Eight weeks on the road

Patrick w

Active Member
Aug 13, 2021
589
Yes, absorption fridges are terribly inefficient. A decent compressor fridge would use somewhere between ¼ and ⅛ of the power, but could not run on propane.
I had one years back, hated it. Got a compressor fridge and it's been great since. I keep it in my minivan because it gives quick access to food even when out sight seeing or during break time. I don't keep any food in the camper (just the larger chuck box if needed) and never cook in it either. I haven't don't anything close to your time though.,.that's a long time on the road!
 
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TSQ

Active Member
Mar 28, 2021
342
Niagara Region, ON
Day 6

Rained all night. Woke up at 8:30am, ate some honey nut Cheerios, and packed up the trailer. Tried to time it during a break in the rain but it was raining harder than ever by the time we finished. My wife was smart and wore a raincoat. I did not. At least the inside of the trailer seems to stay relatively dry even if the vinyl/canvas is soaking wet. Departed at 10am, rain stopped 11ish.

Because we neglected to prepare our lunches last night and couldn't be bothered in the morning, we stopped at Tim Hortons in Dryden for a late lunch. Arrived at Blue Lake PP 4pm and set everything up to dry out. Played at the beach, supper, hike, and now catching up on emails before turning in.

20220705222239_IMG_8270.jpg

Distance travelled: 387 km
Fuel economy: 10.3 l/100km
Fuel purchased: 39.07 l @ $2.102 /l = $82.13
Solar harvested: 490 Wh
 

jnbarrett

Active Member
Mar 30, 2022
114
Winnipeg, MB
Thanks for the offer,

Looks like we will just miss you - planning for Spruce Woods PP tomorrow.

Will hit up Riding Mountain on the way back for sure - thanks for the suggestion.

Enjoy. Spruce Woods is nice, but the campgrounds in Eastern MB (Whiteshell) and RMNP are far nicer. You'll still have a wonderful time though.

Safe travels!
 
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TSQ

Active Member
Mar 28, 2021
342
Niagara Region, ON
Day 7

Got up 8am, breakfast, and put on some laundry before packing up the trailer while the kids player at the beach. Departed 11ish.

Crossed into Manitoba around 1pm, stopped at the welcome centre (which itself was closed) for a picnic lunch. Stopped outside Winnipeg for gas and a bathroom break (and ice cream). Drove through some thunderstorms on the West side of Winnipeg. Arrived Spruce Woods PP at 5pm. Setup, dinner, thunderstorm, swim at the beach, early to bed to get away from the West Niles.

My wife reorganized some of the bins in the back of the van and relabeled them to make it easier to get at the most used items. Before leaving for the trip I pulled (unbolted) the third row seats out of the van. This freed up a ton of space and got rid of ~150 lbs right at the back of the vehicle.
IMG_20220706_102936033.jpg

Distance travelled: 492 km
Fuel economy: 11.2 l/100km
Fuel purchased: 39.87 l @ $1.999 /l = $79.69
Solar harvested: 580 Wh
 

TSQ

Active Member
Mar 28, 2021
342
Niagara Region, ON
Day 8

Got up at 8am, breakfast, packed up, out of the campsite shortly after 9am. Drove over to the Spirit Sands for a hike before it got too hot. Great hike, very interesting - was not expecting to see giant sand dunes in the middle of Manitoba. Had lunch at the trailhead before hitting the road noonish. Stopped in Brandon for supplies and to do some laundry. Arrived Moose Mountain PP at 4:30pm. Setup, campfire for hot dogs & marshmallows, cleanup, catch up on emails before bed.

Moose Mountain is a busy campground with ~400 sites and only ~10 available. All but ~25 sites electrical. We feel a bit out of place with our Honda and the popup - 95% of the campers have pickups with 35'+ trailers, and most have a second vehicle and/or a boat as well. I've only seen one other popup and less than 10 other vehicles that were not Ford, GM, or Dodge (Stellantis?).

IMG_20220707_191619.jpg

Distance travelled: 294 km
Fuel economy: 11.1 l/100km
Fuel purchased: 33.80 l @ $1.959 /l = $66.21
Solar harvested: 650 Wh
 

jnbarrett

Active Member
Mar 30, 2022
114
Winnipeg, MB
Day 8

Got up at 8am, breakfast, packed up, out of the campsite shortly after 9am. Drove over to the Spirit Sands for a hike before it got too hot. Great hike, very interesting - was not expecting to see giant sand dunes in the middle of Manitoba. Had lunch at the trailhead before hitting the road noonish. Stopped in Brandon for supplies and to do some laundry. Arrived Moose Mountain PP at 4:30pm. Setup, campfire for hot dogs & marshmallows, cleanup, catch up on emails before bed.

Moose Mountain is a busy campground with ~400 sites and only ~10 available. All but ~25 sites electrical. We feel a bit out of place with our Honda and the popup - 95% of the campers have pickups with 35'+ trailers, and most have a second vehicle and/or a boat as well. I've only seen one other popup and less than 10 other vehicles that were not Ford, GM, or Dodge (Stellantis?).

That's the amazing thing about Manitoba, you can drive 2 hours in any direction from Winnipeg and see a different terrain. A lot of people dump on our province and Winnipeg (including those that live here), but have never been outside of the Perimeter Highway except to hit Highway #1.

As for the big trucks / campers. You're camping in a campground that's popular with vacationing farmers that have big trucks and rigs that head South in the winter. Whiteshell, Nopiming, Duck Mountain, etc ... you'll find many more tents and pop-up trailers because the sites are tighter and heavily treed, which are often more difficult for the big rigs to fit, depending on the campground.
 

Dougster

New Member
May 9, 2007
6
After spending the last year purchasing, modifying, and testing a trailer and tow vehicle we are now off on an epic road trip this summer.

The kids are (hopefully) at a point where they are old enough to remember it, but young enough to put up with us for the summer.

Totals (to date):
Distance driven: 2420 km
Average fuel economy (reported): 11.3 l/100km
Fuel bought: 259.3 l
Fuel cost: $524.06
After spending the last year purchasing, modifying, and testing a trailer and tow vehicle we are now off on an epic road trip this summer.

The kids are (hopefully) at a point where they are old enough to remember it, but young enough to put up with us for the summer.

Totals (to date):
Distance driven: 2420 km
Average fuel economy (reported): 11.3 l/100km
Fuel bought: 259.3 l
Fuel cost: $524.06
Wonderful memories of traveling in the pop up with our two daughters. They accompanied us as soon as they were born and the oldest, college age, drove to meet us for a week at Glacier NP. We often meet up with other couples we know and spend time in the National Parks. The grown up kids bring their friends and sleep in tents or hammocks now.
 
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TSQ

Active Member
Mar 28, 2021
342
Niagara Region, ON
That's the amazing thing about Manitoba, you can drive 2 hours in any direction from Winnipeg and see a different terrain. A lot of people dump on our province and Winnipeg (including those that live here), but have never been outside of the Perimeter Highway except to hit Highway #1.

As for the big trucks / campers. You're camping in a campground that's popular with vacationing farmers that have big trucks and rigs that head South in the winter. Whiteshell, Nopiming, Duck Mountain, etc ... you'll find many more tents and pop-up trailers because the sites are tighter and heavily treed, which are often more difficult for the big rigs to fit, depending on the campground.
I'd love to spend more time everywhere we go but unfortunately we only have so much time. We are deeply thankful that both my wife and I are able to take so much time off work this summer to make the trip possible.

We are trying to veer off the regular path to try and show the kids as much of the country as possible, while still maintaining at least some cell coverage as I still have some work commitments.

We are meeting family in Alberta this weekend so pushing through to get there.

Falcon Lake looked nice when we drove past it, hope you have a great weekend there.
 

poppy65

Member
May 10, 2015
86
After spending the last year purchasing, modifying, and testing a trailer and tow vehicle we are now off on an epic road trip this summer.

The kids are (hopefully) at a point where they are old enough to remember it, but young enough to put up with us for the summer.

Totals (to date):
Distance driven: 2420 km
Average fuel economy (reported): 11.3 l/100km
Fuel bought: 259.3 l
Fuel cost: $524.06
My children are 55 and 51 and they still talk about camping trips and weekends at the lake. They were 5 and 9 at the time. Spend plenty of time with them doing things they want to do. Good luck and enjoy.
 

jnbarrett

Active Member
Mar 30, 2022
114
Winnipeg, MB
Falcon Lake looked nice when we drove past it, hope you have a great weekend there.

I understand the time thing. You are indeed, very fortunate to be able to do this trip.

Falcon is nice as is West Hawk, but you'll still find many larger rigs there as the sites are a little more open, which tends to be the case with many campgrounds right off the TransCanada Highway.

Either way, you can go wrong with any of them.

Unfortunately, we had to cancel this weekend. My DW has a horrible cold and congestion. Next planned trip is Riding Mountain National Park, though we might try to sneak something in between then yet. After that, it's back to dog trials in North Dakota from September onwards.

Safe travels!
 

ricochet1490

New Member
Jun 30, 2021
1
Love it. Just caught up with your build thread. Very detailed and I appreciate the information. Glad you're enjoying the trip. A lot of ground to cover!
Good luck!
 
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TSQ

Active Member
Mar 28, 2021
342
Niagara Region, ON
Thanks everyone for the comments,

Day 9

Got up at 8am again, trying to make this a routine but it has been hard with the kids not being used to sleeping in the trailer for the first bit, and then all the time zone changes recently. Had breakfast, packed up, and were on the road by 9:30am.

Stopped at Assiniboia for gas and ate our sandwich lunches in the Kal Tire parking lot. Which turned out to be rather ironic (you can probably see where this is going).

Continued on the Red Coat Trail (Hwy? 13), making good time. Very nice road - smooth, not much traffic, lots of passing lanes. It crosses railway tracks every so often but the crossings are (generally) so well done that you hardly notice them. I got complacent and stopped slowing down for them. And all was fine, until we drove over a rail crossing at 100 km/h that was anything but level and smooth. The van and trailer went over them fine but it was really bouncy.

Everything settled down after a second or two and felt normal, so I kept driving without stopping to check. A few kilometers down the road I noticed that the van was working a bit harder to maintain speed. At first I thought the wind had changed (storm clouds were forming) but then I saw smoke in the side mirror and knew we had tire problems.

Wrecked both tires. Both missing their valve stems so I presume the valve stems blew out when we went over the bumpy rail crossing and I kept going with them flat. One tire disintegrated but didn't seem to damage the trailer at all, the other tire was just flat with damaged sidewalls.
IMG_20220708_202124669.jpg

Luckily we carry two spares so we were back on the road in 15 mins (could have been 5 but everyone who passed was nice and stopped to offer assistance so I had to tell the whole story to a half-dozen different people. Also lucky we had a good jack (Torin 1.5 ton Big Red scissor jack - recommended) and good tools on hand.

Will pick up a spare bias ply tire from CanTire in Swift Current tomorrow just to have something on hand, and I have two new radials on order to be picked up next week just West of Calgary (145r12 is not a common size).

Continued on our way and arrived at the Grasslands NP visitors center at 4pm to check in. Arrived at our site ~5pm as it is a long way in and we stopped to do a few short interpretive hikes on the way. Beautiful park, only ~20 sites at the campground (Frenchman Valley).

Setup, supper, cleanup, walked up the hill to watch the sunset and approaching storm. Got a few cool lightning shots.
20220708232937_IMG_8377.JPG
(f/22, 6s, ISO 100 @18mm on my Canon M5 with 18-150 lens)

Put away everything at the site just before the rain started at ~9pm. By 10pm it was horizontal rain, wind shaking the trailer like crazy, and continuous lightning and thunder.

Oddly enough we lost cell service at 8pm but at 10pm the cell service came back but the campground power went out (not that it matters to us). Looks like the storm is pretty much past so time to turn in as we have a lot of driving to do again tomorrow.

Distance travelled: 524 km
Fuel economy: 10.9 l/100km
Fuel purchased: 56.54 l @ $1.999 /l = $113.00
Solar harvested: 870 Wh
 
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TSQ

Active Member
Mar 28, 2021
342
Niagara Region, ON
Wow! Those tires have seen better days.
Yeah, a pity as they were only ~1yr old (<5000 kms). If I had stopped right away I might have been able to save them (just get new valve stems). But maybe some of the belts were broken so who knows. Anyways, lesson learned - always stop to check.

So, do you collect solar while driving or only while the camper is set up?
Yes, 24/7. Two Renogy 100W panels on the roof connected to a Victron Energy 75/15 charge controller. It is always on so it collects energy as long as there is a demand (and there is enough light). I bumped the charge voltages on the solar charge controller up a little so it takes preference over the vehicle DC-DC charger.

I'm using Victron Energy charge controllers for both the vehicle DC-DC and solar. I'd recommend them to anyone - work well, super customizable, easy to use interface.
Screenshot_20220709-091013.png
 

TSQ

Active Member
Mar 28, 2021
342
Niagara Region, ON
Unfortunately, we had to cancel this weekend. My DW has a horrible cold and congestion. Next planned trip is Riding Mountain National Park, though we might try to sneak something in between then yet. After that, it's back to dog trials in North Dakota from September onwards.

Safe travels!

That's a pity, hope she is feeling better.

We are looking at Riding Mountain mid-August on our way back, probably around the 20th.
 

jnbarrett

Active Member
Mar 30, 2022
114
Winnipeg, MB
That's a pity, hope she is feeling better.

We are looking at Riding Mountain mid-August on our way back, probably around the 20th.

Thanks. She's getting there. Not COVID ... just a really bad cold.

We're at RMNP the weekend of August 5th. We'll be at the cabin on Lake of the Woods the week of Aug 15th.
 

TSQ

Active Member
Mar 28, 2021
342
Niagara Region, ON
Day 10

As the thunderstorm kept us up until 1am we slept in for a bit in the morning. Breakfast, cleanup, went for a hike, and packed up.

IMG_20220710_215355.jpg

On the road by 11am. Stopped at Swift Current to pick up a spare tire (only a 5.30-12 C available in town but better than nothing), groceries, and gas. Ate our sandwich lunch in the CanTire parking lot.

Continued on our way, crossed into Alberta around 3pm, and arrived at Dinosaur PP at 6pm. Setup, supper, campfire, and retreated into the trailer to escape the mosquitos.

Happy to have at least some kind of spare trailer tire - once we pick up our two new "real" spares (145R12 E) we will find a place to keep the bias ply one as well. My prefered trailer tires are the Carlisles, only because they are rated to 120 km/h (75 mph) and everything else in 145R12 only seems to be rated to 105 km/h (65 mph).

The van came with a temporary spare tire but we are carrying a full size spare (one of the winter tires) as I wouldn't want to tow with the mini spare. Running new XL rated Continental LX25s on the van this year for the trip. Very happy with them so far.

Have been checking tire pressures every could of days, using a cordless inflator that takes the same 18v batteries as the cordless drill we use to raise and lower the roof and stabilizers (Makita in our case, but most brands seem to have them). Works really well, and I find it easier to use than the 12V plug-in inflators (though I have only ever used cheap plug-in ones). End up charging the battery once/week (via the Inverter).

Been running the van tires at 36 psi front and 40 psi rear lately. Started off with the rear at 38 psi but they seem to run a little cooler at 40.
Screenshot_20220708-102057.png
(Right side of the van was in the sun when I captured this)

Using a OBD2-Bluetooth adapter (OBDLink) and Torque Pro (Android app) to monitor different vehicle CANbus parameters that are not normally displayed. Transmission temp is the one I really wanted, but tire temp is cool as well.
Screenshot_20220708-122530.png

Distance travelled: 516 km
Fuel economy: 11.3 l/100km
Fuel purchased: 42.88 l @ $1.999 /l = $85.72
Solar harvested: 1000 Wh
 
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