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RE: Turning your truck like a skid steer

I recall when I had the first vehicle (that I had) that had an electronic readout for the temperature..."why would I need that" it's very nice to have. Similarly, recall paying extra (on one of my new vehicles) for heated seats: who needs that, just let the car warm it's very nice to have. Finally, rear view camera: "who needs that, that's what mirrors are for" I've become lazy enough that I really like the rear view camera. So all these things that were "why do that" are now Very Nice to Have's.... Somehow I don't see the tank turn / skid steer feature ever getting to the point of enough utility that it's nice to have. Cool gimmick for the poseurs, not much more than that.
PA12DRVR 01/23/20 09:40am Tow Vehicles
RE: Alaska Highway Campgrounds

"Other suggestion I got was to go by ferry, then hire a good 4x4 to drive to the nearest accessible National Park. And on to the next." $0.03 - I had a fantastic trip in 2018 to GC National Park, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Glacier, and Yellowstone. All told on that trip we hit 12 - 15 sites, either National Parks, National Monuments, or National ____ (forests, scenic rivers, etc). To varying degrees, spent a few days at each one, stayed in a nearby motel, and woke up each morning when the wife and I would decide which part of the park to drive to, which hikes to take, where to have lunch, and where to be at when it was dinner time (either in the park or outside). - (With some limited exception in Denali), the National Parks in AK ain't like that. Accessing the scenery requires use of something besides your own vehicle: (again, with small exceptions for Denali) either a sponsored bus / coach, a commercial air sightseeing venture, a commercial water sightseeing venture, or a drop-off and go hiking or paddling. - Recognizing that, and if the drive up to Alaska isn't part of the attraction, I believe the most efficient way to see the NP's in Alaska would be to fly up here from Yosemite, spend some weeks in Alaska, rent a car as needed, fly, boat, hike out to see what's interesting (whether a national park, state park, or just the country), then fly back. Probably pretty expensive but honestly probably a better balance of "seeing stuff / doing stuff" vs. "cost" than many RV trips - Unless one is strictly wanting to check the box on National Parks, I wouldn't skip the drive up and back. Canada is spectacular in it's own right (Northern BC and the Yukon, particularly Kluane, compete with anything Alaska offers) and if you drive through the mountain west U.S., that's pretty nice as well. My suggestion would be to figure out what you'd like to see / do in AK without limiting it to National Parks....once that's determined, it may shape how you get up here as well as how long you stay.
PA12DRVR 01/22/20 05:28pm RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: Alaska Highway Campgrounds

..and strictly personal and "far end of the bell curve" opinion, but if one is at all self-contained / reliant, I'd suggest September for visiting both Denali and WSE. Facilities and services tend to abruptly die in early- mid-September, but if one can get by without them for a few days, fall scenery can be spectacular, the bugs are gone, many tourists are gone :) etc.
PA12DRVR 01/22/20 01:15pm RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: Alaska Highway Campgrounds

Any ideas from the regulars on how to strategize to visit as many National Parks as possible with a travel trailer? And if you can include the best season or month to do it (read so far that winter is impossible and middle of summer have slushy roads/tundra. Thinking off the top of my head: - Limited to the "standard" road system (not counting fly-in parks that have roads, or "boat-in" parks that have roads), I think there's only two (2) national parks that are road accessible: Denali NP and Wrangell-St. Elias NP. - Certainly do-able with a travel trailer, but it's a rough 60 miles from Chitina to McCarthy (the access point to WSE) to get to WSE NP: then one either hikes or flies to access the scenery - One can sort of drive to Kenai Fjords National Park as it involves going to Seward and then either doing local hikes (i.e. Exit Glacier) or taking a water cruise to see parts of the Park or getting dropped of for day (or days) trips. Chugach State Park and Denali State Park are both road accessible, at least to get to trailheads and related facilities.
PA12DRVR 01/22/20 01:11pm RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: Alaska Highway Campgrounds

FWIW, - As noted, lots of pullouts to use along the way. - Except for a holiday weekend, most "campgrounds" don't get too busy. If there's only one campground with power/ water etc for 200 miles, it might get hit heavy, but most of the power only or "just a spot" CG's aren't heavily used as the norm. - As MORSNOW indicated, avoid Seward during 4th of July. FWIW, in general, Alaska CG's near to what passes for population centers (Los Anchorage, Squarebanks, Seward, Talkeetna, Kenai) tend to get pretty ugly around Memorial Day, the 4th, and Labor Day (Memorial and Labor days depending somewhat on weather). I think Seward's the worst, but I avoid camping near Talkeetna and Fairbanks over the 4th as well. - Purely anecdotally, an increasing number of the pullout spots on the road system in Alaska are getting some sort of signage that purportedly bars "overnight" or "camping"....don't know if it's being enforced or not.
PA12DRVR 01/22/20 09:56am RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: New truck batteries

Based on relatively recent experience - Change sooner rather than later; - Don't use "SuperStart" branded batteries....I think it might be a house brand for O'Reilly's. Recently purchased two of them; although new and fully charged, not enough CCA to spin the motor (didn't produce the CCA advertised). When I took them in for refund (which was given without any problem), the counterman said "Oh, another bad set of those..."
PA12DRVR 01/15/20 01:19pm Tow Vehicles
RE: Summer fuel at minus 42

About the only good thing of driving in -20 (f) or colder is how tacky the snow/ice that might be on the highways gets. At sustained cold, both highway and in-town road snow and ice tends to slowly sublimate away, but until then, the highway gets tacky while in town the intersections just get polished....:(
PA12DRVR 01/15/20 10:57am Tow Vehicles
RE: Towing questions

FWIW, - It might be worthwhile getting the "real world" weight of the RZR if you haven't already; maybe not the best comparison, but I was surprised at what my Ranger weighed compared to the book weight, even after factoring in the weight gain from the winch and full windshield. - I have a 2009 2500 HD with Duramax. Back when it was my only vehicle, I routinely pulled with loads in excess of the manufacturer ratings (GVWR, GCWR infrequently) by a few to several hundred #'s, but within the tire and axle rating: don't like to do it, won't do it anymore (have other rigs now), but for relatively short tows (0 - 300 miles) it worked out fine.
PA12DRVR 01/14/20 09:25am Tow Vehicles
RE: Summer fuel at minus 42

Back in the day, the boss says to me, wrap the tank, put in the battery heaters, and check the coolant before taking your trip. Coolant was easy to check: - 60, good. Battery heaters, easy enough, accessible through the cab, good. Wrap the tank? "I don't wanna, I have to crawl under the truck, I'll get dirty, it's cold waaa!" Shoulda, woulda, coulda: Would have been much easier to put the tank wrap/heater on in a relatively warm +10 on a packed snow yard, with a nice warm shop to retreat to every so often at Los Anchorage rather than building the Rube Goldberg tent over the truck and dealing with space heaters, additives, etc for the better part of a day when the fuel gelled at -35 just outside of Glenallen. Although my commercial truck / equipment days are long past (and they were minimal to begin with) for my diesel pickup, I'm pretty aggressive about getting winter blend as soon as available...even though it's nowhere near as critical as in times past.
PA12DRVR 01/14/20 09:17am Tow Vehicles
RE: Chevy 8.1 truck with low miles?

Grit posted a good find for someone in the market. Lot to be said for the old 8.1 gasser. May not compare to the new rigs in many ways but probably a good balance of remaining life, ability, entry cost, and opex. I'd be willing to guess that the old 8.1 has fewer computer chip/electronic parts to fail like happened on my 2009 2500HD with Duramax at about 120k....the iron is fine, but engine and tranny electronics all took a hike within about a 6-month period (8 - 12 different failures, one at -20 that convinced me to drop serious coin for a new rig).
PA12DRVR 01/09/20 05:06pm Tow Vehicles
RE: Winter sets in

"Wisdom, maybe!" I use a fireplace to supplement my home's heating system (as well as because the wife likes it). there are 3 options to secure firewood: 1) go out to the cabin (about 70 miles) cut wood (either fallen or to-be-felled, spruce & birch), buck it up, haul back to Los Anchorage....all done most "efficiently" in the winter; 2) pay $250 for a true cord of mixed spruce and birch piled somewhere in the yard by a wood supplier; or 3) pay $300 for a true cord delivered and stacked by the other wood supplier whilst I carefully point out the spot to stack while enjoying either a hot or cold beverage. Wisdom has pointed me to #3 for the past couple of years.....
PA12DRVR 01/09/20 03:02pm RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: BMW vs KTM vs Triumph vs Honda Adventure motorcycle

Can't speak from direct experience, but my BIL got the BMW a few years ago...rode the heck out of it without any problems that weren't driver caused (great bike, but it's not a 2-wheel ATV). Can't say for sure, but believe he put 25k miles on it in a 3 (?) year stretch. Made him feel young enough again (apparently) that he un-retired and took a consulting gig back on Wall Street, so the bike doesn't get used as much now.
PA12DRVR 01/09/20 09:58am Around the Campfire
RE: Winter sets in

"...your experience in those cold temperatures..." Having added 40 years since that trip, I simply wouldn't go out into the wilds again if there was even a hint that it would get colder than -20 or so. While going out in -15 (to pick a number) means be prudent and prepared for the unexpected further 20 degree drop, for me, I just won't go out if the forecast is "-15, with an Arctic Mass moving in over the weekend driving temperatures much lower" (made-up example of course). It ain't worth the risk anymore.
PA12DRVR 01/07/20 05:07pm RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: Winter sets in

Re: Caribou hunt No animals taken on that hunt: - It was too cold for there to be much movement, so limited opportunities in any case; - For the few days that we were strategically staying put (vs. trying for fire up and fly back to Los Anchorage), the prime objective was to ensure the woodbox was full, that the woodstove was either freshly stoked or cleaned of ash and then fired up, and that the snowmelt buckets were full and placed on the woodstove. - After doing all that, given the time of year, we had about 3 maybe 4 at the most hours of daylight; the hunting involved heading out on snowshoes, so by the time one builds in a safety margin (to ensure return before dark) and when one travels carefully at -40 to nearly -60 (carefully = slowly), one doesn't cover much ground. The quonset hut was on the end of a narrow lake, with two small valleys on either side: We covered those valleys, but not much more over the 4-5 days we went out....simply saw no 'bou. ...and even though we degreased and graphited our firearms (using 70's technology), I suspect its debatable if they'd have fired properly even if we found something to shoot at. We did shoot quite a few ptarmigan nearby with the old exposed hammer(s) side-by-side shotgun that the guy kept at the hut.
PA12DRVR 01/07/20 10:19am RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: Winter sets in

On that caribou hunt, "back in the day" (of my long lost youth), two airplanes / 3 guys flew into a strip on the other side of the Alaska range and promptly landed on about a bazillion feet of fresh snow...had to swim out of the plane. At the time it was "only" about -10, but the most experienced guy said "Let's drain the oil, just in case". So, on the first day, the last 3 hours of daylight were spent compacting the space around the planes, draining the oil into buckets and carefully carrying it to the nearby quonset hut. Good thing: it dropped to -35, then to circa -50 and stayed there for about 5 days. The quonset hut had good wood stove...good thing because at -50, it had become a survival expedition. The 3 of us spent those few days tromping down a packed "strip" for an eventual departure. After a while, lo and behold, it warmed up to -25...which was noticeably warmer after -50+. The tall young buck (me in those days) promptly starts roping the frost off the metal wings and sweeping it off the fabric wings while the experienced folks heat the oil on the wood stove, carry it carefully out, and even more carefully put it in the engine...some preheating, then all hands work to pop each airplane loose from the snow and back to los Anchorage just in time to call off the CAP. Memorable event even after 40 years. While I've avoided outside work as much as possible since then (:) ), at anything below -20, things are done very slowly, very carefully, and with much forethought. At -50, a mistake (presuming one's "out of town") is probably deadly.
PA12DRVR 01/06/20 03:48pm RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: Winter sets in

It's cooled off even in Los Anchorage area. The truck thermometer (FWIW) showed -11 at the house on Sunday a.m., -11 at Eagle River, and a cool -17 just north of Palmer. Back in the old days (when winter was "normal"), I always used to figure that down to -20 was to be expected and, while not pleasant, just deal with it. -25, -30, -40 (or Purkeypile mine on frosty winter caribou hunt, -58) is just no fun and to be avoided if at all possible. My hat is off to the folks (troopers, linemen, wrecker drivers, and others) that just keep on going, regardless of the temps.
PA12DRVR 01/06/20 09:41am RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: Thinking of replacing ASME propane tank

This is a stamped (U, V, UM, ....) ASME Tank? I'd suspect that unless you're seeing pitting that you would believe weakens the tank, it's probably fine. However, given what appears to be the difficulty and expense of replacing it, it might be worth looking around for a tank shop (an industrial tank fabrication shop, not Joe's Propane) with an "R" stamp: they will have a National Board / ASME approved testing program and will likely be able to hook up to the tank, pressure test it in place, and identify if it is suitable for continued use. Might have to pay a bit since most folks with an R stamp think of "tank" in the hundreds of gallons or hundreds/thousands of psi, but an R stamp shop should have a testing program that would indicate continued suitability for use.
PA12DRVR 01/03/20 03:08pm General RVing Issues
RE: F450 vs F350 SRW payload

"This may sound like heresy to some, but I don’t agree with the old saying of “You can never have too much truck”. Actually you can. I would rather haul my camper on an “overloaded” (wink, wink) F450 pickup than an F550 that is sprung to carry 2-3 times as much weight. Lightly loading a heavy truck like that is what ends up making a Link air ride system look good." I max out my F550 with either dirt or boulders about twice a year...and for about a month I carry enough sand / equipment on it to have a decent ride. Other than that, the ride will beat you to pieces. If I had to do it over again, I'd probably end up with the same setup, but would have to look long and hard at the 450 pickup model.
PA12DRVR 12/30/19 06:27pm Tow Vehicles
RE: F450 vs F350 SRW payload

"Otherwise as noted by many of that use our rigs commercial, or live in a jurisdiction that charges tonnage be a truck is used commercial or private like here in Washington state. Manufactures stickers be dammed! They mean nothing." ^^^ This. I had to jump through hoops both registering and insuring my F550 dump truck(a previous generation, so not germane to the 2020 discussion) when the primary use was going to be personal and not commercial.
PA12DRVR 12/30/19 10:01am Tow Vehicles
RE: Winter sets in

Y'all are making me miss wintertime up there. (Yes I thoroughly enjoyed it, but the wife said if we'd stayed any longer she would require a plow with a heated cab!). She took to plowing the drive with the quad quite well. Had the cleanest driveway in the 'hood! Well, you missed winter, it's now once again, non-winter (for the Los Anchorage area anyway)....Friday after Christmas, the truck thermometer showed -14 at the house. This morning, while it was freaking raining (!), showed 36....and of course, my plow truck (which is also the sanding truck) chooses yesterday to develop a glitch....oh well.
PA12DRVR 12/30/19 09:42am RVing in Canada and Alaska
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