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TheWanderers 11-12-2017 01:15 PM

1988 Bigfoot TF-20 named Gladys
5 Attachment(s)
Boy, are we glad to have our new trailer home. I drove over 600 miles to the Owen Sound area of Ontario Canada to meet Bobby Kirk and his wife Victoria to buy our new Bigfoot. The Kirk's met me at the door and we completed the purchase on Thursday morning just before lunch. The drive from Kentucky to Owen Sound was very beautiful, albeit uneventful, and I was shocked to experienced the actual size of a Bigfoot fiver in person. :eek: This thing is HUGE!!! Well, as compared to our little 16' Scamp, Ziggy, Gladys is a monster as I immediately fell in love!:wub The first picture is of my first view of Gladys over the truck bed as i stepped from the truck.

Bobby and his wife, Victoria, were very gracious, offered me lunch, and we finished attending to the paperwork of the deal pretty quickly. The Bobby and I proceeded back outside to hook up so I could attempt to beat the snow squalls that were forecast for blowing inland off of Lake Huron for the afternoon. The weatherman was calling for 10-15cm of snow by morning (that's 1.5-2 inches for everyone non-metric oriented like me-I had to look it up to be sure) and I definitely wanted to "get-outta-dodge" before the snow. Here's a shot of me hooking up the final component of the Anderson Ultimate Fifth Wheel conversion hitch, which, worked like a dream throughout some pretty tough conditions. The wind gusts off of Lake Huron were 30-60 kph and the snow started at 4:00 pm and continued until about 8:00 pm, depending on where you were staying.

While still in Canada, I kept a close eye on Gladys to be sure she was still following me and I almost made it back to the US without incident. I guess Gladys wanted to leave a parting gift to her friends in Canada, so she decided to part with her awning. I was looking for a place to stop for gas just before the border crossing when I noticed awning had opened up at about 45 mph and ripped to shreds. Thankfully, I saw it before the awning arms hit a passing motorist or road signage so I quickly stopped at a gas station. I cut the remainder of the fabric loose and Gladys left her parting gift in the dumpster of a local pizza shop. Fortunately there was no damage to the mounting hardware or the awning arms or siding.:omy

I wanted to get back to the US side of the border to Marysville, MI where I had spent the previous night because I thought that way I'd avoid most of the lake effect snow, being positioned SouthWest of Lake Huron. It worked and when I woke up there was virtually no snow left on the ground. The morning sunshine suggested I hit the road, so I did, early Friday morning to make the return trip back to Kentucky in short order.

I stopped at Laura's place of employment on my way home and she couldn't stand not coming home with me, so her boss excused her for the rest of the afternoon and she followed me home on the last 10 miles of the return trip. This last shot is from this morning, Laura lovingly giving Gladys her first bath after the long road trip home to Kentucky.

I want to offer a special thank you, again, to Bobby and Victoria Kirk for all of their work in presenting a very nice trailer that we are going love for a very long time. I also want to thank all of the previous owners, many of whom we now know about, from the joint habit of excellent documentation and retention of paperwork. We have the original paperwork for:

Owner's Manual
Service Manual
Almost all of the appliance paperwork
Owner's Manual for the Norseman Awnng
Installation Manual for the Norseman Awning
Certificate of Manufacture from Bigfoot (including the birth date for Gladys)

Thus, this post begins our love affair with Gladys, our new-to-us, Bigfoot fifth wheel dual axle camper. Why Gladys you ask? Because, we are so very Gladys (glad it's) ours. And we're glad she came home to live with us!:banana

theresa p 11-12-2017 04:13 PM

Hi Bill and Laura---CONGRATULATIONS!!! She looks beautiful and I know you will have so very many happy times with her in the years to come.

As to your trip and journey home---we lived just south of Owen Sound for a number of years in the 90's and know all too well about the snow there. Being in the snow belt means unpredictability and you got a taste of that.
Too bad about your awning! But at least the framework and arms are still workable.

How about some interior photos of Gladys once you've got a minute?

And again, I'm Gladys yours. lol

Jon in AZ 11-12-2017 05:46 PM

Big, indeed, compared to your previous Scamp, but it looks very right-sized behind your Tundra, and a nice level set-up to boot. You did your homework well. Bummer about the awning.

Congratulations, and best wishes for many uneventful journeys to come!

CindyL 11-13-2017 05:22 AM

Welcome to the Bigfoot family, Bill and Laura! Nice-looking camper! From the back, it looks like our Silver Cloud, same shape and same sized window. I hope we see it at Eggs a la Bourbon!

I bet you love it as much as we love our Silver Cloud! Welcome home, Gladys!


k0wtz 11-13-2017 06:57 AM

You have a very nice camper indeed so large compared to our 13f scamper. I am curious about your 5th wheel hitch I never saw one like it?


ZachO 11-13-2017 08:35 AM

Looks great

Kai in Seattle 11-13-2017 11:13 AM

Welcome, congrats, and great name!

Glad it's ours. Love it!

Kai & Paul
(Peanut: 1 shell, two nuts)

TheWanderers 11-15-2017 08:31 AM

Toyota Tundra brake controller installed
Yesterday I put the new brake controller into Clifford. It has been alleged that the Toyota Tundra has an internal brake controller but when reading the Tundra forum, I found out that no one thinks it works worth anything, so I've installed the Tekonsha P3 using the pigtail that plugs directly into the stock wiring harness. It went pretty quick. Actually, the hard park was cutting a hole through the dashboard to run the plug to the new controller.

Later today, UPS should be delivering the power input plug that will allow us to remove the power cord from Gladys. The stock power cord is permanently attached and is shoved into a compartment that is shared by the power center/converter. There's not a lot of room in that part of the cabinet and I'm worried that pushing/pulling that cord could cause problems with the other parts in there...I know, I know, it has been a problem for almost 30 years of use, so far. Well, I just like to know that my cords, cables and hoses are neatly stored in a tote for traveling. I guess you could say that this cord modification is more for me than for Gladys. :D bill(not Laura)

TheWanderers 11-15-2017 08:39 AM

Restocking and getting ready
A remote possibility exists that we could be ready to take Gladys out on her maiden trip this weekend to visit my mother-in-law. This trip depends on whether or not we can get Gladys registered before Friday evening.

The County Clerk's office here in Kentucky is requiring a special form signed by the seller and notarized as a document of transfer, before we can complete the registration and titling process. Our motor vehicle titles in Kentucky have a specific place for the seller to have the title notarized when transferring a vehicle. The title for Gladys from Canada didn't have this space so I thought we'd not need it for registration. Wrong.:eek:

As I write this, I have stacked all the dishes and flatware that we used to have in Ziggy, our previous Scamp trailer, and I'll be spending the morning reinstalling these items in Gladys, getting ready for whenever our first outing will occur. Taking the dishes and cookware out of Ziggy was a sad thing because it was admitting that we weren't going camping again. Putting these things back into Gladys is the opposite and signifies some measure of success or freedome regained.:D Can't wait! bill(not Laura)

Mary F 11-15-2017 08:43 AM

Yes, extra hoops (maybe just one) to jump through when importing a trailer from another country. Good luck with it! Looking forward to your trip reports. I know it's exciting getting things ready to go!

Jon in AZ 11-15-2017 08:45 AM

Just curious, Bill... Why did you choose the particular hitch set-up you did? Is that commonly used by people with small, lightweight 5ers? I've never seen anything like that before, but then, I don't know much about fifth wheels...

TheWanderers 11-15-2017 08:57 AM

Anderson Ultimate Fifth Wheel Connection
1 Attachment(s)

Originally Posted by Jon in AZ (Post 672433)
Just curious, Bill... Why did you choose the particular hitch set-up you did? Is that commonly used by people with small, lightweight 5ers? I've never seen anything like that before, but then, I don't know much about fifth wheels...


We still have one elderly horse for which we have retained the gooseneck horse trailer, just in case we have to take her to the vet or elsewhere. We decided to retain the ability to tow either trailer with the same tow vehicle by building this two-part system of the conventional gooseneck ball in the bed of the truck.

The Anderson Ultimate Fifth Wheel Connection hitch attaches to the gooseneck ball and presents another ball at the proper height to the kingpin coupler for the fifth wheel connection. The coupler, a semi-permanent component of the Anderson system, is attached to the kingpin for towing with this system. I've attached the image of the system: the red part is a nylon insert that provides a grease-less connection from the kingpin to the Anderson ball. Plus, there's the added benefit that the Anderson part weighs 40#s and can be removed by almost anyone.

This system was a little more trouble to set up but it pulls very nicely and performed beautifully on the trip to Kentucky from Owen Sound, Canada. I can highly recommend it for anyone pulling a fifth wheel.:cool: bill(not Laura)

CindyL 11-15-2017 09:05 AM

One of the things Kevin dislikes about our Silver Cloud that it sounds as if you have on your Gladys also, is the lack of storage space underneath. We could take out drawers from under the beds and create a storage area there, but we are reluctant to cut holes in the side. We have the cord that pulls from one of those small spaces too.


TheWanderers 11-15-2017 01:52 PM

We're legal and Gladys had her resident papers
I've just returned from the courthouse where I was able to complete the transfer and registration. Gladys has a brand new license plate and is legal on the roads anywhere! Now, on to the mods and and upgrades...where is that butyl tape...hummmm...

Road trip anyone?!!!:loltu

Jon in AZ 11-15-2017 02:01 PM

Glad-ys all coming together, Bill!!!

I'll say, you managed to get the bureaucratic wheels turning at record speed. Now to get the wheels turning that really matter!

Happy travels!

David Tilston 11-15-2017 03:05 PM


Originally Posted by TheWanderers (Post 672030)
The weatherman was calling for 10-15cm of snow by morning (that's 1.5-2 inches for everyone non-metric oriented like me-I had to look it up to be sure)

Congrats on the trailer. I have a soft spot in my heart for Bigfoot's. They are a quality built trailer. Before I became a Trillium addict, I was inches from pulling the trigger on a Bigfoot 19', when I found an unreasonably good deal on a Trillium 4500.

Being a Canadian, I am afraid that I gotta correct your math on the snow. 10-15cm of snow is 4-6 inches. 2.54cm/inch.

TheWanderers 11-15-2017 04:02 PM


Originally Posted by David Tilston (Post 672499)
Congrats on the trailer. I have a soft spot in my heart for Bigfoot's. They are a quality built trailer. Before I became a Trillium addict, I was inches from pulling the trigger on a Bigfoot 19', when I found an unreasonably good deal on a Trillium 4500.

Being a Canadian, I am afraid that I gotta correct your math on the snow. 10-15cm of snow is 4-6 inches. 2.54cm/inch.

David, my apologies on the math. You're right, of course, and that makes me doubly glad to have beaten the front of weather back into the USA as well as all the way back to KY safely.

k0wtz 11-16-2017 08:21 AM

good for you
There is nothing like a good hold-up when you want to go. Glad you are all legal and setup for a trip now!


TheWanderers 11-18-2017 10:43 AM

1st renovation project completed-external power cord attachement point
2 Attachment(s)
We don't like using the power cord that shoves into the storage compartment of the camper. It seems to take up too much room and I don't like fighting with the cord when it becomes tangled inside that storage compartment. So, we decided to replace the internally stored power cord with a cord that will ride inside a storage tote until we arrive at the campgrounds. I finished the conversion of the shore power cable attachment point this morning. It took me about 10 minutes to gather the tools and about five minutes to complete the project.

I purchased the connection point from Amazon and we still had over half a roll of butyl tape left over from work on our previous camper, Ziggy. I cut the old cord off, leaving about 10" to use to connect to the new plug input. I used a single edged razor blade to clean the acrylic caulk someone had used trying to seal the leak point. Once the surface was clean and flat, I moved onto the install part of the project.

After stripping the old wires back about 3/4", I slipped on the back collar of the plug and attached the wires to the back of the input plug. The holes were color coded so it was a no-brainer. I simply had to match the color of the wires to the color coding of the holes and insert the wire and tighten the screws.

I took a few small pieces of butyl tape and rolled them into balls and forced them into the existing holes to help seal the obvious leaks that were causing the luan to delaminate. (You can blow up the first image and see the small amount of damage to the inside layer of the luan.) It was just a little damage and not worth tearing the wall apart to do anything more about, so plugging the entry points where the water was getting in would suffice. After plugging the butyle balls into the old holes, I inserted the new input plug into the existing hole through the wall and used a 7/16" drill bit to open four new holes into the fiberglass for finishing the install. The new power plug comes with a closed cell foam gasket that should help to prevent any future leaks. I did not over tighten the screws, being careful not the strip out the holes in the fiberglass.:reye2

Now we're ready to connect the new power cord, also purchased from Amazon. I have fixed the crank handle for the television antenna and permanently mounted the hitch locking-pin handle to the trailer frame. We're pretty much ready for our first camping adventure.

It looks like this:

k0wtz 11-18-2017 10:49 AM

nice job
bill I don't understand why the manufactures don't do this to start with.

great looking job. if I planned to use our electricity I would fix stevie up with this but we are boondockers.


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