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Old 12-01-2015, 11:57 AM   #1
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Where is your... End of the Trail?

We all have our predetermined limits of trailer travel. Some more "reckless" than others.

State Highway Map: If you stay on any of the roads shown on the official State Highway Map, your travels will be free of worry, other than traffic, animals strolling across the highway, pot holes, road construction, detours, major road repairs, Double Fine work zones with or without work,... you get the idea.

County Road Map: These maps include the State Highway Map encumbrances mentioned. County roads can be paved, all season gravel, paved and gravel portions, graded annually, closed for winter months, washed out with repairs due for the next year, wind downed trees crossing the more remote sections of roads, cattle, sheep, elk, deer, moose and cattle movers parked in the road as a possibility.

BLM, Forest Service, National Grasslands and other State or Federal Road Maps: These are my favorites. Access can be paved, to all season gravel, to annual road grading in the Spring to fill hunter's ruts in the Fall, two ruts and... the End of the Trail.

By far the best maps for Western Boondockers are the National Forest and BLM maps. You can purchase United States Geological Survey quadrangles if your End of the Road is beyond MY End of the TRAIL. Some can be purchased at a Forest Service office in the area you are traveling, or ordered online from the United States Geological Service. It does help if you know where you are going and which National Forest in advance.

Base Camping is a preferred End of the Trail and then a 2x2 pickup or a 4x4 can push the End a bit further, if necessary. Unnecessary travel is learned... by trial, and usually by ERROR. In the military it was the "pucker factor" but towing an expensive restored or late model Airstream it is merely a "factor".

When I become uncertain of what is ahead, although the map indicates a solid thin line and not a jeep trail... I stop and walk it a ways. Many maps might have been printed in the 1950's, 1970's or last year. CHECK the year it was printed. Even if last years printing, some areas might have been mapped in 1957 and not updated. Alaska has maps with rivers running up the sides of a mountain and over it... The USGS is updating Alaska, and hope to get funding to place roads, if available, mountains and rivers where they should be located on a map.

How do you determine your End of the Trail? I am a bit more conservative today with a 25 foot trailer. Yet many would find my conservative travel on a two rut through the Rockies a bit too much... entertainment. Which some might experience on the 2016 Wyoming and Dakota/Nebraska adventures.

A map, a compass, a passenger who can follow a map using the landmarks and contour lines of topography is your co-pilot. Review the map before going on a Western Off the Grid Base Camp or pushing the limit trailer camping. Spring is predicted to arrive on time again next year. Make it your best camping year of your life!

A camping trip can be a routine off the grid trip in your trailer... no matter what your screaming, terrified wife and children are saying otherwise. It is all temporary. I know from experience.
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Old 12-01-2015, 07:20 PM   #2
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Ray, I think that you and I look for similar characteristics regarding roads and campsites. Primary road considerations that I look for are whether or not the road will damage the plumbing on the rear of my trailer, or whether brush next to the road will scratch it. Of coarse, getting stuck is generally a bummer. I try to avoid really muddy roads, even if I think I can make it through, just because creating ruts in a road is poor etiquette. I try to avoid campsites that are too close to civilization. If I can see a paved road, I'm probably in the wrong spot, although that is obviously not always avoidable.

Where we differ is that I don't like travelling into the unknown, so I plan as much as I can. While planning our spring trip, you've essentially told me that if the first plan doesn't work out, we'll figure something else out when we get there. That goes against my nature. I've got a secondary plan, but I'm not really happy with it. I only wish I had time to develop a tertiary plan in case the secondary plan falls apart. It wouldn't hurt if we also had a redundant plan. Your trips with secret locations cause me a bit of consternation because I can't plan much.

If possible, I like to scout out my routes before dragging a trailer over them. If that is not possible, I remotely scout them using maps and aerial photography. I've got GIS capabilities with a large variety of data. So I can usually get a fair idea of what a road will be like, particularly looking to see if there will be places to turn around if things start looking problematic . I usually make my own maps using the GIS and load them onto a GPS.
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Old 12-01-2015, 07:32 PM   #3
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I think Oak Creek Canyon outside of Sedona is at the outer edge of my comfort zone. Not really a problem but I RV to relax and like to stay comfortable.

Cheers,
John
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Old 12-01-2015, 08:00 PM   #4
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Learned to be careful, do my homework

I avoid the unknown as best I can.

I've run across some can't turn around situations. Sometimes, can't turn around situations, go hand in hand, with difficult to back up situations.

There are a few places that I really like, that I won't/can't bring my trailer to.

For some trips, I might just leave the trailer at home.
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Old 12-02-2015, 11:36 AM   #5
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a place with full hookups, plenty of space around the trailer, a view of mountains, and a pool and a hot tub. The Ouray, CO KOA checks all the boxes except a pool but then there is the fabulous hot springs in town as a substitute. We'll be there after Labor Day next year
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Old 12-02-2015, 11:50 AM   #6
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I'm with Thalweg in that we like to drive in to the "end of the trail" without the trailer just to see if we will be able to get in and out safely. We spend a lot of time on Forest Service roads that can get very funky so scouting ahead of loading and towing the trailer is important to us.
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Old 12-02-2015, 12:04 PM   #7
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My end of the trail, Ray??? To date its been the Pacific to the west, the Atlantic to the east, and the Gulf to the south....but who knows.... jon
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Old 12-02-2015, 12:12 PM   #8
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I think good sense sometimes goes out the window when determining whether I can make it back "there" with the trailer. Having gotten stuck once in soft sand of a dry river bed has made me more apt to decide if it's really worth it to go that extra quarter mile. Some spots are simply beautiful but better for 4 wheel drive and a tent.

With the new longer trailer, I tend to settle for a spot I can get in and out of without much drama, and then go exploring in the truck or by bike.

Maps can get you into trouble, so I often resort to Google maps earth view to determine what's at the end of that road and how rough it really is.
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Old 12-02-2015, 12:13 PM   #9
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Just an idea

Not that my wife and I have taken our Safari out yet...but I envision parking at the trailhead and spending an afternoon mountain biking the anticipated trail to get a lay of the land sense. Tom
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Old 12-02-2015, 01:15 PM   #10
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" You really had to want to get here ", said a hiker

The presence of an RV would really take away form many scenic locations in the wilderness. Not that we shouldn't enjoy a nice campsite.

"Pave paradise….and put up a parking lot " Joni Mitchell

" It's nice to take a walk and see no evidence of civilization. You can pretend it's a million years ago, or pretend you are on a different planet " said a mandolin player.

Overheard at Canyonlands, " Wouldn't it be nice to build a house here "

Why not just pave the Appalachian trail, so you didn't have to….ya know…walk.

In closing….Walk….If you don't use it…you lose it
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Old 12-02-2015, 01:54 PM   #11
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Bicycling the Unknown

Quote:
Originally Posted by twh731 View Post
Not that my wife and I have taken our Safari out yet...but I envision parking at the trailhead and spending an afternoon mountain biking the anticipated trail to get a lay of the land sense. Tom
******
Nancy and I took our top of the line 1990 or so Trek Bikes with us to do some Off the Grid camp scouting in Utah and Nevada in 2006. These did not have the shock absorbers, springs, disc brakes and a seat that did not flex when you hit rocks.

Sold both on Craigslist. I think I will not be able to have a normal family life or walk tall again. I will have to check my with my dentist if any of my teeth still remain intact. That was 19 years ago... and counting.

Costco had some closer to the ground models, assembled with all those great options that were added to make all others... obsolete.

Those newbie bikers, as myself. Either a small motorcycle or a bicycle with off the pavement options to reduce... damaging your self esteem. I peddle around like a girlie boy and plan to stay at that level. Boulder hopping or running down sandstone outcrops on a bicycle are for the young, who heal much quicker.

I carry a rock pick, a five gallon bucket for prized finds and sling a bag over my shoulder with fresh water and treats. Our Blue Heelers use to carry their own water in their orange vests... but even they resisted.

So, Tom... you need to start a thread : Boondocking Bicycling for Newbies. Otherwise Thalweg might and he might have been the one who bought ours off of Craigslist...
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Old 12-02-2015, 02:15 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray Eklund View Post
******
So, Tom... you need to start a thread : Boondocking Bicycling for Newbies. Otherwise Thalweg might and he might have been the one who bought ours off of Craigslist...
Oh no no no.

Our bikes have been hanging in the garage for about ten years. We got them down this last spring and went for a ride on some forest roads up in the mountains. It only took two months and one trip to the doctor to heal. Bikes are hanging in the garage again. No thread from me!
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Old 12-02-2015, 02:31 PM   #13
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"Why not just pave the Appalachian trail, so you didn't have to….ya know…walk."

It was done a long time ago here in the south, it is named the Blue Ridge Parkway!
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Old 12-02-2015, 06:54 PM   #14
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Oh no no no.

Our bikes have been hanging in the garage for about ten years. We got them down this last spring and went for a ride on some forest roads up in the mountains. It only took two months and one trip to the doctor to heal. Bikes are hanging in the garage again. No thread from me!
*******

OK. "Injuries while Bikedocking Zion Park off of Angel's Landing".

OR...

"How a young Wyoming biker man in his prime, returned home a physical wreck and bought an Airstream as part of his therapy for a full recovery for singing Bass in a School Yodeling Choir."
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