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Old 12-10-2023, 10:38 PM   #61
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Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: SLO County, California
Trailer: 2014 Escape 21C 2019 Expedition
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Love Centro Piazza & stop there any time we're nearby.
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Old 01-08-2024, 03:26 PM   #62
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Sorry for no updates for a while, but we kind of got busy. So, here is the rest of the story -
  • Day 4-9: Stayed in Picacho peak state park. I needed to work using the Starlink. We liked Picacho peak a lot and hiked daily. I did not make it to the top as my work calls kept coming but my wife did make it. The climb to top is not straightforward. We also made a trip to Tucson to visit the Desert museum - which we enjoyed a lot.

    We can recommend the campground - though there is some highway noise.
  • Day 9 - We traveled from Picacho Peak SP to Bonita Canyon campground Chiricahua NM. Easy drive. Beautiful setting and campground. We were in site 40 (thanks a lot, Perry!) and it was a fantastic site. The tree cover is very dense but we were able to get some connectivity with Starlink, good enough for emails.
  • Day 10 - We did the Big Loop hike in Chiricahua. It is a fairly long hike but hits all the right spots and we'd recommend it highly. Were really impressed with the beauty and fantastic hiking possibilities!
  • Day 11 - We took a road trip to Whitewater Draw preserve. It's about 60 miles away - and is the resting spot of Sandhill Cranes! And, there were a lot of them - and we were happy that we made the trip.
  • Day 12 - We moved from Chiricahua to KOA in Las Cruces, NM. Spent an hour in Wilcox as one of the camper tires had a nail was causing slow leak. The tire pressure monitor that we had installed helped us identify it and address it properly. We'd not have known it easily otherwise. We bought supplies here to last 10 days.
  • Day 13 - Went from Las Cruces to David Mountain SP in Fort Davis, TX. Beautiful park, decent hiking nearby but we got there too late to enjoy it.
  • Day 14 - Did laundry Fort Davis and then moved on the KBAR-2 in Big Bend. Laundry was terrible but KBAR-2 (David Murphy's recommendation) was fantastic. It was our first experience with boondocking and it was fabulous.
  • Day 14- 23 - Big Bend NP. It was the ultimate destination of the trip but we did not have much idea about it coming in. The park definitely beat our expectations - by a good amount. After 5 nights in KBAR-2, we had to move to Groton Springs, and that was good experience as well.

    Our focus was on hiking. So, we hiked -
    • Lost Mine
    • The Windows
    • Emory Peak
    • South Rim - Joint top. It's 12 miles or so (my iPhone said 13) but fantastic.
    • Marufo Vega - Joint top. This is one tough hike and we did not finish it. Although there are cairns, certain amount of energy and focus goes into staying on the trail and it slowed us down. We got started around 9:45 am but anyone looking to finish should really start at 8 AM. This trail claims some lives, so obviously water and right season are critical. We hiked a bit over 12 miles, so did quite a bit but gave up on the loop.
    • Upper Burro Mesa
    • Mule ears
    • Saint Elena canyon
  • Day 24 - Davis Mountain SP. We were able to hike this time and enjoyed it.
    But, we thought we'd be able to go to the McDonald observatory and weren't able to. We had not made reservations (online) and it was sold out. That said, the night was below freezing and we might not have enjoyed our time at the observatory outdoors at night.
  • Day 25 - Las Cruces, NM. Stayed in Hacienda RV resort. Not as good as the KOA as it is right next to the highway. But, we needed to wash the laundry, etc. and it was a good overnight. I'd prefer KOA or another campground over this one.
  • Day 26 - Gilbert Ray campground in Tucson. Fantastic campground. In retrospect, it might have been a better choice than Pichaco peak (which wasn't bad). Did a short hike locally.
  • Day 27 - Gilert Ray. We had to switch camping spots but that was not a problem. Afterward, we did a hike - Wasson Peak via King Canyon and Hugh Norris Trail, a loop. Nice hike and gave us a good idea of the local hiking scene.
  • Day 28 - Kingman KOA. OK campground. After getting there, we went on a 5 mile hike. I forget the name but was a nice hike and got the buzzing from the driving out of our heads.
  • Day 29 - St George, UT - Desert Canyon RV Resort. Good campground but road noise from Route 7 next to it. We did a 5 mile hike after getting here. The hike is right next to the campground and we did not have to drive. So, that was a plus.
  • Day 30 - SLC. We had to winterize the camper. After trying both methods, we find that the antifreeze method is the easiest. So, we just did that. Got back and dropped the camper off in the storage and got home. Just in time as the next day was a significant snow storm.
All in all, a fantastic trip. Our longest and most enjoyable trip in Escape. My wife drove a good amount and got more comfortable. She still prefers to avoid congested traffic driving but it was a great that she is getting better at it.

We do need to address one thing in the camper. With Starlink - the draw depletes the battery if we leave it on overnight. Don't know if something is wrong or if this is what it is. So, we will have a mobile tech look at it and advise. If we need to add / upgrade batteries (we have two lithium batteries by 100 Ah), we will do that. Starlink is now a critical part of our infrastructure.
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Old 01-08-2024, 06:01 PM   #63
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Sounds like a fabulous trip, well done!
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Old 01-08-2024, 06:12 PM   #64
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Sure sounds like an amazing trip. How cold was it and how'd your trailer hold up against the cold?
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Old 01-08-2024, 06:20 PM   #65
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Originally Posted by Chacoman View Post
Sure sounds like an amazing trip. How cold was it and how'd your trailer hold up against the cold?
It was. We are so happy that everything went very well. The nights were cold. At Fort Davis, we left the water connected as we did not think that it'd get so cold. The pipe froze and we had to wait for it to thaw before we could leave. But, for the most part, the temperature did not fall much below 32. And, we do have underbody foam as well as heat strips. We had to scratch our head to remember how to engage the heat strips but we figured it out. Don't know if they worked or not but we did not see any problems.

We took the longer route to and from Big Bend - avoiding central and northern NM and drive through Durango, Moab, etc. to stay in the (relatively) warm belt for most of the trip. And, it worked perfectly for us.
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Old 01-08-2024, 06:24 PM   #66
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Originally Posted by kavm View Post
It was. We are so happy that everything went very well. The nights were cold. At Fort Davis, we left the water connected as we did not think that it'd get so cold. The pipe froze and we had to wait for it to thaw before we could leave.
If you ever wake up to a frozen water faucet and need to leave, take a hand towel, soak it in hot water and wrap it around the faucet, that will usually unthaw it so you can disconect.
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Old 01-08-2024, 07:06 PM   #67
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Originally Posted by davidmurphy02 View Post
If you ever wake up to a frozen water faucet and need to leave, take a hand towel, soak it in hot water and wrap it around the faucet, that will usually unthaw it so you can disconect.
Thank you! That did not occur to us. But, it warmed up pretty fast and did not delay us by any more than an hour. But, I shared your idea with my wife for future use!
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Old 01-08-2024, 10:24 PM   #68
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Originally Posted by kavm View Post
...
  • Day 14- 23 - Big Bend NP. It was the ultimate destination of the trip but we did not have much idea about it coming in. The park definitely beat our expectations - by a good amount. After 5 nights in KBAR-2, we had to move to Groton Springs, and that was good experience as well.

    Our focus was on hiking. So, we hiked -
    • Marufo Vega - Joint top. This is one tough hike and we did not finish it. Although there are cairns, certain amount of energy and focus goes into staying on the trail and it slowed us down. We got started around 9:45 am but anyone looking to finish should really start at 8 AM. This trail claims some lives, so obviously water and right season are critical. We hiked a bit over 12 miles, ...
A slight correction - see attached map.

And an FYI, most BB NP boondocking sites are NOT suitable for trailers thanks to unmaintained roads, but the few that are - are worth fighting for. Privacy unequaled (at night), solitude, view of the heavens, quiet - except for wildlife. No amenities what-so-ever and moderate traffic during the day. Reservations required long in advance (6 months) like regular campsites. Don't overlook Grapevine Hills 1 & 2, or in the far north end, Nine Point Draw. Call the visitor center and discuss road conditions to be safe.

Marufo Vega: This is a most treacherous hike in the warm season (starting mid-February). This is the advice I passed along to campers when we were hosting. Take the recommended 4 liters of water and then add 2 more to your pack. You are correct if you say you can't drink that much in one day, or that drinking it all will not do you much good! But with extra to spare you can cool down by soaking your white cotton T-shirt for instant desert air conditioning. That may be the fastest way to dissipate excess body heat since there is not a smidgen of shade on that hike and sweating can only go so far in cooling down a body.
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