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Old 02-12-2007, 12:53 PM   #1
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Off-road capabilities of AS?

Newbie with a newbie question:

How far 'off-road' can one take an AS? Specificially something like a 19' Bambi? I like to car camp in remote areas, places with a graded dirt road, or old forest service road, and wondering about the accessibility of those places with an AS. I know that the new BaseCamp has an off-road package; however I am looking for something that has 'in-door' plumbing for my wife.
No serious off-roading, mind you. Just dirt roads/logging roads, etc.

Thanks!
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Old 02-12-2007, 01:00 PM   #2
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I would thing if you have an adequate TV, take your time, and don't overload, and the right WD setup that you could go such places. You may be turn around challenged at times by what the heck, it's an adventure.
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Old 02-12-2007, 01:19 PM   #3
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from the backwoods of Arizona

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ravialdo
Newbie with a newbie question:

How far 'off-road' can one take an AS? Specificially something like a 19' Bambi? I like to car camp in remote areas, places with a graded dirt road, or old forest service road, and wondering about the accessibility of those places with an AS. I know that the new BaseCamp has an off-road package; however I am looking for something that has 'in-door' plumbing for my wife.
No serious off-roading, mind you. Just dirt roads/logging roads, etc.

Thanks!

Ravialdo,
Like all things 'off-roading' is a relative term. Since you live in AZ..I'll give some examples..
I have an f250 PSD 4x4 CC and 30' Safari...
She's been to Hawley Lake twice.. First 10 miles in are paved winding mountain grade roads.. last 3 or 4 miles.. Graded gravel... some sizeable ruts but nothing a Honda accord could not negotiate if going real slow.
I've towed several times on forest service roads in and around flagstaff and Payson.. No problem..

The caution statement and my rule of thumb is if it looks like a car can drive on it. You'll be ok. The plumbing hangs low so washed out ruts are what you really need to watch out for. Clearance on the AS is decent but the plumbing is what scares me. That combined with the fact that she is 53' long... hard to make a uturn on a forest service road .

GO SLOW... and adjust your mirrors so you have a good view of your low hanging parts...
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Old 02-12-2007, 01:19 PM   #4
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No problem...we do it all the time. Just go slow, make sure everything is in good working order and pack well...let some one know where you are going & when you plan to return. Have fun!

You should see some of the places Wally used to go! Talk about off road ~ check out the VAC Archives for lots (80+/-) of photos some are pretty amazing!

Shari
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Old 02-12-2007, 01:23 PM   #5
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I've taken ours to the UP of MI many times were it's graded gravel and sand. Some sink holes too, abit, small ones. As folks have said, take it slow and you should be ok.

One word of advice, have good mudflaps.
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Old 02-12-2007, 01:37 PM   #6
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Wow, thanks for the quick responses! You're replies are very encouraging.
My plans would involve mainly camping in the great Southwest, and places like Escalante, etc. I don't think I could go for a huge rig, but a 19' would do nicely. If only the BaseCamp had a shower.....

I've considered other trailers, such as a StarCraft or Evolution, but those aren't as iconic as an AS. Nice to know that I wouldn't be 'locked out' of the backwoods with an AS and confined to RV parks. Nothing against RV parks, it just not a subculture I'm comfortable with.

Thanks guys!
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Old 02-12-2007, 01:38 PM   #7
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I take my 19' CCD Bambi down dirt roads (and more) all of the time here in Colorado. Here are my observations on the subject:

InsideOut already pointed out the dump valve on the curb side. I've touched some of that plumbing on dirt before going thru ditches and ruts.

Watch the rear bumper on obsitcles, especially in dips in water breaks, etc. I have ripped the rear bumper off my 19' Bambi once when it caught very lightly on a small rock while going thru a dip. It hasn't stopped me from going off the beaten path, but I do watch more carefully for approaching obsticles that might become a clearance problem. Also, I'd remove your WD bars before venturing off much more than a basic dirt road. It will also make it easier and faster to turn around if necessary.

Make sure EVERYTHING is secured down inside and all screws and latched tight. I have had entire cabinet doors fall off or screws back out of counters, over cabinets, etc after going down bumpy roads, especially if it is washboard. I've even had a latched fridge open and spill it's entire contents over the floor. Consider adding snaps and straps for sliding drawers, fridges, etc. Definately keep a screw driver handy!

Lastly, get a GOOD set of mudflaps to protect your silver baby against rocks chips. I recommend the Enkays.

Good luck, and have fun!
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Old 02-12-2007, 01:40 PM   #8
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Oh, and with a short(er)wheelbase vehicle with a good turning radius, I've been able get to my trailer into some amazingly TIGHT campsites that I would never would have been able to with a larger trailer.
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Old 02-12-2007, 01:42 PM   #9
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We spend lots of time with our Safari off the grid! We have boondocked up to five days and we love it. We also enjoy unlimited water and power when available, but being under the pines of NE along a river is the best of the best. When towing off-road common sense is the rule of the road. If you find yourself in a spot ou are not sure off, get out of your TV, check the situation once and then again before proceeding. Sometimes it is wise to have a spotter when going over a tricky section of trail. Get out there and enjoy!
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Old 02-12-2007, 01:49 PM   #10
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Boondockers unite!

We spend the majority of our camping time in the Mojave desert.

Our 25 Fb handles sandy, Rocky and lousy roads just fine. Go slow and always remember where your plumbing hangs down so you can avoid damaging it.

Also have enough tow vehicle to pull in bad terrain.
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Old 02-12-2007, 02:01 PM   #11
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Obviously length of trailer makes a difference as has been pointed out.
One other observation I would make is that the older trailers seem to have more clearanc with the plumbing higher than newer ones. I can take my 21' '72 G.T. in lots of spots that I could never get my 25' '98 Safari without shearing the waste valve off.
Dave
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Old 02-12-2007, 02:13 PM   #12
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We've used the Excella off-road(off-pavement) quite a bit. I suppose it may represent one extreme because of the weight-4 tons, and the length–31'. The weight, although distributed on two axels tends to make the AS bite into softer surfaces. The lengh limits the amout of dip in the road before the tongue and the rear frame form a bridge. If you have an ajustable hitch with a long down bar, you might consider cutting it off to length so it wont hang up. A tip from the 4X4 crowd is to "air down" your tires, both on the TV and the trailer (minimum pressure >15psi). This will give a softer ride and better floatation on soft surfaces which will keep you from getting mired in, or help you get unstuck. Of course, you will need a good portable 12V compressor to air back up when you hit the pavement, but it is well worth the investment. You needn't worry about tire damage from over heating because you will be going slow. I also have a skid plate that can go under the trailer jack so that if I get the trailer and the TV stuck I can unhitch, move the TV out and pull the triler out with a cable.using the skid as front wheel. Shorter trailers don't have frame cracking issues either. Keep an extra good watch for boulders and tree limbs when maneuvering off pavement. Extra boards and a shovel for leveling should be part of your kit , too. If you don't have a propane gas lamp installed, you might consider that too. It is an independent source of light as well as heat. If the dreaded electric voltage should go missing, that little lamp is mighty nice to have. Heidi & I like to hike and explore remote places in the southwest and we've been perfecting our "system" over the years. We pull with a 3/4 ton International 5-speed with 4 wheel drive. It is a good TV for the Excella, but has good jeeptrail capabilities as well. Our m.o. is to set the trailer dowin in some nice remote place and use it for home base for backpacking, etc.. A spotlight on the TV is helpful upon occasion. My rule here as in other places is: Good judgement coms fr xeice,nexpinecomes from bad judgement!
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Old 02-12-2007, 02:21 PM   #13
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I'll be watching this thread with interest. If all goes as planned, my AS will make her final 1,700-mile voyage this Summer, ending at 12,000' on my old mining claims in Colorado. The last 8 miles of that run generally requires an hour in 4-low in an unladen Jeep, and I expect it to take perhaps a month with the AS, roadbuilding as I go. Obviously, low-hanging stuff beneath will have to be addressed -- probably by just removing it in my case. I've thought of welding-up some steel skid plates in areas of likely ground contact. On nights when the beer is flowing freely, I even consider raising the suspension on the old gal, then I sober-up and remember the several touchy side hills with thousand-foot drops. Hmmm, button-activated quick-release hitch, or maybe just leave the seatbelt off and be prepared to jump.
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Old 02-12-2007, 02:23 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Foureagles
I'll be watching this thread with interest. If all goes as planned, my AS will make her final 1,700-mile voyage this Summer, ending at 12,000' on my old mining claims in Colorado. The last 8 miles of that run generally requires an hour in 4-low in an unladen Jeep, and I expect it to take perhaps a month with the AS, roadbuilding as I go. Obviously, low-hanging stuff beneath will have to be addressed -- probably by just removing it in my case. I've thought of welding-up some steel skid plates in areas of likely ground contact. On nights when the beer is flowing freely, I even consider raising the suspension on the old gal, then I sober-up and remember the several touchy side hills with thousand-foot drops. Hmmm, button-activated quick-release hitch, or maybe just leave the seatbelt off and be prepared to jump.
It sounds like a tent might be in order....
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