Back from our first trip in our little Bantam. Had a great time, and only a couple of little issues to deal with.
We traveled from the San Francisco Bay area and spent our first night in Northern Nevada. I had picked out a nice little forested campsite for the first night, but I realized that we were running out of daylight, and still a ways from the planned site, so I pulled off a nice secluded off ramp in the middle of nowhere. (Iron Point exit on I-80) and set up the trailer. I should point out that my wife is new to camping and was not too sure about this plan. I normally would drive far enough away so I do not hear the highway noise all night, but she was happier to hear the noise, made her feel safer, so we just pulled behind a little hill. We enjoyed a simple diner, and walked the dogs and then went to bed. We heard plenty of highway noise, but I slept well. Jane, my wife, was on the mattress folds and did not sleep very well. She had a sore back in the morning.
During the night it seems a few others had the same idea as we had 2 semi trucks and a small truck camped behind us. Luckily we had pulled down the road a bit further.
During this first day we discovered that the refrigerator pilot would not remain lit. I would relight it each stop, but we ended up with a very warm fridge and a lovely "bad milk" smell whenever we opened the fridge. This smell remained for the entire trip despite any attempts to get rid of it.
So strike out for Grand Tetons the next morning. We stopped off at a local Walmart and picked up a memory foam mattress topper. This fixed the comfort issues for my wife.
I have to say that I am surprised how well my Isuzu Trooper is pulling the Bantam. I have equipped it with a large cooler for the automatic transmission and a temp gauge, and temps were never an issue. I may not be the fastest thing up a steep grade, but not the slowest either. Fuel economy sucked, but it is never very good in the Trooper anyhow. We pulled up a 10% grade at one point, and I just dropped into second gear and limited my speed to about 35 or 40 mph. I kind of expected to kill the old automatic transmission on this trip.
We made it into Grand Tetons the next night and stayed for several days, then moved up to Yellowstone for several more days. Only issue the trailer showed was the water pump needed to be manually primed in the Tetons (physically opening the pump and filling it with water!), seems the black tank valve needs a new seal as it leaks a tiny bit (yuk) and storage is a bit tight on this trailer. We tended to set up the rear bunk just to have more storage space, especially with 2 large dogs in there with us.
Enjoyed having the 4 wheel drive as we could get off the paved roads to explore a b it more then where out legs would take us.
Also happy to report that the trailer had no leaks! We had a crazy storm one night that dumped a lot of water on the trailer tents, and we were happy and dry. Could not say the same for our neighbors that were in a tent.
Battery life on the trailer was very good. With the LED lights, just the furnace and water pump were the limiting factors. We almost made it through the trip without any battery charging. (I have not hooked up the charge wire to the power coupler!) I had to rig up a charger for the last night at Yellowstone as the furnace killed the battery the night before. (It was a cold night.) Was amazed it lasted as long as it did.
I love this picture:
I had a great time on this trip. It was very late in the fall season for the parks, and while still rather crowded for my taste, it was probably about 1/5 or so of the typical traffic in these very popular parks. We stayed at the wonderful Norris campground, and we got the last campsite the afternoon we pulled in, and they filled up every day by noon or so. The best campsites were taken by 8am when I went to go lay claim to a better site after breakfast!
Some odd dogs we spotted on the way up:
Trailer gets a little small on the rainy days with all of us inside.
Morning walks were very rewarding:
Sunset walks were great too.
I wont bother posting up geyser photos, but I had not been to the canyon area before, and it was amazing except for the tour busses.
Lots to see.
For our last night in the trailer I had planned to camp at Craters of the Moon in Idaho, but Jane wanted to put in a few more miles. :( So I drove on, but that looks like a cool place to visit, so I'll be back. About 14 miles before the Nevada border I pulled off onto a dirt road and headed down about 4 miles to get to a lake that my mad showed. Well, this turned out to be a rather rough little road. I was starting to get a little concerned as I could see that it gets very little travel on the road, and I had driven through some very soft silty sand that just about stuck the Trooper in 2 wheel drive. Well, I decided to keep going, not like I had many options to turn around anyhow. I finally make it down to the lake, and have to drive down a silt covered road for the last 1/4 mile. I can tell this might give me some real trouble to get back up this section of road in the morning, but I decide not to share that with Jane.
Doesn't look like much, but turned out great.
I should mention this place is crawling with bugs, but none of them bite. You can hear them buzzing around outside the trailer. There is no sound here except what mother nature provides. There is a flook of Geese and some other fowl down on the water, and I fall asleep to their calls, and wake in the morning to a wonderful songbird. Hard to beat that! We did not bother to set up the tents on the trailer that night, but left the windows open all night, it was perfect. This no-name little place ended up a great little surprise.
The last camp site. We turtled for the first time.
Now for the fun, getting the trailer out of this place. I engaged the 4 wheel drive on the Trooper and to my happy surprise we had no issues getting back up the silty hill.
Once past I shared my concerns with Jane.
One more surprise was all the smoke from the fire near Truckee on our final leg of the drive.
Smoke extended for a few hundred miles. :( They just about have the fire knocked out now thanks to some rain.
So now I need to figure out a fix for the trailer fridge pilot blowing out on the highway. On the return trip it stayed lit most of the way.
That's about it folks...
Oh yeah, I hate the kitchen table!