Some musings from Mr UK Toad, a complete novice to towing but learning quickly
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NY Finger Lakes

Posted 05-24-2011 at 08:49 PM by MrUKToad

We're just back from a four day trip to Taughannock Falls State park, NY. I have no significant photos, except of the scenery, but I'll let you all know how the Sienna coped with four people and a reasonably well loaded 28' International Serenity.

We're a little low at the back of the Sienna when fully loaded, something I shall have to ask Andy Thompson about; I'm sure it's just an adjustment required. There isn't a lot of scope for twisting the safety chains without limiting the turn so when I heard the chains grounding under braking I thought I should do something. The quick addition of a small bungee cord and all was resolved with the chains off the road, but in an emergency that cord wouldn't interfere as it would just snap.

Anyway, the tow went very well, averaging about 19.5 litres per 100 Kms outbound, which is 12.1 mpg (US) and 14.5 mpg (Imperial). The McKesh mirrors work well but after the rain storm we went through, they became first covered with water droplets, then road dirt as it dried. I know a trick for dealing with that but it's still a pain having to clean them off.

We arrived at Taughannock very late and took the trailer up a long hill in search of the campsite. Going up was OK but coming back down I did manage to get the trailer brakes smoking (it looks bad in the headlights, that's for sure). Using first gear I managed to get the engine doing most of the work after we'd stopped at the Police office for directions.

The camping bay was very tight and we were very tired so we made a real mess of backing up and, in the process, managed to crush the metal half of the umbilical cord connector to the car against one of the sway bar balls. No harm done really but it took me 20 minutes grappling with it and a pair pliers to separate the two halves. I did a thorough test of the connections and all was well, and I don't suppose a new connector will break the bank, but it was a silly thing to do. Still, it was pitch dark and we were so tired.

The return journey was OK; at least it was all in the daylight. The wind had sprung up and was hitting us either head on or on our left side, making it a trip where we were moved about a bit. We were able to maintain 100 km per hour with no trouble although gas mileage was horrible; 22.5 litres per 100 Km (10.5 mpg US, 12.6 mpg Imperial). There's a big climb up the Niagara Escarpment on the way back, around Hamilton (Ontario) and I was interested to see how the Sienna would perform. In the event, she performed very well, comfortably maintaining 90 Kph and even accelerating a little to pass a truck. OK, I know it's not Colorado but I was surprised how well we were able to maintain speed, especially given the wind. Our crowning glory was passing a GMC truck towing a reasonably large SOB along the QEW near Hamilton. We sailed serenely by with no wobble at all whilst he struggled to keep the SOB in the lane with the crosswind. Airstreams are the best towing trailers there are!

Anyway, a good trip all round. 1113 Kms and both Sienna and Airstream behaved really well.

Our next trip is local so it should be a little less eventful!
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  1. Old Comment
    Aage's Avatar
    Sounds like you had fun with your rig! How was the camp (Taughannock)?

    I think that you should be pleased, having only had the one incident (umbilical cord) which will be easily repaired, unlike a panel replacement would not have been!

    Can't wait to get out again in our Henri, but sadly it looks like it will be a while for us.
    Posted 05-25-2011 at 12:29 AM by Aage Aage is offline
  2. Old Comment
    MrUKToad's Avatar
    Taughannock was fine, although as it's our first US State Park visit, we've nothing to compare. The campsite loop was small, as were the individual plots, although they were made up in local shale and perfectly level. New water spigots had been installed and although they're not designed as water hookups, they average at 1 spigot per two sites so with the aid of a 'y' adapter it can be shared. The bath houses were very clean and even sweet smelling but they had a problem with door locks being broken. It's only a minor issue but if you're nervous about these things then it might upset you; I guess you don't really need a bath house when you have an Airstream. The dump station was clean and well provisioned. Taughannock Falls SP was wonderful, as is the whole Finger Lakes Region; we particularly liked Ithaca.
    When we were over at Watkins Glen, we had a look at the campground there. Again the plots were small and all were in the deep shade of a pine forest, but the drive to get there from the park gates involved some very steep climbs. I'm sure our TV would cope going up but the going down looked quite scary! Whilst Taughannock Falls is available I think I'd go there first!

    You're quite right about our mishap; it was very minor. I was just annoyed because had it been earlier in the evening I doubt we'd have made such a mess of backing in. Still, you live and learn, eh?

    What's the problem with Henri?

    Love your Avatar, by the way, it's VERY stylish.
    Posted 05-25-2011 at 08:25 PM by MrUKToad MrUKToad is offline
  3. Old Comment
    Hi, if your chains are too long, don't twist them. Mine has clevice pins on the hooks and I just moved my hooks back two links.
    Posted 05-26-2011 at 10:55 PM by ROBERTSUNRUS ROBERTSUNRUS is offline
  4. Old Comment
    Aage's Avatar
    There is no problem with Henri, it's just that we have a new granddaughter, and she is taking centre stage for the time being. At some point we will start to travel, in fact, just this week, my DW mentioned that we should perhaps take a trip in NY State in September, maybe to get near Boston and NYC, neither of which she has seen.

    We will see, apparently there is still hope.
    Posted 05-30-2011 at 08:30 PM by Aage Aage is offline

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