I carry a Good Sam Roadside Assistance card. I've had to use it twice and the service was prompt. And its a lot lighter than carrying a 5 ton bottle jack around. :)
The only problem is that the OP is in Alaska. I'm not sure where in Alaska, but if it is an "inherited" fiver, it may well be off the beaten path, parked for a long time. Would roadside assistance even apply to that scenario?
And even if it is directly on the road system of Alaska, roadside assistance could well be several HUNDRED miles away. You are better off being prepared in Alaska...
My two oldest are 29 yrs (Arab gelding) and 37 yrs (MorganxQH gelding). The Arab has Cushings, also. He has been on Pergolide and now Prascend for years. Costs a bunch, but I've owned him since he and I were "little kids" so he deserves it.
I have researched and experimented with feeds a lot over the last 5 years or so. Purina and Nutrena have a large advertising budget, but it doesn't mean they are making the best product. Yes, Equine Sr. DOES work for a lot of old horses, but it is not necessarily the best out there. Nor is the Kent company line (Blue Seal).
I've found the smaller "specialty" companies do a better job at quality control, and provide a more nutritious product. Buckeye, Progressive, Triple Crown, etc.
Currently, I am feeding Triple Crown Timothy Balancer Cubes (which are made by Ontario Denghe - they might be the company Rockhillmanor was using) and Triple Crown Senior. The balancer cubes are smaller and softer than traditional cubes, and have an added vitamin/mineral profile designed by the Cushing's expert Dr. Eleanor Kellon.
I feed 50-75% LESS of the Triple Crown Sr. than I did of other products, because it is so nutrient dense. It is also extremely palatable - I was having trouble getting my guys to "clean their plates" with the other feeds, but with Triple Crown, they devour every spec. I have also not had a single episode of diarrhea since starting the Triple Crown feeds, when it was a daily occurrence previously.
My old guys literally have no molars left, so everything has to be soaked to be consumed. They do have 24/7 hay (in winter) and pasture in summer. They don't digest much of either, though - most of it just gets quidded and spit out. They also get a joint supplement, probiotics and Omega 3 supplement.
They are both still ridden lightly, they are in that good of shape!
I'm no help. Our 120# Anatolian LGD could never be a camping dog. She HATES riding in vehicles.... In fact, her annual vet apt is tomorrow, and I am seriously considering putting her in the 36' gooseneck horsetrailer and transporting her that way vs. wrestling her into a crate in the bed of the truck....
There are smaller bells available, too. They are used on bird hunting dogs - they have a loop to slip on the collar, or a snap. Even though they are small, they are loud.
But, I know I would not have the courage to take my dogs into a wilderness area unleashed. It is for their safety and yours, like others said. There are all kinds of leashes and harnesses available that are designed to be "hands-free" for people who run with their dogs. They are worth looking in to.
One thing you will find in Oklahoma and Kansas, is that when the weather gets rough, the local TV stations interrupt regular broadcasting, and just do weather until the threat passes. Even if that means all night. No commercials, JUST weather - alternating between broadcasts from the studio and airborne/ground spotters. It is amazing. They will zoom in on the storms, right down to the street intersections, and show you exactly which direction it is going. As long as you know where you are in reference to their map, you should be able to evaluate how much danger you are in.
NOAA weather radios are good, but they just repeat info plugged into them. It is VERY hard to discern where the storms are just by using a weather radio if you are unfamiliar with the area/counties. Also, unless you have your weather radio set for the alerts in the counties surrounding you, it will be going off for every warning within it's signal range, even if that warning is 100+ miles away. I would suggest you rely more on the local TV channels.
The technology is present now to allow forecasters to "know" when the storms will be bad. The forecasters then share this info, and make sure the public knows the area is at an increased risk for dangerous tornados. If you here them discussing how tomorrow evening might be bad, take note, they aren't kidding....
Hopefully, your campground owner will be a local native, and he/she will know what you need to do. Ask when you check in - sometimes there are local public shelters, though often you cannot take pets. The campground *may* have a tornado shelter on the property, but don't bank on it. The construction requirements and associated insurance costs make shelters pretty impossible for the private owner. At least that was our experience up until our family sold our campground in 2007.
We don't wear our shoes into the camper.
They all get taken off and put in a plastic bin by the steps. Instead of a lid, we just slide the bin back far enough under the camper that no rain can get in. When it comes time to move, the entire bin gets put in the pass-thru or stashed inside the camper. It is always full of multiple pairs of sneakers, crocs, flip-flops and mud boots for the kids. It contains all the dirt an mud so none of it gets tracked on the inside of the camper...
You can absolutely camp in a pop-up on the way to Alaska and IN Alaska. No worries about bears if you keep a clean camp.
There are very few campgrounds in Alaska that prohibit tents or soft-sided campers. I never found one when we lived there, and we camped all over the state.
The bears in Alaska generally have enough to eat in nature and do not bother campers. There are many, many people who LIVE in Alaska and camp in tents and soft-sided campers without a problem. I know multiple families that LIVE in a tent ALL SUMMER LONG until the campground closes, in salmon territory. Never an issue.
While I am sure, over the years and thousand upon thousands of campers, someone's camper or tent has been invaded by bears in Alaska, it certainly has not ever resulted in death or injury, at least not that has been reported by the media. Now, if you surprise a momma bear while you are jogging, hiking or biking, things may not turn out so well. Or if you crowd a bear to get a photo...
Check out a road map of Alaska, and you'll find that it would be darn near impossible to "get lost". There are VERY few roads in Alaska, and 99% of them originate off of the few major state highways that are in the state.
Even in Canada, the road "north" is clearly marked, and getting lost is not a major factor.
As far as breaking down along the way, there will always be someone willing to help out. You will have areas with no cell phone service, but the roads are well traveled in the summer, so you won't be sitting long before someone pulls over.
I shared a campground with a caravan once. Beluga Lookout, in Kenai. They were passing thru during the height of the dip netting season, yet the caravan leader did not tell them a single thing about what was going on in the area, or how to get to the beach to view it. I was baffled. How can an Alaskan tour guide not know this info, or provide it to the tour members??? Those members learned more about Alaska, and the sights to see, in the 2 hours talking to us than they had learned in the entire trip north. They were pretty disappointed they had been missing out on so much....
So go on your own, and don't be afraid to talk to "the locals" when you get to Alaska. I'm sure any of them would be happy to give you info on what to see. And you won't have to pay them thousands of dollars!
We used glass jars, but lots and lots of people used metal cans. We chose glass because we had tons of them from canning vegetables. You do have to use a pressure cooker - I can't remember the specifics, but I think you must have the pressure to ensure the salmon cannot spoil. I think it was 15 lbs of pressure for 30 minutes or so? I'd have to dig out the manual. We would put fish, skin and bones in the jar up to about 1" from the lid. Topped with about a tsp of canning salt, and maybe a bit of hot sauce. That's it. I actually ruined about 3 dozen jars worth before I got it right - I took those to the Animal Shelter where they were happy to have them to feed to the dogs! We never had any jars break during transport because we store them in the original divided boxes they were purchased in. We're still eating thru the salmon now - and it's been almost 3 years since we last fished for any...
**Forgot to add: we used the pressure cooker on a propane turkey fryer base when we were camping. But if you read the manual for the pressure cooker, it says you cannot safely use one, that it won't maintain consistent heat. We never had a problem maintaining the correct pressure for the correct time.
We canned some of ours because it will last longer. Freezing is great, but freezer burn always seems to happen at some point. And, we do like salmon soups, dips and burgers made with canned vs. fresh.
We also like to can because we know how it was handled and what went in the can. Fish and salt. Nothing else. Well, except some hot sauce in a few cans... I do notice a difference in taste in my home canned vs. commercially canned Alaskan salmon. I can't call it "fresher", but it is just better.
We've canned pinks, reds and silvers. How much is our fine? ;)
There are LOTS of families in Alaska that camp in tents. Tents are the most economical form of camping, and there are tons of families in Alaska that need a cheap form of camping. Wherever there are salmon, or clams, you will see tents. Sometimes "tent villages" there are so many. Yes, there are bears, but the bears generally have enough to eat from the wild that they don't bother people as much as in other parts of the country. It does happen, but the ratio of bears: campers: attacks is EXTREMELY low. However, as another poster pointed out, I am not sure you want to lug tenting gear on the ferry... You could wait and buy it when you arrive in Anchorage... Tons of stores (and even Craigslist - or military rental if you have access).
I wouldn't let the length of the drive dissuade you from making the trip. I've made the drive with kids in diapers, and me as the only adult in the vehicle. It's not a bad drive at all. The scenery kept the kids busy, and you have TONS of opportunities for them to get out and stretch their legs along the way. As long as you drive slow, you shouldn't damage you rig. There are a few bad sections of road, but once you are past them, the rest of the roads are very similar to the lower 48.
We've camped all over the state with our kids, from birth to age 10. If you want ideas of "kid activities" send me a PM. There are LOTS of things to do with the kids that are educational as well as entertaining.
We've transported frozen vacuum sealed filets in a 10cf freezer several times. We only plugged it in every-other-night until we got far enough south that temps were in the 90's. Then we plugged it in every night. Wasn't a big hassle - we stored the 100' power cord right next to it in the bed of the truck, so we just grabbed it and plugged it in. The only hassle is unloading it. It's too heavy to move when full, and the filets freeze together like a puzzle. So once you unpack it to move it, you can never get them to fit back in just right. Keep it in mind if you pack it to the top like we did!
We've also canned while camping. It's not allowed in every campground, so you'll need to check the rules. Beluga Lookout in Kenai is the only place that welcomes canning that we've been to - in fact, they have a wonderful "hut" with picnic tables that gets full of canners during dipnet season.
I've shipped fish down to family members. It's pretty easy to find the fish shipping boxes at just about any store in Alaska, or at FedEx/UPS locations. It did cost a fortune, but I am sure I saved some money by doing it all myself. DH was up in September 2012, and he brought a box of Alaska "stuff" home with him on the plane. That was by far, the easiest and cheapest shipment we've ever done. He even brought home a few Moose's Tooth Pizzas!
...Plan a day at the National Zoo. If you take the metro to the zoo, on the way there get off the stop BEFORE the zoo and walk the few blocks to the zoo. This will be a nice flat walk. When you leave the zoo, walk down the hill to the zoo metro stop. If you get off the zoo stop when you arrive you will have to walk UP hill to the zoo and the kids may not like the hike. :) Just check out your metro map and you will see the different trains to take.
Good advice on the zoo. That method is even how my kids' public school does it. School bus drops kids off at the top and picks them up at the bottom... Except this year, they couldn't pick them up at the bottom, and we had to walk back up the hill to board the bus. At the end of the day, with exhausted kids. NOT FUN!
I decided to make my own custom ladder using a 6ft step ladder. Removed the non step side of the ladder. Then since step ladders are wide at the bottom and narrow at the top I reworked that to make the ladder the same width top to bottom.
Then I added screw in eye bolts into the bunk, drilled out holes in the top step of the ladder to match the eye bolts. Basically I can slip the ladder over the eye bolts and use a pair of carbiners clipped into the eye bolts to prevent the ladder from moving. Solid enough for an adult but lightweight...
That is an awesome idea! I might have to make a ladder like that for our toyhauler - sounds WAY better than the typical RV ladders (2 of them) it came with.
We built a ladder for our Cruiser. Since it was to be used for our kids, we built it lighter and "flatter" than we would have for adults. We used 1/2" x 2" pine boards, on their side so the whole ladder was only 1" thick. It took up a lot less space that way, was lightweight and easy to move/store. And there was a lot less sticking out to stub a toe on at night! DH sanded/routed all the edges, and we let the kids pick out the color to paint the ladder and turned them loose to paint and decorate it. Even though we built it lightweight, I used it several times to reach the stuff on the top bunk, and it held my weight just fine. Not gonna tell you what that is, though. But I assure you it is enough to test the limits of the ladder.
We still have the ladder, even though we sold the Cruiser years ago. We'll probably keep it forever, just as a memento of when they were young.
I am not sure you will have much luck finding any financial institution that will finance a 1999 RV for a competitive rate/term. Generally, the older a vehicle or RV is, the higher the rate and shorter the term. Your payment and rate just might be lower if you looked at a new(er) vehicle, even if that means you have to finance more than $25K.
You may also have better luck looking for an UNSECURED or SIGNATURE loan for $25K (to purchase the 1999 RV). The criteria are pretty strict for qualifying for one, and the rate will not be the greatest, but...
...Prince William Forest Park the weekend of April 13 as our maiden voyage.
If you are coming all the way to Dumfries, you should take 301 across the Harry Nice Bridge and head over to General Smallwood State Park in Marbury, MD instead. It is basically straight across the Potomac from Prince William Forest, but it is WONDEFUL! We live 7 miles from it, and it is truly a hidden gem - W/E with dumpstation. Bathhouses. HUGE secluded sites. You do have to back in, but you have TONS of room to maneuver, the site pads are very, very wide, as is the access to them from the road.
You'll have divided 4-lane or WIDE 2-lane roads all the way there if you want to go that route. Or, you can take any number of narrow, winding, up and down, twist and turn, blind curve 2-lane roads to get there. That's how we have to go...
The Harry Nice bridge is very tall, steep and appears narrow. It can be intimidating to some - but it is a major route for semi's (and currently, returning snow-birds) so it *can* be conquered by your rig!
https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/539320_3851942893507_141570631_n.jpg height=400 width=600
This is a "wider" section of far southern Chicamuxen Rd - for several miles, the TH hangs over the yellow line and onto the shoulder (no white line...)
We have had a B&W ball since 1999 and a Companion since 2008. We've used the Companion in a 2004 Dodge, 2009 GMC, and a 2010 Dodge.
I believe the Companion is rated to 18K, which we are pushing with our Voltage. Since we do not have any toys, nor do we ever travel with full tanks, we're pretty comfortable we won't max it out. We have weighed the truck + camper and know what our weights are.
The 2004 Dodge had a long bed, but the 2009 GMC is a short bed, and the 2010 Dodge is a Mega-Cab with an even shorter bed. We have never needed a slider, and we have executed sharp 90* turns (one driver side, one passenger side) to get into our driveway.
We will ALWAYS have a B&W because it is the easiest system to switch between gooseneck hauling and fifth wheel hauling. We have trailers of both variety, so we do need to switch often. With the B&W, either myself or my husband can single-handedly install or take out the Companion. It doesn't require much musclepower.
Chemically neutering brings to mind images of when we had to chemically slough the udder on a cow who had chronic mastitis (she was actually injected with a formaldehyde substance). It wasn't pretty AT ALL, it was downright gross, smelly, and *really* uncomfortable for my poor cow.
What happens to the testes in a chemical neuter? Do they slough, also???
You could always use Tree Savers to protect the trees if you put up the line. Tree Savers are used to make high-lines or picket lines to tie horses to when camping. They are accepted and allowed by the Forest Service or whatever agency governs how trees are to be protected. That is why they were invented...