Planning the big one - Fiberglass RV

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Old 03-09-2007, 09:11 PM   #1
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Last week here at home the question of a big vacation trip for 2007 arose over coffee and a cookie. My first thought was Nova Scotia. The Blue Nose, puffins, the Cabot Trail, Fort Louisburg, etc., etc. Ah, the maritimes...havenít been there in many moons. Dear One responded, ďGreat!Ē When Dear One answers with brevity like that somethingís up.

I knew instinctively other plans were afoot.

Dear One lived in Albuquerque in her prime, and hasnít seen beloved old uncle Ted in 15 years. She also hasnít guided me around the big balloon festival in 15 years. Remember how you loved those fat, two-dollar breakfast burritos we had at dawn? she says to me. So today, our long-range vacation thinking is about a 2-week drive to New Mexico. Well now, since we will be towing our Burro from New Jersey and only have two weeks, this will take some careful planning. Need a little guidance on that.

I have had this old Burro two years but it took me a year to make it functional again. Have used it on three trips so far, and the first trip was a mechanical disaster. I am confident we are ready to do this, but my practical road experience is junior league. Regardless, for me the thrill is not the destination; itís always been the journey itself.

I figure, get to Albuquerque fast as I can. Maximize the little time weíll have out there. It is a region thatís still as romantic to me as an old Gene Autry movie but being an easterner of course I have zero comprehension of true distance on a western scale.

Have 13 ft Burro and í92 Explorer, both in v. good shape. Hereís our rough plan thus far:

Hope to average 10 hours of driving each day getting to Albuquerque, our prime destination. Weíll take I-80 to the middle of Ohio and our first stop for the night. Iím guessing the Columbus area. (Sure, we'll be making the obligatory pit stops. Whenever she says I need to stop, we stop.)

Can we overnight it at a travelerís rest stop along the way? No hassles? Would like to do the same thing again the next night, probably somewhere near St. Louis, or Joplin? Our third night in transit would likely be in Oklahoma, or maybe someplace in the Texas panhandle.

Once in Albuquerque, probably October 4th or 5th, weíll park the Burro at a campsite for 2 or 3 days while doing our visiting, catching the balloon festival, etc. Havenít reserved any campsites yet. Gosh, is it too late? If so, know any secret, alternative places to park it? I know the balloon festival is a really big thing.

We then will go north, probably pausing for an hour or two at Santa Fe, Taos, and on to the San Juan Mountains, ending eventually somewhere north of Denver, I guess. By then, whatever day it is, we probably will have to point it east and rip it to get back home by day 14. My Colorado experiences are limited to one fateful day in Pagosa Springs, but thatís a story for another day.

The Ford has the 6 cylinder 4 liter engine and runs strong. Tranny has been rebuilt. New tires all around, including the Burro. This rig will climb a mountain, right?

All advice, personal opinions, cautions, etc., gratefully appreciated.

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Old 03-09-2007, 11:40 PM   #2
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Frankly this doesn't sound like fun at all. I would not want to do 5,000 in 2 weeks without a trailer.

You must be a lot younger than we are. Even in our early years we did not attempt that long of a distance in 2 weeks. We are in the midwest and have gone to one coast or another in a 2 week trip, driving 16 hour days in our youth.

Also it is possible you could run into snow in October in the mountains.

Why not fly to out, enjoy the visit and activity, fly home, and save some of that vacation time for more leisurely exploring.

Just my opinion. We do 3,000 in 3 weeks with the trailer and that is exhausting enough. If you do go be sure to pick up a WalMart map and look for their lots along the way.

Also remember that trailer tires are not meant to go 70mph down the road.

Good luck.

Nancy in No. MN

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Old 03-10-2007, 12:27 AM   #3
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The Ford has the 6 cylinder 4 liter engine and runs strong. Tranny has been rebuilt. New tires all around, including the Burro. This rig will climb a mountain, right?

All advice, personal opinions, cautions, etc., gratefully appreciated.
Myron, that is quit a trip, hope you and the boss enjoy it. Tranny has been rebuilt so I assume it is an automatic.
My one bit of advice, if you do not have an add on transmission cooler get one. Heat is the biggest killer of automatic transmissions and you are heading for hot country.
If you have rebuilt your burro then you can probably install a cooler your self. It is not a difficult or time consuming job.

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Old 03-10-2007, 07:32 AM   #4
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Like John says, get a trans oil cooler. I just did it. They are not expensive and super easy to install. Less than $100.

Do you have new bearings on the Burro? Pack those super well.

Oh yes, make sure you bring your credit card............and a good assortment of tools.

Last but not least...........a great travel mug for the 30 weight truck drivers coffee you will be needing.
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Old 03-10-2007, 09:48 AM   #5
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I second Nancy - ask your bride to fly out, visit and fly home. Her airfare will be less than your road travel costs (much less, when you figure gasoline + meals), and the whole thing will be easier on your bod.

Save your vacation time for Nova Scotia; you won't blow all your days fighting traffic. NS is a great place, wonderful campgrounds, and you already know the best features!
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Old 03-10-2007, 11:03 AM   #6
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My wife Bonnie and I are planning a long trip from our home in Michigan to Portland Oregon for this summer. I have the flexibility to take more time off than she does, so the dog and I will drive out and back together while she flies commercial. This will maximize the use of her vacation time and if booked ahead, airfare isn't to steep. If you have different amounts of time off this could enable you to have both trips?

Could also lessen the clean up time on those pesky blood stains inside the trailer!
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Old 03-10-2007, 01:04 PM   #7
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Hello Myron

5000 in 2 weeks. (Not for us) .. As I see it, you aren't going to have anytime to really see and enjoy anything. That's a lot of miles in such a short time and might be very tiring.

Pulling a trailer and driving 10 hours a day @ an average of 60 mph would be 600 a day plus gas stops, rest stops.. etc. Going through towns is slower.. Finding campsites too. It all takes time.

I'm sure we couldn't keep that up for long. We like to drive no more than 300-350 a day in order to enjoy the trip.

Please do drive careful on your planned trip and have fun.
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Old 03-10-2007, 06:27 PM   #8
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Hi Myron - well, I have to say we agree with those who say "fly". We love long trips with our Egg - in fact, we have been on the road since last fall, BUT we have no set schedule, don't have to BE anywhere at a certain time, etc. Since you have family in ABQ area, flying rather than tugging sounds like a better way to enjoy your vacation. Hmmm, perhaps you could fly one way and take the train back (at least part of the way?). Either way, have a great experience in the West.

If you decide to make it trailer travel, you have the right idea about Rest Areas on I-80 - we have used them quite a lot. Also, the reminder about Wal-Mart parking is a good one. In Oklahoma City, we have stayed at the KOA - it is really nice. Also, you might check out Corps of Engineer parks near your travel route; however, they are sometimes 'off the beaten path' and might take more time to locate than you have to spend.

Just a bit of rambling ... hope it helps. And when you do get to the Maritimes, have a wonderful time! Take care, L 'n D
ďImagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions.Ē A. Einstein
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Old 03-10-2007, 07:08 PM   #9
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Ah, thanks, L'nD, for the reassurance on Interstate rest stops. I needed that. Back in '51, I think, before there were interstates, we were living in Calif. and had to rush back east for a family emergency. Mom and dad alternated at the wheel of dad's Packard and we made it home in 5 days. Gee, maybe long, boring drives across vast spaces are in my blood. I can still remember begging dad to stop when we passed Yosemite.

Actually, Nancy's family are in their 90's and would not be able to put us up. Call me nuts but flying kinda puts the kabosh on seeing-doing anything outside of Albuquerque. Not to mention the obvious, but if we fly we then must find/pay for places to sleep for the two weeks, be at the mercy of public transportation and/or would need to rent a car. I like mobility but these days am not that keen on walking. Whatís 12 nights in a motel cost?

Hey, Gary, long time! After all that work and you sold your Burro? Holy great jumpiní catfish!

I just checked and it looks to me like my í92 Ford Explorer XLT has a factory installed transmission cooler, attached to front of radiator. Here are two pix. If that is right, Gary, are you guys suggesting I add a second cooler? Yes, Burro wheel bearings are all brand new. Would bring along replacement spare parts, flat tire repair kit and tools of course. I also liked what I have read earlier on this forum about Good Samís road tow insurance so after a bad experience with AAA, got Good Sam.

Say, this forum is about the joy of trailer touring, isnít it? Hel-lo?
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Old 03-10-2007, 07:22 PM   #10
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You already have the auxilliary cooler that folks are recommending (probably has the towing package, with the power steering cooler and the extra relay for the trailer lighting that my 98 Ranger with the same engine has).

Re-read your owner's manual about using your transmission -- Be esp careful to downshift if the transmission starts 'hunting' between gears on uphill or headwinds.

Get in the habit of checking the tire and hub temperatures of truck and trailer EVERY time you stop and you will be far less likely to be surprised by tire or bearing failures -- Keep all your tire pressures up to psi stated on sidewalls of all your tires.

Trailer touring is different than trailer racing... But for the kind of trip you are planning, campgrounds aren't much of a solution because you'll waste a lot of time looking for them. I recommend checking out the Flying J fuel stations (they have a web site and encourage RVers), Cracker Barrel, and of course WalMart (As suggested, get your Road Atlas there as it will be your WalMart Woodall's!).

If you don't already have CG reservations in ABQ during the Balloon Festival you may have difficulty finding a place to camp...
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Old 03-10-2007, 09:17 PM   #11
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Oh My!!!

Silly me

I put my "3 month" 12,000 mile trip East and back off until next year because just thinking about it made me tired.

Joy A. & Lily
and "Puff", too
No. Ca. Sierra Foothills
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Old 03-11-2007, 06:10 AM   #12
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Kevin and I often drive long distances to conferences and will be doing this in a couple of weeks. We are out in Pine Ridge, SD right now, having driven from Chicago to here in a day and a half. We feel just like you do. In two weeks, when we drive to San Antonio, we will have our car to go wherever we want and when we want. And be able to pick up our new Uhaul on the way home.
We know how easy it is to tow a 13' Burro. We will miss Lil Jenny (13" Burro) when we sell her.

Have a great trip!


PS: I say this but, the truth is, Kevin does most of the driving.
1988 Bigfoot Silver Cloud, "The Egg Carton"
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Old 03-11-2007, 06:24 AM   #13
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Hi: Myron...This sounds like a possible case for over heated wheel berrings That far that fast Make sure there is time to "Stop and smell the roses along the way" even if they're in the green house Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
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Old 03-11-2007, 07:25 AM   #14
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Too many fears!

Take along some extra coin for whatever might come up.

Then just GO!

When you get back you'll have something to "write home about".


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