Thursday, October 30, 2014

Another Uhaul Camper Restored

So fellow Uhaul Camper owner Bret Hinkie in Texas has done a great job restoring theirs. It was a full frame-off restore. They shared this video of their masterpiece and I'm sharing with you. This shows just how far you can really go restoring one of these vintage trailers and make it your own. Lots of potential and I commend them for their hard work on this project. Enjoy the video!

I wish I had the time or the money to do a great job like this. Unfortunately, I don't have either and I don't want to go a year without using the camper in order to do this detail of work myself. So I'll continue to try to do repairs/upgrades in small bites as I go. With winter coming on, I'm hoping to get some projects done on her before the spring. Maybe a new window installed but definitely hoping to get a new converter installed.More details to come as I get time to do them.

Monday, October 27, 2014

U-haul Fiberglass Camper Tow Vehicles

towing our U-haul (uhaul) fiberglass CT-13 camper
So one of the great things about camping in a small fiberglass camper is that they're lightweight and you can tow them with much smaller vehicles as compared to their stick-built counterparts. I don't need a large F250 or 2500 to pull this thing. I've talked with many folks who pull campers and some of these folks get less than 10 mi/gal when towing their giant rigs. If it's going to cost me $1000 to tow my rig to the beach and camp, I might as well just save the trouble and get a nice house/cabin for the vacation. I should preface this by saying that we typically do not go camping for weeks at a time. While we did do a 10 day trip to South Dakota and back, we normally do about 3-4 days (long weekends).

I have not had the CT weighed yet on a trip, but I know it's well below the limits of the vehicles I've towed it with. Those include the following:
  1. 2001 Mazda Tribute 3.0L V6 (3500lb towing capacity)
  2. 2007 GMC Acadia SLT2 3.6L V6 (4500lb towing capacity)
  3. 2011 Kia Sorento 3.5L V6 (3500lb towing capacity)
Of all of these, the Mazda probably had the biggest hit on gas mileage but some of that I think was due to other engine issues and it's age. It has well over 200k miles on it. The Acadia towed like a dream. (We got rid of it due to other quality issues that were common in the 2007-2009 model years; I can't recommend those years.) Of course it's a larger vehicle than the other two and has a longer wheelbase and 19" tires. We used it on our trip to South Dakota and enjoyed the space and you could barely tell you had a trailer back there. The Mazda probably has the worse stopping due to the rear drum brakes. I prefer 4 wheel discs for towing since the CT-13's do not have trailer brakes. I have not had a chance yet to pull in the mountains with the Kia. Though on our last trip to the beach in South Carolina, it towed fine without any issues.

2001 Mazda Tribute 3.0L V6 towing our U-haul (Uhaul) Fiberglass Camper (CT-13)
2001 Mazda Tribute 3.0L V6 towing our U-haul (Uhaul) Fiberglass Camper (CT-13) 

2007 GMC Acadia SLT2 3.6L V6 towing our U-haul (Uhaul) Fiberglass Camper (CT-13)
2007 GMC Acadia SLT2 3.6L V6 towing our U-haul (Uhaul) Fiberglass Camper (CT-13) 

2011 Kia Sorento 3.5L V6 towing our U-haul (Uhaul) Fiberglass Camper (CT-13)
2011 Kia Sorento 3.5L V6 towing our U-haul (Uhaul) Fiberglass Camper (CT-13) 
For tips on towing check my previous post on towing.

What do you tow with? Would you recommend your tow vehicle to others? Leave a comment below and share your knowledge with others.

Update (May 22, 2016: After several trips with the Kia, we haven't had any problems. I still haven't had it in the steep mountains yet, but it's been without issues. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Ants in the Camper!

On our trip this past summer, we experienced our worst issue so far with ants. They were everywhere and got all in our camper. I woke up in the middle of the night with them biting me. That's not a pleasant way to wake up. In all my years of camping in tents and hammocks, I'd never had problems with ants. I ended up spraying the camper and every point that touched the ground with Deep Woods OFF that I happened to have. That eventually afforded us some relief.

When we got back home, it was time to research how to deal with ants with RV's. I researched a few RV forums and searched via Google. Most folks talked about the various ways to get rid of ants. There's two types of folks I discovered from reading: the type that don't want to KILL anything; and the type that don't mind a few dead ants. I happen to belong in the second group. The good news is, whatever group you belong to, there are solutions

Jar of Petroleum JellyTo Dissuade

 One non-lethal is to put petroleum jelly on the electrical, water, sewer lines. Apparently it annoys them; it would annoy me too if I was going to unhook and grabbed a nice slimy water hose/electrical cord. The other method I've read is using black pepper.

Spectracide Ant Shield

To Kill or Be Bitten

So if you don't mind a few dead ants, there are several options available. They range from baits you'd setup outside the camper to kill the colonies, to using borax or defense barrier sprays around any part of the camper that touches the ground. Home Defense or similar sprays tend to be common from what I read and work pretty good. The key is to block any area they can climb on the camper. So that means: leveling jacks, tongue jack, electrical cord, water/sewer hoses, wheels, awning poles, anything leaning against the camper, etc. I ended up buying Spectracide Ant Shield at our local Walmart. It seemed to do the job on the last trip. Not an ant in sight. I guess to test it fully I should go back to the campground/site that I had all the problems at. I'll keep you updated as we do warm weather camping next year on how it continues to work.

Do you have a any recommendations for keeping the ants at bay? What's your favorite lethal/non-lethal method for keeping the ants from ruining your trip? Feel free to leave a note below to share with others!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Hunting Island, U-haul Camper Style

Uhaul fiberglass camper at Hunting Island State Park, South Carolina
I feel like I left a part of me back in Hunting Island, SC after camping there for 3 nights. About a pint of blood to be exact. At least that's what I'm estimated the biting flies and mosquitoes took. That's right folks. There's a lot of wonderful things about Hunting Island, SC, but bring bug spray....lots of it!

Hunting Island South CarolinaWe had heard a lot of good things about Hunting Island but had never been there. So we planned a trip for 4 days and 3 nights. We hadn't been to the beach all year so we were excited to get the kids in the sand and surf. We ended up on site 121 at Hunting Island State Park. The campground is made up of 5 loops basically. There are two loops near the waterfront/beach. and 3 loops further inland. As I understand it, the breeze off the ocean helps the front loops not have so many problems with the biting flies and mosquitoes but the back 3 loops are in the trees and far enough inland that they don't get any breeze. Combine that with lots of swampy marshland, high humidity, and hot weather, and you have a perfectly blended biting insect smoothie - with you right in the middle of it. Granted this is the second weekend of October and they were having unseasonably warm temps (67-85F). A cold front should be moving in this week so maybe next weekend would have been a better pick. Next time we go, we'll try to pick a cooler time and a spot closer to the ocean.

Outside of the humidity and bugs, we did have a great time. The kids enjoyed the sand and surf. We had a fantastic time exploring the beaches. When the tide goes out, the beach extends way out. The kids really enjoyed walking around with the tide out collecting shells, watching hermit crabs and fish, and we even saw a horseshoe crab and a sea turtle nest.

Hunging Island Lighthouse, South Carolina
We got to climb the lighthouse and the view from the top was great since it was a clear day. You could see all the way north to Edisto Island. I learned a lot about the erosion issues they face on Hunting Island. Even some of my family in SC was telling me that when they were young, they would go there and stay at friends beach houses. But, none of those exist anymore due to the erosion. Now the whole island (what's left of it) is state park land.

We tried a couple of local restaurants while we were there. Johnson Creek Tavern is probably the closest place to eat. It's just over the bridge from the campground on Harbor Island (you cross Harbor Island on the way to Hunting Island) and serves seafood. The food was good and not too expensive. And it's super close the campground. We also tried some BBQ from Q on Bay in Beaufort. It was decent food also. We didn't really get to take in the atmosphere as we got ours on the run but it looks like a great place to sit and dine. Probably the best food I enjoyed was a burger from Fat Patties. This place has great food and an awesome atmosphere. This ain't your dad's grilled out back patties or fast food versions. These are half-pound patties with your choice of grass-fed beef, half beef/half bacon, shrimp, turkey, or black bean patty as a starter for a masterpiece. My wife was not disappointed in the Virginia V and I enjoyed the Who's Your Pattie?

Have you visited Hunting Island before? Do you have any pointers to share on best location to camp or time to go, or sites to see while there? Drop a line in the comments section below please, We plan to go back and I'd love to hear your opinions!