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Topic Closedgetting ready first road trip HELP

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valrenter View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: getting ready first road trip HELP
    Posted: 03 Jun 2018 at 2:22pm
I am renting for the first time r-pod 190 2019 and towing it with a 2015 honda odyssey ex-L. it is just me, my mother, and my daughter. My daughter has autism and has had a very hard life. she made a bucket list and i want to knock off two items with this trip.

1. see a REAL dark sky
2. visit a REAL ghost town

for 1, I selected Chaco. for 2, i have rented a jeep in silverton, CO.

Now I am discovering how HARD it might be to GET TO both locations and to LIVE in chaco park assuming we manage to get there! 

I need serious help from experienced people! I don't want to accidentally kill my own mother and daughter (the 2 most important people in my life)! 

Here is what I have done so far:
1. hitch and all safety bars etc: i bought a hitch and brakes from the r-pod rental people and they will install it. I know not to pack beyond the weight limits.

2. generator. I bought a generator but I have not unpacked it. It comes with an inverter and the right kind of plug for the r-pod. 
-I have NO CLUE AT ALL how I am supposed to safely carry it if it has gas in it, nor how to safely carry gasoline for it!!

3. extra battery. the rental place says there is no place to put a second battery. I know what kind of battery and wires and box to buy. I'm a little bit scared I will blow us up by accident by putting the extra battery on the ground or something near the actual battery and hooking it up.
I am scared about carrying an extra battery just loose even with a battery box.

4. tires!! I am stuck here. i have a honda odyssey 2015 ex-L. P235/65R17 103 T are currently on the minivan. THE DRIVE INTO CHACO IS 13 OR 20 MILES ON ROUGH DIRT ROAD. There are 50 miles of no cell service just to get TO that dirt road. Once in chaco park, there are NO services, not even ice or food. There is drinking water at the welcome center and that's all. We have 2 nights there.
what can I do to have the best tires for my tow vehicle? I don't think I will be allowed to alter the r-pod tires.
what can i do to be able to fix a tire if it goes out?
what can i do to be able to call for help in the middle of the desert if I need to? 

I am hoping some kind soul on this forum will have the patience to help me out. I want to be able to give my daughter her dreams because she suffers unnecessarily in many other aspects in her life.

 
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mcarter View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jun 2018 at 3:10pm
Brave soul and admire the effort for your family.

Just my opinion going down list:

1. Hitch and safety bars: Good

2. Generator: Ok issue is where do you carry genset and where do your carry fuel, Small gas can is best 2.5 gals max, not a fan of carrying gas in cabin of a SUV. Others may chime in. Gas is dangerous. Good container is a must.

3. Extra battery is not a big deal to me. You have a Pod battery and a tow vehicle battery. If for some reason Pod battery fails you can use tow vehicle battery to cover until you get to repair place. Just carrying extra battery makes no sense to me.

4. Tires: Make sure you have good tires and they are filled to appropriate pressure. Manually fixing a tire in the middle of nowhere is not simple, you would need compressed air and tire repair kit. Good tires with a good spare is what I would ensure.

As far as help, once you are not in cell phone coverage, you could be in a pickle. You'd have to be able to help yourself. Make sure you have water. You can live without eating, but you need water. Emergency water. Remember you can use your tow vehicle to charge your Pod battery, consider the genset and gas and length of stay off grid. Two days isn't a lot on the Pod battery. AND have a plan if it goes wrong, tell people where you are at and how long you will be there.

I wish you the best.
Mike Carter
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lostagain View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jun 2018 at 3:13pm
Silverton, CO is reachable in your Odyssey though there are some pretty steep climbs as you approach from Durango, CO.  Seems to me it took about an hour and a half from Durango in our Dakota.  We left the trailer behind in Dolores, CO.  Silvertonis a nice place and very picturesque.  It's indeed an old mining town, but is filled with shops and such selling tourist things.  A jeep would certainly be fun there.  But a real ghost town it ain't.

We recently stayed on the other side of the mountain from Silverton in Dolores.  It took about 2 hours to drive to Siiverton from there.  I posted in campgrounds, a review of the Dolores River Campground in campground reviews.  Here's a link: http://doloresrivercampground.com  You may find staying in a place like this more comfortable and you can always drive to see the night sky along the many roads into the mountains, while leaving your trailer in the park.

As for Chaco Canyon, yikes, from the road you describe and the isolation, this may not be your best option to see night sky.  If the rental people knew you were going there, they may not be thrilled about renting the trailer.  And the probability of breaking something in your Odyssey is riskier than you may want, especially with your mother and daughter along.  For practical purposes, the only chance to get help in that area in an emergency is if someone happens to pass by and is willing to go back for help. That's a lot to ask of a total stranger, though most people would do it without hesitation.  

Our granddaughter is autistic too and occasionally has seizures.  We would not, nor would her parents, risk getting into a situation where medical help is simply unavailable, perhaps for days.

valrenter, I don't know where you will be starting your trip, but if you really want see a real ghost town and the night sky all in one trip, check out Bodie State Park, east of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  Here's a link to the park:  http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=509

Best of luck on your trip.
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Fred & Maria Kearney
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mcarter View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jun 2018 at 3:22pm
+1 to Lostagain, wise advise from someone who knows the area.
Mike Carter
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Leo B View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jun 2018 at 3:57pm
+2, I would not bring the genset or extra battery and would just charge the battery with a set of jumper cable if it got to low for comfort.
Run the fridge on propane.
Maybe a short term rental for a larger tow vehicle such as a large SUV or Truck.
Leo & Melissa Bachand
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jun 2018 at 5:11pm
I can tell you from personal experience that you DO NOT want to take an R Pod to Chaco Canyon. We were there.  It took us about an hour and a half to go the 20 miles of the roughest, rutted, wash board , slimy, muddy terrible , insanely ridiculous road to get there. Get my point?
DO NOT GO THERE!!
 It was wonderful once we got there, truly amazing in respect of the abundant ruins and truly dark sky. but boy, did I dread the return trip! I will never go there again and advise anyone to do the same unless you can fly there.
There are lots of other areas where you can see dark sky in a much easier and safer location.
just my opinion.
Vann


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Ben Herman View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jun 2018 at 5:48pm
I live in Colorado; you don't have to go that far (or on such a treacherous route) to get to a dark sky location. We live in Grand Junction, not far from the Utah border. There are lots of places that are dark sky locations, not as hard to get to. The catch is that just about any campground will not be completely dark, what with campfires, bathrooms, etc.

A few places that I know of nearby that would fit your dark skies requirement:

Grand Mesa
Dinosaur National Monument (just did 2 trips there in two weeks, thats how much we liked it)

Neither place will have complete dark skies in the campgrounds, but you could easily drive 10-15 minutes from campgrounds in either location and be away from it all. Unless you absolutely need to camp there. In which case you are talking about boondock camping, which I would never do in a Honda Odessy towing an RPod. I have a Honda Ridgeline high clearance all-wheel drive and would think thrice about doing so myself.

Can't help you with the ghost town quest, not done that, but I do know that there are several you can reach from Silverton area as day trips. With the jeep you'll be fine.

I dont carry a generator and don't ever intend to - nor do I carry 2 batteries. I do have a solar panel that'll charge my battery up, but by itself the battery should be no problem for 1-2 days, using propane for the fridge and being careful not to use too many lights. As long as you are driving somewhere, your battery is charging up. 

Let me know if you have any other questions.
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DavMar View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jun 2018 at 8:23pm
Ghost Towns in Colorado...hmmm .... ask the all powerful Google.


Hope this helps!
Dave & Marlene J with Zoey the
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lostagain View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jun 2018 at 9:31pm
You can check the ghost towns in the states surrounding CO in the same ghosttowns.com site.  Many will offer you the night sky as well, but be very careful in picking sites to visit as road conditions may not be as easy as they may initially appear.  Remember the weather in these areas is very changeable and what you may be able to traverse with a jeep one day would challenge a burro the next.  

If  you let people know from about where you plan to start your trip, I'm sure many on the board can give you suggestions that would more than satisfy your daughter's high priority places to see and would give her wonderful memories of a lifetime as well as not subjecting you or your family to danger or undue hardships.
Never leave footprints behind.
Fred & Maria Kearney
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jun 2018 at 10:31pm
Chaco Canyon is on my list too but from what I've heard here and on the official website, I really don't think it's a great destination for a rental Pod and an Odyssey.  From the CHCU website:

Traffic & Travel Tips

CLOSED: Hwy 57 (North section) from Blanco Trading Post (on US 550) is permanently CLOSED at the park's north boundary. Do not take Hwy 57.

From US 550, go to mile 112.5 (3 miles SE of Nageezi) and turn onto CR 7900 and CR 7950. Follow signs to the park.

OPEN: Hwy 57 (South section) - shown on some maps as Hwy 14 - is OPEN from the park boundary south to Hwy 9 (paved). There is 20 miles of rough dirt road. Not recommended for RVs. Go slow over cattle guards and watch for rocks and ruts.

This is where you need the jeep. 

It's way out of the way, but astronomers go to Glacier NP for dark skies -- not that there aren't a lot of other possibilities in Colorado, New Mexico, or other states in the West.  I suspect Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP would come pretty close to having dark skies and it's in sort of the general area of Silverton.  So is Mesa Verde if you want a Chaco Canyon feel and it's pretty dark.

Getting to Silverton isn't hard at all with a Pod.  I did it a year and a half ago.  I wasn't looking for ghost towns, but as you probably know Silverton itself isn't one.

A truly dark sky can be amazing.  I was at Frisco, NC, on the Outer Banks a couple of weeks ago.  It probably doesn't meet a very technical definition of a dark sky, but on a clear, moonless night it must have come close.  The Milky Way was spectacular.

Plan your trip around a new moon if you really want a dark sky.

If you can figure out how to deal with your generator, you certainly won't need an extra battery and may not need the generator unless you want air conditioning (which can be nice!).  Water might be an issue with 3 people.  Take minimal Navy showers!

I feel bad raining on your parade but I'll join the others in suggesting you find an alternative to Chaco.  It might be doable but it also seems to have way too much potential for expensive and very annoying delays.

TT

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