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First trip west


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#1 buzzman

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 01:49 AM

During the summer of 2007 all of you on this WTW forum helped me decide what kind of truck camper to purchase, what options to get, and the great places to visit. Your trip reports have been a strong motivating factor for me and the GF, Sherri, to get our butts out west to see the sites. In Oct 2007, I purchased a new 2007 FWC Grandby through Sean Dempsey (www.go-anywhere.us) in Eagle WI, to use on my recently refurbished 1977 Chevy "heavy half" pickup. The FWC has been a great purchase.

This "first trip west" is not really the first trip with the FWC, but it's the first significant trip and the first trip west of the Mississippi River. We departed on Oct 10, 2008 on this open-ended trip. The old truck covered 6500 miles during the 29 days of wandering through the states of AR, OK, TX, NM, AZ, CA, NV, and UT. We probably did not do as much back country camping or "free camping" as some of you do on your trips, and definitely not as much as Sean Dempsey does, but we did stay in some fairly isolated places. We are still new to this and are learning the tricks. We camped in SP's, NP's, RV parks, USFS/BLM camp grounds, friends back yards, and even a couple nights in hotels. We didn't try Walmart, truck stops, or rest areas, etc. I did appreciate the suggestions, offers of dinners, and help from WTW members like erod, TT, pvstoy, the fisherman, Sam, John D., EdoHart, and Stan@FWC, Sean, and others.

The initial travel plan was to head west on I-40 to get out to northern NM quickly and spend several days touring the sites there and then head into southern CO for several days and then into southern UT, which is where I really wanted to explore. I like geology. The route didn't work out exactly that way due to weather and other things, but we are very flexible, and as it turned out we found some great surprises out there.

I have been sorting through the numerous pictures we took on the trip and posting some of them in the WTW member's gallery.

So here goes: Our first night out we camped at Brushy Lake SP near Sallisaw OK. Very nice place and we camped next to another couple in a truck camper. A first for us. No big deal for all of you who often "wander the west" but TC's are not common in the eastern half of the country.

Attached Thumbnails

  • Brushy Lake State Park, OK (13) [1024x768].jpg
  • Brushy Lake State Park, OK (6) [1024x768].jpg

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1998.5 Dodge 2500 Quad Cab 24v CTD, Sport, SLT, 2wd, 3.54 posi, auto, 8' bed 1977 Chevy long bed heavy half, 2wd, 350 ci, TH350 trans, Supersprings 2007 FWC Grandby

#2 buzzman

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 02:31 AM

On our second and third day out we made an unplanned visit to Palo Duro Canyon SP just south of Amarillo TX. This was a gem in the middle of the flatness of north TX. The weather also turned wet, windy, and cold. It always amazes me how much earth a small stream can carry away given enough time.

Attached Thumbnails

  • Palo Duro Cyn, TX [1024x768].jpg
  • Palo Duro Cyn, TX (5) [1024x768].jpg

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1998.5 Dodge 2500 Quad Cab 24v CTD, Sport, SLT, 2wd, 3.54 posi, auto, 8' bed 1977 Chevy long bed heavy half, 2wd, 350 ci, TH350 trans, Supersprings 2007 FWC Grandby

#3 buzzman

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 02:43 AM

DD,

I can't figure out how to post pictures into a thread from my photos in the member's gallery? From what I see on the other threads, I should be able to grab them right from the gallery. Is that right? Also, how do I insert a note above each picture in the thread?

I can attach the pictures directly from my computer files okay, as you can see, but I can't figure out how to put a comment above each picture.

Help!
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1998.5 Dodge 2500 Quad Cab 24v CTD, Sport, SLT, 2wd, 3.54 posi, auto, 8' bed 1977 Chevy long bed heavy half, 2wd, 350 ci, TH350 trans, Supersprings 2007 FWC Grandby

#4 John D

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 02:44 AM

I see you on line uploading reports on your trip and I'm watching TV awaiting each new post. Your truck is great!
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#5 buzzman

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 03:06 AM

Hi John D.

I think I'll quit for tonight until DD can get back to me with answers to my questions.

The old truck worked very well overall. It could of used about 100 more horse power when out there at high altitude and climbing mountains. The carb was a little rich at 8-9K ft! The only real issue the entire trip was that the heater core started leaking about three days out. I bypassed the heater and then swapped it out in the GF's brother's driveway in Santa Barbara CA. Took a couple hours. Worked good.
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1998.5 Dodge 2500 Quad Cab 24v CTD, Sport, SLT, 2wd, 3.54 posi, auto, 8' bed 1977 Chevy long bed heavy half, 2wd, 350 ci, TH350 trans, Supersprings 2007 FWC Grandby

#6 Mark W. Ingalls

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 03:55 AM

Buzzer--

Oh the shame! You've posted Palo Duro pics before I have! I hang my sorry head...

Mark
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#7 DirtyDog

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 04:05 AM

In the gallery, under each photo there are two fields - the second one is called BB code - if you copy that string and paste it in the thread - the photo will be displayed.

The thing to do is to open two windows - one with the gallery and one with this thread so that you can copy back and forth. I'll clean up a few of these extra posts once you get it figured out.

Photos lookd great!

Posted Image
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#8 buzzman

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Posted 14 November 2008 - 06:46 AM

Thanks DD! I'll try it now.

Now back to the trip...We had a leisurely breakfast at the bottom of Palo Duro and then explored the park a little before heading out. The weather was cold and rainy and windy. Once we got up out of the canyon and had internet access a quick check of the weather forecast for our next destination, northern NM, showed even colder temps (20s) and possible snow for the next couple days. So we decided to turn south toward Carlsbad NM. I know, we're wussies. Oh, I forgot to mention the fact that the heater core on my truck started leaking about this time. Not a good thing. Anyway, we had fooled around so much at Palo Duro that it was starting to get dark by the time we got as far as Portales NM and we wantd to stop. We found a small SP just northwest of Portales, Oasis SP. It wasn't raining at the time, but it was sort of cold and windy. The park was basically deserted. We got set up and had a bite to eat and hit the sack, with the FWC's furnace keeping us warm and toasty...shortly after that however, the clouds opened up. The leftovers of hurricane "so and so" were getting us. The roaring rain on the roof of the Grandby and the gusty winds made for a somewhat sleepless night. We should have stayed in a hotel that night, and I'm glad Sherri didn't demand that we head back home.

Other than the heavy condensation on the inside of the pop-up canvas, which we wiped dry before lowering the top, I'm proud to say the FWC did not leak a drop.:thumb:


Setting up camp at Oasis SP. Fairly non-scenic.
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The next day it was still unseasonably cold, windy and rainy. We were beginning to question our direction of travel, but continued south to Carlsbad Caverns NP.
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Once we drove up to the visitor center, it was colder and even more windy. At least the weather inside this very huge awesome cave was more comfortable.

Sherri freezing at the Carlsbad Cavern NP visitor center.
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It was too cold and windy even for these world famous bats to fly. We waited in the cold for a couple hours and they didn't fly. They're smarted than us.
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That night we decided to stay in a hotel. I didn't want to push my luck with the GF by spending another cold, rainy, windy night in the camper.;)
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1998.5 Dodge 2500 Quad Cab 24v CTD, Sport, SLT, 2wd, 3.54 posi, auto, 8' bed 1977 Chevy long bed heavy half, 2wd, 350 ci, TH350 trans, Supersprings 2007 FWC Grandby

#9 CJ8Rockcrawler

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Posted 14 November 2008 - 12:04 PM

That night we decided to stay in a hotel. I didn't want to push my luck with the GF by spending another cold, rainy, windy night in the camper.;)


Smart man! Looks like you had an enjoyable trip. Thanks for sharing.

Kyle
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#10 Tomas Tierra

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Posted 14 November 2008 - 03:31 PM

Great report so far Buzz, waiting for more:)....
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