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Old 03-13-2014, 10:59 AM   #1
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All the way home

Wow, we made it! Seventy-two days on the road, fifty-seven of them enjoying living in our Escape.
The numbers:
72 days and 8,692 miles – 12 days and 3,016 miles from home to ETI, 60 days and 5,676 miles from ETI to home
Shortest day of towing – 33 miles
Longest day of towing – 364 miles (the last day of the trip, from Ocean Springs, MS to home)
Average site cost per night - $18
MPG while towing - averaged 35% less than non-towing miles

It's all behind us now.
Traveling-to-Pancho-Villa-S.jpg

At least on this journey, we avoided leaving something attached to the trailer as we pulled out of the campsite, forgetting to raise the step, or having an ‘oh crap’ event with the sewer hose while dumping the tanks. However, “past performance does not guarantee future success,” or something like that.

It’s hard to choose a particular area, or place we stayed, as a favorite; all were enjoyable, some more than others. Yep, even had to try the "pavement camping" a few times. Partly because we wanted to see what it was all about, and partly because we were just in an area for one night before moving on. No problems or safety concerns with the parking lot overnighters and will likely occasionally do so again.

I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was towing the Escape as I had no prior experience towing a trailer. Both of us were quite comfortable with towing in all kinds of road and traffic conditions. However, I can't say the same for backing into a site for either of us; eventually (hopefully) we'll become more skilled with that piece of trailer life. For this trip, pull-through sites were much appreciated when they were available.

Getting home Monday had its moments though. I all but got stuck in my very wet yard; didn't quite get where I planned to park, but it will have to do until it dries out. And then, turned on the water to the house and found a pipe had frozen and split during one of the record cold spells while we were gone. For a time, I thought we would be moving back into the trailer in our back yard! However, the leak was found and fixed the next morning. Replacing some Sheetrock and repainting is still ahead of us.

IMG_6970.jpg

What’s next? I’m looking forward to incorporating many of the great suggestions I have collected from the Forum, as well as coming up with some new ideas to make the Escape better fit our style of traveling and camping. Over the next few months there will be some Escapin' for shorter periods closer to home; this fall will find us on an extended trip through the Southeast region to revisit favorite places from previous trips as well as to find new places to make memories.

Photos from the last leg of our journey home can be found in the Galleries section at Cheryl's Digital Photography.
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Old 03-13-2014, 11:45 AM   #2
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Sounds like you guys had a great trip. I looked at a few photos, but will have to catch up later. They look great.
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Old 03-13-2014, 11:51 AM   #3
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Talking Wow!

What a fabulous trip! Your Yellowstone pictures are amazing. Where did you stay when you were at Yellowstone? How did you trailer do in the cold? We have a September delivery on a 21' and are now considering picking up and I was wondering about places like Yellowstone in the fall. I am looking forward to sitting down and going through all your photos. Congratulations!
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Old 03-13-2014, 01:42 PM   #4
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What a fabulous trip! Your Yellowstone pictures are amazing. Where did you stay when you were at Yellowstone? How did you trailer do in the cold? We have a September delivery on a 21' and are now considering picking up and I was wondering about places like Yellowstone in the fall. I am looking forward to sitting down and going through all your photos. Congratulations!
We stopped at Yellowstone on the way to Chilliwack and stayed in a motel in Gardiner, MT, just outside the only open entrance to the park in the winter.

I too was worried about the cold as well as possible snowy mountain passes on the way back home. Consequently, I chose to more or less follow US 101 from Port Townsend, WA to San Luis Obispo, CA before turning east towards home. Low temperatures were generally no colder than the mid 30's and we had no problems. We only saw frost one night and that was near San Antonio in the last week of February.
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Old 03-13-2014, 03:10 PM   #5
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Wow. What a trip! Nice photos. Thank you for sharing them. The buffalo in the the snow are so majestic.

Bet that trip was a whole lot more fun than waiting on a delivery truck.
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Old 03-13-2014, 04:01 PM   #6
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Fifty-seven amazing days. Great post!
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Old 03-13-2014, 09:16 PM   #7
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Those are nice photos, indeed. What is the antenna opposite the TV antenna on your Escape?

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Old 03-14-2014, 12:44 AM   #8
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Nice photos!
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Old 03-14-2014, 09:13 AM   #9
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Those are nice photos, indeed. What is the antenna opposite the TV antenna on your Escape?

Mike L.
It's a Wilson external antenna for a Sleek 4G cell phone signal booster.
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Old 03-16-2014, 09:40 AM   #10
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Don,
Tell us a bit more about your booster. Seems to get good reviews. Do you use for data? Where do you have it mounted. Do you use it in your tug, I used my droid maxx last trip as a hot spot. Seems like that would work well for internet with a boost. Would be nice to move up to tug when on the road. Thanks.
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Old 03-16-2014, 05:18 PM   #11
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Don,
Tell us a bit more about your booster. Seems to get good reviews. Do you use for data? Where do you have it mounted. Do you use it in your tug, I used my droid maxx last trip as a hot spot. Seems like that would work well for internet with a boost. Would be nice to move up to tug when on the road. Thanks.
What I had mounted on the roof was a Wilson 301119 Dual-band Roof Mount Rv Trucker 800/1900 Mhz Antenna . The cable from the antenna was fed into the front cabinet on the driver's side. As the cable supplied with the antenna didn't quite reach all the way to the front of our 19', I then attached a Wilson 6' Adapter Extension Coax RG174 (SMA Female to SMA-Male) to extend the antenna cable to the front overhead shelf. The last piece was a Wilson 971119 Fme Male to Sma Male Connector to connect the antenna cable to the Wilson Sleek 4G Cell Phone Signal Booster. The signal booster is powered by a 12V adapter that I had installed on the driver's side of the overhead shelf.

For the MiFi Hotspot, I used a Millenicom HotSpot Plan that provided 20 gigabytes of data per month. The plan I chose used a 4620LE 3G/4G Jetpack that works with the Verizon network.

The Wilson Sleek came with a magnetic mount antenna for the car so it could be used there also. In practice, I just put the Jetpack in the amplifier cradle and used a rubber band to hold it more securely in the cradle. When we were in the trailer, I simply connected the antenna, plugged it into the 12V socket, turned it on, and laid the unit up on the top shelf. If I wanted to use it in the car, I'd move the Sleek to the car, connect the antenna cable and plug in the power source. The unit worked fine just lying in the glove box.

I didn't use the booster at all for phone calls, just for data. I had no problems connecting to the internet in the trailer or driving down the road as long as there was a Verizon signal available.

The only place I did not have a phone signal was in the vicinity of the Amistad Reservoir in south Texas. I did use an iPhone app called 'Coverage?' that helped in showing if Verizon coverage was available in areas we planned to travel.

The other item I tried was a C. Crane US3 Super USB Wi-Fi Antenna 3 . This had some success in picking up wireless networks that were in the vicinity of where we were. I had the most luck with this by attaching it to the upper end of the awning support and then running the cable through the door (or window) to connect to a USB port on the computer.

Hope this helps.
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Old 03-16-2014, 10:16 PM   #12
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Don
Great info. Assume you had ETI mount the antenna and run the long cable? Thanks.
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Old 03-17-2014, 09:03 AM   #13
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Don
Great info. Assume you had ETI mount the antenna and run the long cable? Thanks.
Yes, ETI mounted the antenna and routed the cable attached to the antenna (I believe it was 11' long) as far forward as it would reach.
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Old 03-17-2014, 10:13 AM   #14
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Hello Don and Cheryl,

We are pleased that you all had a great trip. We enjoyed your digital pictures. We are anxiously waiting to pick up our trailer in May in Chilliwack. The trailer was paid for and is parking at the ETI factory. We hope to meet with you guys some day in the future.

Tonny and Carole
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Old 03-17-2014, 05:01 PM   #15
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Hello Don and Cheryl,

We are pleased that you all had a great trip. We enjoyed your digital pictures. We are anxiously waiting to pick up our trailer in May in Chilliwack. The trailer was paid for and is parking at the ETI factory. We hope to meet with you guys some day in the future.

Tonny and Carole
Thanks Tonny. I'm sure you are getting anxious for May to get here. I'll let you know when we are next in the Little Rock area to see if we can get together.
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Old 03-21-2014, 06:10 AM   #16
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Yes, ETI mounted the antenna and routed the cable attached to the antenna (I believe it was 11' long) as far forward as it would reach.
Don,
I like this setup a lot. I will go with it for our 21'. How did you determine this location for the antenna? Also on the antenna, it looks like it has a spring near the base? Concerned about clearance storing in our barn and hitting obstructions. It is hard to tell from pictures online. Thanks.
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Old 03-21-2014, 12:42 PM   #17
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I did much the same thing with my 17. I used the Wilson RV/Trucker antenna . The original installation used a Wilson Vehicle Booster Kit which was great because you didn't have to put the phone or MiFi unit in a cradle, and worked with both Verizon & AT&T. Since it was 3G only, when I switched to 4G service I switched to a Wilson Sleek. In the 17, the original cable from the antenna is long enough that it reaches the front cabinet so I didn't need the extension.

For the best performance, the antenna should be separated far enough from the Sleek to prevent oscillation. While the distance is probably less than necessary with the Vehicle Booster Kit, you don't want them on top of each other. I'm sure the original cable length would provide enough separation. I wanted the Sleek in the front cabinet so that its WiFi signal extended to the tow vehicle to provide a connection while traveling.

As to the spring, it is very stiff - I wouldn't want to use it for anything except emergency protection...

By the way, Millenicom is now supplying the Pantech MHS291LVW Jetpack, which is a big improvement over the older 4620LE 3G/4G. Much better in weak signal areas when it switches between 3G & 4G, and it shows actual usage. Since I travel in weak signal areas, it was worth paying Millenicom to switch Jetpacks.
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Old 03-21-2014, 05:38 PM   #18
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Don,
I like this setup a lot. I will go with it for our 21'. How did you determine this location for the antenna? Also on the antenna, it looks like it has a spring near the base? Concerned about clearance storing in our barn and hitting obstructions. It is hard to tell from pictures online. Thanks.
Carl,
On the antenna location, I asked Reace to keep it as far back as possible and still allow the cable to reach into the the front cabinet. I'd guess it's a few inches forward of the TV antenna on the opposite corner of the roof. I wouldn't say the antenna is really mounted on a spring; it's pretty solid.

Glad to see J Vermilye responded to your question also as I used his setup as the model for mine. I believe Jon broke off his original antenna but I'm not sure of the circumstances or if he replaced the antenna with the same model.
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Old 03-21-2014, 06:13 PM   #19
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Carl,

Glad to see J Vermilye responded to your question also as I used his setup as the model for mine. I believe Jon broke off his original antenna but I'm not sure of the circumstances or if he replaced the antenna with the same model.
The replacement looks exactly the same, but has a different model number (301133 for the new one & 308433 for the original). The spec sheet for the new antenna shows 3.1db gain at 4G LTE frequencies, while the older one does not. I bought the older one before 4G LTE existed, so it may be the same, or it may have a different loading coil.

In any case, rerunning the cable for the new antenna after the trailer was built was a bear. I even ended up using a inspection camera to route the cable over the shower. While someone told me that Reace couldn't do it in a 19, if I had it to do over in the 17, I'd ask for a 1" conduit run behind the shower - would make replacement cables much easier!
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Old 03-21-2014, 08:12 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vermilye View Post
I did much the same thing with my 17. I used the Wilson RV/Trucker antenna . The original installation used a Wilson Vehicle Booster Kit which was great because you didn't have to put the phone or MiFi unit in a cradle, and worked with both Verizon & AT&T. Since it was 3G only, when I switched to 4G service I switched to a Wilson Sleek. In the 17, the original cable from the antenna is long enough that it reaches the front cabinet so I didn't need the extension.

For the best performance, the antenna should be separated far enough from the Sleek to prevent oscillation. While the distance is probably less than necessary with the Vehicle Booster Kit, you don't want them on top of each other. I'm sure the original cable length would provide enough separation. I wanted the Sleek in the front cabinet so that its WiFi signal extended to the tow vehicle to provide a connection while traveling.

As to the spring, it is very stiff - I wouldn't want to use it for anything except emergency protection...

By the way, Millenicom is now supplying the Pantech MHS291LVW Jetpack, which is a big improvement over the older 4620LE 3G/4G. Much better in weak signal areas when it switches between 3G & 4G, and it shows actual usage. Since I travel in weak signal areas, it was worth paying Millenicom to switch Jetpacks.
Jon,

I was planning on using my Droid Maxx as my hotspot. We used it that way on a recent trip to Florida and it seemed OK. No booster just phone plugged into 12 volt in the Casita. Any reason that wouldn't work docked with the Wilson? Thanks.
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