Our Second voyage in the Roadtrek was Cleveland, OH to Soda Springs, ID and back via Yellowstone and Badlands National Parks. This trip would be roughly 4000 miles so it was imperative that due diligence was done regarding vehicle preparation prior to departing. As stated in previous posts I addressed the leaking intake manifold gasket http://roadtrek190.com/viewtopic.php?t=38, wet floor issue http://roadtrek190.com/viewtopic.php?t=39, battery isolater http://roadtrek190.com/viewtopic.php?t=40, flushed and bled the brake system, and changed the oil and coolant, and installed a new coil pack and PCV valve, and performed a complete lube job http://roadtrek190.com/viewtopic.php?t=29. The tires were in good shape, but had a date code of 2016. I decided to keep the existing tires in place as I am a veteran of using my tires until they look like glazed doughnuts, and I did not grease my front wheel bearings - which did not appear to be a problem.
Our route had us taking Interstate 80 West to the junction of US 30 in Wyoming which we would take North into Soda Springs. The plan was to utilize Interstate Rest Areas for each our nightly stops. Not having done this previously, we were not certain as to what to expect. We always arrived around dusk when I was tired of driving. Our first night was spent at the Underwood Rest Area in Iowa - which is the last one in Iowa as you are heading West.
It was a pleasant experience. We found a good level parking spot, setup the curtains, turned on the propane and switched the fridge accordingly, opened up the back windows, and fired up the Fantastic Fan. All of this took about 10-15 minutes. My wife took pre-made sandwiches out of the fridge along with our beverages of choice, and we relaxed and had dinner. We enjoyed a nice sunset as well. We tried not to exit the van once we were setup so as not to give the impression that we were "camping" instead of "resting". Whether this was necessary or not, who knows?
This was our first real night using the Bed Extension that I mentioned in an earlier posting http://roadtrek190.com/viewtopic.php?t=42. On our initial journey from Florida to Ohio http://roadtrek190.com/viewtopic.php?t=37 my wife slept in the rear bed and I tried sleeping on the front passenger side bed that is created by swiveling the front seat, pulling the drawer out of the second row seat, and laying the back cushion across the void. Actually this could be a decent bed - I am not a big guy at 5'7" - I fit fine and had enough width for it to work. The issue was the lack of a mattress, the fact that it was quite warm in the van, and the side window behind the driver seat (remember this is a Versatile not a Popular) was not able to be opened as it was glued shut. So I was hot and uncomfortable and ended up sleeping on the floor.
That being said, the rear bed extension along with a memory foam pad made sleeping a non issue. We slept better in the van than we did at home. At least it seemed like we did. There were no issues with getting up in the middle of the night to use the head, having ample space, or suffering from excessive heat. The fan pulled a beautiful breeze across the sleeping area - which I would have to say is one of the best features of this generation of the Roadtrek - I am sure glad I was able to successfully repair both of them!
We woke up around 6:00 AM, washed up, brushed our teeth etc..., my wife made a pot of coffee, we ate our Grape Nuts, opened up the curtains, turned off the propane, closed up the fan, switched the fridge to DC and hit the road by 6:45.
This was pretty much the routine at each stop as we headed west and it was great. There were no issues whatsoever with being hassled for staying overnight or being bothered by anyone. After the third night out it became second nature as we realized that there are quite a few folks out there doing exactly what we were doing.
Our second night was spent at Mama Sage Rest Stop in Rock Springs Wyoming.
The routine described earlier was pretty much the same but the rest area was quite unique in that there were actually secluded areas where you could park for the night. It was almost as if the place had been a small campground at one time.
However, with all of the places to park, I ended up parking close to the building/restroom facility - which was nice and well kept.
We hit the road early, headed north on US 30. You can see the sagebrush on the sides of the road.
and arrived at our destination safe and sound. I did my best to keep my speed between 62 and 65 MPH as this seems to be the sweet spot for this vehicle. I got 15 MPG and the van was able to pull nicely up the grades we encountered. There is a free city dump station in Soda Springs which was nice, however, I found out that I have a leaky gate valve that will need to be repaired.
More to come.....
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