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Old 09-18-2014, 03:43 PM   #1
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Labor Day (attempt) Camping

Only the second time out with our new camper, we headed up to the Bighorn Mountains where we know a beautiful dispersed camping spot off the beaten path. The road in is fair when dry and the forecast was for a few scattered showers so no worries. Well it scattered rain all the rest of Sat. and was still scattering it Sunday with snow at higher elevations so we decided to get out before it got any worse. Things went fairly well till we got to the creek crossing which isn't much of a creek but the bank on the far side is steep and makes a hard left turn at the top with ruts on the inside of the corner the Trooper stayed out of the ruts and got up the hill but the trailer slid into the ruts and that ended all forward motion. Fortunately mother nature provided a large rock for an anchor point and we were able to winch our way to level ground.The Hi Lift axle option was great we never drug anything and did not damage anything on the trailer.

We're free

View from camp

Dave & Patty

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Old 09-18-2014, 04:49 PM   #2
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Nice! Good to see SantaCruzer's former baby put to good hard use....

"You can't buy happiness, but you can buy an RV. And that is pretty close."
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Old 09-18-2014, 05:22 PM   #3
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Ouch, maybe no damage to the trailer but most don't realize the ruts they leave behind will be there forever. Native grass land takes a long time to recover and noxious weeds are quick to invade newly disturbed areas. Today's remote camping area that no one knows about quickly becomes tomorrows parking lot because we all follow the tracks.....
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Old 09-18-2014, 06:01 PM   #4
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You are absolutely right and I'm adamant about staying on the trail but in this case the anchor point was off to the right and that is why we were up on the grass. We returned to the road immediately from that point, as for permanent damage this is in an area that has good soil and moisture and I left no deep tracks so by next spring you will never know. Now as far as a dispersed camping spot turning into parking lot it won't happen here because the road (FSR 226) is not suitable for larger outfits and very few people are camping in anything smaller than a 35Ft. Fifth Wheel any more.Also we know all about dispersed camping being closed by the FS we have lost a very large number of spots just for the reasons you mentioned. My biggest pet peeve are people driving out of the tracks of a 2 track road as if it is going to make it any smoother. I subscribe to Tread Lightly and leave no trace also my favorite bumper sticker is _ Stay On The Trail Or Stay Home. I hope this eases your mind in knowing that that there are other people who care as much for nature as you do.Dave
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Old 09-18-2014, 06:34 PM   #5
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I believe that's the trail Dave took us on during our "Wyoming Welcome Tour" (sans trailer then), and he's right about that being about the largest trailer that trail could handle. Aside from the roads we were on (and stayed on), I don't recall seeing any evidence of any off-road "freewheeling" that would have proved damaging. I'm pleased to see the trailer being used in such spectacular country by people who know how to do it correctly.
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Old 09-18-2014, 10:12 PM   #6
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Dave, sorry, did not mean to sound condescending. Clearly you have a passion for the land, sadly not all do. Rick
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Old 09-18-2014, 10:50 PM   #7
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Great good story, lesson, and pictures, Dave. Got to watch them ruts.
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"A billion here, a billion there...add it all up and before you know it you're talking real money." Everett Dirkson
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Old 09-18-2014, 11:58 PM   #8
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Glad you pointed that out, Buddy. We have a 4x4 and may use it out west or southwest and what you said, and Dave said, is good to remember.
Cathy. Floating Cloud
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Old 09-19-2014, 08:47 AM   #9
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Vivid pictures, well told stories and an outdoors capability that is being applied responsibility. Everyone chiming in to help ensure we camp and enjoy nature and only take pictures and leave footprints is warming to my heart.

I wish I'd have gotten 4X4. Time for a new(er) truck with better capabilities and hopefully better fuel mileage.
Don't make excuses for failure, seek ways to succeed.

Blizzy and Dakota (Da Boyz)
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Old 09-19-2014, 06:57 PM   #10
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Your story reminds me of our experience this June on our way back to Florida after picking up our Escape 21 in Chilliwack. We had left Devil's Tower, heading for Custer, SD in the Black Hills. We had taken a road that warned that there was construction ahead. The construction resulted in four miles of unpaved road that ended about at the entrance to Jewel Cave National park. The dirt was actually clay, and there had been a rain the night before, resulting in extremely slippery roads.

The first three and a half miles went fine, but just as we reached the turn-off to Jewel Cave NP, there was a hill and a couple of cars ahead of us. As we started up the hill the first car stopped for some reason, so we also had to stop, resulting in our loss of all momentum. The cars ahead of us started up again and made it up the hill, but with the trailer, we couldn't accomplish anything but slip closer to the edge of the road. I stopped, and with my wife near hysterics, I said I wasn't going to move until I could get help.

Evidently I wasn't the first with problems because a ranger soon came along and called for a grader which hooked a chain up to our truck and pulled us and the trailer up the hill to pavement (picture). Even the grader had some difficulty and was going sideways for part of the haul up the hill - very tense, indeed.

Later that day, while in Custer at a car wash, we ran into the grader operator who told us that he was pulling people up that hill all day - one tank truck actually ended up in the ditch at the side of the road. The next day we saw a warning sign saying that the road was extremely slippery and recommended four-wheel drive vehicles only – (and probably not pulling trailers). This was the first time in my fifty years of driving experience that I wished I had had four-wheel drive.
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