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Spring break, back country camping, and an 'off road' pop up ...questions

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boze man (as guest)

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hey all...great site... :eusa_dance:

***i am registered but have been unable to activate maybe due to work email acct rejectin activation email (i have sent message to change my email acct to personal one)***

My family (wife, d10, s6) and I are ‘thinking’  :eusa_think: of coming to BIBE over spring break (14mar-21mar) for a few days and would like to camp in one of the backcountry drive up campsites...I know it is a very busy week at the Park but we still would like to try...we have been looking at purchasing (used) one of the 'off road' pop ups that have become increasingly popular (Jayco baja, Fleetwood evolution, etc)…We have an older Landcruiser as our TV so we should be able to get almost anywhere I would think…we will be driving from H-town

My questions are:

1) will one get some privacy in the backcountry road sites over spring break? Or is it just a primitive campgrounds with sites on top of one another? We are looking to be by ourselves…is that even possible? The pics I see look awesome…
2) Is it even worth trying to come over spring break? will the backcountry spots all be taken? Any chance of getting turned away? Can we reserve a backcountry site? …from what I remember I think it is first come etc
3) Anyone here using one of these ‘off road’ pop ups? Any thoughts on limitations? Access/usage? Etc
4) any thoughts on trying BBSP as well? Any other places to primitive camp?

Thanks for the help
Bill
« Last Edit: February 20, 2008, 08:25:19 PM by RichardM »

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SHANEA

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Re: Spring break, back country camping, and an 'off road' pop up ...questions
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2008, 05:56:07 PM »
I'll let others address your other questions and I'll concentrate on off-road camping.  I'm the owner of a Starcraft 11RT 3.5 years old.  I can get it and the Z71 Avalanche 4x4 LT anywhere out at Big Bend, BUT, backing it in can be a huge problem at many of the campsites as there just isn't room w/o "getting out of the road"  :eusa_naughty: and leaving tracks   :eusa_naughty:  I did get it backed into LaNoria #2, but it took a heck of a star pattern to do it w/o leaving a trace.  You can use the pop-up as dry camping, meaning you will have to be entirely self sufficient and must collect all of your gray/black water for proper disposal.   There is absolutely no generator usage allowed in any of the back country sites - for obvious reasons.  Even the sound of a quiet Honda EU3000 like I own - sound carries a long ways out there even at 50db and could be annoying to someone and is also not good on the wildlife, etc.  Heck, I go there to listen to the sound of absolutely nothing - so it's not a problem for me.  So, any electricity will have to be off of battery or solar.  When we were at LaNoria, we used a Heater Buddy for warmth in the night.  Basically, you can use one, but it's really just a tent on wheels.   I have an onboard toilet with black water tank, so thats not a problem and also a shower.  I have a huge 28 gallon Thetford tank for the gray water.   

Other opportunity's outside of the park would include BGWMA-Black Gap Wildlife Management Area, you will need to check the TPWD site for dates it is open, etc.  Huge threads on this board concerning that area and Big Bend Ranch State Part - BBRSP.

Considerable debate right now on what the "new rules" are at BBRSP regarding pop-up campers.  The revised TPWD website indicates camping must be confined to the tent areas provided.  I'm not too sure how big some of the campsites are for parking.  I've camped at Rancho Viejo and other places at BBRSP w/o problem.  Another point of debate is the use of generators out there.  Depending on who you call and talk to, you get the answer of the day.  In years past, we always used generators out there.  Generators are also allowed at BGWMA.  But, then again, BBRSP website @ TPWD indicates that RV's are welcome, but probably can not get into the back country area. 

You can also RV camp in the basin, length limit applies, and in certain areas you can run a generator from something like 8am till 8pm - but I've cranked it up before legally and quickly shut it off, even though it was allowed, as it just spoiled everything for everyone including myself.  You also basically have to dry camp there - no energy, no water, no black/gray water hookups.

RGV - Rio Grande Village does have full hookups for RV's and you must use all hookups there.  But, it is an "RV" park with generators blaring, etc.  Hardly the Big Bend I'd like to enjoy - but, each to his own.

Cottonwood Campgrounds - you could camp there also, but it would be strictly dry camping w/o generators at any time, etc.

Click HERE for two albums with R2D2 in it (R2D2 AKA 11RT).  From a three pronged trip in December 2005 - BBRSP, BIBE, then SLR-South Llano River. 

I hope this helps.

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Offline boze man

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Re: Spring break, back country camping, and an 'off road' pop up ...questions
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2008, 07:35:10 PM »
Shane...thanks for the great feedback, i was hoping i would get a response from you...when i was researching BIBE and pop ups 'R2D2' came up...glad to finally get in touch, also thanks for the slide show....and nice RT

to address your points...we are looking to dry camp /boondock/dispersed camping etc away from campgrounds...no genset, no hookups etc...just as you do...so do you always take R2D2?

disappointing to hear bout the 'new rules' at BBRSP...seems like motorized vehicles are gettin more and more restricted nationwide from parks and public lands...i guess i am coming to the game late, we have had dreams of gettin an 'off road' worthy pop up and do some dry campin thru-out the southwest in winter and goin north in the summer...

do u think i will need to re-evaluate my purchase? or do you see yourself using 'R2D2" less or just in campgrounds?

again thanks for the info
bill

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SHANEA

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Re: Spring break, back country camping, and an 'off road' pop up ...questions
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2008, 08:05:15 PM »
Howdy.  Greetings and salutations.  I don't use R2D2 as much as I had been using it, primarily from the 10-12mpg when towing it - about about 5 tanks round trip to Big Bend plus whatever you use once we get there.  At $80-$100 a tank, thats very expensive to me as I don't have deep pockets.   

Since I got R2D2, I've gotten into backpacking as well.  R2D2 makes a nice base camp to return to.  We've done split trips and have set it and gone out backpacking and returned for a good nights sleep and a shower.

I don't really think BBRSP is discouraging vehicle use and a popup camper is great there.  They have opened up so many miles of new trails and "roads" that the exploring is vastly improved.  My gut feeling is that you can probably get away with using a quiet generator there, if you need it - maybe just run it during the day for a few hours to charge the battery.   

Need anything else, let me know.  Head to a camper show and check them out.  That is generally the best place to buy one.  I found out that RV dealers don't deal.  It's almost sticker price.  I did get the RV dealer in Bryan - RV Station - to trim off $500 or so, but it took a lot of work.  I priced them all over the country and there must be some unwritten rule that they don't haggle. 

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Offline russco

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Re: Spring break, back country camping, and an 'off road' pop up ...questions
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2008, 10:00:40 PM »
Not that it matters much here in texas but a buddy of mine learned the hard way that unless you buy one with an insulated underbelly the tanks will freeze in cold weather! Also if you go into too steep of a wash the trailer can detatch itself if it gets twisted too much...just my 2 cents worth. Cheers!
Carved upon my stone: my body lie but still I ROAM

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SHANEA

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Re: Spring break, back country camping, and an 'off road' pop up ...questions
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2008, 10:54:44 PM »
Not that it matters much here in texas but a buddy of mine learned the hard way that unless you buy one with an insulated underbelly the tanks will freeze in cold weather! Also if you go into too steep of a wash the trailer can detatch itself if it gets twisted too much...just my 2 cents worth. Cheers!

Biggest problem around here or over in West Texas is that the dang pencil sized water lines will freeze really quick.  If I think it's going to be a problem, I drain everything and just use water in jugs.  Probably have to get really dang cold to freeze the black water tank with all the blue stuff in it.   

Yep, I imagine that it could become detached too on too step of a decline/incline.  One of the big problems is that if you get yourself in a situation where you can not make any more forward progress, backing out can be a real joy.

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SHANEA

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Re: Spring break, back country camping, and an 'off road' pop up ...questions
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2008, 11:03:54 PM »
If you get an RV w/o a shower or an outside shower, then THIS might be for you.  1-1 1/2 gallon per minute flow rate isn't much, probably like a European shower, but it's better than nothing. 

One problem with the Starcraft 11RT R2D2 that I have, is that the fresh water tank is only 10 gallons + 6 gallons in the hot water heater.  The newer models have something like a 20 or 30 gallon water tank. 

I've been contemplating one of these to keep from having to carry jugs of water.
Portable RV Fresh Water Tank: 45 Gallon  45 x 8.34 lbs = ~ 375 lbs.  Randell, will you carry that to the South Rim for me?


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Offline LandCruisers4Life

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That guy has a Land Cruiser too...  :willynilly:

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oldfatman

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For an infinite set of possibilities for gray, fresh, and black water handling go to www.escapees.com. Enter the discussion forums and do a search.  I will be surprised if you can get it all read in less than a couple of days. The rv boondockers have lots of good or maybe good ideas.  There are a few using the roof bladder and a lot of other using a bed mounted arrangement for dirty and clean water.

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Offline Al

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That guy has a Land Cruiser too...  :willynilly:

From whom did Toyota buy its straight six cylinder engine technology and automatic transmission technology way back when?  Rumor has it was from Ford or Chevy or perhaps both.  Did the Japanese improve US technology, no doubt they did.  They took our designs and made them better through improved quality control and production methods.  But that was years ago.

I also remember the Japanese 6 transistor radios from the 60's, they worked great . . . but not for long.  Seemed like batteries wore out quicker.   

Some years later, the quality assurance and control technologies they used that kicked our rear and which were developed here in the USA were finally applied to United States car manufacturing.

Now GM's Buick's are at or near the top of J. D. Power's quality charts.

Al

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Offline presidio

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Now GM's Buick's are at or near the top of J. D. Power's quality charts.

Just take one off road and see how the quality holds up. I have seen Toyota Camrys miles from pavement. I have never seen a Buick in a similar place.
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<  presidio  >
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Wendell (Garret Dillahunt): It's a mess, ain't it, sheriff?
Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones): If it ain't, it'll do till the mess gets here.
--No Country for Old Men (2007)

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Offline Al

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Just reporting the facts . . . Buick cars are are designed to be highway cruise machines with comfort in mind and not back roads.  I've never had a Camry or a Buick car down the back roads, nor the desire to do so, but it wouldn't surprise me at all if a Camry with its shorter wheel base and firmer ride is much better for that purpose than a Buick car although I would guess the Buick Enclave and many other vehicles would be better than a Camry.

Al

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oldfatman

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I took a Camry all over the Northwest non-roads when I lived up there.  The folks at work called it Barney's ATV. The low clearance was a good limiting factor.  It kept me from getting to deep into stuff where a fellow by himself might not want to go anyway. It was also a limiting factor an a Saturn sedan I had while I owned a motorhome.  That Saturn went places I thought were not possible, especially in Big Bend.  My opinion is that what tears up vehicles, note I am driving a 4x4 truck now, more than anything else is excessive speed on rough roads.  As long as I did not bottom out the vehicle, either car went along just fine but slowly.  Of interest on other cars, there were a lot of rough roads around Hells Canyon that frequently had GM. Ford and other cars used often on them by the locals.  Again, when I talked with them, it was speed that they avoided. I feel that most vehicles will do more off the paved roads than most people think they will, but keep the speed down. Only my experience and thoughts not advise.

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Offline presidio

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My opinion is that what tears up vehicles, note I am driving a 4x4 truck now, more than anything else is excessive speed on rough roads.  As long as I did not bottom out the vehicle, either car went along just fine but slowly.  Of interest on other cars, there were a lot of rough roads around Hells Canyon that frequently had GM. Ford and other cars used often on them by the locals.  Again, when I talked with them, it was speed that they avoided. I feel that most vehicles will do more off the paved roads than most people think they will, but keep the speed down.

That's correct. Add a little judgment, skill and experience and you can go a lot of places. It's quite remarkable to see the kinds of vehicles on the horrible roads of the Navajo reservation. While pickups predominate, sedans are plentiful. Necessity makes all kinds of things possible. That said (and making a great generalization), most folks driving Buicks are not the kind of person I would expect to be found very far from safety, security and urban infrastructure...wa ndering around on a dirt road in the desert is just not part of what they do.
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<  presidio  >
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Wendell (Garret Dillahunt): It's a mess, ain't it, sheriff?
Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones): If it ain't, it'll do till the mess gets here.
--No Country for Old Men (2007)

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Offline LandCruisers4Life

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Slow slow slow.... that's the way to go... and keep going.

 


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