Long Haul For #864

Discussion in 'Long Haul' started by Tom & Diana P, Jun 18, 2017.

  1. Tom & Diana P

    Tom & Diana P Novice

    In January 2017 we picked up our 2016 560 Ultra SUV from Necedah, and in May - June 2017 we took #864, aka The Silver Surfer, on its first long haul trip. Roaming more than 5500 miles, we found our little Raindrop to be roadworthy in the extreme. Torrential rain? Yep, but we rested through it at a truck stop all snug and dry. Cold? Many nights were near or below freezing, but nothing a good down comforter and a wool blanket couldn't handle. Unpaved roads? A few bits in WY and UT, but the TV and Surfer powered right through. Mountain passes? Ditto. Road kill? :-( Poor prairie dog didn't stand a chance, but neither did Diana when she had to clean Surfer's fender, which is exactly in line with the TV tires. :eek:

    Here are some data points from our trip.
    Travelers: Tom, Diana, and our 6-y-o cockapoo named Ranger
    Dates: 21 May - 16 June 2017
    Tow vehicle: 2014 Ram 2500 diesel pickup (yes, it's seriously overkill, but we had the truck before we discovered teardrop travel)
    Ending odometer reading: 54,090
    Starting odometer reading: 48,587
    Total miles traveled: 5,503
    Number of nights: 26
    Number of states traversed: 9
    Number of campgrounds: 6

    Highlights
    • Using a smartphone to navigate around a dangerous thunderstorm the size of New Jersey, which was sitting over DFW, where we hate driving, anyway (this extra mileage might well have put us over the 5K miles for this pin!)
    • Using no hook-ups! Tom kept the battery topped off on non-driving days with solar power. (We did pay for an electric site on our last night before home, however; Texas in June with no AC is just crazy!) Diana filled the water tank by hand as needed. Oh, and we didn't refill the (very first) propane tank until Night #38 or 39 (cumulative), despite daily galley use.
    • Hiking on “fresh” lava flows and finding wildflowers at Craters of the Moon National Monument
    • Watching epic snowmelt raise the lake level alarmingly and close campgrounds in the Idaho Rockies
    • Sipping craft brews at the rustic Redfish Lake lodge on Sawtooth National Forest
    • Everything about Grand Teton NP, despite a flooded Snake River tributary causing closed roads, damaged hike & bike trails, and campsites swallowed up in snowmelt
    • The crowds at Yellowstone NP - and not in a good way! (But at least it wasn't our first visit there.)
    • Fossils, eerie landscapes, and fast rivers at Dinosaur National Monument
    • The sheer joy of travel simplicity in our Camp-Inn teardrop!
    Notable wildlife spotted
    Blacktail deer
    Bison
    Black-tailed prairie dog
    Least chipmunk
    Golden-mantled ground squirrel
    Pine marten
    Coyote (saw scat, heard nearly nightly)
    Mountain bluebird
    Bushtit
    Yellow warbler
    Western tanager
    Black-capped chickadee
    Spotted towhee
    Green-tailed towhee (this one took a while to identify)
    Osprey
    Bald eagle
    Great horned owl (heard nearly nightly)
    Hawks, hawks, and more hawks, too far off to identify

    Ubiquitous wildlife
    Ravens, magpies, and vultures: Nature's cleanup crew
    Barn swallows and bats, two of our favorite bug eaters!
    Rabbits and ground squirrels, looking suspiciously like hawk or coyote food

    For us, as for many of you, I suspect, sampling local cuisine is just another way of sightseeing, and we had some great experiences in this arena, too. There were excellent small eateries in almost every town, and neither of us can recall a bad meal. Standouts included: a Mexican restaurant in Vernal, UT, and another one in Arco, ID, that both required a second visit during our stay; fabulous burgers with the freshest beef in touristy Jackson, WY, of all places; awesome sandwiches, espresso, and regional craft beer at a roadside cafe, with a primo view of the Teton Range, that reminded us of an Alpine beer garden; and trout with breakfast at a tourist lodge in Grand Teton NP.

    Lest you think this means the Camp-Inn galley didn't get a workout, think again! Our favorite meal might be the breakfasts of grits, eggs, cheese, and whatever meat we had left from the night before, all jumbled in the same bowl. Oh, and COFFEE! We don't know which part of the Raindrop we love more: the hard-sided, no-setup-required sleeping area or the oh-so-organizable, always-ready galley. Probably it's a tie.

    Also notable: we only had to play Camp-Inn tour guide once on this long trip. But that was for a rather seriously interested teacher who's been looking at teardrops on the Internet, and she had seen the Camp-Inn in her searches. She left with a brochure. (Our previous experience was about 2 showings per campground.)

    BC-I (Before Camp-Inn), we've made at least a dozen trips of this length or further. In tents and with two other travel trailers. Never was it this easy. Never this elegant. This is only our 3rd trip with the Silver Surfer and it makes 48 nights so far, but it's already proven to be worth every single cent spent. We're not sure how long we can stay home before the road calls us out again. :D
     
  2. Tom & Diana P

    Tom & Diana P Novice

  3. Gypsy

    Gypsy Newbie

    Thanks for the report. I am glad you noted the wildlife.
     
    Tom & Diana P likes this.
  4. Warren  Mary Ellen

    Warren Mary Ellen Junior Ranger

    Sounds like a great trip! Thanks for the write-up.
     
    Tom & Diana P likes this.
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