Am I being too adventurous?

Discussion in 'General Camping Discussion Forum' started by LJoe, Jan 10, 2018.

  1. Paul in Nanaimo

    Paul in Nanaimo Member

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    I think that if you are driving more than you want to in a day, you have picked a destination that is too far. Either shorten the trip, or take more time. As the somewhat hokey phrase states, 'life is a journey,not a destination'.
     
  2. davido

    davido Well-Known Member

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    Preparation is the key.
    1. Have your axle bearings checked and lubed.
    2. Have your brakes checked.
    3. Verify your tires are in good condition and not "old" despite their appearance: 5y is about the limit.
    4. Set up and take down the trailer in your driveway. While it is set up:
      1. Flush the freshwater system and re-sanitize it. Then flush it again for good measure.
      2. Test the furnace and water heater.
      3. Test the lights and batteries -- Top them off.
      4. Verify you have what you need inside -- bedding, cooking equipment, etc.
      5. Prep the toilet if you have one.
      6. Clean out the fridge.
      7. Stock up supplies such as paper towels, matches/lighters, toilet paper, paper plates, and non-perishable foods.
      8. Remove everything you won't need for the trip -- save weight for those things you really will need.
      9. Verify you have a spare set of each fuse type.
    5. Top off your propane tank(s).
    6. Drain the freshwater system (you typically wouldn't tow over distances with full tanks).
    7. Check the trailer's exterior marker and towing lights.
    8. Test the brakes while hooked up to the tow vehicle.
    9. Have your oil changed on the tow vehicle. Consider whether it's time to change transmission fluid.
    10. Check the tow vehicle's brakes, hoses, belts, battery, tires, differential fluid levels, CV boots, tow-wiring, fuses, and fluid levels.
    11. Verify you have a jack and lug wrench that fits the trailer in case you have a flat along the way. Make sure the spare tire is inflated.
    When you pack for the trip:
    1. Go light. Every pound aft of the rear axle of the tow vehicle counts against your tongue weight available capacity.
    2. Pack the trailer carefully; you want 10% to 15% of the overall trailer's weight to be distributed to the tongue. But you don't want to exceed the tongue weight of the tow vehicle, nor do you want the trailer to be overloaded overall.
    3. Consider a car-top-carrier if you discover that you've overloaded the tongue / rear axle. At least with a car-top carrier you can distribute some of the cargo weight closer to the front axle. Another nice trick is a cargo carrier on the trailer, but only if the trailer's axle and tires can handle the added weight you're going to toss into the carrier.
    Once you've done those things, you're relatively assured of having few surprises on the road and at the campground.
    I wouldn't think twice about towing any long distance with a properly packed and properly maintained trailer and tow vehicle. It will be fine. I wouldn't tow 30 miles with an improperly packed or maintained trailer and tow vehicle though.

    Since you're going to be setting up and tearing down frequently, I'd leave things like a pop-up canopy at home. It might be tempting to bring the canopy along if rain or a lot of sun are in the forecast, but in general, think of ways to reduce set-up and take-down time. When I have multiple legs on my trip, with short stays at each destination, I skip the canopy. Some people bring BBQs that require more setup than the one that comes stock with the trailer. That's another thing to leave behind if you're going to be doing multiple stops with short durations. Reducing things like number of folding chairs also helps. And for an overnight only stop, I wouldn't dream of unfolding the awning.

    You can also minimize setup/tear-down time by using campgrounds with full hookups. Less need for fetching water, easier dishware cleanup, etc.
     
  3. popup 61

    popup 61 Member

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    Our family makes the trip out west to see the national parks every year.
    1. As a Ford certified technician, your explorer already has a transmission cooler built into the radiator so no need to worry about that. If your explorer is pre 2011 its a good idea to change the transmission fluid and filter. If its 2011-present, there is no serviceable filter , just a fluid change. If its 2011-present i would look into changing the PTU (transfer case) fluid. The fluid tends to break down after extended long trips. Just good piece of mind.
    2. One opinion on your route from SD towards GTNP and YNP is to take rte 16 from Buffalo to Ten Sleep instead of 14 or 14a. It is a much easier road to pull up and no to steep coming back down the bighorns. The views are spectacular so definately stop at the pull outs to check them out.
    3. One campground to consider in GTNP is Gros Venture campground. With over 300 sites , it rarely fills. The views of the Tetons are great and the campground is right along the Gros Venture river in prime moose country! Moose are common visitors throughout the campground in the morning and at dusk.
     
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  4. kskelloggs

    kskelloggs New Member

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    You will have a great time! We live in WY, and be sure and bring warm clothes for everyone. The only month I haven't seen it snow is August but have seen snow September 1st, lol! And if you have time, be sure and say Hi when going through Sundance WY! Another thing to keep in mind is gas stations. Out here towns can be many miles down the road, so be sure and gas up before you get too low. The next place for gas might be a long way down the road, LOL!
     
  5. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah Gold Supporting Member

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    . Back when I was a kid my parents made a long trip out west. I remember we were driving on a road with absolutely nothing, for a child seemed like forever, and the next thing I hear my dad said, we have a problem. The gas light just turned on. No GPS back then. We continued driving and crossed our fingers we would see a glorious sign of a gas station. Miracle, a one pup station came upon the horizon.
     
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  6. LJoe

    LJoe New Member

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    Thanks for all the suggestions. Per peoples advice about travel time while towing, I changed the itinerary and deleted The Tetons. I’ll save it for next time. Instead we are going to take it slow once we leave South Dakota. Will head over to Devils Tower and also spend a night in Cody before heading into Yellowstone. Overall this cuts a LOT of mileage out of the trip. The longest haul will be getting from Michigan to SD, so we will stay the night somewhere near The Dells. Still hoping to make it all the way to Glacier tho, as last time we were out this way we canceled Glacier because we were sick of driving. Lol

    Am I the only one who could care less about having access to water in the PUP? We will be in bear country much of the time, so I don’t see myself ever needing to use the sink. Even when back in Michigan, it seems like a pain, since most campgrounds have bathrooms and sinks. No potty in my pup so, it seems like a hassle I can go without.

    Thank you so much for all the responses!
     
  7. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah Gold Supporting Member

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    Not just you. I always bring a 5 gallon jug of water from home for drinking anyway but don't absolutely need hookups. A tub of water for washing dishes outside is usually easy to get from the campground somewhere. Sadly if I camp with Mom it is a requirement for her. She absolutely feels she has to have all creature comforts.
     
  8. CamperMike

    CamperMike Active Member

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    I don't think you're craze about the water. I usually do use the sink in my pup. but we are planning a similar trip this summer from Illinois (4 nights in Glacier/6 nights in Yellowstone), and I don't think water will be useful. You aren't supposed to brush your teeth in the camper... you don't want grey water sitting around to attract bears, and dish-washing is supposed to be done in dedicated locations within the park. I won't be using our tanks for that trip.
    This will also be our first multi-day drive-time trip with the pup. I plan to stop at motels instead of camping on the way to allow us to drive further and not be putting up/taking down the camper along the way. The last thinh my family wants to deal with is setting up camp after a day on the road.
     
  9. Mr_Toad

    Mr_Toad New Member

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    If I can add a bit about making the stop overs much easier... when I went I had three teenage girls, plus me and wifey. We took a few practice trips before we did the big first year trip from texas down to florida and then all around. We had a 2004 Explorer and our Coleman/Fleetword Sedona.

    Some lessons learned when popping up every day or so, as :

    Driving drains even the kid asleep in the back, so when you arrive, make it simple and quick. Give everyone a job, we actually practiced a few times to set new land speed records (so I told them). but main thing is you don't want to be having to "setup" house every night.

    1. Really Really eliminate anything you can't use for multiple uses. Cooking was big area, we way too much stuff.
    2. we got paper plates and those old fashioned paper plate holders to eliminate washing and drying so much every night. everyone had their own double walled cup/drink thing. (we carried water and had kool-aid kinda drops to make it taste better.
    3. if you will at camps with electricity, an electric skillet is quick and easy, save the grill and stuff for when you are in for a couple of days.
    4. pre-collect your meals, we use big ziplocks to put all the dry goods together for a meal if possible, and even refrig/cooler stuff together in their own bags and mark them, that makes is so much quicker after a day in the car. we keep all dry goods. (also allows you to know what you need before you stop, like milk or eggs or such...)
    5. we keep all dry goods in one rubbermaid tub in back of car during trip, for access to snacks and use a coleman electric fridge for cold stuff. We park, we just wait till pup is up and just carry them in.
    6. each person had a go-bag, this is what they kept all the stuff they wanted on trip, books, tablets, phone chargers, make-up, etc. Each had a bag, and upon arrival, quick carry into pup. then we left pup, it went with us in car, so no valuables were every really left. I was even required to have one, and it worked great.
    7. finally, clothes, ugh... Our camper has a 6 foot long bench on one side of camper. We bought a 5 three drawer plastic containers from wally world. we got the clear ones, white trim, the narrow (about a foot or so, not wide ones). We tossed the wheels they came with. Each person had one, and they could be stored in back of car, or put on floor of popup. Each person could do shirts, pants, underwear/bathing suit. (get a big mesh bag for everyone's dirty linen.
    No suitcases, nor bags all over the place. we have used this idea several times, but only when we go for more than 3 days somewhere.

    Good luck, sorry this got a bit long, but ask any questions if I can help.

    PS: let the kids name the trailer and let them get a flag to fly to mark their territory. lol
     
  10. mpking

    mpking Well-Known Member

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    Highly recommend the Sterilite Carts. We have two of the wide one's. Everyone gets a draw for the short trips
    [​IMG]
     
  11. silvermickey2002

    silvermickey2002 Morris County, NJ Gold Supporting Member

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    We did a trip similar to that in 2010. We live in NJ.

    We headed for Mount Rushmore, Glacier, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, in that order. When leaving Yellowstone head out the west entrance! I won't suggest going out thru the north entrance. We drove up that way while camping in the park to visit the north entrance and it was a bit hilly. When going out the West Entrance take 191 to 287 north. That will bring you thru Helena, MT. Stay on 287 north till you get to 89. 89 will bring you past East Glacier and then up to St. Mary entrance to Glacier NP. This route allows you to stop along the way to take breaks. It was also a nice drive.

    Remember, it's not about the destination, it's about the journey!!!
     
  12. CampStewart

    CampStewart Member

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    Your rig with family and all the gear for a long trip will be loaded pretty heavy. I would suggest adding brakes to it. It might be easier to just buy a new axle with brakes on it already. That way you get new bearings and spindles and it should be lubed and ready to go. Get the highest load rating you can on the tire size you use. Make sure the lights and wiring is good to go and get a quality brake controller for the trailer. You should understand the tongue weight and why it is important, load up your trailer and get it weighed to get an idea of how heavy it will be.
     
  13. MNTCamper

    MNTCamper Well-Known Member

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    In the national parks, you have to fill up water at the spigot, so it is much easier to just operate out of a 5 or 7 gallon aquatainer type thing. We never use the water in our camper, just the jugs and larger plastic dish pans. There is typically a place to dump your dishwashing water. In the bear country areas, they are sticklers about your cleanliness, so you have to keep a clean camp.

    I had one son, who when he was about 7 yo simply could not hold it while driving. On two separate long trips, we actually had a bottle for him to go in that we kept in the van for him to use. Made him sit in the back when he needed to use it. We couldn't afford to stop every 45-60 minutes for him to go. He grew out of that and now we can go 5 hours at a clip with no issues with the kids, but they are fantastic travelers now.
     
  14. penny

    penny Well-Known Member

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    It seems inspiring to me! As I've mentioned before, we have a rialta rv and we have taken many long and fun trips in it. It is very easy to take road trips in because you can park and sleep in places it wouldn't be wise to pop up a camper in. We bought the pup mostly for camping trips, not road trips. But next fall we are going back east to see family and don't want to take our high mileage vehicle. So we will take the pop up and just plan our stops in campgrounds and with family we will visit along the way. I think it will be a lot of fun, and affordable too. I've enjoyed all the hints and tips!
     
  15. davido

    davido Well-Known Member

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    If your tow vehicle is up to the task and well maintained...
    If your trailer is well maintained and roadworthy...
    If you are adept at setup / takedown...
    If you enjoy road trips and camping...
    If you have a backup fund for repairs that may turn up unexpectedly...
    If you have time...

    Then it sounds like a great trip. Enjoy.
     

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