In The Midst of Preparation

The countdown is on and the Summer Trip awaits. I am in my second year of travel trailer ownership and am certainly still in learning mode. After a series of unfortunate events with an RV service center east of Kansas City, I have been able to add to my travel trailer fix-it knowledge.

Most of the actual planning for the Summer Trip is complete. I have almost all my campsite reservations and I have my National Park discount card. The route has been decided. The goal is NOT to put in any high mileage days. My highest mileage day looks like it will be the first at 361 miles. Not too bad and all interstate.

All the camping we are doing at Yellowstone and Glacier National Park is dry camping…. no electrical hook ups, no water hook ups. Not having electric for multiple days made me look into swapping out my trailers 12v battery for two deep cycle 6v batteries. I need to check the amp hour difference, but it is significant. Another action I took to conserve or limit the amount of power we will be consuming is to swap out the inside light bulbs with LED bulbs. These should draw considerably less power. Another advantage (when camping in warmer climbs) is that these bulbs also give off much less heat. But heat is another concern… heat for us inside the trailer at night. Temperatures may fall to the mid-30sF. The trailer has a propane furnace and I don’t imagine I will have a problem obtaining propane. I will also carry a spare 20lbs propane tank should the need arise. However, the rub with using the furnace is that it uses a blower fan, which does consume battery power. In order to help keep the 6v batteries nice and charged, I have a solar panel I can hook up. The trailer came equipped with an external plug that allows me to attach the solar panel and charge the batteries directly. I have not tested this out yet and look forward to doing it. The next step is to get a battery box that will fit both the 6v batteries together and secure it to A-frame trailer behind the propane tank. Easier said then done because it is a fairly narrow area.

I have gotten the bearings repacked on the trailer’s single axle, the brakes checked and adjusted, as well as replacing the stock tires with a pair that are a little more robust.

I replaced the plastic cover that goes over the controls for the refrigerator. The original was broken on one of last summer’s camping trips.

The (current) major problem is a leak in the water system. This weekend when I hooked up the city water connection, a small stream of water started to originate from the back of the trailer (behind the toilet) a was making its way towards the front. There was also a small amount of water that was coming out of the bottom of the trailer at a spot marked “low point drain”. I turned off the water and toweled up the water inside. It looked like it may be a problem with the connection to the back of the toilet. Water problems give me pause because I just imagine all the potential damage water could cause. I decided to call to make an appointment to take the travel trailer in to the dealership where I bought it. I just need to know without a shadow of a doubt that the trailer’s onboard water system works without flaw.

Unfortunately that means that the short camping trip to a nearby lake next weekend is off. However, that gives me a bit more breathing room to take care of the near-term To Do List: (1) come up with a battery box solution, get the two 6v batteries installed and working, (2) get the travel trailer and truck weighed to figure out the trailer weight, tongue weight, and truck weight to see how close I am to the recommended limits, and (3) get an onboard packing/storage plan.

The onboard packing/storage plan may end up being a fairly significant deal. The travel trailer’s GVWR is 3626 lbs which includes 791 lbs of “stuff” I can bring onboard. Right from the start, over 100 lbs is taken up by the two 6v batteries (those guys are HEAVY). I am going to avoid traveling with the water tanks full. Water could easily take up another 250 lbs. The rest of the weight is going to be a matter of nickel and dime computations… folding chairs, tables, fishing poles, clothes, food, dishes, pots, etc. I just get the feeling that 791 lbs of “stuff” will not be hard to accumulate into the confines of the trailer.