Almost a year on the Dark Side

Hoomi

I write everything the voices in my head tell me.
Jul 20, 2012
870
85713
Last March, we went to the Dark Side with a 2021 Cherokee Wolf Pup 16FQ trailer. Our '99 Coleman Nevada was really showing its age, needed some repairs, and the set-up/tear-down process was starting to get to me.

We took our first trip with it in April, staying close in a campground just outside of town, to get a feel for how things worked. In May, we took it to Roper Lake State Park here in Arizona, followed by Dead Horse Ranch State Park in June, Hesperia Lakes in California in July (for my Grandmother's 100th birthday celebration), Silver City New Mexico in August, Payson, Arizona, in September, Buckskin Mountain State Park in October, and Picacho Peak State Park in December. Our first trip for 2022 was taking it to the Arizona Electric Festival (for Radio Controlled model aircraft) this past weekend.

After nearly a year, we're quite happy with the decision to go to the Dark Side. The trailer is comfortable, reasonably well insulated, had excellent working heat and A/C, a nice sized refrigerator, and an actual bathroom, rather than a cassette toilet with a curtain around it.

We still have the Coleman Nevada, though I need to finish cleaning everything out of it, figure out what it's realistically worth, and hang the for sale sign on it (literally or figuratively). About the only thing the Coleman had over the Wolf Pup, is that it was lighter and easier to tow.

SilverCityKOA2.jpg
 

DiamondGirl

Adventures with KODI in AZ
Jul 2, 2016
1,335
AZ
A TT does make things easier with the exception of towing. Our Kodiak is more than doubled the weight of the Aliner but it has so much more room, a full size bathroom and more. We really enjoy our TT. It makes camping much more comfortable and fun. No regrets on moving up to a travel trailer. Wish we did it SOONER.

Happy Camping…[put&hy]
 

Hoomi

I write everything the voices in my head tell me.
Jul 20, 2012
870
85713
About the only drawback I can find with the TT, is the gas mileage on the TV while towing. We thought about taking the trailer up to Utah to visit family up there, but at nearly 700 miles one way, the difference in gas mileage on the Sequoia pulling the trailer, versus the RAV4 just hauling us and some luggage, is making us lean more towards just booking a motel for the visit this year. We figure towing the trailer will require about three times the amount of gasoline, which at current prices, is more than the difference between booking the motel and booking a campsite. Between the P'up being about 1000 pounds lighter, and the folded profile offering minimal wind resistance, it had less effect on the gas mileage.

We do have trips planned for Alamo Lake State Park and Kartchner Caverns SP here in Arizona, and a trip to the Grand Canyon Star Party in June (surprised there were still sites available that weekend in the NP campground). We're working on staying at every Arizona State Park that has camping, and after Alamo Lake, we'll only have three of the four along the Colorado River left to visit. We might plan a longer trip, booking a couple of nights in each, to finish up the list.

Our site at Buckskin Mountain State Park, as seen from an overlook along one of the hiking trails.

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kitphantom

Super Active Member
Platinum Supporting Member
Dec 26, 2009
13,827
Albuquerque, NM
For us, we've just considered extra gas part of the price to pay for having our own space. Having a bed that works for my bad back is worth the extra $$ and time it takes to tow the trailer.This was reinforced last fall, when a friend and I did not take the trailer for a long weekend, and it took me a month to recover from the bed I had.
I will admit getting better mpg & having a larger gas tank on the Silverado is nicer than towing the Retro with our old 4Runner.
We're still trying to explore the AZ SPs, we were going to meet our friends for Thanksgiving at Roper, but Courtenay caught a cold and/or had a bad reaction to his booster, so we didn't go.
 

DiamondGirl

Adventures with KODI in AZ
Jul 2, 2016
1,335
AZ
@kitphantom and @Hoomi… Being comfortable in a TT with a full size bathroom alone is worth its price in gas… We must be on the same page cause we’re trying to camp at all the different AZ SP’s. We did Alamo, Kartchner, Patagonia, Dead Horse Ranch, Fools Hollows, and River Island. Plus Mathers at the Grand Canyon. I tried booking Ropers, Buckskin, Lake Havasu and Catalina but all was reserved.

Happy Camping…[put&hy]
 

Hoomi

I write everything the voices in my head tell me.
Jul 20, 2012
870
85713
Roper Lake and Lyman Lake aren't quite as nice as Fool Hollow Lake SP, though Roper and Lyman would be much better in winter/spring camping, as both are more desert locations. That's one reason we're doing Alamo Lake in April, as it's also desert, and gets mighty hot during the summer months.

Homolovi State Park is just off I-40 near Winslow. As its own destination, it doesn't offer a lot, as the old Native American ruins are easy to see in one day. That said, it's near enough to the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest NP, to be enjoyable. When we stayed there, the campground was well maintained, though shade is at a premium.

Catalina State Park is nice, though very close to the Tucson metro. The park offers ample shade, an extensive network of hiking trails, and close access to quite a few attractions in the Tucson area. The last time we stayed there, we were still tent camping, years before buying our first P'up.

Lost Dutchman SP is also nice, though very near the Phoenix Metro. It boasts an impressive network of hiking trails, and incredible views of the Superstition Mountains. We stayed there a couple of times with the Coleman Nevada, once for a Portal Rally. If we camp there again, I'll have to take some RC planes along, as it's very near the flying field where the Arizona Electric Festival was held.

I think the only downside we found with Buckskin Mountain, and which is likely going to apply to all the parks along the Colorado River, was the noise of the speedboats starting up at the crack of dawn. Fortunately, the Wolf Pup is a better sound insulated than the P'up.

Picacho Peak SP rather surprised us. We expected, with the freeway and Union Pacific mainline visible from the campground, to hear a lot more noise, but it was actually quite peaceful. Picacho also has a number of hiking trails, including a strenuous one leading to the summit of the namesake peak. We were also surprised that, the midweek days we were there (during my company's year-end Holiday shut-down), the campground was full. The drawback of Picacho is that, due to water issues in the area, the campsites do not have water hookups, and they ask that RVs do not fill their tanks from the spigots. We just made sure to fill the holding tank before heading out that morning.
 

Hoomi

I write everything the voices in my head tell me.
Jul 20, 2012
870
85713
Updates:

We canceled the Alamo Lake trip in April, deciding the gas costs at that time for a weekend trip, just wasn't worth it. We did take the trailer to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in April, and down to Kartchner Caverns SP in May. We have a trip to Patagonia Lake SP next month, and have been discussing other possible short trips with it (both due to fuel prices, and not wanting to get too far from home with 3 senior dogs that our son cares for while we're gone. If something happens with one of them, we want to be close enough to get home fairly quickly).

Organ Pipe is a nice park, though the sites do not have hook-ups, and generator usage is severely limited. It was one of the quietest places we've stayed, and beautiful night skies. It would not be a good destination much later than April, though, as it was already getting hot. With my NPS Senior Pass, the campsite was only $10/night. Kartchner has long been one of our favorite near-by camping destinations. The facilities are nice and well-maintained, the namesake caverns are gorgeous, and about the only drawback to the park, is that it's very popular, so reservations can sometimes be difficult to get.

For the Utah trip, we just took the RAV4 and stayed at the Temple View Lodge. For the 1644 miles driven for that weekend, the RAV4 averaged 38.6 MPG, and the price paid for gas ranged from $3.99 - $4.97 / gallon. We figure we would have spent between $700 and $750 for gas, if we'd taken the trailer, as opposed to under $200 for gas in the RAV4. The Lodge room cost us about $30 more than we would have spent per night for a space at nearby Palisade State Park, offsetting the gas savings by about $100 for the trip. Kartchner1.jpg
Kartchner Caverns SP.
OrganPipe1.jpg
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
 




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