Baptism by File
Originally posted 10/9/2012
Because I’m first going to see relatives who kinda want to know when to begin boarding up the windows, I’ve worked out a driving schedule. It was a good thing that I’d only planned an unmanly 3-hour trip to Wolcott, Indiana because I got a late start from my overnight at Cabela’s in Hoffman Estates, Illinois.
Why? I couldn’t help enjoying a cup (actually, two) of brewed coffee and sitting at the dinette to compose the previous post. After that, I could tell that things inside the trailer had been trying to skootch forward during transport, so I figured I had some time to unhitch and reset the ball higher. Naturally, I repositioned it one hole higher and after remeasuring the frame then decided that one more would be more appropriate. Easier to do it while the tools are still unpacked and broken out.
You know, it always appeared to me that the camper’s frame was maybe a little droopy behind the axles. Maybe it was an optical illusion, I hoped. Turns out, it isn’t. Although it’s a pretty tall frame and a straight shot from tip to tail, it is in fact, sagging a bit as measured with a ruler. That prompted a mental note not to hop a curb with it, or store gold bars in the rear end. There’s neither anything that can be done, nor should be done. It is The Way of All Things. I’m getting a little saggy myself. It’ll hang in there awhile yet. It’s steel. It bends like the reed in the wind, Grasshopper, while the mighty oak snaps. So the rollers under the rear bumper may come into play a little more often. Big deal.
Once done, I prepped the camper interior for transport and dumped the waste tanks, and found a good and very affordable dual temp thermometer in Cabela’s before leaving. By then, it was noon.
The trip through the Chicago area was mildly alarming due to the rough pavement, heavy truck traffic, and a stiff sidewind. I-65 was comparatively soothing as I set the cruise control for 55 and tweaked the steering now and then. I didn’t want to go 65 or the posted 70 because it’s a shakedown run. Honest. I’ve had to guess at the trailer tire pressures, amount of weight distribution tension to crank into the hitch, and degree of confidence to have as this combo bounded over some pretty bad pavement at high speed. When a weight distributing hitch fails from over-tensioning, it tends to shed parts. When body parts begin to shake, they tend to leave, too. This is an 18-year-old camper. I began to wonder how much would be remaining back there when I stopped for the day.
As always, I had forgotten about the time change in Indiana and arrived at my first stop, Wolcott, about 4 PM local time. By golly,the hitch was still complete, and all of the tires and wheels, truck and trailer, were only a little warm to the touch, at worst. Everything was still there. All’s well that…
The Wayfara Travel Plaza is basically a BP gas station with a Dairy Queen restaurant built in. Its lack of diesel fuel wasn’t much help, but the folks on duty were very kind in allowing me to park overnight in a large lot across the street. As I type this, the view out the large dinette window is striking – under a high-cloud blue sky is a vast field of huge white tri-bladed wind generators rotating almost in unison. Life is good.