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AW1985 last won the day on April 26 2018

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  1. Sherry- We haven’t camped yet with Oliver in the winter, but I’ve been down there with the sleds several times. We generally park on one of the several pull outs south of Cantwell and join the many trail heads. Many slide-in truck campers and class Cs as well. I’d like to join the group as the trip is a bit much for an out and back from Fairbanks. When we camp in the summer we are mostly boondocking unless in Valdez or Whittier (the convenience of the camp ground more than makes up for the people). This year was a treat as all all the tourist were scared away by COVID and we could actually enjoy the state. During a normal year, it’s crazy in Valdez-they take reservations 12 months out. Three weeks ago I went down there and scored a front row spot with no reservations. On another sad note—I winterized Oliver today, washed and waxed and put her under the overhang as I’m leaving for an undetermined amount of time (Army loves to keep me gone!). -AW
  2. John, I am researching this possibility. We originally decided against lithium as the cold temperature restricts recharging. In addition, I feared that due to my busy travel schedule, I was one mistake away from throwing thousands of dollars away. I did find some information direct from Trojan, essentially saying that if my batteries remain fully charged that it would take temperatures south of -92 to freeze. I have my doubts, as at least yearly I hear from some poor, newly assigned Alaska pilot that their vehicle battery exploded. I think a compromise would be leave Oliver plugged in (as I do all summer) and place some battery mats beneath the batteries. I’m going to do some more research on the lithium front—I have a hard time committing without more research. The forcing function might be the batteries freezing this winter :) ! -AW
  3. SeaDawg, Insulation is a great idea. I just worry about leaving a $50 heating element plugged in all winter on my expensive TT. Cantwell is where I go to sled...beautiful anytime of year! AW
  4. Oliver Experts, Hope this summer is treating you well. Ours in AK has been quicker than I’d like, but AK is made for social distancing. Looking forward to the winter, which is quickly approaching my neck of the woods, and I’d like to pick your collective brains. I’d like to get into snow machining/camping this winter and feel that’s one of the real reasons I chose an Oliver over the normal stick builds. I’d like to camp, leaving my Oliver winterized reference the plumbing, and just use her as a warm place to sleep and eat dinner, bringing antifreeze for the toilet (no solids) and gallon water jugs for cooking. A lot of the stick build guys do this, but I’m more particular than most. So plumbing is figured out, that brings us to the batteries. At -40, batteries freeze and split open. Any ideas for this? My winterization the past three winters has included pulling the batteries and bringing them into the heated garage and onto a tender. This is tedious as I’ve got four, and they are awkward and heavy. I’d like to avoid this, and was thinking of battery blankets and/or battery mats that will warm them. We use them on the trucks up here, but they are used daily. I would hate to rely on this, and only use Oliver once or twice a month to figure out that the blankets/mats/tenders couldn’t keep up with the -40 temps. Course of action two: remove batteries and tape of terminals, and rely on our generator to power Oliver on our occasional winter outing. Thoughts, suggestions, comments? As always, appreciate the collective genius that this forum always has! -Alex Obligatory summer camping pics!
  5. Gentlemen, Appreciate all the advice and information. I have abandoned this endeavor based partly on your advice and partly on me knowing it wasn’t really a good idea from the start. John, thanks for nailing down all the reasons the Ford can’t fill the off road gig. I love your Toyota, and I think I’ve mentioned that I am a Toyota guy at heart, but my Tacoma wasn’t down for the part of tow vehicle due to our regular excursions being above 4000 feet (just because it’s legal doesn’t mean we should do it). I think I’ve realized over the last year or so that there will never be a Swiss Army solution for camping/off roading/towing for my needs. While a Land Cruiser is certainly capable, it will never pull a Rocky Mountain pass with the ease that a 3/4 ton diesel can. A Raptor might have filled the niche but is too big for my needs on the trail and I am not certain that the 3.5 will be up to the task of 100k miles plus of towing over the next 5-7 years. The diesel Wrangler was high in the list, but the 3.0 issues the Ram saw steered me clear, and 300-400 mile days in a Wrangler pulling Oliver doesn’t sound as relaxing as it is in my Ford. The closest all around solution was the LC200 but I have reservations on pin-striping a $75k rig? (I’d be sold if we could get the diesel, though?). I have a side by side on a bed deck that we pull the Oliver with, but I think my wife is less then thrilled with it, thus my scatter brained idea of double towing. The helmet, dust, and my high speed habits might have helped her negative bias. I’m deployed currently, so I have ample time to research, and it just gets me in trouble. I’ve been looking at Renegade class Cs but the longevity and quality just isn’t there yet. I think that in the end, I am a fan of buying purpose built solutions that LAST. -Oliver for camping -ATV for off roading -Diesel 3/4 ton for pulling Unless you guys give me any other ideas?, I mean that’s how I got the Oliver. Last deployment I stumbled upon this group and a year later we had one...and to my surprise the wife actually endorsed that idea! Again, appreciate all the advice, cheers!
  6. Gentlemen, This is sure to start a wild fire, so apologies up front. Back ground: I am an experienced driver, having driven professionally in my younger years (CDL). It is legal to double tow in all states and territories my wife and I plan to visit. I have done this with a stick build 5th wheel, and it was a non issue. This was over a decade ago with a less capable truck, inferior stick build 5th wheel, and arguably a less capable driver. What are your concerns/wisdom with having a class 3 or 4 hitch installed on the rear of Oliver Elite II and flat pulling my Wrangler? I have a new F350 (SRW & 6.7) and would be within all gross weight limitations. Hitch would be installed by a personal friend who is a phenomenal craftsman/welder and we both feel with the superior craftsmanship of the Oliver's frame, it will handle the Jeep admirably. My main concerns: I know that a double bumper pull will react differently then the fifth-wheel double pull, and backing (unless straight) will be an event. Prior planning will be required. As it stands, my Ford truly doesn't even feel the Oliver. I feel this is said too often, but even at 6000' on a 110 degree day, my truck held gear and temps didn't rise. Towing in extreme x-winds up to 35 KTS were not felt either. I learned long ago, white knuckle towing is no fun, so I did it right and bought more truck than trailer. I know that any issues or insurance claim would likely be met with resistance. Worried about tweaking or straining Oliver's frame. Swaying. I have been in some sticky situations, and got out of them, but the wife wasn't on board. Not sure how she'd handle it. I think I could all but avoid this by speed and energy management, but one can never avoid the emergency stop/maneuver caused by "insert crazy driver or event". Mitigations: Camera is installed on rear of Oliver tied into my F350s infotainment. I would have a third party TPMS system installed on my Wrangler to monitor for flats while pulling. The Wrangler would be prepped for flat towing to include braking, lights, etc. No major cities. My wife and I are currently in Alaska and we rarely hit metropolitan areas with our Oliver. We prefer the boondocking, out in the middle of no where experience that Oliver provides. Ok, let the arguments begin. I appreciate the wisdom and time! -Alex
  7. Well, I'm an idiot. The wife and I specifically made a stop to buy an adaptor in the middle of NM, and I found one supplied by Oliver in the back. The bad news is that it is just that, an adaptor, not a complete solution as I had to turn off the EMS as instructed above. The good news is that I have two adaptor plugs and the ability to run the AC if need be. We are gong to run into Moab and see if I can pick up the full time solution mentioned by John above. Moab is what it always is! Amazing! It's my third or fourth time, and the wife's first. She finally gets what I have been talking about for the last couple of years. Oliver has made the whole experience better as having a shower every night and a nice cool reprieve from the heat is a real recharge so to speak. It's my first time not on a bike, but the side by side is a nice compromise for the wife and myself--two up on the BMW might not go so well on some of the trails. I have stayed at Ken's Lake the last two times, and am never disappointed. It is a bit south of town and has a lot of space and access to trails. There is a water fall and hiking as well. It's a all in one solution--good views, well spaced camping, and easy access to all. The trade off is that it offers no hook ups, but that really is the Oliver's specialty. The solar is doing amazing and really has made the last two days without the generator possible. Thanks for all your help guys--I really don't think I could have asked for better and quicker service! I'll try to get some pics up this evening. -Alex
  8. Guys/Gals, My wife and I just picked up the Oliver last week and are now in Moab. We would like to use the generator I purchased in advance. It is a iGen2200 by Westinghouse. it is similar to the Honda and received excellent reviews for boondocking. I have the 30amp adapter and hooked it up to the Ollie and I get nothing. No AC power and no air conditioner (we did order the EZ Start from the factory). What am I missing? I looked in the manual and nothing was mentioned. Am I missing a switch or a button somewhere. I assumed that when I hooked up the generator that the Oliver would sense the AC power and revert to that. I appreciate the help, and apologize if this has been addressed. -Alex
  9. The truck was filthy with the ALCAN dirt. Had to stop in Hohenwald to wash it. Good truck washing bay right on the main drag. I'm a bit of a clean freak...to my wife's dismay ("it's just a truck"!).
  10. It's official! After five 12-hour days of driving, my wife and I picked up our Ollie on the 19th. It was an excellent experience! I can tell you that these guys are there for the customer, and bent over backwards during the orientation. They made it quick, easy and painless (somewhat). The F250 has extra large eyelets for the break away chains and would not accommodate the hooks. Phil offered to drive me to the nearest hardware store to square it away, but It was only a mile down the road and they had another couple scheduled for delivery that day as well. It's the small things that prove this company was the right choice. The wife and I have been slowly making our way back to Alaska, and the last week has been awesome. We have done a little of everything so far (boondocking, two RV parks and two national parks). We just left Palo Duro Texas State Park and it was an excellent spot to spend two nights. We just arrived in Moab, and are planning to spend 6 days or so here prior to heading to Salt Lake. The Ollie is superior in every manner and it's so nice to see a well researched plan work out. I have researched every item I have purchased for this lifestyle and it has come together well. From my TV, to the bed deck, to the Ollie it's been a great week/trip. If anyone is on the fence about this travel trailer, don't be. You get what you pay for. Daily I find some small detail that I'm impressed with. I'll say the biggest impression is in the docile towing mannerisms. It is truly a joy to pull. I have many miles towing...both overloaded, underloaded, underpowered, etc., and this trailer makes it easy. I see the bigger guys and the fifth wheels in rush hour traffic and smile knowing I made the right choice. Anyways, sorry for the long post, I'm just excited! -Alex
  11. John, no massive payload here. It's 2700. I'm actually within 300 pounds of maxing out my cargo capacity with the bed deck and the Can Am. While I'm close to maxing out payload, I agree, I don't need the WDH. I'm going with the adage that I have it, paid for it, might as well use it. It's really for the wife's truck when we get back to Alaska. She's a healthcare provider and travels to and from the remote Alaska villages several times a year, and prefers driving her Tundra over my rig--and I'm glad she does! So the math: *using round, CONSERVATIVE numbers for ease* Trailer tongue weight (10% of loaded trailer weight): 600 Can Am & Bed Deck 1590 Wife and I: 310 Gear: 200 Total: 2700 I'm not anticipating the Oliver weighing all of the 6K, nor am I thinking the Can Am and deck weight the full 1590. I won't know until we find a scale. I'm from Kansas originally, and have some years pulling and hauling in the way of the farm. I've definitely done worse, but am trying to do this the correct way and as safe as possible for myself and others that I share the road with. I know the truck has the power, but also am aware I'm pushing payload. I think the WDH is prudent, if not required. Thoughts?
  12. Guys, I didn't think it was going to be an issue, but my mind has me fretting the weight distribution hitch. We originally planned to pull our Oliver with the wife's Tundra, but our priorities changed and we got the F250. We ordered the optional Anderson. Will it adjust for height on my F250? This morning I was digging out my box trailer to help a buddy move and realized I needed a drop hitch to keep the trailer level. MAN these new Super Duties are tall. Before I rush order a drop hitch to Alaska, can someone please help me confirm if I need it or not with the Anderson Weight Distribution hitch? My understanding is the the hitch plugs right into the receiver of the truck, in which case I'm thinking I'm going to need something to relocate or drop that receiver. Thanks in advance, Alex
  13. Bill, Excellent advice. I have more miles than I care to admit on I70, and have dealt with STL and KC too many times in rush hour. We did the route thru Banff last time we were Alaska bound, so the wife and I were open to explore thru Seattle and Vancouver this time. The issue we discovered today is that they all route back to the main highway to Alaska, except if we take the Washington route we will miss Banff. Not really something we want to miss, as we were planning on spending more time here as last time we were camping and it would get down to 30 degrees at night there with light dustings of snow. Wife was UNHAPPY about that! The itinerary as it stands is AK to Hohenwald (making time and miles so no route except DIRECT!). Hohenwald to Chattanooga, TN for a family stop. Chattanooga to Moab. I70 is the most direct route so I will be heeding the advice above. From Moab we are heading North to Salt Lake (wife is making me see a broadway play...I agreed because....you guys understand). Salt Lake to home. We are taking 6 days down. 24 days for the return. No dates set in stone other than the delivery. We will plan around weather and temperatures. Mark, what do you think the temps and weather thru Montana look like on average first two weeks of May? We really enjoyed Whitefish last time, but we are two weeks sooner than last year. Also, we have very similar stables. I love your bikes. I can't hang my boots just yet, but I hear ya on the crazy people. Big reason why I'm in Alaska now. Riding most times is me and my bike and no other cars within 100 miles. Commuting on my GSA in Colorado Springs to the airfield daily was dangerous at best, deadly on the worst days. John, we were in the air on Glacier or another route thru Washington State until this afternoon. Guess we will hold down south until temps and weather are conducive for the trek northbound via Utah-Idaho-Montana with a stop perhaps in Yellowstone this time rather than Glacier. Both will be similar weather and temps though. I will take your advice on the rock tamers. Like I said...more of a placebo until I get a more permanent solution in the works back home. Hoping she makes the trek without too much rock damage. Shame about your family's Lexus...but sounds like she did her job, and kept the important stuff safe. Wife has a newer Tundra, and we looked at the 200 (huge fan) but we need a truck for the fire wood and other assorted chores around the cabin. Big fan of the 5.7 power plant. One day I'd like to acquire one off lease and build a proper overland. Don't tell my wife. -Alex
  14. Guys--Have I mentioned how much I love this community already!? Awesome advice. I know I'll miss some but in response: 1. Why Montana? We went thru there last year around the second week of May on our way up to Fairbanks when I got stationed here. It was excellent on weather, but this year we are planning the first week of May. Wife and I loved Glacier, and was hoping to repeat it...albeit with a shower this time! I have learned that one week can make a big difference. I wouldn't mind heading west then north via Washington State. Any ideas on this? Our script is unwritten, part of the fun my wife and I think. The only hard points are Hohenwald and Moab (which I have done several times on my GSA (motorcycle) and wanted to introduce the wife to. 2. The Can Am (thanks for flipping the pics, newb mistake on my part) is going. I have hauled it around for the last 500 miles up here in Alaska to test the setup over frost heaves, bad terrain, etc. I'd rather have it fail in my back yard then 3000 miles away. This is a proven system and I have built some confidence in it. I am well within payload and the F250 is a planted machine (payload includes computation for hitch weight). Milage is not a priority but I'm still getting 17MPG averaging 65-70, so it does surprisingly well. 3. I've got nearly every tool onboard for the truck and Can Am...somewhat of a prepper! I am tracking the axles, and will be picking up an extra set of bearings from OTT directly at delivery. I have a laser thermometer I used quite a bit when tooling around the Rockies while stationed in Colorado. I have read thru the current Axle/bearing topics over in the MX section. Excellent information to have. 4. John...this requires a separate line--beautiful 80 Series. I'm hoping you still have it. It's on my bucket list. As mentioned, I am a Toyota fan, and miss my Tacoma, but it wasn't built for this mission. 5. Rock Tamers are in the bed of the truck for install after pickup. I don't like the look at all, but want to protect the Oliver. The future holds 3M protection and perhaps a more robust protection system mounted to the trailer. Several things gleaned: We need a heater, assorted electrical adapters, and doughnuts! Mark (MontanaOliver): Do you have an itemized list of the adapters you have collected? Also I really like your Pelican case idea. I have several that can be re-purposed. I will be looking at that cookware. We have the same compressor. I see that quite a bit on this forum. Seems like we lean towards the same brands, ideas and setups. Truly appreciate the time! A separate trip report/delivery day post to follow! Happy Easter! -Alex Pics of my last two Toyota projects:
  15. Finally! After several long months, the wife and I are driving down from Alaska to take delivery of our Oliver. We think we have thought of everything, but as you guys know, there is always something that we will forget. So, what items and/or preparation would you guys suggest? This is our first foray into travel trailers, and I’m hoping our last as I like to think I research well. We have a new TV (sadly, I sold our TRD Pro Tacoma camping rig), and are loving it thus far (F250). We purchased a generator for the soft start, as we plan on boondocking as much as possible, and also several hanging doo-dads for the bathroom supplies. Dishware, bedding, and other homely items handled by my wife. Leveling blocks, sewer hose, water filter and grill handled by me. My wife and I are taking a month off to facilitate the drive from Alaska and back with stops in Moab and Montana. Any other ideas and routes will be considered! We are taking an ATV, so ATV friendly boondocking suggestions will be greatly appreciated. This forum has been a wealth of knowledge and I have read nearly every corner of it over the last 6 month (lots of down time as I’m a MEDEVAC pilot). Appreciate it all! Pic of new tow vehicle and Bed deck I just installed....I think this will be a great adventure!
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