Thursday, September 11, 2008

This ones for Marcus aka Utee94

It has been said by me often that this Airstream has been the best money I have ever spent. I have regretted wasting my money on many things throughout my life, but Anna definitely does not fit into that category. One of the greatest aspects of Airstreaming is the people I have meet. I have come in contact with some very large assholes, but in general, all Airstreamers are very fine people. I have found so much common ground and been able to relate to other owners very intimately. As a result I have developed some friendships that mean a great deal to me. One of those friendships has been with Marcus Moyer. Marcus is know on the AirForums as Utee94 and he owns a 1963 Overlander(not a legacy trailer, but close enough for me to let him slide). Marcus has become quite a friend and I enjoy talking to him via Skype. You will find his blog linked up on mine.
Marcus is new to all this, just as I was a year ago, and is still trying to figure out how things work and which way is the best way. All the usual Newbie rookie stuff we all have to learn when starting out. This, like me, is Marcus's first trailer ever. And an on going conversation we have had is about these...

Marcus asked some silly question one day like; "what happens when they both run out?" And of course was he meet with some laughter and joking about how wet behind the ears, what a huge greenhorn he is, newbie rookie stupidity... you know friendly boy talk. So anyway Rob and I explained that when a tank runs out you just flip the lever to the other tank and you are back up and running. We also have discussions about tank size and what is the "right" size for an Airstream. So here is why I am telling you all this....
When I first began using Anna, I thought that balance was very important. It seemed that sixty pounds of propane sitting out there on the tongue should be balanced. Being far from a rocket scientist, I began flipping the regulator every other trip. You know to keep the tanks balanced, equally distributed for better towing. I did this almost all season until Rob Baker told me it was better to use one tank up and then switch over. He nicely explained that the tank was so close to center that it was not going to be a big deal. So from that day on I stopped flipping between tanks and just used one. He never told me how wet behind the ears I was, just passed on some friendly advise.
Here is where all this is going to get good. I use my gas grill a lot at home. The little tank last me an entire summer of grilling. That thing is a huge flame, so surely Anna with two big tanks would last me for two or three years, easy. That was a gross over estimation, and a sure sign of just how green I am. While camping at Knoebles a few weekends ago, I ran out the the tank I was using from. No big deal, just switch over and now I am back in business. The next morning, no gas to cook breakfast and the fridge is out. All that flipping back and forth had both tanks down low, and because I was cheap and stupid, I did not get the tanks that Vintage Trailer Supply sells with the gauge. You know a gauge, so you know how much is in there. So you do not have to guess... So what do you do when both bottles run out? I think you you eat something called crow. You also feel like a giant fool. You feel real foolish knowing it is Sunday and most places that fill propane are closed. Any way, Rob took a bottle off of Sophia and we were able to cook a fabulous breakfast that our families shared. Right after breakfast I set out to find a fill up. The fourteen year old girl in the campground office had no clue as to where to go, so I asked her for the yellow pages. After about ten strike outs, I found a fuel company that was open to fill propane. I just had to cross back over the Appalachians to some town twenty miles away.
So why am I telling you all this? Because of Kharma baby. I made a joke of the very thing I was about to do. I made fun of the rookie, when I was about to do exactly what I was joking about. Because this was a lesson well learned. One that hopefully someone out there will be spared from. Use one tank then you KNOW you have a back up. Also do not be a cheap bastard and spend a little extra on the tanks with the gauge. Or then again you can just do what I did. Crow does not taste good even with salt and hot sauce. I think you can wrap it in bacon and it would be the exception to the rule that everything taste good with bacon.

Sorry Marcus. Hope you will forgive me brother.


the byamcaravanner said...

IMHO... don't even bother with the gauges. As long as you empty one and then switch to the other you will never run out... unless you are the kind of guy who pulls his 31' trailer down a road with no turn around for 20 miles with a truck that is running on fumes. LOL! Frank, even the "Pros" have greenhorn moments. I'm just sorry you missed cooking breakfast.

Anonymous said...

This was much more eloquent than you led me to believe. Good to know you have humility in all of keeps you hippi errrr human.

silverhobby said...

Stuff happens, My rookie moment was when I removed the hitch head from the tow vehicle (so I didn't hit my shin on it.) I forgot to replace the pin and clip into the receiver on my truck. After almost a week at the beach, early on a Sunday morning, with all RV dealers closed, I discovered the pin missing. The helpful campground owner made a phonecall and had one delivered to me in less than a half hour. I gladly paid for the pin, but the lesson learned was most valuable. I have never forgotten, (and you won't either), Frank.

utee94 said...

Hmmm, I thought I had commented on this when you first wrote it, but I do not see it now. I guess it "didn't take."

Anyway-- Frank, no need at all to apologize to me. I'm just happy to learn along with you. :)

Steve's plan sounds good-- as soon as you run out and switchover from the main service tank to the reserve tank, just make sure you fill up the main tank once again.

And, if you wanted to be REALLY engineer about it all, you could start recording how many days of camping it takes in-between tank fill-ups, so you'd always have a rough idea on when you're going to need to fill up.

Anyway, thanks for learning this lesson for the rest of us!