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Old 03-28-2006, 08:03 AM   #1
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First real trip; real dumb mistake...

We picked up our Airstream on the New Year's weekend and had a short shakedown cruise. Last Thursday we took our first real trip, a 5-day trip to Big Sur about 200-miles from our home.

All seasons there are special and this one was no exception. A little too early for many wildflowers and the weather was overcast for part of the time, but we did get our first closeup look at a pair of California Condors, numbers 31 and 94, right beside the road. With my 200mm lens on a digital camera, it wasn't hard to capture ever pinfeather on the otherwise bald head and wrinkled necks of these amazing creatures.

Now for the dumb part. We arrived at the campground on Thursday afternoon but by Friday morning we had overfilled the grey water tank, all 37+ gallons!! We're still trying to figure out how we used so much water with just some dish washing, food prep, bathroom washups, and two showers each. My wife figures it was the time spent washing her hair. Any way, we had to hitch up and go over to the dump station.

It had rained quite a bit over night and the ground was all muddy beneath the redwood trees where we camped. We did a less than complete job breaking camp because it was only a short distance to the dump station. Piece of cake, right? Wrong!!

In my haste, I forgot to raise the jack stand on the electric front jack. As we pulled away I thought the load was too great but attributed that to the soggy ground and the usual extra effort that the Dodge exerts when first starting up. The automatic transmission seems to require moving a couple of hundred feet before it acts normally.

I suppose it was good that the ground was soft, because the circular bottom plate of the jack stand dug a trench for about two feet. By the time I had realized my mistake, it was too late to prevent the jack from bending about an inch from vertical. I made one feeble attempt to back up slightly in hopes of straightening out the jack, but figured that that might just make things worse, especially if the round pipe became oval-shaped.

It could have been worse. At least the jack goes up and down but the last six or eight inches of retraction put quite a bit of strain on the jack's motor. I see that the jack is rated at 3,500 pounds so I hope this will be okay. Perhaps someday we'll have to replace the entire unit, but we'd like to get some use of it first. I wonder if the drain on the battery will be a problem.

On the way back home, we stopped at Camping World and picked up a pair of bright orange jack pads. I figure that having that bright color under the jack will be enough of a visual clue to help me avoid making the same mistake again.

Now, if I can only remember to put the pad under the jack each time we stop!!!
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Old 03-28-2006, 08:08 AM   #2
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Glad you had a good trip other than the one oopsie. I have made a check off list to lower the risk of doing that sort of thing. Probally wont help much with me involved though
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Old 03-28-2006, 08:39 AM   #3
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I'm with Rodney. We have a "Departure Checklist" and an "Arrival Checklist". After 2 years of fultiming ... we still use them every time we move the trailer. It is soooo easy to forget something ... like a jackstand.
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Old 03-28-2006, 08:42 AM   #4
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Yes, we have quite a complete checklist. Actually, two lists, one for exterior and one for interior.

Now, we need a checklist that lists the checklists!!
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Old 03-28-2006, 08:45 AM   #5
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Smile Oh you mean the "its always somethin" checklist...

Quote:
Originally Posted by myoung
Yes, we have quite a complete checklist. Actually, two lists, one for exterior and one for interior.

Now, we need a checklist that lists the checklists!!
Not to be confused with the honey I told you so checklist...
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Old 03-28-2006, 08:55 AM   #6
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Do a walk-around!

Checklists are one thing but nothing beats a last minute trailer "walk-around". The walk around only takes a few minutes but is worth it and it has saved us a few times. Our rule is, if the trailer is going to be moved (no matter how short a distance), we do a walk-around.

When we walk around the trailer we scan each side starting with the top of the trailer (checking roof vents and antenna), then down each side (checking stove vent, radio antenna, step, awnings, hitch and windows), and then under the trailer (checking for chock blocks, levelers, debris, belongings).

After I close up the inside of the trailer, I also do a "walk-thru" checking that cabinets and drawers are latched, etc. and that there is nothing left on the counter tops.
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Old 03-28-2006, 09:01 AM   #7
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Two showers each from thursday pm until friday am ???? You guys are simply too CLean!!!! Without full hookups this will drive you crazy emptying tanks.
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Old 03-28-2006, 09:07 AM   #8
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Mike, don't feel bad. Several years ago, in my haste to get back on the road after an over night stay in a rv park, I forgot to disconnect our power cord, as it was the only thing that I needed hooked up for the one night. Quite embarrassed draging the cord through the park
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Old 03-28-2006, 09:09 AM   #9
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Check List

Motorhomes are a little more complicated. My check list includes tv antennae, jacks, windows, and so on, but at the end I also include--- CHECK WIFE, DOG, CAT ON BOARD! See, she could be in the bath and so on,
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Old 03-28-2006, 09:09 AM   #10
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I know the feeling.

Did the same thing but with a flatbed trailer 2 years ago. We had moved and worked all night setting up the new house, had a trailer load of junk to get to the dump. Got in a hurry and bent the jack stand. Had to break out the torch and cut it off. No fun.

The PO had a laminated check list from the original owner in the trailer. I plan to use it as a template and update a few things that are not automatic for a novice AS owner.
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Old 03-28-2006, 09:19 AM   #11
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I'm leaving tomorrow mornig to pick up a 34'er.

Has anybody POSTED any of these checklists y'all are talking about??

Thanks.

Tom
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Old 03-28-2006, 09:20 AM   #12
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for all of us other NEWBIES how about posting some of these check lists. maybe we can all benifit from knowing what everyone else does...
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Old 03-28-2006, 09:23 AM   #13
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I dont think this is the current one, but it gives an idea




Pre-Tow Check off
  • Power disconnected
  • Propane off
  • Double check propane tanks are secure
  • Water disconnected
  • Water tank empty or < 3gallons
  • Grey Tank empty
  • Awning secure
  • Windows closed and secured
  • Roof vents closed
  • Front window rock guard secured
  • All loose items stored, cabinet doors double checked
  • Trash emptied
  • Stabilizers removed
  • Rear compartment door secured
  • Running lights,
  • Brake lights
  • Turn signals
  • Chocks and levelers
  • Break away chains secured
  • Break away brake wire attached
  • Hitch ball locked
  • Sway bar attached
  • Weight distribution hitch correctly adjusted
  • Walk around
And now: Jack up
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Old 03-28-2006, 09:47 AM   #14
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Hi Mike.

Sorry about your mishap. But maybe I can help with the gray tank thing.

Two showers, doing dishes, etc., can and will fill up your gray tank much quicker than you think. A question that I have for you is was the gray tank filled according to your tank monitor control panel, or did water start to back up in the shower? The reason I ask, is because a bunch of us that have newer AS's have very inacurrate tank monitor systems, showing that the tank is filled, when in fact it may not be. The tank monitors can be recalibrated, from what I've read here, but it sounds like a real PITA, and sometimes that doesn't work well, or the calibration doesn't hold.

Our black tank monitor shows that it is completely filled when I pour the first few gallons in the BT at the start of a camp-out. My method for checking fluid levels: BT- visual inspection down the poop chute. GT- if water just starts to back up in the shower, time to drain. H2O- the sound of the pump changes, actually gets more quiet, or visually check water tank under the dinnete.

About water usage: Don't shower like you are at home. Use water very sparingly i.e. get wet, turn off water, soap, rinse, water off. In other words, try to keep the water on as short of time as possible. My guess is that you are probably gooing through alot of water as well, unless you are hooked up to city water connection.

Even when doing something like washing hands, we just turn on the water long enough to wet and rinse.

Some of us drain off a few gallons of GW (NOT the black tank!!!!) on the ground, but you should be discreet about that, and considerate of your neighbors. Use common sense. This will also extend your stay without having to make the pilgrimage to the dump station.

I also do a complete walk around, sometimes two. Maybe if it is just the flange thing that is bolted into your tongue, that can be replaced by the manufacturer for less than the cost of replacement.

It gets better from here on.....

Jonathan
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