Lessons from the End of the Road - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-14-2008, 02:49 PM   #1
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Forest Service roads in Colorado often have turnaround and parking space at the trailhead. A lot of dead-end county roads do as well. You never know, though, and there is always the risk of having to do a disaster recovery (manual turnarounds, long back-ups, etc.). But we regularly find ourselves there, not needing hook-ups or company, but enjoying the quiet and privacy of being many miles from pavement. We went out this weekend for three days, and I thought I would pen this to encourage others to try the roads less traveled….

We've only had the Scamp for a year, so we are still learning our way around both it and Colorado. We keep making new discoveries:
  • Research
    • You can camp anywhere in National Forests unless the signs say you can't.
    • End of the road camping allows you an early start on the trails, and provides an early home at the end of a long day's hiking.
    • Research is Good – the hiking and camping books will often mention if there is parking at a trailhead, or camping spaces. If anyone is interested I'll post a bibliography
    • The Delorme book of topographical maps is a wonderful source of ideas for back road routes. The closer you read it, the more interesting destinations you can find..
  • Roads
    • Exploring is an end in itself!
    • Four wheel drive is desireable – but it can get you into trouble as well!
    • Always note turn-around spots as you drive, so you will know how far you have to back if the road gets really ugly.
    • Do a lot of exploring in the truck when you don't have the trailer attached, you'll find spots you want to try the next time you're out.
    • County roads are better bets than Forest Service roads, but not all Forest Service roads are bad.
    • If the road looks really ugly, walk it or skip it.
    • Quit and turn around as the road starts getting narrower and rougher. You may not have the opportunity later. (We learned that one the hard way).
    • Check the depth of that stream before you try to drive across it.
    • The rear window of the Scamp comes unlatched on bumpy roads – find a way to secure it, or the Scamp will be a mess by the time you arrive (dust dust dust).
  • Meals
    • Meals prepared at home and then frozen to take with you reduces the work of camping, and help keep the beer cold.
    • Boiling water isn't very hot at 12000 feet, so allow extra time for your pasta unless you like it really chewy.
  • Misc.
    • Take your fly rod, even in the winter. You can camp right on some lovely streams.
    • Buy the Search and Rescue insurance when you buy your fishing license. It's cheap coverage.
Weekends were made for Scamps, and vice versa!

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Old 04-14-2008, 04:35 PM   #2
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All good advise...

But having had to back my rig about two city blocks on pavement, and not having enuff Valium with me to settle me down afterwards.. I can't say I am brave enough to try it on logging or FS roads!

(We need a big "chicken" smiley!)
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Old 04-14-2008, 05:30 PM   #3
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All good advise...

But having had to back my rig about two city blocks on pavement, and not having enuff Valium with me to settle me down afterwards.. I can't say I am brave enough to try it on logging or FS roads!

(We need a big "chicken" smiley!)
The nice thing about having to back down a FS road is that it's very unlikely to run into traffic, and there's fewer people watching you.
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Old 04-14-2008, 08:27 PM   #4
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Concerning "The rear window of the Scamp comes unlatched on bumpy roads – find a way to secure it, or the Scamp will be a mess by the time you arrive (dust dust dust)."

With ours would come unlatched on highways, however, we solved the problem by placing a thumbscrew latching devise used on windows but we place it by the latching toggle (for lack for of a true term). See photo of said Rear Window latch safety attached. Photo taken from outside of window.
Attached Thumbnails
Rear_Window_latch_safety.jpg   Rear_Window_latch_safety.jpg  

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Old 04-14-2008, 08:45 PM   #5
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Check carefully in NFs for the dispersed camping (aka boondocking or flat-spotting) rules because you have to be X feet away from road in many places.

Beware of thieves at popular trailheads; the local thieves know where folks are parking.

I find it helpful to stop by the ranger office, esp in new NF, to talk about stuf like above. Many times they will tell me of good dispersed sites. I also ask them where to put the trash that I pick up, which lets them know I'm a helpful camper, not a problem.

If I am going to spend some time in a particular state, I usually by the DeLorme's Atlas for the state (at Wally for less) because it will usually show which roads go somewhere and which dead end.

I have a receiver hitch mounted on front of truck, so I can do some serious maneuvering of the trailer if needed.

The trick with 4 wheel drive is to not use it until you get stuck, and then only use it to get out, not further in....
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Old 04-15-2008, 10:18 AM   #6
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Adrian - I like the thumb screw, it's much dressier than the folded match-book I currently use.

Pete - strongly concur on the use of 4WD. Also, Ranger offices are very helpful - that was where we first learned about the freedom to camp unless posted. They want to encourage more use of their Districts, not less, and are always happy to talk and make recommendations. They are a good source of info as to whether a road is passable with a Scamp in tow, as well. There is a spot outside of Ouray a ranger has recommended, with the caveat that we should wait for the road to dry by July. I'll be there then. We are finding that having the Scamp in tow doesn't severely limit our destinations in the mountains.

There are a lot of wonderful dispersed sites in Colorado, not usually on the map. Grand Mesa has plenty, we intend to spend some time there a little later into the Spring.

Barring
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Old 04-15-2008, 03:07 PM   #7
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    • Four wheel drive is desireable – but it can get you into trouble as well!
Thanks for the inspirational message. Man, if I could park next to a stream and flyfish, that would just about cash me in a happy man.

I thought if you could describe your truck setup that would help me. Is the Ranger a v6 or 4x4, anything special?

thanks!
Billy Rudock
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Old 04-15-2008, 06:09 PM   #8
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Check carefully in NFs for the dispersed camping (aka boondocking or flat-spotting) rules because you have to be X feet away from road in many places.

I believe the X feet away is in reference to a "through road" and possibly not at the dead end. Each LEO in a ranger district will interpret these rules differently.We've even been told by the ranger that we could use the turn around pull offs to camp in but we've tried to leave those open for the people who can't back out 2 miles. If I recall correctly, there is a distance requirement for camping near water as well. No camping within 10 feet etc. I think the distance is something like 200'. Again the LEO/ranger would be the final decision maker. The Ranger station advice is the best.

It's our forest and we should all get out and use it.
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Old 04-15-2008, 07:43 PM   #9
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Billy, the Ford Ranger is 6 cylinder, 4WD and nothing special except XM satellite radio so I can catch the Indians and the opera. I got a cap for the back so I could carry all the necessaries there and be able to lock them up. It's not a great TV for the mountains, but it's durable and it's paid for. I'm glad it's a six.

I love the end of the road, and would encourage others to try it, and to share their experiences. We're learning as we go along, and I have a winter's tale to post next.
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Old 04-15-2008, 09:53 PM   #10
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That's why I stop at ranger station and ask. Some places have found that if they have X feet from road and block off the dim side roads with boulders or ditches, they have less trash to clean up from inconsiderate campers.

BTW, my '98 Ranger is the 6.0L (larger) V6 with 4x4 and long bed.
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Old 04-15-2008, 11:27 PM   #11
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BTW, my '98 Ranger is the 6.0L (larger) V6 with 4x4 and long bed.
Don't you mean 3.0 L V6? I'd sure like to see a 6.0L V6. I have the same... 2004 3L V6 Ranger Edge
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Old 04-16-2008, 08:58 AM   #12
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fat fingers - 3L V6
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Old 04-16-2008, 08:34 PM   #13
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Thanks for the inspirational message. Man, if I could park next to a stream and flyfish, that would just about cash me in a happy man.

I thought if you could describe your truck setup that would help me. Is the Ranger a v6 or 4x4, anything special?

thanks!
Billy Rudock
You can have some great Fly Fishing on the Kern River just north of Kernville Ca. Less than 300 miles from you. There are many FS campgrounds right on the river.
I can't remember the last time I spent the night in a comercial campground. All of my camping is in what is called dispersed areas in our NF.
I have yet to find a main FS road that requires 4WD unless it's drifted over with snow.
Just last weekend my 4 cyl Tacoma towed my 13' Scamp with my 603 pound ATV in the back up a dirt BLM/FS road that climbed about 2500 feet in just 5 miles. Then I went another 10 miles or so on the fairly flat dirt road that has not seen a grader since last summer. I camped in what is called a fire safe area.
It took over an hour to drive that 15 miles, but it was worth it.
I enjoy not hearing the noise of civilazation that we are always surrounded with. It is good for the soul to hear NOTHING but the birds and wind in the pine trees.
Those of you that never boondocked are missing a fabulous experience.
Thanks for starting this thread Barring.

John

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Old 04-16-2008, 10:59 PM   #14
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Don't you mean 3.0 L V6? I'd sure like to see a 6.0L V6. I have the same... 2004 3L V6 Ranger Edge
Fat fingers here also! My '98 is the 4.0L V6 with the X in the VIN (X — 4.0L EFI-OHV, six cylinder), not the 3.0L V6 (U — 3.0L, six cylinder), and the 3.73 rear end.
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