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We have just gone through the Lake Champlain Islands, very nice and then got across the end of the lake up by Canada to NY and stopped at McDonalds and had a burger and headed south to try and get into the Cumberland Bay NY State Park. A bit on edge about a camping spot as it is Labor Day Week end and every camp ground we go by is full and the traffic in the White Mountains and on the way here has been HUGE!

About 5 miles north of the CG I heard a noise and felt a big drag on the pickup like the brakes were on hard. I checked my side mirror and the smoke was rolling. I mean it was like the slicks on a drag racing machine getting the tires warmed up. There was just a huge cloud of blue smoke. I though I lost a tire and it was on fire! I pulled over immediately even though I could only get about half the 5th off the lane and raced back to see if I was going to need the fire extingusher. Much to my amazement the tire was fine, but there was a nice rubber track on the oil back about 200 yards and the tires were warm. At this point I guess I had a case of dumb-ites. Because of the tremendous drag I had brakes on the brain and I thought it was the brakes locked up so I unplugged them and tried it a foot or so and still a big drag so went and checked some more. Must of been blind the first time as the tires were together, rubbing. I can't believe I did not see that as I felt the tire and noted it was hot! From my Yukon experience I immediately knew that meant I had broke another leaf spring, which indeed I had! When a spring goes on one end it lets the equalizer between the to springs turn and the tires come together and rub. Of course at 60 MPH when two tires rub the blue smoke rolls, I mean we are talking about 10 foot high and 10 foot wide.

We are getting to be far to experienced in these matters, HI! Turned the flashers on and had Edith direct traffic and laid under the 5th and kept my legs underneath it so they would not get run over in case Edith could not get them waved over far enough. Got the jack on the frame where the broken leaf was hanging and jacked it up, wedged my big faithful block between what was left of the spring and the frame which got the tires apart about 2 inches, wedged the wooden block in when I let the jack down and took off with the flashers going praying we could get in the camp ground and thankful I had bought a second spring and U bolts for it at Berlin Spring Inc.

Got to the park turn off into the park and of course it was poorly signed, more accurately confusing signed and got by the corner about 10 feet and of course people behind so had to go on around, cross the road and go back and find a place to turn around and try again.

Edith is getting to handle this stuff WELL! As I am grumbling about the turn, the stupid, confusing signs and how this stuff was built for cars and pop ups and have these stupid curbs and sharp corners where you have to drive perfect or you run the 5th tires up on the curb and break another leaf spring. At this exact instant she cheerfully says "YOU KNOW DEAR IT IS ALL PART OF THE ADVENTURE! That cracked me up!

When I asked if they had room at first they looked very doubtfule but when I told them I did not need hook ups then things were OK. They said go in and pick out a spot and come back. We took a spot right inside the gate under a big tree and I ran back to pay for it to be sure it was open and it was so we were in for two nights. The place had a lot of people with the Labor Day Week end but had a few places left. I thing these by the gate were open as everybody drives by you here on the way in and out. I wrote down all the info on the spring from S&G Enterprises that I got from Berlin Spring Inc. as it is now definite I am replacing the other two that are left with these six leaf springs. The big thing about the six leaf springs is they jump from one leaf to the next with only about 1.5 inch length before the next leaf where with the 4 leaf it is 3 to 3.5 inches so that gives them much more area to flex and break.

A fellow from Quebec stops and we have a great visit even with his poor English it was plenty good. The park was full of Quebec people.

It took our two 6 ton stand jacks, two hydraulic jacks, lots of blocks, jack handles for extensions on the socket wrenchs and being really careful that there is no tension on anything when you take it loose as it is a dangerous job. Got it off in good shape but had to do a little messing getting the new one on, jacking here, dropping the axle a little etc. but got it. It took 3 hours to change it out. I even had Edith taking pictures of this great Labor Day event!

I then sent Chris, AC0M an e-mail with all the spring Info for him to check on the Internet to try and get another one and promptly got the info back so am now trying to figure out if I can get one ordered and shipped somewhere. I do have one light duty one left we got in the Yukon that got us to Anchorage so we are not quite on the raw edge yet. Anyway the other two are getting changed when we get home if not before.

The bottom line is ATTITUDE! The oil roads; especially the secondary ones and even Interstate has holes in them and we have a lot of weight and these 4 leaf springs just can not handle it. When you travel 17,000 miles on a trip over all kinds of road you are going to have some trouble. We were so blessed to find Berlin Spring INC. and also to decide to buy and extra one. I would of bought 3 more but they did not have anymore in stock. We are also fortunate to have the stuff along to be able to change one out. Today as I was driving I devised a plan using blocks and a log chain and chain binder where I think one could go a couple of thousand miles if you had to if just one side of the spring broke. Once I get all four upgraded to these six leaf springs I don't think I will have any more problems. I will always carry and extra one though.

Another thing one needs along is an extra water pump for the 5th wheel which I will have on the next trip. The alignment on the 5th has really paid out as the tires are not showing any abnormal wear at all which is a big improvement over the other two trips. They actually bend the axles tubes to align the wheels.

One thing we seen just south of Plattsbough was Ausable Chasm. It is about 200 feet deep and has waterfalls in in. There is a tour but we looked at it from the bridge over it on Hwy 9N, they have walkways on each side of the bridge so you can see it well. Because the water flow is so low it would be better when more water was flowing but is was still very worthwhile and would recommmend it.

[MID: 1544_W0SD Sent Via: W9GSS Date: 2002/09/05 23:36:59]