Monday, August 31, 2015

Montreal and the ADK's

This year we again returned to our favorite area for camping, New York's Adirondack Park.  We stayed in the same area as last year near Paul Smith's college. On this trip we paddled a lot and in a variety of different places in the area including the Saint Regis River, Black Pond, Osgood Pond, Rainbow Lake, Clear Pond and The Flow, the Narrows, Lake Kushaqua, and the north branch of the Saranac River. We also hiked a few places including the VIC and Loon Lake Mountain to take in the amazing views from near the fire tower.

This year we also worked in a long day-trip to Montreal Canada, leaving our campsite super early in the morning and returning late at night. It was an easy 2 hour drive to downtown Montreal where we parked the car in a public lot and spent the day on foot. It was quite an interesting contrast from camping in the woods to being in a city where they speak a foreign language! We had a great time checking out the old parts of the city, touring the Notre-Dame Basilica, and eating a variety of local fare. If you camp in the ADK's a visit to Montreal is great way to mix it up a bit and get two types of vacations in one.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

New tow vehicle: Ford Flex

This year we purchased a new vehicle that also our tow vehicle for our Shasta. It's a 2014 AWD Ford Flex. We were looking for a 6 passenger all wheel drive vehicle that would be a good daily family car and good for towing to replace our 2006 Chrysler Pacifica. The Pacifica served us very well but it was getting on in age and up in miles. If you are considering a Pacifica as a tow vehicle I highly recommend one, it is very comfortable for long trips, has just enough engine to pull a 16' vintage trailer, and at least in AWD trim feels very solid and stable on the road. The Pacific has a nice combination of American and German car traits as it was developed during the time when Chrysler was owned by Daimler-Benz and was built on a german platform.

Our Flex has the optional Ecoboost engine, it's a 3.5 liter V6 with a twin-turbo that achieves the equivalent power to a 6.0 liter V8 while getting better fuel economy. While the improved fuel economy is better than the Pacifica's 3.5 liter V6, it is the horsepower difference that is most noticeable. The Flex is really quick by itself and when towing pulls the Shasta up hills with ease. The retro styling of the Flex pairs nicely with a vintage trailer and the fairly low flat roof works well for carrying our boats. One technology feature that is pretty amazing is that the factory towing package includes electronic Trailer Sway Control that uses the brakes and AWD system to reduce trailer sway when it senses it taking place. It's also good to note here that the towing rating of the Flex is higher with the built with a factory towing package than you can get with an aftermarket hitch. The automatic transmission also uses the motion sensors to make choices about things like downshifting when going down a large hill, and it has paddle shifters that let you manually change gears as well. If you are thinking about a Flex you might also consider a Lincoln MKT as it shares it's drivetrain and other features. Consumer Reports has a nice review of towing a vintage Argosy Minuet with the MKT Ecoboost.

To set the Flex up for use with our trailer I needed to purchase a ball mount with a slightly different "drop" than the one we had been using and also add a Brake Controller. The factory towing package includes a built-in socket for this under the dash. I chose a digital proportional brake controller made by Tekonsha and am very happy with it. It uses its own motion sensors that change the timing and force of the trailers brakes depending on what it thinks is going on. The regular brake controller that we used on the previous vehicle worked fine, but the improvement with the proportional controller is quite noticeable and things feel generally more in control. To finish it off, my wife made a custom graphic for the hitch reciever cover so we can now have a little bit of Shasta with us even if the trailer is not along for the drive!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Keuka Lake State Park and The Windmill

Made it out one last time in 2014, as usual to New York's Finger Lakes region. This year we we changed things up a bit and stayed at Keuka Lake State Park near Penn Yan for a night on our way to Watkins Glen. The campground there has fairly open sites with lots of nice grass. Didn't seem like much to do right the campground but a great base to work out of for touring wineries and other places around the lake.  We stopped by the Windmill farm & craft market on saturday morning and there was a good sized car show going on that included one entry with a trailer in the photo's above.  The trailer appeared to have been lowered to compliment the lowered "built to drag" truck that was serving as tow vehicle.  Inside this trailer their were a couple of best in show plaques from a previous event called "field of dreams".  Quite different from what we see at vintage trailer rallies it pretty cool to see!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

2014 Tin Can Tourists NE Rally

The Tin Can Tourists Northeast Regional Rally has become an event that we work hard not to miss. This year the weather was not the best with rain during much of the open house time but overall a great event. While all the trailers there were great to see the Trottwood with the red stripes above was voted best in show, the owners did a lot of work inside and out to transform their fresh find from the previous year into a real show stopper.  Here's a link to a Flickr album with more of my photos from the event. TCT events draw the best collection of vintage trailers and campers of different makes that you will find anywhere. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Into the Woods, camping in the Adirondacks

No big road trips this year but we were pleased to be able to spend a week and a half in New York's Adirondack Park. Didn't make it back last year and everyone in the family wanted to return. This year we explored the area around Paul Smiths college and the town of Saranac Lake. We hiked several places that we had not been before including Saint Regis mountain where the shot above was taken. We were lucky to get campsites with water access right at the site which helped put a new kayak that I had completed earlier in the season to good use.  We didn't see much in the way of other vintage trailers on this trip but did have some visitors to our site one day who had two Shasta's of similar vintage at another campground in the area. The Adirondacks are spectacular and a great place to take your vintage trailer and disappear in the woods for a while.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Fall Camping in Watkins Glen, NY

Fall camping is a nice way to close out the season. This year we shared time with friends and their vintage Trottwood camper on an adjacent campsite. I didn't get any good photos in the campground but two trailers look especially good together and definitely stand out against the modern trailers on the other sites. This year we spent some time at Reisinger's apple orchard which is not far from the campground, it was a spectacular day and we got a ton of great apples of all sorts of varieties. We also had heard a rumor that the garlic knots at Jerlando's downtown were amazing, now we can confirm it!  As usual we also spent a day hiking in the gorge and also stopped at a few wineries in the area. We always look forward to visiting this area and are glad we can often get back.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

2013 TCT Northeast Rally

About a year behind on post to this blog, been busy camping! Here's a couple of shots of my favorites from the 2013 Tin Can Tourists Northeast Regional Rally. A super cool Modernistic teardrop and a very shiny Silver Streak.