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DavidS

Launch of Hull 164

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We traveled all the way from Utah to Howenwald to pick up our Oliver on Sept 20. We were met by our friends Kathy and Gary, formerly of Utah, who now live near Asheville NC. They brought their Class B motorhome and joined us for several days of camping as well as the amazing tour of the Oliver factory.

We live too far to easily travel to Howenwald, and a thanks to Randy and April who showed us their Oliver. After all of our research, one look at their Oliver and we knew this was the trailer for us.

I am new to trailering, and this forum has been a great resource. Responses to my post in the Introduce Yourself part of the forum helped us decide that we wanted the twin bed layout (excellent option!!). I also posted that we wanted an SUV as a tow vehicle, and that we were considering an Audi Q7, and that the owner’s manual prohibited use of a weight distribution hitch. A big shoutout to Don Thompson who shared his experiences towing his Oliver with a VW Touareg (similar to the Audi Q7), which reassured us about our plan. Don has been awesome, sharing info on his hitch adjustments, his maintenance schedules, and other knowledge!

For those considering an Oliver, but like us, not wanting a pickup, the Audi Q7 is awesome. Consumers Reports loved this car, and it is a dream to drive. It has plenty of power, and it can tow 7,700 lbs. With the Audi Q7 I had plenty of power and easily maintained 65-70 MPH on the highway. When entering a highway, I had plenty of acceleration and easily got the car and trailer up to highway speeds. I got 26 MPG on the highway without a trailer, and 14 MPG when pulling the Oliver. When we camped in Kansas, I talked to a neighbor who had pulled a 5th wheel from the west. He told me that there were severe cross winds and that it was really difficult driving. I drove that stretch of road the next day, and while I was aware of the wind, the Audi and Oliver towed like a dream, with no sway whatsoever. No WDH hitch either. I was passed by a truck pulling a big stick-built trailer, and it was frightening, with the trailer swaying and bouncing all over the road. My drive was easy.

When we picked up our Oliver, I asked whether we got any of the new 2017 components. Our Ollie had the New Easy-Snap Propane Cover Latches. I don't know the old latches except from Wincrasher’s video, but these new ones are really nice. We also got the New Bathroom Faucet, and that I do not like. Wincrasher’s video showed that the bathroom faucet had an on-off valve on the shower head. Very useful when taking a navy shower. The new faucet does not have the on-off switch. One must use the valve at the sink, and you risk changing the temperature setting each time.

There had been some discussions on the forum about the value of the WiFi Ranger and the Wilson Cell Phone Amplifier. We got both, and I highly recommend both. I use http://www.speedtest.net to determine WiFi speeds, and I can definitively say that the WiFi speed is better with the WiFi Ranger (at 2 of 3 campgrounds). The other advantage, is that if you have multiple devices (we have 2 iPhones, 2 iPads, and one laptop), it is easier to login. You use one device to login to the campground WiFi, and all of the other devices remember their login with the WiFi Ranger. The Wilson Cell Phone Amplifier also improved reception (I know, 3 bars to 4 bars is not the best measurement). One tip from the Technomadia folks (https://www.rvmobileinternet.com/book/) is to turn on the Cell Phone Amplifier, and then put your phone into airplane mode and then turn airplane mode off. After this airplane mode cycling your phone looks for the best network, which is probably your Cell Phone Amplifier. I also like the Voyager Rearview Camera, and I posted comments on the current thread.

Our trip to Howenwald was necessarily rushed. It is a long distance for us, and we had to get home to get back to work… KOAs next to the interstate are not the best, scenically, but they are efficient. So a week ago we took a long weekend and took our Ollie down to Capitol Reef National Park, about 4 hours from here. The NP campground is very nice (no hookups), and we wanted to camp there. The NP website says spaces are usually available until early afternoon. We got there at 11 AM, and they were full, full at 9.45 AM. We were meeting up with our friends Nat and Hermine from Salt Lake City for a hike, and they showed us some great BLM land for dry camping, and I think we will be doing more of that in future.

Thanks to all for your advice and support. This is a great community. We can’t wait for spring, and the opportunity for more camping in our Ollie.

David and Susan

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David Stillman, Salt Lake City, Utah

2016 Oliver Elite II  Hull 164    |    2017 Audi Q7 tow vehicle. 

Travel and Photography Blog: http://davidstravels.net

 

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Wishing you many miles of smiles, and safe travels. Almost nine years for us...seems like yesterday when we picked up our oliver.

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2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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David and Susan,

 

And now - let the real fun begin!  Between making it your own, the where did I store that thing and the joy of getting friendly with your new "baby", this is a really enjoyable time.  Whole worlds that one never knew existed open up.  Have fun and be safe out there.

 

Bill

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2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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Thanks for the great comments. Nice pics, but please add some from that remote BLM campsite!

 

Your Audi seems like a good match, but I hope you will continue to keep us updated with it's good and bad points. You are stressing that 3.0 liter engine pretty hard... Is yours a diesel? How are the power and engine/ transmission temperatures at 12,000 feet and 6% grade, with your Ollie in back?

 

As I pointed out in an earlier post, doing any kind of remote travel with a German car in many parts of the West is a very risky business, if you have a check engine light come on, or worse. If you plan to drive on ANY rough unpaved roads, you should install better (higher profile) non-runflat tires and wheels, and carry a matching full sized spare tire and the tools to change it. Getting a tow while stranded by a slashed sidewall on some remote road, with zero cell coverage, will really ruin your day.... Been there, done that! But only once!

 

Please post pics, I love the Utah scenery, especially the places that are a little less visited.

 

John Davies

 

Spokane WA

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"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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Hi David, congrats on your new baby. Picking up a new Oliver trailer after all the planning and waiting is just about as good as it gets. I know you and yours will make many new memories. Your area of the country is one of our very favorite places to visit. We will probably be coming out that way again this spring.

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Steve, Tali and the dogs: Reacher, Lucy and Rocky plus our beloved Storm and Maggie (both waiting at the Rainbow Bridge) 2008 Legacy Elite I - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0026 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0050 2017 Silverado High Country 2500HD Diesel 4x4 

 

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David,

 

Your Ollie looks great behind the Audi! You've already been a valued contributor to the forum and I expect more great information from you now that you have your Ollie. Utah may be the best place in the world to own a camper like ours!

 

Don

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Don

 

2020 Conqueror UEV 490 Extreme Platinum

 

 

2019 Ram Rebel

 

 

States I visited with my Ollie (Sold October, 2019)

 

 

States Visited Map

 

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John,

 

I remember your post about the dangers of towing in the West with a German SUV. As I indicated earlier, there's no perfect solution. I've driven my 2015 VW Touareg diesel over 32,000 miles since purchasing it about 1 1/2 years ago and it's been a solid, dependable vehicle. Other than an old Porsche that I only drive around 2,000 miles per year, the Touareg is my only vehicle. It fits in my garage and while larger than any other vehicle I've ever owned, it's a great vehicle when not towing. I strongly considered a pickup, but after test driving 3 different models, I decided that I didn't want to drive a pickup every day.

 

The Touareg has proven to be a very capable tow vehicle. I've towed my Oliver Elite II around 8,000 miles this year, mostly in the intermountain west. The only time I had an issue with engine temperature was in Utah while towing up an interstate mountain pass when the outside temp was 110 degrees. I was pulling up a grade, traveling in a pretty straight line, running the A/C, and traveling at 75 mph. My temperature gauge started to creep up and I slowed to 65 mph and it returned to normal temp almost immediately. I decided towing at 75 mph was pretty silly--who needs to hurry that much, and I've never had another issue.

 

The Touareg is also a pretty capable off-road vehicle, but it won't go where a Jeep Renegade will go. I've driven on 4-wheel drive roads in Canyonland NP but I'm very selective about where I go. I also find someone to follow or lead, typically someone in a Jeep!

 

I may have a mechanical issue in the future in the West that will create complications I wouldn't have had if I had chosen a Ford, Chevy or Ram pickup, but I'm retired and willing to be inconvenienced if that occurs. The advantages of the Touareg as a daily driver and as a comfortable, secure, safe and competent tow vehicle outweigh my fears of mechanical trouble in a sparsely populated area in the West.

 

Ultimately, it's a matter of personal choice. For people whose lifestyles match up well with owning a full-size pickup, a pickup is a great choice as a tow vehicle. For me, the Toaureg or Q7 is a better choice.

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Don

 

2020 Conqueror UEV 490 Extreme Platinum

 

 

2019 Ram Rebel

 

 

States I visited with my Ollie (Sold October, 2019)

 

 

States Visited Map

 

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John’s Questions.

 

-- The Audi is gasoline, not diesel. I would have liked a diesel; more torque, correct? After the VW dieselgate scandal, VW, Audi, and Porsche are not (or cannot) currently selling diesels. I have not yet driven at 12,000 feet. We were at 9,000 feet in Colorado and going over the continental divide in Wyoming. The weather was cool, and the temperature gauge did not move up. The towing package includes increased cooling capacity. The Audi has an 8 speed automatic transmission along with a tachometer on the dash. The controls make it very easy to change gears when going up hills or when planning to accelerate.

 

-- Your comments about remote travel with a foreign vehicle are valid. In 1974 we had a one year old Fiat 128 that broke down in the middle of know-where on I-5 in California. We were towed to a GMC/Cadillac/Fiat dealership in Los Banos, CA. It took three weeks for them to get parts… Today, FedEx solves that problem. We have bought roadside assistance coverage.

 

-- When we first looked at the Audi, I asked about the spare, and they said there isn’t one. They eliminated it to save weight and improve gas mileage. I did not like this idea, but my research at Consumers Reports told me that most cars in the US are now sold without a spare. Seems foolish to me. We did opt out of the Run-Flat tires. We do plan to boondock, but I doubt we will go on rough unpaved roads. Nonetheless, your comments are making me think about getting a spare. I remembered your earlier post about the spare tire, and am thinking about putting the car spare on the trailer tongue. That is a future plan, with many details to work out. I don’t think the weight would aversely affect tongue weight; see below.

 

-- Capitol Reef pictures below, as well as Lower Calf Creek Falls. (I usually upload or email photos at medium resolution. Here they appeared so small, so now full size pictures.)

 

Don’s Comments.

 

--  I agree with Don. The Audi barely fits in the rather small garage that we have. A pickup would not fit. It is a great vehicle for daily use, and my wife would not consider a pickup. I have found that it is wise to listen to her.

 

Buzzy’s Questions.

 

-- Winegard Antenna. We were considering an Escape before we had seen the Oliver. A television is an optional item on the Escape, and we were not planning to get one. The TV came standard on the Oliver, and we decided to get the Antenna in case we wanted to watch something. Other than verifying that it worked in Howenwald, we have not used the antenna. One project for next year is to put in an HDMI switcher (http://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/roku-streaming-video-anyone/) and an AppleTV. We may stream stuff, and we have a good collection of video on the laptop and ipads. Campground WiFi can be too slow for streaming, but if you are an Amazon Prime member, there is a good work around. For much of their content they allow you to download content and keep it on an iPad for offline viewing; I think it expires in a week. Another solution from Technomadia is to download video content via campground WiFi early in the morning; campground WiFi is bad later in the day because so many people are using it.

 

-- I found The Mobile Internet Handbook to be very helpful. They are very knowledgeable about the technology. They could have fooled me with their technical discussions of signal oscillations, but for technology that I have some expertise, their descriptions were accurate and accessible. They definitely like WiFi and Cell boosters. The have evaluated many products, and the WiFi Ranger and the Wilson Cell Phone Amplifier that OTT uses were their favorite choices. They also had really good description of cell phone data plans and how to optimize bandwidth use, and this is of import to people boondocking, but who want to stay connected and thus tethering from their cell phone or a MiFi.

 

-- I do plan to use CAT scales to gather data, and that is another project for next year. For example, I do not know my tongue weight. The Audi owner’s manual says that the maximum permissible tongue weight is 770 lbs, and that it is recommended to use close to the maximum permissible load. I did see that Amazon sells a nifty little Trailer Tongue Weight Scale, but it is a little pricy at $160.

 

-- Tire Pressure Monitoring System. Also in the plans for next year. Maybe Santa will read this posting and get me one….

 

-- Winterizing. We did not get any training on winterizing. I had a printed set of questions and a checklist of components to verify when we first got our Ollie, and I discovered that several options were not installed. For one option it was added to the order after the initial order, and there were several communication screw ups between the sales office and the production team; this option was not listed on not on the production team’s work order. They said it would take an hour to install, but it took 6 hours. Thus, our orientation was severely truncated. I sounds like you scheduled several days for your orientation, a good idea. We could not spend another day in Howenwald, as we needed to travel to get home to get to work. I did not ask about winterizing, as I was confident after having watched the OTT video. I was a little freaked out when they took the video down, but after a bit of research I worked out a plan, and I got it done last weekend.

 

-- Solar. We have the Blue Sky Controller. Another project for next year is to read the manual and try to optimize the system. I have read your really excellent posts on this, and I have saved links to these in my Ollie document.

 

Thanks to all!

 

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David Stillman, Salt Lake City, Utah

2016 Oliver Elite II  Hull 164    |    2017 Audi Q7 tow vehicle. 

Travel and Photography Blog: http://davidstravels.net

 

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Buzzy,

 

You should visit Utah!

 

Don

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Don

 

2020 Conqueror UEV 490 Extreme Platinum

 

 

2019 Ram Rebel

 

 

States I visited with my Ollie (Sold October, 2019)

 

 

States Visited Map

 

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David & Susan,

 

Congratulation on your new Ollie!  Thanks for the pictures and write up.  Wishing you both the best for your adventures.  Maybe we will meet up at some Ollie rally in the future.

 

Gregg & Donna Scott

 

Flying Sea Turtle - Hull # 145

 

 


Gregg & Donna Scott and Piper the Westie  -    The Flying Sea Turtle - Hull # 145     Western NC


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David, that's a great looking setup you have there!  I think you'll be happy with the Q7.  We've been Audi owners since 1976 when I bought my first new one.  Driving an S3 right now.

 

Those are great pictures.  Utah should be on the list for an Oliver rally!  Mike


Mike and Carol | Fair Oaks Ranch, TX | 2016 Elite II #135 | 2020 Ram Rebel 4X4 5.7L Hemi

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IMG_3985

 

IMG_4009

 

 

 

David,

 

Congrats on your Ollie!!!!  Beautiful photos, too!!!!!!   Enjoyed reading about your Audi and Ollie rig!!!!


Bill

LE2 Tundra

 

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Buzzy, You should visit Utah! Don

 

We will be participating in the Southern  Utah Tour this coming May. Not our first visit to this area, but one of our favorite parts of the country.


Steve, Tali and the dogs: Reacher, Lucy and Rocky plus our beloved Storm and Maggie (both waiting at the Rainbow Bridge) 2008 Legacy Elite I - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0026 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0050 2017 Silverado High Country 2500HD Diesel 4x4 

 

      ALAKAZARCACOCTDEFLGAIDILINIAKSKYLAMEMDMA       ABBCMBNSYTsm.jpg

 

 

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Congratulations!  Beautiful pictures.  I'm wondering what interior color choices you made.  My husband and I are finalizing our choices.  Any pics of interior?

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2016 Ford F150 Ecoboost 3.5L w/MaxTow and an 2017 Oliver Elite II

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Congratulations!  Beautiful pictures.  I’m wondering what interior color choices you made.

Thank you for the compliment! I am kinda pretentious when it comes to photography, and I don't think any of my interior pictures do justice to the trailer. I will work on that on our trips next year!

 

I did put some pictures from our first two trips with Ollie on the web to share with family, and there are some interior shots there.  https://dstillman.smugmug.com/2016-Oliver/Oliver/. Also, pictures of our factory tour. https://dstillman.smugmug.com/2016-Oliver/Factory-Tour/.

 

For colors, we chose the Step Up Marshall 740 flooring and the Midnight SE620 upholstery for the dinette cushions. We got the mattress upgrade, and the comforter and the blue duvet cover came from Ikea,

 

David

 

 


David Stillman, Salt Lake City, Utah

2016 Oliver Elite II  Hull 164    |    2017 Audi Q7 tow vehicle. 

Travel and Photography Blog: http://davidstravels.net

 

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