The blog began with the story of our 1969 Aristocrat Lo-Liner travel trailer. But after adding a great big dog to our family, along with two rapidly growing girls, we decided to go bigger. Currently we own a 1975 Winnebago 5th wheel, but who knows?
Thursday, May 10, 2012
New tab is affixed to the trailer, and we're legal to camp for another season! We have reserved a campsite for this weekend, which will be our first outing in 2012 for Lola and us. We will be camping at Frontenac State Park, and due to limited availability we will not have water or electric hookups. In anticipation of this, I've been reading up on 12v systems. Lola came with rewired 120v that has worked well for us. But the 12v system hasn't been touched since 1969, and looks downright frightening. So we'll be camping off the grid, or "boondocking" as this is referred to in the RV literature and forums I've been reading. It should be interesting to see what we think.
In anticipation of this, I spent some time on Monday night playing around with the propane heater. The previous owner told us it ran, but they installed an electric heater and didn't use the original propane. After reading and following the instructions written inside the heater cavity, the pilot light lit and the furnace fired up. I left it running for about 20 minutes while I took some inventory inside, and it warmed the camper right up. And even more importantly, it didn't trip the carbon monoxide detector. I tested that as well. So even though we won't have power, there's no reason for us to be cold. We can cook and make coffee using the propane stove. The only things we will really miss will be the fridge, lights and radio. After this weekend, we will have a better idea of any other "misses" we feel are lacking.
One thing that is always on my mind with towing this trailer is safety. Any time you're dealing with 40+ year old equipment, there's potential for issues. So far things have gone well, but one thing that made me nervous on all our trips last fall was the sad safety chain. Yes, chain singular. There was one chain wrapped around the trailer frame and secured back to itself with a rusty bolt. The other end attached to the vehicle with a rusty D clip spring. Neither the D clip, chain or bolt looked sufficient to hold the weight of a runaway trailer. I replaced the chain with two actual tow chains from Menard's. The new chains are bolted directly to the trailer frame and are rated to handle much more weight than our trailer has. We can now also cross the chains under the tongue as is recommended. And, they're shiny!
If we ever get to a point where we repaint the tongue and frame I'll have to remove them for the stripping and painting process, but that's pretty far down on the "to-do" list, so it's not worth the wait.