We got to this lake shy of Bolam Pass and decided we'd head further up the pass to camp on our own.
Made a couple of switchbacks no problem.
Made it through a couple of snow patches (thanks to an early Spring trailblazer) no problem.
Made it to a slightly larger snowpatch and had enough doubt that I decided I'd get out to walk the trail to see if sun exposure was better up higher on the trail.
Nope.....really, really big snowfield ahead which stopped the early Spring trailblazer.
It was getting late and I knew we needed to head down so I decided I'd turn around while I still had some daylight instead of doing it in the morning. When I walked the trailblazer's tracks, they were firm. there was a nice flat, wide spot free of snow just ahead. I'd just get turned around and camp out in place and then head back down to the lake in the morning.
As you're probably expecting, I made it within inches of clearing the snow patch and my differentials decided to take a snow nap. They nestled in while my wheels swam in the sugar.
Rowed the big stick, worked the pedals and rocked the truck...no dice.
Obviously, I was a little too heavy to float over the snow like the early trailblazer did in his vehicle. However, it was sugar snow and still loose from the day's heat so I thought nothing of it.
"Not to worry" I communicated to the wife with a nod of confidence like Mr. Bean. I anchored my winchline to a large and lovely Rocky Mountain boulder which was handily lined up for a nice, efficient tug. Engine was warmed up and idling joyfully with a 13.4v reading on my ScanGuage. With a smug, bobbly-headed smile like Mr. Bean, I hit the thumbswitch on my brand new Warn M15000 and took up the slack.
Repeat yet another Mr. Bean smile as I mashed the thumbswitch for the glorious, impending extraction followed by.....bzzt....spark.
Hmmm, sparks...that's not normally a good thing.
Fuze is good. Coupla more mashes with the thumb and I got zero response.
Well, crap....a brand new Warn and I didn't even get an inch of tug out of it. Hmmmm...hafta check into that once I get to the Front Range.
I wrapped the winch line around my aux lights old school style and raised the camper to settle in for the night. My wife made a spectacular dinner, we split a bottle of wine and put jigsaw puzzles together with our daughter.
The Toyos, IVD coils and shocks and Deaver springs are great together. I can't imagine a package that does everything better. I am going to add some air bags to level the camper a bit given the four house batteries and 39 gallons of fuel (both on the left side of the vehicle) cause me a slight lean to the left.
Regardless, the suspension and handling performance have been super.
I run the tires at 40+ psi on dirt roads and 60+ psi on the highway. In this picture, the tires were at 42psi.
Marc and his team in Grass Valley did all the installation.
Decided to head north on 550 to Silverton and go over Cinnamon Pass.
Found a nice detour (Lime Creek Road) on the way. The camper fits nicely in side-of-the-road camping spots. This spot is a lot smaller than it looks.
The takeaway is I was really enjoying the XP V1's dimensions which I alluded to earlier in this thread. While the truck with a 4" lift and 35" tires along with the visually unique camper are pretty ominous in person, the truck is entirely drivable in city traffic and the usual confines of FS roads which I thought for sure it would be difficult to manage. Not the case at all. My wife always serves as a good barometer for trip planning - she's not worried about our dimensions. We won't be able to pull into, say, a Carulla (supermarket) parking lot in the middle of Medellín or duck under some arched entryways off those same city streets but for the luxuries and capabilities we've gained, it's a fair trade off.
Another test. This is the top of Molas Pass between Durango and Silverton. I hammered this pass (very few switchbacks and no traffic) to see where my temps would go given the preventive and enhanced cooling system work I had done at Bulletproof Diesel in Mesa, Az. My engine coolant hovered around 210* while my engine oil stayed static at 240*. Given I was at 10,000 ft ASL and doing 65mph in 4th (really 5th) gear, I was pretty happy with the results.
Had some nice coffee (WARNING: coffee snob here...good coffee = authentic Italian-style espresso) in Silverton. It seems like this place changes hands every 3-5 years. Hopefully this youngster can hang on to the place and make it a landmark store like ZE Supply. I love that hardware store.
Momster and the Diva Daughter on our way northeast to Cinnamon Pass.
The XP makes dump stations (Eureka Camp) a majestic experience.
Plenty of room in the water and waste management bay of the XP V1. You can see there's space for a one gallon plastic jug which makes handy work of creekside fill-ups of the Thetford's flush water tank (5g).
Also room for a standard hose for filling your fresh water tank.
Found a nice camping spot just south of Animas Forks (we camped where it was legal).
My admiration of the Ford F350 and XP's dimensions were only offset by my synthetic line wrapped around my aux lights . I was looking forward to getting into the Springs or Denver to find a Warn service center. At any rate, I was enjoying the glamping at 11,000 ft ASL.
This photo doesn't really do it justice but we were right on the edge of a canyon cut by falls with the roar of Spring melt to accompany us at our campsite.
Mom's view out the bay window at the dinette in the back of the camper.
Dad and the Diva out for a walk. It was 45* out and my daughter wasn't interested in a jacket.
Later on, I was whooped and resorted to some heavy drinking. Meanwhile, my daughter had a fruit roll-up and a handful of Cheerios chased with an episode of Thomas the Tank Engine and was ready to go.
Slept soundly that night. Cold outside and toasty on the inside.
The Webasto appliances are awesome....very efficient and effective. The clear diesel tank on the left is 3.5 g and supplies the hot water heater, the furnace and the stove. The two red jugs are 1.25 g each. Simi Mike, XP pioneer owner, passed on to me at OE '13 the value of two little auxiliary jugs versus one large one. They pour more easily into the main tank without having to use a funnel and you have the flexibility of pulling only one out to fill up at the next gas stop.
Ford's low gear while in 2H or 4H is awesome. With the transfer case in 4L, one's capable of pulling a Kansas-quality storm cellar out of the ground. The stretch of road leading up to the top of Cinnamon Pass (Silverton side) is steep and the truck handled it exceptionally well. No issue with Ford's stock gearing moving the XP around. This was a relief given I had been somewhat concerned about having to re-gear both diffs. That concen was entirely gone.
Headed down to West Texas, er, Lake City.
As can be expected with amateur shots, pictures never really do justice to the senses and sights. If you're wondering why my reverse lights are illuminated, I always put the truck in the opposite gear of the grade as an extra pre-caution when stopping. The road was steep and narrow. Well, for me and my wife it was....our daughter was in the back obliviously drawing, playing with Mom's iPad and sticking gummi bears in places for me to find later.
These are the steps / warning "sliders" which Marc's team made for me. They bolt on in five locations and then also bolt to the body where commercial steps do. While I don't intend to really slide along any rocks nor pivot steer with the skid plates Marc's team also made, the sliders are a nice warning bell if I've gotten in over my head and will also serve to keep traffic scars to a minimum in competitive, urban driving conditions (not me, others). His team did a really good job fabricating these and my wife and I are really pleased. Getting in and out of the truck is no problem.
In the second photo, you can just make out the flat, steel plates which serve as the steps. The "sliders" run all the way back to protect the front aluminum sponson boxes.
The sponson boxes are the cat's meow for departure angle and backing up on tight switchbacks. In the front sponson boxes (both sides), Marc installed quick connects for the OBA. The on-off switch is in the driver's side sponson box. The nice thing about full-size trucks is the amount of real estate one has to work with. Jed Hemings from Armorology told me this several years ago when helping me figure out options formy Tacoma and FWC Fleet but I had forgotten it until I checked out the underside of my truck. The ExtremeAire compressor and tank Marc uses for the OBA system are so far from harm, road spray/debris and rock strikes that it makes one wonder what else could fit on the frame of the truck or the flatbed.
So, what was my engine looking like this whole time I was crawling around up and down a typical Colorado pass?
Headed to Crested Butte for some more househunting and stayed north of town up the Slate River side of the loop. Here I relaxed with my electronic copy of Foreign Affairs as I contemplated the ramifications of arms distribution in Syria and the potential responses of each of the Iranian election candidates.
Ok, perhaps I was, in fact, just examining ways to get three stars on a particularly tough level of Angry Birds in Space.
Morning bowl of sunshine from the bay window.
A picture of the XP's stairs which pick up and stow quite efficiently under the flatbed. Also, my daughter making the family of Mr. Milne proud as she re-learns English.
More shakedown roads to test the truck.
Only got so far before we were thwarted by a snow patch. With nowhere to turn around, we had to make use of the best switchback (after backing down for 30 minutes).
Bulletproof Diesel's trick re-location of my oil filter came in handy.
Headed back down to Gunnsion and went over Monarch Pass (tough climb). I again ran the truck hard to check my engine's power and cooling performance. I am no longer concerned about having a 6.0l truck.
We headed to Leadville and camped out at Turquoise Lake.
Next up was a different adventure. I had the rare opportunity to gather the patriarch and matriarchs on my Mom's side of the family. It was a special occasion for me and my wife. With everyone just above or below 90, this is probably the last time they'll all be together. I had to choke back the emotions as I took pictures of the Greatest Generation in my family.
The ladies cooed and gave their blessings and loved the camper I bought for my family. My grandfather simply said, "Seems like you thought through everything." Those are high compliments coming from these people.
Headed east through Kansas to see more family. My wife fell in love with Hutchinson and we dreamed out loud all the way to KC about settling down there.
More family visiting in Webster Groves, MO to see the newest generation and more dreaming out loud for a couple hundred miles about buying a house in Webster. Love that place and we're a Cardinals family so it'd make good sense for sports .
Made the turn south to go test the XP in the southern-fried heat of June.
But first, some housekeeping notes...
Sterilite containers which I referenced earlier.
Our solution for a trash can in the XP. We're using a canvas bag from a New Belgium Brewery tour with a regular grocery bag as a liner. It's working well enough now but we might find another solution over time.
Our solution for a broom...an OXO dust brush which attaches nicely with Velcro to the bulkhead left of the door. This makes it easy to sweep your way out of the camper.
3M's hanger hooks work well for hanging up jackets out of the way. The cupboard in the picture is above the galley.
Sucking down some southern heat in Kentucky at Land Between the Lakes.
As a lifelong bicycle nerd, I have to use this moment in time that my umpteenth drive through LBL once again showed me that if I ever take the uber-tour on a touring bike, LBL is my first choice for a shakedown trip of the bike and equipment. After that and a couple of weeks in Colorado, I feel confident I'd have everything dialed in (me included) to tackle any self-supported tour (to include tropical climates).
Anyways, back on track to boring vehicle stuff...
So, how's the heat in the South? Brutal. Look at my ambient intake but the engine cooling system is doing great!
NOTE: My volts read 12.8 because I took my reading with the key in the Accessory position. I had just turned the truck off when I recalled I had wanted to take a reading.