Showing posts from March, 2011

Vancouver International Auto Show 2011

#Audi R8 Spyder @VanAutoShow #VIAS11 #cars
Originally uploaded by istargazer. I visited the Vancouver International Auto Show earlier this week on opening day and got a chance to get up close and personal with a lot of amazing vehicles.

Continuing my habit of only carrying my cellphone, I took as many pictures as I could while the battery lasted. When that died, I took out my iPod and continued taking shots:o) All the pictures have been edited on the iPod (using only free apps because I'm cheap) and while the editing process is slow, you can see the set as it grows here:

Flickr: Vancouver International Auto Show

Spring Break Weekend #1

Debriefing Notes: The campground was much busier this time with neighbors all along the row with us. It was nice to have other children for our kids to play with. When we arrived the power tongue jack on our Keystone Premier 31BHPR was not working. I suspect that it might be a loose ground like it was before. I'll fiddle with it more our next trip. Didn't have the manual crank with me so I just left the trailer 1" nose up. It wasn't an issue sleeping inside.

Overnight temperatures were around 5 C. Bought a couple of vent opening pillows to put up at night to reduce the amount of heat loss through the ceiling in the evenings. Tried it Saturday night and the furnace seemed to run less constantly. Need to find some way to warm the 16 oz propane bottle for our table-top patio heater. With these cold temperatures, the bottle ices up quite quickly and pressure drops so much that the heater turns off even when there's still propane left. Keeping the bottle warm would al…

Road Trip 2010: Low Octane

We averaged about two gas stops per day on our road trip in the GMC Yukon XL Denali and Keystone Premier 31BHPR. We did one stop in the morning and one in the afternoon. A full tank cost just under $70 depending on where we were in the country. I took this picture while we were in Montana because they don't have such low (85.5) octane fuel where I live. It's strange to me because no vehicle I've ever seen before required anything LESS than 87 octane for optimum performance....

Even with fuel in Blaine, WA now costing nearly a dollar MORE per gallon than it did last summer, it's still cheaper than it is in Canada so traveling in the US always saves us money.

Road Trip Day 3: Bozeman, MT

Our stop for the night on day 3 of our 2010 Road Trip was Bozeman, MT. In the late afternoon, we could see dark clouds on the horizon and we followed the outskirts of a heavy thunderstorm eastward on the I-90. The timing couldn't have been better because when we arrived in Bozeman, the clouds parted and the sun came out. We stopped at the Walmart to pick up some food and supplies (including a disposable water filter for our Keystone Premier 31BHPR) and saw that the thunderstorm had left behind some flooded streets.

We stayed at Bear Canyon Campground just outside of town. We had pull-through site #4 with water, electricity, and sewer. No fire pit. The campground was pretty and the location convenient (just off the I-90) but the pull-through sites, while long, were very narrow. With a playground for the kids and an inviting pool (which we arrived too late to use), it was good for passing through on a one night stay but not for anything longer because the neighbors were too close f…

Road Trip Day 3: I-90 East

Day 3 of our 2010 Road Trip in our GMC Yukon XL Denali and Keystone Premier 31BHPR travel trailer had us traveling from Spokane, WA to Bozeman, MT, and according to Google Maps, covering a total distance of 645 km (400 miles) with an estimated 6 hours of driving. To tell the truth, this leg of the trip was the one that I was most concerned about because we were passing through the Rockies and over the Continental Divide with an elevation of 6393 feet. I've driven this route several times already in a passenger vehicle but never while pulling a trailer. I didn't know how the Denali would handle pulling the Keystone's 7600 lb GVWR for extended climbs.

Our 2007 GMC Yukon XL Denali has a 6.2L engine with 380 HP @ 5500 rpm and 417 lb-ft torque @ 4400 rpm. The transmission is a 6-speed automatic with full-time AWD and it's never had any problems keeping up with traffic when pulling a travel trailer. I'm happy to say that it was no different in the high mountain passes. N…

Road Trip Day 2: Spokane, WA

We arrived in Spokane, WA, the final destination after our first full day on the road, shortly after 16:00. At Trailer Inns RV Park, the sites were the shortest we encountered during our entire road trip. The total length of our GMC Yukon XL Denali and Keystone Premier 31BHPR travel trailer is about 55' long (the ProPride 3P hitch adds an extra foot), longer than the available pull-through sites, but the manager was friendly and helpful in guiding us into our spot. This is an urban RV park but there was a nice playground for the kids to play while we setup for the night.

One item of RV gear we discovered that we needed was a water filter. Living in Metro Vancouver, we were not used to the hard water we found in Spokane and luckily we had enough fresh water in our tank to last the evening. I picked up a disposable water filter at our next Walmart stop and it worked well for the rest of the trip.

When we pulled in to our site, our Keystone Premier attracted attention and questions…

Road Trip Day 2: Lunch

This is a picture of our GMC Yukon XL Denali and Keystone Premier 31BHPR travel trailer parked at the Winchester Wasteway Rest Area near Moses Lake, WA. Its name notwithstanding, we stopped here for lunch on the second day of our 2010 Road Trip. Because it seemed to be in the middle of nowhere, this location was very quiet compared to the bustling Indian John Hill rest stop we made earlier in the morning. There were still people coming steadily through, but everyone seemed to be in passenger cars coming in only for a quick pit stop and zooming back on the road right away. There were not very many RVs and no tractor trailers at all. The wide open parking lot allowed us to put out the slides and have a very relaxing lunch. This is one of the great benefits of RVing and hauling around our own portable hotel room!

Road Trip Day 2: Indian John Hill I-90 Rest Stop

We pulled over for our first stop in the morning at Indian John Hill Rest Stop at about 10:00. It's was a very busy location with lots of people coming in and out but I was able to pull our 2007 GMC Yukon XL Denali and 35' Keystone Premier 31BHPR travel trailer into a nice central parking spot. This rest area was large with nice grassy areas, picnic tables, and plenty of tourist information. The view is very nice, too, with the Stuart mountain range in the distance.

Unfortunately, there was one dog owner who didn't follow the signs and had their large dogs loose outside the designated dog area, so I couldn't let our 2-year-old play in the grass. It was too bad because he really needed to work off some energy.

We're lucky all our 5 kids travel really well. We've done extended road trips in the past, including driving to...
...Washington, DC, (see Road Trip 2007, Road Trip 2008, Road Trip 2009) and we generally find that leaving not too early, having a morning b…

Road Trip Day 2: Sunrise at Camping World

The first full day of our 2010 Road Trip opened with blue skies and we were happy to put the previous evening's border glitch behind us and get on the road in earnest. The goal for today was to reach Spokane, WA, and seeing the sun appear from the mountains behind us was energizing....

Since we had arrived at Camping World in Burlington pretty late, all the spots in the back lot were full. We ended up parking on the side lot and left around 07:00 hoping not to impact workers arriving in the morning too much.

Road Trip 2010: Day 1

In August 2010, our family of 7 went on a road trip in our 2007 GMC Yukon XL Denali and 35' Keystone Premier 31BHPR travel trailer. From Vancouver, Canada, we drove over 7500 km (4650 miles) through the United States taking the I-94 East to Thunder Bay, Ontario and the I-90 West back home from Minneapolis, MN. We spent nearly 30 days on the road living out of our trailer and had an incredibly great time. However, the journey was not without its bumps (including the first night when we found ourselves in the wrong lane at the border crossing and a flat tire in North Dakota), but every "wrong turn" we encountered happened at the "best" possible time to NOT ruin our trip. Even the bent axle that forced us to spend an extra 3-days in Deer Lodge, Montana, did not put a dark shadow on our vacation, because it allowed us to explore and make a special connection to a place we had no idea existed. As a result, we saw a very beautiful part of the country that we will alw…