The other thing to think about is your credit card, if you use one at the pump. When you first insert your card, a predetermined amount is charged to your account to "hold" the funds. Usually in auto lanes, that is anywhere from $25 to $75. Then when you complete your actual purchase, the true amount is billed, and the remainder (if any) is freed up on your card for other uses. The kicker is how long it takes the station to "settle" the transaction - it can be very soon, overnight, or several days. Not too much of an issue with normal gas fills. But if you go to the trucker lanes, your initial amount could be as high as $500. And if your bill is only $75, you run the risk of not being able to use the remaining $425 for a number of days. If you hit a few stations that are slow to settle, you can exceed your credit limit, and your card will stop working for a while.
So if you plan to use a card at a pump, make sure it has a high limit!
We just returned to Minn. from such a trip. Here's our 29 day itinerary:
Mpls/St. Paul to Omaha
Omaha to Ogallala, NE
Ogallala to Buena Vista, CO for 3 nights
Buena Vista to Ridgeway State Park, CO for 2 nights (wish we had done 4 so we could see the Black Canyon of the Gunnison!)
Ridgeway to Durango via Telluride for 4 nights (side trips to Ouray, Mesa Verde).
Durango to Monument Valley for 2 nights
Monument to Page, AZ 2 nights (Antelope Canyon!)
Page to Zion for 3 nights
Zion to Bryce for 3 nights (Bryce, Kodachrome, Grand Staircase)
Bryce to Moab area for 4 nights (Dead Horse, Canyonlands, Arches)
Moab to Breckenridge, CO
Breckenridge to Ogallala
Ogallala to Omaha
Omaha to Mpls/St. Paul
Most driving days were about 3 hrs, except for the first and last 2.
Did many side trips to local areas, not just the National Parks.
Hiked the short "easy" trails in the parks.
Except as noted, most stays were just right to get the general feel of the parks and area for the first time.
For late Sept. and into Oct. almost all public/private campgrounds were full - needed the reservations.
Just got done with that trip! Yes, 98 is an excellent 2 lane road. Judging by the traffic, it is a major RV artery, lots of Class A's and Fifths that made ours seem tiny on the route. Watch for the turn in Kayenta onto 98 - it's not that obvious, and we blew past and had to go back.
There's a time change from Monument Valley to Wahweep. We arrived an hour earlier than we planned, but the site was open, so they let us check in.
Wahweap is a great campground, facility wise. WiFi is typical campground - barely useable. Avoid the camp store, prices are sky high. Laundry is pretty good, especially the dryers that are relatively speedy.
Neb. Truck Guide
Look at page 4, first FAQ. Read the last line. RV are exempt.
So the garbled voice must have been telling me to move along, and never to stop again! Must vex those station people a lot that so many RV's get in line (there were 4 at the time I stopped). Wonder how many times they have put in a request to have the "All pickups with trailers" sign updated?
Look at the bottom of the sign. It says, "RECREATION VEHICLES EXEMPT"
Nope - this one didn't say that! I always assumed we were, but the explicit direction to exit and the peer pressure of other fifths in line tipped the decision. I was determined to ignore it on the way back anyway, but did double check the sign.
Outside of Lincoln on I-80 we encountered a weigh station. Going west, it was heavily signed that ALL pickups pulling trailers must stop, along with the semi's. As we approached, there was a digital sign that was giving instructions to each vehicle - we assume sorting out the semi's with "prepasses" vs those without. As we approached, it flashed "Vehicle must exit". So we waited in line with all the semi's. There were a few other fifths also ahead and behind in line.
I pulled onto the scales, and some loud but completely unintelligible voice came over the PA system. I waited a brief moment, then just drove off and rejoined the freeway.
On the way back, the Eastbound station had the same signs, but was closed.
Since no troopers came after me, and to-date I have not received a summons in the mail, I assume I behaved correctly.
Any Nebraskans care to enlighten me as to why I had to stop, or what the person might have been trying to say??
I've been doing it for 3 years now. Leave in 2 days for a month long 4,500 mi. adventure through Colorado and out to Utah, then back to Minn.
For an f-150 you must get a SuperCrew, 6.5 bed with the Heavy Duty Payload and Max Tow packages. The HD Payload is critical - otherwise there is no way you can carry the pin weight of the loaded fifth plus passengers in the truck.
Mine scales right at the max for payload capacity. The new Fords have more, though, so that is a plus.
We've done almost 12,000 miles, to all three coasts, and not had a single issue that could be blamed on "not enough truck". Sure, bigger is better - but at the time, I had to balance the costs, the daily driving need, etc. also.
The sad part is that while many 1/2 ton trucks can tow a fifth, only a tricked out Ford seems to be able to carry a fifth.
We plan to head from Cedar Rapids, IA to northern MN, such as Ely, Grand Rapids, Lake Itasca then back home. Would love to hear from folks as to what is a must see, do, great restaurants, good campgrounds etc.
Plan leave Sat. Sept. 17 and be on the road for about 2 weeks.
Thank you for your input.
Check out the state parks! They usually are the best accommodations around, with a couple of disclaimers:
Not all have electric sites, and very few have full hook-ups. All sites at all parks are now reservable - meaning even if you pull up to the gate looking for a spot, you have to go online (or have the ranger do it) to "reserve" your site. Electric can be hard to get, but since you are going in the late season, the odds of finding one are pretty good. Jay Cooke near Duluth and Bear Head Lake on the way to Ely are two great ones - but popular, so get online quick. Most are tight for "big rigs", but with your size 5th, you shouldn't have issues, just note the length of the site when reserving - what is reported is the total length available for trailer and tow.
Current routing for first leg is:
Page, AZ to Kanab, UT, then to Fredonia, AZ, through Colorado City to Hurricane, UT and the to Zion River Campground in Virgin for 4 nights.
From Virgin, up I-15, exit on Ut-20, then down 89 to Cannonville/Bryce Valley KOA for 3 nights.
Not my first/second/third choices for camping locations, but you take what you can get when you dawdle too much before looking for open spots to reserve.
Sounds like I should not plan on towing through Zion, and just enjoy it as a drive when off hitch!
Thanks all for the advice!
Heading out for a month to Utah, itinerary/reservations all set. Trying to finalize two legs of the route:
Page, AZ to Zion
and Zion to Bryce.
Yes, I know about the Zion-Mt. Carmel Hwy 9 and its tunnel. Previewing on YouTube, it seems manageable with my fifth wheel.
Mapping software suggests from Page to Zion, to dive south through the Kaibab reservation, then back up to Hurricane, to bypass Hwy 9.
Ditto for Zion to Bryce - loop over the top, using I15.
Any comments on the "scenic" quotient of the alternate routes? If I'm comfortable with Hwy 9, is one alternate preferable over the other, even if not as dramatic? Just don't want a "pretty boring, but it gets you there" day of driving. But if one of the alternates is kinda cool, then I don't have to drive Hwy 9 twice.
Or should we just plan on the alt's while towing, and drive Hwy 9 separately when off tow, taking more time to enjoy the pull-outs (but at the expense of doing other things in the Zion area)?
Just mounted Firestones on my smaller rig. Used to get about 5-6" of sag at the rear bumper. Never an issue "bottoming out", even on rough roads before, but I didn't like the "uphill" feel of the truck, nor having to use the jacks to take up that sag before I could unhitch. Currently have only pumped them up to 30lbs when on hitch, and only have done a very short drive. Sag is now 2". Handling was fine. Off hitch, have been running the 30lbs for a couple of weeks. Not a lot of difference - a bit stiffer in the rear, but nothing my wife or anyone else has noticed. Using a bike pump, and while it does take a bit, it only takes about three times the number of strokes that my high pressure bike tires take. For the few trips a year, I can justify it as exercise. I'll play with pressure, but it may not need much more.
I didn't know about air-rides (I think that is the brand with the internal bumper) before I bought the Firestones. I might have considered. But so far, I have no issue with the Firestones. BTW - buy the separate air line Tee made for them too. That way you can fill both at once, rather than having two fill valves. Air-Ride Tees are cheaper than Firestone and work on the 1/4" air lines too.
And...I originally used the "no drill" bracket for the fill valves, that straps to the vehicles hitch. Location made it hard to attach the pump to the valves. I drilled a hole next to the license plate for the single valve, and it works well. I've seen examples where the valve replaces one of the plate screws, making it almost un-noticeable. But on mine, I would have had problems with getting the pump onto the valve.
The big test - leaving next week for a 1 month, 4.5K trip, so that will tell the tale!
So...if I put my handy carpenter level on the side rail of the bed, and pump her up when on hitch, that should be a good starting point?
BTW - the Firestone instructions say to run with a min. of 10lbs. I've done that for the last few days, and don't notice anything different from when it was stock....
Ford F-150 SC, 4WD, HD Payload, Max Tow.
Just added Firestone air bags.
While I know a lot of the adjustment will be on my perception of the ride and truck level, what initial pressures do you recommend for a) no load (daily driver) and b) max. load of about 2100 (near rated capacity of truck)?
I'll be using a hand bicycle pump initially. Don't anticipate varying pressure much otherwise, except when camping. Any recommendations for a light 12v compressor to use for the bags as well as bicycles?
Will be stopping at many places for 3-4 day periods on the upcoming trip. Do you adjust pressure for times when you are off hitch, or just leave it?
You will have no problem.
Bleach tends to break down fairly quickly, unless it has been very well sealed and not exposed to heat or light. So if yours has been sitting around for a while, it's concentration is already lower. Health departments make restaurants use bleach water for sanitizing tables, counters, etc., and they mandate that it has to be used within a pretty short time after mixing, just due to that issue.
Secondly, the bleach that is present will combine with any dust, dirt and soil in the grass, and dissipate very rapidly. Ask any pool owner about what happens to all his chlorine in a rain storm...
Just to complicate things even more - there are very, very few bike racks made that are rated for use on trailers (conventional or fifth wheel). Usually you have to download the manual of the make/model you are interested in, and read the disclaimers in the front. Most flatly say that they cannot be used. A few just note that any warranty is void. Swagman is the most referred to brand by fellow RV'ers, but again, only two of its models allow RV use.
A second vote for Betty's in Abbeville. Be forewarned, it is a bit different. Betty essentially graveled over her smallish back/side yards to allow for RV parking. It's tight, and has no amenities except hookups. Forget about kid activities, or even dog parks (dogs are happily permitted, just that the "CG" is really small!).
BUT - Betty also has an expansive covered patio, in which campers are almost required to attend the nightly "Happy Hour" - BYOB, and light snacks/appetizers. This is socializing, not a drinking party. Everyone chats about what they did during the day, places they found, where they ate, etc. Betty will very frequently host or organize tours and field trips to local events/attractions, based on the group discussion of the evening before. Or the campers may decide to have an impromptu crawfish boil the next night on site. Sometimes there's music, either by the campers themselves, or a local friend stops by. It's as close to being invited to stay at someone's house as you can get!
As noted, there is no simple test for bacteria. Test kits are for common swimming pool chemical balances. Most basic is ph (acid/base), and chlorine. Unless you are using gold mine run-off as a water source, the ph test is of no value for Rv'ing. Chlorine test kits measure from 1-10 parts per million, with 1-3 being the goal for a pool. City water never registers on the test strips - amount of chlorine is just too low. Ask any pool owner about what happens if they fill, but do not add chlorine - stinky swimming really fast! Sanitizing as posted above drives the level up to about 50 ppm, which kills everything in a few hours.
While RV tanks are a semi-sealed system, things like algae and bacteria can begin to grow, but it takes a pretty long time as there are few nutrients and it is dark. (As opposed to a pool that gets alls sorts of wind blown stuff in it, and gets full daylight).
The only test that you can do, without sending water out to a testing lab, is to smell it.
So, just sanitize - at least yearly, more often if you leave the same water in the tanks for weeks or months. Use the test strips if it makes you feel better about verifying that you have flushed all the sanitizing chlorine out of the system, but your nose works even better than the test strips in detecting small amounts.
You seem like pretty responsible owners, just by posting the question. I'll assume that you are already working on, and doing well, at basic obedience training. If not, well.....
But otherwise, the dog needs as much socialization to other people and dogs as you can get. The more he experiences it at a young age, the less problems you will have later. Worst would be to ban him completely until older, when behaviors/personality become more fixed.
That said - do it slowly, for limited times, in a controlled manner. Take him up for just a day or weekend. Make sure he is always on leash. Time outs work for dogs too - misbehavior, and isolate him in the trailer briefly. Talk to your obedience instructor about specifics, since they have experience with your dog. And remember the most critical - "A tired dog is a good dog". So lots of walks and running, and then introduce him to the new environment.
I panicked in the other direction! While I had looked at the site photos, both on recreation.gov, and the other sites noted, it was still hard to tell for sure. A call to the Park office, and they said firmly "Campsites are listed by total length of the tow vehicle plus the trailer". Sounded fishy, a 27' RV site is really small! But, I decided that it was better to not take the chance, and canceled.
While I will miss not seeing the GC, the trip will be packed with other places (Buena Vista CO, Ridgway SP, CO, Durango, CO, Mesa Verde, Monument Valley, Zion, Bryce). And gives me an excuse to head that direction again, and give it more time than just an overnight.
Now if I can just find 4 nights in Moab for mid-Oct., which is looking kind of hard to do......