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Old 08-12-2015, 01:42 AM   #21
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Other campgrounds near Chilliwack

We signed up for the Valley Driving School in Abbotsford on Saturday morning 25 July 2015, after picking up 'Cardinal's Nest' on Friday Morning 24 July 2015.

This was a last minute thing, and being organization-challenged, we hadn't tried to get Washington State Park reservations until too late – all were filled up for the weekend.

We found the Aloha RV Park only a mile or two from the Valley Driving School office in Abbotsford. Nice to be close when our class was at 8-10 am! Its other virtue was a site long enough for us to stay hitched which helped making our early appointment. It had electrical (only 20 A) and water hookups. We were busy relocating our stuff from the Jeep Grand Cherokee to Cardinal's Nest, plus it was raining, so we didn't really miss having a scenic campsite. They don't accept credit cards, or make reservations over the phone, so we drove over on Thursday, and found an adequate back-in slot, and paid for it in cash to reserve it. Then after picking up Cardinal's Nest and before leaving Bob's Burger and Brews, we practiced backing into similar slots, which helped us to succeed in two tries at the Aloha (low standards – crooked is ok, as long as we don't hit anything – also helped).

Incidentally, with all Friday afternoon to get back across the border, Murphy hardly tried to enforce his laws. We showed a hardcopy of our appointment with Valley Driving School along with the other papers, and were quickly back in B.C., even without trailer license plates.

We made up for poor scenery on Saturday night. We took a chance on heading towards Mt. Baker on Highway 542, a dead-end road southeast of Sumas. We stopped in Maple Falls at a building labeled 'Local Information.' The young woman inside was extremely helpful: told us that we had a choice of three campgrounds which were likely to have space available. Straight north was a campground on a lake, offering several types of boats for rent. Further east were the Douglas Fir and the Silver Fir Campgrounds in trees. We found a spot in the Douglas Fir Campground, see picture below, where we spend an enjoyable afternoon and night, lulled by the sound of the North Fork of the Nooksack river rushing by. With that, who misses hookups?
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Old 08-12-2015, 01:51 AM   #22
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Got to love it. Who needs reservations?
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Old 08-12-2015, 07:31 AM   #23
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Wow, a Hensley set up, maybe the first one I've seen with an Escape, very popular with the Airstreamers though.
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Old 08-12-2015, 10:36 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Art M. View Post
We signed up for the Valley Driving School in Abbotsford on Saturday morning 25 July 2015, after picking up 'Cardinal's Nest' on Friday Morning 24 July 2015.
Hi neighbors! We live over the hill in Tracy and will be picking up our trailer next month! Loved your write-up. We, too, will be taking lessons at Valley Driving School and then we look forward to making our own adventures!
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Old 08-12-2015, 03:23 PM   #25
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Hensley Hitch

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Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
Wow, a Hensley set up, maybe the first one I've seen with an Escape, very popular with the Airstreamers though.
From reading Airstream Forums, those with 30 ft and up Airstreams seem to find a big improvement in towing safety and ease with a Hensley.

I couldn't feel any issues when trailer trucks or buses passed us in the same direction on a freeway, or in the opposite direction on 2-lane roads. At most I could sometimes see the trailer twitch in the rear view mirror, but felt no impact of the bow or tail waves in our Jeep Grand Cherokee. Cross winds were also no issue, and probably shouldn't have been as they never exceeded 20 miles per hour. But as a Newbie, I have no idea whether this is better than with other weight distribution hitches on an Escape; I have certainly seen no complaints of sway issues with Escape Trailers on this Forum.

I discovered Escape and other fiberglass trailers through RV.org, and J. D. Gallant, who emphasizes safety in towing and recommends fifth wheels or Hensleys (to greatly oversimplify). So I was sold on Hensley hitches before I started haunting this forum.

Incidentally, my hitch weight with the heavy Hensley is 600 lbs at the tongue jack. I calculated that this corresponds to 500 lbs at the Jeep Receiver, which is 31.5" ahead of the tongue jack. This is within the receiver's 600 lb rating. It also suggest that I could fill the front box to the 100 lbs it is rated for and stay within limits. I haven't weighed the entire trailer yet, but other forums have found 21' Escapes to usually be near 4000 lbs when loaded for camping. Ours is probably less than that since it only carries the stuff we could stuff into the Grand Cherokee after putting the large hitch in, but it is probably not under 3500, so the tongue weight is likely to be in the range of 12-15% of the gross trailer weight, which is reasonable.
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Old 08-12-2015, 03:38 PM   #26
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It is unfortunate that you did not wait until actually towing your Escape and making a decision on which way to go. Several members here tow Escapes 21 with the JGC, some with no weight distribution while others use the Andersen set up which weighs considerably less than the Hensley. It seems counter intuitive adding over a 100 lbs hitch to redistribute weight but the Hensely does perform that function. with tongue weight an issue, you may want to tow without the Hensely and check your performance. My 21' Escape weighs 3800 at the axle and 500 on the tongue. A good tongue scale http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...FCRWY5T83ACP6S is always helpful.
I'm sure, if you decide, you could sell your Hensley, and use the lighter Andersen. I use my Andersen when traveling out of state but for shorter trips I use nothing. Escapes are known for their ease of towing.
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Old 08-12-2015, 03:40 PM   #27
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wold you recommend the driving school, we are newbies
Thanks
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Old 08-12-2015, 10:00 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Art M. View Post
I couldn't feel any issues when trailer trucks or buses passed us in the same direction on a freeway, or in the opposite direction on 2-lane roads. At most I could sometimes see the trailer twitch in the rear view mirror, but felt no impact of the bow or tail waves in our Jeep Grand Cherokee. Cross winds were also no issue, and probably shouldn't have been as they never exceeded 20 miles per hour. But as a Newbie, I have no idea whether this is better than with other weight distribution hitches on an Escape; I have certainly seen no complaints of sway issues with Escape Trailers on this Forum.
It sounds like this hitch system is working well, which is great.
On the other hand, my minivan towing a 3000 pound trailer is also unaffected by trucks, buses, and 20 mph crosswinds... with no weight-distribution system or sway control hardware at all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Art M. View Post
Incidentally, my hitch weight with the heavy Hensley is 600 lbs at the tongue jack. I calculated that this corresponds to 500 lbs at the Jeep Receiver, which is 31.5" ahead of the tongue jack. This is within the receiver's 600 lb rating.
Unfortunately, the axis around which this hitch system effectively transfers vertical load to the tug is way back at the actual ball location, behind all that Hensley four-bar linkage. If you told the receiver manufacturer that you were putting 550 pounds on the end of a 16" long ball mount (and also running a weight-distribution hitch), which is roughly what you are doing, it might not sound so acceptable.
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Old 08-14-2015, 11:27 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
It is unfortunate that you did not wait until actually towing your Escape and making a decision on which way to go. Several members here tow Escapes 21 with the JGC, some with no weight distribution while others use the Andersen set up which weighs considerably less than the Hensley. It seems counter intuitive adding over a 100 lbs hitch to redistribute weight but the Hensely does perform that function. with tongue weight an issue, you may want to tow without the Hensely and check your performance. My 21' Escape weighs 3800 at the axle and 500 on the tongue. A good tongue scale Amazon.com: Sherline LM 1000 - Trailer Tongue Weight Scale - 1000LB: Automotive is always helpful.
I'm sure, if you decide, you could sell your Hensley, and use the lighter Andersen. I use my Andersen when traveling out of state but for shorter trips I use nothing. Escapes are known for their ease of towing.
Thanks for the suggestion, it hadn't occurred to me that it would be safe to tow with the JGC without a weight distribution hitch. We're off on other travel now, but hope that we can give that a try in early Sept., when we could still return the Hensley. I checked and a 2" ball mounted to fit the receiver with a 4-6" drop is inexpensive.

If that works well, then I would probably get the Andersen to give more safety margin.

The tongue weight I quoted was with a 1000 lb Sherline tongue Weight scale.
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