We took our Cherokee Wolf Pack 19WP out for the first time this weekend.
Our destination was Steeleville, IL for the Randolph County Pig Party BBQ Competition. It's about 345 miles from home. We wanted to be on site by noon on Friday so we left Thursday evening and drove to Bloomington, IL (about 150 miles). Our plan was to stop overnight at a Pilot Travel Center. i called in advance and they didn't have a separate RV parking area but we figured we'd check it out. We got there around 10:30pm and there must have been 200 trucks parked for the night! We couldn't find any place for our truck and trailer. I had also called a Walmart Super Center at the same exit and found out where they allowed overnight RV parking so we headed over there and there was plenty of room. There were four Walmart trucks, a big tanker and three race team Showhaulers and trailers.
The only problem with the Walmart was that there wasn't any place to get a cup of coffee in the morning. So, we pulled out at about 7 after a quick shower and topped off the truck gas tank and grabbed some coffee at a local Marathon station.
We made it to Steeleville shortly after 11:00AM. Overall the trip down there was uneventful. The trailer pulled great and I didn't have any problems even with trucks passing at 70 or so. My truck seemed to settle in to a nice groove at 64 miles per hour so I kept it there while on the interstate. I haven't figured out the mileage yet but I'm estimating that it was around 9 MPG, which is pretty close to what we averaged when we pulled our smaller cargo trailer.
Our home for the weekend was on the streets of downtown Steeleville. We were able to pull along the curb and keep the truck right in front of the trailer. The street had quite a hump to it so we were far from level but some Lynx blocks on the low side helped out. It took us a while to get everything set up since it was our first time, but once we figured things out it worked out well. I dropped the ramp onto a couple of jack stands and used the for a cooking platform for our smokers and we folded up one of the rear couches and put out prep table in front of it.
We had some pretty good storms come through on Friday evening but we were nice and dry in the toy hauler. It also rained most of the night and all day on Saturday.
Here are a couple of pictures of our setup...
If you're not familiar with Kansas City BBQ Society BBQ competitions we cook Chicken, Pork Ribs, Pork Shoulder and Beef Brisket. The meats are turned in on Saturday starting with chicken at noon, ribs at 12:30, pork at 1:00 and brisket at 1:30. The awards ceremony was supposed to be at 3:30 and w hoped to be on the road by 4:00. Because of a computer issue the awards didn't start until 5:15! So, we finally hit the road at 6:00pm. My wife had to work today (Sunday) so we really wanted to be home on Saturday night. At the recommendation of the competition organizer we stopped at a huge shooting range that had a campground that was empty this weekend and used their dump station. It was our fist time dumping but it went well except for the wind. It was blowing from the northeast at 25 with gusts to 35! This made for an uncomfortable ride home, and I had to keep the speed down to 55 or so. We made it back to the same Walmart in Bloomington and decided to stop for the night. We finished the drive this morning and made it home by 9:00am in time for my wife to get to work. The wind was tough all the way and i know that my gas mileage was much lower on the trip home.
Oh yeah... the competition... We had a decent weekend. There were 44 teams and we ended up 14th overall, which is a bit of a disappointment, but that was the result of a poor finish with our chicken. We thought that it was good, but the judges disagreed. In the other categories we did well, finished in 2nd place in ribs, 8th place in pork and 6th place in brisket and brought home enough money to offset at least our fuel costs.