Well Independence Day arrived much sooner than expected this year and before we knew it we were packing up the trailer and hitting the road for our first trip ever in our 1971 Aristocrat Starliner AKA “Goldie”. In honor of freedom day I chose not to register the trailer thanks to three failed attempts at the DMV to get it done (that’s another story). So we hit the road in our unregistered antique packed full of camping gear and beer.
We spent 3 nights up at Beaver Campground in Washington and our group had 3 campsites occupying a nice little cul-de-sac at the edge of the campground near the river. We decided we would treat this trip as a trial with the trailer and it would be a good opportunity to see how everything functioned.
Stuff that Worked
Towing the trailer was a breeze. In the RPOD we rented 2 years ago the Yukon had a tough time pulling it and I had to manually put the transmission in 3rd gear so I wouldn’t tear it up. On this trip we headed out I84 up the gorge and I kept it between 60 and 65 with no transmissions issues at all. I would like to attribute this to the fact that I greased up the wheel bearings before we left but there is no real way to know.
The toilet seemed to work just fine and the entire water system was great. We did run out of water the last day but we were indiscriminately using h20 due to the fact that there was a spigot about 30 feet from our campsite where we could get more water. For true “boon-docking” trips we will need to use water more sparingly.
The LED nightlights I installed worked great. We had them on every night and it made midnight trips to the bathroom a breeze and kept things lit up just enough to see but not enough to keep us awake.
12v electricity was fine and the lights in the trailer seemed to be more than sufficient. The pump worked and the tank sensors were functioning as well.
The stove worked well and gas lines did not give us any problems. The oven is still not working though and I need to figure out where the plug up is in the gas line.
Stuff that Didn’t Work
Electricity. I figured the solar panel would work well enough to power our batteries back up while at the same time running a little refrigerator but it was not enough. I am fairly certain this would have worked had we been in direct sun light but we were camped in a very shaded area and it just did not produce enough electricity to do both. If we just wanted to power up the batteries it would have been fine.
Additionally the power inverter battery combo was not strong enough to brew a pot of coffee. It would run and could make the pot but the batteries drained pretty fast and the inverter started beeping out a low power warning. Looks like we will need an alternative for coffee or a generator.
Dishes and such. We need more. Did not have enough coffee mugs for 4 people and it will be nice to make coffee for friends in the morning on these trips.
While towing I also noticed that I really could not see around the back of the trailer with my mirrors. It is pretty wide at 8ft and I had no idea if a car was behind me or not and backing it up was also pretty difficult. I found some mirrors on Amazon that will snap on to my existing GMC mirrors and will be using those on the next trip. You can find those here for about $40: CIPA 10800 Chevrolet/GMC Custom Pair Towing Mirrors
Will be Ready for the Next Trip
Overall everything went smoothly – even more smooth than I expected. The biggest hassle is getting the trailer back up our mountain of a driveway and I am only going to be able to put up with that for so long. Looks like we will be renting a spot to star old Goldie sooner than expected. Can’t wait for our next trip!