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 > Your search for posts made by 'joe b.' found 397 matches.

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  Subject Author Date Posted Forum
RE: Florida Life with a TC?

It really depends on where you live in Florida. In this area, most/all of the gated communities have some very restrictive covenants. Some of the non gated areas as well, so a buyer or renter needs to ask first. Where we live in Stuart, about the only prohibition is not parking RVs on the street. On private property, parking is not a problem, but using them for full time living quarters can be an issue if the area is zoned as single family. We had our concrete parking area expanded, when we purchased our home about 12 years back, to have room to park, next to the garage. However now we are keeping two RVs and a boat plus 3 vehicles so we are getting a bit crowded. From time to time, with most of our neighbors being elderly, their kids from out of state will park in their driveways and camp for weeks or a month or so. No one has ever complained that I am aware of since everyone knows the situation is temporary. But there are areas here where the fancy people live, that don't allow pickups to be parked in your own driveway. Pickups have to be parked inside a garage, out of sight or stored off property, same with trailer boats. So get a good Realtor familiar with the area and the restrictions of each area. The one we used steered us away from some attractive areas, but ones with too restrictive covenants for us. One just down the street a few blocks won't allow motorcycles to be parked in open view either. Us scooter trash are as bad as us trailer trash/RV trash type people for offending the retinas of the high class folks. LOL
joe b. 09/29/14 08:22am Truck Campers
RE: TC Magazine article

Nice interview and photos. Thanks for the link.
joe b. 09/27/14 08:09pm Truck Campers
RE: First Alaska trip in Class A --any advice appreciated--

Some people like caravans and some don't. However most that don't like them, have never been on one. Caravans are much like cruise ships, where you look at the itinerary and see if it is going where yo want to go. My wife loves cruise ships but the thought of one, is just about more than I can take. LOL So it just depends on the people involved. If you can afford it and like for someone else to make the arrangements for campsites, entertainment, fuel stops, and the comradeness of a group, then a caravan may fit your needs just fine. Over the years of travel to Alaska, I have talked to many people on caravans and it is rare to find one not happy with their choice. The number one reason given to me by many of them is they are very social people and enjoy being with others, the evening pot lucks, card games, setting around the campfire lying to others, etc. The caravans make their campsite reservations long in advance. I would suspect that most have their sites reserved for next summer, already done. So by stopping earlier in the afternoon, you are only competing with other non-caravan travelers. I like to call ahead and drive till about 5 PM most days. There is nothing very difficult about driving to Alaska, just a longer series of days than most RVers are used to doing, sequentially. My wife and two preteen age daughters drove our Class C from Alaska to Colorado one summer, when I met up with them. Couldn't get away from work to go with them. Or was I not invited? Not sure. LOL They had a great time, about wore the numbers off their credit cards in the process. This was, what I refer to as the three princesses tour. My wife, if she has engine trouble, can raise the hood and stare at the engine compartment as well as most men, prior to calling for help or asking someone passing by to send help. Do get a copy of the Milepost and Church's Alaskan Camping books at any book store or online, such as at Amazon. I do wish the Churches would change the name of their book to Alaska Camping, not Alaskan Camping. Alaskans are people that live in the in the state. I don't think a person would ever say Texan Camping or whatever. Alaska does not need to end in an N unless you're talking about a person or other living thing. There is a wealth of information on this forum, just try to determine if the person giving the advice is qualified to have that opinion. First try to determine if the opinion giver has actually driven to Alaska or not, and how many years ago did it occur. Now that the OP has changed their location to California from Alaska, some of the questions are much clearer now. Long term reservations are normally not needed except for places like the campgrounds at Denali NP, etc. Most of the time, a call a day or so out will reserve a place for you at the campground of your choice, if they accept reservations. If you don't care where you end up at night, then just wing it. Never heard of anyone that has had to drive all night because they couldn't find some place to pull over to sleep. I am not a fan of pavement parking at night, so I tend to call a day or so ahead. What to do is really up to the individuals interests. Decide why you want to go and that will steer you to when and where to be to accomplish your goals. Some RVers mainly go to fish, some to take photographs, some to hike, boat/Kayak/canoe, etc. Others like the more tourists type activities, boat tours, flight seeing, train trips, touring historical sites, and so forth. There is not a wrong way to do the trip as long as it fits your needs.
joe b. 09/27/14 12:04pm RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: Personal Safety for Truck Campers ~ Part I & 2

It has been my experience, working law enforcement in western Colorado, at the county level, that as a general thought, boondockers tend to be more observant of their surroundings. Not always but most boondockers have been at RVing for some time, tend not to have spent their lives as city slickers, etc. So it was no surprise, when I was working, that most of the calls for RV related issues, were from the campgrounds, private and government, not from boondockers. I can only remember one boondocker call, that I had to respond to, was for a guy and his wife that had locked their TC and truck, gone for a hike and the guy lost the keys to their rig. Not something you want to do with your spouse is with you. She wanted to break out a truck side window to get to their spare set of keys, but he didn't want to do that so they hiked about 4 or 5 miles to a hill top, where they had some cell service to call 911. Dispatch sent me out and in a couple of minutes I had used my slim jim to open their truck door. The wife got made at me, for requiring them to show me proof of ownership, of the rig before I took off. But on the other hand, we must have received 20 calls from organized campgrounds, private and governmental ones. The magic word involved is, opportunity. Most thefts from RVs are not the work of professional perps. Most were not by the work or other RVers. If a person wants to steal something to resale quickly, where would they go, to drive on some remote trail/road, to see if anyone is camping and not at their rig? Or would they drive near a campground, park and walk in to see what is available to steal. Some evenings, while on patrol, if everything was quiet and calm, I would cruise through the different campgrounds, and was always amazed at the items people had setting outside their rigs, in open site, not even appearing to be locked, towed or tow vehicles also not locked. So if you wish to be safe, go boondocking, if you want to have to be very careful and always vigilant of your surroundings, then go to a campground. LOL Good articles Bryan, many good thought provoking things to consider. I especially like your comments, about the ladders,many of us have mounted on the back of our rigs. I do have what I call my 5 mile rule,in that I won't boondock within 5 miles of any town or village, whether in the Lower 48 or in Canada or Alaska. Too many times the roads near by to a town/village, are used by the teenagers and others that like to use them as turn arounds, as they cruise the streets at night. The last thing any of us want to have to deal with is a group of teenagers, possibly impaired ones, that have decided to have a little fun with the RV fellow. Had this happen one night when I was tired and stopped too close to town. Was just south of Anchorage, by Potter's Marsh and had pulled off on a site where there had previously been a state weigh station. About midnight a couple of cars full of drunk kids decided to party at that same location. Started bang on the sides of our RV, etc. I wish I had a video of the looks on their faces when I stepped out of the RV, with my police badge on a chain around my neck and my off duty weapon on my belt with a star on it as well. Never saw a group of people sober up so quickly in my life. LOL A couple of the kids were not drinking so I appointed them to be the designated drivers and informed them if they were still there in a minute after our conversation, I would be calling the municipal cops to come take give them a ride to jail. Not mean bad kids, just teenagers being obnoxious, that were interrupting my sleep. LOL
joe b. 09/27/14 08:20am Truck Campers
RE: Ferry trips and propane requirements

As tonymull said, just get one of the good coolers, put some dry ice or even regular ice in it. We have made a couple of ferry trips, with no problems keeping a small amount of food. Since we knew the date we were boarding the ferry, we tried to get way down on the amount of food that needed to be kept frozen or refrigerated. The last trip we got on in Prince Rupert, headed to Skagway, straight through. Before boarding the ferry, they park the vehicles according to type, size, etc. So we were with mostly other RVs. About a dozen of us decided to have a tailgate party, and shared any fresh foods of other stuff folks didn't want to mess with keeping cool. A great lunch was had by all. Any of the ports where you are headed for will have a good place to restock, Haines has a nice supermarket, as do all the stops along the way. There are people living in those towns all year so they have to eat as well. LOL I personally like to wait for the large resupply to be in Whitehorse. Most anything a person wants is available there. You have to clear US Customs when you board an Alaska ferry, from a Canadian port, so they are looking for the same types of prohibited items as if you were driving through on the Alaska Hwy. The ferry operates on Alaska time zone, even though it was loading in BC, which is an hour different. If you are loading at a US port, then no different than driving between states or intrastate travel. But keep in mind that if you board at Bellingham, for example, you will still have to clear Canadian Customs, not far after leaving Haines or Skagway, headed for mainland Alaska.
joe b. 09/25/14 01:45pm RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: Rear ladder that doesn't go to the top

Like Mike said, we have all known folks who's elevator doesn't go all the way to the top either. When I want to get on my TC roof while on the road, I tend to get on the cab over bed and go out the roof hatch. Much safer IMHO than the ladder. On one of our TCs I mounted a long narrow cargo box beside the forward hatch so that I could stand up in bed and retrieve or replace items in the cargo box. I use my ladder so seldom that I had to go outside and check mine and I also have a grab bar on the roof above the awning. The post that Brian did on RV safety, has some good comments about ladders, on RVs and how they make breaking and entering much easier. All someone has to do is go up your ladder, walk to the front hatch, smash it with their foot and they have easy access to the inside of your rig. As he said, lock the ladder if possible.
joe b. 09/22/14 10:27am Truck Campers
RE: What to plan for if you're thinking the Al-Can Hwy in a TC?

Doug, many/most people refer to themselves as Americans, because it is part of our country name. The United States of America. Just like my friends from Mexico refer to themselves as Mexicans due to using an abbreviated version of their country name, Estados Unidos Mexicanos, or States United of Mexico or in English order of words, it is the United States of Mexico. Canada is a very old name, but it has officially been known by other names as well. John A Macdonald, later the first Prime Minister, wanted to name it the Kingdom of Canada and referred to it as such, in some of his writings. Then it was called, later, the Dominion of Canada, by some, and a number of other names, as the different provinces jointed together in a confederation of sorts. So we and our northern and southern neighbors refer to ourselves by a shorter name in most cases. Our name is not directly related to being in North America, which you are correct about. But it is like the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, but I have have never hear anyone from that state use the entire official name. They just say they are from Rhode Island. The Smallest state with the longest name. Now when I am in Mexico with friends in Cuernavaca, they refer to where I am from as Estados Unidos or Oltra Lada (the other side) or just plain Gringo. LOL I did have a T shirt that said, when translated into English, I am not a gringo, I am a German. LOL they are much better liked by many in Mexico. So there are many people that can call themselves North Americans, (Norte Americanos) not all can can use the shorter term of American for their country. May be some, I don't know what all the official names of all the countries of North America are in that country. So depending on which side of the Rio Bravo del Norte, (the river we call the Rio Grande)I am on, is the deciding factor when someone asks me where I am from. So with the eleven (11) (counting Florida as one) Canadian Provinces and three Territories, most refer to themselves as Canadian, but not all the First Nation people do, from my personal experience. Just like in the US, some will first tell you they are Cherokee or some other tribe, then Americans. Same in Mexico, I once had a tour guide in the Yucatan area, when I spoke to him in Spanish, told me, he spoke English or Mayan, and asked which I preferred. Said he could speak Spanish but it left a bad taste in his mouth. LOL We all have our issues, it seems.
joe b. 09/22/14 10:10am RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: What to plan for if you're thinking the Al-Can Hwy in a TC?

There really is no way to drive to interior Alaska, without taking the Alaska Hwy, part of the way. The Cassiar runs from Kitwanga Junction in central BC to Junction 37, 13 miles out of Watson Lake, YT. A driver can take the Alaska Hwy from Dawson Creek to Delta Junction but which ever road you take north or south, from Alaska, to Junction 37 you will be on the Alaska Hwy, even if you turn south on the Cassiar Hwy, (Hwy 37) which actually runs past Kitwanga to Kitimat BC. Or if you turn south at Haines Junction and drive to Haines Alaksa to catch the ferry, you will still be on the Alaska Hwy from HJ to Delta Junction.
joe b. 09/21/14 08:17pm RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: How do I test fuel efficiency of generator?

Some owner's manual will list the fuel consumption at different loads. My Onan manual for my 2.5KW propane shows half load, quarter load, etc. for planning I use the half load figure of 1.5 lbs of propane per hour. Since propane weighs about 4.5 lbs per gallon, I expect to get about 3 hours per gallon, running my AC. Without the AC, it will be closer to the quarter load figure. The figures for your generator should be available in your manual or on line at the Generac site. Otherwise, as mentioned above, weigh your tank before and after running for an hour.
joe b. 09/21/14 04:04pm Tech Issues
RE: Roll Call Alaska 2015

For those that have US issued road side assistance plans, make sure you read and understand them before you go. The general rule is, whoever calls the tow truck service is the one that pays for it. So the person needing the assistance needs to call their provider, such as Good Sam if you have their policy. As mentioned above there are many miles of little or no cell phone service. You flag someone down and ask them to notify the Canadian police at the next town that you need a tow truck. Having the police call for the tow service is one of the few exceptions the road side policies will cover, for them not being called. I managed to get my truck camper stuck on a soft shoulder of the highway in BC, outside of a cell area for my phone. (AT&T roaming on Roger's Communication, their roaming partner in Canada and visa versa in the US) So probably a dozen or more Canadians stopped to see if they could help. One man said he would stop at the RCMP office in the next town about 50 miles up the road. He did, the RCMP called for a tow truck, the RCMP office had their patrol officer stop by to check on us. He stayed with us for awhile, called the tow company to get an ETA on them and told us he would check back in a hour or so to see if the problem was solved. The truck arrived, extracated us, we paid him by credit card, got a receipt, made sure it stated they were called out by the RCMP. When I got back home to Florida, I called GS Road Service and they sent me the form to fill out. I sent everything back to them and in a reasonable time I received full reimbursement from Good Sam. If I had called the tow truck myself, somehow, I would not have been reimbursed for the tow. They have to do it this way, to protect themselves from fraudulent tow bills, being submitted. Hard to believe, I know, to think that this gathering, us RVers, of angels, would do anything wrong. LOL But going through the local police agency for the area, actually protects everyone involved in the road side service needed.
joe b. 09/18/14 11:21am RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: Why are TCs so much better than class C?

I suspect the dealer pricing is the reason they still have a new 2008 RV on their lot. Shouldn't be too long before it can be called a vintage or classic and maybe the price can go up. LOL
joe b. 09/17/14 08:41am Truck Campers
RE: What Garmin GPS Model?

Somewhat like DJ in that I probably have half a dozen or more GPS units around for the cars, truck and boat. I like the Garmin Nuvi series as well and just recently, last six months, bought a Nuvi 2557LMT, which as indicated has the lifetime maps feature. The 5 inch screen was one of the main selling features I wanted, as well as lane assist. None of them are completely up to date on the maps. However I have noticed that location seem important to how fast the map makers update their products. The last time I was in Boston to see my daughter, it even had the alley ways showing but get out into western Colorado and some of the secondary gravel roads are not shown. I suspect they are more concerned with, keeping the ones sold and used in the larger population areas updated first. I like that Garmins in that they all tend to work much the same. Very little learning curve needed when buying a newer model, except for one strange one I have on my boat. Decide what features you want on your GPS unit. I personally don't need Blue Tooth or the ability to look at photos on my GPS. But I do like to plug in a TOPO micro SD chip into the side slot so having that is important to me. Also the last time I did the map upgrade, I found it all wouldn't fit on the GPS on board memory so a micro SD chip had to be added, which for me meant I had to down load my Topo chip to a larger Micro SD chip so I would have memory space for the entire new map upload. Not a real problem but a bit of a pain to do.
joe b. 09/17/14 08:24am Technology Corner
RE: Why are TCs so much better than class C?

Someone above mentioned a Host Class C as on their want list. Here is a new one at a dealer, that is now 6 model years out of current. Up until a couple of months back, they also had a 280 model, but it must have finally sold. Not sure why any dealer would keep a unit this long and I have been watching it for at least the last 4 years on their lot. I would think that most dealers would have put a fire sale price on it, and sold it years ago. Just the floor plan interest, if they have such on it, would have to be some serious dollars after 6 years. http://battlefieldrv.com/details.asp?ID=131
joe b. 09/17/14 08:11am Truck Campers
RE: Wheel rims - why is this difficult?

While not a Class C, my 2011 Chevy one ton DRW pickup has what GMC refers to as 3 "unique" wheels on it. Took it in to the tire shop I have used for years to have the tires rotated. Was told about the 3 wheel situation and told the tires have to be taken off the rims/wheels and moved to a different wheel. He didn't recommend doing it as he said he would have to charge me $150 for the job and at 4 rotations a year, I would be spending about $600 a year. He told me to leave them alone, keep them balanced and use the $600 to buy a couple of new tires later if they wore out sooner. Thought this was strange so talked to the Chevy service manager where I bought the truck and he confirmed the 3 unique wheels on my truck. He said the change was made during the 2011 model year but the 2011 owners manual didn't show this, but the 2012 manual does. The inside rear wheels are the same, steel they be, the outer ones are the same, aluminum alloy and the front alloy ones have a different off set than the rears according to the service manager. Except for short distances, he advised me not to swap them around. The OEM spare tire also has a steel wheel, full sized tire, and can be used front or rear but not permanently recommended by the service manager. I too question whether this change was really necessary or not. But it is there on my pickup but don't know if the Chevy RV chassis uses the same or not.
joe b. 09/17/14 05:03am Class C Motorhomes
RE: Older Class C with 350 Chevy Engine?

We had an early 80s model Mobil Traveler (MT) with a 350 Chevy engine in it. As I remember it was about 25 ft in length with bunk beds. We had two young daughters at the time so the house layout was great. However, even though it was and probably still is our favorite RV we have ever owned, it was a maintenance nightmare. The seller, shall we say was less than honest. He was an Alaskan snowbird that wintered in Arizona and summered in Fairbanks. He would fly outside to Arizona, buy a used RV, live in it for the winter and drive it back to Fairbanks the next summer. Told me he had done this for a number of years. When I asked him if it used any oil on the trip up, he told me, some like most RVs do. Yeah, the first time I checked oil consumption it was a quart per 100 miles. Rather than buy oil by the 5 gallon buckets I had it checked out and found 3 of the 8 cylinders had cracks in the heads. So the first head change occurred in the fist few months of ownership. The engine in our rig did not have good cooling for either the engine or the accessories mounted on the engine. We had to replace the alternator three times, the power steering pump, etc. but the big cost item was having to replace the heads (3) three different times. The rig had just over 20K miles on it when we purchased and finally got it to over 100K when we traded it in. Either the front clip had to be removed or the engine dropped down out of the frame to be able to change out the heads. The labor cost was very high but it wasn't a job I wanted to take on. We had to replace the Quadrajet carburetor once at a cost of over $650, back then. The heads were cracking between the valves and we were lucky a chunk of head metal didn't drop down in the piston hole while the engine was running. also had to have the transmission rebuilt twice, had to replace the furnace, the AC roof unit and the fridge. The fridge was obviously put in place prior to the roof being added so the dealer had to remove the passenger seat and front door to get the ole one out and new one in. Plus the floor and the dog house got too hot to even have your feet on the floor when driving in warmer weather. I had to build an elevated insulated platform on the passenger side for my wife to put her feet. Never did solve the heat transfer problem. The rig we had used a 4KW Generac and the low hours on it when we purchased it was a factor we liked. However after a few years of dealing with that generator, I could see why it was low hours as I wasn't able to keep it running any better than the first owner. LOL It was still under 200 hours when the odometer on the RV rolled over the 100K figure. Basically if there was a part on that MT that moved, I had to replace it, sometimes once and sometimes multiple times during the 80K miles we put on it. Take a look at how you plan to use any older RV. If a 100 mile trip to the lake or favorite campground a dozen times in a summer is about it, then older ones are often a good buy. But if you plan to put lots of miles and nights on/in the RV, a newrer one, even if high mileage may be a better buy in the long run. The memories we have of the old MT are great, as we made 6 round trips to/from Alaska to the lower 48 with it and I knew where some of the best and worst Chevy repair shops in the country, were located. LOL If the owner is a good handyman or woman, then the older ones can be a good hobby as well. But if you have to hire most of the repair work done at a shop, probably not a good buy for most people. My wife told me one time she thought we had probably spent $4,000 or more a year, for maintenance, on the MT the years we owned it and I suspect her figure, of costs, is low, but the family enjoyed the rig and the trips. The odd size of wheel is also a problem and was becomming such by the time we got rid of the MT. Just a few shops stock a tire to fit a 16.5 in wheel, and the ones they still make are about double in cost and often have to be special ordered. So if the old rig still has the 16.5 inch wheels on it, be ready to spend about $2,000 to replace then with an appropriate sized 16 inch tire and wheel.
joe b. 09/14/14 11:53am Class C Motorhomes
RE: Taking Apart Roadmaster Falcon 2 Tow Bar

First I would try holding the round bar with a strap wrench. If it slips when trying to remove the nut, then wrap the round bar with some tape, like Gorilla tape with enough thicknesses to keep the pipe wrench teeth from going through the tape to damage the round bar. You may find that once you can hold the round bar from turning, you may still need to use an impact tool, either a manual one hit with a hammer or a pneumatic or electric one. As a last resort, I keep a nut spliter tool, in my tool chest. You do have to replace the nut with a new one, but the old one, will come off, usually without damaging the threads on the bolt.
joe b. 09/14/14 09:10am Class A Motorhomes
RE: Advice with propane system

OP, I am not seeing anything to make me think the right tank in your photo is a horizontal tank. The left one is but the right one appears to just be a standard (old POV valve) vertical tank laid on it's side. If that is true then the left tank is delivering propane vapor to the regulator,as it should, but the vertical tank laid on it's side is delivering liquid propane to the regulator, not a safe situation at all, IMHO. Horizontal and vertical tanks have the vapor pick up tube, inside the tank, located so it is always in the vapor, not the liquid propane. Some BBQ grills have a built in regulator and can safely operate off of tank pressure. I have seen then that have to have only low pressure propane fed to them as they don't have a built in regulator. Low pressure propane is normally about 1/2 PSI at the appliance. Tank pressure is very dependent on temperature, etc. and can go as high as 200 PSI. For one of my standby generators here at the house, I run 10 PSI to it's demand regulator as it is a 13KW unit and 1/2 PSI is not enough propane supply. I would highly recommend finding someone, that is knowledgeable about the use of propane and have them go over your system before you start adding hoses to it for a grill.
joe b. 09/09/14 08:14am Truck Campers
RE: 10 years on the Truck Camper Forum

I think you have to send the Mayor of Flat Rock Alabama a little re-election donation to get added to the list. I need to get that sent in also, I guess. Remember, we have the best government in this country that money can buy. LOL
joe b. 09/08/14 01:43pm Truck Campers
RE: Fl to Alaska planning

Give some thoughts to what you and your passengers, if any, want to do and see. This will in some ways determine when and where you need to be in Alaska to accomplish your goals. If your main interest is to photograph wildlife, especially new borns, then plan to be there in early summer, at some of the known good locations, such as the Chena Hot Springs road, the Alaska hwy area south of Watson Lake are just two of the many places i think of for this activity. If you are planning to fish for salmon, then you have to be where the runs are in progress. Check something like the www.alaskaoutdoorjournal.com to see when the historic fish runs have occurred. They don't tend to vary too much from year to year. Probably the majority of travelers go north on the Alaska hwy and then many of them return south on the Cassiar hwy. Some use the Alaska marine ferry system for part of one leg north or south. About the only way to see SE Alaska and coastal western Canada is by boat, ferry or cruise ship. From south Florida, i figure about 10 driving days to Fairbanks and the same returning. However, we seldom drive straight through but will stop here and there for a few days and make it a two or three week trip to and from. Most trips we don't stop much on the way up or back in the lower 48 but keep a list of the places we wish to return and visit on a different trip. Consider your age and health, as it can determine if one trip is all that is in your future or will there be multiple ones. It can be the trip of a lifetime for most, one that you can do over and over again. The far north country is so huge, there is no way to see it all in one lifetime, I have concluded. I tried for 25+ years to see it all and it just wasn't possible for me to do. Did my best to wear out 5 airplanes, a half dozen RVs and several boats but never saw over 3/4 of Alaska I would guess. Much of that was from the air at 3,000 to 10,000 feet. LOL A new traveler, needs to decide what they want to see and do. This is often influenced by where you live or have lived. I notice people from the Pacific Northwest aren't as impressed with the mountains and water as I am, having grown up is southern Oklahoma. Have several priorities in your plans. If you are mainly going for the scenic photography and you hit a rainy summer like this past one, 2014, then you may have to fall back to doing more fishing, indoor type stuff, hiking in the rain and figure you will return again to do the outdoor photography, when the sun is shinning more. Or check the weather and go to a different part of the state or territory where the weather is more to your liking. Be flexible, I guess, is what I am trying to say.
joe b. 09/08/14 05:42am RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: 3.4 Miles per Dollar

The miles per dollar idea is a good one, IMHO. Worrying about the cost of such a trip and planning for the cost of the trip, are two different things to me. While I don't feel I worry about the costs associated with a trip to Alaska, I enjoy the trip much more if I feel I have a good handle on my expenses, and are staying within the envelop I have set prior to the trip. I like to use a lot of "rules of thumb" calculations, probably going back to when I was an active pilot flying in rural Alaska, averaging between 3 and 5 flights a week for 17 years. So I consider distance in terms of hours, not miles, fuel used in terms of gallons per hour or pounds per hour, etc. If you ask me how far it is from Whitehorse YT to Northway Alaska, it is 3 hours, which you can roughly convert over to about 300+ and change, miles. Most of the planes I flew in Alaska, averaged about 100 knots per hours. I budget for our trips to Alaska, in the basic categories, as every one else, fuel, food, vehicle maintenance, entertainment, emergencies contingent, etc. I know from past trips north, I was using about 1,000 gallons of diesel with our Dodge and truck camper which got about 15 mpg. But since then I have switched trucks and the current one gets about 13 mpg. So now I have to figure about 1,200 gallons of fuel. Then rough guess, what the average cost of diesel is going to be, and I have an estimate on my fuel costs. My 2004 trip cost for fuel, were in the area of $3,000usd and now with the increase of fuel prices and less miles per gallon, I am looking at double the fuel cost. Some costs my wife and I have some control over, camping costs for one, boondocking or commercial campgrounds, entertainment, eating in or out as much, etc. So we try to keep our trip costs under $10,000 overall for the trip. About $7,000 more than staying home, when you remove food costs but we figure we spend about 10% more for food when traveling. So I am getting about 3.3 miles per dollar of fuel at $4 per gallon. What makes us feel good about our trips is traveling on cash, not on credit. We keep a bank travel account set up, that I transfer money into each of the prior 24 months before we head to Alaska so that, close to the total cost, is in that account. I then run on a debit card for the most part till I get to Canada, where I switch over to more cash and some credit card purchases. Our debit cards will go either way. I tell the fuel pump it is a credit card and it goes on through without a pin number. Then when we get to a good wifi system, I will use my electronic bill pay, to pay off any credit card charges we have incurred. It sure makes decisions easier to make for my wife and I, if we want to spend a certain amount of money or not, for something or some service. If we are considering somewhat expensive items, we will often chose to do one this trip, and save the other till the next trip. Since I am only 72 Y/O, I figure I have lots of time left, to do the others. LOL If I don't make it, I won't ever know anyways.
joe b. 09/07/14 06:22am RVing in Canada and Alaska
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