Back in September, we wrote about the process of finding and purchasing an upgrade from our 22′ International CCD to our new 27′ International CCD. Months later, after a few delays caused by installed upgrades and family matters, we arrive at the continuation of the saga, also know as The Pickup.
We made it to ExploreUSA RV of Denton at around 10am. The Service Manager, Deborah met us, had us sign a few things, and went through our itinerary for the day. BTW – possibly the nicest, most helpful service manager I’ve ever worked with.
Almost as soon as Deborah finished with us, ExploreUSA RV Techs were swarming around us, ready to help. Service Tech and Installer Troy was eager to get started installing the Tekonsha Prodigy P2 Electronic Brake Controller in our 07 Tundra. Troy did an excellent job explaining the process, and when we told him we didnt have the Toyota branded adapter to hook up the brake system, he simply said “Well, I can hard wire it if its ok with you”. Not a problem Troy, do what you do.
Lights! Power! Action!
Next, they ushered us to a holding garage where we saw the Big Weaz for the first time since buying her in September. She was hooked up, AC running, TV and lights on – ready for lift off! The nerd in me immediately thought of Star Wars, when Han takes Luke to see the Millenium Falcon for the first time.
Ok, maybe not quite that epic – but it was pretty cool to see her all hooked up for the first time none-the-less.
We were soon met by a nice man named Jay, who it turns out was the electrical guru on staff. Jay did the wiring for our new Converter and Inverter systems, and I must say, he did an excellent, clean job. What do you think?
Jay walked us through all the what, how, why, when, and where of using both the Go Power! Sine Wave Inverter and the Intelli-Power PD9280 80Amp Converter w/ Converter Status Remote Pendant. We first became interested in the Intelli-Power after reading some of the great reviews on airforums, but it was the excellent write up over at Dreamstreamr’s site that swayed us toward the upgrade. We’ll write up a review once we’ve had a chance to put it through its paces, but I’m looking forward to great things and healthy batteries!
Re-learning Airstream Basics from a Walkthrough
Once Jay finished explaining the electronics, Troy returned to go through the rest of the trailer with us. It turns out, Troy just returned from Airstream HQ in Jackson Center, where he learned about how Airstreams were made and, if i recall correctly, was awarded an Airstream certification. He certainly learned enough to give us a fantastic tour of our new home, including How-Tos for the AC, sewage, awning, and all the new electrical and propane systems, all of which I plan to make available on this site soon.
It helped that we knew our way around an Airstream, but the walkthrough was a great refresher and chance to relearn some wrong habits. For example, we learned that we never really knew how to properly set up our Zip Dee awning. As it turns out, you have to set, or “spear,” the tension bars at the top to really make sure its stable and stands up to gravity and wind gusts. Its a wonder the thing didn’t come down on our heads before!
Here’s a video for those of you who, like us, could use an update:
RV Storage at the Bay
After the walkthrough, it was time for lunch and a quick visit to Anchor Bay Boat & RV Storage, where Explore USA helped us acquire safe, covered storage for the Big Weaz. This was yet another outstanding experience that we want to tell you all about in future posts. For now, if you’re in the Dallas Fort Worth Area and are looking for fantastic storage option w/ excellent service, secure grounds, free washing station, free dumping, free limited electricity, and even free ice (!), then look no further than Anchor Bay – tell them Deke and Tiffani sent you!
After lunch and settting up the storage unit, it was time to go pick up the trailer, perform our final hitch up, and get on the road. As soon as we arrived, Troy had our brake controller installed and another Tech, Keith, had finished with our hitch.
About the Hitch
We went with the Equal-i-zer Sway Control Hitch over some of the other options out there. Again, Airforums.com was a tremendous source of information for hitches, but in the end, we were familiar with the sway bar systems and found the price / performance on this hitch to best suit our needs for now. If we were going to be travelling more, I would have probably gone with the Hensley Arrow, but since we’re going to be stationed in Dallas for the next few years, the Equal-i-zer seemed to be a good fit for us.
While I’m on the subject of hitching, I was never really happy with the old chains and slack wires with the Little Weaz. One of my goals for the Big Weaz was a clean, tight line running from trailer to tow vehicle. To achieve this, I had Explore USA replace the “pig tail” 7pin electrical wire with a coiled version that looks like a telephone cord. I also had them replace the standard safety chains with coiled versions. I’m extremely happy with the result – a tight but expandable, clean, black line connecting the truck to the trailer. But I may be a bit biased – how does it look to you?
Hitching up and Driving away… almost
Finally It was time to hook it all up and drive away – almost. Troy was proud of his work, but he didnt want me to get in the drivers seat without first giving the system a little safety check. He drove me around the ExploreUSA parking lot, explained how the brakes worked, and helped me find the right settings. Then he got out and I proceeded to back into my new hookup.
As with anything new – especially something with so many moving and independant parts – something was bound to go wrong. Up to this point, we were just following along in the footsteps of the pros, learning about all the new bells and whistles of our new home. Now, it was our turn to get involved – and thats when things took a turn toward the challenging.
More on that in part two of The Big Weaz – Our New Airstream International 27FB
We love hearing from you! Please leave a comment below – we read and reply to all of them!