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 > Your search for posts made by 'BackOfThePack' found 26 matches.

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RE: 2024 Chevy HD DRW and SRW Fuel Economy Test

What really burns my arse is when I come over a hill with 115,000 lbs in tow to find a flipping Tesla putzing along at 80 kph in the slow lane on a busy 110 kph highway. What do you do? There's people doing 125 in the fast lane so getting over to the left is not going to work; Could slam on the brakes and burn three weeks wages off the brake linings and another days wages of diesel lugging the load back up the hill trying to get back to speed if you ever get a chance to get around the pesky savior of mother earth. I could just come flying up behind the cursed Tesla with the air horn blaring knowing full well it is capable of hitting 80 mph in about 1/2 of second. I could pass her on the right hand shoulder and hopefully teach her a lesson. I guess I should be more sympathetic ... after all she needs to make it from Edmonton to Calgary on one a single charge so she's only doing what she's got to do. What’s the lowest legal speed on that road? A “pennies-per-mile” defense ain’t gonna cut it morally. Could be someone ill or injured, or with a poorly functioning vehicle, but making best headway. Or one rounds the bend and there’s a school bus full of children and nuns over on its side. “Why” they’re traveling slower, yet legally isn’t any of my business. Only shows I’m a poor driver it bugs me. In USA, it’s illegal to block entry to passing lane. No inherent ROW. (That’s where I’m going). One backs off to get a pass over soonest (also law), so that lane is “clear”. It’s the only choice should worst situation occur. Literally why we built with two lanes nationwide. There is not any such thing as, “the fast lane”. Left lane tailgaters are equivalent of being without insurance. SHOULDN’T BE PRESENT. (They win the Darwin Award). Faster travel speed = zero ROW. 200’ spacing or better at all times (more for big trucks), and not ever in left lane till vehicle ahead has finished pass. Heavy traffic means one travels more slowly. Upper limit isn’t the thing. ROAD CHOICE determined travel time, not travel speed. Todays car drivers are worse than they’ve ever been. Think metro freeway and rural Interstate are the same. They aren’t. Per radar the average they cut in front of my rig is 80-ft. Should be 200+ and still solidly accelerating away. (Need 700+ feet to stop) Don’t cut in front of big truck without 7-8 lane stripes visible, minimum. Merging on-road the same. Running up ahead of me going into construction and not ten feet from car in front. Etc. I agree about the selfishness/stupidity which merge into one-ness above 45-MPH. But legal travel speed in correct lane isn’t one of the highway problems. (I slow to 50-45/MPH at exits BEFORE the ramp as that’s the ONLY prudent way to exit per road design and vehicle physics). My rig WILL come to a full, controlled stop UPRIGHT. God help the stupid/selfish as law doesn’t require us to sacrifice ourselves. Left lane is only way to avoid smashing the TRAVEL LANE problem. It’s the SINGLE choice. Left lane is passing only (not overtaking), and for EMERGENCY use. Anticipate that’s always just ahead where it can’t be seen. CYA. Then can use the designated lane to get past without qualms. (Where the stupid & selfish wind up is between them and their god). This is a central fact of how things are. Luckily, the stupids are predictable. Travel in packs. It’s no feat to slow a bit till they’re far away. I do it all day. Doesn’t change my trip plan. Travel speed adjusted to traffic volume & other conditions. Etc. You know the drill: Maximum Vehicle Separation the day long. It’s also congruent with fuel economy: least use of throttle & brakes. (Next to no passing, not even several times per hour in most cases). And aren’t you guys using LADD channels to warn each other? AM-19 on CB ain’t what it used to be , but it’s still operative about rolling or stationary hazards. .
BackOfThePack 09/09/23 03:59am Tow Vehicles
RE: 2024 Chevy HD DRW and SRW Fuel Economy Test

Best test that total emergency stopping distance. And highest maneuvering speed prior to rollover. A pickup pulling a square box trailer with slide-outs is one atrocious rig when it matters. Reasonable highway speed won’t be above 65-MPH just for typical electric drums. Or above 55 with a prayer of an emergency swerve.
BackOfThePack 09/09/23 03:50am Tow Vehicles
RE: Travel Trailer for Two

And Tow vehicle mfg generally assume max tongue weight of 10% while trailer mfg design for around 15% min tongue weight. See the problem? Truck manufacturers are usually spec'ing based on a flat bed utility trailer with negligible wind resistance in addition to the marginal hitch percentage. Correct. It’s not the weight, per se, it’s aero resistance to crosswinds that are the bane of trailer towing. Tongue weight at 12-13% is an ideal (it’s not “payload”), as 15 is harder to do, and 10 is a little light. WDH percentages are what matter in this. A pickup isn’t an ideal TV anyway. What is it one carries that MUST go in the bed? An SUV or van is a better choice for DD as well as for being a TV due to greater inherent stability (suspension & COG) than a pickup. A low COG TV AND TT is the better rig. Give both independent suspension (Airstream, for low crosswind trouble ) and it’s a slam dunk. “Best” is otherwise non wet-bath and permanent beds (no fold out). 26-28’ TT “generally”. Much depends on trip length. The longer & farther, the more the above plays in (as does freshwater & propane capacity). As third generation I wouldn’t consider shorter as a full timer rig. Low cost of travel (daily) is from a clean sheet of paper for rig spec. My 62’ combined length 17k-lb rig averages 15-mpg in the South Central US. (Plan the trip via all stops; fuel cost savings are in the daily driver miles per annual fuel budget). What’s between the ears is what matters most. 10-15 year old AS is what I’d look at. Depreciation gone but still close to new. I bought both vehicles used more than ten years ago, and had just under $30k total into both (knew what to look for). Some DIY upgrade, and ongoing maintenance otherwise. Repairs minimal. An all-aluminum fill-aero trailer always has a buyer. Or that children & grandchildren can inherit. .
BackOfThePack 09/09/23 03:25am Travel Trailers
RE: 2024 Chevy HD DRW and SRW Fuel Economy Test

How one fills matters not unless it’s a MPG test loop returning to the same pump at the same station. In which case, fill to auto-shutoff (only). Records are for the average over time which is the single accurate method. Each season has weather affecting MPG, and each season has family duties change somewhat. It will take 3-5k miles for that accurate average to emerge. Truly accurate records = every fill, and with a full year of use. The annual average. All else is a subset. As above, the FUELLY app will do the work for you. Only the Annual Average MPG matters. (Tank-by-tank always has errors resolved later by the actual average). One wants to break it out for vacation miles then one also needs to separate travel TO an area from travel WITHIN that area visited. (Fill before arriving at destination campground). Leave town and fill 50-75/miles out (warm-up complete) and call that the start. Same with last fill being inbound to home 50-75/miles out before hitting metro traffic. That’s the end. “Vacation miles” need isolation in two ways: 1). Highway towing versus solo day trips. 2). Then, no DD miles included at vacation start or end. TT towing is an aero problem. Same load in TV at same speed should indicate towing is a 40% penalty at approx 60-MPH. Over 50% and it’s time to investigate mechanical maladjustments from both vehicles brakes, both vehicles alignment, WDH, etc. MPG is a warning flag when it’s off from recorded average (tires are expensive compared to an alignment check or correcting brake drag). WDH is scale confirmation of settings plus accurate tire pressure as well as loaded TV sans trailer. The solo test loop is that baseline. Without it one is always in the dark as to what is true. One accurate test, one time, suffices. (TV loaded — simulated based on scale records — as if loaded for a camping trip. Run exclusively on cruise control same speed as when towing; turnaround about 100-miles and back to same pump). .
BackOfThePack 08/28/23 06:18am Tow Vehicles
RE: Tires- LT or ST

Are ST tires now rated for passenger service? Was illegal not long ago, and Id suspect still is. QC always suspect where liability doesn’t amount to much. A travel trailer isn’t a construction materials trailer gets dragged around a metro. A failure isn’t the problem a TT experiences with a blowout. Not in damage nor time spent on the highway shoulder. Non-ST is an easy choice thereby. Matching load requirements to tire choice remains for research. I used Yokohama RY-215 last time and may again. Start with a scale ticket after loaded for camping, full fresh water + propane. Use reality over guesstimates. .
BackOfThePack 08/21/23 03:32am Travel Trailers
RE: 2022 dodge ram sway issues

Shortest version is that Steer Axle has same scale value hitched or solo (same day, exact same load).
BackOfThePack 07/29/23 07:24am Travel Trailers
RE: Interesting mpg last trip

Below 60 cancels much of the aero penalty. The reason for the 55 in 1974 was that its Rolling Resistance to 45-MPH, and Aero Resistance after 60. 55 is a sweet spot. The real test is against the TV loaded the same way on the same road at tbe same speed, but without the TT. The percentage change. If you can keep it to 40% that’s spot-on for 60-MPH whether 1973 or 2023. As tow miles are a fraction of annual miles, the DD numbers are what matter. And where to learn to maximize MPG against the vacation travel. Where the savings are ACTUALLY located. 15.0-MPG is the exact middle of my range when at 60. Highest highway efficiency will come to a truly aerodynamic trailer, first, and a turbocharged diesel (car or truck), second. There are those with 2006-era Mercedes TD sedans pulling 23’-25’ Airstream hitting low 20’s. Spec the TV for its DD duties. Pulling a trailer ain’t the job many think it is as they’ve only ever driven around in empty or near-empty vehicles. The average American runs 15k annually. How much does his average annual fuel burn increase (percentage) as a result of the average RV’ers 5k vacation miles? It ain’t that much. Gas DI T/C with 10-Auto? It’s not about the engine so much as it’s the software that keeps temps under control when a load introduced. VVT turbo and Auto-12 in big trucks same way. Computer is in charge. Cut the aero load, and use CC 100%. No lane-changes or significant braking events. Find THAT sweet spot due to conditions (mainly traffic volume) to cruise above 60 (cancel CC and drop down to get slow passes over; law). Never join a pack. Or allow one to form around you. Ever. Maintain maximum distance all day (gets easy with practice). The latest big truck driving as above? These days he’s above 9-MPG with no adverse conditions while grossing 78k. .
BackOfThePack 07/23/23 03:21am Tow Vehicles

Going slower to the point of impeding traffic because your vehicle can't safely go faster is one thing but going slow and impeding traffic to save fuel is selfish and unacceptable. Operating in a legal manner is the requirement. Greatest spacing all day is the moving target for attentiveness. Not the stupidity of the selfish can’t space themselves to get around slower vehicles in a safe, legal manner (bunched in a pack is PROOF of stupidity). Back off and wait. 62-MPH works very well. It’s the rare vehicle can’t get around one judiciously. A matter of canceling cruise control and dropping to 55 to get the ones slowest around GONE. Use headlights ALWAYS, and consider high-mount taillights as pair to the originals you want them to see you earlier. Stay minimum of 5-below once into a 65 or metro. Get down early. This eases others around you. They’re always racing to catch the next monkey troup. The road chosen (design) is the indicator of average speed. Not speed limit. Traveling faster confers no right-of-way. It’s the unskilled who open a story telling us how fast they’re running. . Cars are fastest, and big trucks are below that. RV’ers staying below both have the easiest day in managing others around and avoiding their screw-ups. Bad mirrors are an RV problem. I’d not have less than EAGLE VISION for TT, and BIG convex for pickup with “towing mirrors” (additional). Low skill RV’er can be told pretty easily by their being surprised from the rear. Your future is coming up behind you. The Interstate is a range of from 45-80/mph depending on state and region. “Too fast for conditions” is primarily traffic volume. Repeated passes means one’s traveling too fast. The only hours to cover the Interstate at a high average legal speed is from 0400-0800. After that it becomes crowded. By 1100 it’s over for anything but moving along maintaining greatest vehicle separation distance anywhere near the major metros and anything east of IH-35. Braking & Handling are what matter with RVs. Lowest skilled experience and least stable rigs. This is what to keep foremost. T .
BackOfThePack 03/23/23 06:49am Towing
RE: Best route from Palo Duro State Park Texas to Galveston

Still hoping to get some expert help here on my questions about San Antonio/Austin and bypassing Houston on the way east to LA. Thanks! IH-10 is the route preferred. The close-to coast route is slow, crowded and problems can’t be avoided. Coastal Louisiana is interesting enough, so if a 35-MPH average trip speed (not posted speed limit) is okay, then try it. Understand that Houston is really more like Louisiana in the first place. I “might” choose the lower route, but for me it’d be because something about the season appealed. 10 thru LA is hard enough. Lake Charles gets backed up at the bridge, and Baton Rouge is never easy (road split to New Orleans backup). The water table is too high so the roads available are few. You can run the old highway north of 10 past BR, just expect a slow average speed. Takes you across the Huey P. The worst congestion is in BR then east to where IH55 goes north. You’ll lose an hour or more, so plan that in advance Thunderstorms along this coast are the most dangerous in the US. Any road. Slidell area peak. .
BackOfThePack 03/23/23 06:32am Roads and Routes
RE: Best route from Palo Duro State Park Texas to Galveston

We're just now getting back to our routing (nothing like some surgery to distract us.) I'm looking at BackOfThePack's route (avoiding Houston and the Dallas area), but am wondering why you suggest going through San Antonio rather than Austin? Thanks! San Antonio E-W on IH-10 is easy. Austin is the worst city in Texas, any direction or road.
BackOfThePack 03/23/23 06:15am Roads and Routes

It's not the weight, it's the wind that will have the largest effect on your mileage. It doesn't matter if you hand calculate or not on a no wind day, what matters more is how tall is your trailer. Notice I didn't say how long is your trailer. Source: 17 years as a truck driver grossing 120,000 lbs in a previous life. Yes. With a TT it’s generally a 40% penalty at 60-mph versus the TV loaded the exact same way, solo. Above 50% time to check both vehicles for alignment, brake drag and wheel bearing pre-set. But you won’t know “true” unless you test. Solo, load approximated for camping, then hitched, over same course. Otherwise it takes several thousand miles of consistency. Height does kill MPG. 6’ longer is better than 1’ higher. Measure the floor height from ground. “Lower” in that case is the first condition. Side-outs are not one’s friends as then it must clear suspension. Turbulence UNDER trailer magnifies that BETWEEN TV & TT. See pics of HOLIDAY RAMBLER for best made conventional (non-aero) from the 1970s. As to fuel mileage otherwise, 62-mph Interstate and below posted on two lanes. Manage others around you. 1973 or 2023 doesn’t change this. Cruise control, no lane-changing and avoidance of brakes & throttle. Steady rpm. Anything above 65 isn’t economical. 62 makes it easier for trucks to get around. Lights on, mirrors which converge in image 100’ back. Cancel cruise, maintain lane center and drift down to 55 if they’re slow. Re-engage once they’re 7-8 stripes ahead. .
BackOfThePack 03/04/23 06:20pm Towing
RE: Andersen WD hitch thoughts?

The Andersen isn’t a WDH. It’s “maybe” effective with the very lightest trailers (and not much compared to the most basic EAZ-LIFT).
BackOfThePack 03/04/23 06:07pm Towing
RE: Tankless water heater

My question at this point would be; what is the largest Propane/Electric water heater can I replace this new tankless water heater with? The original was a6 gallon unit and I do not believe there is any space available, after modifications to squeeze in a larger water heater. It seems like your real questions is if a 6 gal water heater is enough hot water for your needs. With a family of 3 that often takes showers back to back, we have not found any issues with enough hot water. When camping without hookups we always take navy showers so we don't use much hot water. My thought is a 6 gallon water heater may not be enough. My prior rig had a 6 gallon water heater and occasionally it would not keep up if 2 adults and 2 kids took back to back showers. My current rig has a 10 gallon lp/electric heater and we never run out of hot water and we do not take navy showers. For me a 10 gallon RV water heater is the ultimate. I see no need for tankless heater in an RV. What is the point of having unlimited hot water if you don't have unlimited grey water capacity and unlimited fresh water capacity. Yes. It’s for the rig with dishwasher, clothes washer and three teenage girls parked with full hookups. VERSATILITY is the word for appliances. Can it run on more than one source of power? Three-way fridge is best example and propane/electric water heater is second. A propane furnace can be retrofitted with a CHEAP HEAT electric panel for when plugged in. Xtra battery capacity (maybe) for some owners to extend the evening hours. Minor appliances need their older derivations: stove top coffee pot, not just the electric kettle. A/C is the biggest hurdle. Navy shower and dividing shower time for some the night before, and others in the morning (is another way of not running out). Have the campers learn to adapt. .
BackOfThePack 03/04/23 05:24pm Travel Trailers
RE: using a cargo carriers on my travel trailer

It’s a bad idea in all ways. 200# far from the axle centerline “weighs more” given tail-whip (centrifugal force). Shortens the already too-short amount of time to correct trailer sway (a few seconds in best conditions). That, alone, mitigates against it. Second, it tends to either cover or obstruct trailer brake/turn/warning lights. From several angles. Again, this ALONE mitigates against it. Third, backing is more difficult as this increases the amount of “trailer swing”. AND one can’t see the edge leading as one backs (I do this for a living: the joke about truck drivers is that they don’t pay us to drive them somewhere, they pay is TO BACK THEM as the vast majority of truck-caused property damage is while backing). Lose any idea you can avoid backing. Fourth, and potentially the most serious, is related to number one in that one has lengthened the sail area against a crosswind. Winds are the TT problem. “Vision” by operator and others is hampered. (We can find more). To go camping means toss some clothes, food and beer into trailer. I believe you need to clean it out (100%) and start over in packing what you actually use. We all go thru the pains of adding too much and having to remove the “what if & just-in-case” stuff. Make going camping simpler. If you do, you’ll go more often. (Bank on it) .
BackOfThePack 03/02/23 11:07am Travel Trailers
RE: Were back in a travel trailer, just bought an Airstream.

Depreciation is just about bottomed out at 10-15/years. Best age to buy one as that’s a trailer “better” in used condition (design & construction) than the plastic white boxes churned out as fast as possible. The 2013 boxes are about ready for being removed from the road. 70k mile lifespan, more or less A/S and its upmarket cousins no longer in production are quarter-century before refurbishment (as needed), and 250k mile lifespan (before major work). If RV’ng isn’t a great number of miles annually, then a box with slide-outs is okay. If long-term ownership and long-distance travel is the thing, get the trailer built for it. As to “space”, just how many interior cubic feet do you intend to hear or cool? How much work do you want to do in cleaning? Repair & refurbish? I’d have chosen a 27-28’ as that’s the best opening size for full-time travel (capacities) given that inclement weather or being ill can leave one confined for days. Not any harder to tow, or to back. A 22-24’ has the advantage of more TVs that can be used. Full independent suspension and short rear overhang and better power-to-weight ratio means a better highway rig. If the bed of the pickup is just some storage that could be done elsewhere, then living with a better TV design is easier travel (past greater highway stability). AIR forums has a decent amount of info on most subjects. “Tech” is generally better, here (past A/S particulars). Disc brakes are a strong recommendation for any TT. ZANETTI and others do installs (TRANSWEST in CO, another). GCinSC has an excellent write-up. Same for experience by guskmg. 4-whl TV disc plus TT disc is — as with big trucks — a whole other world. Downgrade control and breaking forward momentum is what matters. Not speed on an ascent. An early 3rd Gen or previous CTD is a good pairing. 15-MPG is what I average with my 35’ Silver Streak in the south-central USA. Consistent comps with more than a dozen others pulling 28-34’ A/S. One can break into the low 20s with a TurboDiesel car or SUV given a 22-24’ A/S and the desire to keep fuel burn lowest (some planning; some new habits). .
BackOfThePack 03/02/23 10:45am Travel Trailers
RE: Best route from Palo Duro State Park Texas to Galveston

Agreed. I had my share of difficult weather a few weeks back (waiting for roads to re-open) Another scenic route is to head south in Texas to pick up US-62 across southern Oklahoma to Lawton/Ft Sill. (Highly recommended in spring). South from there via US-287 to any number of choices. FWIW, E-W across D/FW is easy relative to trying N-S as with Houston. US-281 from Wichita Falls to IH-20 thence to IH-35S is scenic, and the leg across the Metroplex is short enough not to be much of a problem (always before 1400, preferably from 0900-1100).
BackOfThePack 03/02/23 10:20am Roads and Routes
RE: How much of rise on front of truck acceptable when hitched?

BackOfThePack 02/27/23 07:29am Travel Trailers
RE: How much of rise on front of truck acceptable when hitched?

Weights are placeholders. Static. Road forces are dynamic. Ever-changing. (Why TW & Payload mean next to nothing: it’s Axle ratings with tire/wheel ratings). Acquiring the static numbers fits formula for what happens on-road. Over time these may change. Normal wear & tear OR something’s truly off (defect or damage). Having a numerical baseline acquired via scale readings shows: 1). The RANGE of adjustments for a given combination vehicle (from nearly empty and on up). 2). Side-to-side and across tandem axle tires the possibility of weight shift. To TEST is what matters. Braking & steering are what matter in towing. The stupids think it’s about how fast they can ascend a grade (not lose speed). ONLY the downgrade matters, as that’s where most loss-of-control accidents occur from natural or man-made winds. HANDLING is as much getting a grip on what it should be while solo (tire pressure and bed load securement) THEN some knowledge of what the combined rig feels like. A combined rig is stable ONLY when under light to heavy throttle. Snapping a trailer back into compliance means BEST braking of both vehicles, and a distance from others full throttle plus MAXIMUM trailer braking is undertaken. Replication of solo handling via WDH is to AVOID over-correction at the wheel (the pinpointed cause of loss-of-control). “Normal”. The better the rig tracks (camber changes, ruts, and other surface deviations) the better the outcomes of direction changes not initiated by the driver. The driver is the weak link. In a straight axle, high COG TV, he’s worsened his chsnces of trailer recovery as feedback from the rig is poor. (A couple of seconds and it’s over). If the trailer can shift the grip of the rear axle tires, Mario Andretti couldn’t save it. Weigh #2 is to get an accurate read on TW. (Weight shift is bar tension as well as ball angle). A pickup with a near-empty bed (in terms of weight) is a poor TV. It’s E-Z to lose rear traction in that scenario given road surface problems. And, where cars may slide or spin on losing rear traction, pickups will roll. High COG trailers (slide-outs) on leaf spring axles are much the same. The design of each vehicle is fundamental as predictor (“skill” claims’ll get you laughed out of the room). WDH spreads the forces each vehicle is creating across the length represented by the axle trio. Not just at the ball. Makes problems less so. .
BackOfThePack 02/27/23 07:09am Travel Trailers
RE: Best route from Palo Duro State Park Texas to Galveston

IH-24 to US-87. US-87 to US-277 at San Angelo, thence south to IH-10. IH-10 thru San Antonio no big deal. Can use 410-Loop around south side if desired. IH-10 to Columbus thence south thru El Campo on TX-71 to Bay City. TX-35 to Lake Jackson it’s a coin flip from there to Galveston (nothing like it was before Hurricane Ike tore it up in 2008). EAST-WEST across Houston always easy. It’s North-South where it’s a total PITA. As a lifelong Texan (and truck driver), this is the routing with the least traffic. Steady friction-free miles till the SA to Columbus leg. 95% of Texans live east of IH-35. Avoiding the triangle of Dallas, Houston and San Antonio is how to make time despite a longer route. OTOH, my preferred “short” route would be US-287 from Amarillo to FTW, then IH-35S to Waco and use Texas-6 the rest of the way to La Marque. (Houston toll roads are easy if you want the expense to avoid backups elsewhere). .
BackOfThePack 02/21/23 12:34pm Roads and Routes
RE: Colorado experts...help please

I would not take C as there is major road work on I25 on the south side of Colo. Springs including replacing bridges. Completion is 2024. What a mess! I go through here 2-3X monthly pulling a 53’ trailer. It’s not bad. Run 52 in the 55. It’s about 8-miles or so in length. Occasional lane closures. Starts near Fountain. Denver traffic isn’t on the scale of a dozen other metros. Just plan to get thru between 0900-1100 for least traffic, and before 1400 at worst. That said, getting diesel is a pain as CO not well-served in comparison to other places. Coming from the south I’d use the Exxon at Fountain next to TRANSWEST RV Truck X128 as final choice. Buy farther north if you enjoy crowds. The road up to Salida (La Veta Pass) is certainly scenic. 47-years ago during the Bicentennial were wreckers stationed to get the Ford and GM mohos over the crest (Dodge rules). Mountain driving is not only slow, it’s exhausting. That’s a clumsy rig when oncoming is encroaching your lane. There’s not any way in hell I’d run the mountains to avoid a little metro traffic UNLESS that were on my itinerary. If you’re going to Granby, take IH-70. If you’re going to Estes Park, take US-34 up the Big Thompson (that’ll satisfy the scenic drive itch). Both are approved big truck routes. Colorado is king of day trips. Park the wagon and saddle the horse. .
BackOfThePack 02/21/23 11:53am Roads and Routes
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