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Old 03-21-2015, 10:48 PM   #1
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'Past Tents' First Journey

Hello all, we are having a wonderful time in our new 19. She's everything we wanted and more. I want to use this thread as a rolling journal of our first trip.

We arrived at Escape yesterday right on time at 8:00 am. The folks there were as gracious and helpful as ever. Chatted with Reace, Tammy, Barbara and then checked out the trailer. It was just beautiful. After Barbara gave us our orientation, Reace had the guys get busy installing the Umbra hooks and the Oxygenics Shower head, which we brought with us and prearranged.

After the orientation, I got to talking with Reace about the new truck. It was clear that he thought we would benefit from a WDH. I mentioned that he had said I probably don't need it during that my prior visit. Long story short, he felt we didn't "need" it but would benefit from it. He doesn't like to try to upsell people and is reluctant to say "yes you need that". Just a class act who isn't just trying to make money.

So, I asked him to install an Andersen Hitch and he agreed, even though the resident expert on them, Dennis, was out that day. Reace and one of his employees started in and had the hitch installed in about 45 minutes.

There were a lot of little things like that which added up so we didn't actually hit the road to the border until the afternoon. We got to see out trailer crossing the border on the commercial side as we crossed the regular side. We waited at Bobs Burgers for about 10 minutes and then the trailer arrived. I had a pretty easy time hooking up because the rear view camera on the truck is excellent, and it even has a zoom feature showing you a closeup of the hitch and ball. Backing is another matter however. I'm still not very good at it but I'm getting better. I'm following Glenn's advice to use my hand palm up on the bottom of the wheel and move it left when I want the trailer to go left, and right for right. Seems to work OK.

Anyway, we decided to have a sandwich at Bobs, then we hit the road for Bayview State Park. There was a very solid feel towing but you definitely know the trailer is there. With a stop for groceries along the way, we arrived at Bay View much later than we had hoped, about 5 pm. Backing in was a bit of an adventure but I got the trailer right where I wanted it after the 3rd try. Right after we set up, several folks who were there as part of the "wet westies", a group of VW Westfalia owners who were there for the weekend, wanted to tour the trailer. It definitely draws attention. Karen stopped by and we were very happy to meet her, even though she was 'sans Egbert'. Very nice to have her stop by and visit.

They don't call it the 'great north WET' for nothing. We had showers on and off all night, and all morning as we packed up and headed for Southern Washington. I'm getting pretty good at hooking up/unhooking and setting up/breaking camp but you can tell I'm still a rookie. One thing that came in handy was reading all the posts from Andersen Hitch owners on how to unhook. You really have to jack up HIGH to relieve the tension on the chains so the triangle plate can drop.

For those who were wondering if the 2.7L Ecoboost was the 'cure all' for towing mileage, I can tell you that so far it definitely is NOT. Mileage dropped from 25 not towing to about 15 according to the truck computer. I don't have enough data for the manual calculation yet but I suspect it will increase SLIGHTLY to about 16 where it will settle in. This combo is not going to give us the 18-19 towing we had hoped for, at least not yet. We traveled through Seattle and Olympia averaging 56-58 mph. The mileage average definitely rises the flatter the road is.

Today we are staying at Elma RV Park, southwest of Olympia. The weather cleared quite a bit about the time we arrived, and we had a nice partly sunny afternoon after we set up. The lady who runs the office at the Elma RV Park is just wonderful. I would highly recommend this place for anyone who has just picked up and is heading south. She told us she was going to give us a deluxe pull through even though they don't do that for Passport America folks, since this was our most inaugural trip with the trailer. Even gave us some homemade chocolate chip cookies!

Time for a Spaghetti Dinner and cuddling up in the new trailer. By the way, the furnace REALLY works. We try to keep the thermostat at about 66 or it gets pretty warm. The Maxx Fan set to exhaust and on low is pretty much silent and we haven't had any condensation even though its been very wet outside the entire time.

Cheers! On to beautiful Oregon tomorrow.
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Old 03-21-2015, 10:54 PM   #2
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Oooh lala!
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Old 03-21-2015, 10:59 PM   #3
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Awesome looking unit there Robert, hope the weather gods smile on you....
Drive safe.

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Old 03-21-2015, 10:59 PM   #4
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Congratulations! We could "feel" you going by as you went through Tacoma. Your rig looks fantastic and I'm sure you'll make lotsa great memories on your journey back to Texas. Hope you have a blast.
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Old 03-21-2015, 11:01 PM   #5
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A few more photos...
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Old 03-21-2015, 11:03 PM   #6
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Robert, glad everything is going well for you and what an adventure. Will take notes for our trip coming up in the fall. Oh by the way with so much to figure out and get used to, don't forget to check the torque on the trailer lug nuts. Loren
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Old 03-21-2015, 11:03 PM   #7
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Great looking terrier you got there, too!
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Old 03-21-2015, 11:04 PM   #8
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Wow, very nice bright upholstery! Never thought of having the bed that way. Guess it works. The truck looks good, too. Hope we see the Umbras.
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Old 03-21-2015, 11:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Floating Cloud View Post
Wow, very nice bright upholstery! Never thought of having the bed that way. Guess it works. The truck looks good, too. Hope we see the Umbras.
The bed was just "staged" that way by the Mrs. We sleep the regular way from one side to the other.
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Old 03-21-2015, 11:22 PM   #10
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I wondered about that. Someone could use it that way if short, very short.
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Old 03-21-2015, 11:23 PM   #11
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Robert-

Congratulations! Your new truck and trailer look good together. BTW- your home area is plenty wet now, as well. I'm in Fredericksburg, TX this week and it rained all last night.
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Old 03-21-2015, 11:32 PM   #12
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Congrats! Sounds like you are having a blast! Past tents.....cute!

What is that star shaped chrome equipment thingy between the tires?
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Old 03-21-2015, 11:45 PM   #13
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The trailer and truck combo looks great, Robert. The inside looks very cozy. Enjoy.
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Old 03-21-2015, 11:57 PM   #14
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Glad to hear about the successful start to the inaugural trip! Thanks for the report

Quote:
Originally Posted by rbryan4 View Post
There was a very solid feel towing but you definitely know the trailer is there.
While it is possible to momentarily possible to forget a trailer is there on a straight road at constant moderate speed, or when distracted by other things, a driver who is paying attention can always tell the trailer is there. The difference in handling and in hill climbing is always noticeable. I pulled two tons of trailer (including the car on it) with our 10-ton 365 horsepower motorhome... yep, I could tell it was there. When people say "you can't tell it's even there" I really wonder if they have any clue what is going on with the vehicle they are supposed to be driving.

In this case, although it's a full-sized pickup truck, it's also a couple of tons of trailer, substantially wider than the truck. Yeah, I would certainly expect to notice it back there!

Quote:
Originally Posted by rbryan4 View Post
For those who were wondering if the 2.7L Ecoboost was the 'cure all' for towing mileage, I can tell you that so far it definitely is NOT. Mileage dropped from 25 not towing to about 15 according to the truck computer. I don't have enough data for the manual calculation yet but I suspect it will increase SLIGHTLY to about 16 where it will settle in.
I'm not really surprised. It's a big increase to aero drag, and a pretty large fraction of the truck's weight - anything better than twice the fuel consumption (half the mileage) is doing okay.

Robert, in case it makes you feel any better, you're still getting about the same fuel economy as we do with a somewhat smaller single-axle trailer (same width and almost the same weight as the 19', same length as the 17') and a less powerful van.
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Old 03-21-2015, 11:57 PM   #15
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Congrats! Sounds like you are having a blast! Past tents.....cute!

What is that star shaped chrome equipment thingy between the tires?
That's a BAL X-chock. Some here use them, and others use the homemade version with two trapezoid shaped pieces of wood with a screw between them. They work the same way -- outward pressure against both tires to wedge them.
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Old 03-22-2015, 12:00 AM   #16
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Looking terrific. Even the weather should improve.
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Old 03-22-2015, 12:09 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reetired View Post
What is that star shaped chrome equipment thingy between the tires?
It's a BAL X-Chock - it jams between the tires to hold trailer in place, like a sort of parking brake, and an alternative to chocks.

Sorry - Robert got his answer in while I was distracted watching a TV show...
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Old 03-22-2015, 12:29 AM   #18
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Glad to see you are having a good time! I hope our Oregon weather treats you nicely. It's supposed to be improving mid-week.
I do wish I would have thought of your name! Good one!
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Old 03-22-2015, 12:36 AM   #19
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Looking great, Robert.
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Old 03-22-2015, 12:40 AM   #20
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Very nice !
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