Roaming east

img_4321-375.jpg

(Photo by Alison Turner, official Alumapalooza photographer)

Our final post-‘palooza tasks completed, we are at long last moving east again.  It was touch-and-go for a while there, since we kept thinking of things we needed to do before leaving the Airstream factory.  We don’t expect to be back there for a year, and I’m always careful to consider any possible trailer maintenance that needs doing, before I drive away from a competent repair facility.

We seemed to be ready to go, but as I was hitching up there was a snag with one of the two jacks associated with the Hensley hitch.  They had been getting progressively more difficult to turn over the past few weeks, so I had lubricated them with silicone spray when we moved to the Terra Port.  I noticed that a fair bit of rusty lube dripped out of the driver’s side jack as I ran it up and down, and it still seemed to be binding a little.

When I went to hitch up yesterday, the jack got about 3/4 tight, then slipped. It acts as if the internal gear is stripped at one point, and no longer can be tightened to full operating tension, which means that one of the two weight distribution bars couldn’t be adjusted properly for travel.  Another delay.  Airstream doesn’t stock Hensley parts, so I got on the phone with the company HQ in Michigan and ordered a new one.  Problem is, with ground shipping it won’t arrive for four days, so we had to come up with a work-around.

The work-around was to tighten the jack as much as it would allow, then move the connecting pin at the bottom down two holes (thus shortening the jack) to compensate for the rest of the distance it needed. Normally this isn’t recommended but I was assured it is OK for a temporary fix.  We towed uneventfully for three hours to our destination at Lou & Larry’s home near Cleveland.

Well, I shouldn’t say “uneventfully.”  Our new friends sKY and slaDE (I keep thinking of them as “Kentucky and Delaware”) were delayed for their own reasons, and wouldn’t be able to get to their destination 7 hours east in Pennsylvania, so I invited them to caravan with us for a night of hospitality with Lou and Larry.  They immediately accepted and so we had a fun drive across Ohio on Route 30, making jokes on the walkie-talkies.

lou-larry-driveway-camping.jpgSo now we are parked in the driveway, our rigs nose-to-tail, each with water and electric hookup, and just a few steps from the backyard with its little fire ring.  About a dozen Airstreamers were here last night for dinner on the lawn, most of them from the local area.   We’ve stayed here many times, and it always is a very relaxing experience.

Since the weather is fine and I have a huge backlog of work, we are going to spend another day parked in the driveway.  Eleanor went out this morning with Lou, sKY, and Loren to stock up at Trader Joe’s, while slaDE hung back and enjoyed some solitude in his trailer, and I tried to catch up on the 78 emails still unanswered in my Inbox.

Tomorrow we expect thunderstorms again, but we’ll spend most of the day driving so it won’t matter.  I prefer to work on the sunny days because I can open the windows and have sunshine filling the trailer, which is inspiring; I prefer to drive on the mucky days and enjoy the scenery, which is comforting. And since Eleanor and I will be alone in the car as we go, it will be a great opportunity to talk about anything that comes to mind.

About the Author

Editor & Publisher of Airstream Life magazine