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Posts posted by Rumline

  1. I'm not Alison but I also have a 2018 Expedition.  It's my first Ford vehicle.  Like you I was never really interested in their offerings, but I think the new Expeditions are wonderful vehicles.  It handles everything we throw at it, not just towing but from an everyday life perspective.  I love having three rows that can all seat adults comfortably.  Creature comforts are all top notch, and after 10 hours in the saddle I don't feel sore.  400 hp and 480 lb-ft of torque are nothing to sneeze at.  Towing over grades at high altitude is so easy it's boring (which is just how I like it).  But I still get 19mpg in combined driving (average over 13,000 miles) and 12.5 mpg towing the Ollie (average over 4500 towing miles).


    I haven't done any serious offroading in it but on normal forest roads, even rutted out unmaintained ones, it has no problem whatsoever.  Clearance is fine.  As with any vehicle, choosing a good line is still the most important aspect for success.  If you were navigating a rock garden you may be wishing for a different car, or a lift, but I don't do that anymore.

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  2. Nice pics.  We aren't camping yet but Ollie is at the house to prep for our upcoming trip and we got the same storm that you did. (Colorado Springs)



    We got 10-12" of wet, heavy snow overnight.  So much for spring!  I had to dig out the snowblower again.

  3. These two options are in completely different classes.


    Arctic Fox: higher maintenance (orders of magnitude higher) but more comfortable.  Easily accommodates a family of four.  Built in genny, 2.5x the fresh water capacity, at least 3x the interior space, etc.  More of a residential experience.  Too big for a decent number of public campsites (National Forest/National Park/State Park)


    Ollie: half the weight, half the frontal profile, more maneuverable.  Will fit in almost all public campsites.  Comfortable for a couple.  More of a minimalist / "real camping" experience (it's still not real camping though ;) )

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  4. I think it would depend on your mattress preferences.  The KTT is a latex mattress, which we prefer, but others may prefer a different material or construction.


    We did add a 2" topper, at least for the winter, since when temps are cold latex (as well as most foams) gets firmer.

  5. To me, solar is much better than a generator.  No noise, no maintenance, no smelly fuel, etc.  I can leave the fridge on 12V while we're driving (propane off) and it won't draw down the batteries at all.  Yes you get some juice from the tow vehicle but without solar it will still draw down your batteries.  How do I know?  Driving at night.  :-)


    Like John said you'll need a generator if you are boondocking and need AC but so far we haven't needed it.


    Beautiful boat, by the way.  Do you still have it?

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  6. I concur with Bill.  On our maiden voyage with the Ollie we took a lot of back roads through Tennessee and then Missouri exploring the Ozarks and stuff, which was awesome by the way.  But after a couple days of windy narrow undivided roads with no shoulder to speak of, semis coming the other way in the rain, cross traffic, etc, getting back on the interstate at Kansas City was a huge relief.


    I did not find towing on I-70 to be stressful at all.  Took I-40 to California this past winter, no problems there either.  Much less draining to drive on the interstate versus back roads.


    My recommendation would be to not avoid interstates completely.  Certainly take your time, get off and see things, spend a day or two on back roads.  But consider not doing back roads for the majority of your trip.

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  7. I kept the ones in the fridge but purchased a sensor brand called SensorPush for under the beds and outside under the propane cover. The sensors are only about an inch and a quarter square by five eights thick. The batteries last for about a year and information is read by my smartphone by way of Bluetooth. They record both temperature and humidity and the information is in graph form along a time line with dates.


    I saw those when I did my shopping last year.  Real slick little units.  But at $50 for each sensor it was a bit too much to swallow at the time.  Still, I like the data logging capability, and an app is much easier to check from bed in the morning or outside the trailer than an LCD on a bulkhead with limited viewing angle.


    How do you like them?  Is the app reliable at reading temps?  Like from the time you open the app, does it acquire the sensors pretty quickly?  How well does it handle displaying multiple sensors?


    I'm curious about your outside sensor location.  Do you feel that having it under the propane cover gives you a fairly accurate measure of outdoor air temp?

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  8. Would there be any gain by installing the solar controller inside the hull at the port connection?  Theoretically you could run higher voltage from the panel to the controller.  Thinner or longer wires.  Or do all these portable panels max out at 14V anyway?

  9. Hi John, this is what I use: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FX8ZGOO/




    We installed it the night we picked up the trailer and it provided solid service all season.  We used lithium batteries (for better performance in the cold) and the base station batteries have just died within the last month (~9 months of life) but the sensors are still going.  I used the 3M Command picture hanging "velcro" style strips (https://www.amazon.com/Command-Picture-Hanging-Strips-White/dp/B01N0X6SA5/)  to attach them where I want them: on the fresh water tank, in the refrigerator, and outside on the curbside lower hull just behind the steps.  I used these so that the units can be easily removed for battery changes.  I also added another velcro strip on the interior wall to the left of the entry door, to store the outside sensor while we're driving or when the trailer is in storage.


    However!  As it turns out I am not perfect and sometimes forget to bring in the outdoor sensor.  It has remained attached to the outdoor command strip for hours of driving though rain at highway speeds through Tennessee, and over 400 miles through New Mexico including high winds and a dust storm.  And the thing just keeps on working as if nothing happened.   I am impressed that A) the Command strip didn't fail and result in us losing the sensor, and B) that the water-tightness was good enough to prevent ingress of wind-driven rain.  I'm sure the mounting location has something to do with that success, but still.


    I tested accuracy of the units after purchasing them, but I think they may have drifted over time, or don't track linearly at low temps.  When on our way home from CA after New Years, we hit 15 degrees overnight in New Mexico but the outdoor thermometer reported a low of 21.  Still, I think they're useful.


    The display can talk to a total of 8 sensors, if I recall, though it can only display 4 at a time.  I am pretty sure you can set it up so that it will flip over to displaying the 5th-8th sensors every 10 seconds or something like that.  Also the base station has its own thermometer and that's what it displays as "IN" at the bottom of the screen.


    Edit to add: I really wanted to get one of the ones that does graphing, with a color LCD etc, but those units are made to be table-top not wall-mounted (the back is not flat), and require a constant external DC connection.  In the end this one is fine and I'm happy with it.

  10. Yikes!  No bueno.  Fortunately the fresh/city water inlet and the black tank flush connector have considerable separation from each other, to the point that I don't think I'll ever make that mistake.  And if I do, you'll get to say "I told you so!"  lol


    But your warning is well taken.

  11. Or try a pair of these …




    I have a pair of those X-chocks and I'm fairly disappointed with them.  As chocks, they aren't very good because they don't prevent the wheels from rolling if your primaries slip.*  I have applied plenty of pressure but the tires still slipped on the smooth metal plates when I detached the TV.  I am hesitant to increase pressure further because I'm concerned about damaging the tires.  As it was, the tread indented from the pressure from the X-chocks.


    As stability-increasers, my non-scientific testing (wife was still unhappy with amount of rocking) determined that if they make a difference, it is small and not easily discernible.


    * I have since upgraded to these chocks and they haven't slipped once, even on gravel: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0000AXBJU

  12. I agree Raspy.  As Walt Rauch said, "the best place to carry a gun is in your hand."  I interpret that as a tongue-in-cheek acknowledgement that any place we can actually carry/store a gun (legally/practically speaking) involves trade-offs and is sub-optimal from a tactical sense.


    Last year there was some nutjob that went driving around the Rampart Range (National Forest area popular for dry camping) here just west of USAFA shooting at campers.  Thankfully nobody got injured.  But one of the nutjob's victims had a rifle handy and was able to return fire, wounding him.  The camper kept the nutjob pinned down long enough for sherrif's deputies to arrive on the scene and arrest said nutjob.  Now I would assume that this is a relatively rare occurrence, but it's a case of when seconds count, and your gun is buried far inside the trailer, well, you do the math.


    This is a free country and everybody has their own risk tolerance, or lengths they are willing to go to mitigate low probability/high impact risks.  Just providing a data point for contemplation.

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  13. The only regret I have is about the interior space.  We camp with our 5-year-old and two small dogs...a lot of beings for a small space, and I realize we're not the target market for the Ollie.  During clement weather it isn't a problem as we're mostly outside anyway.  But when it's really cold or really hot or raining, when people want to be inside, it feels pretty small.  If you're just a couple (or a single) with or without some pets I'd say the Oliver is the perfect size.


    I am ashamed to admit I looked at larger options like Bigfoot recently.  But they're expensive, poorly balanced (25 footer has 1200lb+ tongue weight) and still require a lot of costly upgrades to get to where Oliver is already.  And that interior....


    I know a larger Oliver would be pushing the weight and cost envelope and give up some of the excellent tow-ability, but I would seriously consider it.


    But other than that the quality is what we found attractive about Oliver and it hasn't disappointed so far.  Although that may not be saying much since we're less than a year into ownership.  The mechanic that we take our trailer to for maintenance has been "in the biz" for 20 years and says our Ollie is the best-made RV he's ever worked on.


    Once we decorated inside it isn't "sterile" anymore and simply looks modern and CLEAN!  Love the solar and beefy battery bank that makes boondocking easy peasy; not some piddly 120w panel and "upgraded" single battery that other manufacturers try to pass off as a boondocking setup.   Mounting the four heavy batteries over the axles is a great design which ensures a properly balanced trailer, unlike just about every other travel trailer on the market.  That's just one example of the superior design that you get in an Oliver.  Another is the sewer storage bumper setup.


    I dislike not having a dry bath (separate shower) but what I like a lot better is a big, extremely useful closet and pantry in a trailer this size.  I don't need a big 9 cu ft refrigerator/freezer like other makes offer.  A) those trailers can't be off grid for more than a day or two anyway and B) where do you think you're going that you'd need that quantity of refrigerated/frozen provisions?  We've taken five-day off-grid trips and the Dometic in the Ollie has been the perfect size.


    The benefit of the smaller-ish size is that we can fit into the vast majority of state/national park and forest service campsites, which was a priority for us since that's where we like to go.

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    • Like 1
  14. I like it!  Reminds me of the "remove before flight" safety flags, although with the added bonus of not making your trailer look like it's covered in little ribbons.


    I also dislike checklists.  Too cumbersome to deal with.  We don't have many issues with my wife being in charge of all the interior preps and me being in charge of the exterior preps.  Occasionally we will leave the bathroom vent open, or worse, the maxx air vent.  Those errors always occur after quick breaks from driving like lunch or potty breaks.   One time we drove 200+ miles through Arizona with the maxx vent open.  Whoops!


    So I like your system because like you mentioned walking around with a clipboard or whiteboard is annoying.  But for me there's still the issue of remembering to set a snap bracelet each time you used one of the items on such quick stops.  Setting up camp is easier since you can just set them all.

  15. For us it was no contest...buying used doesn't save much money and you're stuck with the previous owners' choices for options and colors.  I hadn't considered the financing angle, and that would theoretically hurt resale value, or at least resale-ability.


    I'm with John though: it would be nice if people would post what their trailer actually sold for so that current and prospective owners have more data about what these trailers are actually worth used.

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