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Old 06-22-2018, 02:46 PM   #1
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Working on Build Sheet - 5.0 TA - Advice on features and tow vechicle

My wife and I are former tent campers. We have never owned a travel trailer or towing truck. We visited the ETI showroom in Chilliwack BC about three weeks ago and are really sold on the 5.0 TA. We are very serious about ordering an Escape but we want to get advice on needed features or nice-to-have. I have been wading through past threads on the Escape Forum, but that is very tedious and hit-and-miss. So, I'm posting this "Help!" message.

We would like to hear from current owners about what features on the build sheet they wished they had ordered or regretted ordering. Any advice?

Also, we will need to buy a truck with a fifth wheel/goose neck. Any recommendations about trucks with good power and yet fuel economical?
Thanks,
Jerry
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Old 06-22-2018, 04:16 PM   #2
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Ford F150 with the 3.5 eco boost. Get the max tow package, its more than just a wiring harness and brake controller.

Somewhat interesting, if you go to the escape trailer website, they show the TA being pulled by a 4x4 F150 Supercrew with the short (5 1/2 ft) bed. Pretty close to what I would buy. I'd get the XLT model, above that, you are paying for flashy options that lower your truck's payload. XLT is the sweet spot on F150s IMHO (by the way, my current truck is an F150 Supercab Lariat). I've owned the Supercrew in the past, my next truck will likely be the Supercrew model instead of the Supercab.

Not a 5.0 owner, so options are an opinion only.

Detachable power cord is a must. Surprised that hasn't worked into the standard equipment yet. In my area, roof AC is also a must, 2 way hot water heater, surge protector, lots of extra inside outlets and reading lights, counter extensions, winterizing T valve, full height cabinet, u-bench for dinette, maybe high lift axle (depends what I needed to comfortably clear truck bed sides).

Years ago, I had a fifth wheel with what I thought was adequate bed clearance. I was coming out of a campground, exit road was steep and then immediately flat. My truck was on the flat section, while the trailer was on the slope. Trailer hit the tailgate, did some damage there. Lesson learned.

If/when I get a new trailer, it will be the 5.0 (or its replacement in the future).
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Old 06-22-2018, 09:16 PM   #3
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I'd get the XLT model, above that, you are paying for flashy options that lower your truck's payload.
Well color me flashy then. Ain't giving up the heated and cooled leather seats, the Sync 3, etc, just to gain a few lbs of payload capacity. Many of the "flashy" options on my Lariat are things that make the truck a real pleasure to drive. Of course, if I really needed the extra payload capacity I might feel differently, but then again if I were cutting it that close, I'd just get a heavier duty truck - flash included.
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Old 06-22-2018, 09:41 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by NCBill View Post
Ford F150 with the 3.5 eco boost. Get the max tow package, its more than just a wiring harness and brake controller.

Somewhat interesting, if you go to the escape trailer website, they show the TA being pulled by a 4x4 F150 Supercrew with the short (5 1/2 ft) bed. Pretty close to what I would buy. I'd get the XLT model, above that, you are paying for flashy options that lower your truck's payload. XLT is the sweet spot on F150s IMHO (by the way, my current truck is an F150 Supercab Lariat). I've owned the Supercrew in the past, my next truck will likely be the Supercrew model instead of the Supercab.

Not a 5.0 owner, so options are an opinion only.

Detachable power cord is a must. Surprised that hasn't worked into the standard equipment yet. In my area, roof AC is also a must, 2 way hot water heater, surge protector, lots of extra inside outlets and reading lights, counter extensions, winterizing T valve, full height cabinet, u-bench for dinette, maybe high lift axle (depends what I needed to comfortably clear truck bed sides).

Years ago, I had a fifth wheel with what I thought was adequate bed clearance. I was coming out of a campground, exit road was steep and then immediately flat. My truck was on the flat section, while the trailer was on the slope. Trailer hit the tailgate, did some damage there. Lesson learned.

If/when I get a new trailer, it will be the 5.0 (or its replacement in the future).
Thanks for words of advice! You've given me lots to think about and research. Much appreciated!
Jerry
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Old 06-22-2018, 09:56 PM   #5
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I too have spent all of my adult life camping in a tent and have never owned or camped in an RV before. Our Escape 19' will be the first for us. I just completed a build for it and started a thread similar to yours weeks before completion. Your choice for options should largely depend on the type of camping you anticipate doing, your budget, and to a lesser extent possible re-sale value. My husband and I are thinking we will be mostly boondocking and do not think we will be spending much time in RV parks or campgrounds with hookups. We also want to camp during shoulder seasons, i.e. early spring to late fall. Therefore, must-haves for us were thermal windows and extra insulation, spray foam on the underside of the trailer, solar panel, and 2 6-volt batteries. Stuff like the removable power cord, TV, microwave, multiple electrical outlets, and 2-way hot water heater are generally ony relevant when you're hooked into power or are running a generator, so we didn't get them. But definitely, if you think you'll be camping a lot in places with hookups, you will probably want these options. Also, we did spring for the air conditioner although I think we won't use it much, mostly for re-sale value, and it's good to have the option to hook up and cool off if it gets really hot. We opted for the surge protector to protect our trailer during the times we are hooked up, on many people's strong recommendation. Many also recommended the winterizing T-valve and foot-flush toilet, so we got those too. I wanted the oven upgrade, raised bench, and U-shaped dinette and did ultimately include them, but many others have strong opinions against these options. There are lots of things to consider and as many opinions as there are folks out there, and it's not easy!! But it's fun too, especially when it starts getting real, i.e. when you commit with the deposit and are assigned a "deadline" for completing the build. As you get closer and have specific questions, there are a bunch of great folks on this forum who have gone through it and are happy to help with information and advice; they are a great resource so don't hesitate to ask for help if you need it!
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Old 06-22-2018, 10:42 PM   #6
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Looking at the options for a new 5.0TA, I'd get everything except...

Backup Camera, I know how to backup.
Awning lights, we like the candle.
Stereo, use an Ipod and wireless speakers.
TV arm, small tv lives in it's box if it goes with us, sits on the counter if it's used.
Shelves in the closet, we hang a lot of clothes
Full height cabinet, we like the counter top.
Exterior shower, had one, never used it.
Heat pads, if it's that cold for that long, we're heading farther south.
Starter kit, we had some of it, bought the rest locally.
Custom fabric, we're ok with the default.
Brake controller, truck already has one.
Trailer cover, bought a good one.
High lift, have no need.

These are all personal decisions, what we don't need you may find essential, and vise versa.

Truck, have a 2012 F150 4x4, Super cab, 8' bed, extended gas tank, 3.5 Ecoboost, Max payload and heavy tow pkgs. If I were to get a new truck, I'd get similar in either a Ford or a GMC, maybe drop down to the 6.5' bed, maybe not. Contrary to most, I like the long bed. I've gotten used to parking and turning the ark. I can carry as much as I want, weight and size wise, also makes it possible to carry the canoes on the truck roof. When traveling with the trailer I can pretty much keep everything in the bed that needs to stay dry under the trifold tonneau cover. Okay, fairly dry. If I had the extra cash, I'd get a loaded truck, you spend a lot of time in them if you do a lot of long trips.


I haul a lot of stuff with the truck when at home. If not for that and the canoes, I'd go for the 6.5'. I believe most get the 5.5', they will all haul the trailer.

If you search around on the forum you can find threads listing out unofficial options that are not on the options list from ETI. You need to verify with ETI that they are still valid. Different table legs and table sizes, Umbra hooks installed, things like that.
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Old 06-23-2018, 12:42 AM   #7
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Not sure why people think that the detachable power cord is a must. We donít have one, not really sure why itís an issue.

As for AC, we donít have it and it works fine for us. I think it depends on where you live. We do lots of boondocking and as we donít plan to drag a generator with us, we couldnít use the AC anyway. If you live in the southern US, I can see using it more. But if you live in more temperate climates like us (Vancouver, BC) we typically travel to the south in the winter months where the need is much less.

To each his own but IMHO, neither of these items are a ďmustĒ.
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Old 06-23-2018, 04:41 AM   #8
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Hi Jerry, Elaine and I picked up our new 5.0TA in April of 2017. I tow it with 2012 Toyota Tundra. I already had the truck so I didn't have that decision to make. The Tundra is a great truck, tows easily, is very comfortable, extremely reliable but doesn't get great gas mileage. Tough to beat the F150 in that department! I installed the Andersen hitch and really like the convenience of it. We picked lots of options for the trailer. Dual batteries, thermal windows,extra insulation, A.C. ,solar, surge protector, detachable cord, outside shower, full passenger closet, 3 flip up counters, tv antenna and mount, heat pads,captain lights, awning light, backup camera, aluminium wheels, u-shaped dinette, foot flush, upholstery, Formica, bigger sink, switches for overhead light and outside light , dual water heater, toilet shut off valve, ss cook top and vent hood and extra 120v outlets at the foot of the bed. We omitted the bathroom sink and don't miss it. I also omitted the dinette table altogether. I installed the Lagun table mount and Lagun folding table top. Love this set up. The standard table takes up way too much room and is difficult to get in and out of. We didn't get an oven because I thought it took up valuable storage space. It's the only item I might reconsider. There's ample storage space. We have a small convection oven instead. We've been really pleased with the trailer! I've had a few minor issues that Escape quickly remedied and were excellent to deal with. They are true to their great reputation! Have fun assembling your build sheet and I hope you don't have to wait too long to get it built! Mark
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Old 06-23-2018, 06:45 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Chris & Patricia View Post
Not sure why people think that the detachable power cord is a must. We don’t have one, not really sure why it’s an issue.

As for AC, we don’t have it and it works fine for us. I think it depends on where you live. We do lots of boondocking and as we don’t plan to drag a generator with us, we couldn’t use the AC anyway. If you live in the southern US, I can see using it more. But if you live in more temperate climates like us (Vancouver, BC) we typically travel to the south in the winter months where the need is much less.

To each his own but IMHO, neither of these items are a “must”.
There are no MUST have options, it's perfectly usable the way it comes standard, options are called options for a reason.

While we live in a cool climate here in New England, we bought the trailer to travel. We don't use A/C much, but when we want it it's great to have. Before we started carrying a dehumidifier we used the A/C for that purpose too.

As far as the power cord, again personal preference. We've had both, it really makes no difference one way or the other. In an effort to gain as much interior storage as possible, I went with the detachable.
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Old 06-23-2018, 09:50 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Chris & Patricia View Post
Not sure why people think that the detachable power cord is a must. We don’t have one, not really sure why it’s an issue.

As for AC, we don’t have it and it works fine for us. I think it depends on where you live. We do lots of boondocking and as we don’t plan to drag a generator with us, we couldn’t use the AC anyway. If you live in the southern US, I can see using it more. But if you live in more temperate climates like us (Vancouver, BC) we typically travel to the south in the winter months where the need is much less.

To each his own but IMHO, neither of these items are a “must”.
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There are no MUST have options, it's perfectly usable the way it comes standard, options are called options for a reason.
Bob is 100% correct. All options are there for individual choices and preferences. None are necessary for going and making memories.

With regards to the power cord, I have had both. The main reason I changed it out on my 19 is that it got tangled a few times, and a couple of the "teeth" it pulls out through broke off in colder weather. Having had both now, I feel that the detachable is definitely a better way to go. It is so easy to coil and stow out of the way.

My new 5.0TA is the first RV in 30 years of owning them with A/C, and the only reason we got it was that we plan to do lots of touring in years to come, and want it should we need it. We have used the trailer close to 100 nights in the last year, and have used it about 10 times...... Then it broke down in Osoyoos.

Regarding the busted A/C, I phoned a local mobile RV service guy earlier this week, who came out the same day, did up the warranty paper work, and got one on order. Should be about 2-3 weeks and he will come round and replace it. I had phoned a few Dometic authorized RV shops, and they all were saying early August to bring it in, then I would have to leave it while they tested it, and either leave it longer to wait for replacement, or come back. Love the service I got from the mobile guy.

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Old 06-24-2018, 10:31 AM   #11
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I think the best advise has already been given, the trailer come quite well equipped any options you add should be tailored towards yours personal preference and camping style.
As for trucks, I would test drive different brands, choose your favourite then see what motor/tow package would best serve your needs.
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Old 07-06-2018, 04:36 AM   #12
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Detachable power cord (rather than pull-out) provides one less way for critters to get into your trailer, whether it's voles or mice or small rats or ants.

I drive a 2012 Dodge Ram full crew cab with a 5.6 bed with a Leer canopy (curves perfectly with the tailgate for water tight) with complete tow package, larger brakes, mid-range differential for happy medium for towing power vs fuel economy, running boards, heated/cooled seats, built-in inverter, larger fuel tank, and lots more. Yes, much of what's on the truck is not absolutely needed but, as someone here said, when you spend several hours in the truck, it's really nice to have it really comfortable and one less thing to worry about. A truck backup camera helps with hitching up when alone, even if you have a partner most of the time, and it helps when driving/parking without the trailer in tow. With the full crew cab and a shorter bed, I like having more secure and cleaner space to stow some stuff in the back seat of the truck, rather than putting everything in an 8' bed where it's more difficult to access, and it gives me the option of having passengers when I'm not camping, but still is a standard pickup length.

Trailer options ... sounds like you have a good idea of what you want already. As most folks say, it's all about what sort of camping you'll be doing. If you're in the US, then it would pay to have ETI install things rather than pay in the US to install them later because of the exchange rate. These are items I added and wouldn't want to be without:
More 120v outlets
More 12v USB/ciglighter outlets
Captains lights in all 4 dinette corners (much nicer light than the regular overhead lights and they are directional)
Toilet shutoff valve
Winterizing T valve
Dual 6V batteries (225 amps isn't too much for boondocking)
160W solar ... they'll install a second one too if you want. I'm adding a 100W suitcase solar so I can move it and angle it.
EMS
Trailer backup camera (great for driving and also for parking if you're alone)
Extra insulation and thermal windows (for heat/cold and also for noise reduction)
Aluminum rims (less rust than steel rims)
Left and right rear access doors
Front storage box (for the chocks and leveling blocks and a utility water hose and a secure box with dump tools/gloves and the crank for the stabilizer jacks and wood blocks to go under the jacks, etc, a box of clean rags, a box of rope/line, all the "dirty" stuff)
Reinforced walls, if there is ANY thought you might want to hang anything on those walls then they need to be reinforced.
Larger sink and taller faucet, then buy your own screw-on spray thingy for the end of the faucet.
Exterior light on the back of the trailer for backing at night and for security.
Add a bubble level on the front of the trailer.
The sand pads, absolutely a must.
Single Springfield table pedestal, but make sure it's the right height one, and if you do NOT have the U-dinette then make sure they install the pedestal so it centers the weight of the table ... my table cants about 10 degrees backwards because they didn't center it under the weight fore/aft, so I'll be moving it.

As mentioned, every owner's list will be different. And it's all changeable later! Buy something and go and have a good time!
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Old 07-06-2018, 04:55 AM   #13
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I use the thermal bathroom window a lot for ventilation including while in storage. The dust settles in the bathroom and I can wash it down the drain. Much better than having other windows open in dusty conditions. Camped in Dinosaur Nat. Monument last week and there were a lot of gnats. They came right thru the screens but most stayed in the bathroom 'cause I turned off all the other lights. Now I want to look into some no see-um-type screen mesh.
I also swapped the sink and stove locations. On the 5.0TA that meant I had to get a smaller kitchen window. I love it.
I got the outside shower and haven't used it yet, not sure I ever will but who knows.
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Old 07-06-2018, 06:37 AM   #14
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Go for it

We got most options-but the one I appreciate most-though we donít boondock often, is the solar panel with 6 volt batteries. They stay charged even through some very frigid days living in New England.
No regrets on any options.
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Old 07-06-2018, 07:54 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TacomaAnn View Post
Detachable power cord (rather than pull-out) provides one less way for critters to get into your trailer, whether it's voles or mice or small rats or ants.

I drive a 2012 Dodge Ram full crew cab with a 5.6 bed with a Leer canopy (curves perfectly with the tailgate for water tight) with complete tow package, larger brakes, mid-range differential for happy medium for towing power vs fuel economy, running boards, heated/cooled seats, built-in inverter, larger fuel tank, and lots more. Yes, much of what's on the truck is not absolutely needed but, as someone here said, when you spend several hours in the truck, it's really nice to have it really comfortable and one less thing to worry about. A truck backup camera helps with hitching up when alone, even if you have a partner most of the time, and it helps when driving/parking without the trailer in tow. With the full crew cab and a shorter bed, I like having more secure and cleaner space to stow some stuff in the back seat of the truck, rather than putting everything in an 8' bed where it's more difficult to access, and it gives me the option of having passengers when I'm not camping, but still is a standard pickup length.

Trailer options ... sounds like you have a good idea of what you want already. As most folks say, it's all about what sort of camping you'll be doing. If you're in the US, then it would pay to have ETI install things rather than pay in the US to install them later because of the exchange rate. These are items I added and wouldn't want to be without:
More 120v outlets
More 12v USB/ciglighter outlets
Captains lights in all 4 dinette corners (much nicer light than the regular overhead lights and they are directional)
Toilet shutoff valve
Winterizing T valve
Dual 6V batteries (225 amps isn't too much for boondocking)
160W solar ... they'll install a second one too if you want. I'm adding a 100W suitcase solar so I can move it and angle it.
EMS
Trailer backup camera (great for driving and also for parking if you're alone)
Extra insulation and thermal windows (for heat/cold and also for noise reduction)
Aluminum rims (less rust than steel rims)
Left and right rear access doors
Front storage box (for the chocks and leveling blocks and a utility water hose and a secure box with dump tools/gloves and the crank for the stabilizer jacks and wood blocks to go under the jacks, etc, a box of clean rags, a box of rope/line, all the "dirty" stuff)
Reinforced walls, if there is ANY thought you might want to hang anything on those walls then they need to be reinforced.
Larger sink and taller faucet, then buy your own screw-on spray thingy for the end of the faucet.
Exterior light on the back of the trailer for backing at night and for security.
Add a bubble level on the front of the trailer.
The sand pads, absolutely a must.
Single Springfield table pedestal, but make sure it's the right height one, and if you do NOT have the U-dinette then make sure they install the pedestal so it centers the weight of the table ... my table cants about 10 degrees backwards because they didn't center it under the weight fore/aft, so I'll be moving it.

As mentioned, every owner's list will be different. And it's all changeable later! Buy something and go and have a good time!
Hi TacomaAnn!
Thanks for the detailed advice about the tow truck and trailer options! I'm getting smarter by the minute! We are going over the build list and deciding what things to toss or add more of. Great ideas on your list, like captains lights and extra USB/power outlets.
Many thanks!
Jerry and Ann
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Old 07-06-2018, 07:57 AM   #16
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We added so many extras and we tend to love all of them. We really like the back up camera and if you turn on your turn on the right headlights it will run the entire time you are driving which is a great feature especially in high traffic! If you have an option of the classic awning and the new auto version you might strongly consider the classic. It is stronger and much more durable. We have had both and we speak from experience. We have the u shaped dinnete and like it but only a kid could sit on the back seating area because the seat itself if rather narrow. We ordered the slider windows and get a good breeze. My husband like the connected elec. cord just fine. The front tool box is great. Outside shower we havent used yet. We bought the microwave and use it, It is a cheap one, but we liked the fact that they screwed it in securely and we didn't have to mess with securing our own. We choose our own fabric, counter tops, and flooring because I am not into brown. I went with lighter more colorful options that make me happy to be in small quarters. I do regret getting such an extrememly light almost white floor. It looks wonderful when spoltlessly clean, but how do you do that when out camping. We got the oven and have used it a couple of times to make muffins and pizza. We did get the solar panel and an option outdoor port for an extra panel for boondocking, probably over kill.
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Old 07-06-2018, 08:37 AM   #17
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Hi Quilting Lady!
We appreciate your advice! This helps us as we debate what to put in and what to leave out. We've been thinking the same as you about the microwave, letting ETI bolt it down. Many good ideas!
Thanks!
Jerry and Ann
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Old 07-06-2018, 10:22 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Iamcumberbatch View Post
Hi Quilting Lady!
We appreciate your advice! This helps us as we debate what to put in and what to leave out. We've been thinking the same as you about the microwave, letting ETI bolt it down. Many good ideas!
Thanks!
Jerry and Ann
Hi: Iamcumberbatch... Although the micro is inexpensive... the glass turntable isn't!!! Ours travels in with the folded linens. Alf
escape artist N.S. of Lake Erie
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Old 07-06-2018, 10:24 AM   #19
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Hi: Iamcumberbatch... Although the micro is inexpensive... the glass turntable isn't!!! Ours travels in with the folded linens. Alf
escape artist N.S. of Lake Erie
Mine travels under the mattress.
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Old 07-06-2018, 10:28 AM   #20
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Mine travels under the mattress.
Hi: Donna D... If I did that there'd be no room for my "Money" Alf
escape artist N.S. of Lake Erie
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