Chapter Three - Road Prep
The oooss aaahhhs and YUKS had to be put aside for a bit we had arrived a little latter than intended around 2:00pm and had maybe 4 hours of light left.
In that time the following check list had to be completed:
- Wheel bearings checked and re-packed
- Brakes inspected and tested
- Wire Harness from trailer to Yukon deciphered, sorted and wired
- Install Eaz-Lift WD Hitch
- Instal Sway Arm
- Check Coupler Ball seat and locking system
- Grease everything along with white grease for the Yukon receiver terminal Road Salt can kill ya
- Axle Check - Dead or Alive - Dead - thus we take a different approach to battening down the hatches! cause you know things are going to fly!
- Check Exterior for any loose items that can become projectiles and a cause for law suites
- Exhaust Pipe removal Large silver canister mounted under trailer (awning, flag pole or pooper hose??? still guessing on that one)
- Spare Tire Mount needed to be riveted - no way it was going to hold the wheel.
- Propane Regulator and Pigtail needed to be secured.
- Rivet down any vents or remove completely if possible.
- Break out the duck tape - and tape everything that could fly open - the cranks may be stiff on these old girls but give her a ride with a dead axle and anything can work itself loose in a matter of miles.
- Never trust the lock or closures on the door - wire it shut or the compartment doors - duck tape them.
- We also had a missing back window to take care of - found the perfect piece of 8mil plastic - wedged under the window frame and duck tape all the seems - worked like it was meant to be.
- Secure the inside (although really scary in there I managed to vacuum up a few more leaves and styrofoam packing noodles) secured all the draws, stowed away interior projectiles and removed all light lenses. The spare wheel and the two old ones along with the exhaust pipe were also put in side the trailer.
All sounds pretty good right - easy, and no hiccups eh?
The wiring went great to begin with....
The bearings looked brand new and packed nicely even the brakes although had not be used for who knows how many years - over 10 at least - stopped on a dime.
Then it came time to put the new wheels on. We brought with us the Marathons Load D's on the spiffy new rims that we bought for the Overlander. These same type of wheels fit on the 69 Globe Trotter that we bought for her too. We had confirmed the hub and nut centres were the same and we were good to go. "they don't fit"
I hear Dale mumble to Peter "You better come and have a look Peter" I was on the other side of the trailer acting as the new found Duck Tape Queen and thinking that the garage was just warm enough for the tape to stick....they still sounded a bit worried on the other side of the trailer so I thought I would pop around and see what the matter was.
So guys what is the problem? "The wheels won't fit" Peter said. "well tell me what I need and I will go get new tires for the old rims if need be but why don't they fit" I asked. You could tell right off that there was no way they were going to slide in and up onto the hub.While they were baffled...I blurted out...."Simple just deflate the tire push it up and inflate it - you do have a compressor right Dale?"
The two of them looked at each other and smiled
and I received my first compliment, if you can call it one, of the day. "Good thing you brought your wife along Peter" "Yep she is not just a pretty face" Peter responded shyly.
It worked perfect and Dale was onto the second wheel in no time. Giving the second one a turn to make sure the brakes were working all of a sudden the wheel was not turning. I was still, you know, minding my own business playing with the duck tape and thought well it can not be serious. He could not get the wheel to fit or turn and started to take all the nuts off - I could not resist - "Hang on Dale....bent over and checked behind the wheel - I think the jack stand might be your problem - the lever is against the tire because the tire is wider than the one you took off" and just left it at that and walked around to the other side to continue with the duck taping. I did hear it I know I did - a second compliment wow!!!!
We were getting close to pulling out and just had the sway bar to mount - meaning drilling holes into the frame. Small hint bring half decent locking screws because the 'chinese' ones just strip in that good old American steel - from Rosies factory in Michigan!!!! It was this simple task that caused the most grief - we thought....with the sway now mounted correctly and the harness all set the coupler ball clamp was acting up - I had visions of running around trying to find a new one. they are tricky sometimes and you can catch them and miss clamping the ball altogether - that is not fun when your trailer pops off down the road.... happened with a landscape trailer - good thing those chains were crossed - made no difference!!!
Okay now we are all set and were getting really cold as the door was now wide open and the Yukon backed into place - slowly the blocks and chocks were all moved one by one. We were wired and while in park all the lights were checked Right, Left, Brake, Running, 4-ways, full lights and the brakes were humming - all good to go.
Put her in drive and pulled forward and all the lights went OFF! Now it was dark, outside and freezing. Peter had not eaten for quite some time and I could see he was not quite himself. Thought of backing it back in the pole barn but if you saw it you would have done what we did NOT - it was like threading a needle. Peter made one wrong turn of the wheel and I knew he had to eat and that he was low (diabetic).
Dale ran to get the trouble light and jumped right in - as Peter stuffed his face with frozen granola bars. His hands would not move it was too late they had frozen stiff. And of course Peter being so thorough had taped the wire harness ready for the 600 miles of snow and slush we were about to face. Never quite understood what went wrong but joined a loose black wire with the "green wire" and it gave us lights again. It was just the half hour getting the tape undone!
Little did we know that it was a bit too much on one circuit somewhere and we had lost the running rear lights on both the Yukon and the Trailer - but did not happen until the next day - they were working when we left and when we made our first stop.
Lets back up a few steps right about 3.5-4 hours into the Prep I thought I would ask for the bill of sale, just incase he had not done one up or had one signed by his Dad. It would give me an excuse to sit by the woodstove and warm up. Nope no bill of Sale, No Dad and a non current Title not in either his Fathers or his name - just signed over to whom ever paid her the money....Her.. yep the infamous NAN the name has been changed to protect the innocent US! There was that stomach down to the knees feeling again. You see you have to do things just right to import vintage trailers or anything for that matter these days. To find out the details of this portion of the saga you will have to sit around a camp fire with us one day! In the meantime I went looking around the barn and Found NAN, exchanged our funds and the deal was done. We were on our way.
Always a bit nervous pulling an old trailer - worse in the dark, more worse in the winter and even more worse when not in your own country! That is when you say to yourself what the heck are we doing here - can we not find some crapy little SOB in Canada to meet our needs?... Naaaa we need the adventure "eh"!
9:30 pm after a lovely hot coffee and a final 1/2 hour chat with Dale we pulled away from a great new friend. We do not know what we would have done if he did not have a pole barn and a big ole wood stove! Not too mention doing all the stuff he did on the running gear while Peter worked at the same time on the electrical and hitch systems. Yep don't forget me too, working the Duck Tape system....
We were tired, hungry and FROZEN. The night was clear and we had half a notion to keep running up to Okemos or at least Elkhart but chose to run 20 more minutes to test the bearings and see what fell off the trailer. We were good to the I65 did the circle check and headed out onto the Interstate.
It was not long before the lids got heavy and we pulled into the Comfort Inn at exit 255 with a Cracker Barrel too. I had eyed it on the way down and said to myself this is as far as we will get today - about 7 hours earlier.
Checked in and headed across the road with LadyBug in Tow. Had a great meal as close as we could to the big fire. Headed out at 11:00 pm right into a snow storm! (go figure in the middle of winter?) - good thing we were driving literally across the road. Woke up the next morning to 5 inches of snow and a continuing blizzard which was happening all around the bottom of Lake Huron - YIKES.
Now I know the trailer was important but there was a Rivette Rush happening that day and I was not missing it. "We can do this I65 to I80 toll road thing I know we can". It should be clear in about a couple of hours...We headed out onto the road like only true "North Americans" can, with brass balls in our pockets and the 4 wheel high in the ON position.
20 minutes down the road we both heard something but could not quite figure out what it was. I thought it sounded like aluminum/plastic and thought great the window job I did has gone. Peter thought it was some truck brakes. Everything was still on the trailer - so we thought. A few more miles up the road one of the arms to the front guard broke loose and started to bounce onto the trailer so we had to pull in and fix that. Circled around and found nothing else missing. The roads now just wet so back to 2 wheel drive.
5 hours later we pulled into Okemos ready for a big huge nap, instead we got pumped for the Rivette Rush. Rather than unhitching our new friends came to pick us up. And it was LadyBug's first tour (although she was not called LadyBug at the time) while we were waiting Peter stepped in to have a first look at her in the daylight. Put his hand up through the astrodome area thinking it was glass "Hey look there is nothing here". I looked down and said yep she has environmental issues there was 4 inches of snow on the wheels that were on the floor. There was a makeshift cover at one time and the original astrodome had long gone. That was the noise we heard, the aluminum cover had worked its way loose and flew off.
Off to the Party and great times with all - those Michiganites sure do know how to host a shin-dig. What a great Airstream Community this IS!! I just can not say enough about all the people we have met and chatted to here at the forums - what a thrill it is - and truly the only reason we venture out from our little spot of paradise....because we know if we are ever in a bind, or need a place to stop, or an excuse to have a party - there are many of us like minded people scattered throughout NorthAmerica.
A bit of that girl power goin on and the cool dudes in the back...
One more chapter and then we get to the fun stuff.