Search

Texas Dually by Texas RV & Toy Hauler Conversions

Big Bend National Park Texas

Left North Texas on January 5th, 2018 on a slow ride to Big Bend.  I didn’t get on the road very early because this is my first trip in almost a year!  It took what seemed like forever to get everything ready, the truck checked out, trailer repacked, etc.  When not using your rig for a while stuff gets moved, items needed get unpacked, etc.  I’ve got to say though everything is more organized now than ever before!  I’m loving it!  LOL

I had one health issue after another all last year.  Nothing major really, but it kept me grounded because of one follow up after another.  Now I’m past all that for now so I’m down the road!

Night 1 I stopped at the rest area off of I-20 near Ranger, TX.  It’s been pretty cold here in North Texas, I’m really looking forward to going south.

Got up and had coffee, did my pre trip check on the truck and trailer.  All is well so I got the truck started.  Took my dog,  Baby for her morning walk.  She loves to explore, and she draws a lot of attention.  Most everyone stops to pet her.  She’s a funny dog though.  I have to help her get in my Jeep, and when loading her into the Volvo she climbs right on up into the truck!  Usually anyway.  Have to help her sometimes.

The whole idea when building this truck was to travel and just take my time.  So I’m not on any deadline.  If I go 50 miles, or 500 in a day, it’s no matter.  I’m set up to have nearly all services anywhere I stop.  No campground is needed every night.

After leaving the Ranger area on I-20 going westbound, I stopped at the Cisco, TX Denny’s for breakfast.  I like Denny’s but seems like the service is lacking at many locations.  Not this one!  Food was very good, service was great!

Once again headed west on I-20.  I came to the US 283 exit, and followed 283 to Coleman,TX where I picked up 206 to US 67. This is mostly a 2 to 3 lane road with a 70-75 mph speed limit.  My Volvo is governed to 73 mph max speed, but I’ve found the sweet spot for best fuel economy is about 65.  I’m still trying to define the speed a bit closer.  If I really watch how I cruise, I can get between 11-12 mpg  fully loaded.  When pulling the RV trailer alone with a Dodge RAM 1500 and Gas Engine, the best I could get was 9.1 mpg.  Yes Gas is cheaper than diesel, but I’m carrying everything to be self sufficient, and my Jeep!

Went through San Angelo, and proceeded on to pick up I-10 westbound.  Wow!  The speed limit is 80 mph!  What is surprising is not everyone is going 80.

Next town is Fort Stockton, TX.  I need a few things for my stay in Big Bend, so I stopped at Walmart.  Whoa!  What’s this?  I’ve never seen so many RV’s at a Walmart before.  It’s about 3:30 in the afternoon, and I was able to park within the rest of them, so I decided to stop here for the night.

I got fully stocked up with everything I will need for the next 10-14 days.

Sunday morning!  I’m ready to get to Big Bend! After my pre trip is done, got the Volvo fired up, and away I go!  I’m glad I got fuel in Cisco, fuel in Fort Stockton was $3.12!

Headed south toward Marathon, TX fuel there was a little cheaper at $3.00 per gal.  I’m now about 70 miles north of Big Bend and the scenery has been changing a lot as I progress south.  Can now see mountain terrain, and it’s now certainly a desert.  Saw a few Mule Deer and they haven’t lost their antlers yet.  Some huge racks!  I’m hoping to see some Pronghorn Antelope, Black Bears, and maybe some Bighorn Sheep once I’m in Big Bend.  It’s my understanding that there is a strain of Whitetail Deer in the mountain ranges in Big Bend.  Maybe I’ll see some!

I am not in the park yet, but I’m going to sign off.  Once I am in the park I will update this as I can. I’ve been told that there is little to no cell access in the park. I may have to update after I am out of the park after my stay.

(Note:  Cell service, and internet was tough to get, my whole trip is being done from notes.  I’ll update more soon.  I’m also still editing photos cause most all my shooting was done on my Nikon equipment.)

Upcoming Travel Log

Texas Dually is going to Fayetteville, NC to take part in a RV Spring Show in late March, then on to Crossville, TN for the Heavy Duty Truck RV Hauler East Coast Rally April 9th-14th, http://eastcoasthdtrally.com/2016-rally-info/  As I find more Car, RV and Truck shows through the summer, and will post more as dates are confirmed. If you want to see Texas Dually and learn more about available options PM me or email.

Maiden Voyage! Trip to the National HDT Rally in Hutcheson, KS

volvoandjeep

Got the Jeep loaded!  Now the RV Trailer…

fullrig_edited

Trailer hooked up, and ready to go!

Every year there is a Rally at the Kansas State Fairgrounds for like minded RV travelers who use Heavy Duty Trucks (HDT) for their tow rigs.  There is a fairly large group of people who use HDT’s as their power unit.  In addition the Rally is open to people who want to learn more about selecting, and building a HDT for themselves. It is a full week of seminars and training sessions.  Food events.  Exploration of the local area, and just an all around good time of meeting new people and having fun!  One of the highlights is people coming around to look at your rig, and touring other peoples creations.  The ideas you can get is enormous!

A lot of work on the truck needed to be done in a short time frame.  You know how it goes, departure time sneaks up on you.  Finally it was completed enough to make the trip!  Wow, I’m excited!  I had been working on getting the right truck for over 2 years.  Once I  found the Volvo, then the real work began.

Ok, everything is loaded up.  Final check was done of all connections, lighting test was complete, brake checks complete.  FINALLY!  Ready to roll!  Oh ya, fuel!  One stop in town first to get more fuel.

Fueled up, and rolling!  We headed north on FM 51 out of Springtown.  Through Decatur, and on toward Gainesville and the OK border.

The weather was nice.  Sunny, but quite windy.  As we headed north toward Gainesville I am being cautious, and decided to stop at the new Valero in Era, TX to check everything, and the wind was tossing us a little, oh not much but enough to make sure all was well.  I pulled off the side toward the back, got out and checked out all the connections, looked at and thumped the tires.  All was very well!

A trip inside the store for a rest room break, a new cold drink, and off across the parking lot I go.  As I am getting in the truck, a sprinkler system fired up and blasted me with the most foul smelling water I had ever had the “pleasure” of showering in!  I had already taken a shower thank you!  Seems they spray out their sewer water into the grassy area!  I moved the truck out of the spray, and then proceeded to clean up and change into clean clothes.  Oh what a mess.  No signs warning of a free shower in filth were seen anywhere.

So, if in Era, TX and at the Valero, DO NOT PARK near the grassy area near the curb!

Back on the road, and into Gainesville and I-35.  Once on I-35 it is a straight shot through OK and into KS.  Usually driving the interstate is boring.  Not this trip!  I was very interested in seeing the performance, and how well the trailer was towing.

The trailer was hauling ROCK STEADY.  No oscillations, no sway, and with the air ride hitch system, the trailer seemed to be riding on its own over bumps.  This is great!  Hauling with the pickup, the truck and the trailer seemed to work against each other, causing additional roughness.  Not so anymore.

The truck is governed at 73 mph.  Going up hills in the Arbuckle/Turner Falls area of OK in the pickup was always a slow ride.  The Volvo just kept on going, no bogging down, no problem.  Of course big trucks are designed to haul 80,000 lbs routinely, and here I am at a fraction of that.  It was enjoyable to not be slowed down by hills!

Approaching OK City was relatively traffic free.  It was time to stop and eat, and also get the truck washed.  I checked for a Blue Beacon Truck Wash and there was one just north of OKC on 35.  Yes, I wanted the Era water washed off the truck, since the odor remained.  We stopped for a wash, and after went to the Flying J for a bite to eat.  Its just after dark, and with all the lights lit up on the truck it looked great!  Dinner is over, time to ride again!

OK is not known for “smooth” roads.  As the trek continued north, it was a pleasure to have a smooth ride in the big truck as compared to the pickup.  So far I am not in much pain, and the trip is actually enjoyable!  Driving the pickup we would have had to stop by now for the night.  I am elated!

The rest of the trip to KS was uneventful.  Was a pleasure, and was done in one day!  I had not been able to do that in a very long time!  The trip home was totally uneventful, and again was a pleasure!

Avg MPG on the full trip: 9.8

Best mileage with the pickup on any trip towing the same trailer:  9.2

With a longer trip and more experience under my belt I know I will do better on fuel!

Till next time…

Creation of Texas Dually

Towing an RV trailer with a pickup truck is very difficult for me.  I have severe back issues, and the ride is rough, and I could barely make 200 miles per day without being in severe pain.  Then after a few days like this I could not enjoy any part of a trip and was pretty much down for the count.

In the fall of 2013 I met a couple who was using a retired over the road tractor as their RV tow rig.  In addition they had a Smart Car with them for local transportation after reaching their destination.  Wow, what a concept!  That chance meeting changed my outlook on life, and my traveling capability!

These trucks, especially the Volvo are famous for a smooth ride.  Air ride suspension, air ride cab, and air ride seats make for an EZ and smooth ride.  Plus, before any mods they can be picked up for less money than many used 1 ton pickup trucks.

Since I have a love for the great outdoors, I bought a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon to take the place of my legs, since hiking is now completely out of the question.  A Jeep is much larger than a Smart Car, and especially the 4 door Unlimited version.  Ok, now what to do…  Find a retired tractor long enough to carry my Jeep with an 18′ Dovetailed Flat Bed.

I found a longer wheelbase Volvo 630, which with its shorter sleeper, left me more room to accommodate my Jeep!   After looking all over the country, and coming up with nada..   I found the perfect truck for my hauler!

The sleeper now has a fridge, microwave, a 32″ flat screen Smart TV, and soon I will install a new stereo system with GPS, Blu-tooth, Weather Maps, and accommodate cameras for blind spots and hitch coupling.

My flat bed was built by Texas RV & Toy Hauler Conversions who has Jamie Coursey, a world class metal fabricator/designer on staff.  Each of his designs and builds are custom to each customers needs.  I cannot praise him enough on the quality of the finished bed!

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑