We've discussed the winterizing issue.... will have to figure out when/where/how to do it.
I'm beginning to think in view of the winterizing issue we would be better off to head straight south and pick up I-55 all the way to I-10. It's a little further but not much in the big scheme of things.
We can leave from TN and be in Jackson MS, or even further south, in an easy day's drive. If we get a mild day in TN, we can de-winterize the day before, and leave an electric space heater on overnight. Once we get to Jackson, we should be OK, will just have to keep an eye on the forecast. But it would be unusual to hit daytime temps much below freezing down on I-10.
We were planning to spend 4-5 days in NM, and then head on over to Tucson. Even if it's cooler than Phoenix, we will take that over the larger city issues of Phoenix.
We've camped with night-time temps in the 20's before with no problem. We just disconnect the sewer hose & city water, drain the hose, run off the fresh-water tank, and keep heat on in the camper, with cabinet doors open to allow heat to get to the plumbing. We've had no issues with the holding tanks freezing, if needed, we can add some anti-freeze, but I would be surprised if that's a problem.
DesertHawk, I was hoping you would chime in! Thanks so much for the info.
What I'm hearing is that we need to be flexible. We will just check the weather a couple of days at a time. We should have internet access with a Verizon mi-fi.
Another friend suggested keeping the trailer farther south and just using the truck for day trips. That seems like a good option. The truck is 4WD and SO is a good snow driver.
My significant other is retiring this fall and he plans to spend several weeks in Arizona during January-February. I will travel out with him and then fly back to work since I am not retired yet. I will have 3 weeks off for the trip.
We will be towing a 21' travel trailer with a GM pickup. This is not a new combo to us, it travels well.
We plan to leave from Tennessee mid-January.
Our tentative plan is that we will travel from Tennessee, taking I-40 to Flagstaff, then head south. An alternative route is I-30 & I-10 to Las Cruces, NM.
First question: are we going to be able to find places to stay along either one of these routes??? I know the weather is highly variable, but all we need is about 4 good days to make it to Flagstaff or Las Cruces.
Second question: If we have heat on in the trailer all evening and night, will the water lines be OK in temps down in the 20's, while traveling during the day? Can we run the propane furnace for some inside heat while driving?
Next: I would love to spend some time in New Mexico. I may never have a chance to get out there again. Are campgrounds open that time of year? We prefer city/state/federal campgrounds, but will use commercial parks if needed. We would like to go as far north as Santa Fe.
Another: Just how cold is it really in NM in the winter? We don't mind moderate cold, really. The main thing we want in the winter is SUNSHINE.
I've seen & bookmarked lots of great posts about things to do in NM & AZ. Just wondering how many of these places will be open in January in NM or northern Arizona.
In Arizona, we would like to go as far north as the Grand Canyon, then loop down through Flagstaff and Phoenix to Tucson, where we would sit in the sun for a while. :D
Again, the concern is winter temps and water supply, and a place to stay.
We have 2xTrojan T-105 batteries, so can run the furnace as needed. Generally we prefer electric service so we can use an electric space heater as needed and conserve propane, but we can go several days without electric, as long as there is a decent place to shower and conserve gray tank space.
All input and help appreciated!
The campgrounds within LBL are very nice. There are entire loops that are full hookups, you will need reservations to get one of those. One of my friends loves the Dogwood loop at Piney Campground in LBL, for their large 5th wheel with full hookups. Check out their website for details.
I stayed in my mini-van at an electric site on the water in Piney a while back. Very windy spot but I had good cell service, if that matters to you.
Balsam is the coolest and highest campground in the park at about a mile elevation. There is also a campground called Mile-high that is outside the park, I believe run by the Cherokee nation.
Otherwise you won't find much relief from the heat.
I agree with the above post that the North Carolina high country is also a good bet for cool.
although my information is a couple years old, i think this is a more of a rustic campground--my info says no water,electric,sewer or showers. why don't you stay at BLUE HERON campground which is in Big South Fork National Recreation area which is near STEARNS, KY. & only 1/2 hour or less from Whitley City? it has paved sites that are level, 30amp electric, water hook-ups, showers & a dump station. your Van will have no problems on road in but use Caution with a trailer,some places windy & steep but i get my 35' motorhome & car there easily. CG should be open in April but you should check. more information at RESERVE AMERICA web site.
BTW-- what motel in Whitley City has the bad reviews,there is a Holiday Inn Express there----is this the one your referring to??
It's not a HI Express any more. I think at one point it went to a Best Western. Every Best Western I've ever been in was a dump. Apparently this place has gone downhill from even that, since it's now some type of "Executive Inn." It has really bad reviews on tripadvisor---consistently bad.
A lot of former HI Express motels have opted out of the chain when HI started requiring them to do significant upgrades & modernization. Most of them have gone downhill.
Blue Heron is not far in miles but I'm concerned about navigating that road in the dark. My photo workshop will be going from sunrise to sunset, and I don't want to make the days any longer. Is it really only 30 minutes from Blue Heron to Whitley City? Given the road, it seems like it would take longer, just looking at the map.
According to the county website, the Sandy Hill cg has showers. No info about hookups. I'm going to call tomorrow and try to get more info.
Does anyone know anything about this campground? I found the county website info, but there are no pictures.
It apparently belongs to McCreary County, KY. At one point it belonged to the USFS. I called the phone number and the lady was helpful but didn't know much.
I'm mainly wondering about the quality of the showers and general level of repair.
I will be there either in a travel trailer or my van in late April. I'm signed up for a photo workshop in the Big South Fork area, based out of Whitley City, KY. This is the nearest campground of any type. The only hotel in Whitley City has awful reviews and I'm thinking this campground might be more pleasant, definitely cheaper.
Any info appreciated!
You were very close to my home, I live about 30 minutes straight south of Cumberland City. I can see the stacks from a ridge about 2 miles north of my house.
The eagle's nest at Ft. Donelson is back in that large pine tree behind the other trees in your photo. It is difficult to see in the pine tree, but it is there. At one point it was in a large oak tree closer to the road, but that nest blew down in a severe storm, and the eagles moved to the pine tree, farther from the road with more shelter and privacy. They successfully fledged 2 eaglets this year.
Does the fridge controller draw more when the compressor is on than off? I assume it draws more when sparking to try to ignite. Mine may have still been sparking when I took the reading - I had just turned propane and the fridge on.
No compressor on a propane fridge. You mean the propane burner?
Mine came from Barnes & Noble with a charger unit, Model BNRP5-850, and a USB cable. The charger is about 2 1/4" long and 1 1/4" wide. The USB cable plugs into it and it plugs into the wall. Hope this helps.
Yep, use the charger that came with it, and plug it into the 110 outlet on your inverter. No reason to do otherwise. I would not risk smoking the charger connection and damaging your Nook or battery, by using something that would let it pull too much current.
Yes, you are doing 2 conversions and losing some efficiency, but it's a trivial amount of power.
You can check the park web site for the status of Going to the Sun Road. In 2011 it was not open all the way across until July 10. In 2012 it was open June 15. So it varies a lot according to the snowpack. But even if it's not open all the way across you can access most of it from either side.
The park web site is very informative. Also go to Flickr.com and search for the park's photostream, which has some amazing images.
I believe the loop is closed to cars until 10 AM only on Wednesdays & Saturdays, and only from early May until late September, according to the park web site.
I really wish there would be some sort of shuttle system set up to get the traffic out of the loop. It would be so much nicer without traffic jams.
You might check over in North Carolina. That puts you over by Cataloochee & Balsam Mountain. Drive into Cataloochee to photograph (& hear) the elk in rut. Pretty awesome.
You can go on tripadvisor.com and put in a town name, & find reviews of most of the lodging around the area.