So I've been posting and lurking for a few weeks, asking a bunch of questions that you all have been so helpful answering, and last Thursday I took delivery of our new 2017 Sunset Trail 291RK. It's our first RV, and the first time I've towed anything in years. I drove from our house about an hour south of Orlando to the dealer in St. Augustine, then left from the dealer and went straight to a campground in Tallahassee for a dog show over the weekend. My wife joined me the next day with our pup (who took Reserve Winner's Dog on Saturday at just 6 months old!), and we spent the weekend up there.
With the RV I also got a Reese 10,000# load leveling/anti-sway hitch, and had the dealer install it. I got the brake controller more or less dialed in, and hit the road. Within 10 minutes, I was on I-95 with gusty winds and heavy rains. Keep in mind, the biggest thing I've ever towed before was a 15' boat about 8 years ago, and this 34' beast is a whole different animal. I white-knuckled it the whole way to Tallahassee with one stop at a rest station to take a breather, and toward the end of my trip was starting to feel a little more confident.
We had friends at the fairgrounds that we were able to set up next to who are much more seasoned campers, so I got their help on everything and learned a LOT. We ended up parking about 55 feet from the nearest power/water, so I was about 5 feet short on power and about 30 feet short on white hose (I had 1 extra power cable, but only 1 25' hose). They had enough extras to get me connected, and I was able to settle in before too long. Thanks to them, things went relatively smoothly setting up, and I took lots of notes - including ordering some extra equipment off Amazon.
While we were there, the shower developed a leak, but I think it's just a lack of caulking between the glass and the shower basin, as it looks like it may have been leaking out there then running onto the floor. There's also one small trim piece that needs to be glued or brad-nailed back down, and a couple trim pieces on the dinette that need to be trimmed back and re-stained, but otherwise everything works and seems to have been assembled properly so far. We got to test both the AC and the furnace, I installed a 32" LED TV in the bedroom (32" looks HUGE when you're that close! haha), and all the appliances, tanks, water heater, and outlets work normally. We also emptied the tanks at the dump station without issue, and all-in-all had a great first experience.
Before I left to head back home, I checked the tire pressures with a cheap automotive tire gauge, and they pegged the gauge at 60PSI. They're 14" 6-ply C-class tires, and the pressure rating is 50 cold, so I dropped them to 52 PSI cold on my gauge. I also had what I would assume is a moderate amount of sway on the way there, and didn't notice any of the 'slow-speed noise' everyone talks about that's associated with sway bars, so I torqued the sway bar down an extra 1/4 turn. The trip back home was much better. I don't know if it was lowering the tire pressure, tightening the sway bar, just me being more confident, or everything together...but the rig seemed easier to control and a little less reactive to passing semis. I also heard that 'low speed noise' when I stopped for gas, so I think I have the sway bar where it should be now. Everyone keeps saying, "You'll feel it", but I have no frame of reference, so I have no idea if I would benefit from tightening it more or not.
Anyway, I got back home and the next day bought a decent digital tire pressure gauge, and the tires were reading 60PSI cold...which tells me that Crossroads had them filled to around 70PSI or more. I dropped them again so now they're reading about 50PSI on the digital gauge. The caps are green, so I'd assume that means they used nitrogen, but you really only gain a couple PSI of pressure when normal air warms up, so...I don't know. Did I do the right thing?
Now we're re-evaluating the stuff we brought with us, buying some new stuff, getting rid of some other stuff, and re-packaging everything to stow away in the RV in storage.
Picking up the 291RK from the dealer:
Some people on a facebook group have said I'm sagging too much. Can I fix this by going up a link in the chain on the load leveling bars? I already have 2 links hanging, and don't know how tight I can go before it's too much.
At a rest-stop half-way to Tallahassee:
The sag looks pronounced in this picture because the truck was sitting just on the other side of a fairly pronounced drainage slope in the parking lot.
Setting up at the campground...just disconnected from the truck for the first time:
The dealer had hooked the trailer up, so getting everything off properly was a fun learning experience.
Just leveled the trailer:
Night-shot after setting up the fence for the dog:
Our boy Frank checking out the new digs:
He made his den under the dinette:
Our first dump experience went off more or less without a hitch:
And here it is in our driveway while we reorganize and clean before taking it to storage:
It JUUUUST fit. I backed it in on the first try, too...I was pretty proud of that. haha Hopefully we can clean it up and get it sorted and off to storage before the HOA comes knocking.
Can't wait for the next trip. Your input and experiences have been invaluable, and are very welcome! Thanks everyone!