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PostPosted: December 16th, 2016, 4:03 pm 
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Joined: October 12th, 2015, 5:54 am
Posts: 243
Location: Santa Cruz
Stats:
24 weeks, 30 states, 3 countries, 6 islands, 2 ferry rides, 15,012 miles
Pacific, Atlantic, Gulf, Great Lakes
North in the warm months, south in the cool ones
Max elevation: 11,210 feet
4 nights at RV campgrounds, 2 nights at Wal-Marts, 5 nights in hotels, a few nights in friends’ driveways, the rest of our nights were spent boondocking (~90%)

This is not well organized because I’m super busy, but here’s a bit more info for fellow Chinookers if interested…
I did a ton of preparatory work and I made many modifications prior to departure, so fortunately the mechanical problems on the road were limited. I had to replace the rear brakes in a hotel parking lot, I had to replace the house water pump, and I had to do some electrical work while camped in the Badlands of SD with wild bison closely observing :shock: . There were a few other minor mechanical issues that popped up (mostly due to my meddling :oops: ), but otherwise the Chinook was absolutely the perfect machine for the job. I can’t tell you how many fellow campers pointed at my Chinook and said, “I want to get something like that instead.” I’m not embarrassed to say that my number one favorite thing about having a small 21 ft rig is being able to turn around on a remote narrow dirt road after a navigational error :o . Explore in confidence! The Ford 460 averaged 11.8 mpg for the whole trip. I cruised at 63-65 mph, and I used the Fuelio app to calculate mpg and costs. I burned a quart of oil every 3000 miles (full synthetic), and I did two oil changes. The rig weighs 8000 lbs wet and loaded with all of our gear, lots of tools, inflatable kayak, lots of canned food, several gallons of drinking water, our 100 pound retriever, and 50 lbs of dog food (the gourmet stuff, of course). Oregon truck scales are the best, btw. I used a quarter tank of propane during the course of the entire trip; the cooktop and water heater are the only consumers. Random thought: I never once leveled the rig. 200 watts of rooftop solar and two golf batteries handled our power needs quite well, and I never combined. I’m running a 4.5 cubic foot compressor fridge, LED lights, water pump, occasional TV, and occasional marine fans. Phones, tablet, drill batteries, et cetera were all charged at 12V while driving. The weather was radically varied, from brutal humidity in Pennsylvania, to 19F nighttime lows in Utah, to torrential downpours in Wisconsin, to the sunbaked earth of the desert. On very rare occasion, I fired up my Honda generator to run a 6000 btu window air conditioner or a small electric space heater, and to run a soldering iron a couple times. I love this Chinook.

And the most important part….. We live in a stunningly beautiful country!

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PostPosted: December 16th, 2016, 6:27 pm 
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Joined: July 31st, 2014, 1:01 am
Posts: 1912
Location: 1999 Concourse
Very cool!

The detailed report is great. I can think of a million questions to ask. But for now I'll keep it down to a dull roar :mrgreen:

1) Where/how did you mount the window AC? Like you, I've removed my roof air-conditioner, and the generator is next. That suits me 99% of the time. But I could imagine a trip to Florida or something and figured then I'd likely buy a Wal-Mart type window AC and then likely plug in. I was thinking of maybe a tidy looking plywood window filler for the passenger side cab window and the AC in that?

2) How does your rig weigh 8,000#?!? (And yes, Oregon scales ROCK. Washington's do too, but I haven't found as many little out-of-the-way, take-your-time ones there as in Oregon.) Nothing like pulling in and being able to take your time, weigh each side separately, remove trailer (if towing) and weigh the tongue, etc. And the numbers even show on an overhead display you can see right from the driver's seat!

When I weighed on the way home from picking it up "new," I had relatively little of my stuff (maybe 300#? - just clothes and tools along for the ride), but of course all the stock accouterments, and that came in at 9,900#.

Now, although I carry much more personal stuff, and lots of tools -- I have removed a lot of the "extras" from my Chinook (MDF overhead cabinets are an extra, right? :lol:). Still, I've never weighed in below around 9,500#. I can't imagine how I'd lose another 1,500#, even if I packed light. Maybe its those horizontal stripes - not supposed to be a slimming effect :lol:

I, too, have had a number of comments on the "just right size" and look of the Chinook. Kinda neat.

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PostPosted: December 17th, 2016, 10:46 am 
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Joined: October 12th, 2015, 5:54 am
Posts: 243
Location: Santa Cruz
Hey Blue thanks for the reply. I don't have a solid explanation for the gross weight. I didn't weigh the rig when it was stock so I didn't generate a baseline. I removed a lot of very heavy things, though. Plus my 1994 Premier has a lot less "stuff" than a Concourse or newer Premier. Also mine is a very low-option example. That's still a huge difference that you've cited; I wish I had a better answer. Regarding the window air con, I installed it under the fridge through the generator bay, which is also where my batteries and electrical stuff live. My brand new 6000 btu energy star unit (with remote control!!) seems to chill much better than the old 13,500 btu Coleman roof unit that I had briefly, plus it's quiet, programmable and doesn't require a condensate drain.

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PostPosted: December 17th, 2016, 12:05 pm 
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Joined: October 12th, 2015, 5:54 am
Posts: 243
Location: Santa Cruz
A few pics...


Attachments:
File comment: South Padre Island
PI.jpg
PI.jpg [ 321.08 KiB | Viewed 334 times ]
File comment: Super moon outside Zion.
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File comment: There's a Chinook hiding among the Joshua trees...
Mojave.JPG
Mojave.JPG [ 3.93 MiB | Viewed 334 times ]

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PostPosted: December 17th, 2016, 12:09 pm 
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Joined: October 12th, 2015, 5:54 am
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Location: Santa Cruz
few more


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File comment: South Dakota is awesome!
SD.jpg
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File comment: Lake Michigan
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LM.JPG [ 3.56 MiB | Viewed 334 times ]
File comment: There are empty beaches in Florida after all!
FL.jpg
FL.jpg [ 1.67 MiB | Viewed 334 times ]

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PostPosted: December 17th, 2016, 12:11 pm 
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Joined: October 12th, 2015, 5:54 am
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Location: Santa Cruz
last one


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File comment: Sailed my buddy's boat to the top of Priest Lake, ID in less than ideal weather.
priest lake.jpg
priest lake.jpg [ 2.12 MiB | Viewed 334 times ]

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PostPosted: December 17th, 2016, 1:01 pm 
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Location: 1999 Concourse
Great to see the pics! I spent part of a week sailing on Priest Lake about 15 years ago. Seemed like the kind of place that might still be very similar now. Gorgeous lake.

I know what you mean about the newer the rigs got the more was added. Although mine is still sort of "before" that. Oh, not completely, but there are a number of things I don't have (electric step, heated tile floor, heated tanks, and probably a bunch of other things I can't remember).

In my first weigh, I think I had already jettisoned the Mr. Coffee and CB radio. Oh but that was just the beginning :evil grin:

Since then I have removed (and usually saved, for posterity)

Roof air conditioner
Water heater
Furnace
Overhead MDF cabinets (although my new cabinets are not that much lighter, necessarily, but somewhat lighter).
Microwave
Passenger seat
Brown box (electrical head unit)
TV
VCR
Stereo
Stove/oven
Club chairs
House battery (was only one)

Ha, sounds like it should be empty.

Added:
Three house batteries
Charger (to replace original)
Some heavier main wiring
Tool box in place of passenger seat
Wave 3
And of course much more of my own personal things that I didn't have on that initial "pick up" trip.

The net change of all these things is about -400# at the moment. I still will be removing some of the MDF cabinetry and replacing with plywood, but am not going for a super light construction (mostly just replacing 1/2" MDF with similar 1/2" ply). And I'll be adding things like a different furnace, new stereo, new cooktop, etc. Will be interesting to see how that changes the weight, but I don't expect to shave off 1,500# in any way.

But even so, I'm completely amazed by your 8,000# fully loaded. I guess the rear wheels do stay on the ground, right? :lol: That probably helps explain your "good" mileage even with the 460.

Thanks for the details on the A/C. That sounds quite slick. I will be removing the Onan but will probably keep that space as exterior storage. I'm all excited about being able to carry an outdoor chair, outdoor rug, some dive gear, etc. there. That could change if I find myself wanting A/C for any reason. Or I've also considered returning that space to the inside (vs. having that big hump there). I'll have to see how it goes. I may end up moving my batteries to the passenger side if that ends up too light. Right now I'm almost perfectly balanced side-to-side; but the generator is like 175#, and all on the passenger side of course. Will have to weigh and see.

I like the combo trip report and mods report!

How is the skylight holding up?

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PostPosted: December 17th, 2016, 2:37 pm 
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That sounds like an awesome trip Scott! My wife and I are trying to line ourselves up to go full time or 6months/6months in our Chinook in a couple years. For now it will have to be short trips for us haha.


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PostPosted: December 18th, 2016, 10:45 am 
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Location: Santa Cruz
Blue~Go wrote:
I like the combo trip report and mods report!

How is the skylight holding up?


Yeah, I can talk about mods all day long :lol: . People's eyes start to glaze over sometimes...
As far as writing about them, and taking quality photos, I'm less adept.
The skylight is just great. I absolutely love it. Thanks for the idea! I can have all the curtains drawn for privacy and still get natural light in the rig, and I can see stars at night. It really provides a feeling of greater spaciousness. And when I want it blocked (hot days, high noon), I have a piece of 1/2 inch rigid foam that squeezes in easy peasy. Zero downside. In fact, I think I want to make it bigger.

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Last edited by Scott on December 18th, 2016, 12:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: December 18th, 2016, 10:54 am 
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Joined: October 12th, 2015, 5:54 am
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Location: Santa Cruz
Willywalderbeast wrote:
That sounds like an awesome trip Scott! My wife and I are trying to line ourselves up to go full time or 6months/6months in our Chinook in a couple years. For now it will have to be short trips for us haha.


Thank you, Willy! It was awesome indeed. We can't wait to head out again. We found the Chinook to be very comfortable as well as very convenient. I'm sure you guys will have a blast. There was a bit of a learning curve for me personally, as I've only backpacked and never RV'd, but we gradually found a balance between what we "needed" versus what we "wanted".

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