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Old 10-17-2019, 12:52 PM   #1
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Help me set my expectations/ road conditions

Hello all!

Help me set my expectations on what road conditions you can reasonably expect to navigate with a new 19CB Caravel.

What is the ugliest road you can navigate regularly without destroying a fine trailer? Hard surface, of course. Gravel? Dirt? Washboard gravel? Potholed dirt? FS roads? Logging roads? Probably not skid trails.

Currently camp out of a Jeep Wrangler TJ and realize that the Suburban / trailer combination won't go where the Jeep goes. That's a no brainer. Looking for guidance on what the lower limit on road "quality" is.

Details and examples would be very helpful.
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Old 10-17-2019, 02:24 PM   #2
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Prepare for the worst
Hope for the best
Drive slowly and safely

The rest is just details.

The best road might be dirt - the worst a paved road like a roller coaster.
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Old 10-17-2019, 02:41 PM   #3
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Hi

Hurricane damaged forest road - no problem / no issues (including the water in the road).

20% (maybe ) grade dirt road somewhere in rural Michigan - no problem / no issues

I-75 along most of it's length - no problem / no issues

Various washed out dirt roads in Montana and Wyoming - no problem / no issues

Winding no-shoulder / no guardrail / narrow / CLIFF !!! road in the mountains of Wyoming - yes a problem, the problem was the "fine person" passing the traffic in the other lane and occupying our lane around the blind curve (and the solid yellow stripes on the road). We indeed survived that one, still not quite sure how

Bottom line - idiots on the road are a *much* bigger issue than the road it's self. The Airstream will take just about anything you would ever want to drive over. Idiots front ending you .... no solution for that one.

Bob
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Old 10-17-2019, 05:17 PM   #4
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Check this out:

They can handle a lot more than you would expect...at least the vintage ones!

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Old 10-17-2019, 05:18 PM   #5
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Gotcha!

So, as long as I use good judgement and aren't "that guy" I should be reasonably fine.

Thanks for the replies!
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Old 10-18-2019, 09:33 AM   #6
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Gotcha!

So, as long as I use good judgement and aren't "that guy" I should be reasonably fine.

Thanks for the replies!
Hi

With any vehicle (truck, car, RV) there will be an angle of arrival and an angle of departure that can get you in trouble. There are indeed railroad crossings that a standard long bed pickup will bottom out on.... Watch out for that sort of stuff.

Bob
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Old 10-18-2019, 10:42 AM   #7
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Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by 99TJSE View Post
Gotcha!

So, as long as I use good judgement and aren't "that guy" I should be reasonably fine.
. . .
Bingo!

Happy trails,

Peter
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Old 10-18-2019, 11:06 AM   #8
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Whoo-hoo! This is gonna rock our world... When everyone else is tenting or living out of a tent trailer, we're going to be rocking an Airstream!

We do a lot of Jeep'n. Moab, Johnson Valley (King of the Hammers), Brown's Camp, Elk and Badger Lakes, and a hundred other places with no name and almost equal reputations. Putting the little Caravel behind the support vehicle is going to make these places a lot more comfortable. Won't help with the Rubicon, but then the Suburban won't go up that trail either. Colorado here we come!

A big thanks to all who contributed to this thread. Very helpful and informative. Now to check out tires and lift kits...
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Old 10-18-2019, 11:31 AM   #9
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The AS can go just about anywhere - the worse condition we experienced last summer was 16km of ungraded logging road which took us over an hour to travel - just go slow and avoid the potholes that would cause the AS to bottom out. It helps to "duck tape" the sliding overheads so they don't slide open (ask me how I know) - ASs are not as fragile as some would lead you to believe - never-the-less common sense Eh! Also, if you are a boondocker make sure you have some form of Rock Tamers Rock guards on your TV - the SS rock guards on the AS well be beat to death if you don't use them.
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Old 10-18-2019, 12:05 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by az-streamer View Post
Prepare for the worst
Hope for the best
Drive slowly and safely

The rest is just details.

The best road might be dirt - the worst a paved road like a roller coaster.
I concur, to add: Not knowing is part of the adventure.
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Old 10-18-2019, 02:03 PM   #11
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Running on a bad road is a very good place to take off the WD bars and tow on the ball. There is much less force on the A frame in dips, less chance of dragging the rear, and you are not going fast enough to sway. From watching the Zion tow video. It is faster and cheaper to unhitch and run roads with just the TV first than it is to have to be towed. For rough roads I would want tires with a lot of tread that are fairly softly inflated. Roads with trees close worry me because the trailer can tip into the trees if the tires hit a rut or pothole.

I personally do not take the trailer on anything worse than well maintained gravel. Washboarding is a no go for me. Slick and narrow is out. Going somewhere I cannot turn around is out. So my advise is somewhat theoretical, not from experience. Except for the part about driving it ahead of time without the trailer. Getting stuck or broken down in the boonies or hitting a tree with the trailer is not on my happy list of things to get done soon. Monument Valley is one place I drove first and then did not go with the trailer. My truck dragged the hitch several times running empty. Nice camp with hookups in Bluff.
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Old 10-18-2019, 02:29 PM   #12
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Running on a bad road is a very good place to take off the WD bars and tow on the ball. There is much less force on the A frame in dips, less chance of dragging the rear, and you are not going fast enough to sway. .......f.
Hi

Assuming the load on the rear axle is still "ok" without WD doing it's thing.....

Bob
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Old 10-18-2019, 05:27 PM   #13
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Hi

Assuming the load on the rear axle is still "ok" without WD doing it's thing.....

Bob
What's WD Bob? Remember...Total newb here.
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Old 10-18-2019, 05:32 PM   #14
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Weight distribution [hitch usually].

"Acronyms" search results here on AF:

https://www.google.com/search?q=acro...com&gws_rd=ssl
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f138...ist-28713.html

FYI, using the desktop version of this site [not the App], the new search function in the blue box above works great.

Cheers,

Peter
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Old 10-18-2019, 06:55 PM   #15
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It'll go anywhere you'd take a famly sedan. If you wouldn't take a sedan, don't take the Airstream.
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Old 10-18-2019, 07:39 PM   #16
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I will add to think in 3-D. It's sometimes not the road, but the roadside that may pose a problem. Low hanging limbs and such. And when people say go slow, that can mean walking pace depending on conditions.

Honestly getting in and out of gas stations can be just as big of a problem.

Also, look for "decorative" problems. We have seen campsite roads lined with tree stumps that in effect make the road and turns deceptively narrow-- making it nearly impossible to navigate especially when backing (I'm talking to you-Signal Mountain Campground in GTNP). Other campgrounds like to use large boulders to this effect as well.
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Old 10-18-2019, 09:58 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InsideOut View Post
Check this out:

They can handle a lot more than you would expect...at least the vintage ones!

Shari
An amazing video! Wally Byam was an amazing individual. You don't have those kinds of caravans today.
Worth watching!
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Old 10-18-2019, 10:26 PM   #18
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We frequently visited "boondocking / no services" forest service campgrounds accessed by gravel or dirt roads with no problems ... just slow down.
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Old 10-18-2019, 11:12 PM   #19
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The Airstream BaseCamp was supposed to be the trailer for more "off road" Jeep-type campers; designed with a better departure angle, to be lighter, with rear cargo doors (the original Nissan designed one had ramps so you could load bikes, for instance)

However, the execution of that trailer is still, on it's 2nd version (now version 2.1) still evidently in Beta. The product still has many issues, as owners here on this forum can attest. However it does have a fan base.

Maybe that trailer, once all the problems are fixed, may be right up your alley.
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Old 10-19-2019, 07:44 AM   #20
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What's WD Bob? Remember...Total newb here.
Hi

The trailer is heavy. The tongue of the trailer puts a load on the bumper of your tow vehicle. This "tongue weight" adds to the load that already is on the tow vehicle from the passengers and "stuff" you have in it.

Your tow vehicle has a sticker (usually on the driver side door post) that gives you the capacities of the axles on the vehicle and its maximum loading. If you head over to a weigh scale, you likely will find that the rear axle of the tow vehicle is closer to it's max ratings (or maybe over them) than the front axle.

A weight distributing hitch is essentially a spring that effectively "moves" weight between the front and rear axles on the tow vehicle. The force it applies at the hitch does this.

If you are relying on the WD hitch to keep the rear axle in the safe zone, pulling the bars off ( = turning off the WD function) and heading down a rough road probably isn't a good idea.

All of this is a good reason to carefully consider the ratings on your tow vehicle. Many of us go with somewhat "oversized" tow vehicles so that we have some "extra room" (margin) against all the specs.

Bob
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