I have the built in Nav system in my 2011 Silverado and enjoy using it. Because it runs on a DVD, it has lots of information about exits, etc. However with that said, I also have a Garmin 1490 mounted on the dash. My wife thinks it is a bit of over kill. The Garmin is much easier to get the elevation, the current vehicle speed and the speed limit. The Chevy Nav system has a larger screen and mounted in the center of the dash, is easier for the passenger to use/mess with/etc. However some functions on the Chevy Nav system are locked out when the vehicle is moving, the Garmin allows that to be over ridden. However that issue can be worked around by using the OnStar system in the truck. I just call OnStar, ask the operator to download a route for me and in less than a minute it arrives on my navigation system. I like to use this, especially when traveling by myself. No need to stop to set the new destination into the unit. I can also ask for a route to the nearest Wal Mart, Target, etc. store and up it pops on the vehicle screen. Fairly close to magic IMHO.
The dash system was in the vehicle when I bought it new, and I suspect I would reorder one if I was getting one built. My BIL recently bought a new car and then had Best Buy or one of the other stores install an after market nav system in his dash. I think it was a Pioneer brand but not too sure. He likes the system and feels he saved some money going that route instead of having the dealer do it.
Just pulled the window sticker out of the file cabinet and it lists the Nav system - touch screen with satellite radio plus CD player for $2,250. Who knows what I actually paid for the system as they gave me roughly 20% off the sticker price when I bought the truck. Anyway you look at it, is is a lot more expensive than going aftermarket. Plus the upgrades on the mapping DVD is $200, more than I paid for my Garmin.
The Chevy unit is nice. Here is a shot not long after we departed Amarillo Texas, headed for Dallas, showing 6 hrs, 6 min, 336 miles to destination, no turn for 142 miles and Prime Country playing on the satellite radio. Looks to need a bit of dust removal. LOL
Mike, my Jeep is also a 2004, but as a two door unlimited model, that year they only made it with an automatic transmission. Not my favorite tranny for mountain trails, but since I use it as a daily driver, here in south Florida it works OK for me. The red Jeep was a manual but had the 4 banger engine, which was fine here in the SE, but when I got it in the Rocky Mtns above 9,000 feet it just ran out of power. It was easier to tow as it was several hundred pounds lighter in weight. Jeeps are sure easy to tow, 4 down.
I considered changing out the engine in the red Jeep and might should have as I had it fixed up the way I wanted it, except for the power. The yellow one is the 14th Jeep I have owned over the years.
just about to run out of road in the Colorado mountains. Probably pushing the season a bit.
I have talked to folks towing the smaller 4 Xs, such as the Trackers, and the others and they sure have a following of loyal tow folks. They are really hard to find around this part of the country.
When I first set up our previous Dodge truck I bought a 48 inch extension, which turned out to be much longer than I really needed. With our Lance 845, the overhang in the back is not a great deal. But I failed to figure in that the Jeep tow bar attachment points, are 16 inches in front of the grill. Then I added a Ready Brake auxiliary system to the Jeeps and that added an additional 20 inches. So the two of those factors added 36 inches to my setup. Then the Falcon 5200 tow bar added 6 or 8 more inches where it slides into the Ready Brake receiver. So then I bought an 18 inch extension and stopped using the chains, then checked it without the 18 inch extinion and it works just fine. Took it to an empty parking lot and made tight circles, etc and check how close to the rear corners of the camper I was getting with the Jeep. Not a problem so currently I just use the Ready Brake off the factory Class 5 hitch, then the tow bar off that, then the Jeep.
Could have saved some money, if I had taken a better look instead of going with the trial and error method of measuring. But, if we do trade up to a larger camper, with more overhang, then the 18 inch extension will come in handy.
Original set up with 48 inch extension.
Here is the our current tow using just the Ready Brake and the Falcon tow bar connected to our current Jeep Unlimited. Towed it from south Florida to North Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Utah, western Colorado, and back home through Arizona and New Mexico. Worked fine, in the closer coupling, than the original set up with the red Jeep.
This site is a good source of information on the salmon runs on the highway system in Alaska. http://alaskaoutdoorjournal.com/
Just click on the "salmon runs" in the upper right on the home page.
Fanrgs is so correct and has worded it very well. The Kenai Peninsula can turn into an absolute zoo on salmon run weekends. Just not a fun place to be, to me, on those occasions. You are really not talking about sports fisherman, out for a day of enjoyment on the lakes and streams, but a group down to get "their" fish to stock their freezer, one way or the other. It is interesting to witness and to participate, for some, in the "combat" atmosphere of fishing the runs.
On most weekends, the Fred Myer store in Soldotna, is the largest campground on the Kenai. They even have a lot attendant, whose job it is to keep it as sane as possible. They do have a free dump at the store, but the last time I stopped at the store to buy some groceries, there were close to a dozen rigs waiting in line to dump.
Much of this is just not what a new visitor to Alaska is expecting, in many cases. The concept that you will be in a vast, barely settled wilderness, in pristine country, is true in most of Alaska, just not true in the urban areas of the state or on the Kenai on salmon run weekends. During the week it isn't as bad and can be very enjoyable. Plan a visit to the Kenai on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday and head back to Anchorage on the same days. I would guess at least 1/3 of the drivers on the Kenai weekends couldn't pass a sobriety check. A dangerous place to drive if you don't have to do so. Most of the heavy traffic will drop off in the Soldotna area, so Homer and that area stay somewhat sane, from my experiences.
Disclaimer - I am not a golfer. LOL Many of the Florida counties seem to have golf courses, including the one where we live, Martin. We are a couple of hours south of Orlando, but I am sure other public courses exist closer to Orlando.
Here is the last posted fee schedule for Martin County Golf and Country Club. From what I understand it is the most used course in this area. For walking, 9 holes, the fee is just under $20 for non-residents of the county. Carts seem to add about $10 a round to the cost.
Your best bet would be to contact some of the RV rental agencies in Alaska and ask them that question. A year or so back, I saw an ad in the newspaper in Anchorage, online, or on Craig's List in Anchorage for one of the big rental companies looking for people to take some of their used RVs back south for the company to sell.
Last spring, one of the big rental companies in Anchorage sent up 150 new Class Cs from the factory here in the Lower 48. The used market in Alaska can't handle that many used rigs, that were replaced with the new ones, at one time, when several of the Alaska companies are doing the same, as well as military personnel rotating outside and needing to get rid of their RVs they bought while on their two year tour of Alaska.
It is very beneficial to the company if they can find drivers willing to take the used units south to the Lower 48 and pay the fuel costs to do so. Saves the rental company having to pay the freight to put it on a south bound barge to Washington.
I think it was Great Alaskan Holidays that had the ad out that year, believe it was in the fall time. I have never seen them advertise for moving them this direction here in the Lower 48. Many summer workers in Alaska are heading home in the fall so it works well for the rental agencies to send the used ones south.
Not sure if forum traffic is down or not but I see, what appears to be a real ageing of many of the RVers I see in campgrounds. Much of this is due to economics in my opinion.
The first truck camper my wife and I purchased was in 1974, a year after we got married and we paid about $5,000 for the new TC. It was a nice large, very heavy one, with all the features we needed. That cost was about 1/10 th of our salaries, combined at that time. Now for a young couple to buy a new TC, most would be looking in the mid $30,000 range + or -. That would require a family income of over $300,000 a year to stay with the same 1/10 th figure. Not many young (or old) couples make that income. While the costs of most consumer items have gone up greatly in the last 30 or 40 years, salaries of the working middle class have not increased a great deal in that same time. Now with the uncertainty of the economy, more and more young people are choosing to rent rather than buy a home. Many, I would suspect, are also not willing or not able to spend the money to buy an RV, for a two week vacation yearly, that is assuming they have jobs.
As the age of forum members increases, we get more and more of the "know it all" geezer group, that often confuse their "opinions" with the truth or facts. Just mention you are having some sort of problem with the same brand and model of TC they have and watch them start bouncing off the wall defending the brand/model, when the OP was just looking for ideas to solve their problem. (a geezer is anyone older than I am, and that is currently 71, the oldest I have ever been)
I suspect that their are a number of North American industries that are going to have problems, in that wages are not keeping up with the costs of recreational items, RVs, boats, airplanes, etc. In 1970, I purchased a Piper Super Cub that had 600 hours on it from new and it was 3 years old, for $6,000. I was making about $20,000 year at the time. I keep up with as many of my old planes as possible and go see them when I am in the area, where they now reside. Ran across the old Cub, I had owned, in Anchorage, a couple of years back with a for sale sign on it, for $50,000. In talking with the owner, found it needed a new cover and engine to pass annual inspection, another $40,000. So for $90,000 a person could have a nice Cub again. I had originally paid 30% of my yearly salary to buy it, now for someone to pay the same 30%, they would need a salary of approx. $300,000 a year, a figure not many people, other than forum moderators and administrators, make a year. LOL
For what the asking prices are for new and used RVs are these days, it is frightening when you consider what the average working person is being paid, if they have a job. It may in the future, put RVing and RV interest type forums, in the same situation that the small aircraft industry has found themselves experiencing, and that is a major decline in participants of RVing.
As mentioned weight and friction do most of the work in my opinion. The tie downs are to keep the movement from ever starting. Most TCers use some sort of rubber mat between the TC bottom and the truck bed to add a bit more non-slip to the rig.
One other type of system for tie downs that also replaces having to have a jack system is the www.stablelift.com Several of the forum members have such a set up and speak highly of it. It actually clamps the TC to the truck bed.
For the most part, on a trip when the camper settles in and gets squared up to the front of the bed or whatever you have it up against, a spacer, etc normally there is very little movement on the rest of the trip. This past summer I had to make some small adjustments on my tie downs about half a day into the trip and for the next two months they didn't have to be touched. Many times you can catch a sale on any of the major brands from many dealers, or find them on some free list such as Craigs. Some of the parts are truck specific, so you may have to look a bit to find a good used set as they seem to last forever. LOL
Running a DEF tank dry is not a good thing to do, as mentioned above. I get my first dash message that the tank is getting low at about 900 miles remaining in the tank, then the next message at a bout 500 miles and then one at about 250 miles of DEF remaining. I have never let it get below the last figure. On vacation I carry an extra 2 1/2 gallon jug of the stuff. It is available at most auto stores, the big box stores, and at most dealers (they tend to be the most expensive) Two of the most popular brands I see are put out by Peak and Fleetguard ( a Cummins owned company) and all I have used works fine.
I really like the DEF to cut back on air pollution, as our previous truck was a 2002 Dodge Cummins and it put out a diesel exhaust stink comparable to an old Jimmy 2 stroke diesel. Stop at a stop light in the old Dodge and sometimes the stink of the burned diesel would drift into the cab or into the AC system and it was not pleasant. With the DEF, the inside of my truck exhaust pipe, after 20,000 miles is still as clean looking as it was the day I brought the new truck home. You can stand behind the truck with the engine running and there is zero diesel exhaust smell. To me a cheap price to pay for what the DEF provides.
As far as I know there has never been any forum member reports, of ever being asked about the amount of fuel on board of a non-commercial vehicle. It appears to be a non-issue and one I wouldn't raise with the Customs officials. Most likely the fuel in your RV tank, came from Canada in the first place, as they are the largest supplier of petroleum products to the US, followed by Mexico and then the Middle East region.
Jefe, well stated comments. I didn't read the OP's original as anything being said negatively about truck campers, Less Stuff was just commenting on the cost associated with having fun as I read it. Over the years many/ most of my hobbies have gone by the wayside, often for no known reason,. For about 20 years I didn't think I could live without having an airplane strapped to my butt, but once we moved to Colorado, that love of flying stayed in Alaska. I still keep my license, but have no burning desire to buy another plane. After about ten years of running sled dogs in Alaska, I lost interest and sold the 40 dogs I owned. After getting out of high school, I decided I wanted to be a professional rodeo bull rider. That took just over two years to get that out of my system, finally coming to the realization that I wasn't very good at it. LOL
I too can see an end to having an RV or two around the house. My wife and I bought our first TC the year after we got married in 1973, giving us 39 years of truck camping, along with Class As, Cs, pop ups, 5 th wheels and tent camping. But all good things come to an end, and like Less Stuff, we need to be smart enough to recognize when that time has arrived for us.
Yes and no. I tend to use 30 ft in length as the line to determine if I need a toad or not. Work camping, I would take a toad. Just use good judgment and watch your speeds on the way up and back and your toad should make the trip just fine. Don't know if you tow 4 down or use a trailer, but I would consider a trailer if we were to tow our Jeep Wrangler, just to save wear and tear on the tires and running gear. I have only towed a toad on one of our 13 round trips by RV, to Alaska and back. Normally we take our truck camper so don't need a toad or I will rent one if needed for a few days. But we seldom stay in the same site for more than a night or two, but longer stays, such as the OP is talking would have me taking a toad of some type or buying a used car in Anchorage or Fairbanks to use as a daily driver. If you enjoy Alaska, and decide to go back the following summer, just put the cars in storage for the winter.
I enjoy TCs as they allow us to stay close to where we wish to be. To be able to step out of our TC and 5 minutes later be fly casting in the nearby stream makes the lack of space tolerable. We are on our 5 th TC at this time, Three I purchased while living in Alaska and two since moving to the swamp country.
For some forum members a TC appears to be a hobby in itself, they love to modify the TC to fit their needs, or a place to stay while working away from home, etc. lots of different uses of a TC by us members.
During my working years I stayed in many hotels and motels, never had any problems that I remember. Most of the stays were at the end of an aircraft flight. Not sure what motels some of you have been staying at, but you may want to try some of the more upscale places. The Cliff Hotel, the Westin Hotel or the Campton Place in San Francisco are nice places with clean bedding, etc. the Broardmoor in Colorado Springs is another comfortable place to stay.
We use our TC as our long distance traveling rig and spend over 100 nights a year in it and have for many years. RV travel is my favorite way to go somewhere these days as I got burned out flying during my working years, averaging between 3 and 5 flights a week for 17 years. I figured out one time, based on 8 hour days, I had spent about 1 1/2 years in the sky above Alaska during the 25+ years we lived there. Much of that time with me as the pilot. So for pure enjoyment and relaxation a TC is hard to beat.
Kodiak is a great place to go fishing, for a week or so. A couple of times I flew over from Anchorage to Kodiak, the town, the took a float plane oner to the village of Karluk to fish the river of the same name.
Kodiak has some great history, as it was the first capital established by the Governor of the Russian America Company. After 4 or 5 years they decided to move the capital south to near where Sitka is now located. This was due to two reasons as I understand, the weather in winter time Kodiak can be brutal, and the governor, Lord Baranof wanted to send the company fur trappers farther south, toward Northern California .
But a couple of days in town and a drive out the roads would probably be enough for me. I never considered taking our RVs over to the island. The ferry ride would be fun if the weather is good, and passenger fares are very reasonable, leaving the RV in Homer for a few days. Kodiak is well worth seeing IMHO.
Keep in mind that a new install of 7 will wipe out all programs and files on your old computer. If you want to keep those intact, then get Window 7 Upgrade. If you still have all your program disks, then a file backup and new install would have worked for me, some of the programs on my old computer that ran on Vista came preloaded on the computer so I have no way to ever reload those program.
How much time to spend on the trip is so personal, that one person's trip has nothing to do with anyone else's. So many factors to consider, the traveler's ages, their health, their financial situation, how much traveling have they done over part of the route to be used, and the list goes on and on.
If a person is middle aged, I can hardly remember that far back, LOL, and feel they may make several trips to the north country, then there is no big rush to try and see it all. Alaska and Canada are so huge that you can't see it all in one lifetime, in my opinion. I did my best to wear out 5 airplanes, a half dozen RVs, numerous boats, trying to see it all and in 25+ years of living in rural Alaska, I probably saw no more than 70 or 75 percent of the state, and much of that was from 3,000 feet in the air or at some off the ground altitude.
Some first and second timers do extensive planning for the trip and have a great time, so they give their "outstanding" planning lots of credit for the success of the trip. What they don't seem to understand is that others did their trips completely different and had just as great a time. Some will try to convince other that if they don't make their trip the very same way, they will have a terrible time, just not true in my opinion. Over the 51 years I have been driving the Alaska Highway, I have found that a nice 8 week time slot will work for many people, including my wife and me. A month for travel up and back and spend a month in northern Canada and Alaska and you have the trip of a life time for most people. If you have longer, go for it. If you have less time, look at the options available to you.
No matter what, I have never heard anyone say, "I am sure glad I waited to make the trip to Alaska" Keep in mind, many people do wait just about too long to make the trip, and have to recognize, this will be their one and only trip because of their ages and declining health. Do I have any regrets to taking off one summer when I was 20 years old and driving to Alaska, and then flying to Nome? Not the least. I was broke most of the time, had to sleep in a military surplus tent and sleeping bag or wrap up in a tarp to sleep. Had to get a job in Nome to make some money to get back home to Oklahoma but the memories of that trip are great. I have often said, I would fly to Alaska to spend a weekend if I could afford it, which I can't.
Lots of good options, drive long days to get to Canada, consider a fly and rent an RV program, line up a summer job in Alaska to cover some of your costs, the tourist businesses are usually looking for workers. I figure 10 driving days from south Florida to Fairbanks, and I want to spend my time in the north country, not watching the grass grow in a bunch of campgrounds along the way. For those that like to drive 3 to 5 hours a day, it is going to take them longer to get to Alaska, so they need to plan more time for their trip. I love Yellowstone NP but we don't stop there on most trips to Alaska. We made a special stop there this past summer on our way to Colorado, from Florida and spent a week at West Yellowstone and in the NP.
Again, figure out what you and your companions want to see and do in the north country. Try to figure out why you want to go to the north country. Then prioritize what you can do in you allotted amount of time that you have. The few people I have talked to that didn't enjoy their trip to Alaska was those that really hadn't given any real thought to why they even wanted to go. Turned out, most of them didn't have any real reason to go and should have gone elsewhere, IMHO.
We keep both of our RVs stocked. At first we tried moving the "junk" back and forth but we never had what we wanted in the rig we were in at that time.
I have a couple of tubs, clear Rubber Maid types, in a 17 qt/16ltr, size, that I keep odds and ends in that go with my camera gear or computers. Extra batteries, chargers for cameras, cords for iphones, ipads, etc., Sleek WiFi range improver, SD chips, flash drives of different sizes, computer cables, etc. This box gets moved back and forth and in between trips it resides in my home office. The other box of the same size we keep medicines in that we don't want to leave in the heat of the RVs parked here in Florida. That box comes into the house between trips as well.
Both boxes have a specific place to live in the RVs so it is easy to see if they are on board or not. Some tools I have duplicated for both rigs but since we use the same truck for both the 5th wheel and the truck camper, most of the tools reside in the truck, such as the 12 v. air compressor, wrenches, bottle jacks, etc.
Dishes, pots and pans, bedding, remain in each RV. We move the satellite radio, from RV to RV and so far have not forgotten to switch it. Our truck camper gets most of it's use in the summer months and we normally spend about 100 nights a year out in it. The 5th wheel gets most of it's use in the winter months, as it is a campground "queen" and seldom gets too far from Florida. (two summers ago it made it to western Colorado and Utah/Arizona and back home) The 5th wheel gets used about 40 nights a year most years, Mostly up to Disney World as we take our grandsons up often as we all have annual tickets to the parks.
I like to stop at the first bank I find after crossing the border, north or south bound. At their ATM I will take out $400cnd and this will last me till the return trip. Then on the return trip, the last day or so I will use any remaining cash to buy fuel, etc. our last trip in 2011, I ended up with just over $40cnd that I will use on the next trip.
The most important reason I like cash are for those times when a place is not taking plastic for fuel or food. I also like cash if I stop at bar for a beer ( if a person enjoys great beer, Canada is the place to be) or if I see kids running a lemonade stand, I will stop and spend some cash with them. A couple of times, at some of the provincial or Terrotorial campgrounds, I have dropped a personal check in the "pipe" if the place is on the honor system..eventually my checks clear my US bank. I make the checks out for enough to cover the foreign fee the agency will have to pay when they deposit my check.
The foreign transaction fee is so small, I just consider it to be part of the trip costs. I just enjoy the feeling of having enough emergency cash on hand, probably an age thing as I am now 71 and have been driving the Alaska highway for the last 51 years. Most Canadian businesses will accept US dollars but the exchange rate will be the worst you will find on the trip.
A couple of trips back, in the beautiful town of Niagra on the Lake, I paid for lunch with a $20 usd and the cashier quickly refi gutted my bill to US and since she had two cash registers, she then gave me my change in US currency. But you don't see that often other than on the border.
I read the other day that there are more US dollars circulating outside the US than inside the US.