Which Hitch?

We’ve gone through what trailer we are looking to buy. But, we need a hitch to tow it. Our truck didn’t come with one installed so the question is which hitch is the best fit for us?

Deciding factors

There are all sorts of factors that come into play in this decision. The first being towing capacity. We’ve already narrowed down how much weight our truck can handle so we need to make sure that our hitch can handle the same. But we may upgrade our truck in the future and be able to tow more weight. Do we want to be able to take our hitch with us? How much more should we buy for? We can’t predict how big we may eventually want to go, so why not shoot for as big as we can get? So that put the search in the range of 21-24,000 pounds.

Next, the length of our truck bed needs to be taken into account. We have a short bed so we need a sliding hitch. If we don’t have one, the nose of the trailer could hit the back of our cab in a tight turn. That would limit our maneuverability and we can’t have that.  Who knows where our travels will lead us. I, for one, don’t want to have to turn back from a great place just because our hitch won’t let us get in there.

We also want to make sure that the connection is as secure as we can get it, preferably with vibration control for ride smoothness.  If we go somewhere and need the truck bed, it needs to be light enough to be removed without a cherry picker too.  Add all these factors together and one can narrow the playing field.

Where to shop

After trolling around on manufacturer’s websites, I found a nice website that will narrow the field for you based on your tow vehicle and other search parameters: http://www.etrailer.com

When I searched it, it gave me about 9 results int he 21-24K weight range. From there, I narrowed it down further to the Curt Q24 5th Wheel Trailer Hitch w/ R24 Slider. With the install kit, it’s pretty reasonably priced. It will tow up to 24,000 pounds with 10 inches of slider travel and has a 10 year warranty.  You don’t have to drill into the truck frame to install it, and it’ll fit a 6′ bed.  It is a bit heavy, but at that towing capacity, you can’t find anything under 200 pounds. It shouldn’t be too difficult for Phil and I together to remove it if need be though.

The reviews on this product are very favorable and looks like a very reputable company.  I’ll have Phil look at it and see what he thinks, but I think we may have found our hitch.  Fingers crossed.

Curt Q24 5th Wheel Trailer Hitch w/ R24 Slider

Which RV Is Right for Us?

This is the hardest part,I think. Figuring out which RV will be our new home. We have to consider size (will be be too small?), weight (how much can we tow with our truck?), features (bed size? seating? storage space?), and the kids (will they have enough room so the house doesn’t feel like a kennel?).

We decided a few of the must-haves. We need to have something that will accommodate a king size bed. Phil is a tall guy and anything smaller than a king has his feet hanging off the end of the bed. And the interior height must be tall enough that Phil doesn’t have to duck all the time. We don’t want him becoming a hunchback just because he can’t stand upright in his own home.

We want it to be washer/dryer ready. We may not have a washer/dryer, but we’d like to have the option. And there must be enough storage room underneath the RV for our windsurfing equipment, a generator, and tools with some room leftover for other miscellaneous things.

The truck and it’s towing capacity are non-negotiable. At least until we upgrade the truck. But, we’ve had it less than a year so it’s not going anywhere soon. Besides, it may be a good thing that it limits us to 13K in weight. We don’t want to go overboard while we’re working the bugs out of this lifestyle.  It’s a new adventure for us. We shouldn’t bite off too much to start and a 40+ foot fifth wheel might be a little much.

We’ve narrowed a list down to a few manufacturers and models. Now we just need to compare availability, price and warranties. Apparently, some companies are better than others when it comes to warranty claims and duration. That is one of those nasty realisms that we have to keep in mind while chasing this dream of ours.

We’ve been to our local RV dealers and checked out a few models. Now, we’ll look for the best deal within a radius we’re comfortable traveling for the perfect one(or as close to perfect as we can get). Phil seems to like the Montana High Country. It’s built nicely, has great basement storage, and Keystone has a good reputation. But we’ll see what we can find and get.

Montana HC 305RL Montana HC 305RL weights Montana HC 305RL living room Montana 3440RL Montana 3440RL weights Montana 3440RL living room Montana 3611RL Montana 3611RL weights Montana 3611RL living room Montana 3660RL Montana 3660RL weights Montana 3660RL living room Montana 3660RL entertainment center Montana 3660RL dinette Montana 3660RL kitchen Montana 3660RL bedroom Montanan 3660RL closet Montana 3660RL washer-dryer

How to Install a Wood V-Groove Ceiling

Hello all. If any of you out there, like me, have wanted to do something a little less conventional with your ceilings, have I got a project for you.  Go down to your local hardware store and get some 3.5″ tongue and groove planks, the stain color of   your choice, and have at it.

How we got our beautiful ceiling

We used Ever True Edge V Groove panels from our local Lowe’s. They were relatively cheap. Then we got some stain. I used Minwax PolyShade in Antique Walnut.

I stained all the wood with a staining rag. The reason I liked the PolyShade was because it was a stain and polyurethane mixture. All I had to do was slop it on, then wipe off any excess.  Let it dry and Viola!

Ever True Edge V Groove Minwax PloyShades Antique Walnut

My husband put the boards up. He’s taller than I am so he could reach better. At least, that’s what I told him. He knew I was full of it, but he was a good sport and put them up anyway. I helped, of course.  I just let him wield the brad gun.

The boards went up faster that I could stain them. It was pretty simple. The length of the room lined up so that  we didn’t have to pre-cut anything.  We let the runs dictate what the length of each board was going to be. And it worked out that we didn’t have any seams lining up and the pattern of edges came out pretty nice. Not too uniform, not too random. And this cut done on any leftover scrap: we had a couple of one inch pieces left at the end. For a 300 sq ft ceiling, that’s awesome.

One trick we found that was very useful was how we nailed them up. With the v-groove configuration, it is easier to keep the runs flowing if you only half nail them in place.  When your running a row, only nail the edge that’s meeting the last row. Do not nail the outside edge.  This will make your life so much easier. It leaves that edge loose so that the next row will slide right in. No wrestling with an edge that’s already nailed tight to the ceiling. You get some wiggle room.

For the edges, we got some quarter round moulding in pine and stained it to match.  This was pretty straight forward, until we got to the fireplace.  That was a pain. We had to cut several 45 degree cuts to get into the edges. And the brick only came out from the wall about 3.5″ so those angled pieces were fun on a chop saw.

But we got it done. And it looks awesome. I love my wood ceiling. It’s different and complements the brick fireplace and tan wall paint very nicely. It was work, but nothing of value is going to be easy.  And it was worth every minute.

Let me know if you’ve done a similar project and how yours turned out. Or what you did differently.

Working the wood across the ceiling Sliding the boards in on at a time Brad gun Quarter round moulding Finishing Work The corners around the chimney were challenging The color came out great