Saturday, May 1, 2010

Just been hanging out around home the last couple days wading through the backlog of mail and tax info, etc. My tax refund this year was huge! By the time I pay the guy to prepare the taxes, I'll have close to $2.50 left over to spend any way I wish!

Gradually been moving stuff out of the trailer as I discover I need it in the house. It's still freezing around here most nights, so I have to leave a little heat on in the rig to make sure there are no surprises. I certainly don't want to put any anti-freeze in there for just a week or two until the temperatures promise to behave.
By all accounts it was another very successful and enjoyable trip. Managed to 'rest' the edge of the 5th wheel on the edge of the box while traversing some pretty rough off-road camp spots, but all trees, other vehicles and gas pumps survived unscathed. Managed to keep focused around low bridges, drive-throughs, and other such hazards.

Reader's such as Jeff have asked how the 5th wheel compares to the truck camper?
Well, the answer it that they are both great, just different!

If anyone wants a personal reply, you have to sign in to make a comment, or use the e-mail link. I have no way of replying to an anonymous comment - just so you know.

Canadian gas stations should follow the lead of the US stations, where GREEN seems to be the universal color for diesel fuel as this pump shows. At home they are every colour of the rainbow, and you actually have to pay attention! For the first time, in Montana I think the diesel pumps had a choice of #1, #2, or a mixture of #1and #2, and some places also sold cheaper 'dyed' diesel for uses other than automotive. At least the pumps that I used in Utah and Montana (I drove right through Idaho without fuel!) did not request a zip code, so I was able to fill at the pump without going inside.

I find that the 5th wheel makes it preferable to stay in the same location for at least several days before moving on. Part of this is the effort in setting up camp that may include a stand-alone solar panel, internet dish, TV dish, BBQ, or other improvements. Once set up, it is easier to head off somewhere in the truck, and come back to a fully set-up camp.
My truck camper was not that easy to unload, due to the extra batteries I have stashed in the wheel wells, so I never take it off on the road - though I know lots of people do. So if I was going on a drive somewhere for the day, I usually took everything with me. Which means at the end of the day if you have found a better spot, there is no reason to go back. Or if you do return to the same spot, someone else may have taken over your spot (we're talking boondocking here, of course). You can leave some articles behind to save your space, but then you have to go back, or perhaps risk losing something. So I often did not spend two nights in the same spot in the truck camper - I would just stay wherever I ended up.

As far as exploring back roads, etc, the truck camper is certainly more capable of rougher roads and there is no danger of getting into a spot you can't back out of. As well, parking in a town or city is a bit more of a challenge with the 5th wheel as you need more space to park and turn around - same with gas stations. The 5th pulls really well behind the big Duramax/Allison, but probably uses a bit more fuel than the camper.

But the advantage is suddenly reversed when I unhook from the fifth wheel, and only have an empty pickup to drive around with! This year, I explored a lot more rough 4x4 roads near Zion, Arches, and drove part way down the Canyonlands White Rim road that I could never have done with the camper on the back. Ditto for better mileage on the empty truck versus the camper always on.
But I found that I have to be a bit more organized when leaving the 5th behind for the day. With the camper on the back, everything is always with you, whether that is food, water, or clothing. So if a laundromat or recycling depot suddenly presents itself, you can take full advantage.
Certainly, the extra space and comfort of the 5th was greatly appreciated - not to mention the shower with the skylight.
But basically, everything is a trade-off and a personal preference, as the Bayfield Bunch have said. It all depends on what is more important or practical to YOU, not what someone else thinks.
For myself, I think the decision on which to take will boil down to roughly a distance versus time equation. If there is long distance driving, few stops and/or expensive fuel, I think I will be taking the truck camper. But in a more relaxed trip, with time to stop and relax for days or weeks at a time, the the 5th will likely get the nod.

Check out the prices of this CANADIAN kokanee beer in a US store. It is roughly HALF the price of the same product made and sold in CANADA! Whose government is ripping us off in taxes? At least the dollar exchange is about even now, so it is a good deal for us traveling in the US, but I feel sorry for the Americans coming north to see our higher prices for almost everything, and no dollar advantage to offset it.
Another advantage of the 5th is the overall storage space available. With the truck camper, every space was filled, including the cab of the truck, which typically holds my mountain bike, generator, satellite dish, tools, and numerous other things. There is not much room for firewood, spare fuel, or other optional items. The fifth wheel has storage compartments and cupboards everywhere inside - most of which are still empty, as well as a 'basement'. And then you still have the full open box of the pickup for other bulky items. Not that you want to get too heavy, but there is space. I'm considering even throwing my recliner into the 5th wheel - perhaps evicting the hide-a-bed in the process!

I've got my new satellite internet dish set up on the front lawn, and called my local ISP and gave them the bad news! The satellite system is a bit more expensive and a bit more restrictive than the local option, but the big advantage of the satellite is that I can take it with me to my 'other' house, or anywhere else I happen to travel. Last time I checked, I can't take my local internet with me to Arizona or Anchorage, or Baja, or Newfoundland!

It still amazes me to see where some of the visitors to the blog come from, or what they were searching for. Today, I see visitors from Romania, and I have gotten visitors from China, Pakistan, Australia, Argentina, Chile, the Bahamas and all over the place. I've gotten a lot of 'hits' from people searching for information on that house with 'razor wire' on the Oregon coast near Tillamook!
Some of them send occasional notes or comments, and others I just notice a pattern of visits from a particular city or location, so I know that it is a repeat visitor!

And, of course, I get lots of folks finding my site coming from others in the RV blog 'club' such as Wandering Willy, Bayfield Bunch, Hitchitch, Veragirl, Geeks on Tour, WheretheheckisAndrewJay, and many others.

I met a few more of my fellow travelers this year, and look forward to meeting old and new friends down the road.


  1. Interesting post Ivan.
    I'll vote for switching out the couch for the recliner ! Or mabe a couple of Ikea Poang chairs..


  2. Interesting post Ivan.
    I'll vote for switching out the couch for the recliner ! Or mabe a couple of Ikea Poang chairs..


  3. Thanks for the breakdown of each unit Ivan, it was a big help.


  4. Thanks for the breakdown of each unit Ivan, it was a big help.


  5. Very good post, just found your blog thanks to Al,We are just starting out and will be fulltiming soon, can learn a lot from experienced travelrs like you. Be safe out there, Sam & Donna