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Old 04-27-2015, 02:21 PM   #1
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Chilliwack, Osoyoos, & Where Advice

Chilliwack here we come! My wife and I are scheduled for orientation\pickup of our new 5.0TA on Wednesday May 27th at 1:30pm. We have tentative plans to stay somewhere nearby the first night before heading to Osoyoos for the rally Thursday morning. We plan to leave Osoyoos early Sunday morning and this is where we need some advice!

Tentative plans are to go to Jasper, Banff, and Glacier (USA) before making our way back to Louisiana. Being a flatlander from Louisiana and having never been to Jasper or Banff, we have concerns and lots of questions!

1) Is the weather conditions during early June OK for camping in these northern Rocky Mountain parks?

2) Is the road conditions in these areas good for pulling our new 5.0TA? On the inaugural trip, we certainly donít want to travel roads that increase the likelihood of damaging our Escape!

3) What is the better route from Osoyoos to Jasper and/or Banff, stay on Hwy 1 or head north at Kamloops on Hwy5?

4) Since we only have 4 or 5 nights that we can spend in Jasper and\or Banff, do you recommend camping in both parks or camping in one park and driving to see the other park?

5) What campgrounds do you recommend?

6) Is it possible to get sites in early June if we donít have reservations?

7) Do you recommend towing the 5.0TA on the Icefields Parkway from Jasper to Banff?

8) What areas do you recommend as the best for wildlife sightings?

9) Our 5.0TA is equipped with the 150W solar panel but we have no experience with solar. We have a Honda EU2000i generator but really donít want to bring it if we donít need it. Our concern is usage of the furnace if we are off-grid. Do you think the 150W solar panel will be enough to keep the batteries charged?

10) Do we understand correctly that we will each pay either a daily entry fee or purchase an annual pass, in addition to the camping fee?

Backup plans include the Pacific coast, Zion National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, etcetera. This is going to be fun but we wish we were retired.

Any advice or suggestions is welcome.

Thanks in advance,
Mark
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Old 04-27-2015, 02:50 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Drumstick63 View Post
Chilliwack here we come! My wife and I are scheduled for orientation\pickup of our new 5.0TA on Wednesday May 27th at 1:30pm. We have tentative plans to stay somewhere nearby the first night before heading to Osoyoos for the rally Thursday morning. We plan to leave Osoyoos early Sunday morning and this is where we need some advice!

Tentative plans are to go to Jasper, Banff, and Glacier (USA) before making our way back to Louisiana. Being a flatlander from Louisiana and having never been to Jasper or Banff, we have concerns and lots of questions!

1) Is the weather conditions during early June OK for camping in these northern Rocky Mountain parks? Yes it should be pretty good, can still get cold at night.

2) Is the road conditions in these areas good for pulling our new 5.0TA? On the inaugural trip, we certainly donít want to travel roads that increase the likelihood of damaging our Escape! No gravel.

3) What is the better route from Osoyoos to Jasper and/or Banff, stay on Hwy 1 or head north at Kamloops on Hwy5? The quickest, best road is Hwy. 1, but if you want to take your time Hwy. 5 is a nice scenic drive with camping along the way.

4) Since we only have 4 or 5 nights that we can spend in Jasper and\or Banff, do you recommend camping in both parks or camping in one park and driving to see the other park? They are not that far apart (under 300 KM) so seeing both and camping in between is feasible.

5) What campgrounds do you recommend? Waterfowl campground is nice.

6) Is it possible to get sites in early June if we donít have reservations? Yes but pull in early (noonish) but there is no guarantee.

7) Do you recommend towing the 5.0TA on the Icefields Parkway from Jasper to Banff? Sure, nice drive.

8) What areas do you recommend as the best for wildlife sightings? All along the way, should see some bears for sure.

9) Our 5.0TA is equipped with the 150W solar panel but we have no experience with solar. We have a Honda EU2000i generator but really donít want to bring it if we donít need it. Our concern is usage of the furnace if we are off-grid. Do you think the 150W solar panel will be enough to keep the batteries charged? With our 19 we had no trouble even with no solar and not using the generator for 3-4 days.

10) Do we understand correctly that we will each pay either a daily entry fee or purchase an annual pass, in addition to the camping fee? Yes basically $20.00 per day or I think the yearly pass is about $140.00 give or take a couple of bucks.

Backup plans include the Pacific coast, Zion National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, etcetera. This is going to be fun but we wish we were retired.

Any advice or suggestions is welcome.

Thanks in advance,
Mark
Mark we pick our new 5.0TA up on the 15 of May and will see you at the rally.

Cheers
Doug
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Old 04-27-2015, 03:26 PM   #3
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Hi: Drumstick63... Here's a pic I took up on the road thru Crowsnest Pass. Can't remember how high up we were but the lake was still frozen solid. A real shock getting out to take the shot in short pants!!!
After the rally we travelled BC Hwy. #3 stayed in Yahk Provincial Pk.BC., Radium Hot Springs BC., Ft. MacLeod Alberta, Waterton Lakes Alberta, and then Great Falls Mont., and then West Yellowstone. While touring Yellowstone in June... we found the snow!!! Alf
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Old 04-27-2015, 05:05 PM   #4
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Although it may seem like a bit much to pay for both the park pass and camping, that's how it works - the park pass covers day use, and the camping fees are an add-on to that. The season pass might not be a great deal in comparison for only a few nights, but it is good for a year (from 12 months whatever date you purchase it) at all national parks in Canada; it is also convenient to use. The basic pass covers two people and their vehicle.

The Icefields Parkway (Highway 93, essentially connecting Lake Louise in Banff park and the townsite of Jasper) gets to high elevations and has substantial grades, but it is a proper highway - there is no problem taking any RV on it (if you are patient with the climbs). This isn't one of those glorified goat paths cut into the side of a mountain!

All of the roads one might reasonably pick off map to tour the Canadian Rocky Mountain parks are paved primary or secondary highways that are easy for any vehicle (although in some cases slow due to climbs and turns); it's not like up north (really north, meaning the Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Alaska) where some major roads are gravel.
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Old 04-27-2015, 05:57 PM   #5
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What Doug said!

Definitely take Highway 5 up to Jasper, glorious route. Wells Grey Provincial Park is along the way, and is one of my favourite areas to explore. Nowhere near the crowds in that Banff or Jasper has, lots of waterfalls, great hikes, and lots of canoeing if desired.

I prefer spending time around Jasper to Banff. Again, less people, and is kinda like Banff was 40 years ago. Don't get me wrong though, Banff National Park has many, many outstanding things to see.

The Icefields Parkway is one of the most beautiful drives in the world, no exaggeration. I have driven it a few dozen times, and am still in awe every time I drive it again.
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Old 04-27-2015, 06:56 PM   #6
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Sounds like we get our orientation just before you, ours starts at 8:00 am on the 27th. We are leaving Sunday also and heading to Moyie Lake, but this is just to break up our trip back home to Calgary. At the event you will receive lots of suggestions and ideas but we actually prefer camping in the parks during shoulder season, less crowded, fewer bugs and weather is usually very nice (although you will want a fleece or light jacket ... sometimes a parka)
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Old 04-27-2015, 08:15 PM   #7
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Although I have driven Highway 16 / Highway 5 between Jasper and Kamloops enough that the plan alternate routes just for variety, it does have lots of recreational opportunities along it. I don't know that I would do this with only 4 or 5 days, but a route with lots along it might be:
  • Osoyoos to Kamloops via Vernon on Highway 97 (the Okanagan valley)
  • Kamloops to Jasper on the Yellowhead, which is Highways 5 & 16 (North Thompson river valley, past Wells Gray Park; Doug and Jim's suggestion)
  • Jasper to Banff on Icefields Parkway (Highway 93)
  • Banff to Waterton/Glacier, presumably on Highway 22 etc (Rocky foothills, rather than the boring but fast Highway 2)
(Google Map of this route)
The problem is that to do this in 5 days and 4 nights is a move every day and while only 300 km (200 miles) per day, plus sidetrips, you would drive by a lot and not have time to do much. I think I would want twice as long to really enjoy this length of route... but maybe I've just rushed past this stuff enough times that it bothers me and I want to stop and see it.

I might consider a more direct route, with more time per area, such as going up the Okanagan, checking out the Shuswap Lake area, along the TransCanada toward Banff National Park, and maybe even taking BC highway 95 south instead of the Alberta side of the Rockies. It really depends on what you want to see and do along the way.

A compromise might be to take that first long loop, but spend more than half of your time in the less busy areas, and treat the big national parks as a two-day scenic drive.
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Old 04-27-2015, 11:42 PM   #8
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Thanks for the input!

We feel better about potential weather conditions but are still a little concerned about road conditions. "No gravel" is good to hear but what about "frost heaves" and other things that might cause damage (fridge doors, stove door, cabinet doors, etc.) to the trailer? Yes, we are probably being too paranoid with the "new" 5.0TA!

We will have approximately 10 days to explore the Rocky Mountains before beginning to make our way back home. Maybe we should spend less time in Glacier (USA) and focus more on Jasper and Banff. Then there is Waterton Lakes, Yellowstone, and Grand Teton. Deciding where to go is a challenge!

Thanks again,
Mark
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Old 04-28-2015, 12:34 AM   #9
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Mark,

Whatever you do, don't take I5 down to Seattle. I rode in the back of a Jeep CJ on that "road" and arrived battered and bruised. Every 30 feet there is a seam in the pavement. It's how they built the thing. Like laying down paving stones for a path in your garden.
We have some crummy roads up here, but they weren't built crummy.
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Old 04-28-2015, 01:16 AM   #10
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I rode in the back of a Jeep CJ on that "road" and arrived battered and bruised. Every 30 feet there is a seam in the pavement. It's how they built the thing. Like laying down paving stones for a path in your garden.
We have some crummy roads up here, but they weren't built crummy.
Ironically, this results from trying to build a good road, better than one built of just layers of gravel topped by asphalt.

Regular seams like that are usually the edges of slabs of concrete. The general idea is to build the road of a strong and rigid material which won't become uneven and grooved with time, settling of the base, and traffic. Often it is covered with a layer of asphalt to smooth out the surface.

The big problem comes when the slabs settle unevenly, sometimes looking like a sawtooth (climb up the sloped slab, fall down on to the next, and repeat ad nauseum). Even if they stay level and nicely lined up, if the asphalt layer isn't added there are still those joints.

How much of a problem this is depends heavily on the vehicle. Sometimes the frequency of the bumps is just wrong for the vehicle, and it bucks badly. Some vehicles just have poor suspension. A CJ bucks when you look at it the wrong way, and has the crudest suspension on the road... and the back seat is just about directly on top of the rear axle.

How would a 5.0TA handle it? It might be fine... but I'd hate to start down the road, realize that it's a bad match for the trailer, and be committed to that route. It's good to know about the potential issue.
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Old 04-28-2015, 09:13 AM   #11
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...We feel better about potential weather conditions but are still a little concerned about road conditions. "No gravel" is good to hear but what about "frost heaves" and other things that might cause damage (fridge doors, stove door, cabinet doors, etc.) to the trailer? Yes, we are probably being too paranoid with the "new" 5.0TA!...
Although it is a paved road and is travelled by thousands of RV's of all sizes every summer, the Columbia Icefield Parkway can be a bit rough in places due to seasonal freezing/thawing. We have towed our 19' on this road several times with absolutely no issues. Just slow down a bit if it gets a little rough in places and you should be fine. Slightly reduced speed will also make it so much easier to view the wonderful scenery along this roadway.
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Old 04-28-2015, 12:40 PM   #12
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Although it is a paved road and is travelled by thousands of RV's of all sizes every summer, the Columbia Icefield Parkway can be a bit rough in places due to seasonal freezing/thawing.
I agree - I drove the south half of the Icefields Parkway earlier this month (just in a van - no RV) and found it rougher than more major routes such as the Yellowhead, but not so bad that I would hesitate to take an RV (motorhome or trailer) on it.

Fortunately, Reace incorporated an equalizer with a rubber dampener (Dexter E-Z Flex) in the 5.0TA suspension, so it should handle the bumps with less shock to the trailer and contents than a basic leaf-spring suspension with a rigid equalizer.
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Old 04-28-2015, 12:53 PM   #13
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What Doug said!

Definitely take Highway 5 up to Jasper, glorious route. Wells Grey Provincial Park is along the way, and is one of my favourite areas to explore. Nowhere near the crowds in that Banff or Jasper has, lots of waterfalls, great hikes, and lots of canoeing if desired.

I prefer spending time around Jasper to Banff. Again, less people, and is kinda like Banff was 40 years ago. Don't get me wrong though, Banff National Park has many, many outstanding things to see.

The Icefields Parkway is one of the most beautiful drives in the world, no exaggeration. I have driven it a few dozen times, and am still in awe every time I drive it again.
Not to mention, you drive right by Mount Robson, its a special sight. The campground in Mount Robson Provincial Park is just off the highway and is huge so finding a site is likely. If you are lucky you will get a view of the peak.

Mark
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Old 04-28-2015, 06:48 PM   #14
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The big problem comes when the slabs settle unevenly, sometimes looking like a sawtooth (climb up the sloped slab, fall down on to the next, and repeat ad nauseum). Even if they stay level and nicely lined up, if the asphalt layer isn't added there are still those joints.
The freeways in our state have been modified to prevent this problem with a "Dowel Bar Retrofit" process. Slots are cut across slab joints and steel dowel bars are placed in the slots to hold the slabs in place. As you drive it's easy to see the repeating pattern of parallel slots in the pavement. (So far, it seems to be working).

-Dave
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Old 04-28-2015, 07:18 PM   #15
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Saw those in a few places in Utah Dave. Doesn't solve the main problem though -- grossly overweight and unsafe trucks damaging the roads. I know they pay more in road taxes, but the problem is that in most states the politicians find ways to spend the money elsewhere.
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Old 04-28-2015, 07:34 PM   #16
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Not to mention, you drive right by Mount Robson, its a special sight. The campground in Mount Robson Provincial Park is just off the highway and is huge so finding a site is likely. If you are lucky you will get a view of the peak.

Mark
Here is a shot of part of Mount Robson from a few weeks ago
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Old 04-28-2015, 08:01 PM   #17
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Saw those in a few places in Utah Dave. Doesn't solve the main problem though -- grossly overweight and unsafe trucks damaging the roads. I know they pay more in road taxes, but the problem is that in most states the politicians find ways to spend the money elsewhere.
This has annoyed me for a long time. The long-distance trucking industry is subsidized by everyone else. "Freight trucks cause 99% of wear-and-tear on US roads, but only pay for 35% of the maintenance." One one fully loaded 18-wheeler does the same damage to a road as 9600 cars.

(Oops - now we're really off topic).

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Old 04-28-2015, 08:47 PM   #18
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Those trucks also deliver all those products, including food, that you buy. Truckers barely make a living as it is. Tax them and you will end up paying double for your California vegetable plate.
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Old 04-28-2015, 08:57 PM   #19
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I work for a worldwide transportation company. In 2014, we spent (in the US) $498,604,000.00 in fuel and fuel taxes. It's up to your government and local politicans to figure out how to best use the money for roads. I can find a like number of blogs that say it's studs on passenger car snow tires that tear up the roads, etc.
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Old 04-28-2015, 10:25 PM   #20
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I can find a like number of blogs that say it's studs on passenger car snow tires that tear up the roads, etc.
You are right, Donna. Bloggers can exaggerate and promote unsubstantiated opinions, and this likely is true for that one I quoted. I have more confidence in appropriate governmental agencies, like the Federal Highway Administration: "The U.S. Department of Transportation in its most recent Highway Cost Allocation Study estimated that light single-unit trucks, operating at less than 25,000 pounds, pay 150 percent of their road costs while the heaviest tractor-trailer combination trucks, weighing over 100,000 pounds, pay only 50 percent of their road costs."

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Those trucks also deliver all those products, including food, that you buy. Truckers barely make a living as it is. Tax them and you will end up paying double for your California vegetable plate.
I would not be opposed to paying more if the cost is valid, although realistically a level economic playing field is not possible in our world. Regardless, I think we should pay truck drivers more so they can make a living while driving fewer hours with lighter loads at slower speeds.

-Dave
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