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Old 07-21-2016, 09:35 AM   #1
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Trip Report - Utah , Grand Canyon, Las Vegas

We just got back from our (to date) biggest trip towing the trailer.
12 days, 4427 miles from Indiana to Las Vegas and back.
The rig did 10.7 mpg overall.

We live south of Indianapolis so our route was Indy, then I70 all the way until Denver, CO and then South through I191 to Bluff, UT.
From there we drove to Grand Canyon and then to Boulder City, NV (20 miles before Las Vegas).
The way back was through I40.
We overnight 4 times at Walmart two times going and two times coming back.
Campings and things we saw:
We stayed at Cadillac Ranch.
This is a small camping site but have full hookups, bathrooms and a close by gas station with a convenience store.
It's also almost across the street from the visitor center which is amazing for learning about how south eastern Utah was developed and very close so several things to see:
We visited the valley of the Gods, Mokey Dugway, Muley Point and Natural Bridges National Monument.
There is way more to see and we will return to see all the others.
Grand Canyon:
We stayed at Trailer Village RV Park.
This is very nice since it's far enough from the "Village" so you don't hear all the buzz of tourists and buses but close enough to the grocery store that you can go walking if you want.
Elks and other animals walk among the trailers on a daily basis.
It has full hookups but the bathrooms have no showers.
Grand Canyon is amazing and we hiked South Kaibab trail.
We will sure get back there.
Boulder City:
We stayed at Lake Mead RV Village for we didn't want to stay in Las Vegas.
This camping is by the lake formed by the Hoover Dam and 15 min from it.
You are also 20 miles from Las Vegas so far enough to avoid the buzz but close enough to visit if you want.
It has full hookups and good bathrooms.
We were able to visit both, the Hoover Dam and Las Vegas.

How was the driving:
We left our city @ 630' elevation and went west all the way to the Eisenhower tunnel under the continental divide in Denver, CO, which is 11000'(!!!) of elevation.
This is a long way up and against the wind which for us was 30+ miles per hour on the nose almost all the way until Denver.
Approaching the continental divide is a trip on itself for it has 3 long ramps going up and the scenery is just breathtaking with huge mountains with high peaks with snow on top of them .
After the tunnel, you are driving down through canyons and the landscape change from beautiful pine forest (before the tunnel) to desert with strong crosswinds.
After the tunnel at 11000', you go all the way down to the Colorado river level so a steep descend through the curvy / canyons highway, again, it is breathtaking.
After reach the river, it's way up again but as we changed our direction from westward to south to reach Bluff,UT , the wind moved from on the nose to cross winds.
This wind is so strong that you can see the smoke from the semi's exhaust going sideways .....
From Bluff to Grand Canyon Village is also a long way up, since Grand canyon is 1500' above Bluff.
From Grand Canyon to Boulder City the cross winds are so intense that when getting close to the Hoover dam all "high profile" vehicles need to drive on the left side, close to the cement divider, so you can get some protection.
Boulder City / Las Vegas is really a desert on the most strict sense for temperature.
We got almost 110F every day and as soon as you get out from swimming at Mead lake you are dry.
Also the wind is strong for most of the day and it looks like you just opened the oven so hot it is.

How the camper behaved.
After reading all the bad stuff before buying the camper this year, I'm really pleased to share that we had no quality/manufacturing problem with it. Not a single one.
We were in 9 people (4 adults and 5 kids) leaving on it for 12 days and it behaved as expected.
The only two things that happened was:
1 - The morning before we departure I left the trailer hooked on electricity to get the fridge cooler, a lightning storm came and messed with the fridge so during the trip we didn't have the fridge working. I don't consider this a manufacturing problem for it was working the two times we went out and my connection to the house didn't have a ground so I consider this my fault.
2 - The hot water knob on the shower cracked and got wobble but it still works. I think one of the kids forced the knob and caused this, so again I don't think it is FR manufacturing problem.
On the road:
I'm really impressed by the suspension and the stability of this rig.
I was expecting some trouble in Utah because of the high cross winds but we didn't have a single problem with sway during more than 4000 miles...
Really pleased with that.

What worked very well/above expectations:
PUGs: If you have a hybrid, you must have them.
Air conditioning: Get the 15K, you will not regret it.
Hide a bed option: Worked very well for two kids everyday.
Tekonsha prodigy RF brake controller: It works so well you even forget it's there.
Michelin Diamaris 4x4 tires: These are great. We did more than 80 miles of offroad visiting the sites and they worked perfectly on and off road.
Shell V Power Nitro + gasoline: We burned more than 400 gallons of gas in this trip and had the opportunity to "test" several different brands and none come close to this one in power and fuel consumption. If you have a gas rig and intent to go up to the Eisenhower tunnel in Denver, I strongly recommend to top the tank with this gas before going up.
Deflate the trailer tires: Before leaving I deflated the tires down to 45 psi for we were at 70F heading to hot places...
Most of the trip the tires were between 48 and 51psi after that...

So that is the summary of the summary of this trip.
Overall, very happy with the camper.

If you have questions, just let me know.
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Ricardo & Luciana Carvalho
2006 BMW X5
2016 Roo 23IKSS
Nights camped :
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2017 - 19 (so far...)
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Old 07-21-2016, 11:14 AM   #2
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Nice trip report and write up. Sounds like it went well for you and the family.

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Old 07-25-2016, 12:40 AM   #3
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I'm curious how the overnighting at Wal-Mart went? I haven't done so yet, but plan on it for an upcoming trip. Did you extend the couch / dinette slide to sleep? Please expound on any other info you feel would be helpful. Thanks.
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Old 07-25-2016, 06:51 AM   #4
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Nice trip report, thanks for sharing, I am also curious about what you did with slides and ends at Wal mart
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Old 07-25-2016, 07:12 AM   #5
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Thanks for the great trip report. Those night photos were AWESOME!!

Bob and Joyce
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Old 07-25-2016, 07:18 AM   #6
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Great report! Sounds like my kind of trip.
Lee and Anne

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Old 07-25-2016, 07:21 AM   #7
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It was our first experience at Walmart so what we found out is that you need to look for the "supercenter" stores for the local ones don't have too much space in the parking lot and are likely not to allow you to stay.
As a matter of fact, we found one local store that had signs in every single light pole saying overnight was not allowed.
So after learning that we would drive until it was enough for the day and use the smartphone to look for the "Supercenter".
All the "Supercenter" stores we stopped by were very nice with us.
I always parked and first thing went inside and asked if we could stay and they said yes.
In one occasion we arrived after midnight and even then they were nice and cordial allowing us to stay.
Some of then gave us directions were to park some not but anyway we parked way far from the doors and under a light pole for safety.
If there was already an RV in the lot we would park close to them.
We extended the two slides but we do not put out beds so we "turtle" as they say.
This thing is very convenient for Supercenters also have gas stations so you depart early and with full tank.
As a contribution and sometimes for necessity, we always bought something, beyond gas, at the store we overnight.
One thing to pay attention is that some parking lots are not flat for they are designed to drain rain water fast. That means you will not be level and in one occasion I run out of water while overnighting.
I had water (1/3 of the tank) but the pick up end up w/o water because we were not level.... So after that I started to run with 2/3 of the tank....
Ricardo & Luciana Carvalho
2006 BMW X5
2016 Roo 23IKSS
Nights camped :
2016 - 31
2017 - 19 (so far...)
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Old 07-25-2016, 08:35 AM   #8
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Enjoyed reading about your trip. So glad you had a great time.

Cathy, Mike and the dog Babe
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Old 07-25-2016, 09:00 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by RACarvalho View Post
As a retribution and sometimes for necessity, we always bought something, beyond gas, at the store we overnight.
Hoping you meant "contribution."

Simple Definition of retribution
: punishment for doing something wrong
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Old 07-25-2016, 09:08 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by rockfordroo View Post
Hoping you meant "contribution."

Simple Definition of retribution
: punishment for doing something wrong
Yes, I meant contribution....

Thank you for the heads up.


Ricardo & Luciana Carvalho
2006 BMW X5
2016 Roo 23IKSS
Nights camped :
2016 - 31
2017 - 19 (so far...)
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