On Friday, October 21st (2011), we departed Salt Lake City for Fillmore. Our goal was to get in one more camping and ATV'ing adventure before the weather turned cold and snowy.
On the first Fillmore exit, we stopped to hit Carls Jr. for a quick lunch. Just as we parked, we noticed a guy on a golf cart inspecting every trailer that pulled into the lot. At first, we didn't think much of it.
A few minutes later, this guy was looking at my 5th wheel tires with much interest. He came over and told me that my tire tread was separating and that if I pulled my rig to the service station a few hundred feet away, his guys would gladly mount my spare. I pulled to the service station and was immediately told that all six of my 5th wheel tires were coming apart.
Initially, it looked very likely that I was in a very dangerous situation with my trailer. I was quoted $2100 for 6x Cooper "Provider" tires in 235/80 R16. I declined and we made the 2-3 mile tow to the Fillmore KOA.
Google was fired up and I researched Cooper tires. To my dismay, I learned that Cooper doesn't carry a brand called "Provider", nor did they carry my tire size. Clearly, these guys were pedaling Chinese knock-off tires at twice the price I could source replacements from Discount Tire/Sears/Walmart.
To compound matters, upon arriving at the KOA, we determined that the front electric motor for the levlling legs was not working. We had to manually crank to lower (and then raise) the legs. Additionally, the rear garage door was not sealing completely, allowing both sunlight and bugs to come through.
We settled in that Friday night and for dinner, drove the ~50 miles to Hoovers for another awesome meal.
The following morning (Saturday), we decided to sleep in a bit. Overnight temps were near freezing, so nobody was really inclined to get out into the cold morning air.
My 11am, we had the ATV's loaded and were ready to roll. Destination: Marysvale (just shy of 60 miles one-way across two mountain ranges (Pahvant & Tushar).
Our route would start at the far North/East corner of Fillmore via the Paiute 03 trail through Chalk Creek.
Somewhere near the middle of the Max Reid trail (Paiute 01), the Honda Rancher lost all brakes at one of the steepest sections of trail. My tactic: Get my ATV and my sons in front of the wife and have her just coast down using the two front ATV's at brakes. Success!
Hunters were everywhere in the woods. How they managed to spot a deer is amazing considering how close they all were to each other. Deer to hunter ratio had to be 100:1 (100 hunters for every deer).
We returned to camp after sun-down with temps in the 40-50F range.
That evening, we discussed the situation with the 5th wheel tires. I went out and inspected and determined the tires would be able to handle the 140 mile return trip home.
We departed early Sunday morning and didn't exceed 55mph the entire trip home. We arrived without incident. Seems to me that tire center in Fillmore has a pretty interesting (and unethical) racket: Scope out every trailer, spread FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt), then when they hook somebody, they increase their tire prices by $600-800 over normal retail.
The quest for replacement tires is underway and the 5th wheel goes back to Motorsportsland for service on Friday. What an eventful weekend. It would be nice to have one outing with the 5th wheel not end with maintenance/repair issues!