Saturday, November 24, 2007


If you have been following the blog, you know that we traded in Jules, our used-up 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee, for Jules II, a new-to-us 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee. We LOVE our new Jules, and had fun getting her ready to travel with us: ordered new floor mats; replaced a blown out speaker; touched up some dings on the doors and hood; and applied film to the fog lights and headlights to protect them from flying debris (the fog lights on Original Jules were the first things to break).

The big item, though, was to have Jules II set up for towing. This requires some wiring (so the lights on Jules work in concert with the lights on Scoopy), a break-away switch (so a panic light inside Scoopy alerts us if we lose Jules II), and a big metal baseplate and adapter attachment that allows us to hook our heavy-duty tow bar to Jules II to bring her along.

The baseplate is bolted or welded to the bottom on Jules II, and the adapter is bolted to the baseplate. Adapters vary, depending on which kind of tow bar you have on the back of the motorhome. In our case, we have a tow bar made by Demco, so we asked for a Demco adapter. This installation takes several hours at an RV shop - we used Allied Trailer Supply, where we had the same work done 5 years ago on Original Jules.

When Odel brought Jules II home after the installation, we were both shocked by the humongous size of the adapter - it looked nothing at all like the unobtrusive tow bar connection on Original Jules. It was a type in common use - we see them on many towed vehicles - but not at all what we had pictured (or wanted). After much deliberation on our part and unhappiness at Allied Trailer Supply, we had them replace the adapter they had installed with one they ordered for us directly from Demco. The whole process had required a couple of trips and had been somewhat of a pain in the patootie, but it had all paid off - we were happy with the looks of the end result.

Out in the parking lot, ready to hook up - well, let's just say I'm glad we have a hammer and lots of silicone lubricating spray! The tips of our tow bar need to slide between two metal doo-hickies (I think these might fall under the technical heading of "flanges"). The tow bar tip and the flanges all have round holes in them, and the three holes need to line up perfectly so that we can insert the super-sized metal pin that will keep them connected while we travel.

Let's say the tip on the tow bar is 1/2 an inch wide... so maybe the space between the flanges should be 5/8ths of an inch wide, or at least 9/16ths of an inch. I estimate that the space between our flanges (the two on the left in this photo) was 51/100ths of an inch wide, because even a tiny little metal imperfection, the size of a grain of iodized salt (I'm not talking sea salt here), kept the tow bar tip from sliding between the flanges!

Do you think we were going to go back to Allied Trailer and beg them to reinstall the huge, clanky adapter we had rejected?? NO WAY! We sprayed everything with silicone spray, hammered the salt-sized imperfection into oblivion and just MADE IT WORK. It was a real trick to get all the holes lined up to accept the pin but by now, after overcoming our tire problems, we were totally and completely focused - we were leaving Sacramento, by God.

And so we did. We hit the road at 11:55, only 55 minutes after we started the engine. After one quick stop to check the tires again after a couple of hours on the road and to gulp down half a turkey sandwich, we arrived at our destination with 10 minutes to spare and are now settled in to a beautiful site at one of our favorite parks. Whew!

1 comment:

  1. your story had me on the edge of my seat will they go back or not then the ending wow