Friday, September 5, 2014

Natural Tunnel SP - Labor Day 2014

This year we spent Labor day at or Favorite local SP, Natural Tunnel.  Site #5 was open right next to my good friend Chris's site.  The family likes this site because of the late afternoon shade, personally... there is a trade off with that... there is no morning / early afternoon shade.... :) 
My buddy's camper is named "Rain Maker"....  

Dad and Aaron hanging out at the waters edge.
Have to take some time out for snacks....

One of the reasons we like this SP is the Pool.... from the top of the water slide there is a killer view of the mountains.  

Brother and Sister diving contest....
Drawing Session with friends... :)
Evenings.... this year they added a new playground. 
Hanging at the camp store.... last weekend before closing for the season... Ice Cream 2 for a buck, can't beat that...

Gun show before calling it a weekend....  Had a great time, even though it rained every night and some in the days.... "Hey its camping"

Monday, August 11, 2014

Goshen System Cable Replacement

Replacing the main lift cable
(Goshen Lift System) on my 97 Dutchmen 1203 Pop Up Camper
I didn't find many photo guides on how to do this so I decided to make on in hopes of helping others
Below are some links that I've found that might help. 
Its really pretty easy to do.  I only had to remove the tubes on the same side as the pulley.  In my case it was the front, because Dutchmen put their wench in the rear of the camper.  Others with a tongue mounted wench would be working with the rear tubes. 
Remove these two bolts (above the tubes)  
Remove these two bolts underneath the main tube.
Free the lift tubes from the frame supports.
Remove the 2 bolts holding the tubes to the frame corners.

The tubes should be free of the camper now.
Inside the tubes are the lift springs.   Fish them out of the lifting arms / camper. 
Tubes and Springs free from the camper.
The two ends of the springs are connected together with a slot for the cable to run between
Once the springs are out of the main tube, you can fish the old cable out.
Below is the new cable ordered from Goshen Stamping,  I also decided to order a replacement pulley since it was cheap (8 bucks) and this one has bearings inside... my old one was squeaking, I probably could have gotten along just fine with the old pulley, but what the hey....  The only bad thing about ordering the cable from the factory is that they charge a UPS COD fee....   Not happy about that, but they got it to me in a couple of days and offered phone assistance if I got into trouble replacing it. Very nice customer service.... just give them the year and model and they know exactly what cable to send you.   they also have other parts to the system... lift arms, springs, tubes....etc...
The pulley is how you adjust the cable so that both ends of the camper come up at the same time, so since I was changing it out it was important that I make sure the new one was the exact same distance from the frame as the old one....   
Both New and old Pulleys.
Looks close enough for amateur work
The winch I had was a Dutton-Lainson DLB-800A.  Below is a link if you ever needed to replace it.

This is how my winch looked when I was getting ready to replace the cable.  Who ever attached the cable last had it all screwed up.  The cables crossed under and through each other as if they were tying it to the spool and then they had the cable end going through a hole that it was not supposed to be, which was probably causing it not to spool correctly.  My cable wasn't busted, but seeing this mess was what made me want to change it out.
 Dutton-Lainson winch Repair parts can be found here if you notice any problems with it while you've got the cable off.
So here is the new and old cables together.  (Just making sure that they are the same length and have the crimps in the same location.   Goshen was spot on. 
Here I'm using the old cable to pull the new one through towards the wench end.
Pull the old cable through so you have only what you need to grab on to in order to pull the new one through.   Remember you still have springs on one side so you have to make sure you can still get the new cable though the main tube before the old cable makes contact with the springs that are still in the tubes. 
I greased the springs as I started pushing them back into the tubes, sure makes pushing them through a lot easier at the bends in the tubes.
Next Fish the cable through the pulley. 
I greased the end of the cable before starting it in the main tube. 
Once you have the end in the main tube, you can start fishing the springs back in

Once you've got the springs in and the tubes close enough to the main tube, you can start lining up  the spring ends back up into the lifting arms in the corners,  Wipe off the excess grease from the springs as not to make a mess.  This much of the spring only needs a very light coat as just keep the rust down. 

Ok, at this point your good to go for reconnecting the spring tubes to the frame. 
There is cut out areas between the tubes for the cable to move freely.  Make sure that the cable is not caught up or bound somehow ... make sure it moves free before tightening the spring tubes to the main tube. 
Ok... I followed the video the best I could on attaching the cable to the wench.  this is what I came up with according to them.   This took up most of time believe it or not.  The main gear is just too darn small and the one they use in their video I believe is a larger one so it looks easy in the video.  See video below.
 Video on winch cable install
Looks a whole lot better than it did before I started.
"Do not grease the wench"   there is a clutch in it and grease can cause it to fail.
Not to mention that grease will only collect dirt and sand....
Don't forget to fill these two zerks with grease.  Till it starts to come out the ends of the main tube.  Your supposed to do this at the beginning of every season anyway.
That about does it.   Just looking at the diagrams you find on the web, it looks a lot more confusing than it really is.   That's one of the reasons I took the time to make this blog entry to show how easy it really is.   I hope this How To helps someone.  Leave me a comment and tell me how it went.   

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Grayson Higlands, VA State Park 2014

4th of July Weekend  

This year we setup at site #26, about mid way between the two bath houses.  
The site wasn't very level... had the BAL leveler jacked to the MAX and still wasn't perfect.  I don't think there is a level spot (other than the tent pads) so bring lots of blocks, because you never know where you might setup, they are trying a pilot program to allow you to reserve a specific spot, but those spots are limited and not very many of them on the list.  Also they have no photos of the sites so I guess you had better take notes during your first visit...   One neat thing is that the camp host makes rounds in a gator full of ice and fire wood.   Wood is 5.00 and ice is 2.50 for 10 lbs. 
Yep, brought a fan, but never turned it on.  Daytime highs were low 70's, Night time lows in the 50's (Pretty Chilly for the 4th of July)  Word of caution, bring jackets to Grayson no matter what time of the year it is..... We ended up driving to West Jackson, NC to pick up something warm for the nights.
Got a hammock for the trip,  Hammocks seemed to be the big attraction last year for the kids.
Want to keep the kids from running off..... get a hammock and watch them fight for it.  

Meet "MR TREE" my daughters favorite spot in the campground and seemed to be the other girls as well.  There isn't much of a playground, only one swing set in an open field, guess that's what makes "MR TREE" so popular even through it isn't a Poplar... LOL   
Here are some views looking down the loop. 
A nice down hill run to build up speed on your bike.   She's off to visit her friends and Mr. Tree
Camp fire cooking.... Can't beat it.   "My favorite part of camping"
Food always brings them back.  

Last years GH camping blog....

Hiking at the Grayson...  

Maggie Gap to the Saddle
Campground to The Scales

Creeper Trail - White Top to Damascus

Starting out at White Top Station.....
Green Cove Station was celebrating their 100 year anniversary.   1914-2014  
Decided to stop for a quick rest stop and some crayfish hunting.

Heading back..... The trail from the top to Damascus is a total of 17 miles.  If your feeling froggy,  from there you can go on another 17 to Abingdon. 

A big shout out to Creeper Trail Bike Rentals ..... There was no way I was going to be able to park in the lot where everyone else does.  They made room for me to park my truck with camper where their shuttles load.   From now on, they will be the only shuttle service I use.   A great bunch of guys and the shuttle is one of the cheapest... 15.00  to White Top Station where the trail starts. 
Here's their link...