Thursday, June 14, 2018

Another Small Update

New Hinges to Tilt the Solar Panels Side to Side
Not much happening, but I have done some more work on the trailer.  Changed the microwave, added  a eye level remote switch for the inverter, and the major project - adding hinges so the solar panels can be tilted side to side as well as towards the rear of the trailer.  Photos and more descriptions of the work at the Escape 21 Trailer Modifications page.

Until next time -

Friday, June 1, 2018

More Work on the Trailer & a New Truck

The Lagun Table Mount & Teak Folding Table

I did a few additional modifications to the trailer over the last month.  I keep a page of trailer modifications at my website.

A couple of people have asked about my Nanostation & Air Gateway combination to provide a WiFi connection to the trailer. The Nanostation goes on a pole outside the trailer. It is a WiFi Radio, getting its power from a 12V supply rather than the standard 120V supply that comes with it. The 12V supply is a Tycon Power TP-DCDC-1224 9-36VDC In, 24VDC Out 19W DC to DC Conv / POE. The Nanostation has a range of over a mile when connecting to a good WiFi source, sends the received channel to the Air Gateway via a Ethernet cable (the same cable supplies 24V to run the radio), and the Air Gateway provides a local WiFi that covers the trailer (and, for me, the tow vehicle and area around the campsite).

The last job of the day was a stinky one (actually difficult enough that I would prefer to use another word). I had a slight leak in the 3" slide valve, the dump valve for the black tank. Sometimes, when removing the cap on the sewer connection, about 1/2 a cup of black water would spill. Very annoying, and stinky! I saved it for the last thing for the day because I knew I'd want a shower when done. I have to say that Escape makes it almost impossible to change a valve. 2 of the bolts are blocked by the plumber's tape that holds the 3" drain to the trailer. There is no slack in the system, so getting the gaskets in place, then sliding the valve body in place is a bear. Lots of cursing, but it is done. It looks like it went together OK, and no leaks when dumping on the first trip after the change.

The next project is to replace the Escape provided table & the Springfield pedestal I provided with a Lagun support & folding teak table. While I liked the Springfield compared to the two post system that Escape provides, I can't slide the table off to the side to make access to the under seat storage areas, and even with the table slid as far to one side as possible, turning around to reach into the upper cabinets is difficult. Another advantage of the Lagun mount is the table (and mount) can be removed. The disadvantage is the teak table I am using with the Lagun mount cannot be used as a base for a bed. I'll add a couple of boards that will store under the rear bench seat that can be used to make a bed base.

I added a 5' long piece of 1/8" X 3/4" X 3/4" steel angle iron to the top of the seating front to prevent flexing, and a pair of 1/8" X 8" X 12" AM0812B Workstation Brackets from Woodworkers Hardware (the are also available from Amazon) for additional support. The table is quite sturdy, even though it weighs more than the stock Escape table. The photos show it open & closed in a couple of positions. As most who have made the conversion have done, I switched the slide clamp from the right to the left side of the arm so it clears the converter. A couple of minutes with a triangular file for the switch.

My only complaint is the supports for the slide mechanics extend far enough to hit the arm as you turn it. I added a 1/2" shim between the table & the mount to solve the problem.

I added a switch to shut off the propane detector.  While I generally leave it on, more than once it has gone off for no reason.  In the middle of the night I wanted a way to disconnect it without removing 4 screws & snipping a wire!  I put a protective cover on the switch so it can't be accidentally shut off.

A couple more additions - I added a 120V receptacle on the driver's side of the rear dinette seat for my electric heater.  Escape provided one on the passenger side, but since that is where I usually sit, I kept tripping on the cord.  I also added a pair of switches to make up a 3 way switch system for the radio.  That lets me turn it on or off at the radio or at the head of the bed.

Next was a 12V fan for the inside of the refrigerator.  Moving a bit of air around seems to help keeping an even temperature.   I wasn't impressed with the battery operated fans, but this one works great.

The next addition was a faucet for filtered water.  Since there isn't a lot or room in the cabinet below the sink, I used a refrigerator filter.  Not as good as a pair of 10" filters, but good enough to remove the chlorine taste from my coffee!

I added a Tire Minder system to monitor the trailer tire pressure & temperature.

The next isn't really a trailer modification, but a new truck. While the Tacoma was capable of towing the 21 (it was great with the 17), it spent too much time when towing at 60MPH in 3rd gear at 4000RPM. Gas mileage when towing ran around 11.5MPG. I could live with both of those since I love the truck for off roading & non towing, but the main problem is I was overweight payload wise. At least 150 lbs overall and about the same over on the rear axle.

So, it was off to look at new, full size trucks. I settled on a Ford 150 with the 3.5 EcoBoost engine. A few bells & whistles, some of which are required if you want other things. I had to order it; hope it comes in before I plan to leave for a trip to central Canada in mid August. For those interested, the build sheet is at my Escape 21 Modifications page.

That's it for now, but I'm sure I'll do some more before I leave in August.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Day 8, Home, Oswego, NY

Day 8, Home, Oswego, NY - 133.2 miles, 795.9 for the trip.

The predicted rain didn't start until after breakfast, just in time to get me as I packed up the trailer. Actually, there wasn't much to packing up; just putting away the Anderson Levelers. I didn't even run down the stabilizers so it was only a 30 second job to get ready to go.

I pretty much followed NY 3 through the Adirondacks, argued with Matilda, my GPS as to whether staying on 3 or hopping on I 81 for 40 miles was the best route. I picked NY Rt 3. Lots of small towns, in including one larger one (Watertown, NY) but a pleasant drive even in the rain.

I arrived in Oswego around 1:00, parked the trailer for a couple of months, but am putting off unloading until tomorrow.

I decided I didn't want to cook, so since Rudy's is closed (only open Wednesday through Sunday until Memorial Day), I headed to Price Chopper for their popcorn shrimp dinner.

Until Next Time -

Monday, May 21, 2018

Day 7, Cranberry Lake State Park, NY

Site 50
Day 7, Cranberry Lake State Park, NY - 91.3 miles, 752.7 for the trip.

While I could have made it home in one shot, I decided that since I'm in the Adirondack park with my trailer, why not stay another night? It is funny, I have tent camped in the Adirondacks a bunch of times, many with my parents when I was living in Croton-on-Hudson, NY down in Westchester county. Since moving to upstate NY less than a couple of hours drive from the Adirondacks, I've made a number of Fall trips to photograph the colors, but since most of the campgrounds are closed, never taken the trailer, and, since the Fall nights generally get into the low 20's, stay in motels. Even many of the motels are closed for the season. One would thing they could make enough with the Leaf Peepers to stay open, but few do.

So, here I am in the Cranberry Lake State Park. This is the furthest west campground on NY 3, and is huge. 171 sites, all dry, and many only suitable for tents or a small Class C or B RV. They let you cruise the campground with a list of open sites, pick one out, then go back & pay. I'm in a pull through about 1/2 way to the end of the campground and not too far from the bathroom. Unfortunately, the showers are much further away. Good AT&T coverage, fair Verizon with an amp, but fading between no service & one bar on my phone without an amp. Neither are very fast, particularly uploading. The site price is $2.00 more than the DEC campground last night at $22.75.

The infamous Adirondack Black Flies are out, but not too bad, particularly after I fired up my Thermacell. It worked well combined with a light breeze. When the wind was blowing the bugs went away, and when it stopped, they moved on. I spent most of the day outside reading and enjoying the sun.

Dinner was a Quorn "Chicken" patty (tastes like chicken, but is a vegetarian product) my daughter recommended, along with fresh asparagus.

Until Tomorrow -

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Day 6, Lincoln Pond DEC Campground, NY

The View From Site 8, Lincoln Pond DEC Campground
Day 6, Lincoln Pond DEC Campground, NY - 254.5 miles, 661.4 for the trip.

The rain eased off during our late dinner, although it never completely stopped until midnight or so (hard to tell with the trees dripping). We headed to the pavilion for another pancake breakfast, but I guess the campground decided there weren't enough of us left to make it worth it to do breakfast. There was a coffee pot, so all was not lost. Yesterday we walked to the office to make reservations for next year. They have a policy that if the people on a site want it for next year & reserve before the end of the rally, they have first dibs on the site. We wanted to switch to a couple of the lakeside sites & reserved 48 & 50, but discovered this morning that the couple on site 48 are coming back. Not sure of those on 50. So, we may be back on the same sites for next year.

I packed up the trailer and was on the road by 9:00. Lots of secondary roads with a few short drives on interstates to get to the Warrensburg Travel Park. A unique way to check in - there is a walkie talkie in a basket with instructions on how to use it to call the office staff. When they finally arrived, I discovered that a campground that was labeled mid priced by AllStays was $60.00 per night. Feeling cheap, I headed to the Lake George Battleground State Park. A great location, but the campground was closed.

During my search for campgrounds yesterday, I found a DEC campground that opened the day before near Elizabethtown, NY. A bit further north than I was planning to stop, but it gives me an excuse to drive through the Adirondack Park to get home tomorrow. Much more interesting than NY 5 or NY 20. I'm in site 8, a dry, almost level pull through site with a great view of the pond at $20.75 per night. I didn't need to unhook from the truck, although the tongue is about a 1/4 bubble high. There are hot showers, but they are at the swimming bath house a fair distance away. The nearby bathroom does not have showers. A site photo is on today's LakeshoreImages page.

Connectivity is good on both AT&T & Verizon, although the upload speed for AT&T choked when I accidentally attempted to upload full sized (12.5MB) versions of today's photos. I forgot to switch from the full sized jpg setting I used for the group photo yesterday. By the way, Verizon had no problem with the large files, but I reloaded my normal sized images. I spent what was left of the afternoon reading, then fired up the oven for a Boston Market Chicken Pot pie, my first.