City of Burbank strikes out!

In late August we were watching TV (we get the L.A. channels) and there was an advertisement about an exhibition of the Dead Sea Scrolls showing at the California Science Center. Roxie mentioned she would love to see them. However there was only a few weeks left to see them. I got in gear at got some tickets and was able to obtain them for a showing only 4 days before they ended. Now to find a place to stay with the trailer in the L.A. area.

In the years that I have been following the Aluminarium blog they have mentioned a program through the City of Burbank called a Large Non-Commercial Vehicle Permit (LNCV) which ostensibly allows people to park RV’s, and other vehicles, on the city streets for 3 nights. We thought that would work well as we were just going down to see the scrolls. I checked out Aluminarium’s posts to see where they stayed and had it all planned out.

I used Google StreetView to look at these areas and was concerned about a sign I saw. It stated no parking during the day. I wondered if that was OK if you had this permit. I contacted the City of Burbank. Through a flurry of emails and calls with city employees including the police department I found you cannot use this permit if you have any intention of disconnecting your tow vehicle. That would not work for us on this trip. I feel the guidelines that are put forth by the City of Burbank are unclear. They even used to have a horse trailer on their PDF that discussed the LNCV. Now they just have an image of a Class C motorhome.

Now what? We had stayed in Van Nuys previously and it was pretty good. Luckily I was talking to a fellow camper a few weeks earlier at Princess campground. He mentioned a campground in San Dimas. The East Shore RV Park. It is part of the Frank G Bonelli regional park. They had some spots available but since the next weekend was the start of the L.A. County fair we had to leave on Friday due to reservations. That was fine with us. We went down on Wed and stayed two nights.

The campground is very nice. We got the loop that was on top of a hill and had a very good view of the lake and north of the park:

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Our site was pretty level side to side but front to back was difficult. There are also some permanent to semi-permanent residents there that can make it seem a bit seedy. Just stay away from those areas.

We were able to have dinner with our friends, the Chen’s, one night so that was an added benefit!

The Dead Sea Scroll exhibit was at the California Science Center in downtown L.A. which is 39 miles away from our campsite. It took us 1 1/2 hours to drive that distance! We were told that that was actually pretty good. It definitely is not something we are used to.

Part of the tickets we purchased included an IMAX showing of a movie about Jerusalem. It was a great movie made even more dramatic on a 7 story high screen. After the movie we went to wait in line for our appointed time to see the exhibition. There were many different period exhibits that were extremely ancient and they tied each one into the timeline of the artifacts. Near the end of it all they have the scrolls, or portions of them.

In the center of the scroll snippets was an actual jar that was discovered. Photography was not allowed, I suppose due to flash issues, but I got some secret shots. My iPhone 6 plus sticks out of my pocket enough to expose the lens. So how to actually take the picture? My Apple Watch has a remote camera trigger capability where I can make the phone take pictures. You will see the results here.

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One of the jars. You can see the visitors looking down at the scroll pieces. The pieces were very hard to see as they were not very lit or very big. There were, however, enlarged versions, translations and interpretations next to them.

They also had a piece of the wailing wall on display:

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The pieces of paper on the top are prayers that visitor have placed there and will be taken to the wailing wall in Jerusalem. Roxie really liked this part:

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Another benefit of the admission is that we could go in and see the Space Shuttle!

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That was something I didn’t expect to see. However the exhibit that seemed to be the most popular was:

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Yes! The space potty!

It was a quick trip down and back but well worth it to see the scrolls.

Baby’s new shoes

Trailer tires usually need to be replaced on a time, not mileage, basis. Most people don’t put a huge number of miles on their trailers. They tend to sit more than not. 5 years of age is the general consensus to replace trailer tires whether you think they need them or not.

We purchased our trailer in Jan of 2013 and were told that it was on the lot for 6 months prior to that. There is 3 years of tire life right there. Additionally we put on over 12000 miles in our first 2 years. After I got my new truck I had some issues in getting the load equalization just right. The last trip (Casini) I noticed that the front of the trailer was riding a bit high and I also was running a bit under pressure on the tires. This turned out to be a bad combination. I could see pretty bad tire wear on the back tires, the ones that were carrying more weight since the front was higher. Time to do some research.

Here is a picture of the old tires/wheels. Look at the right two and you can see the bad wear pattern. It looked even worse up close.

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Trailer tires are under the ST designation which means they have stiffer sidewalls to handle the stress during sharp turning maneuvers. A couple of years ago other Airstreamers started researching using light truck (LTX) tires instead of trailer tires. There was, and may still be, a rash of tire failures with Goodyear Marathons (one of the most popular trailer tires). Airstream continued to use Marathons until just recently. Marathons used 15″ wheels to handle the load ranges. But with the LTX tires it requires an upgrade of the wheels also to 16″ wheels. This is the new combination Airstream is using.

I settled on getting the Sendel T03-66655T wheels and Michelin LTX M/S 2 tires. I know what I want so time to find them. I could go mail order but local is always preferable. A new tire store (America’s Tire) had just opened in town. This is a very large national chain and known as Discount Tire is some locations. This is a huge plus. They obviously had the Michelin’s in stock but had to order the wheels which took about 3 weeks. Their price was a very reasonable $100/wheel which included shipping. The total for 4 wheels, tires, mounting, balancing was $1300. Additionally by using their 9 months interest free financing I received $130 in Visa gift cards.

Installation was easy also. I took the trailer to the tire store and ‘convinced’ them to let me use my Trailer Aide to change the tires one by one instead of their jacks. 30 minutes later we were done. Before and after:

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Since they are now 16″ wheels the trailer now sits just a tad higher. Time to adjust my equalization again!

Two more items to worry about are UV protection and cat spray! Tires should be protected from UV exposure especially when they are just sitting, as ours does a lot at home (unfortunately). One thing I have always done is to park the tires on plywood that sits on our concrete pad (you can see this below). I have heard that this will avoid the leaching qualities of concrete. Might be true, might not, but it doesn’t hurt. I wanted to protect these new tires from these two problems and I had purchased those tire covers from Camping World. However their quality is not very good and I cut my hands from exposed screws in the wheel well.

Here is my solution:

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Just some simple pieces of plywood that sit in front of the tires and are tall enough to be above the top trim of the wheel well. Easy to remove and install, especially with the finger holes. I will just have to paint them now.

I am pretty sure I will be very happy with these tires and wheels.