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Old 10-18-2008, 10:38 AM   #1
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2008 Yellowstone and Banff Road Trip

Trip Report: Yellowstone - Banff

Number of States/ Provinces:7 States and 1 Province

By: Ray and Ruby (Surfgeek 33)

Start Date: 9/14/08
End Date: 9/27/08

Vehicle: 2008 SportsMobile 4x4 V10 EB 71 Mod
Miles driven: approx. 3300 miles
Miles per gallon: 8-12
Fuel Cost: $3.42-$4.19/gal

SMB Sightings: 2 SMB and 1 EarthRoamer


This is what we saw when we came back from Old Faithfull!

Daytime Temperature: 70 and 80's
Other Parks (side trips):
Wasatch-Cache NF (Utah)
Bear Lake, Caribou-Targhee NF (Idaho)
Bridger Teton NF (Wyoming)
Grand Teton National Park (Wyoming)
Gallatin National Forest (Montana)

Camping: Yellowstone National Park, Banff National Park
Hikes: Short hikes around Grant Campsite and small trails along Banff National forest
Animals Seen: Moose, Deer, Bison, and other little critters.

Best meal: Alberta Steaks, Spam and Eggs )
Best Drive: Experiencing the Gallatin Gateway with my wife and daughter.
Bonehead Award: We stopped and ate lunch somewhere in the middle of Montana. During lunch, my daughter accidentally put the 4x4 shifter on neutral without my knowledge. When it was time to go, I placed the shifter to Drive and nothing happened, all we heard was a clicking sound and no movement. We were trying to troubleshoot the problem for about half an hour, with out even thinking of the 4x4 shifters. Finally I made a call to Peter at SMB West and told him the symptoms. And of course, first thing he asked was the location of the shifters. When I looked down they were both in the neutral position. D’oh!!!

Issues: There were only a few minor issues;
1.) Our Aluminess racks made humming sounds at high speeds. (We do love it and Aluminess did a great Job on making it to our specification. I just need to find a way to make an in-expensive fairing for it)
2.) Our furnace never fired up in Yellowstone. It blew cold air and shutdown after a few tries. Our Campsite was at 7000 ft.
3.) Our interior developed an annoying squeaking sound, while driving, by the electric penthouse mechanism (passenger side).
4.) The Hella TPMS dropped signal twice on the right rear and the spare tires. Before the trip, I relocated the antenna position to the doghouse (taking advice from the Forum). It worked better than where it use to be. But we still have issues on dropping signal intermittently.

Summary: Our rig performed awesome! My wife and I were surprised how comfortable it was to drive cross-country on our SMB. Sleeping in the SMB was comfortable as well, couldn’t even think about sleeping in a tent with 2 year old with temps dropping around 30 degrees at night. The Honda generator worked and sounded great. We never felt that we had limited power through out our camping trips. The Aluminess rack was very useful. Dave installed 2 cross-bars across so we can mount our cargo box on it. There were so much room for gear and cargo even with the solar panel taking most of the front section. This was an amazing experience for my family. You can never know the beauty of our country until you drive it!

Special Thanks:
Peter D. from SMB West
SMB Forum (Thanks for the advice)
My Brother (Showing us around Calgary and Banff)

So it began...









View From Above Bear Lake



Yellowstone






Continental Divide at 8400 ft.




Our home away from home!







Gallatin Gateway






Banff Canada
















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Old 10-18-2008, 11:10 AM   #2
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Great pictures and descriptions. Really happy to hear you had such a good trip with no real problems. I'm sure you are already daydreaming about the next one.
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Old 10-18-2008, 12:29 PM   #3
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We are working on a couple of custom fairings since the largest from Yakima is not large enough, we will keep you informed how it goes....

BUT, for the noisey rack, yakima also has a small air-foil that snaps around the bar that might help (and they are cheap).


Great Report and Great pics !!
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Old 10-18-2008, 12:39 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg In Austin

BUT, for the noisey rack, yakima also has a small air-foil that snaps around the bar that might help (and they are cheap).


Great Report and Great pics !!
Thanks Greg....I will look into that. Keep me posted with your project. Aluminess also offers an Air dam for their racks, but I think it will be more cost-efficient and less confusion with dimensions if I make it myself.

Ray
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Old 10-18-2008, 03:46 PM   #5
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Hey Ray,
Awesome trip. Glad you had a great time.

Brings back memories. Thanks for posting!

steve
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Old 10-18-2008, 03:51 PM   #6
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Great Trip Report and photos!

Keep us informed on the rack issue, as for I am planning on adding a rack to my rig sometime soon.

Excellent Journey!
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Old 10-19-2008, 07:39 AM   #7
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Great trip report Surfgeek. I like your portajohn set up. It looks suspiciously like ours! The setup works great when there is not a campground restroom nearby.

Yes the drive down the Gallatin Canyon is beautiful in summer and fall, and a complete friggin' nightmare in the winter, with black ice and snow on the road. The number of rigs that end up upside down in the river is astounding. There is always heavy traffic due to the Big Sky Ski Resort and the big trucks using the canyon as a shortcut from Idaho Falls to Bozeman.

Yup and you are right about how comfortable it is to drive the SMB long distances, and then just take a few minutes to set up camp. Can't beat it for a camping vehicle.
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Old 10-19-2008, 11:38 AM   #8
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You clearly had a great time. Thanks for the report and pics.
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Old 10-19-2008, 11:42 AM   #9
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Thanks for the kind words everyone. Steve, sorry I borrowed your format, I thought the way you did your trip reports were straight to the point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LeadDoggy
Keep us informed on the rack issue, as for I am planning on adding a rack to my rig sometime soon.
LeadDoggy,

I did extensive research on the rack before ordering it from Aluminess. All of the people that I talked to with similar racks did not have a problem with whistling. Maybe the placement of our Solar panel is making the noise? However, we are very happy with our rack. I think it is one of the best add-ons on our SMB. Our rack is well made and Dave really worked with us on our design. I will definitely keep everyone posted on "Project Fairing"

Ray
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Old 10-19-2008, 05:12 PM   #10
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Ray, awesome report!!!
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