Showing posts with label Camping. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Camping. Show all posts

Tips for pulling a large trailer or 5th wheel

 I've been pulling trailers for years, started with a small popup camper trailer and eventually I pulled a 30' travel trailer to every state with the family.  Came across and article and thought it might benefit those who don't have much experience towing a trailer.

Remember trailers are heavy, pop ups can be 2-3000 lbs, boat on a trailer 5000-10,000 lbs and 5th wheels can easily hit 15,000 lbs.  This means everything happens slower.  It takes longer to accelerate and stop a trailer this large.  So take it slow, make sure you have plenty of starting and stopping distance.

Acceleration - It will take you longer to accelerate pulling a trailer, so make sure you have plenty of space before you pull out into traffic or make a turn.

Braking - Leave plenty of distance between the vehicles in front of you to ensure you have enough distance for stopping your tow vehicle and trailer.  If your trailer is equipped with trailer brakes, you should also make sure your your trailer brakes are working properly.

Turning - When you pull a trailer, you need to make wider turns to avoid dragging your trailer over a curb, through a ditch or into a pole.  The longer the trailer the wider the turn will need to be.  You'll also need to worry about the length of the trailer behind the wheels.  You back end pivots about the rear wheels and can swing into things, so be careful in gas stations where corners are tight.

It's Long - Remember when your driving you have a trailer behind you and it's long.  Leave more space before you merge or change lanes.  Use your turn signal to let others know your intentions.

Practice - If you haven't pulled a trailer start off slow and use less traveled back roads until you are comfortable.  Go to an empty large parking log and practice turns.  Set up cones and practice backing into spaces.  The larger the trailer, the more challenging this will be.

Up hill climbs - Use the right lane and make sure you vehicle is in Tow/Haul mode to help keep you vehicle in a constant gear.  Remember this is a lot of work for your tow vehicle.  Don't be afraid to take it slow.

Downhill - Again use Tow/Haul Mode, if it's a really steep grade, shift to a lower gear and let you vehicle engine help brake.  Try not to continuously apply the brakes, they can heat up and will not be as affective at stopping your vehicle.

Other Failures - You may encounter many other problems when trailering, I know I've encountered all of these except coupler failure.  Remember no sudden reactions or slamming on the brakes.  You will encounter high winds, large vehicles passing and causing a slight sway, blow outs, broken springs or maybe even you trailer decoupling from you tow vehicle.  

Plan your trip - To avoid stress you may want to plan out your trips with stops an known locations where you have plenty of clearance and easy out capability.

Return to Travel Page for more information on camping and trailering

Is the RV Lifestyle Right for You?

With Covid 19 in the air, my wife and I feel very fortunate that we’ve had our RV to get away on weekends and visit our property in Florida. With the RV we’ve been able to maintain social distancing, cook all of our own meals in the RV and use our own bathroom. Really no different then being at home.

If you are open minded this can be a really low cost way to to travel. You’re not necessarily restricted to to campgrounds either. Menu venues have open camping such as county fair grounds, orchards, wineries, casinos and more. I often spend the night in Wal-Mart parking lots if I’m just looking to sleep for a few hours on my journey.

Most modern RV’s have all the conveniences of home and with a good cell phone and data plan you can always stay connected. You can use your phone or a use it as a hot spot for your iPad or computer. It’s easy to research best places to stay or how to make a repair to your camper.

With Covid I’ve come across many families traveling with their families and home schooling along the way. Earlier last year my daughter and I went to Florida where she taught her classes and I worked from the RV.

Unlike your neighborhood the campground is very social place, just keep your distance. Build a camp fire, take a walk, explore the area. So many different things to do then maybe around your house. Being from Michigan we go up north or to the westside of the state to enjoy the great Michigan beaches in the summertime.

Explore the different types of RV’s

Motor Homes, Travel Trailers or 5th wheels can all satisfy your need from small to big. Most of these have slides in the side that expand to really give you a bunch of space. If you opt for a 5th wheel or larger travel trailer, you’ll need a truck with sufficient towing power and capacity for your trailer. Depending on the size, you might even be able to move into full time and sell your house. My Mom and Dad were full time RV’s for 15 years.

If you’ve never camped or traveled before, think about renting and motorhome or RV before you dive in.

How much does an RV cost?

Unfortunately with Covid, the demand for RV’s has increased significantly in the last year. You may have to wait more then a year to have a made to order one built. Nothing wrong with looking for a more affordable used camper where the depreciation was already paid down by the previous owner.

The cost a a trailer can start at $25,000 for a new one, plus the cost of the truck to tow it. Motorhomes start at around $80,000 and go up from there. The more amenities you get in the RV, the higher the cost. Hitches are also expensive.

Buying an RV isn’t cheap! Plus you have the cost of gas, lodging and eventually repairs. So before you buy, think again about renting and trying camping first. I think it’s a great way to get out and see the country.

Return to Travel 

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Skillet Nachos over a Campfire

I love nachos and was pretty excited to when I came across this recipe for skillet nachos. Nachos are great tasting and can be made with just about any ingredients. With a large skillet and a bunch of ingredients, mostly canned and bagged. You can make great tasting nachos at your next campfire.

Here are some of the ingredients you might like to consider, many of them are canned or bagged, fee free to add fresh if your refrigerator can handle the extra space.

Campfire Nacho Ingredients

These are just examples of what can be included in our camp nachos. I wouldn't use everything on this list or you’re going to have one huge batch of machos.

  • Olive Oils (best), Cooking spray or avocado oil 
  • 1 can corn 
  • 1 bag tortilla chips 
  • 1 can black beans or 
  • 1 can pinto beans 
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese and/or 
  • 1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese and/or 
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese and/or 
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (great for tang) 
  • 1 salsa 12 oz or as much as you want

Fresh ingredients you may like to add: 

  • lettuce
  • diced white onion 
  • jalapeƱos 
  • olives 
  • cilantro 
  • avocado

How to prepare and cook skillet nachos

  1. Coat the bottom of your cast-iron skilet with oil or cooking spray.
  2. Spread a layer of chips over the bottom
  3. Sprinkle the cheeses on top of the tortilla chips
  4. Top with a 1/3 of you salsa, onions, peppers, corn, beans and any of your other ingredients.
  5. Repeat two more times with another layer of tortilla chips and the other ingredients.
  6. Cover the skillet with aluminum foil.
  7. Cook for until the cheese is melted. Probably 5 to 15 minutes depending on how hot your coals are and the distance from the fire.
  8. Top lettuce and avocado
  9. Dig In… eat right from the pan.