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Old 03-10-2015, 04:07 PM   #1
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Camping on a grade

The Organ Mountains are on the road east of Las Cruces and west of White Sands, New Mexico. They were declared a national monument not long ago. We camped at Aguirre Campground there last weekend, and we also visited the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces. Thatís a 47-acre campus devoted to the fun of cowboy life, farming, and ranching.

A 6 mile drive in from Route 70, getting to Aguirre Spring Campground features plenty of hairpin turns not designed for towing a big trailer. Nice sites without hookups, nice covered picnic tables, and steel boxes for dumping edibles so the wildlife donít come scratching at your door. $5 a night. The campground is right upside the rugged Organ Mountains and many hiking trails. Views of the monster valley down below, actually part of the White Sands missile testing range, are sensational.

The thing that spurs this report, though, is the most level spot at Aguirre Spring we could find was just not looking right. Parking was on all loose gravel. The grade made me very nervous. Using simple wheel chocks to prevent down hill momentum seemed inadequate to unsafe. Was thankful I had a wheel wedge thingo to immobilize the 19ís trailer tires. For parking on any slope this is perfect peace of mind. Had built mine months ago, copied from Alberta Ice-Breakerís (brilliant) wheel wedge design, but I had never used it. Now, I highly recommend.
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Old 03-10-2015, 04:19 PM   #2
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Thank goodness this was about camping on an incline. For a moment, I thought maybe I'd get an "F" for some of my parking.

KSitte
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Old 03-10-2015, 05:24 PM   #3
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I've had some sloped campsites, but that beats any I've been in. It looks like about a 7% grade.

In our motorhome I've had to lift the front wheels right off the ground to get level, a situation compounded by the long distance between axles (about 6 metres or 20 feet). This is most commonly an issue in a family member's driveway, rather than a campsite... and it's never an issue in a truckstop, rest stop, or store parking lot. If anyone tries a motorhome and finds they need to do this, only jack the more lightly loaded and not driven axle off the ground (conventionally this is the front), and be warned that the jacking system manufacturer will say to never to this.

With our current trailer this isn't really an issue, because it has a single axle and can tilt a long way before bumper or coupler (depending on direction of slope) touches down. An Escape replacement will likely need to be larger, and thus will have tandem axles, which doesn't help ability to handle a slope. A least the tandems do offer the option of using that wedge device between the wheels as parking brake, which is handy since the trailers don't come with a parking brake (although they do in Europe, and could here if desired).
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Old 03-10-2015, 05:29 PM   #4
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One of the reasons we picked up a pair of x-chocks.
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Old 03-10-2015, 06:16 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MyronL View Post
...Using simple wheel chocks to prevent down hill momentum seemed inadequate to unsafe. Was thankful I had a wheel wedge thingo to immobilize the 19ís trailer tires. For parking on any slope this is perfect peace of mind. Had built mine months ago, copied from Alberta Ice-Breakerís (brilliant) wheel wedge design, but I had never used it. Now, I highly recommend.
I have used my wheel wedges nearly every time that we use the trailer. I have found (as you did) that they are great security when parking on an incline. Additionally, I have found that they significantly reduce the amount of trailer movement that occurs when walking around inside your Escape. Gives things a much more stable feel. I agree with you that for such a simple and cheap device to construct, they work really great.
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Old 03-10-2015, 08:41 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by MyronL View Post
The Organ Mountains are on the road east of Las Cruces and west of White Sands, New Mexico. They were declared a national monument not long ago. We camped at Aguirre Campground there last weekend, and we also visited the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces. Thatís a 47-acre campus devoted to the fun of cowboy life, farming, and ranching.

A 6 mile drive in from Route 70, getting to Aguirre Spring Campground features plenty of hairpin turns not designed for towing a big trailer. Nice sites without hookups, nice covered picnic tables, and steel boxes for dumping edibles so the wildlife donít come scratching at your door. $5 a night. The campground is right upside the rugged Organ Mountains and many hiking trails. Views of the monster valley down below, actually part of the White Sands missile testing range, are sensational.

The thing that spurs this report, though, is the most level spot at Aguirre Spring we could find was just not looking right. Parking was on all loose gravel. The grade made me very nervous. Using simple wheel chocks to prevent down hill momentum seemed inadequate to unsafe. Was thankful I had a wheel wedge thingo to immobilize the 19ís trailer tires. For parking on any slope this is perfect peace of mind. Had built mine months ago, copied from Alberta Ice-Breakerís (brilliant) wheel wedge design, but I had never used it. Now, I highly recommend.

Myron, Is that your new tow vehicle you are riding there and who are you shooting at .... the engineer who designed your campsite?
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Old 03-10-2015, 08:54 PM   #7
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Think that campsite was poorly planned? You should see the one in Denali.
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Old 03-10-2015, 09:25 PM   #8
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Did you take that picture of the cowboy on the horse? You got the shell ejected in mid-air!
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Old 03-10-2015, 09:31 PM   #9
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If your on loose gravel just dig a couple of trenches and back in .
It's not going any where .
And you should have a beer cracked in about 10 min. And the Mrs. can have her tea or tall glass of B.C. wine. That's how I roll .

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Old 03-11-2015, 10:20 AM   #10
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My favorite set of chocks on a slope was at Quail Creek State Park in Utah. While the photo doesn't quite show how steep the slope was, a pair of rocks keeping this Trillium in place made me a bit nervous - it was parked uphill from me, no owners or tow vehicle ever appeared, and the last day we had 40 - 50 mile per hour winds that blew a chocked boat trailer across a flat parking area...
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Old 03-11-2015, 10:38 AM   #11
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Our campsite was on the other side of the mountains. Wonder if that Trillium was rigged to carry two canoes on top? Low bridges would make me nervous.
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Old 03-11-2015, 11:04 AM   #12
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My favorite set of chocks on a slope was at Quail Creek State Park in Utah. While the photo doesn't quite show how steep the slope was, a pair of rocks keeping this Trillium in place made me a bit nervous - it was parked uphill from me, no owners or tow vehicle ever appeared, and the last day we had 40 - 50 mile per hour winds that blew a chocked boat trailer across a flat parking area...
Very cool rack setup on that trailer. That is a great idea to carry stuff without causing stress on the fibreglass body.
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Old 03-11-2015, 11:43 AM   #13
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Quote:
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Very cool rack setup on that trailer. That is a great idea to carry stuff without causing stress on the fibreglass body.
I thought it was a roll cage, for when it broke loose of the chocks.
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Old 03-11-2015, 12:22 PM   #14
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I thought it was a roll cage, for when it broke loose of the chocks.
Even better, double duty.
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Old 03-11-2015, 12:38 PM   #15
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Keep those travel reports (and photos ) coming. Glad I made a set of those wheel locks also. They definitely add peace of mind to sloped sites like that.
Also an advantage to have a tandem axle to be able to use them. Not all sites are equal, that's for sure. This one, at Deception Pass State Park, was described to us as a "70' pull-through" The hitch was on the ground, don't know what a longer unit would have done. Didn't feel secure at all. Locked tandem wheels would have given much more peace-of-mind.

Ron
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Old 03-11-2015, 04:43 PM   #16
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Locked tandem wheels would have given much more peace-of-mind.
So would a parking brake.
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Old 03-11-2015, 06:21 PM   #17
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So would a parking brake.
I was not aware that such a device was available. Brian, are you aware of a camper trailer that comes with a parking brake?
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Old 03-11-2015, 06:48 PM   #18
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So would a parking brake.
Actually I've had the thought of designing an add-on mechanical brake. My original thought was that it could be part of a storage security set-up. Locked wheels that don't have any obvious way of being released would make a unit very hard to steal.

Ron
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Old 03-11-2015, 07:06 PM   #19
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Actually I've had the thought of designing an add-on mechanical brake. My original thought was that it could be part of a storage security set-up. Locked wheels that don't have any obvious way of being released would make a unit very hard to steal.

Ron
Could it be as simple as a cable attached to the actuating arm down near the electromagnet, then through the backing plate to a latch or toggle lever that is locked in either 'on' or 'released' positions?
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Old 03-11-2015, 07:25 PM   #20
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Wouldn't pulling the trailer break away pin lock the wheels?
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