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RE: Denali NP-probable shutdown 2020 season-Updated 2/19/20

Guess I have been luckier than most as I have seen Denali in clear, sunny skies every time I have been there since 1972. Have also had a grizzly walk directly under my bus window on the Denali bus tour (I still have the photo taken from above). And we once had to stay on the bus at the Eielson Visitors Center because a mother grizzly and her cub were walking through the breezeway of the building. After we were allowed off the bus, we watched the two bears amble down the trail to the river for nearly 10 minutes. We also have photos of a male caribou taken from ~150', several close photos of other caribou and a bull moose, and more distant photos of Dall sheep, all taken on Denali bus trips. However, our best bear photos were of a mother grizzly and her FOUR yearling cubs in Valdez. Every evening, she led the cubs along the road to the Alaska Pipeline terminal to get to the fish hatchery. There they gorged themselves on the salmon returning to their birthplace to spawn.
fanrgs 12/31/19 10:55pm RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: Oklahoma City to Palm Springs Ca. In February best route???

We are in Phoenix right now. We got here yesterday from Denver via I-10, not I-40, because temperatures along I-40 were in the teens at night compared to the 30s along I-10. When you are stopping along your route for several nights, that is a major difference unless you have much better RV insulation than we have. And when we had rain on our route, Flagstaff had snow (the elevation of Flagstaff is 7,000'). So I would definitely follow the I-20/I-10 route recommended by the others.
fanrgs 12/31/19 10:20pm Roads and Routes
RE: Campgrounds near Socorro NM

If you are looking for parks near Bosque del Apache NWR, there are two. We have stayed at Bosque Birdwatchers and the other--Chupadero Mountain View--is just north of it on NM Highway 1. Birdwatchers is much larger, but Bill is very difficult to contact by phone. So just go there without reservations, pull into an empty FHU space, and set up. Bill will come and collect the $25/per night from you. The nearest campground to Socorro at Elephant Butte State Park is the South Monticello cg. It has very long, 30/50A electric sites, water, a dump, and a new solar restroom-shower building, for $14/night, including the daily park pass. However, it is ~50 miles from BdA and 65 miles from Socorro.
fanrgs 12/31/19 09:54pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Wichita to Albuquerque suggestions

It all depends on the time of year, the weather, the amount of time you have for the trip, your interests, and what you want to experience on your trip. We just traveled US 54 from Guymon to Tucumcari two weeks ago. Very little to see or experience until Tucumcari. Having taken multiple routes from Wichita, I personally would drive U.S. 50 to La Junta, Colorado, U.S. 350 to Trinidad, and I-25 to Albuquerque. Why would I take this route? Because I am a Western history buff and there is so much of historical interest on that route--the Santa Fe Trail, Dodge City, Bent's Fort NHS, Raton Pass, Ft. Union NHS, Glorietta Pass Civil War Battlefield, Pecos National Monument, and Santa Fe, with many of the oldest buildings in the U.S. And I would even take time for lesser known historical sites like Amache, a WWII Japanese internment camp near Granada, CO, and Boggsville, where Kit Carson died, near Las Animas. But, if I were leading one of my car clubs on a tour, I would head south from Wichita on I-35 to Oklahoma City, then follow the remains of U.S. 66 all the way to Albuquerque. I would stop at the many iconic motels, gas stations, and restaurants along the "Mother Road" for photos of 1950's kitsch. And I would not miss the Route 66 museums in Clinton and Elk City, OK. So, your route really depends on your primary objectives for taking the trip!
fanrgs 11/17/19 10:29pm Roads and Routes
RE: Route Advice Estes Park to Great Basin and then Utah

We did the reverse of your trip several years ago--Great Basin NP to Denver, not Estes Park. We used US 50 to I-70, with an overnight stop at Colorado River State Park, Robb unit, in Fruita, CO.
fanrgs 08/29/19 08:17pm Roads and Routes
RE: Taking Hwy50 form Montrose to Colorado Springs~

For information on camping and sightseeing along US 50, Salida, Monarch Pass, Gunnison, and the Black Canyon, see my blog at Oops, forgot to go to the "Advanced Post Form" for my link!
fanrgs 08/29/19 10:15am Roads and Routes
RE: Roll Call Alaska 2019

Commenting on Alaskan Highway - I used to live in 4-seasons and know what winter can do to the roads. IMHO the Alaskan Highway was poorly build to start with. You have nice stretches of smooth asphalt for few miles and then build "speed bumps" that will get you airborne at 60 mph. Evidently different crews build different stretches. Than don't see any surface repairs done. Whenever there are cracks, or other pavement build flaw, they dump few tons of gravel, set warning signs and call it the season. Kind of sucks as 40 years ago somebody invented an asphalt truck, who could make the patches driving 40 mph. But that technology never got here. OK, but did you live in the parts of Alaska or Canada with permafrost, where the subsurface is frozen year-round? Have you driven Alaska roads in winter, then spring. The roads are generally ok, except for surface ice, as long as they stay frozen. But when the surface layer of permafrost begins to thaw, then refreeze, the frost heaves form. The heaves have everything to do with climate and nothing to do with highway technology. So, no Alaskan even tries to go 60 mph on those roads once the heaves form, especially in an RV.
fanrgs 08/16/19 10:49pm RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: Chaco canyon NP in NM ?'s

I have driven two 4WD pickups and a rental SUV into Chaco, but wouldn't take my car or fifth wheel on that road. On one of the pickup trips, I brought a tent, sleeping bag, food, and water and stayed at the park campground. The other trips, I have stayed in Bloomfield (closer than Farmington), and driven to Chaco from there. Once, I drove out late at night (after the Saturday night star party) and nearly hit a bull elk standing in the middle of the road just outside the park boundary. FYI, the really bad portion of the road is on the Navajo Reservation. And they apparently don't plan to improve it in the near future.
fanrgs 06/29/19 09:55pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: WI-FI in Canada

Subway shops in BC and Yukon generally have free WiFi and so does the Safeway in Smithers (ask me how I know!). As others have mentioned, nearly every visitor/tourist info center we stopped in also had at least very slow WiFi. But we were in no provincial parks in either BC or Yukon that had WiFi or good cell service, including Liard Hot Springs. Expect spotty cell service along any of the highways. Only in proximity to towns will you have fairly good service--in Canada or Alaska.
fanrgs 06/17/19 10:12pm RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: Lake Superior Circle (September 2020) Reservations?

Last Friday, we returned from our Lake Superior Circle trip. We stayed at two Ontario provincial parks--Rainbow Falls-Rossport and Lake Superior--Agawa Bay. Both are right on the lakeshore and the views over the lake are superb. We enjoyed both and would definitely return if we ever go back to that area. Both campgrounds have some sites with electric hookups, separate potable water at the dump, and flush toilets, showers, and laundry. We had no cell service (one bar max) at either park and obviously no WiFi (we stopped at a Subway in Wawa to pick up five days worth of E-mails). The provincial parks don't start taking reservations until mid-June, so we obviously had no reservations. Agawa had huge trees throughout--so many that they were somewhat of an obstacle when trying to negotiate the campground roads and campsites. It does, however, have a number of long pull-thrus (we didn't unhook) and the spacing between sites is wide. In fact, our site was so wide that the shared electric post was farther than our 25' power cord would reach--we had to use our 25' 30A extension to reach it. One word of caution: Rainbow Falls has seasonal campers, so many of the electric sites may still be full during the fall. I would check the number of reservable sites still available just before you leave, then decide whether you need reservations. PS--We had absolutely no cell service or WiFi at the casino RV park in Grand Portage, MN. Or anywhere else in the town, the casino, the casino trading post, or the national monument. And we have Verizon!
fanrgs 06/17/19 09:36pm Roads and Routes
RE: Roads south from Rapid City

If you are trying to speed your travel time up on your way back to SC, I would only take US 385 to US 26. Then take 26 to I-80 to US 81. US 81 is a very good four-lane highway all the way from York, NE, to Salina, KS. In Salina, you can choose either I-70 east or I-135 to I-35 to I-40, then east. We just used US 81 in NE last week and it is far and away the best N-S towing route in southern NE.
fanrgs 06/17/19 07:59pm Roads and Routes
RE: Towing on Colorado hwy 149

No one has mentioned the fact that Lake City asked for volunteers to travel down there over Memorial Day weekend to fill sandbags to protect large parts of the town from flooding. So, I would highly recommend checking with Lake City government and CO 511 for flood conditions and road conditions before you go. If you need ideas on camping and sightseeing along US 50 or US 160, see my blog HERE. BTW, we have towed our fifth wheel over that route with no problems. But we do have the advantage of a diesel exhaust brake.
fanrgs 06/17/19 07:38pm Roads and Routes
RE: Cheap camping in Colorado!

Summer officially begins on Thursday, but we have had only a couple of days in the 80's so far. Still raining in the Denver area and A-Basin Ski Area just announced they are staying open until at least June 30. So, pack some warm clothes if you are camping in the Colorado Rockies soon. Snowpack is melting slowly this year, but Lake City now appears to be out of major flood danger. I would be very cautious about boondocking, or even designated campground camping, in the floodplain of any Colorado mountain stream until mid-July.
fanrgs 06/17/19 07:27pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Cheap camping in Colorado!

Sorry, image size was just a bit large. BTW, some areas of the Palmer Divide-Black Forest ridge along I-25 between Denver and Colorado Sprigs got 19" of new snow last night!
fanrgs 05/21/19 09:37am RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Cheap camping in Colorado!

Spring has arrived! My back yard in a SW Denver suburb on May 21, 2019:
fanrgs 05/21/19 09:35am RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Colorado route 160

Hi fanrgs, I used to run a logging operation in Summit County. I worked for Arapaho National Forest as a road surveyor in 1967. Used to drive over both Berthoud and Loveland Passes each day when we were living in Hideaway Park and working near Dillon. Didn't have any choice back then because the tunnel wasn't opened until 6 years later!
fanrgs 05/20/19 12:51pm Roads and Routes
RE: Denali Hwy vs Fairbanks?

It's been many years since I took the Denali Highway (did it because they were still completing the Parks Highway). But, despite its condition, the views were absolutely worth the slow pace. And seeing the huge Susitna River in a remote location with no houses or stores to mar the view was a reminder of how unpopulated much of Alaska remains. I spent a week in Fairbanks two years ago, but, with your rig, I wouldn't hesitate to miss it and take the Denali Highway.
fanrgs 05/19/19 09:49pm RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: Cheap camping in Colorado!

Well, I spoke too soon. On Monday and Tuesday of this week, 10 to 20 inches of new snow are expected to fall all across the Colorado Rockies, with the highest amounts along the Sawatch Range (Leadville to Salida) and in the San Juans of SW Colorado. Even Denver may see a little snow on Tuesday. And it is now doubtful that Trail Ridge Road in RMNP will be open for Memorial Day weekend. A photo in the Denver Post showed snow drifts still completely burying the visitors center near the top of the pass. So, summer may be on hold for a while yet in the mountains!
fanrgs 05/19/19 09:27pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Colorado route 160

Heh don't take that song too literally. There are suspicions that the songwriter never went down that road. In the 1960's, when US 160 was just two lanes all the way across Wolf Creek Pass, there were more curves, fewer guard rails, no shoulders, and no avalanche sheds. At that time, the song was actually pretty accurate. C.W. McCall may never have driven it in a truck, but someone who gave him the idea for the song had. And there really were commercial chicken houses in Wiggins back then too! Drive US 6 over Loveland Pass in a 40' motorhome sometime and you will have a better idea what Wolf Creek Pass was like 50 years ago.
fanrgs 05/17/19 07:55pm Roads and Routes
RE: Colorado State Park Advice

When we camp at Ridgway SP, we have always stayed at Elk Ridge. Just electric, not FHU, but the nicest spaces at the park. It is our favorite state park because it is within easy driving distance of Ouray, Silverton, and Telluride. I have not stayed in Estes Park since 1957 and don't intend to any time soon--too "touristy", too crowded, and way too many traffic jams for such a tiny town. When we go to RMNP, we stay at the USFS Stillwater campground just south of Grand Lake. Electric hookups, water, and a dump for a reasonable daily rate, with a 15-minute drive to RMNP West Entrance. Park the trailer there and drive the Ram over Trail Ridge Road to the east side of the park. But DO NOT leave the park! That way you don't have to sit in a traffic jam trying to get back to Grand Lake from the East Entrance in Estes Park. Note: We have the same truck-trailer models that you do and love both of them!
fanrgs 05/17/19 07:39pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
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