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Old 10-03-2007, 10:32 AM   #1
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TWOLOST: 15 Day Post-Delivery Shakedown Tour


Plan: Take delivery of our new SMB in Fresno, CA and then hit the following natural attractions on our way back home to WA:

Yosemite National Park
Bonneville Salt Flats
Yellowstone National Park
Glacier National Park
Banff National Park
Jasper National Park

Our accommodations included a mix of camping some nights and then staying in hotels and utilizing a time share (where available) other nights. We purposely did not include an indoor water closet in our van - so while up north, these non-camping nights allowed us to get cleaned up a little better than trying to shower by melting snow in our JetBoil.
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Old 10-03-2007, 10:41 AM   #2
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Date: September, 17
Destination: Bass Lake
Miles: 62


We left Sportsmobile (Fresno) with our brand new SMB around mid afternoon.



For our first night we camped at in a non-serviced site at Bass Lake. At this time of year, there were more deer than people.



We successfully managed to get the top deployed so that we could sleep upstairs and we were able to get a number of other features to work as well. Looks like we paid attention during orientation after all. As we left Sportsmobile with all of our gear strewn out on the floor, our biggest project was to re-pack the van.
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Old 10-03-2007, 11:09 AM   #3
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Date: September, 18
Destination: Tuolumne Meadows Camp Ground
Miles: 100

We were scheduled to stay another night at Bass Lake, however, as we had yet to find any significant issues with our rig we decided to move on. First stop was Yosemite National Park. We tried to get a campsite anywhere in Yosemite by just showing up... but everywhere we tried, the campsites were full. Ultimately, we just decided to press on to Tuolumne Meadows to see if we could find a campsite a little farther away and as such we just did a bit of a drive-by of Yosemite Village and the surrounding attractions.



Yosemite was burning anyway (controlled brush fires) which made for hazy viewing/photos.




We did find a non-serviced site in Tuolumne Meadows Camp Ground (very few spots left). After preparing our dinner (read: add hot water to dried food in bag), we were greeted by a rather large black bear who entertained us for a few minutes by frequenting a number of neighboring camp sites. People would bang pots and pans together, shout, carry... etc. Finally, the bear had enough and lumbered on. The bear was easy to track as you could hear subsequent campsites off in the distance making all sorts of racket as well. Hey, it was better than a movie any day.



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Old 10-03-2007, 11:27 AM   #4
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Date: September, 19
Destination: Zephyr Cove, NV
Miles: 190

Today, we figured we would get the tires a little dirty by going to Bodie State Historical Park. Getting there involved about 25 miles of gravel road driving (total, out and back). On these washboard roads, we were really able to see what rattled and squeaked - which would be lots of stuff.



Bodie is a 'ghost town' in a suspended state of decay. The park itself was a great place to get out and walk around for a little while.






No roughing it this night... we pulled into our time-share at around 7:30pm.
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Old 10-03-2007, 11:46 AM   #5
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Absolutely terrific looking van (and color!). That yellow item where the xtra storage normally is is a generator, yes? I thought you were getting an Onan?
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Old 10-03-2007, 11:51 AM   #6
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Date: September, 20
Destination: Salt Lake City
Miles: 570

Up early. Today was going to be a very long day of driving (basically across NV). I also really wanted to stop and set foot on the origins of speed - the Bonneville Salt Flats. This was a place that I had only read about in my dad's old Hot Rod magazines back in the 60's and I had always dreamed of some day standing on the salt myself. Even though Speed Week was the week prior to our arrival, actually being there to take in all of the surroundings (even in total silence) was well worth the trip.





Just when you think that you have a pretty capable adventure rig yourself, someone has to show up with a UniCat...



Here is a panorama shot that went a little haywire...


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Old 10-03-2007, 12:12 PM   #7
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Date: September, 21
Destination: Yellowstone National Park
Miles: 410

We left Salt Lake City in the early AM and headed out for Yellowstone (another reasonably long day of driving). We still have had no significant issues with our SMB and everything is working as expected. We were camping tonight - in the Madison Campground.

We stopped at the Grand Tetons only briefly, then continued onto YNP.




Fall colors were the highlight of the day... just amazing.



Buffalo were abundant... as were elk, venting geysers, and photographers.




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Old 10-03-2007, 12:28 PM   #8
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Date: September, 22
Destination: Glacier National Park
Miles: 420

After listening to the competing elks bugling for attention all night long (kind of cool), we packed up our stuff (starting to get good at this by this point) and made our way north to Glacier National Park. This would be the first brush with real rainfall we had encountered on our trip so far.





Going to the Sun, was closed to thru traffic so we did not get the chance to cross the park. There are restrictions on length, width, and height - which I am just over (or right on the line) in all counts. It would have been a hairy ride for sure - at least for my passenger.



We camped in a private campground just outside the park at a place called the San Suz Ed. We were the only vehicle there, kind of like boonedocking with facilities.


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Old 10-03-2007, 12:45 PM   #9
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Date: September, 23
Destination: Banff, Canada
Miles: 340

Again, we were up early. We went into the park (west entrance) and did some back-road exploring before heading north into Canada. It had been raining lightly all night. Our SMB did not leak a drop as far as we could tell.



We stumbled upon this fellow making his way down the road. We followed him for about a quarter of a mile before 'he' (I am making an assumption) finally pulled over and let us pass.



We crossed the US/CA border without incident. Our destination for the evening (and in fact the next few days) was a time-share in Canmore. Finally, we would be able to slow down for a little while - or so we thought.


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Old 10-03-2007, 01:04 PM   #10
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Date: September, 24 -> 27
Destination: Banff, Canada
Miles: 0 (yea right)

Ok, so we were supposed to slow down and let the SMB rest for a little while - now that we were settled into a more permanent location. Wrong. Our SMB is an enabler. It enables us to get places (easy enough) that we might not otherwise go. As such, we racked up hundreds of miles per day - just out exploring. We drove from dawn to dusk every day, even though we were home-based out of our time-share. It was great. If you found something you wanted to see - but you just drove by it, flip around and go back. Try that with a Prevost or a fifth wheel. Driving, I made tons of directional errors. My GPS lied to me half of the time... :-) Yet, I was still able to make live course corrections due to our (relatively) small size. Here are a few pics of the places we managed to get lost in while near Banff for a few days...











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