Getting Air

After two test drives, plus Michigan Dennis and I emptying a surprising 900 pounds of fresh water out of the tank, the toy hauler is still not leveling properly.  It’s “manageable, probably”, but I am not comfortable with the long drive home on “probably”.  Who would be?

So the quest continues to try to figure out what to do to make it right.  Park Rangers Tyler and Dick stop by and ask about my truck. They had heard about my troubles from Michigan Dennis.  One more time, we go over the specifications of my truck, to ensure it is actually capable of towing the toy hauler.  It is. Of course a bigger truck would be better, but mine is sufficient, theoretically.

And then one of the guys says “Why don’t you have air bags installed?”

Gee, I don’ know.  Why don’t I?

The idea sends me on a mission to find out who, what and where I can get air bags. I talk with Roger from down on the other end of the campgrounds.  He had airbags installed to pull his pop up with his SUV. Said he bought the kit on line and paid A&A Trailer Hitch Center $100 or so to install them.   Rat Fink Don comes over to talk to me about it.  He’s an absolute motor head, and has all sorts of catalogs for ordering automotive parts.  We investigate, pour through his catalogs and find just the right air bag package to purchase.  Then I call A&A, the place Roger used, and get an appointment.  I order the air bag package on line and the Park is gracious enough to let me have it shipped to the office. 

The next few days are like a lifetime, waiting for the kit to arrive and the appointment to arrive, too!   I end up buying a Rat Fink antenna topper from Rat Fink Don. 

Finally on this stellar sunny morning I’m on my way to Bradenton to have the installation take place.

My appointment is over the lunch hour, so I grab my purse and computer and go for a walk to find something to eat.  Just a block down the road is a large rustic establishment that looks like it must serve steaks and ribs.  I walk in, and to my surprise it is a bar only, and a hard core biker bar at that, and it is filled with hard core biker guys that all turn around in their bar stools simultaneously to look at me as I step in asking about lunch.  The bartender grunts something like “no food here” with a cigarette stuck between his lips, and I quickly back out of the building.  Yikes.  Who’d a thunk?  I look up and down the busy street, and about three blocks the other direction is a Mexican restaurant sign.  Let’s give it a whirl. I hike over there and they are not open for lunch.  I’ve got one option left.  Directly across the street from the car repair is tiny little Los Laureles Supermarket.  Ok, let’s give it a whirl. To my surprise, as I squeeze down one of the narrow isles, I find a tiny Mexican deli in the back of that tiny convenience store that has the biggest and most amazing tacos ever.  In fact everything they prepare is huge and amazing to smell and see.  I had a huge, made from scratch, tasty chicken taco lunch for $3.00.  Unbelievable.

By the time I return to the car place they are almost done with the installation.  Bob, the owner, takes time to talk with me about my Toy Hauler set up and some of the issues I’m having.  He shows me other trailer hook up options, and it makes me wonder why the dealer set things up the way they did.  One thing I am strongly considering now is getting an electric crank.  But, not today!

“Jim” appears from the garage bay, introduces himself, and says my truck is done. We go outside so he can show me how it all works.

“Right now you’ve got 20 pounds of air in there, you can go up to 80” he explains. 

“Why wouldn’t I just have 80 in there now?” I ask (yeah, I am an idiot)

He laughs…. “now that would be one rough ride, you’d be bouncing down the road like mad! Trust me, 20 pounds is enough to start.” 

I can see that my back end is up quite a bit higher than before.  It looks kind of macho.  I like it.  I hope it works.  Jim asks me why I opted for air bags to begin with, and tells me he is available if I want to drive back with the trailer and he will look at it and get it to level correctly if I run into further problems.  How sweet is that? 

So I get behind the wheel and drive out of the parking lot.

WOOOO HOOOOO!  This is fun!  I’m feelin’ kinda sassy!  This is feeling like one bad ass truck!  I like this back end up in the air business!

I’m so caught up in the fun of it all, I take a totally wrong turn and end up on some road that takes me past the OBrien Family Farms, locally grown fruits and vegetables.

Of course I have to stop…………

What an amazing place!  It’s a huge family farm that specializes in hydroponic gardening, and you can walk through it and pick your own fruit and vegetables, or they will pick it for you.  They provide educational programs for groups and schools on the health benefits of eating locally grown foods.  What a treat to be able to eat fresh grown food straight out of the ground, virtually year round.  Can’t do that in Minnesota.  Florida is the Strawberry capital of the country and O’Brian Farm has fields of strawberries, so of course I have to pick a bunch, along with some kale and spinach.  Yum!

Eager to get back to camp to show off my fresh produce and jacked up truck, I head home with a noticeable spring in my ride…..yeah, I’m gettin’ air, man!

 

 

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