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Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > Trip Report -- the shake down trip or the maiden voyage.

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emcvay

Moses Lake WA

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Posted: 04/08/18 06:43pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi All,

Figured I'd report on our shake down trip with our new AF 990 [emoticon]

We left home about 5:40pm to head north about an hour to a park we've often passed on the highway but never checked out. Until, that is, a year or so ago when I was routed through the park due to an accident on the main road (HWY 17 in WA).

This State park was not our first choice and wouldn't normally have been on the list at all really, but we were looking for somewhere close by to try out the camper and see how things went. This would be the first trip, fully loaded for a weekend away and we were looking forward to it.

Our original destination was a lake called 'Coffee Pot' that was also an hour away but we'd learned late in the week that a big race was going on in Odessa (the nearest town) and all campsites would likely be full. So, change of plans. Sun Lakes, Dry Falls State Park it was.

Not having stayed in many state parks (I tended to shy from anything remotely civilized in my younger years and at best chose Forest Service camp grounds if I couldn't just go somewhere no one went) I did some checking and saw 'primitive' camp sites listed as $12 per night. Ok, fine, I'll pay. We headed out.

The weather was going to be wet with 100% chance of rain but we didn't care [emoticon] We have cards, a crib board and bourbon (or in her case Fireball). What did we care?

The drive out was fine, 60mph for the most part, a bit windy but not bad and 9mpg (which was lower than I expected). When we arrived we drove to where I thought we could camp but nothing was open or there was no camping and fearing the rangers and their ever present 'ticket' pads we headed back to the camping areas and were unable to find any 'primitive' sites listed. This park was not what I'd want to camp at usually with it's many 'apartment' complex like sites stacked one next to each other. Why not just plant trees in a parking lot and call it a 'camp site'? OK, ok! I know! I grew up in BC in mostly out of the way small towns where you could 'rough it' for real 5 minutes out of town! ha! So, we chose one of their 'desirable' sites dropped $60 into the box (and cringed since it was $30 a night for their 'desirable' sites) and headed off to our corner, or rather alley, to hide out in. The place was basically abandoned anyway which really made us question the whole $30 a night thing!

[image]
It was raining and chilly when we arrived but I'd warmed up the camper before leaving and it was about 60F inside once set up.

[image]
We were alone in our 'alley' of a camp site which was small and very close to all the others. I really don't understand this kind of 'camping'. It seems more like sleeping in a park where you can have a fire and pitch a tent 5 feet from someone else and hope they don't snore because they will wake you up as well as the other 50 people within 50 feet of you....but I digress! This was a shake down trip after all and no one was around.

And heck, once my VA claim goes through (don't hold your breath on time frame though) it will be free to go there so I should be grateful right?

Once set up we watched a young couple move in a few campsites over and set up a tent. I was thinking the whole time "didn't you check the weather report?" Funny thing though, weather never would have stopped me 30 years ago either.

The next morning that couple moved on (in the heavy rain) and we played cards and hid in our warm and cozy camper. Life was good!

At one point, however, I was looking outside and thinking "it's starting to become a pond out there" and decided it was time to move. So we pulled up stakes, rolled up onto the blacktop on a flat spot in the middle of our 'alley' and dropped anchor again. TO heck with it right? We're here to enjoy the place and paid our $60 so we're staying. We're just not going to need 4 low to get out! ha! Rangers be dammed!
[image]

More to follow....


2019 F350 Lariat FX4 DRW PS6.7
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Lwiddis

Mojave, Kern County, California

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Posted: 04/08/18 06:48pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Look forward to further reports.


Winnebago 2101DS TT & 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71, 300 watts solar-parallel & MPPT, Trojan T-125s. TALL pole for flags. Prefer USFS, COE, BLM, NPS, TVA, USF&WS, state & county camps. Bicyclist! 14 year Army vet - 11B40 then 11A - (MOS 1542 & 1560)


GeoBoy

Bennington

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Posted: 04/08/18 08:36pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Just curious why you have your corner jacks down?

Area13

Fox Island, WA

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Posted: 04/08/18 09:23pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Cribbage board and bourbon sounds nice, enjoy. I'm glad to see you're getting some of the rain on the "Dry" side of the state, looks like you're from E-WA. Says on your profile you're from "Home". Home is a town near me on the Key Peninsula, WA state. HOME,WA


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emcvay

Moses Lake WA

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Posted: 04/08/18 09:24pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We find it helps keep the camper solid when walking around vs when they are up. Doesn't bother me much either way but the wife prefers them down and I'm ok with that.

emcvay

Moses Lake WA

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Posted: 04/08/18 09:38pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

[image]
Once the rain slacked off a bit we got out and started looking around.

To be honest we'd driven by this place literally dozens and dozens of times since it's on the way to our property and it's also on the way to one of my work locations. We'd just never actually stopped to check it out.

[image]
My wife insists we get a 'selfie' for her posts LOL so here we are.

If you've ever driven by 'dry falls' in WA and not dropped down into the valley where the park is I recommend it and now wish I'd done so earlier

[image]
The park itself is quite nice but I'd not want to be here in the height of tourist season, as it were. I've seen the place packed and their 'camp sites' really are packed in there. Off season is the time to visit I think!

It's actually quite amazing down there and very secluded. It's has that sort of 'lost world' feeling actually.

[image]
With the weather improving we went out to explore a little and walked about 3 miles a day without actually exploring many of the trails around the park. In fact, we didn't even get to all the lakes! I can see this as a place to take the grand kids to do some fun hiking and fishing when the lakes open up (Park Lake is apparently closed until the 4th Saturday of April).

[image]
Just one of many great views in the park.

[image]\
As for the camper it was great! Comfortable, roomy (like we never imagined), plenty of storage, everything in tip top order and we slept well on the bed though it did feel a little hard to me.

The truck handled it very well and frankly I'm impressed. Sure I'd like to get better mileage but the truck is stock so perhaps it is what it is. I do think it would benefit from better shocks and a sway bar but I was quite comfortable driving 60mph around the lake with tighter spots dropping to 50-55mph. On longer straights and interstate driving I find it handles well as 60-65mph actually and it handled cross winds well. All in all I think it's a good fit, albeit a tad heavy.

For all those who say to add 1000lbs to the 'dry weight' I will say you were right and it would seem this camper when loaded for the weekend tops out closer to 5000lbs than the 3600 dry weight Northwood claims. I'll do more weighing but for now I'm ok with it as the truck seems to handle it fine with the stable loads and air bags at 18psi.

We had fun and look forward to our next adventure (and finding places to go where it isn't $30 a night and people stacked up like cord-wood in their tents!).

Cheers
Erik

emcvay

Moses Lake WA

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Posted: 04/08/18 10:01pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Area13 wrote:

Cribbage board and bourbon sounds nice, enjoy. I'm glad to see you're getting some of the rain on the "Dry" side of the state, looks like you're from E-WA. Says on your profile you're from "Home". Home is a town near me on the Key Peninsula, WA state. HOME,WA


Funny! I had my address in there and guess I put 'home' as my location thinking "what a strange question since I've already added my address" [emoticon]

I'm really from 'all over'. Born in OR, raised in BC, spent several years in the military and all over and am back in the NW for good as of 1999 [emoticon]

Played a lot of crib this weekend [emoticon] Killed a fair bit of small batch bourbon too [emoticon] Was a good weekend and we're absolutely loving the new camper!

cewillis

Tucson, az, usa

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Posted: 04/08/18 10:14pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

That is a nice looking set up you have.
Quote:

The next morning that couple moved on (in the heavy rain) and we played cards and hid in our warm and cozy camper.

It does engender a bit of a smug feeling, doesn't it --


Cal


emcvay

Moses Lake WA

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Posted: 04/09/18 02:23pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

LOL not sure if we were smug but we were certainly happy and warm [emoticon]

jefe 4x4

West Slope, Northern Sierra Nevada

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Posted: 04/09/18 05:35pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Eric,
I so enjoy reading about someone's first time out in the TC.
These memories are so clear, and not clouded by years of doing the same old routine. They say, (whoever 'they' are) time slows down when you do something new. I envy your place in history right now.
jefe


'01.5 Dodge 2500 4x4, CTD, Qcab, SB, NV5600, 241HD, 4.10's, Dana 70/TruTrac; Dana 80/ TruTrac, Spintec hub conversion, H.D. susp, 315/75R16's on 7.5" and 10" wide steel wheels, Vulcan big line, Warn M15K winch '98 Lance Lite 165s, 8' 6" X-cab, 200w Solar

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