We planned our trip around a planned launch of SpaceX CRS-7. SpaceX CRS-7 was a private cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station. It was the ninth flight for SpaceX's uncrewed Dragon cargo spacecraft and the seventh SpaceX operational mission contracted to NASA under a Commercial Resupply Services contract.
Following a nominal liftoff, Falcon 9 experienced an overpressure event in the upper stage liquid oxygen tank approximately 139 seconds into flight just before the first stage was to separate from the second stage, resulting in loss of mission. Or as NASA announced, the rocket did indeed "experience an anomaly on ascent.”
While exploring Route 66 in Springfield, Illinois, we stopped at iconic Route 66 Twin Drive-In Theatre (1700 Recreation Dr., west of 6th Street southwest of the junction of I-72 and I-55). The theater was closed since it was the middle of the day but it was the great location for a photo of our F-150.
After weeks of research and a recommendation from Anthony of glamourstream.com fame, I ordered a set of Hellwig 61902 Pro-Series Helper Spring with Silent Feature for my Ford F-150 Platinum EcoBoost. I installed them the day after delivery but it was not a one hour job as advertised nor did I beat the snappy 90-minute install Anthony mentioned in his post.
Does the Ford F-150 EcoBoost with Max Tow Package really need helper springs? Maybe or maybe not, depending on your needs. I had a couple of reasons in mind for trying them. First, I wanted the truck and the Airstream level when fully loaded for travel. WIth our ProPride 3P hitch and more than a few things in the bed, it was a challenge to remove rear-end sag without cranking up the tension on the weight distribution bars. Second, I don't like the way most 4-wheel drive pickups blind oncoming traffic due to the ridiculously high aim of the factory headlights. Do pickup trucks and cars have different alignment criteria? Apparently so.
Here's what Hellwig has to say about the benefits of helper springs:
It’s patented bolt on design, “Silent Ride” polyurethane stability blocks, plated and powder coated components and easy to follow installation instructions make this the helper spring of choice for do-it-yourself and professionals alike. Manufactured with heat treated ASTM 5150 alloy spring steel in our California based facility, these units increase your vehicles level load carrying capacity up to the manufacturer’s Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. With its progressive rate design this helper spring system enables trucks and vans to carry loads with more control and stability. As your load increases this spring automatically increases its rate to resist sagging and tail dragging.
Hellwig Pro Series Features and Benefits:
- 2500 lbs of level load capacity system enables trucks to carry loads with more stability and control includes silent ride feature unique polurethane block applies tension to the ubolts to maintain a quiet ride stabilized the helper spring in reverse or rebound mode
- Fast easy bolt on installation
- Includes heavy duty hardware
- Progressive rate leaved do not effect the ride when unloaded, set it and forget it
- Made in the U.S.A
- Limited Lifetime Warranty.
It's important to note that the springs were not added to increase any weight carrying capacities. The F-150 load capacities were determined by the engineers at Ford Motor Co. and I'm not attempting to exceed those limits with an add-on or go against the recommendations of Hellwig:
Once installed and adjusted you are free to haul and or tow a multitude of equipment and commodities with greater control and stability. Manufactured with heat treated ASTM 5150 alloy spring steel in our California based facility, these units can increase your vehicles level load carrying capacity up to the manufacturer’s Gross Vehicle Weight Rating.
The Hellwig 61902 Pro-Series Helper Spring with Silent Feature is a great product. The F-150 Platinum EcoBoost still rides like a luxury car when the bed is empty and there's no longer any rear-end sag when fully loaded for an Airstream adventure. Color me a happy camper.
After a summer of non-stop remodeling adventures, we finally managed to get for a few days at Anchor Down RV Resort to enjoy the beautiful fall colors in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. There's nothing like hitching up the Airstream after spending several weekends with saws, hammers and sheetrock dust. Make that lots of sheetrock dust. The clear skies and clean air of the Smokies never looked better.
Anchor Down RV Resort is located on Douglas Lake in historic Dandridge, Tennessee. Dandridge was voted best small town on the water 2013, (Life on the Water, magazine) with gorgeous views of the Smokies. The downtown area is very laid back and a fun place to walk around looking at the historic old buildings and centuries old cemetaries.
This was our second trip to Anchor Down. Our site was located at the top of a hill and had a great view of the lake and the campground below. For our fall trip, we only wanted to see the lake and Smokies so we booked a spot on the lower level that included a stand alone fireplace. If you're thinking of visiting Anchor Down, the lower sites near the lake is the place to be. We were in Site #41.
The weekend was quite a depature from all the hectic days of our remodeling project. After looking at sheetrock dust and one mess after another, the serene life of fall in the Smokies was a welcome and much needed change of pace.
The resort has a beautifully maintained walking trail along the lake.
The fall leaves were nearing full color during our visit. Incredible sights were visible in every direction.
The mornings at Anchor Down were spectacular. We couldn't wait to get outside each morning with our coffee to enjoy the views.
Sitting by the Airstream with a cup of coffee while the sun slowly burns away the morning fog is definitely a great way to start each day.
We loved our time at Anchor Down RV Resort and The Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We will definitely be back.