I need to catch up on our last week at Towerpoint RV Resort in Mesa, Arizona. I won’t go into a blow-by-blow account, but there are a few highlights.
First off, I mentioned that we had another Jetpack battery failure. This is the third time in less than three years that we had a lithium-ion battery pack fail. The battery packs go into an overheat protection mode that blows the pack apart and shuts the battery down. I think it’s a charging issue with our Jetpack. I purchased a digital lamp timer and set it to vary the time of the charge with discharge times. Somehow the programming of the timer was lost and unbeknownst to me it’s been charging the battery pack full-time. Lithium-ion batteries are at their best between 40% and 85% of full charge – this should result in long life.
I had a new battery delivered overnight. It’s a different brand, not the same Pantech that came with the Jetpack. This one is branded Beltron. Both brands come from China, so they may be the exact same thing with different labels for all I know.
Old battery self-destructed
New Beltron branded battery pack
I bought the new battery from Amazon for less than $18 including overnight shipping. I reprogrammed the timer to cycle between one hour on and one hour off. We’ll see how this works out. When we’re stationary for a week or more, I’ll order another battery for back-up.
I was a pickleball demon the last week in the park. My court time culminated with a round robin session at Sun Life RV Resort for 3.5 level players. I’m not sure how much pickleball action we’ll see in the coming weeks, so I wanted to get my quota. After the round robin on Wednesday, I cleaned the Traeger and loaded the trailer. I’m happy with the results – everything has a place and it all came together nicely.
We planned an early – for us – getaway on Thursday. We wanted to be on the road by 9am, 9:30 at the latest. The day didn’t start off well. I couldn’t log in to my blog. In fact, my web page wouldn’t open at all. When I tried to open Flyingthekoop, I got an error message telling me the page wasn’t available! I didn’t have time to investigate – I had to disconnect our coach, hook up the trailer and load the Can Am Spyder.
I wanted to push the trailer back on the concrete pad at our site, then angle it so I could back the coach up to it and hook up. This turned out to be easier said than done. A few weeks ago I saw an older man struggling to move his car dolly trailer into position in the site across from us. I went over to help and pulled it into place over his trailer hitch. I knew our 20-foot car hauler trailer would be harder to move than a car dolly, but I didn’t realize how hard.
First of all, pushing it back on the pad was a slightly uphill push. I had to enlist Donna’s aid to get it moving. Then, getting turned to the angle I needed was really tough. Our old trailer had a single axle and getting it to turn wasn’t too difficult. The new trailer has tandem axles. With one set of tires ahead of the other set, all four tires describe a different arc through a turn. This means the tires have to scrub as they fight each other to track the turn. It takes a lot of muscle to overcome the friction of the tires scrubbing and laying down rubber.
We eventually got the trailer in position with a lot of sweat. I hitched it to the coach and pulled into the street to load the Spyder. The Spyder rides pretty much alone in the back half of the trailer.
Spyder occupies the back half of the trailer
We wanted to get an early start due to an appointment I had at TrailersPlus. You might recall the issue I had when they installed a door handle on the side door. It wasn’t installed properly and I had holes in the door skin. I was told they would replace the door skin while I waited if I got there between 10 and 10:30am. It’s about a 45-mile drive and I wanted to allow an hour of drive time. We left the RV park around 9:40am.
The traffic wasn’t bad and I made good time arriving at TrailersPlus at 10:30am. But, we had a problem. There were two pickup trucks at the entry, blocked by a locked gate! When I talked to the manager, Troy, on Tuesday he told me they don’t officially open until 1:30pm, but he would book time to have his guy install the door skin in the morning. I thought that was great service.
Now I was stopped on the frontage road next to I-17 blocking the lane as I tried to figure out what was happening. A couple of cars got around me to access the freeway on ramp, but then a big tractor-trailer rig pulled up behind me. I had to move on, I couldn’t sit there and block the ramp.
I went down the road and made a right turn at the next stoplight. I could see the map on the GPS and figured I would make a loop and park on a side street to see why the place was locked up. The next right turn wasn’t pretty. The road was fairly narrow with cars stopped at the light in the opposite lane. As I made the right turn, I had to go deep before I turned in to get our 65-foot length through the turn. I wasn’t going to make it. Lucky for me, the drivers were attentive – the first car pulled forward and moved over. The next two cars backed up giving me room to complete the turn.
Meanwhile Donna was on the phone with the TrailersPlus corporate office trying to find out what happened to our appointment. I parked on the street around the corner from TrailersPlus. I went to the gate – it was closed but not locked with a chain now. I could see people in the office so I opened the gate and walked in. It was 10:45am by now. I walked to the office and went in.
The guy at the counter asked me what I wanted. I told him I had an appointment and needed to get my coach off the street and into their lot. He acted like he didn’t know anything about an appointment but he agreed to open the gate and let me drive in.
After parking the coach and trailer in their lot, I went back to the office. Another guy at the counter asked me if I was dropping off the trailer! I told him I had an appointment and Troy said he would book the time to get the door skin replaced while I waited. Th guy was surly and said Troy would be in later. Then he said let’s go take a look. We walked to the coach and trailer and it seemed like he suddenly remembered why I was there. He told me to drop the trailer and he would get it into the service bay. I don’t know why I had to go through the hassle of dropping the trailer and then hooking up again. The service bay was easily big enough for me to pull through with the coach and he could have replaced the door skin with the trailer in the bay. But I didn’t argue. I dropped the trailer.
He pulled the trailer with a fork lift equipped with a ball. I got my torque wrench out of my tool box and proceeded to check the trailer lug nuts. Troy showed up while I was doing that. He said I should let his guy work and stay out of his way. I told him it would just be a minute, then I’ll stay out. But I watched the work from about 30 feet away. After the fiasco with the door handle and the guy hiding his shoddy work, I wanted to see how this went together.
Door skin removed
The guy damaged a trim piece on the door and had to replace that as well. We were on our way again a little past noon.
Our destination for the day was the Thousand Trails Verde Valley RV Resort and Campground (map). When I pulled off Highway 260, our GPS said we had arrived. All I saw was a narrow winding road ahead and a group of RVs in a dirt lot to my left. I pulled into the lot – I didn’t want to go down a narrow road without knowing where it went or if I would be able to turn around.
I found the campground on the GPS map – it was at the end of the winding road. The dirt lot I pulled into wasn’t big enough to make a U-turn. I had to jockey back and forth to get turned around – good practice maneuvering the new trailer.
The ranger at the entrance had all of our paperwork. This is our first stay at a Thousand Trails park. Our membership entitles us to 30 free nights – well, it isn’t really free if you count the $545 membership fee – it works out to about $18/night for full hook-ups. Not bad. After our free 30 nights, we’ll pay $3/night. That’s a deal! The ranger told me he had four sites that would fit our rig and we could choose the site we wanted and let him know which one we took.
I couldn’t get our full length into the frame at the park entrance
We’re in a 90-foot pull through site, so we didn’t have to drop the trailer. Oh, and while we were on the road, Donna got on the phone with Bluehost – the web hosting service for this blog. They found a bug in a plug-in and deactivated it. Then we updated the plug-in, reactivated it, and that fixed the problem.
It was very quiet here last night. We’re at an elevation of a little over 3,000 feet above sea level. It’s a little cooler here than in Phoenix. We plan to explore the area over the next few days. This post is getting wordy, so I’ll post some of the meals Donna prepared last week in my next post.
*Just so you know, if you follow one of my links to Amazon and decide to make a purchase, you pay the same price as usual and I’ll earn a few pennies for the referral. It’ll go into the beer fund. Thanks!