Friday, April 15, 2016

Our new Bullet Shakedown Trip

We needed to take a shakedown trip in our brand new, unproven Keystone Bullet Ultra-lite 269RLS (the RLS stands for Rear Living area and Slide) travel trailer (previously described in the last post). So, three days after getting it home and loaded up, we headed out for the Wilderness RV Park a few miles east of Silver Springs, FL and around 60 miles from home. It's always wise to take a short trip not too far from home with a new trailer to test all the systems, see how it handles loaded behind the tow vehicle and generally if there are initial problems you don't want them to occur far from home.  (For example, on our maiden trip with the new Coleman last year we went 12 miles up the road from home, of course that was our first trip ever with a travel trailer.)

We got everything ready to go, reefer loaded and quickly hooked the truck to the trailer.  Since the new trailer takes up a lot more of our driveway, when the truck and trailer are joined the truck takes up half the road in front of our house, so we cannot dilly dally when doing this.

We got on the road around 11:00 AM and headed south on highway 11, then west on 40 toward Silver Springs.  We stopped at the Essex seafood restaurant between Barberville and Astor Park for lunch.  I stayed in the truck with Sugar Belle while Jeri went inside for "to-go" lunches.  While waiting (and every time we ever stop for any reason) I always walk around the rig and check everything out.  Always a good idea to do this.
Stopped at Essex Seafood

The food was delicious.  Jeri got three different "boats" (seafood and a side): Shrimp, Scallops and Clam Strips (all fried, of course), along with onion rings, cole slaw and french fries.  Everything was really, really good!  After eating we got back on the road.

We arrived at the campground in the early afternoon and Jeri got us checked in and a worker led us to our campsite in a golf cart.  We had to make a really sharp left turn, but got it done after the lady in the trailer on the corner came out and moved her chain post.  I think I did manage to sort of cut through her grass, but hey, that's the way they led me, so not much I could do about it.  We had made this same left turn in this same RV park last year in with our Coleman without any problem at all, but the axles on the trailer are further back on the bigger trailer so my turning radius is a bit longer.

We ended up being assigned to campsite #35, the exact same campsite we were in last year.  What a coincidence!  It's a good site, though.

Our campsite (#35) at Wilderness RV Park
As you can see this is not a woodsy, roomy, very private campsite, but we knew it would be that way because we had been here last year.  The idea of this trip, as previously stated, is to check out towing and all the systems on the trailer under actual use.

I earned a beer after setting up the trailer in the campsite.
This RV park has a small restaurant and it was pretty good when we had breakfast there  one morning last year, but we did not eat there this trip.  They also have a small store where they make and sell "world-famous" Whoopie Pies.  We got some last year and they are pretty good, but we did not buy any this trip.  The park also has a very nice, large dog run where dogs can run freely off the leash.  Our Sugar Belle loved it!
Oh, yeah!!  Running free...
Thank you, Mommy, I love this!
After a pleasant Friday night, we got up to a beautiful, clear morning Saturday.  Vicki and the boys came over to spend the day and night and Jeri and they went to the Silver Springs State Park to have a glass bottom boat ride and see the springs while Sugar and I hung around camp and went for a walk.
Walking the dog--watch out for gators!
Don't worry, Daddy, I'm watching for cars...

We grilled chicken, a cheeseburger for Jack and shrimp for dinner.  Yummy!
Grillmeister hard at work with the Weber.
Vicki and the boys headed back home Sunday because Jack had school Monday.  The trailer slept the five us us pretty good.  I'm very happy with the separate master bedroom! ;-)
A beautiful Florida sunset at the campground
Jeri and I broke camp Sunday morning after a quiet evening and headed home, stopping at Essex Seafood again for lunch.  One of Jeri's cousin's husbands, Bill, had come to Florida while were camping and was staying at our house.  

We made three different trips to the Walmart in Silver Springs over the course of the three days of our trip.  LOL  We bought various things we needed for the trailer, like another new curtain rod and curtain that I put up while we were there, as well as additional stick-on hooks to hang stuff on.  The truck and trailer both worked great--the new trailer proving itself as a great new addition that we are going to really like traveling with and camping in.

Epilogue:  After arriving home we pretty quickly unloaded the reefer and other stuff we don't leave in the trailer all the time and cleaned it at bit.  The next morning I checked the torque on the trailer wheels (all good) put some air in the tires and we took it to the storage place.  Since then I have ordered a new battery disconnect switch and wiring so I can add that to the trailer and am close to making a final decision on which new hitch to get.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Our New 2016 Keystone Bullet 269RLS Travel Trailer

On Wednesday, 4/6/16 we towed our wonderful little Coleman 192RDS, 19' box, 23' overall, up to the Jacksonville, FL Camping World.  We had spent the previous day and a half, with the trailer at home, stripping many of the additions we had made to it off, so we could use them on the new trailer.  Some things we left on the Coleman, of course.
Last time towing our great, but little Coleman 192RDS trailer.

A couple of hours or so later, we pulled our brand new Keystone Bullet Ultra-Lite 269RLS, a 26' box and 31' overall home.  The dealer had to switch some weight distribution hitch stuff from the Coleman to the Bullet and we had them switch the really nice new bed we had bought in Texas from the Coleman to the Bullet.  They also gave us a complete walk-thru inside and out, showing us that everything worked and how to work everything.  Very thorough job by Chris.  And of course, we had to sign a raft of paperwork and pay them for the new trailer.
Hooked up to the new trailer at Camping World in JAX
Good looking rig!
Pulled out into their parking lot just before heading home for our first pull of the new Bullet.
After pulling several miles we stopped at a rest area to check things out--the rig was pulling pretty well in spite of some pretty strong wind gusts.
In our driveway so we can start loading it up with stuff. 

Believe it or not, but we backed the new, longer trailer into just where we wanted it in our driveway on the first try!

The Super Slide has the dinette and try-fold sofa--this really adds to the space inside!
Sugar Belle checking out her new home-away-from-home.  She approved after a while...  The super slide is open in this picture (on the left).

We had a couple of trim pieces pop loose during the pull home, but I fixed the issues the next day with some good glue and paneling nails.  We also found a couple of minor scratches we had not seen before and Jeri fixed those pretty easily (and quickly).  

We immediately started moving stuff we had taken out of the Coleman into the new trailer to get it ready for a "shakedown" camping trip (next post).  I also did some mechanical checking, i.e., tire air pressures.  The trailer came with a mount on the back bumper for the included "Aussie" grill.  I removed the mount since Jeri bought me a wonderful little Weber Q1200 for my birthday and it's a better grill and I plan to sell the Aussie.  BTW, if you are in the market for a smaller-type grill I highly recommend the Q1200.

We decided to leave Friday, 4/8/16, for a three-night shakedown trip to the Wilderness RV Park located just a few miles east of Silver Springs, FL and about 60 miles or so from home.  This would give us a good idea how the loaded trailer was going to handle behind our F150 Ecoboost Platinum 4x4 and how well the trailer systems were going to work in actual use.