretty hard to get around it. Sticks and bricks standards for drywall, etc. is 1/360 of the span I believe. So, in 13 feet, that's about 7/16". It would have to be pretty beefy not to sag at all, then the weight would be the issue. If it's structurally sound and seals the weather out, I wouldn't worry too much about it. My .02.
I don't know from Expy's, but based on the numbers of the newer 150's in comparison to mine, I too sometimes have the thought balloon appear above my head "Hmmm....really?"
Shorter wheelbase (145" compared to 163"), taller tires (20" compared to 17") and lighter capacity wheels (and axles?), payloads generally lower by 500-700 lbs (mine is 2200lb compared to 1500-1700) and still OEM whimpy receiver that flexes badly under tongue weights near max of 1150, and yet because of the HP and trans increases, they are rated to tow more than my 9300 lbs and 15,300 combined with the 4.10 and four speed? Granted, I'd love an extra 30 HP and one more practical gear (the last two or OD's) but I don't see the difference covering the gap, especially when the payload is such a big player. I'd love to hitch my 8K to one and see for myself. Other than the power of an Ecoboost in the mix, not sure there'd be a whole lot of difference. At least not enough to give to nod to higher tow ratings. It'd be interesting to see "seat-of-the-pants" comparisons.
I had great success with the Tilex roll-up method. Just don't leave it on for very long. I hit mine all over with the spray, rolled it up for about 5 mins., unrolled it and went over it with my long handled soft bristle brush, then rinsed. I had never cleaned it in five years and it looked great.
The only time I use heat in the trailer (other than when we are actually camping in it) is when we still have a few trips booked near the end of the season and I need some heat as insurance against an overnight freeze or three. Otherwise, my winterizing has protected the water system over several tough winters without incident.
Really intrigued to find this many responses in so little time.
To say I, too, am astounded at some of the responses to my OP is the understatement of the month. Some good points made from some of you, to be sure. I think some of you crystalized my observations perfectly. Others were so far out in left field with ludicrous suppositions, I really don't have the need or desire to address them each specifically. Just wow. I now tender my synopsis.
What was initially a situation that caught my entire family off-guard, did in fact turn out to be nothing in the end, and that is partly what made it so strange. The question of Aspergers struck me. Something "off" about his demeanor which I couldn't quite put my finger on. Definite possibility. Apparently, unlike some of you, I am not clairvoyant. I could only suppose an outcome based on then-current circumstances. The fact that my concerns were not realized only enhanced my weekend. IOW, if you hear a train whistle near train tracks, don't be surprised if you see a train appear. My kids, who are well-behaved, intelligent, socially comfortable, and astute (ages 13 and 16, and somewhat annoying in their own right at times) found this kid's behavior off the wall as well. They just looked at me and rolled their eyes. After he left, they were like, "...what was THAT about ??".
The fact that the post quickly turned into a referendum on me and my social skills may be more telling about the needs of some who responded than about me, or even the situation itself. I didn't recall asking opinions of whether I passed Sociology 101. If you recall, I posted my experience asking if anyone had ever had a similar situation. It's sorta what we do on boards like this in case some of you missed it. I got the bonus psychoanalysis for free! Lucky me! And all without any case history into my personal life and upbringing. We are, after all, mere clones of one another. What's universally true for you is true for all of us, right? Hardly clinical analysis, to say the least. Looked more like pedants on parade, but hey, if you're picking on me, you're letting someone else alone, so happy to take one for the team I guess. Particularly striking to me, was how many of you castigated me for my harsh, cruel judgment and lack of understanding, when, in fact, YOU actually applied the same standard of judgment to me that you accused me of applying to this kid. And, not even based on actual, first-hand knowledge of me and my past and social abilities, etc., but solely upon a story I related. It drips of hypocrisy and apparently you don't see that in, and of, your own standards which you applied. I made judgments on the spot in real time based upon my life's experiences and I was excoriated, even though I was there and you were not. You made judgments about my handling of the situation based on the perceived norms which you regard as perfectly fine for you (and apparently every other person and circumstance on the planet) but you were NOT there, and that's just fine??? Huh! Interesting...
Only mentioned once that I recall, was the very real danger of injury to a person whom I know nothing about. If I were to let him "help" in some way, in today's litigious society, who would be responsible if this young lad were to get hurt through no fault of his own, or even mine, for that matter? Even though most of us have become blithely proficient at set up and tear down of our rigs, the truth is, there is plenty of room for error and injury. The last thing on my mind after driving 7 hours to a campground I didn't particularly want to go to, in a place I never wanted to visit, on a day I'd rather be doing something else, somewhere else, was to baby-sit a complete stranger who may or may not cause damage or injury to himself or others if I don't watch his every move (and all before I had my first proper meal of the day, or had a chance to know the kid for more than literally 1 minute). Gee, can't imagine why I would be hesitant to engage the little urchin and help to bring him up right. That is, after all, what we hapless humanitarians were put here on the planet for: child care for the masses. Takes a village, and all that rot? What must I have been thinking?
Thanks for all the help (some of you). I surely DID learn something by posting this. Consider this my last word and feel free to analyze this response as well. I'm sure my conscience can withstand more free advice and I'm equally sure some of you have plenty more to hand out. I can only hope you're as well-versed on WD hitches, gear ratios, and which are the best camping chairs. Regards.
PS: No, I will not be putting your awning in while you're gone and were too thoughtless to look out for yourself if a storm comes up. You can count on me to NOT touch any of your stuff. You're welcome.
We camped in Sterling State Park, MI, last week. Upon arrival, we barely came to a stop in our pull through site and got out when I noticed a young boy pull up on his bike in the grass between our site and the site next to us. As we went about the business of setting up after our 7 hours on the road, he sat and stared at our trailer for a few minutes. My son and I talked about our jobs that we always do as I unlocked the various compartments, and as I returned to the truck to begin unhitching, now the kid is off his bike and hanging his head in the bed of my truck looking around, taking inventory.
I was somewhat taken aback at his lack of boundaries. He didn't even say "Hi", he just started asking if he could help. Not sure of his motives and not knowing him from Adam, I thanked him, but assured him we could handle it. I began to unhitch as my son started cranking down stabilizers and again he asked if he could help. 20 seconds had transpired since the last offer. Again, thanked him but said "we got this". Sewer hookup, same thing. Water hookup, ditto. I engaged him in some small talk but this only seemed to embolden him. After he followed us around like a lost duckling for five minutes or so, he began to pester my son about going bike riding and fishing. He apparently presumed we were new at this (RVing) and was determined that we needed his help in some way. We were all getting perturbed with his presence and I think he sensed it. At one point, he helped himself to a trip up our front steps and a long gaze inside the trailer (uninvited!). The only thing that stopped him from coming inside was my son standing in the way.
I was getting a little testy at his over-assertive nature when I told him politely but firmly, we need to get set up and eat supper and possibly then we could talk about other activities. He finally got the hint and peddled away. I was positive that we would be seeing him every time we went outside all weekend and was dreading the prospect of a ruined stay because of an overbearing neighbor who seemed to believe we were there solely to visit him.
As it turned out, we passed in close proximity several times over the weekend and he didn't even acknowledge our presence. I honestly believe he probably does this to virtually everybody who pulls in and likely forgets who he pestered and who he didn't. I don't think he even recognized us after that. The whole thing was very strange. I have never had anyone act like he did anywhere we've stayed previous. He reminded me of the neighbors my parents had for years who became so "friendly" and imposing, they were actually waiting at the patio door every day they came home.
I don't generally assume the worst about people until I know them a little and they confirm my suspicions. This kid was way over the line from the get-go. He may have been an only child. He may have been highly intelligent. He may have been bored and driving his Mom crazy. He may have been casing our stuff for an opportunity to steal. Plenty of possibilities, but none of them what we consider normal behavior. Anybody else ever have someone insert themselves into your camping trip like this? I'm not beyond bluntly telling someone to get lost, but sometimes the benefit of the doubt pushes my limits, especially when it's immediately obvious.
I'm going to put on my devil's advocate hat for a moment, just to bat this idea around. I have no authority, knowledge, or evidence that proves or disproves what I'm about to say.
I have read accounts in print about the "proper way" to jack up a trailer, and most say to support the trailer by the frame rather than the axles. So, if one were to support the frame, seems to me that the length of the frame would need to be effectively supported in smaller sections than just the four corners. Breaking up the span of one side of the trailer beam with a support in the center would seem appropriate enough to safely carry the weight, provided the supports were suitable to carry the weight. If my trailer weighs 8000 lbs, then four would carry about 2000lbs each. If I use six, the needed weight carrying capacity of each jack would then only be 1333 lbs. Jacks vary in capacity, but pretty sure most are within 2000 lbs, so the 1333 should be no issue. Now, granted, the exact weight carried by each jack will not be equal depending on trailer design and loading, but I'm not sure one couldn't level with jacks so positioned as long as the jacks were up to the task. If I could jack it up to work on it this way without damaging the frame, I could certainly level it to camp. If the trailer wheels never actually left the ground, they would actually still be carrying some of the remaining weight, which makes the overall proposition look even better. With the main caveates being that the wheels actually never leave the ground, creating a stablizing issue which could let the trailer fall, and that the jacks be adjusted incrementally and in proportion to each other. The only other issue might be dynamic loading (moving people, etc). Most campsites are typically fairly level (within 6" or so?) so we'd only be jacking weight around for level, not actually free lifting. I don't see why it wouldn't work.
I've been doing the geo method for over five years and while it seems to work to keep smells down and tanks clean(er), I can't remember the last time I looked at the sensor lights for serious input on their status. If the water backs up in the shower, it's time to dump. You will know when you're close by experience after a while. With full hookups, which we seldom do, it's a matter of going outside and pulling the valve. Otherwise, on longer weekend trips without shower houses, I plan accordingly with the blue tote so I don't have to dump in the middle of the night, just like filling the FW tank. Experience is the ultimate teacher.
I have the IGE 3000 inverter gen. and while I don't use it much, it works fine when I need it. That said, it has had it's problems. I bought it on Ebay for several hundred less than retail, arrived NIB, and proceeded to blow apart the fan after the first run. Some time later, the inverter card went bad to the tune of almost $500 and my labor, otherwise it would have been twice that. Needless to say, the money I saved up front was eclipsed by the repair costs. I've heard my experience was not typical, and maybe that's so, but had I to do it again, I'd have bought the red one and smiled. I suggest if you really need a gen you can rely on, you do likewise. Red or Blue...not yellow. Otherwise, it's a nice unit. Roll the dice or count on the sure thing.
This is a known problem and has been discussed several times on this board. I had the same issue five years ago when I bought our trailer and folks here pointed me in the right direction. Unless the situation has changed even further, I'm betting your original hitch head and the current upgrade have the same part number stamped on them even though the new part is obviously beefier. I actually ended up getting the correct part locally and inadvertently having one shipped from Cequent (Reece) and they ended up giving me the one they shipped rather than send it back, so I have a spare! That's service! There are still a bunch of those junk heads out there I'm sure, so it's going to take a while to weed them out. Some work ok and some fail, depending on the tongue weight and how it's adjusted. You should be fine now. My heavier upgrade doesn't even flinch at 1100 lbs and has given perfect service for several years now.
There are ways to tactfully beg forgiveness rather than ask permission. I'm not advocating becoming a pain in the neck everywhere you go, but the truth as far as I can tell is, many sites in parks are de-rated for effect. IOW, your (my) 34' rig will fit in many spaces ostensibly for smaller trailers, just a question of you showing up and putting it there. There may be National Parks where they come out with tape measures and send you on your way, but I haven't seen one yet. Granted, I don't have the miles some of these folks do, but from our trip out west, there was no place where our trailer even raised an eyebrow. If the limit says 30', it's likely they meant the box, not overall length (wink, wink). What's a few feet amongst friends?
Seriously, a lot of it depends on you and your tact and skill. I don't see an issue. I'm sure others would disagree, but if it fits...it fits. Obviously then, it becomes important to know for certain when it won't. Life is short, enjoy it often.