Like headinsouth, we have both a 5th wheel and a truck camper. The 5th wheel is for our longer stays and the TC is our traveling rig. We alternate summers in the western part of Colorado and Alaska. The last 4 trips to Alaska have been with our Lance 845 TC as we seldom stay more than a night or two at most sites. With the 5th wheel, we tend to stay at campgrounds where we have utilities as we often stay a week or more at a place.
When it rains and we are staying a week, the 5th wheel is so nice with all the extra room. It has a slide room bunk setup, so when the young grandsons go with us, it goes.
When we are moving every day or staying in remote mountain west campgrounds, the TC is the best possible rig for us. Better truck mileage, easier to maneuver, fits in older campgrounds easier, etc.
I don't consider one better than the other, just different uses for each. If I had to give one up, I honestly don't know which would have to go.
Nothing much unique about truck campers that I have seen. I also have a 5th wheel in addition to our TC. Both have the same brand of furnaces, fridges, water pumps, converters (the 5th wheel's is larger), the same general propane setups and the list goes on. Most motorhomes or TTs are in the same situation until you get to the high end ones with hot water heat.
Recently I was having a problem with my water heater, an Attwood, not shutting off soon enough. I found the answer to my problem, not on the TC section of this forum, but in a comment made in one of the motorhome threads from someone that fixed the same problem with their Attwood.
Not having it's own running gear is about all I have noticed that would qualify the TC as being unique. We are on our 5th truck camper at the present time and normally will spend 90 to 100 nights a year on the road with it. While we have more "self appointed experts" than do most of the sections, we also have the best trip reports on the forum, in the TC section.
You needed to be underground to be safe in that location. Read the Mayor of Moore Oklahoma is pushing for new requirements that all rebuilt sub divisions must have an underground safe room built accessible to all residents.
The Alaska population changes about 65% every 5 years due to so many of the residents being there for a government job, with the military, or one of the other government agencies. Most residents know the day they arrive in Alaska, the day they are scheduled to leave. The military rotates most after 3 years, but some personnel after 1or 2 years.
This makes the Alaska population look like a parade, here today, gone tomorrow. As far as I know, PA12DVR may be the only forum member that was born in Alaska, Trackrig went to high school in Alaska in Nenana but not aware if he was born in the state or not..
Here is a list of site from our web page. Over the years we have stayed at many/most of them, especially the private commercial ones. In a normal cool summer when we don't need plugins, we stay in more remote governmental campgrounds, and during a hot smoky summer we will more often be at a commercial campground plugged into electricy to run our AC.
As with everything else, campgrounds change, some open and other close. A couple of these may have closed since our last trip in 2011. The Homestead CG in Palmer in now closed permanently and was our favorite in the area. In some places it isn't a matter of which is best, but which is acceptable. Some locations, the parking lot at Fred meyer is the choice of many. I don't care for pavement camping but as they say, at times, "any port in a storm will do."
Not sure if Grizzly Bear CG up by Cantwell, near the entrance to Denali Park is open or not as it was reported closed sometime back.
We often split our stays between the private and government run campgrounds. Cooler summers we stay more in the more rustic campgrounds without utilities and hot smoky summers we are plugged in more at private campgrounds.
On this list of private campgrounds in Alaska, I have a few photos of some of the campgrounds, a few I have never stayed at or seen, but listed them if they were thought to exist at the time I was doing this page.
As a former LEO, I often would use excessive speed at "probable cause" to stop a vehicle. Then when their window rolled down and the alcohol fumes came out, it was another drunk driver off the road. I was never pressured to write a certain number of citations per shift, I got to write all I wanted to do.
Most of the drug mules, I stopped in Colorado were due to defective vehicles that violated Colorado law, i.e. tail lights not working, broken tail lights, expired tags, windows tinted to dark, etc.
The most common way for the drug dealers to ship drugs was to buy a used car (usually a junker off a car lot somewhere along the southern border) then find some illegals wanting to go north. The car would be packed with the drugs and the illegals would be sent north in it and told where to deliver the drugs. They got to keep the car. It was still registered to the person that sold/traded it to the car lot where it was purchased. Often times they buy the cheapest car they can find that they think will make it to the delivery point.
The mules/runners are usually not career criminals, just needing a way to get north and the thought of being a car owner is very a very powerful incentive.
One evening about 3 AM, I was on patrol in western Colorado when I spotted some runners and they had a tail light not working. Hit them with the overhead lights and they pulled to a halt. Then it looked like a covey of quail leaving that car. Six men were headed out all 4 doors. When I checked out the car it was full of drugs so I called DEA and INS and waited till they got there to take over. All 6 men were found and arrested by the feds.
The Weather Channel has developed a new forecasting tool called Tor-Con and it is explained by the head weather man, Dr. Greg Forbes.
http://www.weather.com/news/tornado-torcon-index Actually listed as Tor:Con but I get a smiley face with that. LOL
Scroll down the page and it will give a list of the percentage chances of a tornado within a 50 mile radius of that location. As someone that grew up in the middle of Tornado Alley in southern Oklahoma, this is valuable information to have on hand. With the 24 hr forecast, it gives most RVers time to be somewhere else, which is what I would do. If you live there, make sure your storm cellar is stocked and ready for you to go under ground.
Tornados are possible in many places in the US, we even have them here in coastal Florida from time to time. On land they are called tornados, over the water, they are water spouts. Most can barly make an F-1 rating and some can't make that. But get into Tornado Alley and you will find many more tornados and ones with much higher force, including the F-4 and F-5 monster storms.
Map of Tornado Alley - other variations of it are out there as well but this is the one I have seen the longest.
I have Good Sam, think it is the Platinum road service. Whatever they call it, I get unlimited towing to the nearest qualified service center for problems. The choice of where, is Good Sam's, not mine. So I am not familiar with the "your Choice and only 100 miles" plan. Never used the GS plan in Alaska but have used it in Canada and was well pleased with the service we received. Got my RV stuck is some soft dirt, not in a cell phone area, so a passing motorist stopped (over 20 vehicles stopped to see if they could help) and offered to notify the RCMP at the next town, which he did. They dispatched a tow truck out to extract me in a reasonable amount of time, I paid the driver and was on my way. Then when I returned home to Florida I submitted the receipt to GS and they sent me a check for the full amount. This was one of the exceptions in my policy regarding, having to call Good Sam first. Since the tow truck was called by the police, the GS group knew this was a legitimate need for a tow.
The 25+ years I lived in rural Alaska, I never carried or probably never heard of road service coverage for our RVs. I would just flag down a passing vehicle and have them notify a tow service at the next station they passed. Or I would hitch hike to the next station and get a tow truck to go back and get my RV.
Many Coach Net forum members have made positive comments about their service as well. Most of these road service companies use the same pool of service providers in an area, so not matter which company you use, the same tow truck may come out to save you. No matter which company you use, make sure you read and understand your policy before you need to use it. 99% of the complaints aired here on the forum are from people that don't understand what their policy provides and how to go about getting service that the road service will pay for.
We have found that many people on both sides of the US-Canadian border on the south, combine the two holidays, Canada Day (July 1) and US Independence Day (July 4). In 2011, on our way to Alaska, we found the campgrounds in northern Montana and Idaho very full. RVers from both sides of the border, like to cross over and enjoy the festivities of a week long celebration. We found a nice campground near Moyie Springs Idaho the last of June and stayed there till July 5, when we crossed over into Canada. The CG we were in filled up before July 1 and stayed full till July 5 and maybe longer than that. Get that close to the border and folks from both sides will celebrate any holiday they can find in the area, US or Canadian. LOL :)
We avoid the Canadian NPs over any of the holidays in Canada. When everyone leaves Calgary and Edmonton to go to the parks, I hope the last one to leave remembers to turn off the lights. Those are ghost towns on Canada Day and other holidays.
In Alaska check when the salmon runs are happening, as the crowds from town will follow. Seward has a July 4th mountain foot race and the town is packed and reservations are needed for a camp site. Other than that not much problems with crowds. The same goes for Yukon as Alaska, both are large geographically, but neither have enough permanent population to be a crowding problem in most cases.
Sometimes in Homer at the Salty Dawg Saloon, if a lot of tourists are on the Spit, you may have to wait in line to get a bar stool. The same is true at the Malemute Saloon in Ester. (west side of Fairbanks)
I too associate the term with Star Wars. There you had the light side (good, such as Luke Skywalker) and the dark side (evil, such as Darth Vader) Just like duct tape which has a light side and a dark side.
May the Force be with you.
I bought a pair of Thermacells before our last trip to Alaska, and after the supplies for them run out, the devices are history. They run about 50 cents an hour to operate. What they are is a small hand held catalitic heater that runs off of disposible propane mini tanks, then you put a treated "card" into it and the heat drives off the chemical into the air. When I am our on a fishing stream for 8 hours, then sit around the campfire for another 4 hours, I have spent about $6 for supplies. Too much in my opinion. If the slightest breeze comes up, it blows the chemical downwind, of if the breeze is varitable, it takes a bit of moving. Plus there is a warning on the Thermacell devices not to use them in enclosed spaces such as RVs, or tents. Now anything I can't use in a tent, I am not sure I want to be breathing.
Many years ago I bought a case of military surplus Jungle Juice, almost 100% DEET product and am finally down to the last couple of bottle. That stuff works, but it also disolves plastics, gun finishes, fishing lines of some types, sunglasses, etc.
But I am a bug magnet, have tried all the food items from garlic to vitamine B-12 without much luck. My wife loves to have me around when we are camping as nothing will bite her if I am close by. We were up at Disney World's Fort Wilderness this past weekend and the yellow flies feasted on me, receiving 8 or 10 bites before I knew it and I have a bad reaction to those guys. About the same reaction as I get from the bites of the white sox gnats of the north country.
So I will stick to the DEET products, especially the new Off one that goes on in a powder form, not oily at all. When camping we use some of the larger sized buckets of citronella candles with the 4 wicks per bucket and set in the center of the four buckets.
We spend every other summer in the mountain west, mainly western Colorado. Some of the apps I enjoy are: The Audobon series, trees, insects, reptiles and wildflowers
National Parks by National Geographic - doesn't have them all but the ones they have are very well done.
Truckster for diesel along with gas buddy
Oh Ranger - governmental campgrounds
Low Clearance by Allstays - handy when off the Interstate system
Weather Chanell, Weather Bug and Imap Weather Radio tracks your location for alerts to bad weather. Then I have a couple of Hurrican apps for here on the Gulf Coast.
Plus the ereader apps, Kindle and Audible for listening to books.
When in the west, away from light congestion of the cities, the App Night Sky is enjoyable as it points out what you can see from that location, when you are outside and look up.
These are some of the main ones I use when out west with our RV.
Both Congdon Creek and Cottonwood are good. Both only accept cash, no credit cards. The 15 amp works fine for us as we switch the fridge and water heater over to propane at Cottonwood. At Congdon, we just run the lights off the battery. The Congdon Creek campground has sites where you can see the lake and others back in the trees. Took a walk through the tree one and found it to be somewhat buggy.
The couple that owns and operates Cottonwood creek are Ontario folks and have owned Cottonwood for 30 or 35 years I would guess. They have a bird house tradition and you will see many bird houses around the campground. They did sell fishing licenses at one time, don't know if they still do or not. All electric power comes from on site generators but the owners have them well isolated so far as sound is concerned, just not a problem. Well run place, where they ask you to haul your trash with you because of the number of bears in the area. Congdon Creek is sometimes closed, to soft sides, because of bears. Both campgrounds use a sani-dump, away from the lake, as I don't remember any sites with sewer at the sites, which is fine, as no one wants sewer, leaking into that pristine lake.
Kluane Lake is beautiful beyond words, sue t. has some photos that come close to showing it though, but standing on the shore is the best way to enjoy it for me and many others that pass that way.
Our site and truck camper in 2009 at Cottonwood
The office area
When I am in tornado country, I am not concerned with what the odds are, just does one of those storms have my name on it. I grew up in southern Oklahoma, in the center of tornado alley, and I freely admit those storms scare me. If you or a loved one are one of the mentioned 70 people killed each year, tornados are very important.
Information is the key, IMHO. Tornados move from the SW to the NE in Tornado Alley, so keep a watch on large towering clouds building to the SW of you. As mentioned, check the long term weather forecasts and avoid those areas with a high chance for severe storms, if possible. Each summer we tend to spend time in Colorado, so when we get to Tallahassee, we will get as many weather forecasts as possible. My wife and I are both aircraft pilots so we will discuss the forecasts and decide the general route between Florida and Colorado. Last summer, the middle of the country didn't look promising so we stayed south, along the Gulf coast as long as possible.
Sometimes we guess wrong and get caught in a tornado outbreak in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas or eastern Colorado. The 24 hour forecasts are much more accurate than the long term ones, so then a traveler has to decide whether to stay parked in a campground or Ty to get out of the area before the storm develops if possible.
I have both a weather radio and an app for my iPhone, iMap Radio. App cost me about $10 but well worth it. It uses the built in phone locator to automatically give you verbal alerts for the area your are in. Prior to getting the app, one time we were in La Junta Colorado when in the middle of the night the weather radio went of with tornado information, given by counties. We had no idea of what county we were in or the surrounding counties. After that we checked every night on our road atlas for our county location.
While it may be more dangerous to drive a vehicle, if something kills or maims you or a family member, it doesn't really matter, IMHO.