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Airstream 25 and Oliver II 23 feet 6 inches- Off the Grid Adventure- 2018

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(Airstream 25 foot and the Oliver II 23 feet 6 inches- my mistake)


This is my opportunity to meet the proud owners of an Elite II in the Western USA, Off the Grid Boondocking experience.


Only two 25 foot trailers.  An Airstream and an Oliver. This is Off the Grid trailer camping.  No definite camp sites, although areas we have explored.  No facilities at most sites.  Just myself, my wife and two Blue Heelers and a couple owning an Oliver II in the Wilds of the Western Rocky Mountain, Great Basin areas.


There is a very big... caveat.  We are very experienced Off the Grid tent and now trailer campers.  The Oliver II family need to be comfortable and experienced OTG Boondockers.  Otherwise, the experience will be so foreign and a deviation to the RV Park and established campground setting, it will be unsettling to most trailer owners.


You must be physically fit.  Some casual climbing, no ropes.  Fishing opportunities with a fly rod.  Forest Service and BLM roads.  It depends where the location is of this Rocky Mountain Rendezvous.


I am a Geologist and amateur Archaeologist, Paleontologist, Mineralogist and metal detect for meteorites, rock or trash. This is more of an Adventure, than a camping trip to sip wine and dine out at restaurants in town.  This has been tried with a group of Airstreams and found difficult, due to a wide range of interests and experience, being  away from electrical hookups and flush toilets, lacking hot showers every afternoon.


Some managed well.  Others needed a personal guide.  We found that a ‘one on one’ with similar interests and experience levels were perfect matches.


You must have seven to ten days, maybe more if we get into an area of special interest, traveling in an area of common interest to both parties.  This would be for the Summer of 2018. We are both retired, so flexible and in July southern Nevada is 110F at 2,500 feet elevation. We would be looking at 5,000 to 8,000 foot elevation camp sites. Warm dry days and cool ‘damp or dry’ evenings.  You never know, when at Elevation.


If there are any OliverII couples interested, then I will then toss out questions to understand your experience of OTG on this Thread.  There is a chance that no one wants to take the offer. That is fine.  We understand.  Many OTG Boondockers prefer the peace and quiet among solitude, avoiding congestion, loud music and traffic.


If there is interest, only ONE Oliver on this true Adventure.  Explain your experiences and interests.  You must be comfortable in places that I found many... uncomfortable and detached from being camped in places with fresh air, no posted signs, no people and wonderful views.


Are there any takers?  If so... this will be an open discussion. If this is successful, 2019 may be the next opportunity to meet and greet another Oliver family.





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I don't understand the challenge aspect of this.  Why does someone have to qualify to go boondocking with you?  Are you trying to compare trailers?  Show somebody how to camp in the wild?  Why only you and one other trailer?


"I only exaggerate enough to compensate for being taken with a grain of salt."

LE2 #92 (sold),   Black Series HQ19   

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Oliver doesn't have a 25' trailer... But other then size, being yours is bigger, most larger trailers have a hard time making it into the places that we are willing to go with our Oliver's because you guys either don't have the ground clearance or have pipes, etc hanging down under the trailer. We almost bought a 25FB... It was that close in the beginning, but we went with Oliver because it's a true 4 season camper and short enough to fit in any National Park campground. The 25FB was really nice inside but the extra width makes it tougher off-road and the extra length took it out of the parks that we like to go boondocking in. We've crossed boulder packed streams in ours with no problems and with it being only 6000lbs loaded our way, getting stuck in the middle of the creek was never an issue with the shallow water. You could also look at 25' Bigfoot owners trailers if you would like a closer trailer comparison to yours.



Happy Camping,


Reed & Karen Lukens with Riffles our Miniature Poodle

2017 Oliver Legacy Elite II  Standard, Hull #200 / 2017 Silverado High Country 1500 Short Bed 4x4

Past TV - 2012 Mercedes-Benz ML350 4Matic BlueTEC Diesel

Click on our avatar pic above to find the videos on our Oliver Legacy Elite II


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To my knowledge, Oliver has a 23 foot trailer, not a 25 foot trailer. I have no doubt that each trailer will do well.


Sorry, my mistake.  The Elite II is 23 feet 6 inches.  I measured our '25 foot' Airstream is 23 feet 4 inches from front aluminum to back aluminum.  The 25 foot is front of hitch to rear bumper, which is not 'living space'.


I want to see an Elite II and the two of us can compare.

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I don’t understand the challenge aspect of this. Why does someone have to qualify to go boondocking with you? Are you trying to compare trailers? Show somebody how to camp in the wild? Why only you and one other trailer?


No challenge of brands.  This is a way for the Airstream and the Oliver to compare how we both do Off the Grid Boondocking.


You may want to read WHY only one on one and why someone would have to be qualified.  Anyone, towing a nearly 25 foot long trailer on Forest Service and BLM roads, off the beaten path, the other trailer owner had better know what they are doing and be experienced.


The kind of places we camp, most trailer owners have not and most likely would not have any experience traveling.  This is not to teach nor train another trailer owner. The Oliver is as capable a trailer as an Airstream.


This an opportunity for me to see an Elite II, and the owner can experience remote camping locations in areas they have not been.  Most Olivers seem to be found East of the Mississippi.  I am taking my time, experience and knowledge to make this offer. But not just anyone is interested in exploring the geology, climbing and fly fishing.


Those who have no interest.  Fine.  Those who might. We have something to discuss, but it would be also of interest to those that may be ready in 2019. This is an opportunity for someone.  I do this every year.  I am an expert.  My towing requirement of another is that they have enough experience to enjoy the challenge of camping our trailers where most only wish they were capable and had the opportunity.

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Oliver doesn’t have a 25′ trailer… But other then size, being yours is bigger, most larger trailers have a hard time making it into the places that we are willing to go with our Oliver’s because you guys either don’t have the ground clearance or have pipes, etc hanging down under the trailer. We almost bought a 25FB… It was that close in the beginning, but we went with Oliver because it’s a true 4 season camper and short enough to fit in any National Park campground. The 25FB was really nice inside but the extra width makes it tougher off-road and the extra length took it out of the parks that we like to go boondocking in. We’ve crossed boulder packed streams in ours with no problems and with it being only 6000lbs loaded our way, getting stuck in the middle of the creek was never an issue with the shallow water. You could also look at 25′ Bigfoot owners trailers if you would like a closer trailer comparison to yours. Reed


The Oliver and Airstream have a lot in common.  The Oliver may have an advantage with the straight axles, versus the Airstream torsion suspension.


You would be surprised to see where 28 foot and 30 Airstreams camp.  After 12 years of OTG towing Airstreams, I just might know what I am talking about. Twenty three foot and 25 foot Airstreams.  The Tandem Axles of an Oliver may make OTG towing some extra clearance and flexible on uneven changes from level to double track road to campsites.  If you have not watched a 'torsion axle Airstream' cross a stream bed... you may learn a few things.


The Oliver II is 7 feet wide and the 25 foot Airstream 8 feet.  The Airstream 23 foot is 7 feet six inches wide.


If no one is interested.  We travel well ourselves with or without company.


This is not a Ford versus Dodge versus Toyota towing discussion.  I have an interest in an Oliver and this is the best way to discover how each handle at places that we want to go.

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Imagine your Oliver and our Airstream traveling together in... Wyoming, for instance.  No National Park campground.  No reservations. Leave whenever you want.  No commercial camp host.  No neighbors, but those you are traveling with.  Camp outside a National Park on BLM open space, for a view that only a few have attempted.


Or... just imagine YOU and your Oliver doing what, maybe 80% of trailer owners, do not dare to attempt.  I know this is true among Airstream owners, a large percentage would never consider dirt, dust, gravel and unpaved travel as a proper way to travel.  It takes one special couple, hopefully with a dog that enjoys hiking and exploring, as well.


The BLM and Forest Service offices provide us with cold, fresh Spring Water and are happy to see you.


...and I rest my introduction.  PM me if you like.  Apparently that may be the best alternative.  After this 'Adventure', you can post the photographs of yourselves smiling and being among the few.  Also, bring a shovel.






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Ray, sounds like a fun adventure. We’re currently on BLM land (Dome Rock) near Quartzsite with some other Oliver owners.  I’m sure there is a western Oliver owner who has lots of boondocking experience that could go with you. I look forward to hearing how this works out!  Mike

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Texas Hill Country | 2016 Elite II #135 | 2020 Ram 2500 6.7L


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I thrive outside of organized campgrounds.  This is one of the reasons I got my Oliver and I've towed it into places that were near the limit of my Ram and the Oliver.  I know that some would be reluctant, too cautious or inexperienced to go to remote spots, and that is fine and prudent, but there is no way a 25" Airstream can get very far in without serious damage to either the wide fragile aluminum body or the underneath plumbing.


Oliver's durable fiberglass body and 7' width, with no underneath plumbing, make a lot of this possible where trails are narrow and rough.


If you want a fine boondocking experience try Saline Valley hot springs where you'll travel about 50 miles on a rocky and steep  gravel road that is frequently washed out in the monsoon season or blocked by snow.  When you get there, there are no services of any kind.  Carrying enough fuel for the in and out is a serious consideration.  And this is the "easy way" in.


On the way in and after arriving,  you'll see the advantage of LT tires, four deep cycle batteries carried directly over  the axles and their power compared to one group 24 house battery, that I understand the Airstream has.


I camp in "organized" campgrounds and go to rallies too.  They are just another option that is also fun.  Olivers have a very comfortable, but simple, living arrangement, so it's interesting to talk about roughing it in the out-back, and getting there through rough terrain, but living in a luxury apartment once you arrive.  I like the interior space and beautiful layout of the Airstream too, but it's an odd thing to take to the most extreme places as you seem to be doing.  Especially when it has more strict limits off road and a much more fragile body.  Sorry, and I don't mean to be too negative, but I find myself giggling at the thought of having to qualify, just for the chance to prove I can keep up with an Airstream on remote roads.  Or to match it's abilities while boondocking.  Really?  I can't imagine that that would be a goal for a trip into the wild.


Oliver Elite 2 models are 23.5' from ball to bumper.  The body is about 18' long and 7' wide.

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"I only exaggerate enough to compensate for being taken with a grain of salt."

LE2 #92 (sold),   Black Series HQ19   

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I'm sure Ray meant not offense to anyone here, he, like many here, has a particular way of conveying his thoughts. He is very active on the Airstream forum, which is why I invited him to join ours, when he was discussing Olivers over there. He has lead numerous "adventures" for Airstreamers during which it had been found that, while interested, many were lacking the basic skills needed for any remote adventure that went too far from hookups, which then affected the rest of those involved in the "adventure".


While there are more of us who purchased our trailer for this purpose, there are still plenty who haven't the experience or ability to travel those roads (or lack thereof) think of those that are for sale after 6 months ownership who want more space for "camping"


So him trying to evaluate/"qualify" someone to ensure he doesn't have to get out and show them how to lock their differential to get out of a rough spot is understandable. He isn't a paid tour guide, he's just trying to share the experience and knowledge with comparably skilled individuals.


I do find it humorous that the three most similarly styled posters on this forum, to Ray, are the ones that took offense to the invitation being posed as it was, I would think that once part the cover of the book they would be the ones to most enjoy the read.


For an example - airforums


Ray - PM buzzy with your post, I'm not sure if he is still fully active on here and know (from the past) if everything were to work out, his active adventure ability and the interest he showed before should be very receptive of the idea.

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One Life Live It Enjoyably

2017 F350 6.7L SRW CC LB

2015 Oliver Elite II Hull #69

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Thank you Randy.


Raspy.  This is exactly why I would like to compare trailers.


Mike and Carol.  Thank you, also.


Sorry to say I do not tow my trailer over boulder fields and up to mountain tops for a view at 14,120 feet.  That is more for tent campers, and I have done that in Colorado.  Not with a trailer in tow.


It is the... length... of a trailer that will get you into trouble.  I call it the 'bumper drag queen'  driving off a Service Station lot, which is most often mistake made by new trailer owners... or crossing a rut in the road and not understand the possible danger before you 'drag' your... bumper.


The plumbing on the 'driver's side' of an Airstream is either behind the rear axle, or in front.  Never had an issue.  If you drive over brush and ant hills and not on the road... yes, you will have a problem, sooner than later.


Newbies have this vision that Off the Grid means losing all Common Sense.  There is more danger traveling on concrete and asphalt.  Just misjudging the entry and exit to a service station can cost you a bumper, or a tight turn into the protection to the gasoline pumps.  This is much more serious an issue than traveling a Forest Service road.


It is a bit discouraging to get feedback from those who do not understand.  I do not mistreat my wife, our two Blue Heelers, nor my Airstream.  In that order.  It is the fear of the unknown of those unprepared or not comfortable outside an established camp ground.  That is understandable.  The Airstream up to 25 feet and the Oliver up to 24 feet can travel safely on the majority of non paved roads.  The only dings I have on my trailer are from rocks being tossed up, most likely loose gravel tossed off the paved highway by vehicles, passing me.


For those who understand, we are one large family and purchased our trailers to enjoy spending more time away from humanity in comfort.  The initial investment will be well worth it, and I wish all who do OTG Boondocking years of enjoying your tent or trailer.



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Ray, we aren't up for organized trips, but if we're ever in the same neck of the woods we'd be happy to meet up.  The only time we've stayed anywhere with hookups has been if that was our only choice.  Sometimes when we did, we didn't even bother to hookup.  We've only had about 35 or so nights in our trailer - about 6500 miles - so we're still taking it easy on her, but nothing keeping an Ollie from getting out in the rough...










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Thanks for that great letter, Ray


I do hope to cross paths with you one of these days and I hope you have a chance to get a closer look at an Oliver too.  Your pictures show the kind of areas we like the best.


Any chance you'll be going to Bullards Beach, Oregon, in July?  Or exploring the eastern Sierra this year some time?  I'd like to head east into Montana/Wyoming but probably won't make it this year as we're planning a trip to China for a month or so and the seasons there make a real difference in travel plans.


I just retired and am still getting dialed in.   Lot's of projects to get settled and the places we often go, here in the Sierra, are mostly remote because of the crowds in the popular spots, like Yosemite, or Twin Lakes.   We live in the high desert, south east of Carson city, so it's a nice jumping off spot.   Ollie is all set and right here in the garage waiting to go, like some eager puppy.


I guess 2019 will be the year of the longer trips up into Canada and the East Coast, as this year is already filling up.


"I only exaggerate enough to compensate for being taken with a grain of salt."

LE2 #92 (sold),   Black Series HQ19   

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I also enjoy camping in remote areas without hookups, but that last photo posted by Overland shows some rocks I'd prefer to avoid!  Last October, I visited the factory for some upgrade work.  I left late in the day to travel to Rock Island State Park in Tennessee.  I was using Google Maps to navigate and I missed a turn.  Rather than trying to find a place to turn around and backtrack (I found myself on a very narrow hard-surfaced county road) I decided to keep going anticipating that Google Maps would adjust to my error without causing any difficulties. That was a mistake and marked the beginning of a two-hour 20-mile adventure.  The road quickly changed and I found myself on a narrow dirt track winding my way up into the hills.  Darkness came and the dirt track became narrower and rocky.  I lost cell phone service and the only houses along the track (there were only two or three) looked like places used for nefarious purposes (I was thinking meth labs) so I didn't want to stop to ask directions or for help getting the Ollie out of a jam.  Luckily, the Elite II is only 7' wide and my Touareg is just under 6 1/2' wide.  I passed through some very narrow spots where the brush rubbed both sides of the Touareg so I knew the Oliver was getting a little more attention from the brush.  Luckily, after about 2 hours, I had found my way down the hills to a two-lane blacktop and cell phone coverage that allowed me to get back on the track to the state park.  It reminded me of a trip when I was a child.  My parents, my two older sisters and I drove from Nebraska to Arkansas to pick up a new boat--I think it was called an Arkansas Traveler.  My mother was in the front seat navigating.  I was in the back seat between my two older sisters, one of whom was in college.  She somehow dropped a cigarette in the inside of a rear door of the car and started a smoldering fire.  My mom gave my father terrible directions and we ended up on a narrow dirt track that my father eventually had to drive back with the boat and trailer behind the car.  He had to back up a mile or so.  Not a happy fellow!  Anyway, the lesson I've learned from these two experiences is to scout the route when it looks like the going could get pretty rough.  Much like scouting rapids on the river in my whitewater kayaking days.  There's nothing worse than to find yourself in Class V rapids with Class III paddling skills!

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2020 Kimberley Kruiser T3



2019 Ram 2500 Diesel



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



States Visited Map


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Lol, that photo has a similar story behind it.  We made a last minute detour to see Canyon de Chelly and got directions from Siri.  My wife had looked at the park's website and saw that they said to avoid coming in from the east, but she interpreted that as travelling east somehow and when she saw the map taking us around and going in from the east she said yep that's right.  The directions said 'may include unpaved roads', but we've been to national monuments before that you could only access on gravel, so no big deal.  So off we went, got to the gravel road, which was actually better maintained than the paved road that got us to that point, and headed down that for quite some time before Siri turned us off on a road that didn't feel right.  While we debated continuing, the road become narrower and narrower until it clearly wasn't right.  More of a hunting trail than a road.  So I started looking for a spot to turn around while my wife tried to figure out the best route back.  The photo was taken where we turned back.  Always in those situations, you end up on roads that you'd never have turned onto from pavement.  It's the slow narrowing that gets you.


As it turned out, Siri didn't actually know where the entrance to the park was, and she'd laid out a route to get us to the center of the park, which if you've ever been there, you know that's not even allowed.  In fact, if you stop your vehicle right at the entrance gate at Canyon de Chelly and ask Siri for directions, you'll get this -




The route does avoid tolls, though, which is nice.


We got ourselves into one other jam earlier in the trip where we didn't have enough room to turn around, but I was able to unhook, get around, and hook back up from the other side.  In that case, it was a road that the forest service had blocked off from the road we were trying to get to, which wasn't even reflected on the current MVU map we got at the park office.


By the way, if you want to punish your trailer, forget the gravel - just drive down a few Navaho roads.  They have the same bumps and dips as any gravel road, but you get to hit them at 60mph.

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Great Boondocking... sort of... experiences to offer.  If everything else fails, a compass and good map can get you started in the right direction.


We were a bit disappointed with Canyon de Chelly.  After Chaco Canyon... and Mesa Verde it is tough to stand out.  Several great 'Indian Sites' in New Mexico worth visiting.  Also... so many Pit Houses at some Boondocking locations in New Mexico, you are walking among ruins and may not notice you are in the National Forest and not a National Park!


This one photo is a bit tight for an 8 foot wide trailer.  An Oliver would have no problem at all.


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