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Old 02-12-2007, 09:27 PM   #21
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Lot's of good points here - I took my old 21', and now take my 16', on gravel roads like you describe. Here's a couple more ideas:

1) If you are fussy about some nicks and dings in the front of your A/S, by all means get the extra mudguards, but some stones will inevitable get through. My solution is to use bubble wrap (I buy thinner sheets in rolls, for not too much $$) and packing tape, and cover up all surfaces that I don't want to get dings. Works very well, not expensive (compared to fixing dings in A/S aluminum!), comes off when I get home without leaving residue, etc. If you're not too fussy about some dings, this is not a big deal.

2) If I have ANY doubt about the condition of the gravel roads, about mud holes or ruts & rocks, etc., I drop the trailer off somewhere along the paved road and check things out in the truck before commiting to taking the trailer. Another tip - if you see 'worse' rigs than yours coming out you are probably OK. Or, if people are coming out coated with fresh mud, you have a chance to think twice before going in. A side benefit, if you go all the way to the campground solo, you can stake out your campsite and relax on the drive in with the A/S, knowing in advance you already have your site. A little extra driving, a LOT less stress!

Both of my Airstreams have taken gravel road travel in stride - but be ready to take it slow, especially over the wash board sections, and keep an eye out for faster moving folks and pull over to let them pass.
Bob
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Old 02-12-2007, 09:30 PM   #22
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So say you are stuck on a two lane road with nowhere to go...is it just impossible to turn say a 21' around?? Can you get it to an angle that you could manuever it unhitch and turn around??...has anybody been there and done that...
Hmmm, Impossible?
Depends on how narrow the road is - it would have to be as wide as your trailer is long, unless you could unhitch, then hang the tail out over the downhill side as you turn it around. But now I would be very nervous getting the wheels that close to the edge.

How you lift a tongue with a 400# tongue weight would be an issue - depends on what tools you have and how creative you can be.

How level is the spot? Would the trailer want to roll away from you as you move it?

How many people do you travel with to assist in above chores?


Impossible is a last resort, but as you can see it would very likely be impossible for most.

Dave
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Old 02-15-2007, 11:51 AM   #23
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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!
Ground clearance must also be considered.

If your axle is ok, then it can be shimmed to raise the trailer.

Andy
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Old 02-18-2007, 07:02 PM   #24
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Think narrow

Think narrow for this kind of camping is my suggestion, hence, think vintage as the bodies are not as wide. I havent done as much boondocking in this type setting with the Trade Wind yet as I have with the old pop up. However, I think narrow is important for geting into the nicest spots on occasion. Also, a word to the wise, think height while you are on these back woods excersions or you may put a big ole dint/crease into your campers roof from low hanging branches and what not.
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Old 02-19-2007, 10:29 AM   #25
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Going to the rim? Forest service roads? Christopher Creek? As AZflycaster pointed out these are awesome destinations. With good running gear and a narrower trailer the going will be easier. Your wife will appreciate working plumbing, a soft bed and an in door cooking arrangement. Plus it may be easier to set up and break camp. Not always setting up shelter/bed and that kinda of stuff.

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Old 02-20-2007, 06:15 AM   #26
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Foureagles? I'm drooling in anticipation of photos of the move!
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Old 05-29-2007, 02:26 PM   #27
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Just what I was looking for!

As usual... Anyhow we are just about the proud owners of our get out of Phoenix in the summer spot. A nice ~1.5 acres at 5700 feet. It's just over 9 miles from the main road and the last 5 miles or so are unpaved. It is a wide well graded road but there is at least one dip into a cement flood drainage and many sections of washboard. I was more concerned about the latter. I didn't want to open the door upon arrival and see overhead cabinets on the floor. We were even contemplating something more rugged then an AS. Now I'm thinking it could be doable. Any specifics on what to tighten, brace and or bungee? My vision had always included the Safari. Anyway we still need to get a spot graded (I'm thinking our very own pull-through or two).
Thanks,
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Old 05-29-2007, 04:45 PM   #28
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Ravialdo:

We have taken our 26' 1968 AS and F150 4x4 TV to many off-road boondock camps even with the original (and soon to be replaced) axles and shocks without a glitch. The key is proper loading, hitch set up, and driving technique. Take it easy and keep your eye out for washboards or major ruts/bumps. Our only bad incident was caused by an unseen speed bump on a state park road in Kansas. Saw it too late at 25+mph and the whip lash effect cracked our bathroom sink drain pipe!

The most difficult scenario is entering landscape without an opportunity to turn around and exit. We followed a sign to a campground in NE Arizona last April to find the gate closed with sign "campground closed for season" wiht no chance to turn around. The egress was 1/4 mile in reverse up gravel road with little sun light - yuck!

Patience and Avoidance are the keys. It is well worth the effort
to go where others fear to tread!

Good travels!
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Old 05-29-2007, 05:24 PM   #29
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We spent ten days dragging our new 19' Safari SE around Mojave Preserve. The closet and vanity doors fell off as well as the catch on the privacy panel by TV. All because screws pulled out of pressboard cabs. Hot water heter became misaligned and flame came out of exhaust.
We were never short of water or room for waste, though we took advantage of dump stations & hydraunts whenever we found them. our solar panel has kept the batteries fully charged since we took delivery in March.
A/S Sacto fixed all warranty claims with a smile . . . and we keep going, lovin' our Bambi & Tacoma combo.
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Old 05-29-2007, 05:56 PM   #30
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hitch adjustments

Several folks commented on hitch adjustments. I believe that means weight distribution. The question is, evenly distributed on trailer and TV wheels or more on the Chevy's big rear leaf springs? The Rock Tamers look like a good investment.
-Ken
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Old 05-29-2007, 06:24 PM   #31
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just getting in our driveway is "off-road"

We live at the end of a dirt road and getting Airylle in her parking place requires traversing some pretty uneven and bumpy terrain. We have to use four wheel drive to park her. I would say that's a necessity if you take an AS off the beaten path. That said, we took her about 6 miles up a dirt road to a great campground in Arizona that was on the top of a plateau. The only casualty was the maple syrup bottle. It tipped over and somehow managed to leak even tho' the cap didn't come off....maybe the change in elevation.
Take it slowly and carefully.
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Old 03-15-2010, 05:50 PM   #32
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We have towed our 28 foot International to Lake Victoria located in Lost Valley in San Diego County twice. To see where we were, click this link. The last 11 miles of the road are quite rough (you can see that if you zoom out). I probably won't do it a third year, but we had fun with the airstream once we got there. The advice to "go slow" is imperative. Especially when it is single lane dirt with tight turns and opposing traffic.
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Old 03-15-2010, 06:54 PM   #33
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Don't know how tough the new Airstreams are but I grew up reading National Geographic articles and pictures of the great Wally Byam caravans everywhere in the world where the only roads were a bad roads. I have towed over our A/S over some pretty bad roads. Make sure everything that can fall down is down already, keep an eye on the entry door (they like to fly open) and have some protection on the windows and front of the trailer, little rocks flying off of tires put a lot of little dents in aluminum. In my original owners manual it describes how to cut out pieces of cardboard which are attached to the front of the trailer to protect it from flying debris. Looks like heck but better to recycle some beat up cardboard when you are done.
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Old 04-23-2010, 06:22 PM   #34
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In the late 70's my car dealer Dad sold a F-250 4x4 with a 460 and low gears to a recent retiree, the guys plan was to buy a trailer and drive all the way to Artic Ocean over the summer. The guy bought a 30 foot big white box and off he and his wife went. Six weeks later they showed up at the dealership and the old man asked how was your trip, the guy answered, "the truck did fine, the trailer didn't, come on out and take a look." The trailer had four of those big black metal shipping bands cinched around it. The guy told my Dad that on the first day on the gravel road (the one that is famous now from the TV show) they stopped for lunch and realized that not only had the back window fallen out, but the refrigerator had fallen over! And that was only the beginning! The best advice on this thread...drive slow, real slow!
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Old 06-06-2010, 12:02 AM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foureagles View Post
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.
Hey man, don't abandon the old girl to the drop. Build in a drag brake that you can drop if she starts sliding.

Sounds like you're in for quite a journey regardless.

Stephen
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Old 06-13-2010, 01:35 PM   #36
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Always a Newbie

How many dents on the towing end of the AS from gravel being tossed up can you tolerate? How many loose screws do you have the time to find where they fell from? How many hinges do you want to adjust after finding a suitable camping spot? How much dust do you want to clean out of the trailer? How much of a tire performance test do you want? Plumbing fixtures coming loose. How many brush and branch marks can you tolerate? Can you change a flat tire, on your side without reading glasses, in a ditch, in a gully, alongside an ant hill, etc. etc..

Do you carry a chain saw, clippers, shovels, sturdy boards for stubborn dry creek crossings, fully pressurized spare tire, fresh water jugs, etc. etc..

Do you have a GPS, quadrangle maps, National Forest map, compass, State Atlas, a note book to note where you have been and are going to, etc. etc..

Other than that, I think the AS will do fine.

After that first year, you will no longer be a Newbie and all of the above will be accepted, repaired and improved. You will become a Rockdocker and not an asphalt hugger boondocker. Nothing... I mean nothing that you learn that first year will be forgotten, but pushed to the limit and then a bit more each year. How I miss that first year... Good luck and whatever happens, good or bad, you will manage to get through it and know you are one of the few that have found a home where no one else dares to travel!
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Old 07-18-2010, 01:18 PM   #37
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Plan B

As a solution to access 4WD destinations where our Bambi can't follow, we added a Flip-Pac camper shell to our 4WD F-150.
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Old 07-18-2010, 02:14 PM   #38
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We have a homestead cabin in Joshua Tree area a couple miles from pavement. It is graded dirt in variable condition. My only recommendation is to go very slow. Not only does it keep the shaking way down, it keeps the dust down too. I get less shaking on the dirt portion than the broken up freeways, but that is due to my snails pace on dirt.

I do have the luxury of only about four miles of dirt round trip so I can afford slow.

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Old 07-18-2010, 02:46 PM   #39
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Old 07-19-2010, 07:11 PM   #40
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When you do decide to take the plunge and attack some of those enticing gravel and dirt roads, be sure you know how to back up real well. We once hit a spot that we couldn't get our AS across and my husband had to back up almost 1/4 mile to a spot to turn around. That just adds to the adventure. And the memories.
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