Goodbye for Now…
Originally posted 3/31/2013
This may be my last post for a few days.
Tomorrow, Monday, begins the chores of hittin’ the laundromat with a BIG load, refilling a couple of propane tanks, filling the emergency fuel jugs with diesel, and securing the Command Deck (office area) for travel. That means placing things where they won’t be vibrated off to break during towing, and pretty much ends the use of the office until I locate and set up my next long-term campsite. The solar system gets unplugged at the end of the day, and every tire on this combo gets checked for pressure and adjusted.
Tuesday is a big day, labor-wise. It calls for dismounting and stowing those big solar panels into the passageway leading to the office, packing the truck bed to the brim with storage bins and fuel jugs, and basically stowing everything in the trailer to avoid breakage. I then tow the trailer to the camp’slocal dumpsite, spend a moment in sincere prayer, and dump both the Tankmin and trailer waste tanks. See, the camper’s tanks haven’t had that ba-WHOOSH of waste surging out of them since last October. The macerater doesn’t get much outflow going, and so it’s not unknown to have the 3″ outlet suddenly clog when everything’s now broken loose from moving the trailer around. So, let’s hope! Positive waves, man! There’s no practical way to flush with the LTVA’s setup, and a rudimentary flush is needed, so I’ll then head to the freshwater faucets, and fill up. But, also fill both waste tanks again via a hose to the toilet and bathtub. Then loop back around and dump again. Then leave, and camp in that area or return near to where I was for the night.
Wednesday, I head for a the local RV place by 10AM and get a roof vent cover repaired or replaced for pretty cheap. Once that’s done, I’ll drive about 100 miles northwest toward an Escapees (RV Club) campgrounds called North Ranch RV Park in Congress AZ. I’m boondocking there, if they have room. Why? Well, to call George, the local Keeper of the Smartweigh Scales to get a form to fill out.
See, I’m hauling a lot of crap in this trailer, and when the wheel bearing grenaded on the trip down here, the possible causes were three: bad luck, poor bearing adjustment at the dealer, or overload. But it’s not that straightforward. Most of my weight is to the front, and it’s a rear axle bearing that blew. Could be that the rear frame sag has shifted the suspension mounting points a bit, redefining what is “level” as far as the two-axle suspension views it, not the trailer body. I don’t care for a repeat adventure that way, so I’m having the Smartweigh guy do his thing. He first sets individual weight scales under each tire of the truck, unhitched. I’ve always wondered what it weighed, but this time it’ll be with a full fuel tank, full freshwater tank, and loaded bed. Then after I hitch up the trailer, he places scales under everything – all eight tires. This pops the trailer’s tongue weight into view, but also compares the truck’s rear axle load to its rated limit – at least with how the weight distributing hitch is adjusted. Weight on the trailer’s tires are shown individually, pointing to any one that’s overloaded. That can happen because of stored stuff, appliance locations, or an un-level trailer.
The majority of RVs show an overload on at least one tire. At any rate, I’ll have to survey the printout. If the entire trailer isn’t overweight (which my son Tom assures me it is) then I’ll have the option to reset the hitch ball height and/or weight distributing bars if the nature of the problem warrants it. Some things can be adjusted out or compensated for. Some fixes can involve moving things around – some easy and some very difficult to implement. Right now, for all I know, my trailer might be stress-free. Or, it might be a disaster waiting to happen. I’d like to have some wild idea before I try to haul it 2,000 miles again.
Once I’ve wept openly at the Smartweigh, I’ll head for a local BLM (Bureau of Land Management) area a few miles away to look for a specific campsite in an area considerably higher than Quartzsite. I’m hoping to locate Bob Wells, vandweller and promoter of the cause. If I do, a guy called Steve will also be there with his righteous 4×4 van that he’s converted into a camper. Naturally, Bob’s directions are a bit sketchy and don’t match convincingly with Google Maps. I don’t think he owns a GPS. Then again, knowing me, would you give me explicit directions to your campsite? Didn’t think so. I wouldn’t either. Much of this area appears to be hostile to large trailers, so I’ll need to be fairly cautious when rolling in. There’s some talk of deep sand in spots, which is something the F-250 can deal with, but not when pulling a trailer that weighs at much as it does. Adventure! In any case, I intend to plant the trailer, deploy the solar panels, struggle to find a workable cellular data signal, and visit the wonderful, authentic Old West town of Wickenburg some miles away. I hope to share that with you here on the blog. Once I’ve done enough damage there or a restraining order has been issued, I’ll head for Prescott National Forest to get hopelessly lost and/or trapped in some rough, dead end trail. I doubt there’ll be a data signal up there, but you don’t know until you get there.