Pricewise I think it is a good deal, as long as you inspect it carefully for water damage before writing the check. Do as another suggested and look in the corners, in the cabinets, pull up the mattress in the cabover and look on the outside for likely intrusion points. If it looks as good as the pics portray, you should be very happy with that as your first TC.
Good luck, happy camping, and welcome to the forum.
With it being 300 miles home, we decide on Thursday to start heading home. May have stayed another day, but rain was in the forecast and we were tired of the fog. Seems like with the truck running great again, the shortest way isn't possible.
Just what are you trying to hide there, anyway? You got some tall mountains back east you don't want to share with us westerners, huh? :)
Looks like a great trip, and I'm sure you are relieved to have the mechanical issues behind you. Thanks for sharing.
There's your firewood! - too bad you couldn't camp near this beach....
I'm glad you got out of town, even for a quickie. That is what makes the TC life so wonderful. Thanks for sharing.
For me fall is really a bittersweet time of year - the vibrant color of golden leaves, the intense blue of the sky, and the latent quality of sunlight all combine for beautiful images, and your TR pics capture the feeling perfectly. Alas it also signals the end of another summer, with the camper ready to hibernate over the long, cold, dark months ahead.
sigh.... Well, thanks for sharing the trip. It looks like everyone including the dog, had a good time.
P.S. The Corvette is just ridiculous
Why so mysterious? The trip looks amazing, but what possessed you to make such a long drive in such a short time? If I had the wherewithal to take that journey, I'd linger as long as the weather allowed. Even so, thanks for posting the beautiful pics.
Did my eyes deceive me, or did I still not see Seldomseen?
regards, as always, jefe
You are most astute. The yet to be seen Seldomseen does not appear in the report. I have to maintain the cloak of mystery and intrigue that surrounds my identity.... :)
Thanks to all who have replied with kind words and thoughtful appreciation.
I posted this trip report for one particular reason - I wanted to give Mike the credit he deserved for accepting and accomplishing such a daunting task - his first ever backpack in one of the more challenging places in the lower 48.
Although I am not as much of a visitor or contributor to RV.Net as I was in the past, I still appreciate the good people who make it one of the better forums on the web.
Back in the spring I invited another RV.net member on my annual fall backpacking trip, using the North Bass trail to reach the bottom of Grand Canyon. Mike (Dadwolf on the forum) agreed, despite having no backpacking experience. By the end of the week that particular item was checked off Mike's "to do" list.
Mike and I met at the North Rim Country store on the 30th of September, as we still needed to drive miles on both Forest Service and National Park backroads to reach the trailhead. The plan was to boondock that evening in the National Forest just outside the Park to get an early start to the trailhead. Here is Mike doing his "Whazoo" imitation that evening.
I had been hearing rumors about the impending government shutdown, including the likely closure of the Park. My permit started on October 1st, which coincided with the date of the new fiscal year, and I was rightfully concerned the knuckleheads in Washington would not reach a deal in time.
Plans called for hiking the upper section of the North Bass trail the day before we were due to drop into the Canyon, and then spending the night at the trailhead to ensure an early start the next day. I was counting on the remoteness of our location to give us a little extra time before a Park Ranger showed up and told us to leave. As it turned out, we just missed them.
After a restful night just outside the Park boundary we drove the 8 miles to Swamp Point, arriving reasonably early on the morning of the 1st. We wasted no time heading out for the day hike, carrying extra water to cache for the trip out. As it happened, a very wet late summer had water flowing just about everywhere, something Mike was quick to point out on multiple occasions.
The weather was drop dead gorgeous, and remained so for the entire week. Our day hike took us all the way to the top of the Redwall, covering a distance of 8 miles round trip and a 4800 foot elevation gain/loss. I'm not sure what Mike's expectations were before the trip, but I'm pretty sure our little excursion made him just a bit wide eyed about the upcoming trip.
We returned late that afternoon to find a notice flapping from under the windshield wipers of the trucks.
My first thought was that I was glad we had gone hiking and missed the individual who made the long trek out to Swamp Point to place the notice. My second thought was "just try and stop me". I was amused that we had until 6:00 p.m. on Thursday to leave, since that would have been our second day in the Canyon.
The insanity of the shutdown and the utterly unreasonable expectations that anyone whose trip was already in progress would just pack up and leave made me more determined than ever to go. Mike was willing to be my accomplice in defying the shutdown, so we resolved we would continue with our plan. I mean, if you've come this far, why stop now?
The peace and solitude of Swamp Point along with the days exertions allowed for a restful night.
The next morning we hoisted our heavy packs and began the trek into the depths. Here is Mike looking as clean and pretty as he would for the next 5 days.
We both had a good laugh at this poster at the trailhead. We figured since neither of us looked like this guy we would be o.k.
The North Bass trail is 14 miles from rim to river, losing the majority of its elevation in the first 5 miles. There are extended stretches where the trail is literally the bed of White's Creek, with lots of boulder hopping and bushwhacking through dense riparian vegetation.
Here's a sampling of the scenery.
The "Teddy Roosevelt" cabin at Muav Saddle. Apparently Teddy never slept here, but he did stay at a camp nearby while hunting cougar.
After walking the same 4 miles as we did the day before, only this time with a heavy pack, I was surprised that Mike was willing to continue through the descent of the Redwall, one of the more formidable barriers in the Canyon.
Mike took the steep, loose descent of the Redwall to heart, and for the rest of the trip I think it was weighing on his mind, at least a little bit. Knowing how the Canyon can make people feel very small and insignificant, I did my best to encourage him with the following:
Me: Hey Mike, did you know the Chinese say the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time?
Mike: Why would I want to eat an elephant?
Me: It's a metaphor - you know, the Redwall is the elephant. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other and eventually you'll get out.
I can tell by the way Mike is looking at me that my 10 second motivational speech has done nothing to ally his concern about getting out of this place alive.
After the Redwall, we follow the creek for a while before finding a most agreeable streamside camp.
We deploy our gear and hang our food to keep the rodents away, and settle in. The trickle of the creek helps me sleep, although I usually toss and turn for the first few nights. Because Mike deals with plumbing issues in his job, he tells me the sound of running water makes him think there's a leak somewhere he's got to fix.
The next morning we are barely out of our tents before a group of hikers come barreling through camp on their way out. They are surprised to see us, asking if we know the Canyon is closed. We play dumb (easy enough for me to do) and claim no knowledge of such weighty news. They look surprised when we show no apparent signs of packing up and following their lead, but continue on their merry way. They are the last people we will see in the next 4 days.
Once again Mike impresses me, since most people show signs of significant bodily trauma on the morning after their first backpacking trip in the Canyon. Not only does he not hobble about like others I've seen, he cheerfully swings his pack onto his back and follows me as we tackle the next leg of the journey.
Below the Redwall, the trail follows the creek bed for several miles. While the elevation does not change significantly, much attention needs to be given to where the trail climbs in and out of the stream, and negotiating the boulder strewn channel and sometimes dense thickets of willow, locust, and catclaw.
After what seems like forever, the path climbs out onto the Tonto Platform, a nearly contiguous bench above the Tapeats sandstone that allows for the majority of cross country travel in the Canyon.
A few more miles pass before the trail makes a sudden descent towards Shinumo Creek, our base camp destination. The ribbon of green along the perennial stream is a welcome sight.
This last mile of trail winds steeply down the rocky cliff shown here, with lots of exposure and loose rock.
We are both glad to reach the place where we will spend the next 2 nights, and find a suitable campsite where a cliff provides shade from the midday sun.
Once again the sound of water provides great white noise for sleeping, unless of course you're Mike and think there's a broken sprinkler head somewhere.
Mike has stated that one of his goals (aside from living to tell the story to his grandchildren) is reach the Colorado River. Fortunately it is only 2 miles downstream, and we have a spare day to fill. So the next morning off we go, crossing Shinumo Creek multiple times enroute. I am somewhat embarrassed to admit Mike was the only one who managed to do this with dry feet.
Along the way we pass the remnants of Bass Camp, where the pioneer William Wallace Bass hosted guests as one of the first entrepreneurs to value the Canyon for tourism. A motley collection of slowly rusting metal is all that remains to tell the story.
I told Mike the next time the topic of 12 volt coffee makers comes up on RV.Net I'm gonna post this picture in response.
Of course reaching the river is not as simple as walking downstream, no sir, not in this Canyon. There's one more hill to climb (about 700 feet) and descend, and when I ask Mike if he wants to go "touch" the river as opposed to just looking at it I sense just little bit of hesitation..... But like the good sport he's been all along, he agrees to make the effort.
We make the final steps down to the deserted beach, while I marvel at the lack of people and boats on the river (thank you, government shutdown).
Mikes first reward for hiking down to the River:
On the way back to camp, I had spotted a plunge pool that looked very inviting, especially since it had been some days since my last shower. Despite the lack of sun and relatively cold water, I took a bath (well, more like a rinse).
Mikes second reward for making the hike to the river - a nice long nap.
The rest of the day went by too quickly, and the next morning it was time to saddle up and do it all again - in reverse.
Taking a well deserved break on the way out.
One last rest stop before the final climb.
We emerged from the Canyon after 5 days and 4 nights, a little tired but much richer for the experience.
The best part about it was that I had taken some advice offered by Whazoo last year and decided to ask another RV.Net member if he wanted to do something fun.
Mike turned out to be a most agreeable companion, and he impressed the snot out of me by doing one of the more challenging trails in the Grand Canyon for his very first backpacking trip. And though he may have had some reservations about the difficulty, he went ahead and did it anyway with grace and equanimity. Way to go, Mike.
So, in the interest of paying it forward, like Whazoo said - take a chance and invite someone on the forum to go somewhere and have some fun. I bet you'll be glad you did!
While this rig certainly has a wow factor, it is not the type of unit the average person will ever be able to build or afford. And I found it amusing that despite all the custom mods "geared" (pun intended) towards off-roading, he still managed to get the thing stuck in the Utah desert.
I'll keep my humble 3/4 ton truck and pop-up combo, thank you very much.
I will add my .02 worth since I was once concerned about the same issue. Although my pop-up TC is quite a bit "lighter" than many models, I noticed that when it was on the truck fully loaded (an SD 250) the rear springs were flatter than I liked. I chose to add a set of Hellwig helper springs to assist with the load, especially since I am fond of traveling dirt roads that rarely if ever see any maintenance.
Not only did I see an improvement in the spring arch but I got considerably less sway while negotiating deeply rutted two tracks. Of course your mileage will vary and everyone's rig is different, but that my story and I'm sticking to it.
If I'm hearing you all correctly it sounds like my best bet is to tear into it, salvage what I can and cut my losses.
A person with extensive carpentry skills, metalworking ability, infinite patience, unlimited time, and a bottomless checkbook would find the rebuild of this particular camper challenging - so in a word, YES.
You should see what you can save and enjoy a nice campfire with the rest.
You sir, are obviously a classic underachiever :) It appears as though you've been peeling away some of the outer layers to see just how bad things are, and you are a brave soul indeed if what you have seen so far does not make you flinch.
I'd most most concerned at this point with the structural soundness of the framing - the rot evidenced in the pictures likely goes well beyond what you can see. The one image in particular that concerns me is where the jack is attached to the midpoint of the camper body. Either there was an impact of some sort or the framing is so spongy that it can no longer support the weight of the unit.
I don't want to discourage you from trying to make this vintage TC something you can use, but please be realistic about the extent of the damage.
Eyeball level has always worked for me - just get some distance between you and the TC on all sides and you'll know it when you see it.
I thought about doing something similar with the wood blocks. Great idea using the carriage bolts as dowels. I'd cut more of an angle though to help climbing on. Home made wood blocks will be more durable and much cheaper but a little heavier. I really need to build a front receiver hitch so I can put one of the carriers on the front of the truck.
I have used wood blocks for years, and after every trip I promise myself I will finally break down and go buy the plastic variety. I end up having to use duct tape on the majority of the wood blocks (I usually use 2x8 scraps from around the house) to keep them from splitting.
Supporting the weight of a fully loaded truck on uneven/rocky ground is usually too much for modern "crap" lumber. Plastic is forever, and the ones made specifically for the purpose of leveling fit together like LEGOs.
One of these days I'm gonna get to the RV store......
The plastic leveling block got big gravel wedged into their waffle shape bottoms and split.
I'm currently using wood blocking.
Funny, I just read this post - now what am I gonna do? (with my penchant for procrastination I'll probably keep using the wooden blocks and duct tape!)
The area around the base of the Pinalenos (Mt. Graham) is mid-level desert, and likely to still be very warm at this time of year. That said the drive up to Mt. Graham is enjoyable and offers a look at one of southern Arizona's "sky islands"
I've never been on either road you mention but my quick research shows that they could be interesting adventures depending on your expectations. Personally I'd wait for cooler weather to do my exploring but you've gotta work with the time you have.
Good luck and have fun!
Jackson Cabin Road
Black Hill Backcountry Byway
To my way of thinking one of the primary advantages of the pop-up TC is a lower profile and lower center of gravity to negotiate more difficult roads. That said, you would probably lose some maneuverability with a side entry unit that has a big rear overhang.
Departure angles mean a lot when traversing dry wash beds, particularly if it's a long bed crew cab. I think the flatbed idea has worked well for some, but make sure you are realistic about what kind of off-road capabilities such a rig would offer.
MANY comments have been made through the years on the pros and cons of all the manufacturers you have listed so I won't repeat any of it here except to say my next pop-up TC will come from Hallmark.
Best of luck.
The dates you'll be in the area coincide with the weekend, so be mindful that the Rim is the preferred escape for tens of thousands of overheated Phoenicians, and it can be be very crowded with OHV's and campers. Try to visit during the week if your plans allow.
The Rim country is at an average elevation of 7000 feet ASL, and is typically cool and comfortable. As the previous poster mentioned, thunderstorms are common in August, and roads can be muddy, although the main road (FR300) is considered all season so it has a "somewhat" improved surface.
Overall, taking the backroads and two lane highways in northern AZ are scenic and worthwhile. You should have a great time.
I've been hoping somebody would take a great trip this summer like yours and share it with the rest of us who are currently "homebound". It looks like you had a great time and did it up right - The pics of Cody and Wyoming in general made me miss my old stomping grounds. Sorry it's over, but I'm glad you took the time to post this.
There are so many options it would be difficult to list them all. For all intents and purposes, Flagstaff is surrounded on 3 sides by the Coconino NF, and dispersed camping is allowed just about everywhere except in proximity to Lake Mary. In that area you'll need to use one of the established campgrounds.
Do yourself a favor and get a good map of the area from the Flagstaff District Ranger Office. There are also some interesting National Monuments (Walnut Canyon, Sunset Crater, and Wupatki) in close proximity to Flagstaff that are worth checking out.
Cottonwood Canyon Road is one I use frequently, as in good weather it provides a useful and scenic shortcut between U.S. Hwy 89 and Utah 12. There are some great hikes along the way, and of course the country is beautiful. Be warned however, as the road is one of those backways that becomes a trap for the unwary when it rains - See the link for the "Impassable when wet" below.
Listed below are entries are from my previous blog posts and RV.Net trip reports about this wonderful 47 mile dirt road.
Cottonwood Canyon - the Heart of Grand Staircase - Escalante
A Tale of Three Roads - Part 1
Impassable when wet