Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 11-12-2017, 11:42 AM   #11
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Bainbridge Island, WA
Posts: 47
Chapter 4

The rest of the trip was pretty sedate and uneventful, which is not to say unfulfilling, just not much to post about.

After Fort Bragg, we travelled a few hours a day, stopping at whatever roadside viewpoints caught our fancy. Richardson Grove State Park was beautiful, full of giant redwoods (of course!), and almost completely deserted this time of year. We got lucky picking a lunch spot at almost random, finding a foodie spot in Garberville called the Woodrose Cafe, crowded with the local populace which appear to be an unusual hybrid of hippies and lumberjacks. (Yes, I know what Humboldt County is famous for!)

Further on, The Avenue of the Giants was a worthwhile detour from the highway. More big trees.

We camped at Elk Prairie in Redwood National/State Park, seeing the elk herd on the way in (very impressive, wish I had gotten some photos) but couldn't find them again after we set up camp, or the next morning. Still, the scenic Parkway through the park was a pleasant short-cut back to US-101.

Driving along the coast was way better than the direct route on I-5. Always nice to take a quick break at a scenic vista like Arch Rock.


Our last campsite before the final stretch back home was at Cape Blanco State Park in SW Oregon. There's a steep, narrow road down to the beach, but we weren't ready or equipped yet to get ourselves stuck in the sand. I'm not sure if all Oregon state parks are this way, but every site had electrical and water hookups, which was our first test of using the Espar heater without diesel, which felt quite posh.

In terms of our ad hoc routing up the coast, one misfire was a detour loop off of US-101 towards Charleston, OR, that from the map looked like it would give us more scenery at little cost, but turned out to be almost entirely clear-cut. Stopping at the obscure South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve looked like it might salvage the situation, but they're actually situated far enough from the actual slough that we didn't think we could afford the 3-mile hike just to see if there was any interesting wildlife. Oh well, part of the joy of exploration is kissing a few frogs here and there.
__________________

AndrewInSeattle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-12-2017, 05:59 PM   #12
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Bainbridge Island, WA
Posts: 47
Epilog

Oh, I promised a couple mistakes -- ahem, learning opportunities -- we made en route.

First and most memorable, the portapotty has a small button to allow air in while pouring out the contents, to break the vacuum and dump faster. It is extremely important not to touch this button until after you have inclined the chamber away from you, as opposed to, say, while tilting it towards you to avoid premature spillage out the main drain. A hole is a hole, and just because it's called an "air hole", doesn't mean that only air will fit through it. Enough said.

Second, I already mentioned the misunderstandings of the Espar. It does seem weird that it requires 4 switches, a thermostat, and a circuit breaker, to fully control it, several combinations of which lead to ineffectiveness or disaster. Not to mention the LCD panel that SMB told us to never touch, it was only for displaying error messages. Overall, I'm really glad we got it, but the user-interface could use a little work.

And some minor ones...
Parking on a slope so the shower drain isn't the lowest point in the shower pan is a good way to end up with a lot of standing water in the bathroom, which will quickly find a way to end up soaking your undies at a vulnerable moment.

When the sink starts to back up, that means the gray water tank is full, not that our system is defective. While that seems dreadfully obvious in retrospect, at the time we couldn't fathom that we had used that much water already.

It took a while to come to terms with the way only one of us can be occupying the "hallway" at a time doing chores, grabbing gear, organizing, etc. Sometimes you just gotta sit on the bed or the passenger seat and wait your turn for access to the cabinets. Presumably this won't be a problem in warmer months when we can be outside more.

So, a couple newbie questions for the peanut gallery...

1. The Sprinter is great, but we seem to have a lot of trouble getting the key fob to remotely unlock the doors. It works maybe half of the time, even at close range, which means a double-click to open everything rarely works. Tried with all our key fobs. Any tips?

2. There must be a better way to do a manual fill of the water tank than putting a funnel into a short hose. Are there any water jugs or funnels that are threaded for a hose connection?

3. Are there any laws, guidelines, or general principles on which roadside spots are fine for overnighters? All the "nice" parking areas along the coast (scenic vistas, beach access areas, etc.) were clearly marked as "day use only" or "no camping". I understand about dispersed camping on National Forests and BLM land, just wondering if there's anything besides officially marked rest areas where people feel relatively confident they'll be safe and un-hassled by the authorities.
__________________

AndrewInSeattle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-12-2017, 07:46 PM   #13
Senior Member
 
Fitz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Posts: 698
"Learning opportunities" are the best!

Another one about the porta potti: When changing elevation a lot, be sure to relieve the pressure before opening the lid. Simply pull out the slide a bit and it will equalize. Believe me, you will only not do so once before you will remember!

Regarding your specific questions:

1. The transmitter for the key fob is located up front above the rear view mirror. It works better when the key fob is in line of sight. Beyond that, change the battery in the fob.

2. Here is my solution to filling the water directly into the tank from inside. I have a collapsible 5-gallon plastic jug that I use to haul the water from the source. As you can see, I spared no expense when rummaging through my spare PVC parts bin!



3. We have discovered that stealth camping is easy and fun in almost all locations except when driving up and down the west coast. There is simply too much traffic and the various authorities have little tolerance. When on the coast we either use an established campground or head inland a bit.
__________________
“Flint” - 2016 SMB Sprinter 4x4 144" RB 150S w/ PH
Fitz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-17-2017, 04:05 PM   #14
Member
 
JJSporty's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: SoCal
Posts: 85
Hi Andrew,

We have a 2014 Sprinter SMB. We put about 37,000 miles on it so far with a lot of those miles being between our home in San Clemente, CA and Mukilteo, WA. We’re pretty familiar with all the routes between here and there. Our build is similar to yours and here are a few things we learned along the way that might help answer your questions.

1. The key fob doesn’t have the greatest range. You need to click the key fob twice to unlock all the doors. A single click only opens the driver’s door. This is by design. The idea is if you are by yourself and don’t want others jumping in or stealing cargo from the rear or other side of the van, all those points of entry stay locked. In addition, if you don’t open the driver’s door (one click) or any of the other doors (two clicks) within about 30 seconds after unlocking them, the doors lock automatically so always be sure to take your key fob with you when you leave the vehicle. I suppose the door locks are designed this way because this is a cargo vehicle made for the international market where there might be a greater number of thieves ready to grab something out of the cargo area before the driver can reach them. This is just my assessment of why the locks are this way.

2. After a while, we recommend checking all the hose clamps on your Espar D5 system. We were camping in the mountains last weekend and after two nights of running the furnace for several hours, we noticed a small puddle under the van under the D5 outside plumbing. After tightening one of the D5 hose clamps about an eighth of a turn with a 5/16” nut driver all was well. We checked all the rest of the coolant hose clamps in the system and only found one more that required slight tightening. That one wasn’t leaking. We contacted Peter at SMB West to find out what coolant to replace what had leaked out and he said they use Prestone Extended Life 50/50 in the D5 systems. He said to fill the tank to 1” below the top of the tank when the tank is overnight cold and we should be good to go.

3. We were told both of our gray water tanks, passenger (sink) and driver (shower) side held 10 gallons each. It says two 10 gallon gray water tanks on our build sheet and there is a big 10 molded into the bottom of each tank so that all made sense to us. However, like most SMB folks, we keep a close eye on our water supply and know about how much we use so we were surprised one day when our shower gray water tank was overflowing after we had only two short showers each. When we got home, we drained both gray water tanks, parked in a level place, and using a gallon jug, added water until the tanks overflowed. Guess what, both of our gray water tanks only hold about 6 gallons each. You might want to do this to determine exactly how much gray water your tanks hold.

4. As far as the shower not draining due to the drain not being the lowest point in the shower pan, here’s what we do. When we shower we remove the porta-potti and the carpet/mat we keep on the floor in the shower compartment to keep from grinding dirt from our shoes into the white plastic shower pan. The carpet/mat is also nice in the middle of the night when the floor is cold. The carpet/mat is just a personal preference. It’s also nice to be able to pull it out and shake it off outside the van when dumping the potti or showering. We usually put it right outside the shower door as a bathmat when showering. We’ve found if you remove the potti it is relatively easy to woosh the water toward the drain when on a slight angle. I usually do the majority of wooshing with my foot before stepping out of the shower and finish up the wooshing with a microfiber car washing glove before letting the floor dry completely and replacing the carpet/mat and porta-potti. Another thing we’ve done is install several white plastic command hooks in the shower compartment to hang our wet microfiber towels on. We’ve also installed one down low to hang the porta-potti strap on to keep it off the shower floor when the potti is out of the shower.

We hope you find this information useful. Perhaps our paths will cross one of these days.

Jeff & Janna Senge
JJsporty
__________________
Jeff and Janna
2014 Brilliant Silver MB Sprinter 3.0L V-6 High-Top 144 WB Modified RB-153S Espar D-5 SC Hydronic 200W Zamp Solar
SOLD 2006 White Ford E250 5.4L V8 4X2 RB-31 Modified, PH Full Length Garageable
JJSporty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-17-2017, 08:26 PM   #15
Senior Member
 
Otter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Oregon
Posts: 505
Garage
Quote:
Originally Posted by AndrewInSeattle View Post

3. Are there any laws, guidelines, or general principles on which roadside spots are fine for overnighters? All the "nice" parking areas along the coast (scenic vistas, beach access areas, etc.) were clearly marked as "day use only" or "no camping". I understand about dispersed camping on National Forests and BLM land, just wondering if there's anything besides officially marked rest areas where people feel relatively confident they'll be safe and un-hassled by the authorities.
Great shakedown report. I’m really happy you got to take that trip... there’s nothing quite like it.

You hit the nail on the head with regard to the Oregon Coast. They really mean it when they say “Day Use Only”. I’ve been up and down our Coast for forty years and will attest to the fact that they really mean it when they say “Day Use Only”. Back in the day, it used to make me mad that, as an Oregonian, I couldn’t just pull over and spend the night. Then I realized that people from all over the U.S. were trying to have that same “spontaneous experience.” The rules came about as a defensive maneuver so we didn’t have 9 trillion RVs pulled over on the side of the road enjoying the sunset before bedtime. As for the seriousness of that request, you’ll get a gigantic ticket for trying to get away with it.

And, you discovered our not-so-secret secret, our beautiful state park campgrounds. We pay a s-t of taxes for those beauties and we’re really proud of them. Sounds like you enjoyed them the way I do... you’re welcome!
__________________
"PhoTow" - 2014 Ford E350 5.4L RB Agile 4x4 - a Multipurpose Transformer Photo Rig
Otter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-18-2017, 09:54 AM   #16
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Bainbridge Island, WA
Posts: 47
One more "mistake" we're still in the middle of rectifying. I ignored Fitz's advice on another thread, and didn't get the van weighed immediately, since we had no immediate plans to do further installation of components and already had weight estimates straight from SMB. Washington, however, now pegs its vehicle registration fees to unladen vehicle weight, and they wouldn't take the under-sink info sheet as admissible evidence, so instead I had to go to some scales, get a number printed out on a sheet of paper that has absolutely no verification that it's actually the vehicle in question, and bring that back to the registration office. On the plus side, we unloaded just about everything and had under half a tank of fuel, so our official weight of 7040# is more than 200# under SMB's approximation.

Hopefully the registration office accepts our paperwork this round. Third time's a charm! But the clerk is really chatty, I suspect he'll keep giving us the runaround just so he can talk to us over and over again.

Quote:
The transmitter for the key fob is located up front above the rear view mirror. It works better when the key fob is in line of sight.
Thanks Fitz, knowing where the sensor is has upped our batting average quite a bit!

Quote:
And, you discovered our not-so-secret secret, our beautiful state park campgrounds. We pay a s-t of taxes for those beauties and we’re really proud of them.
Rest assured, your tax dollars are well-appreciated! If it's any consolation, we injected several hundred dollars into your state economy on our way through. Most of that, however, was because we Washingtonians pay a s-t of taxes on alcohol, our liquor cabinet was somewhat depleted, and we just happened to be driving through Oregon with a mostly empty van.

The cashier at the liquor store in Eugene was adorable as we rang up 3 boxes worth of essentials... "Wow, that's a lot. You guys throwing a party?"
AndrewInSeattle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-18-2017, 10:43 AM   #17
Senior Member
 
Otter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Oregon
Posts: 505
Garage
Quote:
Originally Posted by AndrewInSeattle View Post
.

Rest assured, your tax dollars are well-appreciated! If it's any consolation, we injected several hundred dollars into your state economy on our way through. Most of that, however, was because we Washingtonians pay a s-t of taxes on alcohol, our liquor cabinet was somewhat depleted, and we just happened to be driving through Oregon with a mostly empty van.

The cashier at the liquor store in Eugene was adorable as we rang up 3 boxes worth of essentials... "Wow, that's a lot. You guys throwing a party?"
Ha, thanks for the cash infusion! We try to leave our dollars in Cali or Nevada for that when we can. The cashier in CA said the same thing to me and laughed when I told him I could buy three times less alcohol in Oregon for the same money. If Washington’s worse than here, I’d either quit drinking altogether or be doing a lot of driving. We have ludicrous income taxes here, but you guys get killed on all those sales and valuation taxes. Glad your van was empty!
__________________
"PhoTow" - 2014 Ford E350 5.4L RB Agile 4x4 - a Multipurpose Transformer Photo Rig
Otter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-19-2017, 07:49 AM   #18
Senior Member
 
86Scotty's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: TN
Posts: 7,460
"When the sink starts to back up, that means the gray water tank is full, not that our system is defective. While that seems dreadfully obvious in retrospect, at the time we couldn't fathom that we had used that much water already."

LOL, welcome to RVing!

Looks like a great trip.

__________________

__________________
2006 Chevy Express AWD
2015 Transit MR T350 ecoBoost, Vanilla
SMBs and other various vanlike projects sold...
...My name is Eric and I have a van problem...
Make me an offer on one!
86Scotty is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

» Sportsmobile Registry

Sporty

BusTalker

[HOONIVAN]

Shaggy
Add your Sportsmobile
Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3
Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by Sportsmobile SIP or any of its affiliates. This is an independent, unofficial site.


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:34 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.