Roadtrip ~6000 km to Death Valley and Back. Will we make it? - Page 3 - Club Touareg Forums
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post #21 of 31 Old 03-10-2019 Thread Starter
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Here is my toolkit list for the trip, if you have any suggestions please post up.

RV tools kit
- [x] Bubble level
- [x] Soldering iron/solder
- [x] Crimps
- [x] Spare Wire
- [x] Voltmeter
- [x] Alligator clips
- [x] Duck tape
- [x] Clear tap
- [x] Electrical tape
- [x] Zip ties
- [x] Drill
- [x] Battery
- [x] Makita charger
- [x] Hammer its in trailer
- [x] Multidriver it’s in the camper
- [x] Gloves
- [x] Rags
- [x] Wire?
- [x] Extra ratchet straps
- [x] Extra bungies
- [x] First aid kit
- [x] 6 ton bottle jack
- [x] 2x spare trailer bearings (used)
- [ ] 18 inch buck saw (already in trailer)
- [ ] basic tool kit (in the trunk) - remove from trunk for easy access during trip

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post #22 of 31 Old 03-10-2019 Thread Starter
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And here is the final todo list as to Sunday night....

Final todo list
- [ ] Activate Garmin Inreach
- [ ] Add more waypoints to RNS850
- [ ] Test 64 gig SD card in RNS850
- [ ] Organize music
- [ ] Download kids videos on netflix
- [ ] Re torque wheels
- [ ] Replace lug nut caps
- [ ] Re-set tire pressures
- [ ] Re-torque trailer tires
- [ ] increase trailer tire pressure to 52 but check tire sidewall
- [ ] Pack clothes and toiletries
- [ ] Monitor weather and finalize route and book southbound motel
- [ ] Pack Water hose
- [ ] Build USB adapter
- [ ] Buy grease tube
- [ ] Load and Strap down full size spare (Touareg) and propane fire pit

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post #23 of 31 Old 03-11-2019 Thread Starter
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I wanted to add some more useful information for anyone considering a longer multi day road trip. In late winter/spring conditions weather factors should be concern and I searched for an attempted to use many websites and tools that display weather along a custom routing. None were as comprehensive as the US National Weather Services enhanced data display: https://preview.weather.gov/edd/

It allows you to customize a route with stopovers with user configurable sleep-over durations. This is really helpful for a multi day trip. This is how our trip looks.
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post #24 of 31 Old 03-11-2019
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I flew a Citiation from USA to Oz via the EU with a shorter checklist that the above.


But there is nothing like planning to get one enthusiastic.


Enjoy the trip. I may even beat you to Vancouver. I expect to be there early Sept.

MY08 V6 TDI, Shadow Blue, Beige Interior, Towbar, Air Suspension, LED Load Box (not used).
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post #25 of 31 Old 03-13-2019 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimJ View Post
I flew a Citiation from USA to Oz via the EU with a shorter checklist that the above.


But there is nothing like planning to get one enthusiastic.


Enjoy the trip. I may even beat you to Vancouver. I expect to be there early Sept.
oh man, I guess we are way over prepared. I can't imagine flying that route that far with less preparation! Your a master!

We depart in 21 hours!

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post #26 of 31 Old 03-14-2019
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19 hours now, and counting . . .

Enjoy yourselves!

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post #27 of 31 Old 04-01-2019 Thread Starter
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We made it...and made it home...and had fun. We clocked over 5300 km and have some stories to tell. I hope they will be interesting to you. More soon!
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post #28 of 31 Old 3 Weeks Ago Thread Starter
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Intro to the Spring 2019 Death Valley Road Trip

Ok Club Treg folks....I don't have a blog so I am going to try this out on you guys first. Here begins my intro to this adventure.
>>>>
Intro

My Grandfather was an intrepid road traveller. He had swapped a Ford V8 into his Morris Oxford and then built from the ground up a pop-up tent trailer with exactly the same track-width as the Morris and finished it with air-craft aluminum and a custom tent. He towed this trailer and his family all around the Western United States and Canada camping while making many stories, many many years ago. I’ve heard many of these stories as have my cousins and we were always riveted as Grandpa had to change carburetor jets at high elevations, fix broken axles, repair melted brakes in the middle of Arizona and British Columbia and everywhere in between. He also rescued other drives that found themselves in perilous situations. I remember one story where Grandpa pulled the driver out of propane tanker that was burning and he had to hop over a river of molten aluminum running down the hill. Boy do I wish my grandfather wrote a book of his adventures. It would be a wild read. During WWII Grandpa test flew PBY Catalina’s as a flight engineer after they were manufactured at Consolidated’s San Diego plant. At the time Grandpa was billeted at Charlie Chaplins mansion- more stories… My grandfather’s father was one of the first to own a Ford Model T in the Vancouver area and as the storey goes my grandfather then promptly disassembled it and reassembled it no doubt to my great-grandfathers dis-belief but highlighting his mechanical prowess. Eventually Grandpa would operate a British Sports Car repair shop in downtown Vancouver.

I think the adventurous mindset along with camping skipped a generation in my family. I recall only one time going camping with my entire family when my mom and dad borrowed the aforementioned custom made tent trailer from Grandpa. Something must not have gone well as that never happened again. Most of my later camping was with the Boy Scouts and I guess this triggered the latent adventurous spirit that skipped my mother and father.

Anyhow, our family sure wishes that my grandfathers adventures were recorded and thus I have decided to write about my own families adventures so one day my son Noah can recount them to his children.

Fast forward to spring 2019 our son has 2 weeks off during spring break as most schools do nowadays and we find having some planed activities is muuuuch preferable to two weeks of scratching our heads and asking ourselves what do we do now? We decided to plan a two week road trip with our 12 year-old pop-up tent camper pulled by our VW Turbo Diesel SUV to California’s Death Valley. Exactly something my grandfather would do…what could go wrong? In fact, right after I got my drivers license when I was 16 years old I went for a 3 week road trip with my Grandfather in his maroon Mercury Sable. I still have fond memories of travelling through Death Valley in 1993 and visiting Scotty’s Castle and have always wanted to return…and we did 26 years later. However, this time Scotty’s Castle was closed due to a very large washout in which occurred in 2015.

I remember not being to fond of certain aspects of Boy Scouts- namely saluting and deferring to someone else orders; however, teach me to be prepared they did. In preparing for this trip we had FOUR different lists, each pages long. Lists of vehicle and RV preparations. Lists of Food and Meals. Lists of activities, destinations, routes, drive times, alternates, weather, and road conditions…and Lists of personal items to pack for three people. When I shared some of my preparations with an Internet discussion forum one member humorously retorted that he FLEW a Cessna Citation from the USA to Australia VIA Europe with a SHORTER checklist than mine…score one for Boy Scouts…little did that dude know that I only shared a small portion of my lists. Looks like I inherited that gene from Grandpa too…

Here are some photos of Grandpa:
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post #29 of 31 Old 3 Weeks Ago
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I hope you know that you only get 30 minutes per post on here and that you are preparing your essays away from this site in Word so you don't suddenly lose whatever you've typed!

Next instalment please . . .

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post #30 of 31 Old 2 Days Ago Thread Starter
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Part Two: Preparations.

Day T minus 1

Preparations:

Did I previously mention we had a number of lists? Ok, so we spent a fair amount of effort to prepare ourselves so we could enjoy this journey as a vacation, to the extent that is possible, and not have a series of problems. While some of the details I mention below may seem overly technical or trivial to you now, some if it does connect to the surprises we did have later on. So, I take the time to mention them to set the story.

Knowing this trip was coming I had our tow vehicle, a 2014 Touareg TDI (V6 Turbo diesel, 240 HP, 406 ft.lbs) serviced in January. It was a major secheduled service, all filters, oil, as well as a new battery, 4 wheel alignment, and brake fluid flush. I also had the VW emissions fix performed and (another) adblue tank heater replacement all on VW’s dime.

On craigslist I picked up a used set of 265/60/18 Nokian Rotiva All Terrain tires on rims for the Touareg. These set the vehicle about 1 cm higher, were quieter, were winter rated, and more heavily constructed in order to deal with potential sharp rocks in Death Valley. I had the idea that we wanted to access some of the back country in Death Valley. Death Valley is known for ravaging tires and is very remote so it seemed like the prudent thing to do. I also planned to take a spare 18” on an OEM rim as a full size spare. While the A/T Nokian’s were larger than the OEM tire size by 5% this spare should do the job much better than the inflatable donut spare. I was very happy with how the Touareg felt with these tires.

I also ordered a fairly inexpensive Husky weight distributing trailer hitch and installed that on the tent trailer. Our pop-up tent camper is the off-road variety and has a very beefy frame and a front ‘toy-hauler deck.” While the weight of the trailer is only about 3300 lbs the tongue weight is about 420 lbs before adding water and any cargo on the trailer deck or in the trailer. At some point I wanted to be able to safely load my motorcycle on the front deck so I committed to getting a WD hitch set up. WD hitches are a no-no according to the VW Touareg owners manual; however, there have been many Porsche and VW owners before me doing this without any issues. I did want to make sure we had a level load for this trip and for the most part this hitch was helpful with that and wasmeasy enough to get installed and adjusted.

To prepare the trailer I spent a great deal of time trying to locate like-for-like replacement tires as the current all terrain tires were 12 years old, well past their calendar life. It turns on the 275/65/15 size is fairly dated and hard to find now. I ended up finding new Chinese manufactured all terrains for a decent price but not at any of the regular tire shops though, I found them on craigslist again through a mom and pop tire shop. Upon lubing the trailer axles it was noted that the trailer brake shoes were cracked and due to the age it was preferable to replace the entire brake drum and backing assembly and…naturally the 12 year old brake drum backing plates were a problem to remove. There was lots of “grinding” late at night but the young lad doing the work for me got it done on the 2nd try. All in all I spend about $1000 on trailer tires, brakes, bearings, grease and labour. I also made a new trailer brake break away cable and tested that as well as de-winterizing the camper just and freezing temperatures came back to our area. I hope the pipes don’t freeze before we get to the hot desert.

So with the Touareg and the trailer set for the journey we finalized the rest of our extensive lists consisting mostly of clothing, meal plans, sightseeing and activities, electronics, and routing.

Route planning was a big deal and in the two weeks leading up to the departure date I was checking weather and road conditions and changing our plans almost daily. I wanted to avoid taking the slightly longer and much more boring I5 corridor south all the way to the LA area and then going east into the desert. I wanted to go diagonal (Pythagoras anyone?) as much as possible and check out the scenery in central Oregon and Nevada. Five days before departure central Oregon received a huge dump of snow that stuck to primary and secondary highways for 2 day before melting causing many travel advisories throughout the region. Between Portland and Death Valley our route traversed 10 or more mountain passes. It could be risky if a late winter storm was on track to pass through again. The last thing I wanted to do was tow a trailer through an unexpected snow storm while trying to keep a vacation schedule. Only 1 day before departure did the weather firm up and the route plan come together. The the sun came out again in Oregon, temperatures increased and it became quite clear that cutting across Oregon would be low-risk in late March.

The day before departure on my way to and from work the Touareg TDI began strain a little more slowly. Then the next day it got worse and on the afternoon of our departure the symptoms became worse again. Seemingly the engine could barely start. Uh ohh. What to do? Afternoon rush hour was just starting to lighten up and our plan was to dash for the USA border and begin a 18 day journey. Three months of planning, extensive lists and hour one and we had vehicle problems…What would grandpa have done?

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