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Old 06-01-2010, 11:49 PM   #1
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1971 25' Tradewind
Menlo Park , California
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Tin Pickle's first trip

We had a chance to take our 25' 1971 Tradewind out for a trip this past weekend after working on the trailer almost every weekend since early February. With our new axles & disk brakes along with a new water heater and rebuilt refrigerator, we felt ready for an outing. Right now w/o beds or table she is basically an aluminum tent w/ a kitchen; a leaking black valve is keeping the toilet unusable for now.

A good friend of ours was hosting her annual giant party in Northern California, so we taped some foam over the vulnerable front windows, hitched up to our F250 diesel 4x4 and drove up US 101, through downtown San Francisco, across the Golden Gate and up past the wine country into the Redwoods. The final approach is via 20 miles of steep, winding private dirt roads, so most of it was done in 4 low at about 10 or 15 mph to reduce stress on the trailer and the driver.

We arrived w/o difficulties other than having to three point the 45' rig in a driveway after missing a turn.

We had a great time partying w/ old and new friends, drinking and eating rather more than we should have, and pulling the less well equipped vehicles out of mug bogs. This year has been quite wet in California, and parking and leveling the trailer was a bit more of a challenge as a result.

We had a chance to hike, swim and socialize with the nice folks next to us who were camping in a tiny Casita, sharing many a cold beer and lots of guacamole; evenings there were giant bonfires, DJs and general revelry.

We left again on Monday afternoon after helping other trailers up the 10% grade driveway. On the way home a mileage measurement indicated we were getting about 14 mpg while on pavement at 57 mph, not bad for a 12000 lb combo. The lighter, narrower and lower vintage trailers make a difference in fuel economy, as does towing at a reasonable speed.

We are quite happy with how things worked. The trailer performed beautifully; her new Michelin radials tracked well even through deep mud puddles and wash boarded gravel roads. I ended up using the Reese hitch assembly w/o the spring bars as the new axles really raised the trailer a lot and I didn't want to flip the ball mount I use w/ my equipment trailer. I'm going to go back to a normal ball mount before our next trip because we both noticed a harsher ride w/ the longer distance between the rear axle and the ball. The new Kodiak disk brakes worked very well; I need to bleed them again as some noticeable lag remains but I'm sure air remains in the system. The disks are much better than drums.

Key to pictures:

1: Crossing the Golden Gate... city lanes may be even narrower than they appear, especially when filled with Muni buses.
2: Down the driveway; do not attempt in the rain!
3: View from the hilltop; the Tin Pickle and truck are high lighted.
4: Barbie spinning during a quiet moment.
5: Bart enjoying breakfast and coffee.
6: Up, up and away with lots of ideas of improvements...
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Bart Smaalders
Menlo Park, CA
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Old 06-02-2010, 05:31 AM   #2
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1978 29' Ambassador
1974 25' Tradewind
1974 27' Overlander
Indiana , Pennsylvania
Join Date: Sep 2003
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Bart...enjoyed your narrative of the trip...and the pictures! Just reinforces to me that I made the right choice buying our "78" Ambassador last fall. We haven't taken our maiden voyage yet...too busy doing this and that to the old girl. But hopefully it will be enjoyed as much as your trip. Nice job!


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Old 06-02-2010, 06:23 AM   #3
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Nice pics Bart.

Always great to see an Airstream with a national landmark in the scene.


"You wouldn't worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do."

Eleanor Roosevelt

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Old 06-02-2010, 06:46 AM   #4
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1973 27' Overlander
reno , NV
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Sounds like a great (abeit challenging) trip. I can't imagine how you got your Tin Pickle level on that ground! Congrats! I wanna go with you next time - sounds like a fun time!

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Old 06-02-2010, 07:06 AM   #5
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Fort Worth , Texas
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Sounds like the road performance is very, very good. I really enjoyed reading this. And, the picture of the trailer leveling (profane exclamation) . . . .
1990 35' Silver Streak Sterling; 9k GVWR.
2004 DODGE Cummins 305/555; 6-manual; 9k GVWR.
Hensley Arrow. 12-cpm solo, 19-cpm towing (fuel)
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Old 06-02-2010, 08:47 AM   #6
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2012 30' International
Walkerton , Virginia
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Thanks, Bart. (I love to read and vicariously travel with like-minded folks.)


Somebody, please, point me to the road.

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