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Old 12-19-2020, 01:58 AM   #1
3 Rivet Member
2021 Interstate 24GL
Los Angeles , California
Join Date: Sep 2020
Posts: 112
First time boondocking in our Interstate 24

writing from Mammoth at the moment, bored in our van at night with nothing much to do

my wife and I decided to go to Mammoth to ski for this weekend, but lodging/cabin rental are closed, our only option is to take the van - our 2021 Interstate 24GL.

never had a real experience boondocking before, and never camped in freezing winter before. we found a BLM land that a lot of people know about. a hot spring area near the Mammoth airport. we decided to stay there.

left our home in Los Angeles around 6pm, arrived the location 6.5 hours later, with a stop for fast food and refuel.

here's a few things I encountered

high wind roads - I-395 was very windy, the van was fairly stable, i was going 60-65mph in the windy zones, i had to constantly correct the steering but with little effort. there was another Class C who's been around us the whole way up (i spotted him the next day at the ski area). he was all over the place in the windy road.

in the snow - not snowing in Mammoth now, but I drove the van over some unplowed roads with heavy snow, the van had absolutely no issues. i didn't use the 4x4 mode yet. good thing those tires are M+S with snow symbol. no chains required.

using the bathroom for #2 was awkward, but not so bad, given such tight space.
it works for me, i'm 6'1.

insulation is not so good. i guess there's not much they can do about it, with all these windows. even with all the shades down, you can feel the cold. it was around 24F. bring thick and warm bedding. keeping the heater on is not a good idea, it's too dry without a humidifier.

now about the tanks

we got here last night, with full tank of fresh water, empty grey / black tanks.

1st night - didn't make any meal, just washing hands, a few bathroom #1, brush teeth and sleep
2nd day - #1 and #2 bathroom, made quick lunch and washed some pots and utensils, went to ski, then back to the van to rest. made dinner and washed some more pots

by the time we finished dinner and all business on Day 2, we had 36% of fresh , 65% grey, 69% black

and we didn't even take shower yet lol

i think if i take a shower the grey tank would add another 10% easily.

there's no way we can go through 2 full days with the size of these tanks. all nearby campgrounds are closed for the winter. the closest dump station is 45 minutes away. i guess i'll live with that.

the batteries

there's no way to tell the % batt remaining / SOC , thanks for airstream's lackluster design / choice of power equipment.

i started the trip from my house with 13.4V (van was plugged in to shore power when parked at home, it should be fully charged if the charger was correctly set up)

on the first night of usage, the voltage dropped to 13.1-13.2v by the time i went to bed. i left the "tank heaters" on, as it was 24F outside. also the inverter was on, to charge the phones and stuff.

next day, there was plenty of sunlight. but not sure how much power it has added to the batteries, again , no useful information being displayed to the user. after dinner and all business, batteries are at 12.9v now. this was with tank heaters on since 6pm.

let's see how it holds up through the night.

last, we packed way too much crap for the 3 day trip

i brought camping chair, table, outdoor stove...thinking that we would do some cooking outside. it was all not necessary, we did all the cooking inside the van. way too cold outside anyway.

now i can't wait to take a shower and hit the slope again tomorrow.

good night
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Old 12-19-2020, 05:11 AM   #2
Rivet Master
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2007 Interstate
League City , Texas
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 6,009
Your boondocking capacity will vary depending on your personal expectations (how willing you are to rough it) and the resources you might be able to responsibly eke out of your surroundings.

My husband and I have an older, smaller Interstate and we could probably boondock for a week with our onboard supplies alone.

This past summer, we boondocked for 2 weeks without interruption, without leaving our place (as we were prohibited by law) after we traveled from Houston and entered preventative quarantine in Canada. But that was on my own land which is an undeveloped lakefront wilderness property, so we had access to fresh water and I had developed the means to render it fit for human consumption. We also developed new waste management procedures this year.

But we have spent six years refining our procedures and conservation techniques. It's not a lifestyle that everyone enjoys, but we love it.

Our quarantine spot below.

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Old 12-19-2020, 07:51 AM   #3
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2018 Interstate Grand Tour Ext
Austin (Hays County) , Texas
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 7,164
Images: 4
The black tank monitor is very erratic. My tank overflowed at 50% on one occasion after 5 days. Other times, it seems more accurate.

We can go four days easily in our GT black tank. Very short flushes and let the yellow mellow at night. I can navy shower using about 4 gallons while my wife washes in the bowl with half that.
John W. Irwin
2018 Interstate GT, "Sabre-Dog V"
WBCCI #9632
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Old 12-27-2020, 12:49 AM   #4
1 Rivet Member
2016 Interstate Grand Tour Ext
Santa Monica , California
Join Date: Jan 2020
Posts: 9
Last year my son took my 2016 GT up to Lake Tahoe in December, the temp was freezing overnight, maybe 25 deg. The result was a cracked macerator pump body and a cracked exterior shower valve. As you found the insulation is not very good and the plumbing on/ near the exterior is prone to freezing up in sub zero temps.

I am now paranoid and get gel antifreeze to dump in the tanks, and get a low temp antifreeze for the windshield wiper fluid.

That said we recently had a trip in November to Northern New Mexico and the temp got close to freezing. We learned to set the thermostat to auto with the set point in the mid to low 50's at night to get some heating but minimize the cycling of the fan.
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