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Old 06-20-2021, 08:58 PM   #1
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First Cross Country Trip

So, I bought a new Wolf Pup 16FQ last year in anticipation of retiring at the end of the year. We used it for 5 different week long trips last year. This spring we practiced long distance by going 1,150 miles round trip to southern Georgia and back. All went well.
I used the free MyScenicDrives.com to lay out the route based on 6 hour/300 mile days. This gave me approximate stopping points each day, along with total driving hours to the destination. I was able to add in waypoints to alter the route as I wanted. This gave me a good driving time estimate to plan from. I made a campground reservation in Washington and backed up from there to give me a departure date. I planned on staying over for a day or two at a few locations to break up the drive. I also added in a few extra days in case we had to spend a day or two at a dealership or repair shop somewhere for unexpected problems. You never know!

We left Virginia on May 3rd for Deception Pass, on the northwest Washington coast. We had campground reservations in Kentucky, Iowa, Washington, and Oregon. The rest was planned to be places I had researched on Campendium, RVParky, and other sites I had researched.
Everything went mostly as planned.
Once we left the one night stop at Nehalem Bay state park in Oregon, everything else was flexible, as we weren't held to any reservations to meet, and no certain date to be back home.
We had a great trip. I never thought I would be fortunate enough to make a cross country trip and see all the wonderful sights that we saw.
We understood that you can't see it all in one trip, so have to pick what you want to see in a reasonable amount of time, and plan another trip to see more!
I believe nearly all of my campsites are posted in cboss's thread "It's 2021, Let's See Your Campsites."
We covered 7,980 miles in 6 weeks. We spent $2,218.79 in gas. We spent $535 on campsites. We stayed at a lot of free BLM, USFS, and NPS sites.

The 2013 F-150 5.0 performed like a champ! The only problem was a flat tire in Montana, that I got repaired for $15, but then had to have a tire pressure sensor replaced for $97 a few days later.
The tow/haul mode was great. The only time I ever saw 4,000 rpm was going down steep mountain passes when it was downshifting for braking.

The Wolf Pup was great. I traveled with about 3/4 tank of fresh water the whole trip without issue. The Westlake tires couldn't have performed better, as well as the Tymate TPMS on the trailer tires. No wheel bearing problems with the EZ-Lube that I greased after purchase.
The only problem I had with the Wolf Pup was the refrigerator quit working in 90 degree heat in Oklahoma, after being on 24/7 for 5 weeks straight. Troubleshooting after I got home, I found that it was the thermal fuse in the back cover.
Truck and trailer really took a beating on this trip, as both were loaded to near GVWR when I weighed right before leaving. I took them down many dusty, washboarded roads, where you could barely see the trailer in the mirror through the dust cloud. Some of the dirt roads were 30 miles long.
Nothing fell apart.
It was a great trip and we had a great time. Can't wait for Part 2.
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Old 06-21-2021, 08:31 AM   #2
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Old 06-21-2021, 09:36 AM   #3
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Thanks for sharing, sounds like a great adventure! We hope to start going west next year once Canada opens.
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Old 06-21-2021, 01:19 PM   #4
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We covered 7,980 miles in 6 weeks
You deserve a prize for that!
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Old 06-27-2021, 04:10 PM   #5
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Glad your trip went well and hope your next one is even better with lessons learned. Also a good thing you did some prep trips prior to the big one to make it a success.

Were you trying to avoid the heat with that route and spring dates? Looks like your camp choices were primarily dry camping, correct? Did you haul fresh water at 2/3 tank to keep weight down? Were you using a generator? Any solar use? Was there a ratio of dry/hookup camping?

I'm interested in the "technical" aspects of small travel trailers.
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Old 06-27-2021, 04:48 PM   #6
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Great report - thanks for sharing and best wishes for your future trips to go this well also!
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Old 06-27-2021, 05:12 PM   #7
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Great post and thank you for sharing. You are the second post that I have read that used the Campendium guide.
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Old 06-27-2021, 07:49 PM   #8
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Thanks to all for the positive comments!



Quote:
Originally Posted by RedRoverComeOver View Post
Glad your trip went well and hope your next one is even better with lessons learned. Also a good thing you did some prep trips prior to the big one to make it a success.

Were you trying to avoid the heat with that route and spring dates? Looks like your camp choices were primarily dry camping, correct? Did you haul fresh water at 2/3 tank to keep weight down? Were you using a generator? Any solar use? Was there a ratio of dry/hookup camping?

I'm interested in the "technical" aspects of small travel trailers.

I actually just picked a date to make a reservation in Washington when I thought winter weather would be past along the route, and I wanted to try to beat the crowds and heat that summer would bring. I also just entered my destination in MyScenicDrives, and used that for the route from Virginia to Washington, although I did tweak it a bit by entering way points to places we wanted to visit along the way.
It really would have worked better weather wise to have gone the southern route out, and the northern route back, but it would have been more restrictive to plan, because we needed to have a firm date to meet our daughter in Washington. Once we left Washington we were able to free roam wherever we wanted to go.
We wanted to use free campsites as much as possible, or reasonable. We did go to an RV park in Interior SD just to do laundry and shower after being dispersed camping at Nomad View in the Badlands for a few days.
I just added it all up and we stayed at 18 sites with no amenities (dry camping). We stayed at 10 sites with water/electric. We stayed at 1 site with electric only, but was free. We did stay more than one night at both types of campsites. I believe the longest we stayed at any location was 3 days, both hookups and dispersed camping.
I kept about 2/3 tank of fresh water just to limit the weight on the tank itself, not concerned about the tow weight.
I had 2 Predator 2,000 watt generators in case we needed to use A/C on the way home. The only time I needed to use them for A/C we couldn't because we were in a Cracker Barrel parking lot in Tennessee. It was terribly hot, but we used a battery powered fan to get by for the night.
We did use one of the generators a few times. We used it a couple of times to allow us to run the furnace at the Badlands without killing the battery. We only used the furnace a little after dark, and first thing in the morning. The furnace warms the little Wolf Pup up quickly. I ran the generator sitting in the back of the truck with the tailgate closed, and it was surprisingly quiet. I only ran it for a couple of hours, if that long.
I used the generator again a few weeks later to charge the laptop while I saved dashcam video.
I do have a set of the Harbor Freight solar panels, 100 watt, and I used them a lot. They worked great to replenish the battery when boondocking.

The Wolf Pup has LED lighting, but we also have a good variety of solar charged lanterns from our tent camping days. We used those a lot, but didn't hesitate to use the interior lighting as needed. The solar panels easily kept up with the water pump, lights, stereo, awning, etc.
I have 1 lead-acid Group 31 Deep Cycle Marine battery.


As you can see, I could easily compose a 45 page summary of this trip, but I was trying to keep it readable.
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Old 06-27-2021, 09:02 PM   #9
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Thumbs up

Thank you for the additional details and appreciate the feedback! Good to see adventurers of smaller trailers making that trek and providing valuable real-world data.

We all have to dump/fill/replenish and that's always a limitation. It's nice being able to not have neighbors when dispersed, if that's your thing.

Unfortunately the family won't go for long trips so may have to go it alone one day with the dog.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Virginian View Post
Thanks to all for the positive comments!

I actually just picked a date to make a reservation in Washington when I thought winter weather would be past along the route, and I wanted to try to beat the crowds and heat that summer would bring. I also just entered my destination in MyScenicDrives, and used that for the route from Virginia to Washington, although I did tweak it a bit by entering way points to places we wanted to visit along the way.
It really would have worked better weather wise to have gone the southern route out, and the northern route back, but it would have been more restrictive to plan, because we needed to have a firm date to meet our daughter in Washington. Once we left Washington we were able to free roam wherever we wanted to go.
We wanted to use free campsites as much as possible, or reasonable. We did go to an RV park in Interior SD just to do laundry and shower after being dispersed camping at Nomad View in the Badlands for a few days.
I just added it all up and we stayed at 18 sites with no amenities (dry camping). We stayed at 10 sites with water/electric. We stayed at 1 site with electric only, but was free. We did stay more than one night at both types of campsites. I believe the longest we stayed at any location was 3 days, both hookups and dispersed camping.
I kept about 2/3 tank of fresh water just to limit the weight on the tank itself, not concerned about the tow weight.
I had 2 Predator 2,000 watt generators in case we needed to use A/C on the way home. The only time I needed to use them for A/C we couldn't because we were in a Cracker Barrel parking lot in Tennessee. It was terribly hot, but we used a battery powered fan to get by for the night.
We did use one of the generators a few times. We used it a couple of times to allow us to run the furnace at the Badlands without killing the battery. We only used the furnace a little after dark, and first thing in the morning. The furnace warms the little Wolf Pup up quickly. I ran the generator sitting in the back of the truck with the tailgate closed, and it was surprisingly quiet. I only ran it for a couple of hours, if that long.
I used the generator again a few weeks later to charge the laptop while I saved dashcam video.
I do have a set of the Harbor Freight solar panels, 100 watt, and I used them a lot. They worked great to replenish the battery when boondocking.

The Wolf Pup has LED lighting, but we also have a good variety of solar charged lanterns from our tent camping days. We used those a lot, but didn't hesitate to use the interior lighting as needed. The solar panels easily kept up with the water pump, lights, stereo, awning, etc.
I have 1 lead-acid Group 31 Deep Cycle Marine battery.

As you can see, I could easily compose a 45 page summary of this trip, but I was trying to keep it readable.
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Old 06-27-2021, 09:17 PM   #10
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Wow, what an experience. Thanks for sharing. I would love to make a similar trip one day.

We have an NC to Maine trip coming up soon. It will be between 2-3,000 miles by the time all is done. Previous longest was Tampa, FL.
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Old 06-27-2021, 09:18 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by debit View Post
Great post and thank you for sharing. You are the second post that I have read that used the Campendium guide.
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I have the Campendium app on my phone, as well as RVParky, iExit, FreeRoam, The Dyrt, Dump Stations, and Park Advisor, and Reserve America and Recreation.gov. I found Campendium to be the most useful, along with Reserve America and Recreation.gov for actually making reservations.
With Recreation.gov, if you have the America The Beautiful Interagency Pass, it automatically enters your pass number to get you 1/2 off the campground fee!


I stayed at a number of campsites for $4 - $10 per night!
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Old 07-02-2021, 10:26 PM   #12
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Great report and good planning for appropriate length days. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 07-11-2021, 11:05 AM   #13
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Wolf Pup Adventure

Great post! I'm curious how you did (comfort and ease of travel) for the long trip hauling a small trailer. We plan to hit the road in 2023 when I retire and have been talking about going real small (under 25') for our cross country adventure. Over the last 30 years, we made the gradual upgrades from tent to pop up to 25' to 30' to Park Model which we just sold. We're doing prep work now-and find it intriguing to go self contained and small for our adventure.
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Old 07-11-2021, 08:52 PM   #14
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Great post! I'm curious how you did (comfort and ease of travel) for the long trip hauling a small trailer. We plan to hit the road in 2023 when I retire and have been talking about going real small (under 25') for our cross country adventure. Over the last 30 years, we made the gradual upgrades from tent to pop up to 25' to 30' to Park Model which we just sold. We're doing prep work now-and find it intriguing to go self contained and small for our adventure.

Wow! I just typed a very lengthy reply and momentarily lost my internet connection, so when I submitted it, I was logged out. When I logged back in, it was gone. Trying again.
The Wolf Pup is 21.5 ft. overall length, with a GVWR of 3,944. When we set out, it weighed 3,740, with 2/3 - 3/4 tank of water, and about 10 days of groceries, clothing, and cookware, etc. I use an Andersen hitch with the F-150, and it towed great. Never any sway or instability. Even in high winds, the truck and trailer would get buffeted as a single unit, no wobble.
The length was excellent for getting into any campsite, especially some of the dispersed camping areas. We only encountered one Forest Service campsite in Montana where the truck and trailer would not fit without sticking out into the roadway, so we just moved on to another location.
Of course, the living quarters are small, but as former tent campers, having a comfortable bed, dinette, and bathroom are luxurious.
We spend all of our time outside. We cook outside on the Blackstone griddle, Coleman camp stove, or charcoal grill. We'll eat outside if the weather is nice, if not, we'll take it inside to the dinette table.
We have found that we can boondock for 3 days easily. We are sparing with electricity, but use it as needed. We sit out 100 watts of solar panel during the day when power is unavailable, and have had no issue. I only used the generator for a few hours in South Dakota to run the furnace without draining the battery when the low was in the 30s overnight. I used it one other time to use the laptop some, as I don't have an inverter. Because of the small living space, we can run the furnace for a very little while at night, turn it off at bedtime, and run one cycle in the morning to warm it back up.
After 3 days we need to dump the tanks. The Pup has 23 gallon waste tanks. We could probably go 4 days, but we haven't yet. We found that we could usually find a place to dump and refill with water on the way to the next boondocking site. We did that a few times.
We have several shorter trips planned for this year (I aim for one a month), and will probably head out west again next spring to see some more!
I hope this answers what you wanted to know. Probably more than you wanted to know>
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Old 07-12-2021, 05:48 AM   #15
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I hope this answers what you wanted to know. Probably more than you wanted to know>
Thanks so much for the synopsis of your adventure in the Pup. It sounds like what we expect to encounter. Being in a small(er) unit, we wondered if single versus double axel made a difference, but you answered that question. BTW, you are like us as we have never cooked in any of our trailers. I hated the after smells. We always cook outdoors and plan to keep that up in our next trailer. Boondocking will be an entirely new concept for us, but we expect we'll be figuring that out as we go. Never even thought about solar energy-but will start doing my homework now. I appreciate your feedback.
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Old 07-12-2021, 09:32 AM   #16
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We did exactly the same thing by buying our trailer about a year before our first xcountry trip just after retirement in 2016. We have since made a total of 3 xcountry trips from the East coast. Our first was to the southwest with the trip planned(?) around our top bucket list goal to raft thru the Grand Canyon. We spent 4 months camping the SW. The next year we concentrated on the NW for 4 months spending time in NP, NF and visiting friends. Our last trip, 2 years ago, was for 4 months making a big circle going to Texas, Yosemite(the purpose of the trip), Redwoods, Oregon, N Idaho, Montana, Wy and Co. before returning home 11,000 miles. We prefer camping in public campgrounds for the privacy, price and locations. If anyone is searching for a camping/ travel app that includes only public campgrounds, we recommend UC, Ulitimate Public campgrounds. It costs 3.99 one time but it is priceless and the only one we use. I hope you are planning your next adventure. Ours will be soon to New England. Click image for larger version

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Old 07-12-2021, 10:40 PM   #17
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Boondocking will be an entirely new concept for us, but we expect we'll be figuring that out as we go.

We found that boondocking is very simple, just make sure you have everything you need when you go, and you're all set. Also good to know where you can dump when you leave.
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Old 07-12-2021, 10:45 PM   #18
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[QUOTE=lablover;2596480] I hope you are planning your next adventure. Ours will be soon to New England.QUOTE]


Yes, we are already discussing a trip for next year to see more of the west, and lessons learned from this first trip. And we've only been home for a few weeks!
Hope you enjoy New England.
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