Hello from Seattle- Just bought our first PuP! Our story and a few questions

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by shaxs, Mar 4, 2018.

  1. shaxs

    shaxs Active Member

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    Hello Everyone,

    First of all, I want to say thank you to this community. I have learned so much here just lurking and researching. This is probably one of the most genuine online communities I have seen in years. You guys and gals are awesome.

    Introduction: My wife and I are in our early and mid thirties. We have a 3 year old and 1 year old. She grew up RV camping and I grew up tent camping. Camping has been a huge part of our lives. Our last time camping was when my daughter was 2. We did tent camping and decided we were too old to sleep on the floor. We started kicking around the idea of a tent trailer. It seemed like a good compromise between an RV and tents that we grew up doing.

    In Feb 2017 our son was born. In June, my wife was diagnosed with cancer. It was just skin cancer and was contained. We were not too worried. It was the surgery to remove it that almost killed her. She developed both a staph and strep infection that spread up her leg. She ended up being allergic to 4 types of antibiotics families. They couldn't stop it. Finally they found one she was less allergic to. It made her itch like crazy. But itching was better than the alternative. Between having a second child and everything that happened, 2017 was tough and we missed all outdoor activities. When we were in the hospital, we vowed the following summer we would take advantage of our beautiful environment in the PNW.

    Fast forward to last month, cancer is gone, my wife is healthy, my son is a year and we decide to book 4 camping trips. We initially were going to rent some tent trailers, but the going rate in Seattle was around $100 a night, plus $15 a night for insurance, plus cleaning fees, and services fees ect. It was going to cost $1500-2000 just to rent a trailer 4 times. I was able to convince my wife that it was a sunk cost and buying would be better. We set a budget of $3,000 and began looking.

    The PNW commands a premium price. A 1994 Coleman was listed at $4000. A busted 1993 at $2,000. Dealers in the area were $6,000 for an early 2000 model. But, I am a great deal finder :) I found a craigslist ad for a 2004 Fleetwood Timberlake, in excellent condition, for $3,000. The problem was it was 2.5 hours away and we couldnt go look at it for 3 days. I emailed the owner and built a good rapport with him. I told him a little over our story and why we were looking for a tent trailer. I offered to put a deposit down and if I bought the trailer, it would go towards the purchase. If I didnt, then a portion could be non-refundable for his troubles. He said him and his wife talked it over, they liked us, and trusted our word that we would come out Saturday morning. They decided to hold it for us even though they were getting so many calls about it.

    End result, we bought it. We spent 3 hours at their house. The gentlemen showed me the ropes while his wife helped to entertain my two kids in their house. Honestly, this is the kind of people you want to buy a pop up from. Not only because they were awesome, but they take care of their stuff. He had left the trailer in the exact condition it was when he put it away for the winter. He showed me his own check list for steps to put a PuP up. We walked through every step together. The trailer was in fantastic shape. He had all these little things to keep it in good shape like foam noodles on the edges of the galley so it didnt scuff the floor. Little rubber protectors on the side of the locks so it wont bang against the trailer and damage it. I crawled all over and under that thing and everything looked amazing. Canvas was great. All zippers worked. Bed and floors were solid with no sign of any damage. He even gave me the original manual with every single individual appliance manual. It also included receipts for all work done including when the bearings were repacked, when the new tires were bought, and the new battery, ect. He also included dual propane tanks and gave me his hitch and anti-sway bar. He included a bunch of things like grey water tanks, power type converters, bungie cords, floor mats, totes, and more. He said he never used it past September because there is no opportunity for the canvas to dry out before putting it away since it literally rains like every day in the winter. I paid him full asking of $3,000 for a 2004 Fleetwood Timberlake in very good condition. The only one issue is a small leak in the front storage compartment where the handle is. He leaves a bucket underneath it to catch the drips. I inspected the area and there is no damage at all in the floor.

    I towed it home today all the way back to the Seattle area. I took 101 along the coast. The trailer pulled like a dream behind my V6 4Runner. I almost forgot it was there. I am glad I bought and installed the brake controller. I can definitely feel the help there even though I need to dial it in better. I learned tonight I am terrible at backing up. But, I got the darn thing into my driveway. I have already bought new memory foam toppers, matching comforters, and mattress pads. I cant wait to deck this thing out!

    So thats my long winded story. I am glad I am here.

    Now onto some questions. Here is what I can remember off the top of my head.

    Storage - My driveway is not flat. It has a slight incline to it. I currently have the camper connected my 4Runner with wheel chocks under the tires. The tongue is slightly raised to take some pressure off the 4runner. The wheel on the tongue sits in an aluminum cradle the previous owner built to keep it in place. When I remove it from my 4runner, is there anything else I should do to keep it safely in place?

    I am not going to be able to get this into my garage. It is going to stay outside. What is the best way to keep it safe? I was going to buy a nice cover to go over it. I was maybe even thinking of building a mini carport/roof thing over that is just tall enough for it to sit under. Thoughts?

    Test Setup - Due to my not level driveway, can I still practice setting it up and compensate using the front tongue to make it level? I would like to put it up a few times before my first trip. I have included a picture of what the level looks like. It was dark, but tomorrow I can take a picture of what it looks like in the driveway.

    Flow Restrictor - The one thing he said I needed to get before I hookup to city water was a flow restrictror. I took a picture, but I cannot find exactly what I need. It is attached. Can you point me in the right direction?

    Okay I am tired. It was a long 12 hour round trip day with a 1 and 3 year old in the car. I will probably have more questions later. Thanks everyone!
     

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    Last edited: Mar 4, 2018
  2. shaxs

    shaxs Active Member

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    Here is the picture of the level on the tongue that is facing down slope on my driveway and the flow restrictor mentioned above.
     

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  3. Jorja

    Jorja Active Member

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    Congrats on your camper!

    It looks to be in fantastic condition. You really got a great camper from what sounds like a truly thoughtful couple.

    Thank you for sharing your story, I'm glad your wife is better, your family has been through a lot.

    Looks like one of your kids is all ready to test out the camper!

    For your questions:
    Yes, that is water pressure regulator attached to the city water line. You just attach the brass fitting to the campground water supply if available at your campground site. $8 on Amazon or at the RV section in Walmart.

    It's like this one
    https://www.amazon.com/Camco-Pressure-Regulator-High-Pressure-40055/dp/B003BZD08U

    Our driveway is mostly level and we have a carport. So I can't help with storing questions.


    When we've done Camp Driveway - we leveled our camper with a BAL leveler for side to side

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B000...al+leveler&dpPl=1&dpID=41bDnbrkoiL&ref=plSrch

    And we have a wheeled jack like you do to level front to back.

    The BAL leveler is a more expensive option, but not having to move the camper back and forth over blocks to level, and having a socket wrench to make the raising and lowering easy has been worth the money. We do keep a set of wheel chocks on the other tire when using the leveler.

    Camp Driveway was def helpful for us to work things out before taking on the road.


    Here's to the great camping adventures and memories you and your family have to look forward to!
     
    shaxs likes this.
  4. BigTap

    BigTap Active Member

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    Welcome from Central MA. I am glad that your story has a happy ending and should provide many years of adventure.
     
  5. myride

    myride Well-Known Member

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    Welcome from the cold north! Congrats on new trailer, finds like that are few and far between indeed. I too have an incline on my driveway but still "camp driveway". Just use the tongue jack to level, X2 on a bal or other sysems (I use an Andersen) for side-to-side leveling.
     
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  6. DJS12354

    DJS12354 Well-Known Member

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    Greetings from NEPA! Enjoy the adventures to come in your ntu pup!
     
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  7. f5moab

    f5moab Retired from the Federal Government

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    I park mine on a driveway with a slope; just make sure to block the wheels, I use a standard wheel chock on one side and the other side is a BAL leveler. The BAL can also act as a chock. The lift wheel on mine sits in a concave plastic wheel holder and works great so I'm going to guess your aluminum one will work ok.

    I have never covered mine and prior to moving to Idaho, it was not covered in the desert of SE UT. Today it is not stored, even though it gets covered with snow. My thoughts are they were designed to be out in all weather conditions. So far in seven years, no problems. However, many people do, and I'm sure they will chime in.

    Can't speak for a camping in the driveway, I have never done that. However, I do go into it and clean/work on it, etc., and I keep it leveled (front-to-back and side-to-side using the BAL leveler) in the drive with no problem. Just level it like you will at a campground, and lower the stabilizers using them for stability not for leveling.


    I have never camped where that had water so a flow restrictor has never been necessary. I sanitize the water tank every spring and fill it and head out.
     
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  8. BikeNFish

    BikeNFish Well-Known Member

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    Make sure you CHOCK the wheels. Chocks can be cheap.

    IF you tarp it, a breathable tarp is always recommended. I use one similar to THIS one. I would still cover the pup if it was under a carport. Don't forget to cover the tires too.

    You can, but make sure the pup is level on both front to back axis and side to side axis. Pups aren't very forgiving if you don't have them level before raising the roof. There are a lot of things an non-level pup can mess up. The least is that you may not be able to mount the door. The worst is you could snap a cable under the strain. "Camp Driveway" is also a very good option for your first trip.
     
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  9. Raycfe

    Raycfe Waterford Ct.

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    Welcome from southern Connecticut.
    Maybe some kind of ramp the you can back the camper onto to help level it out.
     
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  10. Bowman3d

    Bowman3d Well-Known Member

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    From the looks of your level the camper is higher in the front than the back. The only problem you might have is with leveling is you might not have enough room to put down the front stabilizers which is not that big of a problem. It’s the rear ones that are important, I think we’ve all done the pop-up wheelie. Camp driveway is fun and a good way to get to know your trailer. Learn what you need and don’t need. Have fun that’s what it’s all about. Oh yeah don’t obsess it doesn’t have to be perfectly level just close. But if your using the refrigerator closest to level the better.
     
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  11. Boatnman

    Boatnman Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to the Portal and greetings from Colorado!
     
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  12. Ruby Jean

    Ruby Jean Member

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    Welcome from another in the PNW!
     
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  13. shaxs

    shaxs Active Member

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    Thanks for the links. That BAL Leveler looks great! Do you leave it on your trailer at all times to level it on the driveway for storage or only when you want to use the trailer for driveway camping? And I assume you bring it with your camping to use at sites to level as well?
     
  14. shaxs

    shaxs Active Member

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    Thank you! I am glad its been a happy ending so far as well. We are still working through the emotional trauma, but physically we are all good!
     
  15. shaxs

    shaxs Active Member

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    Im going to get that BAL leveler. Seems too awesome. I see you leave it leveled at all times using the BAL. Any concerns about long term durability? And do you only use the stabalizers when setting it up, or do you use them while storing it in your driveway too?
     
  16. shaxs

    shaxs Active Member

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    Thanks for the cover suggestion for one that breathes. I will get something like that. Thanks!
     
  17. shaxs

    shaxs Active Member

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    I spent some time today getting the camper backed right where I want it closer to the garage. Well, the back half of the driveway is a lot more level than I thought. I got the camper pretty level front to back this morning. I am going to buy the BAL leveler for side to side.
     
  18. shaxs

    shaxs Active Member

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    Thanks! Maybe you can share your favorite places? We are going to Cougar Rock up by Mount Rainier, Deception Pass Quarry Lake section (only thing still available for Labor Day still), and a small place close to our house called Kanaskat-Palmer. then heading down to Oregon to meet my folks at Joseph H. Stewart State Recreation Area.
     
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  19. gardenbliss

    gardenbliss Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to the portal, from a former Seattlite. Checkout the threads on Anderson levelers vs BAL levelers, there are fans on both sides. I have a BAL leveler. It works great, but is heavy and takes up room in the camper. Then Anderson leveler is much lighter, but more back and forth driving to level and if the pitch is too steep, it won't work. Deception Pass State Park is one of my favorite camping spots. Also, we love Cougar Rock.
     
  20. myride

    myride Well-Known Member

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    I'm a diehard Anderson leveler user...
    and have never had a problem with leveling....put it in place....either back onto it or pull forward onto it...watch your level...add chock...done. Too much pitch? ....I never ever met a location that I couldn' overcome.
    No grease....lighter.....easier to pack.
     
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