Saturday, March 31, 2012

Report from Mayberry...

Happy Saturday morning.  We are camping! Yipee.  We got here about 4:30 yesterday afternoon.  Sharon, Becky and the herd were all set up and relaxing to the max!  We all were too lazy to cook and since there was a Subway close by, it was subs for dinner.  After we had all eaten, one of our camping neighbors came by and offered us some chicken he has just finished bar-be-queing.  Now you know all of us being card-carrying southerners and can't turn down anything that has been bar-be-qued!! He didn't just give us a piece or two of chicken, but a BUNCH of chicken. (Thanks RJ!)  I know what's for dinner tonight.

While we had a nice afternoon and evening weather wise, rain moved in during the night, but should be out of here by 10:00 a.m. or earlier.  Here are a few pictures from yesterday around the campsite.  Enjoy these and check back later for another update.

Camped side by side of course.

Eating dinner!

More eating!!

What happens in Mayberry stays in Mayberry!!
That's all I'm saying.....

Everyone have a great weekend, and until next time, stay safe out there...-R,T,&J.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Getting Ready to go!!!

Happy Friday!!! Yipee!!!  We are going camping this afternoon.  In a few hours we will be all loaded, hooked up, and ready to roll.  We are going to a new campground, Mayberry Campground.  Check on the trips page to see more about it.

We will meet Sharon, Becky, Splash T@B and two-thirds of the Schnauzer herd!!

Here are a couple of pictures to tide you over until our next post.

Hooked up and ready!!

Two-thirds of the wild bunch!

Jackson not so wild.  This is NOT normal!!

Until next time, stay safe out there....-R,T,&J

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Stone Mountain State Park, Part II.....

Happy Thursday!  I had a principal who used to call Thursdays "Little Friday."  He has retired now, and I hear he is just loving it!  Tonight I am attending the Annual Dinner and Membership Meeting of The Arc of Rowan County.  I will be installed as Board President for my third term in four years.  I promise I will be thinking about camping while I am up in front of all those people, so everyone cross their fingers for me so I don't trip, loose my notes, or something like that.  

Here are a few more pictures of our trip this past weekend to Stone Mountain State Park.    

We saw deer at the park two times.  The first time was when we pulling up to the entrance of the campground.  The second was as we were leaving the campground.  It was as if they were welcoming us there, then telling us "good-bye."  

This teardrop style camper came in on Friday evening after we arrived, so I just had to take a picture of it.  There were three people camping in it.  It looked like a man, woman, and teenage son.  All I can say is WOW!

Here are just a few more pictures from around the campground.

Thanks for checking back today.  Until next time, stay safe out there....-R,T,&J

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Stone Mountain State Park, Trip Report.....

Well we did it!! We got our first camping trip of the 2012 season officially in the books!  We went to Stone Mountain State Park in Roaring Gap, NC.  We had been here before, back when we had the old Layton travel trailer.  This campground is only about 1.5 hours from home, so it is a great weekend get away.  

While we did have a rain shower Saturday afternoon, and then we had to jump out of bed at 7:30 am Sunday, break camp, and leave before a rain front, we did have a great time.

Here are a few pictures.  I will post a few more and tell you some more about our trip later this week.

That's all for now.  Check back later this week for some more about our trip.  Until then, stay safe out there....-R,T,&J.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Playing Outside on Tuesday Afternoon......

When I came home from school this afternoon, I quickly changed out of my school clothes into shorts and a t-shirt, then outside I went.  I washed the Truck, the r-pod, the CR-V when it came home, and finally the blue Honda.  Here is a picture I took of the pod after it was all cleaned up.  I think I saw it smiling.  HAHA.

As I told you during one of my posts about the sway control install, I ran into and had to fix another problem.  The problem was my power tongue jack wouldn't work.  When I first discovered this, the jack would work a little then stop, with it finally just not working at all.  Here is a picture of the jack.

I'm not going to publish where I bought it, the brand, or the price until I contact the manufacturer to see if they will help me out. I installed the jack in April 2011, but for some reason I didn't keep the receipt or anything.  So I am going to write the manufacturer with all the information to see what happens.  Once I hear from them, I will fill you in on all the details.  

The real problem was what was I going to do for a tongue jack in the mean time.  The reason I replaced the factory installed manual tongue jack in the first place is it was starting to give me problems.  I was afraid it would quit working on a camping trip, causing all sorts of issues.  This is when I remembered having an old Bulldog brand tongue jack the I took off of the old Layton when I put an electric tongue jack on it.  So after some rummaging around in the shop, I found it, installed it, and here's a picture.  

This jack is at least 35 years old, but it works great!  So it will be what I use for the time being.  This will be my last post until after our camping trip this weekend.  So be sure to check back to hear all about our first trip of the season.  Until then, stay safe out there.... 

Monday, March 12, 2012


Oh what a beautiful Sunday it was here in North Carolina.  Trisha and I made a quick trip to Lowes for a few things Sunday afternoon.  I fixed lunch, and after lunch we discovered that State beat Carolina in the ACC Tournament.  (I know, it was Florida State and not NC State, but hey, when it comes to the Tarheels, State is State.)  

It was such a nice afternoon, we decided to go out and dewinterize the  the r-pod to get ready for our trip this coming weekend.  First thing to do was to replace the anode rod in the water heater.  Below is a picture of the old rod after two seasons of use, and the new rod.

Next, wrap the threads of the new rod with teflon tape.

Next, install the new anode rod.  Here's a picture of where it is be installed.  

Next, after the new anode rod is installed.

Of course, Jackson was helping me every step of the way.

I think he was even supervising at one point!

Next it was inside to prop up the bed and turn off the water heater by-pass valves so the water heater would function properly.  I took a couple of pictures but they really didn't show much.  Next, I hooked up the water hose and proceeded to flush out all the RV anti-freeze from the water lines.

This process doesn't really take all that long, but our neighbors and their little boy were outside too, so they came over to see Jackson and just visit for awhile which was nice.

The only real tools I used were a ratchet and 1-1/16 inch socket.  Below is a picture of them.

So at this point, I want to wash the pod one afternoon this week.  Just buy our groceries, pack our clothes, load a few things out of the shop into the truck and we are all ready to begin the 2012 camping season!  Check back this week for one more post before our first trip.  Until then, stay safe out there.....-R,T,&J.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sway Control Install, Part III ........

Saturday here in North Carolina was a beautiful day to be outside, even if it was on the chilly side in the early morning.  I got lots of stuff done in the yard, like rebuilding a fence my neighbor backed into back in the winter, trimming some bushes up next to the house, picking up a blue-billion sticks, blowing up leaves with the leaf blower, and finally some quality pod time.  

So I finished the sway control install.  I had already installed the plate on to the pod's hitch frame where the sway control connects to.  There was just one small problem.  The junk self-tapping bolts that came with the sway control are JUNK.  Out of six bolts, two stripped out, two didn't tighten completely, and two might have been acceptable.  So it was off to my local hardware store to buy Grade 5 bolts, washers, and lock-nuts.  Here's a picture I took to compare the Grade 5 bolts to the self-tapping bolts.

Here's a picture I took with all six Grade 5 bolts installed.

Here's a picture I took of everything all hitched-up just to check out alignments and such.

Everything came together nicely.  I even "road tested" the set up.  I didn't tell a big difference, but I could tell a difference.  I have to admit, I didn't test drive the set up but for a few miles but I do think the addition of sway control has been worth the time, expense, and effort.

I did run into another unrelated problem during this install, and I will tell you all about it and my resolution in my next post.  So check back later this week.  Also a quick check of the weather looks like we will have a nice weekend for our first trip of the season this coming weekend.  Click on the upcoming trips tab to read all about it.

Finally, I did all this outside stuff even though the ACC Men's Basketball Tournament is happening this weekend.  There was only one game I was interested in, so I would slip inside the pod to watch a few minutes of it.  My Wolfpack just couldn't hold off the Tarheels, but oh well, there's next year!  

Hope everyone has had a great weekend.  Until next time, stay safe out there....-R,T,&J.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Sway Control Install, Part II ........

Today is the second part of my sway control install.  When I finished Part I, I noticed the threads of the hitch-ball shaft were just barely long enough the reach the other side of the nut.  I wasn't sure this was the best practice for this so a quick call to my brother in Seattle confirmed what I thought. (Thanks for your help bro!) I needed a hitch-ball with a longer shank.  Below you can see what I am talking about.

So yet another quick trip to my down-the-street Advance Auto and I was able to get at hitch-ball with a longer shank.

You can see the difference above.  So it was just a matter of taking off the old (new) hitch-ball and replacing it with the new (newest) hitch-ball and tightening everything up again.  

See how the treads protrude from the bottom of the nut.  Of course, this is a bit longer than I needed, but this will work just fine.

And finally, here are the tools I used for Part II of the install.  After re-installing the hitch-ball, I also mounted the sway-bar bracket to the trailer tongue.  I will show you that in the next post.  Until then,
stay safe out there....-R,T,&J.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Spread the Word to End the Word.......

Hey guys, R,T,&J, here and we just want to tell you about a special day today.  Now we know this isn't a camping post, but we think you'll forgive us.  

We want to pass along that today is Spread the Word to End the Word day all across the United States.  This is a great cause.  Of course the word it's talking about is the "r" word.  Now I know you know what the "r" word is, so I won't tell you.  We can say all sorts of things about the use of that word, but We won't.  What we do ask is that you just don't use it.  

I (Rob) work with children with Developmental Disabilities in our local school system.  I am also on the Board of Directors of The Arc of Rowan County.  I am also the webmaster, blogger, and general all around try to figure out why this computer isn't doing what it should person.  So check it all out, and you will see why I don't like the "r" word!  

Also, March just happens to be Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month.  It was done by  a Presidential Proclamation by Ronald Reagan in 1987!  Check out The Arc's website to find out more.  

Thanks for checking us out today, and thanks for letting us tell you about something that means a lot to us.  Until next time, stay safe out there.....-R,T,&J

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Sway Control Install, Part I ........

As I told you in the last post, I decided to add some sway control to the hitch set-up on the pod.  I have been reading quite a bit about it on the "Nation", and decided it was time to add this to our set-up.  I've never actually had a sway event,  but I have noticed when towing on wet roads I can sense a little "looseness" in the pod's tracking behind the truck.  So as I showed you before, this is what we got at Camping World.  

New sway controls and accessories.

The first step was to take the old hitch ball off of the draw-bar. I figured I could do it with just my big adjustable wrench.

Big adjustable wrench, and old hitch-ball.

Well of course I was wrong, and the whole process needed a little lubrication and some "gentle" persuasion. 

The gentle persuasion I needed!

I wound-up using the above tools and a pair of vice-grips, the old hitch ball came right off.  Next was to install the adapter plate and new hitch ball and coupler for the sway bar.  This is when I ran into a little problem.  My old draw-bar wasn't made by Reese.  I don't know who it was made by, I just know this is the third truck I've used it on.

New adapter plate doesn't fit old draw-bar.

So a quick trip to my down-the-street, Advance Store, and I got just what I need, stickers and all.

New draw bar with stickers.

Here's the new draw-bar, all destickered, with the adapter plate and new hitch-balls attached.  

Completed Part I.

Finally, here are the tools I used in Part I of this install.

Tools used for Part I.

This wraps up Part I of the sway control installation.  Check back in a few days for Part II.  Until then, stay safe out there...-R,T,&J.