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Old 07-30-2015, 06:51 PM
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Default 13,000 mile Alaska trip in a TrailMini

We left Silver City NM on May 5th. We spent night 1 at Canyon de Chelly in NE AZ. From there we went to Capital Dome NP, Great Basin NP, Lassen Volcanic NP and Redwood NP. Great Basin was the only disappointment, and that was just due to weather (Rain/Snow). There was still good snow cover at Lassen, and we camped at the visitor center in the parking lot since they hadn't opened any campgrounds.

The Oregon coast was magnificent. We stayed at Cape Blanco SP, and had a great lunch and dinner (Griffs on the dock) The lighthouse was postcard perfect. Then up the coast to a forest service park called Tillicum Beach near Yachats OR. We were right at the ocean edge - no services, but one of the best views of the trip.

We arrived in Seattle on May 21st where my wife flew to her college re-union, and the dog and I went to Sol Duc hot springs in Olympic NP.

The day after Memorial Day we headed over the border into Canada and headed for the Alaska Highway.

British Columbia Campgrounds pretty much don't have services. Given the cool nights we generally stayed in small commercial campgrounds with services. The beautiful valleys that the roads go through are also the same places the trains run, so it is nice to just turn the A/C on in heat mode to drown out the trains that pass all night long. We went the Cassier highway because it was supposed to have less trucks. We spent one night at the Bell2 Lodge & RV (the second bridge over the Bell river). This really tested the TM's tightness (and it failed). The Mosquitos came in like the door was open. We slept in or mosquito head nets. Thank goodness this was the only time we had mosquitos like that, so the TM did well. The northern 100 miles of the Cassier Highway were in pretty poor condition, so maintain the speed limit was not possible.

We crossed into Alaska on June 3rd. The first night was spent in the Tetlin Nature Preserve - free site right on the waters edge - really awesome. We went to Seward for a fishing trip and stayed at the Municipal campground right on the waters edge. Also stayed a couple of nights at the military campground in Seward, but wouldn't recommend that. We went to Homer and stayed just north of town at a great small commercial campground at Anchor Point call Kyllonen RV Park. Short Walk to the beach where Eagles were numerous. Had a great dinner at Little Mermaid on the Homer Spit. We did the Glacier Cruise from Whittier, then headed to Denali. Temps were pretty warm, so we stayed at a commercial camp outside the park so the dog had A/C. Alaska road construction is everywhere. The highways may be basically paved, but the rip them up each year. Saw lots of wildlife on the bus tour of the park.

After Denali it was north to Chena Hot Springs north of Fairbanks. If your in the area this is a "must experience". We went to downtown Fairbanks for the Solstice. Heard some good music, and ate some decent street food. We did a canoe float down the river. Temps were in the 90s in Fairbanks and 300+ fires were burning in the interior so we headed back to the cost in Valdez. There it was 50s and rain, but it was without any good restaurants. We left Alaska on July 1.

The trip to the east coast went through Liard Hot Springs, Jasper, Lake Louise, then down the Trans Canada Route 1. We stayed in some great provincial parks along the way. One note is that Ontario Parks took the cheap way out when they put in electricity. You share an electrical post that is located at the roadway, so you have to have a 30amp extension cord (or 2).

In summary we got 18.3 mpg in the new Chevy Colorado V6. Total cost of fuel was around $2000. The fridge is a problem when it is warm out since it draws 10amps on 12v, and the truck just doesn't want to respond to that demand (Yes I have tried running number 10 wire from the TV battery to the fridge and it still reacts the same). I hate getting into a dry campground and finding the battery in the TM is near dead since it was driving the fridge all day. Had two flat tires on the truck, but none on the TM. I had to re-seal the toilet about half way through the trip. We setup and broke down 50 times. I greased the hubs when we started, and then in Alaska. My wife cooked probably 85% of the time. We ate inside almost 100% of the time due to rain and mosquitos. I had made a bed extension (from 48" to 60" wide) - it made all the difference between a crappy nights sleep and a good nights sleep. The TM drawers and cupboards were well coated inside with dirt due to all the Alaska construction. The Mr Heater that I bought for off grid heating was just too much heat for such a small space.

All in all - The TM was great!
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Old 07-30-2015, 07:22 PM
TrailManorMan TrailManorMan is offline
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Sounds like a lifetime experience

2012 Chevy Traverse 2009.5 TrailManor 2720 with cassette toilet modification. Dometic compressor refrigerator/freezer. Cat scale weight 3980 lbs. full tanks

"Retractable hard side camper", way more than a pop up

2018, Camped so far 42nights hoping to fit in more before the snow flies.
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Old 07-30-2015, 07:50 PM
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wbmiller3 wbmiller3 is offline
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That's awesome. Thanks for sharing.
2003 Expedition towing 2001 2619; lift kit & 15" wheels
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Old 07-30-2015, 09:02 PM
LoveToCamp LoveToCamp is offline
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Nice write-up! Someday.....
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Old 07-30-2015, 09:10 PM
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Kidkraz Kidkraz is offline
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Sounds like you had great fun. Glad it went well, sad to hear the fridge was a problem. Do you have a tow package on your Chevy? By that does it have a heavy duty alternator? I went the 12V route once and still had battery power on the TM, but I have a factory installed tow package. Regardless, glad it went well for you.
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Old 07-31-2015, 06:31 AM
Redtail Cruiser Redtail Cruiser is offline
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Location: North San Diego County (Fallbrook)
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Wow, what a neat trip. 13,000 miles on $2K in gas, that's amazingly cheap. Please post some pics.

"A man creates his own legacy. Create a legendary life"
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Old 07-31-2015, 12:33 PM
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ShrimpBurrito ShrimpBurrito is offline
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What a great report. I have printed this out because this is on my bucket list, and to be done soon.

2000 2720SL
2005 Toyota Sequoia
Twin Trojan T-125 6v batteries, Link 10, Lift kit, Maxxis 8008 225 75/R15 E tires (1 Goodyear and 2 Kumho blowouts)
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Old 08-16-2015, 12:12 PM
SCBillandJane SCBillandJane is offline
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 146
Thumbs up Great Memories of Alaska in our TM 2008

Your post brought back a flood of memories from our 2008 trip from South Carolina to Alaska and back. Slightly different route (trip out on ALCAN Highway and return trip via Cassiar Highway.) We went to many of the places you mentioned and were incredibly lucky with both weather and lack of mosquito issues (left home July 15 and returned September 13). The beauty of the scenery and the vast open spaces were just so amazing. We would go dearly love to do it all over again!!! Our '03 3124 KB towed like a champion, and we never had a flat tire on the trailer or tow vehicle ('07 Toyota Tundra TRD). We have since taken the TM on several long trips to the Florida Keys, New England & northern Maine, Big Bend NP in Texas, all over California, and the National Parks in Utah, Arizona, etc. It has been with us to Fort Pickens just outside Pensacola three times, and we have a fourth trip planned there in October. To say we have gotten our money's worth is an understatement! More importantly, the great memories from the people met along the way and from all these experiences are priceless. The thought of selling our well-used and well-loved home on wheels in the future is hard, but that time may come in the next few years. It is becoming harder and harder to set up and fold down if we are changing locations every night or two (or three, or four . . . ), but we're planning to hang in there as long as possible before looking for an alternative. Love, love, love the TM and this forum!
Bill and Jane
2003 3124 KS, 2007 Tundra 4X4 TRD
Reese WDH, Prodigy
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Old 08-18-2015, 10:23 AM
scrubjaysnest scrubjaysnest is offline
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Big Bend area, Florida
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great write up....we went through 3 sets if tires on the pop up in 2010 plus 2 on the truck. One of the truck tires was in NM. Have plans for next year or the year after to make an Alaska run in the TM.

To anyone thinking of this get a Mile Post and review it well before you make the trip.. the other thing I'll add is most visitor centers in Canada have free wifi.
Axis 24.1 E 450 chassis, 6 spd tranny. GVWR 14500# GVCWR 22000 # GW(scales) 12400 #

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