First trip in the 22ft CCD, "Tin Lizzie"
First day out, drove from Virginia Beach to Winchester VA to meet with two friends in the Answering Service business. Stayed at Candy Hill Campground - and wouldn't you know it, NO pull through spaces. They had a nice man direct me into my space - and I immediately found out that loosening the sway bar on my Reese makes all of the difference but it still took three tries to get the damn thing in the space. Of course there wasn't enough room to leave my tow vehicle "Big Dawg" hooked up while I went out with Lisa in her car- so I had to unhitch in front of a witness! Still managed after one false start to unhitch fairly quickly. Both friends were really startled and impressed by the interior of the CCD - neither are RV'ers. Also had a couple of other campers come up and look at it longingly - I of course obliged them by letting them peek inside. Stayed two days and two other Airstreams came through. Candy Hill is small, but nicely kept and everyone is friendly and helpful. They also have wireless internet.
I impressed myself mildly by being able to back up and hitch up without help - only took four "jump out and check" corrections to get lined up right. Take your time, check everything three times, and leftover parts are a no-no!
Next, went to Jackson Center to have some minor work done on the 22ft. CCD - and to visit family in Ohio. Weather to Winchester was cold, it actually snowed on me overnight at Winchester - but melted as it fell. The cross winds leaving Winchester were horrid - so the trip west on I-68 and I-70 was a bit rough. I didn't realize how rough until I got out and tried to walk to a rest stop area - I could barely keep my feet, but the rig stayed straight and while I could feel it buffetting, I wasn't doing "involuntary lane changes". I tried to make it all the way to Jackson Center, but gave up about an hour after dark on I-270. I saw the "Wal-Mart" sign glowing in the distance and pulled in, put on the emergency brake, climbed in the back and collapsed. Didn't even turn on the propane or the furnace which I regreted when I climbed out from under the down comforter... brrr!
My sister came to Jackson Center and we spent two days wandering around. While exploring western Ohio my sister and I saw many Airstreams and incredibly 3 Avions in a two county area. One was sitting on the side of the road with a "For Sale" sign on it. Here is the info if anyone is interested. Don't know how to tell the year of an Avion, but it looks to be one of the later models: big windows, 5 piece end caps, etc. It was a 3 axle 10.6 meter (about 36 feet?) unit. The frame was straight and the axles looked fine, judged by Airstream standards. The asking price had been reduced from $9K to $7K. The Avion is located just off of state route 33 in Wapokeneta Ohio, (8 miles north of Jackson Center on US 75). The phone number for information is 419-738-3982. Looked to be in pretty good condition overall, but certainly needs a good exterior cleaning, etc. Could only see a tiny bit of the interior between slats of venetian blinds, but doesn't look like it's been abused.
If you're looking for a great place to eat near Jackson Center - go just west of I-75 on 274 and on the left side you'll find the "Inn Between". Basic stuff like fried chicken, fish, sandwiches, etc., but very well prepared and dirt cheap! It's a bar on one side and a dining room on the other.
I also spotted a 25ft? Avion in a campground off US 75 going south from Jackson Center - just north of Sidney. It actually looked like it was permanently there in the campground and it was pristine - at least from a distance. I spotted another long one on the same road, traveling northbound - but gave him the airstream salute anyway.
After leaving Ohio, I went through PA to visit a friend who lives off of state route 40 north east of Baltimore. Took the PA turnpike most of the way - not bad and pretty light traffic. Again, boondocked at a rest stop but had the sense to turn on the propane and fire up the furnace this time.
Taking the 695 beltway around Baltimore is NOT FUN - even on a Saturday morning when people aren't supposedly so stressed or nuts. I experienced the joy of a full panic stop as a car dodged right across three lanes of traffic and directly in front of me to make an exit ramp! If I hadn't slammed on my brakes I'm convinced I would have gone right over the top of that damned Ford Focus with my Suburban. As it was, my whole combo bucked like a bronco and I came very close to having a "Depends" moment on my new upholstery! My screeching brakes did make everyone else slow down and swerve away, and a very alert truck driver behind me also put on his air brakes hard! He then stayed behind me with flashers on, going slowly and giving me a wide safety margin while I proceeded in a very shaken manner. He then pulled left and slightly ahead of me and out of his right side mirror - gestured, You OK? I nodded, wiped my forehead, smiled and waved and he tooted his horn and moved on. (I'm so glad that earlier when I pulled in front of him I used my turn signal and didn't move right until he flashed his brights at me to let me know that I was clear! Most truckers are very nice if you give them respect.)
The Focus must have missed my front bumper by at least two inches - why was I so upset?!
(I do believe I scared the hell out of the "passing idiot"! I think he just didn't realize it would take more than a light tap on my brakes to give him room to exit.) And mind you, this was at 7:00 AM on a Saturday. That alone decided me to go home by going NORTH on I-95 to NJ then take route 1 and 13 down the eastern shore to Virginia Beach. Three major tolls but beats being dead by a long shot.
Oh, and as I was checking my rig before leaving Havre de Grace this morning, I found I'd damaged my ball mount! It had actually been BENT upward where the friction sway bar attaches with the small ball!
I'm very grateful it didn't snap clean off - and can't imagine how much force it must have taken between the trailer and the Suburban to bend it. I loosened the tension slightly figuring that I didn't want to put any more stress on this component than I had to. Doubt this is covered under warranty! But I figure the brake controller and the anti-sway helped save my bacon so, oh well! (How tight is too tight on a friction sway bar? Could little ole me actually have overtightened this? Come on I'm not A'hrnold!)
Oh - and I spotted ANOTHER Avion on US 40 northbound on the right hand side - in a lot with other used RV's. It's somewhere near Aberdeen but don't ask me for specifics.
The drive down the eastern shore was a sheer pleasure. The weather turned nice and traffic wasn't heavy. The tunnels on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge do get rather narrow when there's a tractor trailer coming the other way, but I got through with no problem. I'm sitting in my office with Tin Lizzie and Big Dawg in the parking lot. Proceeding "home" to Indian Cove at sunrise. Only have about 187 e-mails to read for my business before I zooorrrkkk snnnzzzz, ..... wait did I drop off there?
Well anyway, for a maiden voyage I collected a few states to put on my map! Thanks to all of you for your advice help and comments which sent me off pretty well prepared - but there ain't no preparation like doing it.
Hey 53FlyingCloud! Didn't want to tell you about the close call until I got home. Did get a couple of wi-fi connections, but just browsed rather than posting. Thanks so much for recommending the pull-out power towing mirrors! Wow are those ever worth the money! When I have to back up (dirty word) I can adjust the mirrors down to help me put my wheels exactly where I want them. In the Wal-mart lot, and several times when I took a break in a shopping center, I parked across two spaces and I used the left mirror to place my hitch right over the dividing line between spaces. Neither end hangs out too far.
Oh by the way, I actually introduced several airstreamers to this forum at Jackson Center. The Terraport was full up my first night (I did let a nice man back me in.... I'm getting better but, aargh! In close quarters I don't want to ding anyone else or myself trying it.) I saw everything from the latest moho, two 345's, several 13 segment classics including a Wee Wind and a gutted Argosy that got new axles while there. Nice people all the way around too. I was definitely the "newbie", but was able to unhitch confidently before anyone felt the need to offer me help.
Good night all!