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RE: Family National Parks Road Trip

You mean Jacksonhole right? Ah, yes, sorry, Jacksonhole.
adamis 05/22/20 10:10am Truck Campers
RE: Family National Parks Road Trip

Thanks all for the suggestions. I appreciate all of the positive "do it" support. In today's era, finding a week of time between kids activities is hard enough, so getting three weeks is practically an impossibility. It may not be the ideal amount of time to do something this epic, but it is probably as good as we will ever get. I am looking at probably dropping the Grand Caynon in order to allot more time to the rest of the trip. As much as I really want to get that experience (never been myself even though I lived in Vegas for four years) I just don't think this would be the right trip to try to do it. I am coming to this conclusion because it looks like the park is only open for the day right now anyway and because we have the babies, we won't be in the position to do much more than take pictures from the rim. Doing any sort of hiking will be out of the question. Additionally, because we would be going in the summer and our older girls would be relegated to our converted cargo trailer, they would be enduring the heat which they won't be too happy with. It is also a park that is close enough to us that we probably could pick up on a week long vacation. So now we might actually put Yosemite back in and then head North up 395 then cutting east towards the Grand Tetons. Any good scenic routes to take from Reno to Jacksonville?
adamis 05/21/20 04:58pm Truck Campers
RE: Family National Parks Road Trip

Thanks for all of the suggestions so far. Does anyone have a good campground suggestions for the North Rim of the Grand Canyon?
adamis 05/18/20 10:15am Truck Campers
RE: Family National Parks Road Trip

Thanks for all of the great thoughts so far. A couple of responses... 1. We live in the Bay Area now so Yosemite and Death Valley aren't destinations to stay for us, just places to pass through and we can catch those some other summer. 2. Likely just do a drive through of Yosemite Valley and Tuolumne Meadows and camp for the evening near June lake just South of Mono Lake. Even though I could make Vegas in a day from the Bay Area, it's a sucky drive going through Barstow and I think a quick way to kill enthusiasm right out the gate. Taking the scenic route through Yosemite and Death Valley add a day but give us something to enjoy right at the start. 3. I've driven through Death Valley several times before and from my experience, it's not a destination either but something more interesting than I95 through Nevada to get to Las Vegas. On the other hand, my truck is a 99 7.3 Diesel and I will be hauling camper plus cargo trailer. Most likely would not have a problem but I'm not sure if it's worth the risk of passing through in the middle of July with new borns. 4. Las Vegas is where my oldest daughter was born and she hasn't been there since she was 3 years old. We've talked about taking her back to see where she grew up (still own the house). If it wasn't for that I agree it wouldn't be worth stopping at but it is on the way if I want to go to Grand Canyon so it's more of a "why not" stop. 5. Grand Canyon I'm not sure if I want to go for North Rim or South Rim. I've read that North Rim is less busy and cooler so that seems like a plus for summer time. South Rim seems to be more touristy and we get the bonus of going over the Hoover Dam. I'm not a huge desert fan so taking the southern route looks to be boring and would just add miles in my opinion unless there is just something we "have to see" on the South Rim I think I'm leaning on North Rim. 6. The drive from Grand Canyon to Grand Tetons looks to be ~675 miles. This we will need to break up into a least 2 days. Split in half we would need to stop on the southern end of Salt Lake City. Is there anywhere of note to stop for a night in this area? 7. Looking at staying in Yellowstone a full 3 nights (two full days). We won't get to see everything of course but hopefully the highlights. 8. The drive from Yellowstone to Glacier National Park is 550+ miles so we will need to either suck it up or breakt it up. 9. Glacier National Park to Seattle is another long haul. Is there anything worth seeing around Spokane that is worth adding a night to break up the drive? 10. Olympics / Oregon Coast I've done before and have a pretty good feel for it.
adamis 05/16/20 04:36pm Truck Campers
Family National Parks Road Trip

This summer with all of the virus mess we have found the silver lining in the cloud in that our summer for once is completely wide open. We have a 13 year old and 11 year old girl plus two twin identical newborns. Ordinarily our older girls would have a summer jam packed with activities making it nearly impossible to do any trips longer than a week. The virus however has changed all of that and so we are looking at taking this rare oppurtunity to do a long road trip around the Western US to visit as many of the National Parks we can. So far my proposed route looks like this. Note that Google Maps only allows for route planning with 10 stops. Editing this proposed Route from my original post... The number to the left is the cronilogical night(s) we would stay at said location. My initial post had Yosemite and Death Valley but I wasn't considering them as stops more than just passing through since we are close to Yosemite and Death Valley is not a place worth visiting in the summer. 1 - June Lake 2 - Las Vegas 3,4, - North Rim Grand Canyon 5 - Grand Staircase 6 - Salt Lake City 7, 8 - Grand Tetons 9, 10, 11, Yellow Stone 12 Deer Lodge 13, 14 Glacier NP 15 Spokane 16 Woodinville 17 Queets WA 18 Astoria 19 coos bay 20 eureka, CA 21 Point Arena, CA 22 Gilroy At the very early stages of planning, I am stuck with two approaches: 1. Stick with this loop that hits as many of the parks as possible and allot just one to two days to see and do everything at the parks. 2. Drop a few parks in order to increase the number of days we can stay at the remaining parks. I know many of these parks to fully experience you need several days to do them justice and really explore each one. We only have maybe three weeks to work with however and because of the babies, most of the activities will be limited to what can be driven too (long hikes are out but we can probably handle hikes up to about 3 miles in length). It is very unlikely we will ever get the chance again to do a long road trip with our girls in the future so we have one shot at this experience. So my questions for the community are: 1. Given these constraints, if you have visited these parks before, do you have any suggestions on which approach to take? IE, hit as many as possible or just focus on a few? 2. Out of these locations are there any MUST SEE destinations that are easily accessible via stroller or short hike (less than 3 miles) that need to be on the bucket list? 3. Camping Reservations we expect to be a challenege. Are there any great campsites / campgrounds either in or close to these parks that you know about that tend to be less busy? 4. We will be pulling our cargo trailer so our older girls will have their own space. Wife and I are debating on what "toys" to bring along. Bikes are always a pain so we are considering electric scooters because they are compact and easy. We have some blow up paddle boards but they only make sense if we might end up at a campground next to water that is decently warm. Any other suggestions on activities to bring for a trip like this?
adamis 05/16/20 10:57am Truck Campers
RE: Need help shedding 3/4 ton - Lithium Battery project

Went to a Battle Born 100AH two summers ago and have been very happy with the results. Ditched over 160lbs of AGMs that were too large to fit in the camper so had to stay in the bed of the truck. That required lots of long cable and made keeping them topped off near impossible. The Battle Born fit right inside the battery compartment of my Bigfoot camper and eliminated most of my charging problems. I also added 200w of solar on the roof along with a solar charger with a LiFePo4 mode. On a sunny day I can run most of the electronics I want without a problem and still have my batter topped off for an evening of use. My experience has been in mostly sunny conditions so far so I can't speak to cloudy but I suspect I would be fine there as well. The BMS has already saved me a couple of times when the camper was in storage. I really like not having to stress over the charge state of the battery knowing that my investment is going to be safe. One thing about Battle Born is that if you are prior military, they (at the time I purchased) offered a military discount of I think 5 or 10 percent. Just call them when you order and inquire if they still offer it. If you have a good set of AGMs that have years of use left on them, I wouldn't replace them but if you are in the need for a new set of batteries, LiFePo4 is worth the investment even if it comes to be twice as much initially. Long term you will be happy you pulled the trigger.
adamis 05/14/20 09:03pm Truck Campers
RE: Battery time. 6V?

If the cost isn't a factor for you, go with a 100ah LiFePo4 battery. The same capacity at a quarter of the weight and size. It is maintenance free and has a built in battery monitor keeping your investment safe from undercharging. Although the initial investment is high, they are coming with a multi-year warranty that will protect that investment for years to come.
adamis 04/03/20 09:22am Truck Campers
RE: Interesting times to be shopping for my new truck camper

In the grand scheme of things I suppose it just depends on what you want to do. Assuming your own investments are secure and not being impacted by the meltdown of the economy, do you really want to put off traveling for 3 to 4 years while you wait for the economy to settle itself just to save a few thousand?
adamis 03/24/20 08:53pm RV Lifestyle
RE: 1987? Bigfoot Fiberglass Camper project time!

As a fellow Bigfoot Owner, I tip my hat to you for taking on such a project. Please be sure to document as much as you can as it will become an invalable resource to other owners of Fiberglass campers. Especially when it comes to the roof repair that looks like a challenge. I like the layout that you have and I think one of the best parts about a Bigfoot is that many of them have more usable counterspace than other campers. It is a great project you have to tackle and I look forward to seeing the results!
adamis 03/24/20 08:37pm Truck Campers
RE: Las Vegas Truck Camper Storage

Look for indoor storage or at a minimum, covered storage. The heat will be terrible on the outside but figure the interior temps will approach 130+ as well at the peak of the summer. Here's a tip... search for "indoor vehicle storage", not "indoor RV storage". I live in the Bay Area and when my indoor RV storage located in Hollister, CA closed I searched far and wide to find something similar. I just about gave up until I happened to be cruising through Craigslist ads and found a lot of indoor vehicle storage ads that I had ignored before. I thought, what the check, I can at least try a phone call. I picked one up and called the guy and though initially hesitant, he agreed to take the truck with the camper. It is a bit odd to have my big 7.3 F350 Dually with Bigfoot Camper sitting next to GT40s, Ferraris and Lamborghinis but I think in about 40 more years my 99 F350 is going to be a sought after antique in it's own right and will fit right in... Even with the additional expense, indoor storage if possible is worth it in extreme climate situations.
adamis 01/31/20 08:47am Truck Campers
RE: Cargo trailers with tongue extensions

My truck is 2WD so it doesn't have a lift which would require the drop ball mount.
adamis 01/30/20 10:43pm Truck Campers
RE: Cargo trailers with tongue extensions

I undertook this project for my cargo trailer. I asked a welding shop to make the tongue extendable so that I could eliminate the hitch extension. The result is a tongue that can be extended ~3ft to reach my hitch under the camper. All I have to do is pull a pin on the trailer, slide the tongue out the 3ft and then put the pin back in. Granted... This idea works only on campers like my Bigfoot where the bottom of the camper is flush with the bed of the truck. Other extended campers tend to have lower overhangs which would prevent this from working. I have been very happy with this setup and I have hundreds if not thousands of miles with it so far. If you have a trailer that you are going to be towing on a regular basis with the truck and camper combination, this is certainly worth considering if your setup allows for it.
adamis 01/30/20 09:37am Truck Campers
RE: Mattress Size & Thickness Recommendations (Bigfoot 2500)

I was able to measure it last night. It comes to 76"x60" and 7" thick. I will be talking to the mattress store to see what they offer.
adamis 01/29/20 09:18am Truck Campers
Mattress Size & Thickness Recommendations (Bigfoot 2500)

The Mrs and I are looking at changing out our current mattress that came stock with the camper. We are planning on doing a memory foam mattress but I don't have the camper available to measure the size and thickness. If you have gone down this path before and happen to know off hand, I would appreciate it if you could post it here. Second part... How did you get the old mattress out the door?
adamis 01/28/20 02:28pm Truck Campers
RE: Any 1st time pickup TC out there to give their thoughts

One of the first years that I bought the Ford 7.3 Dually and Bigfoot 10.6 camper I took a solo trip by myself up the Pacific Northwest. I was fortunate enough to tie this into some business work and was able to space it over two weeks. I have to admit, I have some great memories of my solo adventure and I feel the truck camper was perfect for it! I had set stops during the day to meet customers but only a tentative itinerary for my evening campsites. I mostly planned to use the Oregon rest stops (not along I5) which I had heard where nicer than most California campgrounds. I also found a few places off the road where I just pulled over and stayed the night. My personal likes about solo experience in a camper... 1. Get to use MY truck! My 7.3 has all of the mods I need to make it comfortable and the power I want for a long day of driving. 2. Able to park just about anywhere a full size pickup can go. Critical for smaller towns that you just want to stop for lunch but can't seem to find 60' of continuous curb or to stop at the local grocery store that has a small parking lot. 3. Able to camp most places along the road. This came in handy where I managed to find several gem spots on the Highway 1 coast that you can pull off and crash for the night. These are areas that are actually off the road just enough to not be bothered by noise and lights while providing amazing views and sounds of the ocean. 4. Plenty of storage for one person. As a solo driver, minus the space needed for my products, I didn't need tons of storage. Just some clothes and food plus the laptop to do business. My personal dislikes about my solo camper experience... 1. Dinette seating gets to be uncomfortable over time. Could be just the cushions we have but I find to be the very upright seating with no lumbar support made it difficult to sit at for long periods of time. 2. Possible to get stir crazy in bad weather with the limited space. 3. Showering limited by water and tank sizes. 4. Mattress is uncomfortable (something I need to fix...)
adamis 11/12/19 05:11pm Truck Campers
RE: 2WD or 4X4 for a truck camper

When I started shopping for a truck and camper combination, I really wanted a 4x4 but I came across a deal that was too good to pass up though and it was 2WD. In retrospect, I think I'm pretty happy with going 2WD, especially on the 7.3. I get the gentler coil over suspension up front instead of leaf springs plus a better gearing ratio for highway cruising and I also gain a few hundred pounds in payload capacity. As I'm contemplating purchasing an Expedition Max (expanding family) I'm faced with the same dilemma. We will be purchasing used so this decision might be made for me just based on what is available. If I had my choice though, I think I would prefer to get the 4WD but with the gearing of the 2WD (I don't think this is possible). I get why they put lower gearing on the 4WD but the loss in MPG over the life of the vehicle I don't think justifies the one or two times in a lifetime most people might need that extra low gearing ratio. In California, I think 4WD is more of an option than a necessity. Our weather is so mild on the coast and valley that it is unnecessary in my opinion. The only reason I am contemplating 4WD for the Expedition is for the few times we might be in the Sierras during the winter coming over a mountain pass. Rare if at all but still, if I'm spending the money, might as well be prepared. In regards to the 7.3 that is 2WD and carries the camper, I've been to Pismo Beach many times now and only got stuck the first time I went. All the others I just air down to 15-20 psi and I have not had a problem yet. As someone else already said, a camper isn't optimal for the types of off-road conditions that might really require 4WD.
adamis 10/25/19 12:04pm Truck Campers
RE: Seat belts in a camper?

The wife and I have talked, she actually surprised me because she said she doesn't want to sell the camper and is planning on still going camping this summer with the twins! On the vehicle front, we started looking at a different vehicle that will be our traveling rig. We went to 8 different dealerships to see if we could find something that we liked. Our criteria was seating for 7. We initially started looking at the Expedition Max which checked all of the boxes with plenty of seating and cargo capacity but then the Mrs had reservations about the sheer size of the rig. We looked at several other mid-size SUVs that has seating for 7 and while she felt more comfortable driving it, there was almost no cargo capacity. We went back and forth but eventually compromised with getting two vehicles. The larger vehicle now so we can travel and haul everything we need and then in a couple of years, we will upgrade her car to a mid-size suv that has the seating capacity for 7 but just not the cargo capacity. For future camping trips, if we grow out of the camper, I think we will likely rent a travel trailer versus buying one and selling the camper. Realistically we won't be doing a lot of trips in the near future and by the time the twins are old enough to really have freedom to travel, the older girls will be off to college. I don't see the point in buying a TT for what would be just a limited period of time in my books.
adamis 10/24/19 12:06pm Truck Campers
RE: Seat belts in a camper?

Teens get the cargo trailer that has been converted into a mini toy-hauler with bath and kitchen. It's a project I have worked on over time (with more to do) but it does give the teens a place to crash and call their own. We think we can handle the babies in the camper, it will be tight but manageable. Plus, the only future camping trips we actually have on the horizon we will be in one place for a week with lots of family around. Longer trips are in the distant future for us I think.
adamis 10/18/19 11:47am Truck Campers
RE: Seat belts in a camper?

Thanks for the replies, I will have to see if I can find one of those fold down center seat / console units. That seems like the most practical and realistic solution. As a kid, when we weren't riding in the cab-over, it was four of us on the bench seat in my dad's 78 Ford custom (still has ~78,000 original miles on it). I usually got crammed against the door but we did that for many years. The F350 seems palatial in comparison.
adamis 10/18/19 09:13am Truck Campers
Seat belts in a camper?

So as fortune would have it, my wife and I found out that we are expecting twins! The domino's are falling all over the place as we re-contemplate life in general. Our life just got a whole lot more complicated! Part of that contemplation is the realization that the truck (F350 Quad Cab with seats for 5) is no longer able to transport two adults, two teens and two car seats along with the dog. Changing the truck isn't in the cards (have to save up for a daily driver that can transport six now) so I'm trying to come up with options. As a kid, I remember spending plenty of miles in the overhead of the camper and looking out the front facing window. In today's bubble wrapped world though, such "freedom" is frowned upon. One solution I considered is adding seat-belts in the camper itself for the teens. I know class C RVs will do this but I don't think I have ever heard of it being done in a camper. Safety and keeping the kids buckled in is concern of course but pushing that aside for the discussion, is there any legal issues with the idea? The next option which may only last for a year or two is to put one car seat on the bench in the back and another where the center console is. This would take some modification to make sure it is secure but I think it is possible. Of course the last option (and least favorite) will be to suck up and drive a second vehicle. The problem with this solution is my wife doesn't like to drive long distances on mountain roads so it would dampen the distances taken for trips. Trading the truck and camper are not options. Thoughts?
adamis 10/17/19 05:29pm Truck Campers
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