Home again, home again, jigaddy jog –
Just as we were ready to leave home I ran over a mesquite thorn that punctured the sidewall and thus ruined a trailer tire. So I rummaged around in the barn and found an old take-off tire and wheel that came off our fifth-wheel RV trailer about 13 years ago. The tire looked better than the spare tire on the travel trailer (TT), and the wheel fit the hub, so I mounted it, fully expecting it to blow out within a few miles. The tire was the wrong size (15” instead of 14”), but trailer axles with leaf spring suspension are made to accommodate variations in tire size, so we hit the road. Trailer tires should be replaced at about 5 years of age, and a max of 7 years, regardless of how good they look. When we arrived at the campground near Charleston, I decided not to temp fate any longer with our 14 year old trailer tire, so we found a tire dealer who had exactly the trailer tires I wanted. So I replaced the 4 stock tires (including the spare) and put the old wrong-size tire/wheel on the spare carrier. Stock size was 205/75R14C, and I upgraded one size to 215/75R14C. I’ll replace the 205/75R15 spare with a 215/75R14 now that I’m safely home.
We left home on Wednesday morning Dec 3, and made 500 miles to a Good Sam RV park in Shreveport the first day. The next day we made another 515 miles past Birmingham to a Good Sam RV park in Gadsen AL. Third day was an easy 200 mile leg to daughter’s house near Knoxville TN. We stayed with daughter and granddaughters for the weekend (SIL was away on a business trip), and left Monday morning. Then 350 miles through the mountains to Ashville NC, and on to a campground near Charleston SC, where we visited snowbird friends from Canada, and installed new trailer tires on the TT.
We left the campground near Charleston on Thursday morning and made the easy 175 mile trip to the Navy base campground near St Marys GA (a few miles south of Jacksonville FL). We spent the weekend with granddaughter’s bunch (her hubby is a Navy submariner).
We left granddaughter’s area at St Marys GA on Monday and made it 500 miles to a Good Sam RV park in Biloxi MS by dark. Next day we made another 500 miles to a Good Sam RV park in Canton TX. And the final day on the road we made the 350 mile jaunt to the house and arrived by early afternoon on December 17th, as planned.
The entire 3,200 mile towing trip (plus 400 miles running around without the trailer) went as planned, with no problems with the pickup or camper trailer.
500 miles in December means on the road by daylight, then driving until dark, cruising at 69 MPH and eating fast food while driving. When you lose an hour when traveling east, because of the change from central to eastern time, you may not make it by sundown. But you get that hour back on the way home.
The pickup ran great, with plenty of power to drag that TT at highway speeds over hill and dale. MPG was between 8 and 9 on premium. I was hoping for 10, but that requires a diesel engine, and my twin-turbo EcoBoost engine had no problem pulling the load if you can put up with relatively lousy MPG.
We filled up with gas and weighed the rig on a CAT scale on the first day of the trip near Dallas. Fresh water tank was nearly full, and the weight-distributing hitch bars weren’t tight enough, so rear axle weight was a bit higher than normal. I tightened up on the WD bars, but then never weighed the rig again before we arrived back home.
Front GAW 3340
Rear GAW 4,100
Trailer axles 4,140
Gross combined weight 11,580.
Our RV trailer is a 2012 Skyline Nomad Joey Select #196. About 20' long with no slide. GVWR 5,600 pounds, and actual on-the-road weight of around 4,700 pounds. Crowded but do-able for two old folks with one rule - only one person at a time can be walking around. The other person must remain in bed, or be sitting at the dinette, or in the bathroom. A slide would be great, but our tow vehicle is overloaded with this one, and slides are heavy.
It would be less expensive to drive our Toyota Venza and stay in Motel 6, but we enjoy having our pottie with us at all times. When you gotta go and you're 40 miles from the nearest public restroom, it's really nice to have our TT right behind us.