Planning a MD to Grand Canyon trip

Rcjone70

New Member
Apr 18, 2016
6
Hello all,

My family 2 adults, 13yr old and 6 year old daughters will be taking a 38day camping trip in our fairly new to us (we have done a couple of weekend camping trips last season) 2000 StarCraft space master. We are planning on stopping and seeing the sights as well as visit friends and family along the way. I have a few questions.

1) I would like to use a window ac unit for air conditioning. Looking for suggestions on how to set it up. I have 2 options. Build a frame for the outside of the camper and have it blowing through the screen or I could cut a space for it under the rear bunk. If I do this route I am planning on making a door so that I can remove the ac unit while traveling and haul it in my truck bed. This would also alow us to camp in cooler weather and not have a gaping hole.

2) looking for things to do with the family along the way. We are staying in the following cities: Chattanooga TN, Little Rock AR, Rogers AR, Rusk TX, Fort Worth TX, Shawnee OK, Amarillo TX, Winslow AZ (we are already planning on standing on a corner in Winslow), Sante Fe NM, and the Grand Canyon. On the way home we will stay in some of these areas and St Louis MO.

3) tips and suggestions
Rcjone70

If you are taking bicycles with you, Little Rock/North LR has a great trail loop (16-17 miles around) along the Arkansas river. (DO NOT GO SWIMMING- TREACHEROUS UNDERTOW). Actually the North Little Rock side is better than the Little Rock side in the downtown area, but you can cross over the bridge and see the Clinton Museum- if you are into that. Also in downtown Little Rock the Arkansas Game and Fish dept has a very good nature exhibit. To the west of Little Rock there is Pinnacle Mountain State Park which has hiking trails and looks down on Lake Maumelle. Lake Maumelle has sailboat racing almost every other Sunday throughout the year.
Rogers has the Daisy Air Rifle Museum, also quite interesting. For hiking there, Lake Atalanta has a nice boardwalk around the lake, about 2 miles of level walking. They are also on The Razorback Greenway, a 36.7 mile rail-to-trail paved way connecting several NW Arkansas cities.
Hope you have a great and safe trip!
Hello all,

My family 2 adults, 13yr old and 6 year old daughters will be taking a 38day camping trip in our fairly new to us (we have done a couple of weekend camping trips last season) 2000 StarCraft space master. We are planning on stopping and seeing the sights as well as visit friends and family along the way. I have a few questions.

1) I would like to use a window ac unit for air conditioning. Looking for suggestions on how to set it up. I have 2 options. Build a frame for the outside of the camper and have it blowing through the screen or I could cut a space for it under the rear bunk. If I do this route I am planning on making a door so that I can remove the ac unit while traveling and haul it in my truck bed. This would also alow us to camp in cooler weather and not have a gaping hole.

2) looking for things to do with the family along the way. We are staying in the following cities: Chattanooga TN, Little Rock AR, Rogers AR, Rusk TX, Fort Worth TX, Shawnee OK, Amarillo TX, Winslow AZ (we are already planning on standing on a corner in Winslow), Sante Fe NM, and the Grand Canyon. On the way home we will stay in some of these areas and St Louis MO.

3) tips and suggestions
 
Last edited:

Rcjone70

New Member
Apr 18, 2016
6
Hello all,

My family 2 adults, 13yr old and 6 year old daughters will be taking a 38day camping trip in our fairly new to us (we have done a couple of weekend camping trips last season) 2000 StarCraft space master. We are planning on stopping and seeing the sights as well as visit friends and family along the way. I have a few questions.

1) I would like to use a window ac unit for air conditioning. Looking for suggestions on how to set it up. I have 2 options. Build a frame for the outside of the camper and have it blowing through the screen or I could cut a space for it under the rear bunk. If I do this route I am planning on making a door so that I can remove the ac unit while traveling and haul it in my truck bed. This would also alow us to camp in cooler weather and not have a gaping hole.

2) looking for things to do with the family along the way. We are staying in the following cities: Chattanooga TN, Little Rock AR, Rogers AR, Rusk TX, Fort Worth TX, Shawnee OK, Amarillo TX, Winslow AZ (we are already planning on standing on a corner in Winslow), Sante Fe NM, and the Grand Canyon. On the way home we will stay in some of these areas and St Louis MO.

3) tips and suggestions
 

Michael J

Active Member
Aug 9, 2018
116
Hello all,

My family 2 adults, 13yr old and 6 year old daughters will be taking a 38day camping trip in our fairly new to us (we have done a couple of weekend camping trips last season) 2000 StarCraft space master. We are planning on stopping and seeing the sights as well as visit friends and family along the way. I have a few questions.

1) I would like to use a window ac unit for air conditioning. Looking for suggestions on how to set it up. I have 2 options. Build a frame for the outside of the camper and have it blowing through the screen or I could cut a space for it under the rear bunk. If I do this route I am planning on making a door so that I can remove the ac unit while traveling and haul it in my truck bed. This would also alow us to camp in cooler weather and not have a gaping hole.

2) looking for things to do with the family along the way. We are staying in the following cities: Chattanooga TN, Little Rock AR, Rogers AR, Rusk TX, Fort Worth TX, Shawnee OK, Amarillo TX, Winslow AZ (we are already planning on standing on a corner in Winslow), Sante Fe NM, and the Grand Canyon. On the way home we will stay in some of these areas and St Louis MO.

3) tips and suggestions
hey I have a 98 Space Master I just got as a project and I was wondering if you could help me out? the plumbing on the shower unit seems a little redneck to me from the previous owner.... i can't believe it to be OEM is there anyway i can get you to take some pictures of the plumbing from the shower to the place it dumps under the trailer?
 

teejaywhy

Super Active Member
Jul 19, 2011
1,426
Frankly, I would noot do it with two kids unless I also took a trip down into the Grand Canyon - just looking at it from the rim is almost pointless.
Nonsense. It's a family trip with a 6-year old. I don't understand the suggestion for hiking into the Grand Canyon.

IF you got a permit and wanted to backpack a little, you could hike down to Horsehoe MEsa (via the Grandview Trail) and spend one night,
Family trip, remember?
 

Wakita46

Active Member
Mar 15, 2013
272
I would also look at side trips along the way to break up the drive. There are lots of state parks that are quite impressive. At this point, I have been to 43 National Parks (out of 63) and 15 in Canada. My web site has some info on some interesting natural areas in each state. hoffsalinertravels.net
 

Andy Anders

Member
Jun 23, 2020
12
hey I have a 98 Space Master I just got as a project and I was wondering if you could help me out? the plumbing on the shower unit seems a little redneck to me from the previous owner.... i can't believe it to be OEM is there anyway i can get you to take some pictures of the plumbing from the shower to the place it dumps under the trailer?
Mine doesn’t have a shower system in it. Sorry.
 

Andy Anders

Member
Jun 23, 2020
12
We did the GC trip in 2019 in June. Was a great trip. We arrived 6/30 and it was surprisingly chilly for the first few days.

For item 3 in your list, tips and tricks: I’ll add a few words of advice from our 17 day 12 state trip from Colorado to North Carolina and back (single parent with 4 kids at the time 3, 6, 7, & 8). The trip blog is here if you are interested and we have a blog of things we learn from all our trips.

Biggest lesson was that I was over prepared. I didn’t need half the stuff I took. I learned to keep it simple and only take what we are actually going to use. I packed WAY too much and ended up moving it around every time we setup and tore down. I have a tendency to be prepared for every contingency…I.e. a backup plan for the backup plan…. I didn’t need a backup Coleman stove. Or the backpacking stove..or the toaster oven. You get the picture.

Another lesson I learned was to spend more time at fewer stops. I basically treated our pop up as a hotel on wheels during that trip and it was quite a pain to setup every night and tear down every morning.

Since that trip, we vowed to pack lighter and spend a more days at fewer locations on future trips. My kids liked that better, and it eases my setup burden. :cool:
I am concerned about the amount of stops but I was trying to visit all the family and friends we haven’t seen since we moved out of Arkansas 10 hrs ago. Plus I have to hit Shawnee to visit my 105 yr old grandmother! I think I will go through our packing list and make sure we aren’t taking a ton of stuff we won’t use or have time to use.
 

Andy Anders

Member
Jun 23, 2020
12
Everyone has posted great places to visit. I lived in Colorado and can verify if you can camp anywhere in that state you’ll love it. I now live in Phoenix so if you make it down this way you’re welcome to say hello.
Have you considered installing a rooftop ac removing the factory installed vent? StarCraft preinstalls roof supports for the units and the wiring is either already there or east to add.
I would like to do that but the rooftop ones are out of our price range right now. Maybe in the future but not for this trip.
 

BillyMc

Super Active Member
Mar 25, 2018
2,461
South Carolina
Do plenty of planning to make sure you have somewhere to sleep, finding an overnight spot to setup isn't always easy with a PUP. Be flexible, that many days out will probably have some less than pleasant situations. Don't let those temporary problems be a lasting burden on your trip. I tend to stress out a bit at setup and breakdown when people "help" and I have to move or undo what they did because it's in the wrong place or in the way of something else that needed to be done first. One case that comes to mind nearly every time we camped in the PUP was when DW decided to slide the rear bunk in while I was in the camper placing gear in travel position on the floor. It was bad enough that she hit me with it, but the ONLY mug of coffee I had was on the counter. The travel mug knocked over and pinned between the counter and the bunk popping the lid off. The coffee spilled onto the counter and off among the gear I had packed on the floor. Half the campground knew how I felt about the situation. What made me the most angry was having to unload, clean, and repack the gear before we could get on the road for the seven hour trip home. With the exception of setting the awning and attaching the screen room to it I was most happy if everyone just went for a walk or some other activity while I setup the camper and site. I'd still rather just do it myself, but the family has mostly got the setup/breakdown steps memorized.

As for AC a roof top is your best option. Watch for a used one on a camper being parted out, but be sure it works first. If it were just a couple I'd say you would be fine with a good portable, but with four people you will run out of floor and counter space quickly. If a roof top isn't an option I would use a window unit against the screen with reflectix to close off around it. A couple of small fans to help get the air into the bunks would help. Anything under 8,000 BTU is going to be a waste of your money. 10,000 BTU or higher would be better, but be certain it's 120 volt and get an outdoor extension cord rated for the load. I'd go at least one gauge bigger than the cord on the AC (if it has a 14 gauge cord go with at least a 12 gauge). There is also a thread on here where some made a door (opened from the bottom up) on the side. He put the window unit on slides and fabricated ducts. It slid in and the door closed for travel. It was a clean looking job that required very little setup, but you loose valuable storage space.

Our PUP was similar to yours minus the slide out dinette. We really enjoyed our Starmaster and still miss it at times. It had a 13,500 BTU Coleman on the roof. As long as you stayed out of the sun you could be cool inside with 100 degree temps outside.
 

Hilldweller

Super Active Member
Mar 2, 2021
801
Hog Waller, GA
We just got back on Saturday from a 15 day boondoggle, north Georgia to Flagstaff.

Be prepared for hotness. No just normal hot, Africa-hot. TN and Little Rock weren't bad on the way out. On the way back the mosquitos had hatched in Little Rock and the heat came on in TN. Swarms of Little Rock mosquitos.
Oklahoma was 105 degrees on the way out and we had to spend 45 minutes in the tornado shelter on the way back. The main funnel missed the campground but we still had 80 mph winds, some damage to the rigs. Limbs down, smash, crackle, break. I can verify that the high wind kit on my A-liner functions as advertised; no damage at all.

Albuquerque, the south side of it, is a cesspool. Had hookers and drug dealers walk up to my truck on the way back from Walmart. Said "no thank you" to both. It was under 100 degrees though and the pool was open.

Got really windy on the west side of NM and into AZ. 70 mph gusts and lots of people were pulling over and hunkering down. Nice thing about a popup is that you can slow down a bit and motor-on. Fuel economy dropped to 11.8 mpg though.
And it was hot. Did I mention that? 98 degrees and 70 mph wind. Pretty sweet.

First night in AZ was windy and then it got nice. An old buddy works at the Grand Canyon so we got a nice little personal tour. Wasn't crowded yet, btw. Walnut Canyon was awesome. As was Wupatki/Wukoki Pueblos. Sunset Crater is still there but the park burned down in the recent Tunnel Fire.

Sedona is pretty but I wouldn't want to live there.

Pay attention to the fires:

Download a weather app. Our phones told us about the tornado ---- we were in a remote area and there weren't any sirens.

IMG_20220512_132328195.jpg IMG_20220513_090758718.jpg
 

kitphantom

Super Active Member
Platinum Supporting Member
Dec 26, 2009
13,625
Albuquerque, NM
@Hilldweller - all of Albuquerque has issues of many types - we get accosted by street people in all sections of town, and it's getting worse. We're halfway between two grocery stores, and finally stopped going to the one at Central and Tramway because things are so bad. We use the KOA just off Central to dump tanks and fill with LP, and stayed there int he trailer when we have roof work done. They seem to do a good job at security, and have been adding fencing, etc., so if I needed to stay in the trailer again, I'd go there. I would not suggest anyone stay in many hotels in town and leave a trailer in the lot overnight, either.
Strong winds are an issue in the SW, but this year seems extra bad. We were in Utah and Grand Canyon beginning May 7 and getting home May 22. We had winds in Utah, enough that I could not sit outside a couple of days while Courtenay did a couple of hikes that were too rugged for me. It was hot enough at Grand Canyon that he only did his 18+ mile day hike last Friday, when it was cooler - i.e. not over 100* below the Rim. We managed to move From Grand Canyon to Flagstaff before the worst winds hit Saturday night,and were up and on the road before 6:30 sunday morning, since winds tend to worsen as the day goes on. Still, headwinds meant we got 9.3 mpg for the last leg, but at least we didn't have dust storms.
 

kcsa75

Super Active Member
Gold Supporting Member
Sep 9, 2013
5,601
Kansas City
What happened to Albuquerque? I haven't been there in several years, but it used to be a nice town.
 

kitphantom

Super Active Member
Platinum Supporting Member
Dec 26, 2009
13,625
Albuquerque, NM
What happened to Albuquerque? I haven't been there in several years, but it used to be a nice town.
I moved to ABQ in late '87. There have always been issues, but over the last few years, crime of all sorts, and a homeless population have increased a lot. Look up the murder rate for the last couple of years. Our police are stretched thin, we don't have enough anyway, and there are big gang and drug problems. Add in the fact that we're at the crossroads of two large interstates for trafficking of various types, and it all adds up.
Homeless encampments all over the place, all solutions they've tried have been a fail. Panhandlers on many street corners and in parking lots. Not all of the panhandlers are "homeless", there seems to be a subgroup who would prefer to earn money that way. It is rather scary at times, because they perch on the small median at traffic lights, and I'm sure someday someone will fall into the traffic path in front of me.
I'm sure it happens in other places, but what I'm used to here is one of the reasons why boondocking overnight in a parking lot is not something I would do unless it was some sort of emergency, In some areas of town, people who stop overnight in hotels/motels with trailer find the trailers gone in the morning. It's happened during Gathering of Nations this spring, it has happened during Balloon Fiesta.
 




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