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RE: Travelling from Nevada to Alaska in the Middle of Winter

A good thing about packing your bearings is the bearing can be inspected to be sure it's not worn or needs replaced. In 2019 we pulled a camping trailer on our trip to Alaska. 12,103 miles total. I inspected and packed my own bearings. Not a big job really. I've done it for years. All the bearing appeared fine. Then a Saturday afternoon just north of Wasilla heading south a bearing came apart. Before I could get stopped it took off the castle nut, outer bearing came apart in pieces and the hub rubbing on the axle totaled the axle. When I jacked up the camper the wheel fell off. There was nothing any longer holding the wheel and tire in place. We were lucky we didn't lose it going down the road. That would have damaged the trailer and put other travelers at risk of a lose tire in the road. Fortunately we were about 1/4 mile from a repair shop altho he did not have an axle. It was just a 6000 lbs axle, nothing special, but no one near Wasilla had one. We had a 2 axle trailer and were able to slowly limp it to the guy's shop on the 1 axle. Since it was Saturday afternoon we had to wait until Monday, drive to Anchorage, and luckily we found a place that carried axles. We were back on the road by Monday evening. It was not a cheap repair. There's a lot of miles in Alaska and Canada where if we had that problem in other locations it could have been very bad time and a lot more expensive getting repairs. Even a bearing that looks good can go bad. For that long of a trip and the remote places you'll be traveling if you don't want to do the inspection and repack yourself paying a few dollars before you leave can be a lot cheaper than losing a bearing in Alaska.
Wadcutter 01/20/21 08:25am RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: No hot water during a freeze

I won't even bother to explain why hot water freezes faster because I don't think you would understand anyway. The idea that hot water freezes faster is a known phenomenon. It's not an idea that just came along within this thread. It's called the Mpemba Effect. It's actually not a proven, verified experiment. If you had actually studied chemistry then you would know that. It was a theory postulated by a 13 year old school boy in Tanzania. He witnessed an ice cream mix frost over on the top and then went on to postulate that the mix had frozen quicker than cold mix. He did not understand what he was seeing and his conclusion was based on things he didn't understand. In controlled experiments the Mpemba Effect hasn't been replicated. All the 13 year old boy saw was a frosting of the surface and he then jumped to the conclusion, erroneously, that the mix had frozen. It had not. It was frost he had witnessed, not freezing of the mix. His theory has not been verified in controlled experiments since 1963. But this myth keeps getting repeated by those who have no knowledge of science. It's something they read on the internet and repeat it not understanding what it is. There - that's the simple explanation that is not complicated so you can understand what you think you know.
Wadcutter 12/27/20 03:57pm Tech Issues
RE: No hot water during a freeze

Hot water will freeze before cold water. That is a myth It's not a myth. It's basic high school chemistry Then you slept thru your high school chemistry class. Still water freezes at 32 deg F. Remember that from your high school chemistry. So what it takes to freeze water is to drop the temp from its existing temp to 32 deg. That requires a transfer of heat away from the water. If the beginning temp of the water is 60 deg then it requires a transfer of 28 deg to drop the water to freezing. If the water is 200 deg then it requires a transfer of 168 deg. That is simple high school chemistry. You flunked your class. Stay after school. Re-read the chapter on heat transfer. Do some extra credit work and maybe you'll pass chemistry this semester.
Wadcutter 12/27/20 07:44am Tech Issues
RE: Converter fan revving up and down

Always start with the cheapest solutions first. First thing check the fluid level in your battery. What your inverter is doing is charging your battery. Low fluid makes affects how the battery will charge. Seen that many many times. Someone will complain their inverter runs all the time. Top off the battery fluid and all is well. If that doesn't fix it then have the battery checked. It could be a weak cell and the battery is going bad where it doesn't take a full charge. One of those will usually fix the problem. There have been a lot of perfectly good inverters replaced, at an expense, when the only problem was low battery fluid.
Wadcutter 12/27/20 07:37am Tech Issues
RE: How will my new F350 behave in cold temps?

How far north are you going? Unless you're going where the temps are well below 0 every day all day your 6.7L will be fine. Without an engine heater on a really cold day it will be noisy when you start it but quiet down when the engine warms. Nothing to be concerned about there. Here in IL I rarely plug in my engine heater. The only time I do is when I know it's going to be cold and I want it to warm up quicker so it's warmer inside. In cold locations, and most likely even in NC, diesel fuel is winterized to prevent jelling.
Wadcutter 12/19/20 07:36am Tow Vehicles
RE: Reliable Walkie Talkie?

For a few more bucks you can get the rugged radios version of the same units that are much more robust, but more expensive. Rugged radios periodically puts their units on sale. Again, you'll need a programming cable and chirp website to program them. I won't beat the dead horse on the rest of ktmrfs post and what he suggested. Totally illegal. Don't do it. And for the quoted part of his post above recommending Rugged Radio. For those who say don't worry about it, do it anyway. Rugged Radio was cited this week by the FCC for illegally marketing the very radios ktmrfs suggested. What they were cited for was selling Baofeng made radios which are only approved by the FCC for Amateur Radio use and advertising those radios as programmable to non-ham frequencies. Rugged Radios was also programming, for a fee, frequencies the buyer wanted. The FCC has been very clear, particularly the last few years, that radios not type accepted for the frequencies are not to be used for non-type use. That means Amateur Radio equipment cannot be used for Part 90 and 95 use because those radios are not accepted in those frequencies. BTW those "rugged radios" Rugged Radio was marketing were nothing more than Baofeng radios labeled with their own name. Nothing more. And they jacked up the price. People paid way too much for them thinking because the price was higher they must be better and more 'rugged' radios. Nothing but salesmanship and uninformed people falling for it.
Wadcutter 11/28/20 09:58am Tech Issues
RE: Advice on towing a 5th wheel

We have a 41 ft 5th wheel. To pull to Alaska last year I bought a 28 ft trailer. The overall length with the 5th wheel 57'2". Length with the trailer was 53 ft. A fifth wheel will pull a lot easier, back easier, and turn in less distance than a similar length rig pulling a trailer.
Wadcutter 11/18/20 03:29pm Fifth-Wheels
RE: Heartland Big Horn Fifth Wheel Trailers

We just traded our Big Country last spring. Had it 10 years which is the longest we've ever kept any camper/RV. We kept it that long because it was such a good, solid, trouble free unit and we liked the floor plan. I have no idea how many miles we pulled it over those 10 years. From central IL it had been to the west coast once, the east coast 7 times, over the top of all the Great Lakes once and WI several times, and along the Gulf Coast at least twice a year. When we traded we weren't really sure we wanted to do that since it had been so trouble free and fearing what will we get in to with a new rig. The dealer sold it the day after we traded it. The only reason we did not get another Big Country was because the dealer we go to quit and none of the other dealers close by picked up sales. If we had a Heartland dealer close we would definitely had gone Heartland again.
Wadcutter 09/27/20 06:59pm Fifth-Wheels
RE: alaska 2021 ???

We plan on going in 2021 if all is well, this would make our third trip up to Alaska. we'll be entering through Nagara Falls this and traveling east towards Alaska. For those who never have been to Alaska allow lot of time to travel it's a long drive. I'll bet it was a really long drive to Alaska going east from Niagara Falls. You might want to stop and ask directions before you get to Nova Scotia.
Wadcutter 09/17/20 04:13pm RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: Million Dollar Highway 550 Co

Sure. Should not be a problem. 2 years ago I pulled a 40 ft 5th wheel over it twice. It's a good road.
Wadcutter 08/10/20 05:36pm Roads and Routes
RE: Needles Hwy, Height Restriction.

If you are not aware, fog line is the edge of the normal lane of travel. It is not always a strip on the road! I am very aware what a fog line is. More so than you obviously are aware. In my career I measured a lot of roadways and diagrammed a lot of crashes where fog lines are included. Just to clarify since it seems you aren't totally aware what a fog line is it's not the center stripe on the road. Not always, not ever. So have you been thru the tunnels on the Needles Highway? Where did you see these fog lines? Same place you seen the angled tunnels?
Wadcutter 07/23/20 04:53pm Roads and Routes
RE: Needles Hwy, Height Restriction.

The tunnels are curved on the top. Height at fog line which is the low point, For some of the rigs I would also concerned about width. Fog Line? What fog line? Have you been there? There are no fog lines at the tunnels on Needles. Most of the tunnels are squared at the top. Granted, a few have some varying heights due to the formation of the rocks but what was cut thru by man is squared.
Wadcutter 07/23/20 09:03am Roads and Routes
RE: Ham radios

A CB is a worthy start for mobile radio. And there’s no need to skimp on a high-quality installation. Next to none of you has heard or used such (point being, Started playing with CB in 1963. First license started out 18QA(forget the last 3 letters). Soon after went to the conventional CB licensing of KNK4413. We ran CB on the farm with a base station in the house and mobiles in the trucks, tractors, combines. And used some very good antennas on all. Stayed with CB on the farm operation but then went to business band which had a repeater 3 miles from the farm. That worked until the govt took the band freqs. Now using GMRS with a repeater which works OK for our use on the farm. An Icom-718 or a Yaesu ft450d aren’t terrifically expensive as starters for Amateur, especially used. Have a look and see if either appeal. (It’s the antenna system where things get more complicated ). Both are good basic radios. A good used 718 will run $350-$400. 450D $150 or so more. Both need either a power supply or run off a battery. I've run both. I like the layout of the 450D but my 718 had a bit better receive. Now the 718 is taken when camping or CW at home and backup to my main. Both require a ham license. Tech class will only get limited phone out of either.
Wadcutter 07/21/20 08:41am General RVing Issues
RE: Ham radios

I will admit the radio works better with a Full Size antenna. I have assorted wires and sticks from 25 to 83 feet long not one of 'em long enough to be a good 75Meter antenna. A good antenna is where to spend the money instead of power. Most of the time the past month at home I've been using a homemade 30 ft EARCHI at 8 ft due to the electrical storms that have been passing thru. Worked Israel and Russia on it. When I'm operating out of my camper I'll usually string up the EARCHI simply because it's the easiest to get going. If I have room I'll run the 20M dipole that I can configure for 40M by clipping on wire.
Wadcutter 07/20/20 05:15pm General RVing Issues
RE: Ham radios

I do not talk to overseas on HF I type to overseas on HF but talking given my gear is more or less limited to USA especially right now as band conditions are not that great. (I think I have had one overseas voice contact) But when conditions are decent I talk from Mi to Ga on 40 or from SC to Ga and from both SC and MI to MI and several other states on 80 Propagation has been really bad the past month but there have been a few openings. I haven't had mine on much but in the past week I've worked Israel, Asiatic Russia, and Slovenia on 20M. Played with my antenna a bit to work some NVIS on 20M and worked IA from IL. I'm not running anything special. 100W and a 80-10 Carolina Windom. In the last 3 years during the bottom of the cycle I've worked 163 countries, every state on 40M and 49 states on 20M. I don't work much 80 but have worked 45 states on 80M. All on phone SSB. CW is a bit easier to make some contacts during this low period. I don't work digital.
Wadcutter 07/20/20 07:19am General RVing Issues
RE: Ham radios

Sure, you can toss 1500W on HF out with a linear and wrap your signal halfway around the globe in the early evening or late morning when most HF bands are active.. Do you really work much HF? You do realize that 40m or 80m you can work a lot closer than "halfway around the globe". 10, 12, 17 haven't been too reliable the past couple of years but 40 is usually open somewhere 24/7 and in the evening 80 has been doing OK. Even during the worst of solar storms I've been working people on 40 and 80. And with those freqs the range can be from 100 to a few hundred miles, not quite the 'halfway around the globe" as you're making it sound. If you have been a ham for a while, done more than get a Tech ticket, and not just one of those who memorized answers to questions you may have heard of Winlink. Winlink will get you email anywhere you can send an email over the internet. I packed in to some really remote locations in NWT, Yukon, BC, and AK. Never had a problem hit a Winlink gateway and getting emails back home and was doing it with 50W max. As I mentioned previously, ham radio is just another tool. When you're out there in real remote locations it's about backing up your backup to your backup. You have a backup for everything or you have nothing.
Wadcutter 07/18/20 03:04pm General RVing Issues
RE: Ham radios

It won't hurt anything to add a ham VHF/UHF to your kit. It's just another backup to cell, CB, FRS, GMRS, whatever you have already. One may work, the other may not. Or both may not work. Or one may work sometimes and in the same place not work at a different time. You never know. I run with a VHF/UHF mobile in the truck altho I very rarely get on it. If I have a general idea where I'll be traveling I'll load in the repeaters for those areas. I always monitor 146.520 which is the ham 2 meter simplex calling freq in the US. As with 146.520 and all repeaters maybe someone is listening, maybe not. Just because you don't hear someone talking doesn't mean they're not monitoring. Same as when people say they've been calling while traveling and no one is monitoring. Maybe they are. Just because you call doesn't mean they have to answer. A lot of people won't answer because they don't know you and don't care to strike up a conversation with someone just passing thru. People don't generally like carrying on a long winded conversation with someone they don't know just because it's on the radio. But if you throw out your call followed by you need assistance they are more likely to answer. When we're camping I have my HF rig along. There are smaller mobile antennas that let you work HF while moving. It's not something I'm interested in doing so I don't mount one on my truck. When I set up in camp I throw up either a dipole or end fed. I have run a vertical but don't care for the performance I get compared to a simple dipole or end fed. Last summer I set up my HF rig at the Arctic Circle. Strung an inverted V dipole with the peak at 15 ft and ends at 3 ft. 100 watts. Propagation on HF has been very poor the last couple of years and my set up was far from ideal. Still was able to work FL, CA, TX, and OH from the Arctic Circle on 20 meters. A few weeks later I set up the same configuration near Moose Pass, AK and couldn't make contact with anyone. At Moose Pass I was set up in a valley with mountains all around. When you're preparing for an emergency never rely on just one method of anything. Everything from communications to water to food to navigation requires a backup to a backup to a backup.
Wadcutter 07/17/20 09:12am General RVing Issues
RE: Recommendations for a a route from PA to CO avoiding IL

Don't worry about traveling thru IL. There's a lot of BS on the internet repeated by people who don't have a clue about IL law. IL firearm laws are not as onerous as some of these ill-informed internet firearm 'experts' portray. As long as you have a valid CCW from your home state you can have a loaded firearm in your vehicle while traveling thru IL. Here's IL's statute: 430 ILCS 66/40 (e) Nothing in this Act shall prohibit a non-resident from transporting a concealed firearm within his or her vehicle in Illinois, if the concealed firearm remains within his or her vehicle and the non-resident: (1) is not prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm under federal law; (2) is eligible to carry a firearm in public under the laws of his or her state or territory of residence, as evidenced by the possession of a concealed carry license or permit issued by his or her state of residence, if applicable; and (3) is not in possession of a license under this Act. If the non-resident leaves his or her vehicle unattended, he or she shall store the firearm within a locked vehicle or locked container within the vehicle in accordance with subsection (b) of Section 65 of this Act. Thank you this is useful and new information to me! Greg You are welcome. I spent my career making sure people got the correct legal information so they can avoid problems. As you can tell from some of the others who posted 'stuff' they don't know beans from applebutter about IL law. Have a safe and enjoyable trip.
Wadcutter 07/13/20 03:04pm Roads and Routes
RE: Recommendations for a a route from PA to CO avoiding IL

Don't worry about traveling thru IL. There's a lot of BS on the internet repeated by people who don't have a clue about IL law. IL firearm laws are not as onerous as some of these ill-informed internet firearm 'experts' portray. As long as you have a valid CCW from your home state you can have a loaded firearm in your vehicle while traveling thru IL. Here's IL's statute: 430 ILCS 66/40 (e) Nothing in this Act shall prohibit a non-resident from transporting a concealed firearm within his or her vehicle in Illinois, if the concealed firearm remains within his or her vehicle and the non-resident: (1) is not prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm under federal law; (2) is eligible to carry a firearm in public under the laws of his or her state or territory of residence, as evidenced by the possession of a concealed carry license or permit issued by his or her state of residence, if applicable; and (3) is not in possession of a license under this Act. If the non-resident leaves his or her vehicle unattended, he or she shall store the firearm within a locked vehicle or locked container within the vehicle in accordance with subsection (b) of Section 65 of this Act.
Wadcutter 07/13/20 08:14am Roads and Routes
RE: hauling trailer to Alaska

Great advice, just beginning planning hopefully for May-June 2021. Just reading your post is getting me excited. We are looking at a used 18 footer, unfortunately it is a single axle, but the price is right and the layout is good for us. My husband drives and I do all the planning so I really appreciate the advice. If you think of anything else let me know. Would you mind sharing your itinerary from Illinois to B.C. And where did you cross? Thanks again Just telling about it gets me excited to go again. Strange feeling but it's like Alaska is calling me to return. Had I visited when I was young before kids, grandkids, and other commitments I think I could have stayed. Every day was amazement and the next day was even better. I've only talked to 1 person who said it was not worth the trip. I ran into him a few years ago in a campground in LA. He said "Don't go. There's nothing there." I replied that's what I want to see, the nothing before someone messes it up. He said "You don't understand. There's nothing there. Just trees and animals." I got to give him that at least. He was right. Trees and animals. That's what I went to see. If you have a single axle don't sweat it. Lots of single axles on the road. Another couple tagged along and they had an 16 ft single axle. The only trouble they had was a water pump in the trailer. Got it fixed in Whitehorse and that's all the trouble they had. As another said make sure the wheel bearings are repacked and new tires. I had repacked my bearings but still lost one. Made it 5300 miles before the bearing went. It happens. Just part of the trip. We crossed into Alberta at Sweet Grass MT. Route basically was Banff, Jasper, Rt 40 (Big Horn Hwy) to Grand Prairie, Dawson Creek, side trip to Ft Liard NWT area, Whitehorse, Skagway, Haines, Tok, Fairbanks, sidetrip to Coldfoot, Denali, Palmer, Seward, Homer, Anchorage, Valdez, Tok, Chicken and Top of the World Highway, Dawson City, Whitehorse, Watson Lake, Rt 37 south to Steward/Hyder, Prince George, Kamloops, and re-entered the US at Oroville, WA. We saw most of the bears around Ft Nelson area and to Ft Liard.
Wadcutter 06/29/20 07:44pm RVing in Canada and Alaska
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