Our Trip Continues: Cape Girardeau, MO to Tampa, FL

Notes from the road!

From Timber Trails Campground
1276 Matts Lane, Mulberry Grove, IL

2 1/2 hrs/170 miles to

Stopover #6 on our RV trip – a “loop” from Clearwater to Terre Haute, Indiana

terre haute loop map

Cape Camping & RV Park
1900 N. Kings Highway, Cape Girardeau, MO 63701
(1.5 miles from I-55, Exit 99)
573-332-8888 Toll Free: 1-800-335-1178
$34/night with Good Sam 10% discount.
https://www.goodsam.com/campgrounds-rv-parks/details/default.aspx?cgid=250000347

Blogbook Entry
Restaurants: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurants-g44207-Cape_Girardeau_Missouri.html
Lambert’s Cafe I,
2305 E. Malone, Sikeston, MO
https://throwedrolls.com/lamberts-cafe-i/
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Very friendly and accomodating Hostess who parked us beside the restroom/shower facility – very clean and comfortable – when we asked. We have stayed here in the past and liked it. The FHU sites are drive-throughs with good TV and WiFi reception. There are many restaurants a short drive away (Mexican within walking distance) and a short drive to downtown and the Mississippi riverfront for shopping and sightseeing. If you are up for a short road excursion you’ll find a Lambert’s Cafe – “The Home of Throwed Rolls” and some pretty good down-home cooking. Lambert’s is not only a restaurant it’s an experience. We had planned a trip to Lambert’s but it was too blooming hot (feels like 105!) we opted for KFC instead and stayed indoors at our site. August is not the optimum time of year for Rving in the South as is February camping in the North. Heat wave passing through here currently.

This is a review and notes from a previous visit we made to Cape Girardeau on the

Mississippi River. www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/capegirardeau.html
and our previous
Blogbook Entry
More about Lambert’s (unique) Cafe: Lambert’s Cafe I,
2305 E. Malone, Sikeston, MO
https://throwedrolls.com/lamberts-cafe-i/

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3 hrs/208 miles to

Stopover #7 on our RV trip – a “loop” from Clearwater, FL to Terre Haute, Indiana –
Notes from the road!

Memphis South RV Park And Campground
256 Campground Drive, Coldwater, MS 38618
Passport America $25/Cash
https://www.passportamerica.com/campgrounds/data/2856/Memphis-South-RV-Park-And-Campground/0#top
Restaurants:
https://www.yelp.com/search?cflt=restaurants&find_loc=Coldwater%2C+MS+38618

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We have stayed in several campgrounds in Mississippi in the past and when we found Memphis South in 2012 I thought we had a winner for this stretch of road. That was then and this is now. The long road in and around the Park is pitted with potholes so badly you cannot find a path where one or more wheels and we were thankful we weren’t towing Big Bertha this time. The long entrance road is horrible. The Passport price is cheap at $25/cash per night but no longer worth it. One of very few Passport America campgrounds we would not stay at again. The WiFi was non-existent even though we had a line of sight to the repeater less than 50 yards away. The over-the-air TV channels consisted of PBS and children’s programs unless your antenna was directed just so. Ours is fixed so it meant we would have to park backwards on the site. We did that the second night were able to receive the Network channels.

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The staff was cheerful and friendly before and now it’s lacsidaisical at best (being kind) – and showing little interest in our TV or WiFi problems. This could be and once was a great little stopover on I-55 but enter at your own axle’s risk. There is a Subway and Shell gas near the entrance and we can’t honestly recommend either of those either.

Observation: Trying to write on the road has its obstacles like when I glance over and Stanley has a paw in my fresh brewed coffee. Yes, he likes coffee too when he can get away with it.

Normally we head South from here on I-55 toward New Orleans and Bay St. Louis (two of our very favorite places to visit) and then East towards Florida. I-55 through Mississippi is one of the nicer Interstates we travel but this time we will be angling in a Southeasterly direction to pick up I-75 again just above what was our first stopover on this trip near Valdosta Georgia.

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2 1/2hrs/164 miles to

Stopover #8 on our RV trip – a “loop” from Clearwater, FL to Terre Haute, Indiana –
Notes from the road!

Togetherness Works RV Park
3161 State Hwy 253,Guin, Alabama
Reservation: 205-487-6092
$25/Cash
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Every now and then we find a gem – a treasure hidden in plain sight waiting for anyone to find it. On this trip it’s clearly “Togetherness Works RV Park”. Rv Park building is not Junior’s real job. He calls it more of a hobby that started 20 years ago on a piece of Alabama mountainside his Mom called home. Just forest on 20 acres when he began to turn it into a beautiful, rural retreat it is today.

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Junior turned lumberjack for part of the “hobby” carefully turning the acerage into some beautiful camping spots. He did some road building to assure good gravel roadways and drainage. He ran city water and sewer lines to each site as well as power. He turned sawyer and built a small sawmill to build a deck and bench for each site. He built a very nice cabin for their kids when they came to visit. His wife, the Alabama Gardener in the family, planted flowers and gardens throughout.

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He had lumber left over after he built the cabin and his wife mentioned it would really be nice to have a shower house – so he built one. The shower house (all knotty pine and tongue and groove inside) turned out large and spacious so his wife said it would be even better if they could have a laundy room. Sure enough you’ll find washer and dryer in the building.

Junior doesn’t advertise so it’s mostly word-of-mouth and not the easiest place to find on the ‘Net but it’s off Alabama Exit 26 from I-22. Then turn right to the stop sign, then left to a “Y” in the road. Left at the Y for 3 miles to the campground.. Phone 205-412-7554 from the stop sign and the owner will meet you at the end of his road.

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This one took some research! Though there are campgrounds along I-22 in Alabama there are very few with good reviews near our stopping point. So it was this one with good reviews or a Walmart Super Center parking lot nearby. We made the right choice and if ever you find yourself RVing on I-22 near Guin Alabama you’d do well to give Junior and his wife a phone call and stop on in. This place also has to be gorgeous when the Fall foliage breaks out!

Now it’s on to Troy, Alabama.

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Notes from the road:

3 1/2 hrs/225 miles to

Stopover #9 on our RV trip – a “loop” from Clearwater, FL to Terre Haute, Indiana and back again.

 

Walnut Creek RV Park

222 County Road 5516

Troy, Alabama 36081 334-482-3532

Passport America $17

https://www.passportamerica.com/campgrounds/data/3767/Walnut-Creek-RV-Park/0#top

Restaurants: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurants-g30887-Troy_Alabama.html

Things to Do: https://www.thecrazytourist.com/15-best-things-to-do-in-troy-al/

150 RV sites, can accommodate any size RV, 20/30/50 amp, dump station, water, sewer, full hookups, pull thrus, tent sites, restrooms, showers, Cable TV, biking, ATV, picnic area, nature watching, fishing, 10,000 square foot indoor pavilion w/stage, sound system, handicap facilities, full kitchen, ice machine, and tables and chairs. Lighted and secure area, 20 acre stocked spring fed lake with daily fishing permits available. 29 sites overlooking Lake Promise. Covered picnic area adjacent to pavilion. Peaceful and country atmosphere minutes from Troy.

We do recommend

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Sisters Restaurant 13153 US-231, Troy, AL

It’s a Southern style buffet filled with “homemades” and totally delicious. The $12.50 pp price can’t be beat either!

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3 ½ hrs/200 miles to

Stopover #10 on our RV trip – a “loop” from Clearwater, FL to Terre Haute, Indiana –

Loop complete and back to our first stopover 3 weeks ago.

Eagles Roost RV Resort

5465 Mill Store Road, Lake Park, GA 31636

229-559-5192

$32/Night. Good Sam -10%.

4 hrs./225 miles

Stop # 11 Back at Home Base – Clearwater, Florida.- with Jasmine the new addition to our family.

You will be able to trace our entire loop by visiting our Blog at

https://snowbirdrvtrails.wordpress.com/2019/08/10/travels-with-niki-new-3-week-adventure/

SUMMARY:

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Our Roadtrek Simplicity SRT “Sunset Princess” completed the journey with no issues or malfunctions of any kind.

Total Miles: 2,678

Total Camping Cost: $608.

Saved $225 with Passport America

Saved $21 with Good Sam discount.

Total Gas cost: $489.

Average MPG: 13 (The roof AC really hurts the mileage!)

Restaurant Cost: $568.

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To start this 3 week loop from Tampa to Terre Haute, IN from the beginning click here:
https://snowbirdrvtrails.wordpress.com/2019/08/10/travels-with-niki-new-3-week-adventure/
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Travels with Niki -New 3 Week Adventure.

Notes from the road.
Project: Jasmine – Hop Aboard & join us on a Mission of Love

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Stopover #1
4 hrs./225 miles from our Clearwater, FL Home base to
Eagles Roost RV Resort
5465 Mill Store Road, Lake Park, GA 31636
I-75, Exit 5.
229-559-5192
Good Sam discount to $38.34/night
Website: https://www.eaglesroostresort.com/
Dash Cam video we shot in 2016 and still the same today:
http://192.168.1.1:8181/…/www…/eaglesroostlakeparkga2016.mp4

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Stanley our Junior Assistant Navigator has completed his pre-flight check!

Eagles Roost is one of our favorite stops going or coming from a North/South I-75 trip. The place is filled with old oaks and dripping Spanish moss. It’s next door to a large weekend flea market, across the Interstate from a Camping World if needs arise and hometown to two of our favorite restaurants – The Farmhouse Restaurant with their heaping helpings of down home cooking and Rodeo Restaurant, a small but very good Mexican establishment. A two night stopover gives us a chance to sample both once again.

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We did have a too-close-for-comfort happening on the way in on I-75 when a big rig decided to pull over into the same space we were occupying. His action was forcing us toward a concrete bridge barrier very quickly. Fortunately there was just enough room to scoot over. We don’t believe he ever saw us. Our dash cam wasn’t recording time properly so I have 4 hours to go through, If I find the clip we’ll post it. We found it. View at http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/closecalloni75.mp4

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Our Sunset Princess at Eagles Roost. As some of you may know we had to step down from our 38′ “Big Bertha” Fifth Wheel due to medical issues but not giving up our love of RVing. Our 2018 Roadtrek

Visit our Webpage at http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/
Visit our FB page at https://www.facebook.com/OurSnowbirdRVTrails
Pull your camp chair up closer to the fire and we’ll talk about it!

Planning that next RV trip

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Our website averages at least one or two emails a week asking us for help plotting an RV route. Usually it’s either someone with a brand new RV or often an RVer just asking for suggestions as they plan a trip into parts unknown to them.

You may have heard or seen us mention before that the only thing we like better than an RV trip is talking about RVing. The problem is that to plan a trip correctly or at least the way that has proven tried and true for us there are a number of questions that need answering up front to do it right.

That being said we have updated our “Planning Page” (http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/research.htm) on our website and outlined the steps we take in planning each new voyage into uncharted territory. We always chart it beforehand!

A big part of the fun of a trip for us is the planning. On our page you’ll find all kinds of information and resources that we use to keep our RVing about the fun of the trip and not the worry that can accompany tackling the unknown.

Have a look. If it helps you with your trip planning we’re happy. Many people like to fly by the seat of their pants which is fun for them but that’s just not us.

After you try our suggestions for planning and if you have any questions we’ll be happy to try and answer them. We do answer all emails. You’ll find our email address also on the Planning Page.

Safe travels and always enjoy the journey,

Jack and Niki
snowbirdrvtrails.com

Niceties & Necessities – or How to make RV life easier, safer and more fun in a 19′ Roadtrek Simplicity SRT RV!

happytrailsfromus

When Niki and I downsized from a 32′ Fifth Wheel with three slide-outs to a 19′ van we knew there would have to be some adjustments made. What to pack, what not to take? What was a necessity for both safety and everyday life on the road and what would be nice to have if we could fit it in?

We did a lot of research to determine what we needed to add to an already pretty well outfitted camper. The Roadtrek is a totally self-contained vehicle and built to enable owners to go “off-the-grid” and set up camp whenever and wherever the road takes them.

Our Roadtrek has its own generator providing both 12 and 110V current for the fridge roof-top AC, TV/DVD/Surround-Sound and electrical outlets, propane for the range and tank-less hot water heater.  Gray, black and fresh water tanks and both a slinky and electrical macerator evacuator for discharge. It also contains a regular toilet and both an inside and outside shower.

Not much is missing but after eight years on the road we have learned that a few things added makes RV life safer, easier and a whole lot more fun.

We have added a page to our website listing the “Niceties and Necessities” we have researched, purchased and added items made to fit the Ram ProMaster and Roadtrek Simplicity. If you have a Roadtrek or possibly see one in your future perhaps our research may be of help to you.

Click the link, have a look and if you have any questions send us a note. – Jack and Niki

Gadgets & Gizmos for RVers and Campers – One RVer & Camper to Another!

Gadgets & Gizmos for RVers and Campers – One RVer/Camper to Another!
Updated: 3/28/17
rvgadgetstore
Our last three weekends are coming up at the Oldsmar Flea Market, then we close for the Summer.
We may have just the Gadgets and Gizmos to make your RV trip or your campsite a little more enjoyable and safer for this Summer.
Everything is new or gently used at ½ original price or less. If you see something on this short list you may want to send me a note and I’ll hold it for you for this coming Saturday morning.
We are at the Oldsmar Flea Market on Saturdays and Sundays through April 16th when we take a break for the Summer. Find us undercover in Building G West – Space #32. We are Jack and Niki and blog about our routes and travels on snowbirdrvtrails.com. Do stop by and say hello.
PARTIAL LISTING OF WHAT WE HAVE FOR YOU-
Small Blonde RV Coffee Table with Dropleaf Adjustable Top with Space for Games and Shelf for the Remotes $45
Coverite Aerotech Car Cover, Size F – Fits cars from 17′ ‘7 to 18’ 9 in length – $35
Outdoor Sport & Homesteading Books $5/ea
New – Gal EPDM Rubber Roof Coating $25 Time to re-seal your roof?
New – Gal BLAST Rust Remover $15 Takes the rust off anything!
Putty Tape $5 Very pliable.
Gel Coat Scratch Patch $5 Several colors.
Screws for RV Outside Walls & Trim – Assorted Pkgs $2-$5
Assorted Hose Connections
Assorted Sewer Slinky Connections $1-$2
Sewer Solution “Water Powered” Black Tank Macerater  $45
Maroon/Beige Early American Pattern Fringed Couch Throw $10
Maroon Octagonal RV Centerpiece Rug $10
Electrolux Stick Vac & Charger $50 Used in our RV and works fine.
10′ and 20′ TV Cable w/connections
Electric Mini-Cupcake Maker $10
Maps & RVing Mags 25 cents/ea
Lazy Days Umbrella $5
Coleman Twin-Mantle Gas Lantern w/hard plastic carry case $35
Scarce Coleman Flashlight/lantern (Hand-sized/battery op) $25
Early Coleman two-burner camp stove (Uses propane bottle) $25
Flame-less Insect Repellent Candles $5/ea
Eagle Kerosene Lamp w/globe $25
Brand New (boxed) Magic Chef Sandwich Toaster $15
Sony CFD-450 Portable AM/FM/CD Stereo w/detachable Speakers $45
Carpet Sweeper $15
Delonghi Radiator-Style Electric Heater  $17
Hand Bicycle Pump $4Radiator

Belkin N600 DB Wireless Dual-Band N+ Router$8

Aladdin Pump-A-Drink – 1 Gallon water jug / water cooler $12
Hiker’s Camo Hammock $5
Hot Melt Glue Gun  $4
Radio Shack Cordless Solder Gun  $5
Large Coleman Plastic Thermos Bottle Drink Holder in Zipper Pouch Tote Bag $10
Yellow RV Stabilizer Jack Pads set of 4 $5
Whiskey Flask w/leather case $5
Sewer Snake Clog Cable 1/4″ Portable Auger Plumbing Drain Cleaner $12
Day/Night Shade Repair Kit $5
Electric Propane Alarm $5
Small Pet Carrier $10
Walkman CD Player $25
Folding 2-wheel Cart w/bungees $12
Foxfire Homesteading Books $10/ea
Fish & Game Cookbooks $5/ea
Webbed Folding Lawn Chairs w/pads 2 @ $5/ea
Flea Market Address is 180 Racetrack Road, Oldsmar, NY and located between Tampa and Clearwater, Florida.
As always your best offers are invited for consideration.
We are  open to friendly haggling on prices.

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Summary – Fall RV Route South via I-87, I-287, I-78, I-81, I-40 and I-75

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On the road again!

Our 2016 Fall migration South is complete after seventeen days on the road – over 1,900 miles through ten States and eight campgrounds we have arrived at our Winter home in New Port Richey, Florida.

The trip was smooth overall and the only really “rattle the teeth”, bumpy stretch was a few miles through Allentown, PA on I-78. We ran into very little construction and no stoppages along the route and we saw only one accident the entire way.

We found the truckers to be very good about sharing their roadway with us. I would mention one thing though – we saw many of our fellow Rvers exceeding the speed limits on the interstates and as a word of caution you might check the speed rating on your tires. We run 14 ply which not only give us the weight capability we need but are are also rated for a lot more speed than we would ever use. The one accident we did see involved a truck pulling a 5th Wheel though we do not know the circumstances.

We stayed two nights each at eight campgrounds coming down. Seven were new for us. As you may have read from our Snowbird Blog reports, we didn’t find all of them to be great values though none were deplorable and all would be okay for an overnight stop. Saugerties was overpriced but you come to expect that near metropolitan areas.

 

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RV route – Northeast to Florida’s Sun Coast

Pennsylvania Dutch, Endless Caverns and Crossroads Travel were Passport America Members (50% discount) and the rest were Good Sam campgrounds (10% discount). They all more than paid back any membership fees in discounts.

If you have followed us for any length of time you know that we love to find new local restaurants along any route and this trip brought some new ones to share as well as a couple of previous winners that we were happy to visit again.

Saugerties Diner surprised us on the first night of our trip and did it well enough for us to visit the second night as well. After the bad experience we had at the remaining HoJo’s Restaurant in Lake George, NY before our trip, we were happy to find this former HoJo still dishing out good food and service to match.

While at our second stop at Pennsylvania Dutch Campground, we felt the 45 minute drive to once again visit the Oregon Dairy Restaurant and Buffet in Lititz, PA to be worth it. If ever in that area you would not be disappointed by stopping in for a bite.

The Adairsville Inn Restaurant at our 6th stop at Harvest Moon Campground was also a special surprise. Nothing fancy, no linen tablecloths nor liveried servers, just plain old down-home country specialties served buffet style and overseen by two sweet, personable and older Southern ladies as charming as they could be. They are only open certain days and times so check with Miss Pam at the campground.

 

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Adairsville Inn Restaurant – Georgia hospitality

The two restaurants we mentioned at our last stopover in Lake Park, Georgia – both The Farm House Restaurant and (if you like good Mexican food) the Rodeo Mexican Restaurant, are worth spending a night or two in one of the three nice campgrounds at this exit off I-75.

After a great Summer spent with family and friends and exploring the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate NY and the Green Mountains of neighboring Vermont, and to cap it off with a safe and uneventful journey back to Florida, to say we are truly blessed would be an understatement.

If you would like to see a quick summary of our trip and stopovers including all of the info about each and a listing of mileages and costs, visit the 2016 Fall RV Route South page on our website.

Thanks for traveling a few miles with us and if you have any questions about this or any of our Snowbird RV Trails send us a note at snowbirdrvtrails@gmail.com and we’ll get back to you. In the meantime we invite you to “friend” us or “follow” us to join our next adventure.

You can also find photos from our trips and explorations on Pinterest at https://www.pinterest.com/snowbirdrvtrail/ or more about us at http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/aboutus.htm.

Safe travels and enjoy every trip,
Jack and Niki
K.C., B.B., & Stanley

 

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Until we meet down a future Snowbird RV Trail

 

What I did on My Summer RV Vacation (and maybe you should too?)

I do a visual inspection of the outside of our 5th Wheel at least a couple of times each year. I’m looking for screws that show rust and also caulk that is missing or in need of repair. I heard someone say there are a thousand screws holding the outside of a trailer together and I am leaning toward believing it – there are a lot of screws!

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RV Water Leak Prevention
Visual Inspection and Repairs
Part I – Dealing with rusty screws

How we do it and the parts and tools we use…. on our website at
http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/rvleakprevention.htm

Upcoming: In Part II we’ll deal with making the ugly job of caulk removal and replacement on an RV easier and the end job looking more aesthetic when finished.

In Part III we’ll discuss the many “fun” uses for “Eternabond” and other rig-saving RV tapes. Move over duct tape you have some fine competitors in the RV world!

New shoes all around!

There is both good and bad sometimes when deciding to spend the Summer in the mountains of Upstate NY! Niki, I and our furry kids packed up and motored down the Northway – with 5th Wheel in tow – for 80 miles to Queensbury for new tires to be put on the RV.

I had two goals this Summer. One was to have new tires put on for our trip back South coming up soon. The other was to try the new Sailun tires which I have researched ad nauseam and found enough good reviews to warrant giving them a go.

Most of the Summer – on and off – has been spent trying to find a dealer locally in the Plattsburgh area that sells the Sailuns and/or find a professional installer to put them on if I ordered them in.

The RV dealers in the area weren’t interested in the project at all. I had a lapse in memory for a moment and forgot that most if not all RV dealers are interested in sales and certainly not service after the fact. I have a couple of stories of past experience in that regard but perhaps another time.

There are several tire dealers in the area but none I found had the tires I wanted nor the space nor the experience that I felt comfortable with to install them. Suddenly the Sailun tires are out of stock everyplace online even if I had found an installer.

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Longer story short I felt more comfortable with a tire dealer (Tire Warehouse) down in Glens Falls. He ordered in the 14 ply Goodyear tires (G614RST LT235/85 R16) I have been running on the rig for the past six years without problems.

It was a gorgeous sunny day and the trip was uneventful. The lot at Tire Warehouse was small, a fact I noted with many dealers when I started looking at places mindful of towing in a 32′ 5th Wheel, but we made it fit.

My only complaint and I guess the moral of my story had to do with the installation of my new tires. They had two of the four new tires installed on the trailer when I noticed there were no clips used to balance the tires. When I asked about it they told me they NEVER balance trailer tires. I was dumbfounded! I was brought up knowing that if it rolls and is attached to any vehicle it gets balanced. We had a short discussion about the problem and the new tires were taken off, balanced and put back on. Other than that and being up-charged over the original quote I was happy with the end product.

We will be heading South in a few weeks with new tires all the way around – truck tires this past Spring and now new trailer tires. The bank account has been seriously compromised but that takes a back seat when it comes to safety.

It pays to use tire covers to block out UV rays but also inspect your RV tires regularly for wear and sun damage. Think seriously about replacing them when they are 5 to 7 years old even if they look fine. They do get a lot of wear and tear as you take them to new places on new adventures. Be sure to have the new tires balanced as well.

Oh, and yes, the good far outweighs the bad when we made the decision to spend the last five Summers in the Adirondack Mountains. Next year an exciting new destination for us but more about that later.