Liz and I returned this morning from a 6 night trip from NJ to Jackson Center, with a side trip on the return to Keyser, WV.
We logged 1761 miles, the vast majority of which had the Basecamp in tow. Our tow vehicle was a bit overloaded (my fault), but we still managed 13.96 MPG on average, not too shabby for a 5.0L in a 7 year old 3/4 ton GMC van.
The first night out, we stayed at the Madison/Pittsburgh KOA off I 70 and I 76, south of Pittsburgh PA. The CG wouldn't have been my first choice, but the weather was crappy and as they say "Any port in a storm". They put us in a pull through site that was far from level and the gravel was more MIA than intact. The result, a LOT of mud. The bathroom facilities were OK, but nothing to write home about. The tent didn't get set up, so the block & tackle arrangement for the rear ramp came in VERY handy.
The second night, we stayed at the Dayton, Ohio KOA. What a difference! The place was spotless and beautifully manicured. Big sites with generous concrete slabs under the picnic tables. Since we were in "point A to point B" mode, we didn't set up the tent here either. The next morning, we woke up to a dead battery in out TV, and a member of the staff came by and gave us a jump. A quick trip to the local Wal*Mart (a few miles East on I 70) and our 7 year old OEM battery was replaced. By the time we left Wally World, we had killed much of the time we had planned on spending at the Wright Patterson AFB museum, so we opted to head off to Jackson Center a bit early and catch the tour.
We got to the Mother Ship around 1:15PM, checked in at the service desk, and hung out for the factory tour. To say the tour was good is a bit of an understatement, it was fantastic. Until you take the tour and see how these trailers are put together, it's hard to really appreciate the man hours involved. Most of the units we saw being built were 22 foot Safari Sport models, though there were also a couple of 25 foot trailers going down the line and a few 16 foot DWR's.
After the tour, a lot of folks who were on the tour with us wanted to see our Basecamp, so we gave them the nickle tour in the parking lot. We settled into a site in the Terraport for the night. At the Terraport, we spent time with a gentleman with a 28' classic before we closed up for the night. BTW - the 28 footer is sweet!
Wednesday morning, bright and early, we checked back into the service area and soon our Basecamp was moved to a bay where a 20 year A/S veteran technician (Bill, I'm sorry, I didn't get your last name!) went to work on her. There wasn't much for us to do (the waiting area at JC is superb though), so we took off to see something of the surrounding area - which is mostly corn fields! It was during that time when we stopped at Paul Sherry RV and started the process to buy the 20' Safari (the deal didn't work out in the end). At around 3:30PM, they put our Basecamp back in the Terraport for the night.
Thursday morning at 7 sharp, they pulled out Basecamp back to the service area where Bill finished working on her leaks. Judging form the amount of rain we had later in the week, he did a pretty good job, though we still have one pesky leak to locate. At least now we know how to detect them and how to fix them (we picked Bill's brain quite a bit). By noon, we were on the road and off to Greenville Ohio to Kitchen Aide to see the mixer factory tour. We arrived too late, so we got back on I-70 and headed back east. The weather turned crappy again, and we stopped at National Road Campground off US40 in Zanesville, Ohio. National Road was, until about 2 years ago, a KOA. The owners are a very nice older couple and we spent quite a bit of time chatting with them that evening up at the store. The CG itself is quite nice and VERY clean.
Friday, we left early and headed to Keyser, WV to have dinner with some friends. We got off I-70 East onto I-79 South and took that to I-68 East which we followed to Cumberland, Md. I-68 is brutal, some of the grades are 7% for up to 6 miles! There were more than a few stretches where we were only able to sustain 40 MPH - I didn't want to cook my transmission, so we took it as easy as we could. Ducking south on US 220 into Keyser was a breeze compared to the run across I-68.
After dinner, we retraced US 220 back north and picked up I-68 (again) and continued on east until we picked up I-81 towards Harrisburg. Just past Harrisburg, it was REAL late (after midnight) so we stopped at a truck stop and caught a few hours of sleep in the Basecamp. At about 4AM, I convinced Liz that I was ready to get moving again, so we climbed back in the truck and headed up the highway, picking up I-78 towards New Jersey. At about 5AM, Liz convinced ME that SHE wanted to catch a few more zzz's, and not while riding shotgun, so we pulled into yet another truck stop for a couple hours more sleep in the trailer. (I won't say she was mad at me, but...)
On the road again about 7:30, we made one side trip on the way home to look at another trailer (not for sale, too bad) and got back tio Middletown by 11:00AM.
So... Having pulled the Basecamp for better than 1500
miles on this trip, I can say with a bit of authority that she pulls wonderfully. My TV wasn't happy with the hills on I-68, but the Basecamp stayed nice and straight behind us, even with tandem tractor trailers blowing our doors off (with no anti-sway or W/D). As a point to point trailer, the Basecamp is NOT ideal, she really shines though when you can set up camp and spend a few days in one place. In spite of that, it did work out well for our one nighters, and even at the truck stops.
Every time we stopped, the Basecamp continues to turn heads. When we had the TV battery replaced at Wally World, all of the mechanics came out to check it out - as did many customers waiting for their cars. We were stopped in the parking lot of a TA truck stop by a trucker who just HAD to see the inside!
The folks at Jackson Center were absolutely wonderful. The service techs and customer service desk reps are all top notch and went out of their way to make sure we were well taken care of and that we left happy campers.
BTW - If you go to JC, stop in for breakfast at Hobos - great food at great prices.