When we reached Chicago, I proudly proclaimed that we had achieved a new accomplishment in getting to the central timezone and that we wouldn't be back for a long, long time. How silly I was. Not 2 weeks later, we left Oak Lake Family campground and we made our way for Elkhart. I had finally made a decision about the individual wheel weights/flat and that was to opt for 17.5" wheels/rims and a commercial trailer tire. This increased my load carrying capacity for each wheel up to 4,800 lbs. (where my heaviest wheel weight was running 3,500 lbs.). On top of that, I gained more space between the wheels as the outer diameter of the new setup was 1/2" smaller; this is because the sidewall height is shorter on the new tire vs. the old ones. The decrease is small enough that I didn't need to swap my spare out yet.
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.
|A customer and his dog|
|New shoes- so pretty (well OK, it doesn't look any different than before)|
I have a separate album on Flickr of pictures specifically for this swap out
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.
|At least they weren't jumping...|
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.
|They had a little of everything|
For one of our dinners, we hit up a local eatery named the Flippin' Cow
. It was another Trip Advisor recommendation and it was good. Cool lake-side vibe and yummy food. What more could you ask for?
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.
|Pool rules - I thought #3 was rather excessive.|
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.
Ah, roofs off! That's how the get some of those oversized things in our RVs.ReplyDelete
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Are you going to have time to do some exploring in St. Louis? If so, I highly recommend the City Museum, which is a crazy fun indoor/outdoor playground for adults and kids.ReplyDelete