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Things we learned on our cross country trip

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hebegb

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Things we learned on our cross country trip
« on: November 11, 2020, 01:43:28 pm »
Just completed our cross country “trip of a lifetime” in our 2019 2552.  We left NC July 31 and returned Oct 12, driving a little over 7600 miles towing our 2006 Jeep Liberty. Both vehicles performed beautifully.  The purpose of our trip was to experience many of our wonderful National Parks (Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Glacier and others) and to just “see the country.”  The wildfires prevented us from visiting our California destinations (so we’ll have to go back again hopefully another time).

With this post I want to share some of the RV related things we experienced and dealt with while traveling, issues I consider just “things that could happen” on a trip like this and the learning opportunities that resulted.  Here we go…

We developed a slow leak in the right rear outside tire on the PC and had to visit Eagle Tire in Bozeman Montana.  They found the valve stem to be “loose” and tightened it up, no more leak.  No charge to tire repairs there!  Great folks.  Had probably 10-11k miles on the PC at that point and no tire issues prior or since. 

Our water heater stopped working in Riverton, Wyoming.   It would not light on gas but would usually (but not always) work on AC.  After much research on this and other forums we decided we needed a new circuit board.  Apparently there are some poor quality foreign made boards in some of these appliances that commonly fail after a year or so of use.   Could not find one locally so we ordered from Amazon and had it shipped ahead of us to General Delivery West Yellowstone Montana, where we picked it up a week or so later, got it installed, and presto hot water.  I also learned how to adjust the air mixture as I had it too rich at first.  I am so thankful for experienced folks online who are willing to help with comments and videos.

While camped at North Rim Grand Canyon, our furnace went crazy.  It would light and run about 5 seconds, shut off, light again, run about 2 seconds, shut off, light and run about 8 seconds, etc in a random pattern.  The coach did warm up eventually like this but needless to say I did not rest listening to that.  We were dry camping and had no cell or internet so just had to make do.  After leaving GC and able to research the issue, I believe the problem was - altitude.   Had never heard of this (then again had never camped at 8000+ feet before either).  I found strong opinions on both sides of this issue, but, my experience was that the furnace functioned perfectly at 5-6000 ft elevation but not at 8000 ft.  I made no adjustments or repairs at all, just got off the mountain.  Not everyone on the forums agreed with this (that elevation can impact function of propane appliances) but many others described similar experiences, sometimes the furnace, sometimes other appliances.  BTW our newly repaired water heater and the refrigerator were unaffected. 

We had the windshields of BOTH vehicles chipped with thrown rocks on the highway.  First the PC on I-90 and a few weeks later while driving the Jeep on a state highway.  Both were small chips and we waited to have them repaired after returning home.  What are the odds?

We lost a front wheel cover (simulator) somewhere on I-70 I think in Utah.  No idea how it came loose but we did travel some extremely cruddy roads unfortunately.  Ordered replacement from Carol after returning home and already received/installed it.

Here is the strangest thing of all - leaving a campground one morning, just finished dumping the tanks, and DW says “what is that sound?”  It was a “click/whir/click/whir/click/whir” over and over nonstop, coming from the furnace (this happened several weeks before the Grand Canyon issue above).  We could think of nothing to do but cut the power so we switched the battery disconnect.  Waited a minute then switched back on, and no more sound, and perfect function since (except for described above).  I have no idea what this could have been.  It was warm where we were and had not been using the furnace for awhile.

I must say that the 2552 V-10 was awesome and I loved having the Tow/Haul.  Our Jeep Liberty 4x4 weighs about 4200 lbs and the PC handled it on the grades well. 

Last comment - the dust omg - hurt my heart to see the PC so filthy.  However it is now washed and waxed and stowed in the garage until next time.  Couldn’t be happier with the PC. 

Again - my purpose here is just to share what we experienced and learned - not making recommendations or criticisms.  This was a fabulous trip and can’t wait till next time.

Gary

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donc13

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Re: Things we learned on our cross country trip
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2020, 02:10:56 pm »
The furnace issue is probable the flame sensor caused by a twisted feed line.  We had the same issue, same symptoms.   The shop retightened the connector and re-aimed the flame so it properly hit the flame sensor.  Zero problems since, including camping at 10,000 feet.
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Ron Dittmer

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Re: Things we learned on our cross country trip
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2020, 12:30:43 am »
Hi Gary,

We camped at Brainard Lake, CO at elevation 10,300.  Our furnace worked fine, no funny behavior.  I suspect Don is on to something good.

Thanks for the trip report, an interesting read.

We've been towing a 2006 Jeep Liberty Sport 4x4 since 2009 with our PC-2350.  It's a fine tow vehicle.  Just take your turns as gradual as possible.  Sharp turns chew up the Jeep's front tires because the PC tail initially directs the Jeep in the opposite direction of your turn, then pulls it hard into your intended direction.  The condition is made worse from the extender that levels the tow-bar (shown below).  You can see it happen in your rear view mirror.  Gradual turning avoids that condition.  I have two sets of Jeep wheels and tires.  One for towing on trips and the other when back home.  It's my wife's around-town vehicle.  If I leave the chewed-up tires on, she complains the Jeep is too noisy.


You don't want this condition, having the bar uneven.  I learned this causes a lot of tow-vehicle-bucking.


Here is our setup.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2020, 12:48:39 am by Ron Dittmer »
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Sarz272000

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Re: Things we learned on our cross country trip
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2020, 08:14:24 am »
Thanks Gary for sharing.  We plan to travel out west next year and your updated got us excited! 

Ron S

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keelhauler

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Re: Things we learned on our cross country trip
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2020, 08:33:27 am »
I have a question on campgrounds in times of Covid. Are bathrooms & showers open? Any problems with any other virus related things at the campgrounds?



John

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donc13

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Re: Things we learned on our cross country trip
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2020, 08:48:25 am »
I have a question on campgrounds in times of Covid. Are bathrooms & showers open? Any problems with any other virus related things at the campgrounds?

The campgrounds we visited in Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin in late September thru mid-October were fully open.

Don
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Bangorbob

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Re: Things we learned on our cross country trip
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2020, 10:31:16 am »
Some are and some aren't.   I usually called ahead and ask.  Our last 12 day trip we used our RV shower and bathroom all the time.  Just had to drain gray water tank more than I liked too, but that's life on the road.

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Re: Things we learned on our cross country trip
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2020, 10:35:37 am »
Regarding travel to nationals parks and of the kind, it seems the most popular ones are more restricting than the less attended ones.  For example, our son flew out to CA in late June, rented a car, and drove to Yosemite NP with minimal camping gear.  Some parking lots for trail heads were closed making people park miles down the road at scenic over-looks, then walk the road to the trail head.  The park rangers were anal with odd rules.  Their in-park camp grounds were either closed or intentionally maintained at 50% capacity.  He had to drive 2.5 hours out from the park to get to the nearest available camping.  No overnight parking (let-alone camping) was permitted at any of the surrounding national forests.  He described his trip as "The Vacation From Hell".  His story is not the only one I read about.  I warned him not to go but he was determined.  He returned saying he should have taken my advice.

We decided to stay home and enjoy local activities, most especially golfing and bike riding.  We have many nice affordable golf courses here and an extremely nice bike trail system.  Still we look forward to getting out in our PC next year.
Ron (& Irene) Dittmer

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Joseph

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Re: Things we learned on our cross country trip
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2020, 12:34:59 pm »
I’m surprised the liberty weighs 4200 lbs.  I have a keep TJLJ unlimited rubicon that weighs right at 4200 with a full tank of fuel and I’ve got a winch an after market HD front bumper, winch mount and road master base hanging in it. I never would have guessed the liberty to be as heavy.

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Re: Things we learned on our cross country trip
« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2020, 12:46:57 pm »
Ron, we traveled East from Ca this year and it was the opposite. We found it to be one of our best trips ever. Camp grounds at 50% at most. State parks all to ourselves other than a ranger who was craving human contact. Heck we took one hike to Eagle Falls in Kentucky and swam in the pool under the fall for 39-40 minutes before another soul showed up.
Living in Ca we find the west coast in general is a pain any time for travel. Over priced over packed and underwhelming with the exception of Yosemite. Yosemite is never underwhelming (especially in May,June)but always over packed. We’ve been to many campgrounds here and seen crap treatment of so many and they simply don’t care. There’s so many waiting in line to book that bad reviews and countless people who will never go back means nothing.

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Sarz272000

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Re: Things we learned on our cross country trip
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2020, 02:36:41 pm »
Greed is prevalent nowadays.  Our storage facility just raised the price again.  It has doubled in 1.5 years.  They dont care.  Find somewhere else they say. Your lucky the price isn’t higher!!  I have looked elsewhere but they are all full or too far away.  Hopefully, we will move in the near future and have a place on the property to store our beloved PC.

Ron S

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hebegb

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Re: Things we learned on our cross country trip
« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2020, 07:04:46 pm »
Re the covid restrictions we encountered - it varied from place to place.  Glacier NP had closed all but one campground inside the park, but thankfully Fish Creek (where we had reserved) remained open.  The showers and laundry at Fish Creek were closed (taped or roped off) but bathrooms open.  The East entrance to Glacier was closed because it is on the Blackfeet reservation which was closed to public.  At Grand Teton NP, the campground and other facilities are concessionaire operated so bathrooms and showers and laundry were open.  At all the parks we visited the ranger programs were not being held.  Some of the gift shops and restaurants were usually open inside the parks but not all of them.  One thing consistent at every park we visited (except maybe North Rim GC) - they were packed and extremely busy.  Often could not get a parking place at the trail heads, etc in order to hike.  Had to get a very early (pre-dawn) start to hike the trails we wanted to hike at Glacier, Teton, Arches, Zion, etc.  Not complaining, just explaining.

The private campgrounds were mostly open with all facilities operating, though we did run into a few closed showers, etc there too.  Almost everywhere we camped (except the boondocking) were filled or nearly so.

Also - there were a lot of newbies on the roads and in the campgrounds.  You know, you can kinda tell if they're reading the manual at the dump station. ;)