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Old 05-08-2014, 01:12 PM   #1
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Planning a trip from Sault Ste Marie to Kenora...

towing a 2003 22' AS International with a 2013 Touareg TDI and, having never towed anything before, was wondering about the long inclines. My wife and I travelled this route more than 30 years ago and I remember it as being very scenic but also with several changes in elevation and, being a first-timer, should I avoid it and go south of Lake Superior instead? I'm not too concerned about getting up the hills, it's coming back down. Am I making something out of nothing?

Thanks for any input.
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Old 05-10-2014, 08:25 PM   #2
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I tow my 22' International with a V6 Honda Ridgeline (tow rating 5000 pounds) and it struggles with long hills, both up and down. I have driven both routes around Lake Superior and the South route is less hilly (and the gas is cheaper) but the hills along the North shore are not that long and you can build up a momentum. If your trailer's brakes are set properly and you have a good proportional controller then in my opinion you could manage either route, just gear down going down the hills and keep your speed around 50 KPH so your brakes don't heat too much. And I agree that the North shore is more scenic and way less crowded ... not much cellphone coverage. I think the Tourag might be a bit light to pull your trailer (do you have both a transmission and power steering cooler?) but if your manual says it can then you should be OK. The most important item is the hitch. If you Google CANAM RV in London Ontario they have a lot of information on towing your trailer. They rebuilt my hitch for me (I bought my trailer there) and it made a very big difference. If you ever think of going further West, the mountain passes are difficult. I grind away in low gear behind all the transports but nevertheless have made it through Rogers pass several times. BTW your load rating for your vehicle is at sea level. Your manual will tell you the difference at higher altitudes.
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Old 05-10-2014, 08:58 PM   #3
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I didn't think a TDi (turbo diesel injected, IIRC) would be affected by altitude, seeing as how there isn't a carburetor is there..?
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Old 05-11-2014, 08:43 AM   #4
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Hi RiverLink, thanks for the feedback, based on which I've decided to go north of Superior. My Touareg has a tow rating of 7,700 lbs so I should be okay. 50 kph down the hills seems rather slow but better safe than sorry. We are heading out west to Alberta then north to NWT. While we're out there we will likely do the Rockies (we did all that back in the 70's so it probably deserves a revisit). Hopefully, by that time, I should have a good idea of the Touareg's capabilities/limitations.

We bought our AS at CanAm RV as well. I had read about them on a Touareg forum after I bought our Touareg last year and based on their information about tow ratings, realized I didn't really need a tow vehicle with a 7700 lb tow rating; it's all about the hitch. Anyway, it's a great truck to drive and gets great gas mileage (7.2 L/100k @ 110 kph average). Probably 1/2 that when towing. CanAm also is doing the hitch and brake controller and they assure me I'm going to be very pleased with the setup.

Thanks again for the info and happy trailering!
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Old 05-15-2014, 04:58 PM   #5
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Sorry George, I meant 50 mph down the hills... been living in Florida the last 5 months. Getting my units confused ! I get 10 liters/100kms and 21 when towing, depending on the wind. Sounds like you will have a great trip. I'll be out that way myself in late August heading for BC. I guess we have identical A/S's ... does your have the desk at the back? BTW mine is going into the shop at London next week for a recall on the frame. The outriggers tend to sag. Something to keep an eye on. Wave as you go by. Cheers. Dave
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Old 05-15-2014, 05:29 PM   #6
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George, your memory of your trip from 30 years ago is right on. The route is still one of Canada's best drives with little nasty traffic. You probably remember the Montreal River hill as the steepest climb. It's still as it was. You should have no negative towing performance issues with your Touareg TDI based on the performance I got from my Jeep Diesel, which was also a 3L but with less torque. I did the trip twice last summer with a 30 Signature loaded to about 7600 lbs. We stayed at various boat launches along the way as well as
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Old 05-15-2014, 05:36 PM   #7
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George, your memory of your trip from 30 years ago is right on. The route is still one of Canada's best drives with little nasty traffic. You probably remember the Montreal River hill as the steepest climb. It's still as it was. You should have no negative towing performance issues with your Touareg TDI based on the performance I got from my Jeep Diesel, which was also a 3L but with less torque. I did the trip twice last summer with a 30 Signature loaded to about 7600 lbs. We stayed at various boat launches along the way as well as

Agawa Bay. It's hard to hit the right keys when they are so tiny and my fingers are so big. Hope you have a rewarding trip. Jim
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Old 05-15-2014, 06:51 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George0726 View Post
towing a 2003 22' AS International with a 2013 Touareg TDI

Thanks for any input.
Doubt if you will even notice the hills at all with that set up.
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Old 05-15-2014, 08:35 PM   #9
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Welcome to the club.

We live west of Thunder Bay - and most of our family lives in and around the Golden Horseshoe - this means that for the past 27 years we have travelled the Superior North Shore at least once each year - and are glad to do so - it remains one of our favourite drives anywhere.

The drive is pretty much as you remember it - there might be a few more passing lanes - and a couple of the worst hills (only a couple) might be a little gentler and a little straighter. Regardless - none of them is too long or crazy steep - I think the steepest grade posted is 7%.

Only three pieces of advice - one - forget about the guy behind you - two - take your time - and three - enjoy the scenery.

I've gotten into the habit of taking the hills in 3rd gear - at a comfortable (as in leisurely) pace - both up and down.

The best campsites are on the Superior shoreline - think about Pancake Bay PP, Agawa Campground of Lake Superior PP, Neys PP, and Rossport Campground of Rainbow Falls PP.

Not on the Lake - but close enough to throw a stone and well worth a visit are: Pukaskwa National Park and Sleeping Giant PP. At Sleeping Giant it is smart to make reservations.

Nowhere close to the Lake - but to miss it is to miss a lot - is Ouimet Canyon PP - no camping here - but it is well worth the hour or so it will take you out of your way to see it - spectacular view of the Canyon.

And finally - when you are in Thunder Bay don't forget Old Fort William and also the Terry Fox Lookout.

You will enjoy the trip.

What is your return route?


Jay
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Old 05-16-2014, 06:17 AM   #10
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Ranger Jay, excellent post. I have been to every spot listed except Pukaskwa and will make sure it is part of my next trip along the route. We spent about 6 hours at the Fort last summer and really enjoyed the in-character inhabitants. We always stop at the Terry Fox Monument since it provides an extraordinary moment of peacefulness. The whole setting demonstrates what is great about the folks involved in ensuring that the monument is there. Ouimet Canyon is indeed one of Canada's jewels. Thanks for jogging my memory. Jim
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Old 05-18-2014, 09:27 AM   #11
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Wow, I thought this post had gone dormant, so I let it go for a couple of days. Thank goodness for email alerts! Got some catching up to do.

Dave, thanks for the clarification on MPH vs KPH. Now I guess I won't have to take 4 days to just clear Ontario . Five months in FL, sounds good (you missed one of the worst winters ever). Is that all in your International? Ours does not have the desk at the back so it's the AS model, not the CCD. The CCD is higher end but we'd rather have the bigger kitchen than the desk (that's our rationale since this was the only Airstream available from CanAm in the 20 to 25 ft range). CanAm had already beefed up the outriggers so that issue has been dealt with. They had also under-coated the unit as moisture, if it gets to the subfloor, can cause some damage. We pick ours up the week after you; they are taking out the carpet and putting in laminate flooring. If you have carpet in yours and wondered what laminate would look like, it might be a chance to see. Just make sure they give you the right one when you drive out!

Jim, I remember the Montreal River. Is it marked by the falls visible from the highway? Maybe my memory is failing me but I do remember the name. My memory's going to get a real jog on this trip! Good to know the TDI is a performer from somebody who's been there.

Jay, great advice. And thanks for the list of campsites. We've never done this before so I'm not sure if I need to reserve ahead of time or not. I would want to visit the Terry Fox lookout and venture off the tincan highway if the mood strikes but I don't want to be without a spot in a camp ground or RV park at the end of the day, either. Guess I'll phone ahead each morning and reserve a spot and give ourselves plenty of time to get there. We don't have a return route planned. It depends on the amount of time it takes us to do the NWT. Originally, we had planned to do the Pacific coast down to San Francisco as well, but decided that might be too much as we want to be back home by end of August. We will stay within Canada as we are not getting out-of-country medical insurance.

Thanks to everybody for your input. With all the advice and assurance about the setup, I'm really looking forward to this trip. Now I've just got to make that list...
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Old 05-18-2014, 10:56 AM   #12
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Just to add a couple of extra points - particularly if you are new to camping in Ontario Provincial Parks with a trailer:
  • Ontario Provincial Parks do not offer full hook-ups - electricity only on a variable percentage of sites - and it is smart to carry extensions. I have 4 25 foot cables - it is the norm to have to use 2 of them - and at least once a summer I will have to use all 4.
  • Reservations are not as critical in Northern Ontario as they are in Southern Ontario. You will almost always get in - but the real value of a reservation is to get the site you want (i.e. on the water or a hydro site). If you want a preferred site in any park you are probably already too late, hydro not so much - but it is unlikely you would be turned away altogether. The parks along your route that can get busy - particularly on long weekends - would be - Pancake Bay (near Sault Ste. Marie), Sleeping Giant (near Thunder Bay), Blue Lake (near Vermilion Bay) and Rushing River (near Kenora).
Enjoy your trip.


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Old 05-19-2014, 10:03 AM   #13
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Jay, thanks again for the feedback. Good point about the extension cords. I hadn't thought about bringing two (or more). You probably saved me more than a pound or two of cure right there.

Cheers
George
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