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Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > Trip Report - 1200 miles in the NW

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emcvay

Moses Lake WA

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Posted: 07/15/18 08:41am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Our family doesn't often do family reunions but this year they planned one and since the last one was 15 years ago we made plans to go a year out. One of the selling points of the new AF990 was that we wouldn't need a hotel, could stop anywhere and relax and could bring what we wanted and so on.

Well, fast forward to the 5th of July and we were off on our week long journey to Southern Oregon for the family reunion with our first stop in Hillsboro OR where my sister lives and performs. We drove the 5 hours in a fairly leisurely manner down the interstate and had a nice lunch break in a rest stop along the Columbia. It was great to pull into a stop, kick on the AC and chill in the camper for lunch. We love that!

We arrived early in the Beaverton area and stopped at a Fred Meyer's to do a little shopping and hit up a liquor store where we found some excellent deals! Then, have killed all the time we could we drove over to the venue my sister was performing at and relaxed in the camper for an hour or so while waiting for our reservations (which it turned out we didn't need) for the patio.

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Heather Keizur (look her up) and Steve Christofferson playing in Beaverton.

As usual we had a great time with Heather and Steve and finished up the evening parked in her driveway for the night.

Next day we headed south to Lake Selmac in Selma Or. The reunion was in Grants Pass but we wanted to camp near town. Once again we took a leisurely approach to the drive and usually didn't get over 65mph on the interstate. To be honest I was still wondering how the tire carrier up front was impacting the cooling system and while I've now driven this rig over 1000 miles already I still take the cautionary approach.

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About half way into the drive, maybe a little more, we pulled into a rest area and I snapped a pic [emoticon] We'd now maneuvered through the big city including some tightly packed roads and narrow side roads and miles and miles of busy interstate and I was starting to be even more impressed with the F350! It pulled up hills like nothing and I found myself really relaxing with this rig. It handles the big camper so well I knew I'd not be buying a dually any time soon. No point.

In fact, having seen some rock back and forth going from gas stations onto the road pretty much the same as I do I wondered just how much better they would be? Sure, they have to be an improvement, no doubt, but how much? Either way, I'm not going to be rushing out to get one as I can still add a sway bar (none at all right now) and improved shocks.

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Once we arrived at the camp ground we dropped the camper and rushed back to town to spend time with my parents while waiting on my son to arrive from Northern BC. He was driving almost straight through with a 20-24hr drive so I was keeping close tabs on him but he made it safe and sound (that's his Chevy parked under the sleeper).

We liked the spot we were in though it was a bit crowded over the weekend. Hookups were nice too [emoticon] though we parked a little far from the sewage hookup and didn't have an extension for our hose (need to get one)..

http://www.dartplayer.net/index.php?xengallery/20180709_091019-640x480.201/full
The lake (Lake Selmac) was full of fish (I could see them swimming near the shore) and very peaceful. Specially once the other campers were gone [emoticon] But in truth we were only there in the morning and evenings (late) while the reunion was going on.

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After five days of camper use we mounted it back on the truck for the last day and adjusted the awning to match (for the first time). I had an old friend from my Marine Corps days living near by who I had not seen since the war and he was heading over to spend a day with us and camp out.

[image]
We really need to get a step though! With the camper on the truck it really is high! I'm sure this is the reason I only get 10.5mpg at 65mph.

Anyway, we dumped the tanks which would lighten the load but I noticed the darn black water gauge was still reading high. I've seen this before and will have to try using the water hookup to clean it out at the next chance to see if that helps.

[image]
Dave showed up and we had a great day and evening chit chatting about old times. He brought his son along and they camped out in a tent for the night. It was great seeing the old 'war dog' (that's what we called him back in the day) and his son. Good times!

Once it was time to leave we put extra stuff in my sons truck bed to lighten our load a little and headed off to Crater Lake. This, I felt, would be the real test! I mean, we'd be driving up to over 7000 feet (7800 feet at one point actually!) and if anything was going to push the truck that was it right? So away we went!

Our first eye opener was the drive from Gold Hill to Shady Cove. The road was in bad shape and we rocked back and forth down the road for the first time! I mean, it was two hands on the wheel and pay attention! It was doable and I was fine (so was my DW) but THIS was where I went "hmmm.....maybe this is where a dually would shine?"). I've had that thought on rough off road stuff pulling the mill and coming out of gas stations but not driving down the road itself and this section, maybe 40 miles or so, was definitely a little unnerving but still, we survived and it wasn't THAT bad. It was just annoying more than anything and I took it easy throughout. By Shady Cove the roads had improved and life was good again [emoticon]

When we arrived at the base of the climb up to 7200 feet I was behind some traffic and just sat back and let the truck climb and climb it did! It never even got hot! It just hauled our butts up those mountain roads like a walk in the park and was starting to think the 6.4 was one heck of a power house! Wow! No trouble at all, no issue, it just pulled and pulled and pulled. Finally we arrived at the top (or so we thought) and parked at Rim Village. I failed to get pics of the camper there but we put the slide out before leaving and had lunch at 7200 feet loving it all the way [emoticon]

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As usual Crater Lake was amazing (I've been many times) and while there were a lot more people that I'd seen there before we enjoyed the visit and saw a few AF's too [emoticon]

One curious rig we ran into was a dually long box carrying a short box camper....wonder why?

We then headed out as we were on the 'long haul' of our trip driving from Selma through Grants Pass and Crater Lake to the 97 which we would take to the Gorge where we'd hit the interstate and head home to Moses. First up though, was the rather unnerving drive along the rim to the north entrance of the park. WOW! That drive always gets me where there is no shoulder or barrier and a thousand foot drop off the side....kinda scary but we made it fine [emoticon]

[image]
Made a fuel and Dutch Bro's stop in Bend and then hauled butt North to Biggs Junction where we stopped for dinner in the camper and then hit the Interstate. Here I made the decision to push it for the last couple hundred miles or so and dropped the hammer! 70mph and away we go! We drafted with a Wolf Creek owner for 60 miles or so but eventually he couldn't keep up and we continued on.

Made it home with the mileage now impacted by the higher speed and sitting at 9.8mpg but we were ok with that since we'd planned for it.

1200 miles in our 2010 F350 SRW Crew Cab long box 4x4 hauling an AF 990 and I can tell you we're already thinking of where we can go next [emoticon]

Cheers
Erik


2019 F350 Lariat FX4 DRW PS6.7
2019 AF990

emcvay

Moses Lake WA

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Posted: 07/15/18 09:07am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

On a side note, ignore the numbers on the map. Those are there only to force Streets to put the route where I wanted it.

Camper_Jeff_&_Kelli

Seattle

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Posted: 07/15/18 10:16am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Nice trip. Only thing I can say is I'd of looked for any excuse to take the coast highway back north instead of I-5. % still has it's sights.


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Grit dog

Black Diamond, WA

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Posted: 07/15/18 10:38am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Nicely done! Looks like a fun trip in the books.
Regarding the body roll or rocking back n forth, especially on off camber stuff like in and out of parking lots, idk exactly how you have the rear susp setup, but by the pics, it looks like the camper is riding more on air than the springs. Maybe could let a little air out and set it down another inch or more on the springs.


"Yes Sir, Oct 10 1888, Those poor school children froze to death in their tracks. They did not even find them until Spring. Especially hard hit were the ones who had to trek uphill to school both ways, with no shoes." -Bert A.

emcvay

Moses Lake WA

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Posted: 07/15/18 04:56pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I was thinking that too (re: air). Had them set at 25psi though and didn't notice much difference at 14psi.

PatrickA51

Lost Because I Followed My GPS

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Posted: 07/15/18 06:22pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Excellent trip report.

profdant139

Southern California

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Posted: 07/15/18 07:07pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great TR. In case anyone is wondering, that is really the color of Crater Lake -- I would bet money that that those astonishing photos were not enhanced in any way.


2012 Fun Finder X-139 "Boondock Style" (axle-flipped and extra insulation)
2013 Toyota Tacoma Off-Road (semi-beefy tires and components)
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GoinThisAway

middle TN

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Posted: 07/15/18 07:31pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Excellent!


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Grit dog

Black Diamond, WA

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Posted: 07/15/18 08:56pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

emcvay wrote:

I was thinking that too (re: air). Had them set at 25psi though and didn't notice much difference at 14psi.

Well you have a stout set of springs there. Not much to adjust...carry on. Awesome looking combo btw.

emcvay

Moses Lake WA

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Posted: 07/15/18 09:56pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

profdant139 wrote:

Great TR. In case anyone is wondering, that is really the color of Crater Lake -- I would bet money that that those astonishing photos were not enhanced in any way.


Ahh yup. There is a scientific reason for that. They say it's because the lake is so deep (deepest in the USA) at over 1900 feet that the only light that makes it back from it's depths is the blue and I think violet (I'd have to look it up)....so the depth and incredible clarity makes this awesome blue.

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