Wednesday, October 12, 2011

5th Wheels (5ers) and winterizing -- October 12, 2011

It dawned on me that many people don't know what a "5th wheel" (5er) is. I'm not completely sure myself. 

The way I understand it is, the 5th wheel is an attachment in the bed of the pickup truck or a flatbed trailer into which the trailer hitch is attached. It is different from a regular trailer which is towed behind the pickup truck. 

A 5th wheel hitch takes more of the weight of the trailer up onto the back of the pickup, which is why pickups towing 5th wheel trailers usually have heavier duty leaf springs. Plus a 5th wheel hitch makes turning corners and backing up the trailer easier. We are about to find out how it all works.

Our first destination, Fallon, NV, is up around 4,000' in the mountains east of Reno. From what we've read, the temperature in winter averages around 17 degrees. This will make camping in our 5th wheel a challenge. On the message forum on, I posed a question about whether the trailer's water line will freeze. The answer is that, yes, the water line most likely will freeze as will the spigot at the campsite. The people who answered my post in the forum said it is best to fill the trailer's water tank, then put away the hose. They also advised us not to leave the sewer hose attached as it will freeze too. We have some learnin' to do!

The full-time RV'ers are full of knowledge having already experienced lots of this before us. One lady said it is best to keep lots of bottled water in the RV and to put "pillows" or something up around the air vents in the ceiling to keep cold air out and warm air in. I have a feeling when we finish in Fallon, we will head farther south to somewhere a bit warmer.

On the RV forums we also learned that a lot of RVers like to have two vehicles. We are shipping my Ford Escape to the mainland. What that means is, when we travel from one destination to another, both Bob and I will be driving: Bob in the truck towing the 5er and me in the Escape. That way when we reach our destination, if we work two different jobs, we will each have a vehicle to get to work. Also, if we want to go exploring, we can take the Escape which navigates narrow roads easier than a Ford F350 extended cab.

On a side note, our house is so empty. Bob says it looks like a dance hall. In the living room/dining room area we have a TV, desk chair, shower stool (used as a footstool), cat scratching post and the dining room table with six chairs; otherwise, it's a big, wide open space. Our voices echo. The cats now have an unobstructed play area. Their marble rolls like crazy, unimpeded by rugs or furniture.

My biggest challenge this week is trying  to get Ford Credit to send me a letter stating my car is paid off and they are no longer the lien holders. I started this process over a week ago when I paid off the loan and was told at that time a letter would be faxed in one to two days. It has been, as I said, over a week and still no fax. 

Matson won't ship my car today without that letter. Ford Credit is in Florida. They have promised me they will fax the letter when they get to work first thing this morning. That means by the time Bob gets to work in Hawaii, the fax should be there. If it's not, I'll be on the phone to Ford again first thing when I get up. I have already talked to five different people at Ford about this. Very frustrating!

It's late, so good night all.

Travel Bug out.

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