We have a few years before we can escape Michigan winters and planned on using 231 for our trip to Port St Joe in May. If you're looking for an overnight spot I have read some good reviews on Deer Run RV Park north of Troy, AL. http://www.deerrunrvpark.com/
I hope to make it that far the first day from the west side of Detroit, leaving a short day of travel on our second day.
Not quite the same animal but after working years in the fire service and having issues with built in generators on our units I found they can be a pain if they develop a gremlin or don't get used often enough. Not sure how they would be filled with a fuel on a trailer since our units are plumbed into the diesel lines for the old systems, the new gen systems we use run off a PTO system from the motor and trans already running.
I have a Honda EU2000 which I can use around home if the power goes out and store it in the garage so that I can run it every month or two, I find it easy to service on my own and if it developed a serious enough issue I could take it to a service center without the issues of having a permanent mount set up.
I'm sure it's convenient to have it built in and that would be a plus if it's used often.
I ordered a set and used them once and found them a bit difficult to get the level right on, of course this was in a loose sandy soil so that may have been part of the problem. I haven't used them since.
Maybe adding a level for side to side that is visible while I back up will help. My wife didn't seem to like using my level on the side of the trailer, like their videos show online.
I have a different perspective on why solar may be the way to go.
While having a generator is real nice, my move to solar has allowed me to leave the generator home or put away. I haven't used it while camping since installing a solar power setup last year. If the weather does go south for more than a few days the generator would be nice when dry camping.
Since you stated that you don't boondock, do you really need a generator if your on the road a few days than plugging in? Dealing with a generator seems like an unnecessary pain, you'll just have to be willing to forget the microwave while on the road, do you really use it that much? Toast, done in the oven. Try it, you'll like it.
Positives for a simple solar setup are once installed it just simply works to keep things charged and ready to go. Permanent mount was made to sound like a negative by some, to me it's a positive. No pulling out a panel running wires etc, which is perfect since it's out of the way and requires, no work on your part and is always ready to work.
My trailer sits at the storage yard all charged up, some trips we need to start the frig 4 or 5 days out due to work schedules and when we show up to load and leave, the batteries are still fully charged. I could not have had this luxury before solar due to the parasitic draws.
We've been fortunate to dry camp for about 20 nights so far this year and our setup has been working great with absolutely no generator use, the only issue we had was in a particularly forested site with good sun only in the morning hours, we had rain one morning and clouds another, so after our fourth night the battery was down to 60%, which isn't going to kill my AGM's, since they can run down lower than lead acid batteries. Either way I didn't have the EU2000 so it wasn't really an issue, we just pay attention to our use.
Our last trip was 10 nights with good afternoon sun for four hours. We watched TV 2 of the nights for a few hours due to weather, using programs downloaded to a Kindle. Ran an ice maker during the day for a few sunny days, and ran a big box fan another night due to a warm and muggy night. While I had the Honda in the bin, it stayed there. I love having it as backup but despise the thought of using it destroying the peace and quiet of others, though I was tempted to pull it out and run it first thing in the morning to wake up the neighbors that partied until 2 am with a lot of loud talk, I refrained since the rain came in and sent them packing.
My system was setup for dry camping purposes, something others don't need for simple charging, so this isn't a recommended setup I'm just sharing what works for us. 2 AGM Group 31 batteries, 2 160 watt panels on AM Solar Adjustable mounting brackets, a 30 amp MPPT charge controller, and a 1000 Watt Pro Sine Inverter.
The 300 watt panel you mentioned would easily keep things charged up and ready to go for your use if that's all you need.
Whats the issue with the tunnels?
I hit one when leaving OBX several years ago and all we had to do was pull over and show our propane was turned off. Not to much of a hassle or is it a phobia thing? I know my wife doesn't care for the tunnels.
Whenever I see a dashboard MPG I become very skeptical of course I'm speaking from experience from my 2005 Cummins. I only wish my overhead display was the truth, where my hand calculated MPG is 1.5 to 2 MPG less.
A 9.5 MPG towing with the 6.4 might make me consider going back to the gasser on the next purchase, but it will be hard to pull me away from my Cummins.
BTW I like the watercraft on top, 2 person kayak? I thought of doing something similar but my solar panels are in the way. Care to share how it's strapped down?
I have the Revolution paired up with a Husky Hitch and really like the setup and find far superior to towing a travel trailer before this setup. No sway, buffering or being pushed around.
The only odd thing is that my trailer sits a little more to one side or the other, depending on which way you turned last. Looking in the mirror I can see that the trailer may follow along a little more on the right or left side. Guess it would be easier to say that it doesn't always return to dead center.
Like others have pointed out could be a simple short inside the brake drum. I had the same issue several years ago, once I found the rubbed wire in the drum and repaired everything was fine. If that's all it is it will be a quick fix once you go through the trouble of removing the wheels and hunting for it.
Site 9 at Bay Furnace in the Michigan UP. The tent next to us was in site 10 it is even closer to the water!
Nice pictures of Bay Furnace! We have not been in that campground and have site 10 reserved for an upcoming trip for 4 or 5 nights, before heading to Grand Marais.
A lot of great suggestions. If you like to get off the beaten path make a visit to the Crisp Point Lighthouse if your camped in the Tahquamenon Falls or Deer Park area. Take lunch and enjoy the beach its 14 miles west of Whitefish Point, we have been volunteers there in the past and enjoyed camping off the grid during our work weeks.
My Shasta Phoenix has hung walls. The wall for the kitchen entertainment slide became detached. I took it back to the factory for repair this past winter and saw the newer models being put together in the factory which was interesting.
I was getting confused by this earlier this evening and had found this before dinner got in the way:
Here's the link: http://www.civicsolar.com/forum/12084/why-do-i-need-load-connection-charge-controller
And what it says about the load on an AVL converter:
The main purpose of having the load connection on the charge controller is to protect the battery from too much discharge. For instance, after using the battery for a while it reaches the 50% discharge capacity. If the load was connected directly to the battery, it would continue to drain the battery thus reducing the battery's lifespan. If the load was connected to the charge controller, the charge controller would know that the battery is low and therefore disconnect the load to protect the battery. It is up to you whether or not you want to use the load connection.
Why are you worried about the battery on the tongue? I have a fiver and didn't want to worry about venting issues, if I had a TT still I would have left them outside and would have likely gone the 6 volt method instead of the two 12's.
Besides sensors, I have power coming in from the panels with a breaker disconnect between, and the charging cable going to the batteries. I don't recall there being any other cables to hook up on my Rogue 30 amp MPPT, thus my confusion of the load question.
My inverter is hooked up directly to the batteries with a breaker disconnect, and when I dry camp I kill the circuit breaker to the converter as I feed the shore power from my inverter so that my outlets are live when I'm dry camping and nothing else. Works well for us as we really only use it for a few odds and ends like charging cell phones, laptops, and our satellite radio.
Is solar a better option than a genny?
If you want to scale back and enjoy nature, happy with moderate to minimal electric support - solar is great.
So very true. I enjoy being able to dry camp and not run the generator. I designed and installed my own setup last year and have been very happy with it. My two 12 volt, group 31 AGM's have not needed the EU2000 as of yet, but we bring it along just in case.
Last year we were chatting with neighbors at a state forest campground and they originally didn't want to camp next to use, thinking a couple in a fifth wheel would be running a generator all day. They appreciated the fact we were powered by solar.
We have more dry camping trips planned for this year and will hopefully get a better idea on how well our system is working and have the ability to download the usage onto a laptop.
Solar setups can range in cost an size, but the cost keeps coming down. That's why I went with the EU2000 in 2004 as the cost of solar was to much back then. We will have payback on our system in less than 7 years in camping fees alone. Another thing that can't be measured in dollars and cents is that I camp in more remote and peaceful campgrounds, which to me in itself is worth the cost. We enjoy getting away from the crowds.
Your mentioning portable probably means a smaller system than one installed on your roof. Shade and clouds cut back on the amp hours in a big way. Looking at the display on the converter and seeing the effects of high thin clouds on power production was an eye opener.
This was something I considered last year when upgrading my system, but I added solar panels also.
I went with 2 Group 31 AGM batteries and left them in the trailer all year. The snow would melt enough off of the solar panels to allow enough charging through the winter and the well below zero temps we had did not cause any issues since they were AGM's.
I use 2 Group 31 AGM's and have been happy with their performance while dry camping. We are real conservative with power usage and think 3 nights would be an easy task but that would be without the furnace running.
What are you planning on for your solar power set up? I have two 160 watt panels and a good Rogue MPPT charge controller and even when I tried running things down a bit with lights and the TV left on one night, while we sat outside by the fire, I didn't drop the battery level much past 85%. I didn't take the time to download the power information, but know I was full by noon the next day. Having the remote meter from the Rogue to keep tabs on power info is a nice item to have.
That site only provided about 2 to 3 hours of direct sunlight after 2 PM. This year I will be hitting more shaded sites and will have to keep an eye on things a bit closer. I had my Honda EU2000 and never considered running it, but it's nice to have just in case heavy tree cover or poor weather. The power drop from just a few clouds is very noticeable on the meter.
I-69 is a good route. I like crossing at Port Huron/Sarnia better than Detroit. Are you going to cross back in at the Falls/Buffalo area, or continue across 401 into Quebec?
If you want a much more scenic route, though higher gas prices, once you hit 75 go north and cross into Ontario at the Soo, and then take the Trans Canada Hwy 17 across. At least you would avoid Toronto traffic if your planning on the Quebec route.
There really isn't much to see, scenic wise, between mid Michigan until the other side of Toronto, but for a quicker route it works.
I was just checking he Rogue site last week and was saddened to see that they no longer make the 3048 that I installed last year. Everything continues to work great and I love having solar power on the 5er.
Hoping Rogue comes back to the market with something special.