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RE: South Dakota Advice

OP here. Thanks for the responses, keep them coming! We've researched the sights in the area, and have read about the "usual suspects". Any off-the-beaten-path ideas? If you're into hiking, there's a great hike to Black Elk Peak, formerly Harney Peak, the highest point in South Dakota, at over 7200 feet. Not overly long or difficult, the views are incredible from the top.
Thom02099 09/16/19 10:06am RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Beartooth Hwy closed

...And about 600 miles to the south, Trail Ridge Road and the Old Fall River Road in RMNP closed due to adverse weather at the same time as Bear Tooth. Both are now back open, for now.
Thom02099 09/13/19 01:36pm Roads and Routes
RE: State Park Links

The link for Colorado State Parks on the first page doesn't work. The website has changed, along with a name change. H E R E - Colorado State Parks is the updated URL for CPW (Colorado Parks and Wildlife - new name).
Thom02099 09/13/19 01:25pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: School me in public parks camping...

A lot of good advice given with prior posts. A couple of things to add: ** As mentioned about state parks, check the state park website. You may find that some state parks are reservation only. That has become a trend here in Colorado that a goodly number of state parks require reservations, no walk ins allowed. I frequent the state parks here and noticed the change in the past year or so, from an experiment at some state parks to a requirement at all of the ones that I usually enjoy. All of the ones I go to have electric hookups, common water, and a dump station. ** Twin batteries can usually last a long weekend without the generator. Switching all interior lights to LED bulbs helps in that. I also carry LED lanterns if I don't need to turn on overhead lights. I like to listen to music, the on board stereo/CD player doesn't seem to draw too much electricity. ** As previously mentioned, carrying extra water in jerry cans of some sort can get you through a weekend. I carry a 5 gallon igloo for drinking water and use the on board water for showers/toilet/dish washing. ** The 2 main reservation systems (for SP/USFS/NP) are and There are frequently pictures of campsites at the map level of the websites. Getting to them can be a chore, but can be done. Explore those 2 sites to get a feel for what they offer. ** USFS campgrounds, at least in this area of Colorado and Wyoming, almost never have any sort of amenities. There's the occasional CG that may offer electric at some sites, and even rarer, showers. There may be common water, but rarely are there dump stations. What they do offer is generally spread out campsites, and depending on location, less crowds.
Thom02099 09/12/19 07:00am RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: I-70 through Colorado

We're about to head to Oklahoma from Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. I would like to go I-90 east to I-15 south and then take I-70 east to Denver. I don't like a lot of drama so are the passes pretty easy to navigate? Any other concerns I should be aware of? We are in a 40' Class A diesel pusher towing a car. Thank you all for advice. I-70. Vail Pass over 10600 feet, not an overly difficult climb heading eastbound. Descent also not overly difficult, but it can be a bit deceptive, when you think you're down, there's still more downhill. You'll know you're completely down when you get to Frisco and the drop into Silverthorne. The climb from Silverthorne up to the Johnson/Eisenhower Tunnels is about 8 miles of steady climb, topping out at over 11100 feet, making it one of the highest tunnels in the world, and the longest/highest tunnel in the Interstate Highway system. It's 3 lanes up, so it really doesn't feel that daunting going eastbound. Narrows to 2 lanes going through the tunnel. For the descent, gear down immediately upon exiting the tunnel. I usually go down it in 2nd or 3rd gear. From the tunnels east to Denver, you do not want to do this on a Sunday. Ever. It is a slow crawl all the way to Denver. Floyd Hill, just east of Idaho Springs, is a bear of a climb when traffic is only moving at 20-25mph, in all climb lanes, and that can be frequently. The descent from the Evergreen Parkway to Denver West, is a long 8-9 mile drop with 2 runaway truck ramps if needed. There are signs along the way "Don't be fooled. You still have xx miles to go. keep in lower gear". You'll know you're down when you see the signs for Golden and the intersection with CO 470. Drama on these roads usually comes from other drivers. Going too slow, or too fast. Usually too fast. 80mph is not uncommon. Or towing too much with too little. An alternative? Take I-80 all the way across Wyoming. No passes at all, and if you get a good tail wind out of the west, you'll get decent fuel economy. Highest point on all of I-80 is just east of Laramie at ~9600 feet. Lots of rolling terrain, and high plains.
Thom02099 09/03/19 05:58pm Roads and Routes
RE: Camping in the Midwest

I was just back in the midwest in NE Indiana in July. Plan was to visit Brown County State Park in the southern part of the state, about a 4.5-5 hour drive from where I was. Unfortunately didn't make it due to an accident that affected my trailer, but still somewhere that I'd like to see. The Brown County area has a lot of things to see and do. Notably a goodly number of covered bridges. Also a hilly area with what looks to be some great sightseeing, small towns to visit and shop. I've read about (but never been to) the Hocking Hills area in Ohio, another apparently popular area that's not in Michigan. There's a lot of Amish areas in Indiana and Ohio, so a trip to camp/visit could be something of interest. Not to detract from Michigan, because there's a lot to see and do up there, just that there are other areas as well.
Thom02099 09/01/19 08:33am RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Cumbres Toltec Scenic Railway - Southern Rockies

As a young boy, my son was very much into trains of all kinds. Huge "Thomas The Tank Engine" fan, had quite the collection of Thomas Toys (still has it all). So one summer we decided to do the train tour of southern Colorado. It was an experience of a lifetime, I still have great memories of that trip. The C&T was a brilliant trip, the views are incredible and the experience well worth the expense. The train crosses the NM/CO line multiple times and the scenery changes are subtle but dramatic. We stayed in Chama, walking to the RR station from our campground and took the bus to Antonito. Many folks had recommended going this direction since it starts out in the high desert and gradually changes as the train heads toward Chama. It did not disappoint. In addition to the C&T, we did the Durango & Silverton, the Georgetown Loop, the Victor & Cripple Creek and the Manitou Incline. A trip full of wonderful memories.
Thom02099 08/31/19 07:49am General RVing Issues
RE: Taking Hwy50 form Montrose to Colorado Springs~

Bill ~~ Rushmore never in this trip plans. Just a while in Colo. then head home. Since you are into routing ?? What is time difference in taking 50 over Monarch to Cañon City As opposed to cutting off South at 114 then catching 285 North back up to 50 and heading on East to Cañon City by passing the Pass?? ~~ Just Curious. Thanks for your thoughts. Not Bill here...but it's an alternative. Some would say it's beautiful, others might say it's rather...boring. There's still a pass -- North Cochetopa (or just North) Pass, at about 10,150 feet. Barely noticeable by Colorado standards, no views/vistas of any sort. Good paved road, but not a lot of open vistas. Given the choice, my preference would be Monarch, for the aerial tram that takes you up on the south side of the pass to a visitor's center where the views are unsurpassed.
Thom02099 08/29/19 06:38am Roads and Routes
RE: Route Advice Estes Park to Great Basin and then Utah

We are planning an August - October trip from Estes Park to see RMNP - then to great Basin National Park in Nevada - and then the Utah national parks. We are kind of leary about driving through the Rocky Mountains on route 34 (Trail Ridge Road). We have a 41 foot 5th wheel. Any advice on this, or suggestions for alternate routes? Thanks! RV's are not prohibited on Trail Ridge Road. As stated, tour buses and modified Jeep Jitney type vehicles are up there frequently. So are the occasional Motor Home/Travel Trailer/5th wheel. But there's a reason why there are not a bunch of them up there. On the east side you climb through forest to about the 2 mile up level, and once you get to Rainbow Curve, you'll be above tree line for about 11 miles. Part of that is a narrow shelf road with no shoulders, no guard rails, and steep drop offs. And on the west side descent there's 5 hairpin curves that are very tight. Yes, buses do it; they are also professional drivers who've done it before. It ain't their first rodeo. If it's your "first rodeo", there are alternatives. Leave Estes Park on CO 7 and head to Allenspark. Just past Allenspark, CO 72 splits off from CO7. These 2 roads are part of the Peak to Peak Highway which is a great drive. CO 7 to Allenspark is a bit rough and narrow, but no drop offs; you're in the forest. Once on CO 72, the road is generally good with shoulders. Yes there are curves and hills but nothing overly challenging. You'll take CO 72 to Nederland where you'll pick up CO 119, still the Peak to Peak Highway. That will take you to Black Hawk/Central City. You can continue on CO 119 down to I-70 (follow the signs) and then just take I-70 westbound to your next destination.
Thom02099 08/27/19 04:10pm Roads and Routes
RE: Rocky Mountains camping

I used to live in Colorado and went to RMNP once. Too crowded. There are so many great places in the state to wander around in. such as? Been to Durango area before I had RV then to Ridgway SP and Mueller SP with the camper. Always looking for good recommendations. Thanks H E R E is a good starting point for things to do in Colorado. As stated above, a lot depends on your interests. Some folks hate the cities, wouldn't be caught dead in them, but there's a lot to do in the various major cities in Colorado, both along the Front Range as well as the Western Slope and intermountain region. Colorado is not a boring state... :C
Thom02099 08/11/19 09:24pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: New to Travel Trailers. What to look for?

Hey all. I am new here and am wanting to get a TT for my family sometime next year. I would like to hear opinions on what brands to look for regarding reliability, comfort and durability and which ones to stay away from if ya'll wouldn't mind. What do ya'll use and why? I am looking in the 26-30' range with at least 1 slide out. I will be wanting a quad bunk option if I can find it. What say you? Thanks in advance for any tidbits ya'll throw me. Some great responses so far. If you advise what tow vehicle you have, you'll get even more information. If you're open to buying a tow vehicle, get more tow vehicle than you think you'll need. You'll be happier in the long run, especially if you plan to do any sort of travelling in the mountain West.
Thom02099 08/11/19 07:25am Travel Trailers
RE: Another Rear End Accident Story

I HATE to write this, but you probably could use an attorney. As long as you get what you receive funds to fix or purchase a replacement trailer, get reimbursed for expenses and have your truck fixed cool. However, insurance companies don't make their money giving money away. I did contact an attorney. Since it was property damage only, no injuries, he stated that few attorneys would get involved in such a case. I received notification that the accident investigation report is complete, so looking to get a copy of that, as leverage against the other insurance company, since the trooper advised me the Freightliner driver was completely at fault.
Thom02099 08/11/19 07:10am General RVing Issues
RE: Another Rear End Accident Story

Update I contacted an attorney, regarding this situation. Though he could not advise on Indiana law, he did note that most attorneys will not get involved with any property damage only accidents. Basically, my insurance pays on the claim and then goes after the other driver's insurance to re-coup expenses. The appraiser was out today, was surprised by the extent of the damage. He said there were some factors that were set, ie, as to hourly labour cost, they had to calculate a rate of $100/hour, even though local shops in this area are in the $150/hour range. He stated that he could note that I have a preferred repair facility that has a known rate of $149/hour, so the estimator could use that figure in assessing damage. The appraiser was very candid, he said that the repairs would easily be a 60 hour job, which at the low end would be $6000 for labour and and the higher end would be over $8900. Parts would be very expensive, as the entire rear end would need to be replaced, including the rear slide out, and some parts would be difficult to find. His opinion was that the trailer would be totaled out. So now in the market for a replacement trailer. I actually found a similar trailer, but without the rear slide out, as I like the basic floor plan (Keystone Outback M28BHS) vs my current Outback 25RSS. Once everything is settled, I can get serious about an offer.
Thom02099 08/09/19 07:30pm General RVing Issues
RE: Another Rear End Accident Story

Glad everyone was okay.. That's first and foremost. I think a lawyer consult is wise. I can't believe how some people imply filing a false claim, or making a false statement is somehow "okay". Im all for being compensated for real loss, but faking injuries etc to use as leverage just leaves a slimey feeling that I hope you are above. I think you should be compensated for actual loss of use. I also would agree that in many cases, that calculation of loss time generally would reasonably end with the settlement payment. The insurance company has no way of knowing if it will be 30 days, 60 days, or two days for you to buy a new RV and truck. OP - you don't sound like someone who would make frivolous lawsuits. Hope that's correct. I just find actions like DowntheAvenue is advocating are unethical and immoral. Im sure the next comment will be a way to justify that behavior as a result of the behavior of others, or of unscrupulous lawyers or insurance companies. Glad you're okay.. Hope all works out for you. Mike Thank you, Mike, for your response. I am not one to file a frivolous lawsuit. Given a preference, it would be to not have to take ANY legal action. I simply want the insurance company for the other driver to do the right thing, and make it right. Grasping at straws? Perhaps. But this is where I believe in the power of the law, and in this situation, I believe that the law is on my side. I don't make the rules, I'm simply trying to play by them. Consulting an attorney helps me play by the rules, because right now, I don't know all the rules. An attorney does. I am in complete agreement that, once a settlement figure is reached, and PAID, then any loss of use ends at that point. I'm not looking for a "golden goose", but my expectation is that, since I have reservations made 6 months ago, I should be compensated for not being able to use those reservations, and recoup expenses involved. The storage lot is a bit more tricky and I completely understand that. The trailer is currently there. Therefore, there's no loss of use. My belief is that the trailer will likely remain there until an insurance company tells me it's a total loss and takes possession of it. Until then, I've paid for the storage, so I will continue to use it. I've got an appointment set to have my GMC Sierra looked at, to get an estimate on the bumper/hitch repair. The trailer is going to be appraised by a specialty company, and I'm just waiting for them to reach out to me to set a date/time to look at the damage.
Thom02099 08/06/19 06:38am General RVing Issues
RE: Another Rear End Accident Story

You might have to make sure the loss of use amount is included in your claim to the other driver's insurance company. If they do not agree to include this amount, that's when a lawyer can really come in handy, if nothing more than to write a letter to them showing you're serious. But lawyer hours can add up quickly, killing any advantage to using one, if you need much more than a letter. Since you're working it through your own insurance, hopefully they will amenable and diligent about getting this amount covered for you. BTW, a lot of lawyers will do a free, short little consultation, especially if they know that all you need is 2 minutes' worth of advice. Really sorry this messed up your trip. But very glad you are ok healthwise. Thank you so much, Mike. I appreciate your response and advice. That's what I was hoping for, with a lawyer consult, to make sure I've got all my ducks in a row.
Thom02099 08/05/19 04:17pm General RVing Issues
RE: Another Rear End Accident Story

It is my understanding that you can file a Loss of Use claim for any monetary damages you suffer while your covered units are not usable. Now this is where I found out it gets tricky! Once they settle your claim, all financial loses after that date are on you. The theory is you were made whole and can go out and immediately buy another unit and still use your reservations and storage space. So you claim would probably only be for the period from the day of the accident until they settled and paid you. Thank you for your response and information. My thinking was also along those lines, but wasn't sure. I am HOPEFUL that a settlement will be rather quick. Reality gets in the way however. My guess is this will run far beyond the current camping season here. Good thing I got a bunch of trips in early!
Thom02099 08/04/19 08:24pm General RVing Issues
RE: Another Rear End Accident Story

When I first started reading your post, I thought you were referring to this accident with a semi-truck and a 5er just VERY recently in Indianapolis: click here. This was on the news for days, and it's still very disturbing as new facts about the semi-truck driver unearth. I live near Anderson, Indiana, and if you took your vehicle to Gerber in Anderson, your truck is in good hands. I had a repair after getting T-boned in another vehicle. They restored the vehicle back to GM factory specs. They are awesome. But they do take time, but do it right. Good luck. About Indiana? I doubt you will recoup anything you payed for your loss at the storage rental, or campsite reservations. Your best bet is the cancel those campground reservations and get whatever money back you can, and work with your storage facility for some kind of agreement, help, or postponed services since you don't have the camper in storage there, now. But expecting the insurance company to cover these types of losses, I doubt very very much that will happen. The two insurance companies should be battling all the details out. YOU should not contact or touch base with the "other" insurance agency at all. Let YOUR insurance claims division do all the negotiation. Anything you say or do or talk about with the "enemy" could be used against you and undermine any standing or fault on you! So, let your insurance company do the work for which they are paid to do. EVERYTHING you do should go through your insurance claims division.... EVERYTHING. FYI, I live outside of Anderson, only about 5 miles from the city line, about 8 miles from Gerber Auto Repair, about 5 miles form Modern Trailer in Anderson. So, if you need a friend in this area, I'm very close. Good luck! Thank you for your information. It was in fact, Gerber that I took the truck to on the day after the accident. The service guy there was Ryan, he was very good, took time to look over the truck, and when asked if he would drive it to Colorado, said "yes". I appreciated his thoroughness and honesty. Modern Trailer was the place I took it the very first time, the ones that referred me to the local Chevy dealer.
Thom02099 08/04/19 06:10pm General RVing Issues
Another Rear End Accident Story

The scenario: On 07.29.19 travelling southbound on I-69 at MP 221.6 outside Anderson, IN. This is in a construction zone, with a posted speed limit in the work zone of 55MPH. There is a Y configuration for the lanes, the right lane going one direction, the left lane going another direction, and the construction in the middle/closed lane. There was a previous/similar construction zone about a mile prior to this one. A UHaul truck stops suddenly in the middle of the Y median. The car directly behind it, and directly in front of me, brakes to keep from hitting the UHaul, as she has nowhere to go. I also brake to keep from hitting the car, and appear to have avoided it, when I hear a crash behind me, and am pushed forward into the car by a Freightliner semi who rear ended my trailer. We all get out of our vehicles to see if anyone is hurt; there are no injuries. No airbag deployments either, we were going approximately 40-45MPH. We all move our vehicles out of the roadway, and I call 9-1-1 to get law enforcment to respond. We all also exchange information, with the exception of the UHaul driver who left the scene. I take lots of pictures of the damage to my 2007 GMC Sierra SLE 3500 dually and my 2007 Keystone Outback 25RSS trailer. Indiana State Police Trooper arrives, takes a look at all the vehicles, gets all our information. Provides me with an instruction sheet as to how to get a copy of the report, and states that the driver of the Freightliner is 100% at fault, that he had a duty to be far enough back as to avoid an accident. Driver was cited. I asked the trooper if he thought it was safe for me to drive my rig, he took a look at it (he's a trailer guy too), said it looked like everything was OK to tow, but recommended a local RV dealer if I wanted to have it checked out. Took it to that dealer, they said the hitch and bumper on my GMC would need to be replaced, and that they could sell me a hitch. They also recommended a local Chevy dealer to check out the bumper. Drove over to them, they said the bumper would definitely need to be replaced, and emailed me an estimate. I asked both of them if the rig was safe to drive, to go back to Colorado, neither would give me a definitive answer. Thought I was going to be stuck there for a few weeks. I called Liberty Mutual again, they said I could go to a local collision repair place and get an opinion, and gave me the names of 2 in the Anderson area. Went to one of them the following day. Appraiser there said the frame was good, the bumper, though damaged, was still tight, and that the hitch also appeared to be tight, though bent downward due to the angle of the bumper. He said there was a hitch place near by, if I wanted to get another opinion, so went over there as well. Guy there inspected the hitch, said that it looked tight, thought it was missing a nut and that part of a bolt had been sheered off, but was still in tight condition. I asked both if they thought the rig was driveable back to Colorado, both said yes. The Freightliner driver drives for Watkins and Shepard Trucking/Schneider National Carriers and has Old Republic Insurance. He had already called in a claim when I called them, they said it would be 24-48 BUSINESS HOURS (presumably meaning 3-6 days) before a claims adjuster would be assigned and contact me. In addition to the damage to the bumper of my GMC, the trailer sustained significant damage. The rear bumper was pushed up and inward, peeling back off the support strut, the spare tire carrier was pushed into the rear wall of the trailer and in to the interior of the trailer, where a step was damaged, along with both of the benches for the dinette. The rear slide out handle was damaged, and the slide out will not slide completely out. Appears that part of the roof support also has come loose, and there is damage to a cabinet in the slide out. Both of the stairs for the door entries were also damaged, making it difficult to deploy the stairs, and the rear door doesn't close correctly. That is what is visible, I don't know if there's damage underneath. Was able to make it home to Colorado safely (3 days coming back), got back here on Friday, 08.02.19. Now awaiting contacts on my various claims. GMC will be handled by a collision center near by. The trailer will have an inspector come out a see if it's repairable or will be totalled. I'm also going to call a service I've used before and have them inspect it as a disinterested 3rd party, to give me an approximation on repair costs. And YES, I do plan to, at minimum consult an attorney. My insurance processor said that, in the event that the trailer is totalled, they would pay off the lien on the trailer and they go after the other driver's insurance, for my deductible among other things. They would also pay the collision center direct, again minus deductible, for the repairs to the GMC. My guess is the trailer is totaled, as the entire rear portion of the trailer would need to be replaced as well as removal of the rear slide out to even make any repairs. My questions: My insurance pays off my trailer lien then presumably goes after Old Republic for that payment, plus my deductible for both vehicles. But who pays for loss of use? I've made reservations at a variety of campgrounds for the remainder of the summer/fall, that I will now have to cancel, and will only get a partial refund. Also loss of use, who pays for the trailer storage that I paid for in advance? I have 5 months of storage paid for and nothing to store, if it's totaled. There is also the "making it right" part of this. Indiana is an "at fault" state, so with the other driver being 100% at fault, it seems to me that his insurance company is responsible to make this right, yes? I didn't ask to be in an accident, their driver was negligent, and now they should cover the cost of a replacement trailer, yes? Hope to have some answers later this week, but it's so frustrating to be in limbo, playing a waiting game. I know, it's likely to be a long drawn out process. Opinions/thoughts/suggestions?
Thom02099 08/04/19 05:25pm General RVing Issues
RE: Where do you Post Campground Reviews?

Primarily POST reviews at, formerly Have posted there for a while now, and just recently returned from a vacation trip where I've posted reviews. I also post on Google and sometimes on And a special shout out to the KOA in Anderson/Muncie IN.
Thom02099 08/04/19 09:31am RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Road closure (detour) questions

We just traveled on Highway 24 in Indiana and Illinois. Had to take the detour around Goodland. Was kind of a pain but smooth sailing. About 20 miles our of our way. ^^^^^^ This. Also just did this last week. About 30 minutes out of the way but not a problem. Detours around both Goodland and Remington.
Thom02099 08/02/19 10:03pm Roads and Routes
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