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Boondocking Oliver Hull #273 (Bill and Bev) near Ouray, Colorado (July 24, 2019)

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An interesting thing happened at nearly 10,000 feet elevation, cold, wet and drizzling... I spotted an Elite II Oliver southeast of Ouray, Colorado, just off of Highway 550.  (Highway 550 to Ouray and keep going south is the ULTIMATE towing experience.  Up the Pass or, down.)

 

Bill and Bev were the perfect hosts when a stranger asked through a window if...  'can I look at the exterior of your Oliver'?  A voice within said... "sure".

 

After owning and Boondocking with a 23 foot and a 25 foot Airstream over 13 years, one becomes interested in what other trailers are out there that are comfortable, durable and capable of Off the Grid Boondocking.  Nancy and I sold our 25 foot Airstream about six months ago and went back to tent camping.  Much like going from tent to a trailer was drastic.  Going from trailer to tent camping... well, is even more drastic, but we can manage about anything.

 

Was I... impressed.  The physical Oliver is even nicer than any photographs. The sleek fit of interior components.  The lighting.  The very solid flooring.  The counter tops. The thought that designed the exterior, suspension, 16" tires, leaf springs...  This was the start. Beverly gave my wife the tour of the interior as Bill and I chatted about how each of us felt about our trailers.  Bill had  fewer issues with the Oliver.  Lets leave it at that.

 

For a couple and a dog or two... the Elite II contained everything one would need for an Off the Grid comfort while Boondocking.  The double Solar Panels and four marine batteries were... a big bonus as an option.

 

The one 'glaring' issue for Nancy and I were the sliding drawers. Beautiful durable finish, dove tailed, easy glide self closing BUT, like the Airstreams... no secure way to prevent them from opening when rocking side to side.  We had to improvise how to secure the Airstreams hinges and drawers ourselves as nothing exists.  Although the Oliver has very few drawers... just a button to push to release and pull out would make the interior perfect and secure.

 

The 'piano hinges' were great for larger doors as standard. There could be some changes, how I do not really know at the present, the shower/stool arrangement. Space is at a premium which makes the Oliver unique.  Nancy and I showered... often... with the exterior shower.  We also had a small shower tent in areas where more than the bear and the antelope are our only neighbors.

 

Those sliding windows... great and double pane.

 

I would not be surprised that Olivers will come in more than... white.  Much like Corvettes and Shelby Cobras.

 

A few days camped in an Oliver would provide us with more to comment... but I am sure Bill and Bev would not enjoy sleeping in our Tent for a couple days!  No argument there.  A wonderful trailer.  Wonderful owners.  An impressed experienced trailer owner looking over an Oliver.

 

My comparison.  Oliver's are the Pearl of travel trailers.  Airstreams's are the Platinum.  Both occupy #1 OR #2 in the travel trailer hierarchy.  Time will tell from happy owners.  If I were in the market for a travel trailer for Off the Grid Boondocking or comfortable RV Park experiences... the Oliver II would be getting that second look, after owning the only other travel trailer able to compete for which is best.  One has the edge and Bill and I know which...

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Thank you for the kind words about the travel trailer I chose for my first “RV”.  It is interesting to have such positive comments from someone with the experience you have with Airstreams.  And just so you know, there have been a variety of solutions concerning the non-locking drawers from our creative Oliver community.

 

Thank you,

 

‘Mike


Mike and Krunch   Lutz, FL   LEII #193 “the dog house”

 

 

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My words appear to be 'kind', but are the honest opinion of a travel trailer owner.  Had my opinion been less than honest about my observations of the Oliver II, I would have mentioned them. But... you and I agree.  It is just a matter tweaking an excellent trailer.  Time will be the judge.

 

One name that came up in our discussions was John E. Davis.  I recall.  He is the gadfly that gets Oliver Owners to think.  Often, most owners prefer to talk about issues, and few want to step forward and present issues in a way that improvements can and possibly be made.

 

Good to hear that others on the Forum have also brought up the issue of non locking drawers.  That was the only issue we found that should have been 'fixed' models ago.  Airstream... probably never going to happen.

 

Gee... thanks for adding your response.  I was not expecting to find anyone interested.  At the moment, the only thing I love better than my looking over the Oliver II is... my wife Nancy.

 

 

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Ray, glad you got a good tour of an Oliver!  There are now quite a few dedicated Oliver boondockers with good ideas. Oliver just delivered Hull 501 so you may see more as you’re out “there”. I look forward to some interesting discussion. Mike


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

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Ray -

 

If you think that the tour you got was impressive - if you are ever anywhere near Hohenwald, TN, be sure to take a factory tour.  Even the things you can't normally see are done right with the appropriate materials.  Are these Olivers perfect?  The answer depends on who and what you ask.  Can there be improvements - each year the Oliver company makes some.  But, then again, I drank the Kool-Aid and wrote that check because I was/am convinced that the Oliver is the best camping trailer on the market for the kind of camping I prefer to do.

 

Thanks for your kind words.  Its always great the hear from knowledgable people who just might come from a different perspective.

 

Bill


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

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Hopefully someone has let you know that the 2019 models, and maybe the 2018, have a way of preventing the drawers from opening during travel.  We can’t verify because we don’t pick up hull 509 until September.


David Caswell and Paula Saltmarsh


Hull 509 "The Swallow"

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It would be nice if the drawers had those cool off-roady/ marine push button latches. I strap mine closed and I normally remember to do so before departure. I can sometimes tell when I open the cabin door if I forgot ...  there might be a stray spatula or grill lighter lying on the floor that was ejected over a bump when the drawer was open.... it is more than a little spooky to have your utensils jumping out by themselves.

 

I hope by now that the latches have been altered so this can’t happen. It is very hard on the drawer hardware and also on the owners’ nerves.

 

But that is less disturbing than discovering a busted drawer and its contents wedged against the bathroom door...

 

John Davies

 

Spokane WA


"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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In our two Airstreams... nylon rope to secure drawers, clothes closet, wood dowels set into grooves to keep sliding overhead cabinets from opening and dumping,  bathroom sliding doors secured with dowels to prevent toilet paper rolls escaping and unrolling... although the 23 foot Safari had a 'push button' on top to secure the tall and heavy pantry goods cabinet.

 

The majority of trailers have 'house hinges'.  The vibrations of the road will 'unscrew' the small threaded hardware and mayhem can be profound.

 

Look at it this way.  An earthquake not long ago in SE California was 7.1 magnitude.  Massive... damage at the center of the shaking.  OK, 7.1 magnitude.

 

Olivers and Airstreams can have 9 magnitude quakes just turning into a service station from the curb!  Tow our trailers onto Forest Service and BLM roads... these 'Towing Quakes' need a new scale as 10 is the maximum for a quake in your home.  Totally destruction to a home, a town... a city like the earthquake in San Francisco in 1906... a magnitude of, only 7.9 creating natural gas line breaks, fire and misery.

 

None of this is covered by warranty... I suppose.

 

We used: Longer screws from the hardware store. Nuts and bolts to secure cabinets.  Piano hinges where possible on larger doors.  We installed swivel latches screwed into cabinet drawers as if you have young children wanting to break into the flatware drawer when you are not looking. It did not enhance the appearance of the interior, but why have expensive drawers that fit only this trailer decompose while refueling?

 

IF a travel trailer can be made to handle ANY road without becoming unscrewed... unhinged... it would be the first.  Oliver is close from what I have seen.

 

Beauty is only skin deep.  Durability is the difficult part to reach once a travel trailer begins to... move.  Stationary, like a house trailer... who cares.  Once you begin to move down the highway a 'travel trailer' should be able to take a 9.0 earthquake and more.  A 'Seismic Test' should be preformed on ALL  Brands of travel trailers.  Mount ONE from the factory onto a surface that is set on a system that can test the endurance at a range to be determined by some devious testing agency employees. Give it a rating.  Sell what is left over of the tested sample for parts.

 

Put a sticker on the side of the door other than meeting current trailer standards... which for most are very... low.  I say barely existent.

 

"Built to resist most Earthquakes."

 

What do you 'shakers' say?  If houses built to resist earthquakes are shaken apart... why use the same hardware in our trailers?

 

Oliver... ONE real weakness was the overhead cabinet hinges using two small screws into the fiber glass.  The rocking and rolling enlarges the holes, the screws fall out and will no longer secure the hinge.  Possibly a metal strip needs to be inserted between the hinge and fiber glass to secure the screws... forever.  Although, John Davies may have already solved these issues, already.

 

Had the Lunar Landings been built to the standards of our home... it would have never happened.  When we sold our last Airstream... the young couple who purchased it... may want to take it to the Moon.  It was ready after five years of tinkering.

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I own hull # 050, the oldest Elite II on the road. Between it and our previous hull # 026 Elite I, we’ve traveled for over 11 years and well past 120,000 miles. With the exception of the rear drawer occasionally coming open during an extreme braking maneuver, our side drawers have NEVER come open. I attribute this to the drawer slides that were used on the original run of Elites and into the early builds of the Elite II’s.


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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Both the nightstand drawer and upper cabinets now come with locking latches as standard - same as on the pantry and closet doors.  Those were both requests of ours during construction, though we changed our minds on the upper cabinets before delivery - we felt like the locking hinges were too much trouble for something that we would use as often as the upper cabinets.  After seeing them on the new trailers, I'm glad we kept the thumb latches.  For owners of the upper cabinets with the thumb latches, there's a simple mod you can make that will make them perfectly secure and tight - just place a few washers under the latch.  I believe that you have to buy longer bolts to make them work, and while you're at it, some nyloc nuts will keep them from vibrating loose.  I want to say that it was Reed who came up with that solution, and it makes those latches feel 10x more solid and once done, the cabinets will never come open on their own, even on the roughest roads.

 

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Our solution for the kitchen drawers coming open is a simple bungee across them.  I had installed a towel bar at the top already (Ikea refrigerator handle), so it was an easy job to add something below to hook to.  I chose some recessed anchor points from Sea Dog, and they work great.  I had asked Oliver about the push button latches, but we couldn't figure out how to make them work with their drawers.  Those would have been nice, but honestly I think these bungees are less trouble.

 

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We've made several small modifications like these, along with judiciously tieing down plumbing and wiring, and today we have no worries whatsoever when heading onto a bumpy road.

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Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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My 2019 Oliver (hull 444) came standard with a "push shut? new feature on the kitchen drawers supposed to keep them from opening during transport - I have never had a drawer open on me, so assume it works. When you push shut the kitchen drawer, there is a noticeable "snap shut" seems to be quite secure.


KWR


2019 Oliver Legacy Elite II, Hull#444


2019 GMC Sierra 2500HD Crew Cab, 4WD, Denali, Duramax 6.6L Turbo Diesel V8 Engine with Allison 6-speed transmission

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Not really on topic, but Ouray was mentioned in the title. I’m currently in the Ouray area for the week with our Elite II to attend a Land Cruiser event. Last night we camped in the Denver area. On our way here today we came across on I70. In Copper Mountain we had our first ever Oliver sighting!  Someone was driving across the overpass heading south as we were heading west. It all happened too quick to see the tow vehicle or colors of anything. About the only thing I noticed is that I think there were dual awnings.   You’d think that in maybe 8k miles of towing our Oliver in the past year we’d see more than just a passing glimpse of just one.

 

Tonight at the state park there are three Casitsas and one Escape in our loop, plus myself.  Practically a mini rally.


2013 Toyota Land Cruiser 200

2018 Twin Bed Elite II #351

 

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KenB... driven Land Cruisers since 1978.  Missed the 'jeep' styles as I could not afford them while at the University... so had a 1967 Bronco 4x4... which today is a 'collector's item'.  Wow.  Do I feel... old.  Still have our 2008 LC and going strong.

 

The straight six LC engines... the heads were prone to crack.  Although easy to remove, have it repaired, gave both heads a valve job and sold it with 248,000 miles some time later.  A bit under powered for towing, as well.

 

Bill and Bev were towing with a white F-150.  They said it pulled the Oliver with ease.

 

Sometimes trailer owners are afraid to discuss the nit picky items that need tweaking.  The drawer locks that have the plastic hook attached to the back of the drawer with the snap installed into the cabinet backing... work until the screws become loose from traveling.  The locking mechanism get damaged, or is closed when it should be open, or a screw comes loose, falls out and the piece rotates making closing the drawer... difficult.  This is my Airstream Experience.  The RV shops want more than they are worth for a new one.  (Yes... I am tight.)

 

Enjoy Ouray.  There is a Boondocking pullout to the south on Highway 550, on the south side about ten miles.  You will see a 'lot' of trailers in the woods.  Just cruise the lot and find a spot to fit.  Great company.  Quiet, even with 50 or more camped.  Free camping with a Forest Service restroom.

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KenB -  are you participating in "100s in the Hills" at Silverton? Do they allow 200s on the back country roads and trail rides? If you can post pics in a new thread, please do.

 

Have fun and don't hurt the truck too much.

 

John Davies

 

Spokane WA

 

 


"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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KenB – are you participating in “100s in the Hills” at Silverton?

 

I’m not participating in that event. This one for the 200 series.   It’s goes Wednesday pm to Saturday pm.  +60 200 series LC will be there.

 

Check out ih8mud.com for +40 pages of discussion.  It’s based out of Ouray this year.  It’s my first organized LC event.  We’ll see how it goes.

 

Ken


2013 Toyota Land Cruiser 200

2018 Twin Bed Elite II #351

 

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