I found two vendors online who offer 17 1/2" wheel and tire combos. Surprisingly, the first is Rickson Tire and they're based out of Maryland- not 10-15 miles from where our house was. The other one is TrailerTireAndWheel.com based out of Somewhere, OH. I called Rickson first and spoke with a woman named Heather. She was amazingly helpful and talked me through everything I needed to know. Unfortunately, her shipping lead time was a good 3 weeks, I wasn't crazy about the rim they offered; but worse, her cost was close to $400 more expensive than TT&W.
I also arranged for a auto body shop named Bud's Body Shop in Elkhart to do put the tires on and do a couple of other things (see below). They were recommended by a member of two on RV.net forums and their Yelp reviews looked pretty good. While there, I had them replace my leaf springs as two were looking pretty flat and also had them do an alignment to make sure everything was square. Once he had the wheels off, I had them inspect the bearings and brakes.
I have a separate album on Flickr of pictures specifically for this swap out.
|A customer and his dog|
|New shoes- so pretty (well OK, it doesn't look any different than before)|
The problem was what to do with Mandie and the kids. While I didn't mind hanging out at a shop all day; keeping Logan contained in a waiting area would have had me wishing for a tongue tattoo. Instead, we found a cheap hotel (Clarion or Comfort Inn or something). Being at a hotel for a couple of days sure reminded me of how much I love and missed my home.
Overall, the repair shop did a good job and I'd recommend them. I was thankful that he backed the camper into the garage bay and that I didn't watch when he backed it onto the pit ramps for the alignment. Their price was fair and I haven't had any issues with the work. I ended up selling the original wheels and tires to a RV surplus place. I got less than I hoped but it was either that or send them to a scrap yard.
|At least they weren't jumping...|
|They had a little of everything|
|Waiting for a table|
|My heart-healthy dinner|
|I would drive to Elkhart for these onion rings!|
Spending the night in Elkhart meant that we could finally make it to the RV Hall of Fame. It just so happened that there was some kind of family fun fair, a vintage camper show, and even a circus was in town. I guess we had a plan for the day! But first, the kids and I swam.
Lunch was the first order of business. The fair had a big tent setup with a handful of offerings- from pizza to BBQ to cupcakes. Wife and I got BBQ and it was remarkably good. I think the kids got pizza and breadsticks- no complaints. If I recall correctly, we also got cupcakes that were pretty tasty. A little fancy for me, but good.
|Pool rules - I thought #3 was rather excessive.|
|The kids with their pizza|
|The cupcake was beautiful|
|The laziest tigers you'll ever meet|
|The walked in circles... but wait for it- AND THEN WENT THE OTHER WAY!|
|Logan getting tattooed|
|They were pretty rad|
|OK, maybe a little over the top|
I'll post shortly about the drive to Springfield. We found Rt. 66! And made our first stop at a silly roadside attraction... stay tuned!