Along the road, we often hear from blog readers who say, “You’ll be coming through my area — would you like to meet?” Often they offer dinner, or courtesy parking, or just helpful advice. We don’t get to accept all of those kind invitations, but when we have it has always turned out very well. Such was the case today, when we met up with Jason and Angie, who live just about 20 minutes south of London.
Jason has been reading our blog since 2005, when it was “Tour of America,” but until last week had never commented or emailed us. He and Angie full-timed for two years in their fifth wheel, then settled down for a short time while producing two children, and now are ready to get back on the road with their 2- and 3-year old boys. With that sort of history, there was little doubt we’d have a lot in common, so we happily accepted their invitation to come down for bratwurst tonight.
A lot of the conversation was about what it was like to accept invitations from strangers via email. Jason already had “met” (virtually) our friends Leigh and Brian from their travels at the former 63flyingcloud blog, as well as many other people who blog while they travel. I was surprised to find how many people we knew in common. This RV blog community is one of those in which you can assume quite a lot about the person at the other end. Of course, it’s easy for people to “know” us, since they’ve read a lot about us, but it’s also possible for us to know that people who read this blog are probably like-minded in many ways. They love travel, meeting people, socializing, sharing stories, learning, and tend to be very accepting of all kinds. That’s probably why we’ve always had good experiences when accepting courtesy parking or get-together invitations.
We’ll probably see Jason and Angie again in the next year or so. They’ve put the house up for sale and will be departing for points unplanned as soon as it is sold. I’ve told them some stories of western RV travel in the hopes that they’ll come out next winter and join us at some point.
Today the Can-Am RV guys added some additional — actually, quite a lot — support to our receiver hitch. It’s almost intimidating-looking now, although you can only see the new support by bending down beneath the rear bumper level. I was not concerned that the hitch as already reinforced would fail, but I was looking to get a little more weight transfer to the front axle, and distribute the overall load better.
The photo at the right shows the extra support running beneath, before it was painted. It takes away 2″ of ground clearance at that point but this is rear of the axle (not at the lowest point of the car), and the car has substantial ground clearance, so I’m not highly concerned about it. The only real issue is that if we ever have to remove that tank above it (which holds urea for the Bluetec system), we’ll have to cut the support member out. I doubt that will prove necessary.
Andy Thomson of Can-Am RV took me out for a test drive and adjusted the brake controller while we were out. He reduced some of the boost on the Prodigy and raised the voltage setting, to give us better braking in panic stops. It feels slightly different when braking now, but still very good. Since the handling was already fine, I can’t say if this has substantially improved anything in that department. I plan to re-weigh the trailer tomorrow morning to see if it has changed the weight distribution on the axles.
This wraps up our business in London, so we’ll be heading east again tomorrow and back into the USA.