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...