shakedown cruise

We picked up the trailer yesterday morning; got a nice walk-through of all the features, etc.; as well as instructions for setup and tear down. We ended up spending three hours at the dealership, but they fed us hamburgers, so all is good!

We drove back home, picked up the kites and the camping gear, and headed out to Valens Conservation Area near Cambridge. I took Gerry’s advice and set the cruise control to 100km/h on the 401 and let everyone else pass me. It wasn’t perfect; I kept catching up with slowpokes! The truck uses more fuel towing the trailer; 15l/100km instead of the 10-11 we get normally on the highway. On the other hand, it accelerates well; we had no troubles with merging, left turns, or hills. I don’t have the trailer brake controller installed yet, so braking needed more distance than normal. I made sure to leave lots of room, so I never had trouble stopping anywhere, even when idiots were cutting me off in front of a traffic jam on the way home. (Trailers are like trucks; everyone wants to be in front of them, not behind).

It took us about 45 minutes to get the trailer positioned on our site, opened, and all the gear unpacked; about what I expected. We walked over to the camp store but they were out of milk, so we had to drive out to the local general store and (butter tart extravaganza!) to get milk and snacks. On the way back, we stopped at the beach to play for a bit, so we didn’t start dinner until 7pm, At which time we discovered that our camper’s stove isn’t quite hot enough to boil water, at least not in any reasonable amount of time. Fortunately I had packed the old kettle for coffee and dishes! By the time dinner was hot the mosquitos were organized into squadrons, so we committed a cardinal sin and ate inside. (I washed up outside, though; by 10pm the skeeters were mostly gone for the night).

We discovered a few problems other than the stove:

* The fridge does not work on 120v power; only on 12v and propane. We’ll have to get that checked out.
* It appears that the water pump was left on during our demonstration. Somewhere between Toronto and Valens it started sucking air; I have no idea how long it was running like that, and I hope it’s not damaged!
* The camper has a nice large drain pipe, but they gave us a garden hose adapter, and I had a small-bore garden hose. It seems that if there is enough back-pressure in the hose, not only does the sink not drain, but the interior drain vapour-locks, and so even after removing the garden hose the sink remains full. Blowing air into the system releases the lock, and can give a face full of sink water. (Fortunately I was faster than that :). I’ll have to get a larger diameter, shorter drain hose.
* The sink trap leaks; we’ll have to get that fixed or the wood holding that part of the camper together will rot out.

It took us about 30 minutes to pack up the trailer once we formally started (I’d already been loading out boxes and doing the dishes before then), and about 5 minutes to pack the truck and hook up the trailer. We spent the afternoon in a kite field, then drove home into a traffic jam; half of the 401 across Toronto was closed! We got home early enough that the rain started as we were putting the trailer into the garage and loading back in the bikes and lawnmower. (The trailer currently eats my garage; I’m definitely going to need a storage shed out back).

All in all it was a good weekend, and I’m very happy with the trailer. I’m looking forward to the Pinery in three weeks!

posted at 9:15 am on Monday, June 04, 2007 in Personal | Comments Off on shakedown cruise

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