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Old 09-18-2014, 04:43 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

Camp
Dave & Patty
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Old 09-18-2014, 05:49 PM   #2
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Nice! Good to see SantaCruzer's former baby put to good hard use....
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Old 09-18-2014, 06:22 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, 07:01 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, 07:34 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, 11:12 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, 11:50 PM   #7
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Great good story, lesson, and pictures, Dave. Got to watch them ruts.
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Old 09-19-2014, 12:58 AM   #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.
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Old 09-19-2014, 09:47 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.
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Old 09-19-2014, 07:57 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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Old 09-19-2014, 08:06 PM   #11
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Very scary. Had to worry about yourselves as well as the trailer. That is one of the big problems --- trying to get around construction without knowing where the heck to go. In such a case, I might even want to drop the trailer and go for help. We do have a 4x4 and I definitely wanted that whether we went off-road or not. Does not always work but it might.
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Old 09-19-2014, 08:08 PM   #12
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Thinking another good lesson learned is, always keep a sturdy tow line in the vehicle, useful for those rare afternoons when a kindly grader isn't handy but a kindly 4x4 driver is.
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Old 09-19-2014, 09:58 PM   #13
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Amen Myron. Be prepared. Just went back to 2WD and won't forget our escape from Angel Valley, AZ. Red rock road 8% grade at beginning of climb back out for just a 1/4 of a city block, but that can be the difference. Next time, am just gonna call AAA- that's what we pay the dues for.
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Old 09-20-2014, 01:15 AM   #14
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4WD manual and all wheel drive is great. Don't use it most of the time, but when you do, it's there when ya need it.
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Old 09-20-2014, 01:34 AM   #15
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Dave - Bob and Del certainly loved their camper and I'm sure they're thrilled to have found someone that appreciates it as much as they did. Congratulations and Happy Camping!!
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Old 09-20-2014, 01:36 AM   #16
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Love that photo Myron. Do you know where it was taken?
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Old 09-20-2014, 10:51 AM   #17
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Yes, behind his cabin, somewhere west of Roscoe, Montana, property owned by a guy I knew back in the day, across majestic rolling grass hills leading to the Custer National Forest and its mountains. It was a visit from another trailer life.
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Old 09-20-2014, 01:03 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarksAlot View Post
4WD manual and all wheel drive is great. Don't use it most of the time, but when you do, it's there when ya need it.
When loading my work truck and wondering if I will need a certain tool or not I always say, better to have and not need than need and not have. I ordered 4 WD with the thought of an overnight rain and a very greasy campsite the next morning. 4WD is expensive but with the demand for it you will have a quick sale if you decide to trade or sell your truck. I always look at resale when making a major purchase and will be ordering some options on the new trailer that we probably won't use. But it will be there for the next owners. Loren
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Old 09-20-2014, 02:34 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Loren & Cathy View Post
When loading my work truck and wondering if I will need a certain tool or not I always say, better to have and not need than need and not have. I ordered 4 WD with the thought of an overnight rain and a very greasy campsite the next morning. 4WD is expensive but with the demand for it you will have a quick sale if you decide to trade or sell your truck. I always look at resale when making a major purchase and will be ordering some options on the new trailer that we probably won't use. But it will be there for the next owners. Loren
With the added capability that 4WD gives ya, and the added resale, it's an easy decision to make. Finding the right one may take some time and cost a bit more, but in my book, it's worth it.
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Old 09-20-2014, 03:49 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by MarksAlot View Post
With the added capability that 4WD gives ya, and the added resale, it's an easy decision to make. Finding the right one may take some time and cost a bit more, but in my book, it's worth it.
Not always an easy decision. Gas mileage suffers. You get higher resale, but it costs more up front. To each his own.
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