Another spring is upon us, and with it another camping season. Our annual “Rites of Spring” ritual has begun — the cleaning/tweaking/repair of stuff that was put off during last camp season. Since the last entry on this blog we have moved to a home where we can store Tallulah Belle on site, and this allows us the opportunity to spend more time addressing the items needed to be repaired. So far, this list includes:
- moving the water pump close to the outlet of the freshwater tank, extending Romex wiring to accommodate the pump in it’s new location.
- polishing out the stainless stove cooktop, which was showing rust blooms from the 241% humidity Houston is famous for.
- Polishing aluminum brightwork, including windows, wings, trim and interior pieces.
- repainting high wear areas–bumper, hitch, doorjamb, rock chips, etc
- refilling propane tanks and function testing electrical/propane/water systems.
- finally, complete washing and detailing inside and out in preparation for rally season!
Since the last post on this blog, we have not been camping, but in October we DID have an ‘adventure’ with Tallulah Belle . We finally found a trailer repair shop that would install new springs on the old girl, and by this time the 56 year old original issue units were in bad shape. The rear bumper would scrape the ground from the slightest of bumps while under tow, and the ground clearance was only about 4 inches when parked. We made the arrangements, towed Tee Girl to the shop and left her there for the work to be done. After about two weeks we were notified that the springs were installed and ready to go. Went to retrieve her and decided to return to our home on surface streets rather than risk the 85 mph kamakazi traffic of Houston’s Sam Houston Tollway. She towed well and we navigated rush hour traffic finally pulling up to the curb in front of the house, where we had to open the driveway gate and back the trailer into it’s parking place. When the gate was opened, we put the truck into gear and rolled forward, manuvering to back the trailer into the driveway, and we both heard a grinding, clanking noise from the streetside trailer wheel. Pulling the baby moon off we were greeted with the sight of the wheel sitting loosely atop the hub and all five of the wheel bolts clattering into the street.
Yep, you read that right. ALL of the wheel bolts were out, and there was nothing securing the wheel to the axle. The extreme narrow dimensions of the wheelwell, coupled with the long axle hub had somehow prevented the wheel from departing during the trip. The wheel was just sitting loosely on the hub.
Someone at the shop had put the wheel in place and then not tightened the wheel bolts, so that the rotation of the wheel backed all five bolts out.
This was the ONLY TIME that I was grateful for the ridiculously small wheelwells and lack of clearance. Silver linings and all that. So that, gentle readers, was our err…’adventure’ for the fall. We got her backed into position, tarped up and secured for the winter (such that is is in Houston).
Now that it is March, and our first rally of the year is less than a month away, we dove into the work needed to get Tallulah Belle ready for camping again.
Touching up the paint around the front window. The high heat from storage in a shed all summer caused butyl tape to ooze out from under the window frame. This required cleaning with mineral spirits and some paint touch up.
Wings polished and brought back to mirror shine!
Jalousie window after cleanup/polishing.
And of course, the Shasta emblem needed some love also. Looks pretty good now!
We are eagerly waiting for the first rally of the year, and the chance to tow Tallulah Belle with the new F-150 truck. We have calibrated the truck’s ‘Hands-Off Trailer Backing System’ and are curious as to how well this feature works. We will have a full user review of this facet of the new truck after the spring rally.
Until then, Happy Camping, my friends!