Thursday, November 24, 2011

Taking Charge: The surprise on the way to pick-up our Airstream

The trip from Montgomery to Oxford seemed like a great time to read the owner’s manual for our new tow vehicle, a Ford F-150 Ecoboost V-6. There were several questions that we wanted answers to and we hoped the owner’s manual would clear up our anxiety surrounding pulling three and a half tons of house behind us with a V-6.

That was when we read something we probably needed to know about before now. Ford said you cannot pull a trailer until you have logged 1,000 miles. A quick check of the odometer told us that we had only 250 miles. This could be a new problem to solve.

About the time we discovered this little fact, we passed a Ford dealership and pulled in to ask the service manager how important it was to refrain from towing until we had 1,000 miles on the truck. The response was that the seals hadn’t seated and the truck needed that 1,000 miles to make sure everything would work right in the future. He also added that the truck’s computer would log a trailer and void our warrantee if we elected to ignore Ford’s rules and pull the trailer before putting 1,000 miles on the truck.

Suddenly, the game changed from picking up the Airstream to simply having our orientation. We would pick up the trailer the next day after a 750 mile trip to nowhere.

While orientations are important, they are also overwhelming. There is a lot to learn about camping in an Airstream and it became apparent that it would take a few weekends to start feeling comfortable with our new trailer.

There was another problem in that the Airstream’s monitor panel was giving a false reading and leaving it there overnight would give the technicians an extra day to correct this issue.

We arrived the next day with 1,000 miles behind us and ready to pick-up the trailer. That was when we found out that the dealer needed a part from Airstream to correct the monitor problem and we would be heading home without our new camper. That was disappointing.

Before heading back a week later, we called to verify that everything was fixed and the trailer was ready to hit the road.

We used our third trip to Oxford for a brief remedial orientation. We were also given instructions on hitching the trailer to our truck and some guidelines on how to back-up when towing.

With this whirlwind of information swirling around in our heads, we hitched up and headed out for our first camping adventure.

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