We loaded up in the truck with our German Shepard and headed out on the road Friday night. We had to stop in Tacoma at the Lakewood Ram for a dinner party for a friends promotion. Pulling into the parking lot at the Ram we hit our only snag. As I turned into the parking lot we heard a metal snapping twang. When I parked we got out and looked to see that the ball for the sway bar on the tongue of the trailer had snapped off. The bead on the weld wasn't even an 1/8th of and inch and wasn't but 3/4 of the way around the ball on the mounting plate. The place on the ball with the most space between welds was at the top. And water had gotten under the ball. Rust weakened the weld remaining. And it didn't take much of a turn to snap it off. There was no other damage to the tongue. So we decided to continue with our trip plans after dinner. Relying on the sway control bars alone. Since the trailer was loaded and still more than 2,000 lbs under the GVRW of my Dodge Ram, and there was no wind gusting, it turned out to be no problem to tow.
We arrived around 10:40 pm. And my friend Leonard and my wife, whom had arrived with his wife around 2:00 pm, spotted my back up job into our campsite. It took me about 10 minutes to unhook, level, and hook up ground power. We decided to wait on hooking up city water until the next morning as it was 31 degrees. So we turned on the gas and fridge. Turned on the heater. And grabbed a few beers for a toured of our friends 2011 Aero Lite trailer while ours warmed up.
Saturday morning we hooked up the city water and lit the pilot on the oven for the first time since the PDI. After biscuits and gravy for breakfast and clean up, we headed out to scout some local shops for rubber boots for my wife. I had gortex boots for clamming, she just had her Adidas. We had lunch at the Green Lantern Bar and Grill. Then headed back to camp for our clamming gear. Then hit the beach just below our camp. There were already hundreds of people and families on the beach. We parked then found an empty patch to start. Whew! It's a lot of work. After the sun set, our neighbors from camp showed up with an aluminum lantern stand a transplant from the New England Coast had been selling across from the parking lot of the Green Lantern. He and his wife had limited out on Razor Clams earlier. So they assisted us with light and advice. All in all the four of us got 16 clams before we decided it was to cold to continue. We headed back to camp. We decided to place the Clams in water to let them spit over night. Then started dinner and later a fire. You defiantly have to be hardy to sit around a camp fire at 31 degrees with a Pacific Ocean breeze dropping the actual temperature way lower. We stayed up until almost 1 am. Sitting a lot closer to the fire than I usually would.
Sunday morning we had breakfast. Then we had to wait for the water lines to unfreeze in order to do the dishes from breakfast. After securing the awning and stowing gear, we hooked up and moved to the dump station to drop black and gray water for the first time. And empty the water tank. I watched my friend Leonard to learn how to dump waste water. Our 2006 Forest River Pop up tent trailer didn't have a bathroom. So we had a cartridge toilet. I didn't find it messy or difficult to do in the end. Then we hit the road for the 2 1/2 hour drive home. Stopping at Camping World for a few essentials. Including an attachment for an air compressor to the city water connection to blow out air lines. Then you just add RV antifreeze to the pea traps and toilet. This was a winterizing method suggested to us by the Polsbo RV Tech that did our PDI. It's easy and doesn't require you to have to flush out you tanks and lines until the water is clear and free of antifreeze.
Our fist trip was a success! Everything worked, except the sway control ball. Torque Lift is going to replace the plate on the trailer tongue free of charge. It wasn't their failure, since the ball was welded on plate by Eaz-Lift. These guys are great! They have won my confidence as a customer, and I will recommend them to friends, family, and anyone I meet camping.
See you on the road or in camp in April!