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Old 08-17-2012, 11:59 AM   #1
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New FS T10RD meets the Dempster Highway

Hello all.
I said over in the Welcome Mat forum that I would do a review of my new RV, so I guess I'd better get at it. If this is the wrong place for it or if I'm too windy, I apologize in advance. Hopefully some kind moderator will move me off by myself, out of the way.

First off, the tow vehicle:
2009 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited with the factory tow package and 41,000 kms on the odometer. It has the 3.9 litre V-6 and an automatic transmission.
Nobody with any sense buys a Jeep Wrangler to tow things with. We buy Wranglers because we just absolutely gotta have a Wrangler.
It got the job done though.

The RV:
Flagstaff's T10RD. This must be the red-headed stepchild of the family because they're not even mentioned in the brochures. This link:
Flagstaff T10RD A-Frame Hard Side Folding Camper
has all the photo's and specs you could ever want to see.
In short; it has a dry weight of 1,745 pounds -just a tad lighter than the T12's that are more commonly seen. It has a bunk forward and convertible dinette aft and all the bells and whistles you could ask for in an A-Frame. It's actually a bit fancier than I wanted but the price was right and I wanted something bigger than the A-Liner Alite I traded in for it.

I'm very pleased with it so far. It's far roomier inside than it appears from the outside. The counter with the sink and stove are a bit low, but I generally do my washing up outside (with plastic tubs) and my best culinary efforts (ahh...roast leg of Spam) are done over a campfire anyway.

So far, the unit seems as easy to heat as the much smaller Alite was. I didn't need the furnace on this trip but simply lighting one burner for coffee took the morning chill off immediately.
The hard sides all around are certainly a comfort in grizzly country. I've no doubt that a griz could make pretty short work of the walls if he really wanted in but I suspect it would slow him down enough for me to get fully awake (and then realize that I'd left my gun and bear spray in the Jeep).

I picked the unit up in Coaldale, Alberta (just outside Lethbridge) at Prairie Sky RV. The folks there made sure everything was clean and in good order and they went over everything with me.
So far so good.

I'l have to continue this later this afternoon. The garage just called and they've finished screwing everything back together that vibrated off the Jeep on this trip.
Back in a bit.
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Old 08-17-2012, 01:34 PM   #2
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OK, so we're all hooked up, everything's go for launch, Ride of the Valkyries is plugged into the CD player (yes, I am that silly and childish, but I have fun) and I'm pulling out of the dealership hauling a thousand pounds more than I arrived with.

The Wrangler has a button marked O/D off just ahead of the gear shift. I believe it performs a similar function to the tow/haul switch seen on many vehicles. I found it does make a difference in performance and had to remember to press it every time I started the Jeep.

Well, you certainly know you've got some weight behind you. Expect to lose speed on any sort of a hill -until it kicks into a lower gear and now your revs sound like a C130 on takeoff. Acceleration even on level stretches is positively geriatric -you really want to pick and choose where you're going to pass someone- but she'll eventually get up to highway speed (65 mph in much of the west) and stay there with no undue strain.

As expected, gas mileage took a hit. There's a readout that tells you your average mileage but in a Canadian vehicle it gives it in litres per hundred kilometres. I was fairly young when metric was introduced and am reasonably comfortable in both systems but even I find this a bit annoying.
Anyways, mileage varied between 15.9 and 14.0 per 100 km (with no trailer, it varies from 12 - 10 lp100km). I found blasting along at highway speed on flat stretches sucked up as much, if not more, fuel than crawling up steep mountains did.

Installing tow mirrors would be a good idea. Between the rear wiper motor, seat headrests, spare tire and upper brake light, there's not much visibility out the rear window of a Wrangler. The T10 is high enough to fill most of what's left and the Jeep dealer, with great foresight, stuck their name across the tiny little strip that remains. You have to peek between the letters to see things like headlights (or red and blue flashing lights) behind you.

I'll take another break here for station identification and if anyone is actually still reading this, I'll carry on with how she handles in the north country.
And hopefully a picture or two.
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Old 08-17-2012, 02:07 PM   #3
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My first fuel stop was in Canmore, Alberta -a beautiful little city just outside Banff National Park- and it was there that I noticed that the cover for the propane tanks had blown off somewhere enroute and my bottles were hanging out there for all the world to see.
I believe I'll invest in one of those hard plastic (fiberglass?) ones and certainly make sure that they feature some good way of being secured. No big deal though.
And on I went.

What really surprised me was the Dometic, three-way fridge. The last camper I had that had one of these was a Sunlite truck camper and I remember that on battery power you could only store non-perishable items in the fridge.
This one, on a long day's drive, will freeze everything in there on anything but the lowest setting.
Performance on propane is a bit anemic, but adequate.
The fridge has a latch at the top of the door for travelling. Be sure to use it.

By now, I've travelled from Banff to Jasper, west on the Yellowhead Highway to Highway 37 in British Colombia and headed up that. No real issues. The T10 sets up every bit as easily as my A-lite did. That time of year in the mountains, I'm not bothering with the furnace or the A/C. Everything else seems to be working fine.
Highway 37 by the way, boasts some of the most beautiful scenery you could imagine. The road is well maintained and even the gravel stretches feel like smooth pavement. From Dease Lake north, it's a bit bumpier but still quite driveable.

From there, it's west on the Alaska Highway (you pick it up just west of Watson Lake in the Yukon) to Whitehorse -capitol of the Yukon and another very nice little city. If you need something, you can most likely pick it up there.
Now you can either carry on west to Alaska, or take the Klondike Highway up towards Dawson City.
I did the latter.
Both these highways, by the way, are in good shape and offer no difficulties (having said that, I can also attest to how amazingly far a Jeep Wrangler will go with the fuel warning light on -fuel as you would vote: early and often).

25 miles east of Dawson City, you reach mile zero of the Dempster Highway.
There's a service station there. Use it. Really.
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Old 08-17-2012, 02:22 PM   #4
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OK, trying a photo here:
The T10 in Meziadin Lake Provincial Park, Highway 37 British Colombia.
Sadly, it was cloudy and rainy the whole time I was on that highway.
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Old 08-17-2012, 02:23 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yukon Don
OK, trying a photo here:
The T10 in Meziadin Lake Provincial Park, Highway 37 British Colombia.
Sadly, it was cloudy and rainy the whole time I was on that highway.
Awesome pic Don
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Old 08-17-2012, 02:24 PM   #6
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Thanks f1100 -I'm amazed it worked!
(even more amazed anyone actually read this far...)
More to come.
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Old 08-17-2012, 02:42 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Yukon Don View Post
Thanks f1100 -I'm amazed it worked!
(even more amazed anyone actually read this far...)
More to come.
Keep going Yukon Don!!! You've got me hooked!!!
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Old 08-17-2012, 03:06 PM   #8
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The Dempster Highway was an ambitious project that took 20 years to build. It runs from just east of Dawson City up past the Arctic circle passing through Fort MacPherson in the Northwest Territories, crossing the mighty Mackenzie river and eventually ending in Inuvik, NT.
The highway is constructed largely of potholes -some of which had to be imported from as far away as Chile. The remainder is a mixture of clay, gravel, flint, rock and locally manufactured potholes.

It is elevated somewhat in order to avoid melting the permafrost on which it is built. It's not the most comfortable highway to drive -even the tourist brochures admit that it's not for everybody- but if you and your rig can handle it, the scenery it offers is spectacular.

And here's where the T10 had a "glitch" or two.
For one thing, all three knobs on the stove disappeared. I found them eventually wedged behind the mattress in the bunk. They kept making that journey until I finally just stuck them into one of those little mesh pockets above the bunk.

The door to the microwave broke off. I wasn't too concerned because I had no plans to use it anyways but it is a repair I'll have to make here shortly. I did find a small broken piece of metal on the floor.

The fridge did a curious thing: in spite of the door being latched (I had already learned my lesson) it somehow slipped the latch, ejected nearly every can out onto the floor, then closed itself again.
Nothing else in the fridge moved. Even things in front of the cans stayed put.
To plagiarize myself; New RV trivia question: what is the spray radius of a can of Budweiser that has been rolling around the floor of a T10 for sixty miles on the Dempster highway...?
Answer: you don't want to know. Be sure and open it outside!!

The Dempster is quite dusty. I found that dust making its way inside the T10.
Not just the things like the fridge controls but even to the point of accumulating inside the RV. I had to wipe dust off the tops of the cabinet doors.
Not a lot of dust mind you -you wont need a shovel or anything, but it is there.

I found things stored on the forward bunk (like the barbeque) tended to stay put. Everything else will change places. A water jug in the wheel well compartment leaked. The sink cover/cutting board much preferred the floor.

So am I unhappy? Disappointed?
Not at all. It's a rough road. Expect that. As far as I"m concerned, the T10 did just fine.

Don't be scared of hauling an RV up this road -there are plenty of stretches where you can zip along at 50 mph. For that matter, lots of people were travelling a lot faster than I was (why, I'm not sure...) Just be aware of where you are and be ready for changing conditions -and wildlife!- and you'll have the trip of your life.

I went as far as the Arctic circle and then turned back. I'll be back there again some day and I'll go further.
For now, I'm really glad I made the trip.
My much beloved Dawson City was waiting for me at the bottom of the highway and still more country to see and good people to meet.
But that's another thread.

I hope I haven't been too long-winded here.
Frankly my main target audience is Jeep Wrangler owners, because lots of us are shy about trying to tow anything with them and we don't have to be.
I found a review by Jeep4Two on this site to be a rare and very helpful bit of information that led to my new RV purchase and I can only hope my few insights here are useful to someone else down the road.

I'll close with some pictures of the Dempster.
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Old 08-17-2012, 03:37 PM   #9
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OK here we go:
Neanderthalensis Canadensis meets iMac meets new website...

Update: not happening. I'll try this one at a time...
(could well be an iMac thing -we really don't like each other)
(more likely a Yukon Don thing -I was self-taught on computers -and I know for a fact my instructor didn't know what he was doing!)

Ah, that's better. That's the Tombstone mountain range, 60 or so miles up the highway.
(also proof why you shouldn't waste money on a cheap lens hood)
Bear with me here...
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Old 08-17-2012, 03:39 PM   #10
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Keep going Yukon Don!!! You've got me hooked!!!
People who know me would tell you to not encourage me.
But thanks.
(gotta work on that camping stat, eh)
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