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We're back from our 900 mile Oregon Coast trip. We had a great time, no major issues or problems at all. The Outback performed wonderfully and the Avalanche towed great. I do think I'll look at adding the Air-lift bags as it seemed soft and was noticeable on some of the Oregon roads when we'd get a up and down feeling for sometime after a bump. Mileage came in around 11.4 on my calculations, with 3 adults, 2 kids and 2 dogs I was happy with the mileage.

First day out we made a stop at Camping World, after lightening my wallet we'd managed to picked up 2 BAL Deluxe Wheel Chocks, which did help to deaden the bounce when the trailer was at the campsite. I'm not sure if one would have done the trick or not. I also got a Barker 3,000# tongue jack (woohoo) and a couple MaxxAir vent covers, plus a bunch of odds and ends.

I give high marks to the Oregon State Parks, they were all well maintained. Mostly staffed by volunteers at this time of year it appears. We stayed at Jessie Honeyman CG in Florence and Beverly Beach SP in Newport. Honeyman had Elec and water at the site, flat and plenty of shade too. Bit rowdy this time of year due to the ATV crowd hitting the dunes. Park staff didn't seem to pay attention to the loud music or yelling, needed to have a Host in our loop. Beverly Beach was great and HUGE, we were very close to the beach but more sites get further away from the beach, but are still very nice and secluded. I might opt to stay in them since there would be less traffic, but it was nice to see the sunset on the beach only a brief walk from our site too. We had full hook ups including cable.

I had a bunch of people stop by and ask about the Outback, lots of compliments on its layout and how bright it was. At the second CG I was amazed how many of the campers were made by Keystone, by my rough count I would say about 80%, then Fleetwood had probably 10%.

I did rotate my Equalizer hitch head at one point to level out the trailer a bit, then had to adjust the bars to get proper sway control. Ride home seemed fine once the adjustments were all made. After giving praise to the Oregon State parks I would be remiss if I didn't slam the Oregon Department of Transportation. Probably some of the worst roads I've been on between living in Oregon, Washington, Missouri and California. Highway 126 between Eugene and Florence was a nightmare. The road is in poor shape throughout, its been patched so many times you can't tell what was the original road anymore. It bounces your around like a carnival ride and the work they are doing looks like they are just patching not making it any better. We came back from Lincoln City to Portland on Highway 18 and found it much better. Interstate 5 could use some updating, but I-84 was in good shape for the most part.

We had time to hike the Sand Dunes, go to Sea Lion Caves, play on the beach, visit the Aquarium in Newport and of course eat at Mo's! Our Slovakian exchange student had a great time too, he loved the beach. We are going back to Fort Stevens on the Northern Oregon Coast in August, after seeing so many folks from our neck of the woods this past week we figure we'll make this an annual trip for Spring Break!

I'll have photos up in a day or so if anyone cares to see.

I did add a triple flag holder to the outside of the outback. We flew the US and Washington State flag as well as the Slovakian flag for our exchange student which had a few comments. We also bought two 9x12 awning mats, they worked great and very easy to clean and store.

The last thing I'll share was an idea I had after hearing the Roaming Gnome ads from Travelocity. We bought a small garden Gnome, and we take him around with us while we're camping. The kids enjoy taking him to the dunes or the beach or making sure he can see us at the campfire. Its fun and by the end of summer we should have a nice website with photos of our Roaming Gnome.


Outback at Jessie Honeyman State Park, Florence Oregon


Outback & Avalanche at Beverly Beach State Park, Newport Oregon


Boys running down the sand dunes at Honeyman State Park


Sean & our Roaming Gnome at the Beach

More photos are up at my Webshots site.
 

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Hi steve, sound like you had a great time. Hey do you still have the stock P-metric tires on you avalanch? I use to have a lot of bounce untill I put on LT tires, got rid of almost all of it and rides much better when towing but I have to admit it is stiffer riding around town. Kirk

PS: whats the deal about the Gnome??
 

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Glad you had a great (and safe) trip! We love the Oregon State Parks.
Hmm loud music and yelling... I would find a park ranger/or host. I have found that as long as no one complains they leave them (the noise makers) alone (misguided thoughts that it's not bothering anyone). If you say something they take care of it.

We are leaving for Beverly Beach today at noon!!

When you got back we were going to ask you if by chance your truck was RED!! I now see in the pictures it was you we saw on our way to Pasco to pick up our trailer! I don't remember exactly where it was, Don will remember, but it was where West bound was lower than East bound at the time, right about half way in our trip.

About the time we were trying to remember what type of vehicle you drove, we saw the Red Avalanche pulling an Outback...


It is suppose to be 70-78 degrees the next few days so we should have an awesome weekend at the coast! sunny

Have a Great Easter everyone action
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Kirk I'll check on the tires, I am pretty sure all of the 1500's get the P tires and the 2500 get the LT tires. Might be a while since I still have a lot of meat on the tires. Since the Av 1500 has the coil springs for a soft ride and the 2500 has the leaf springs I am also thinking that is part of the issue, and how the air lift bags might help. I had changed to LT tires on my F150 and probably will again once I wear these ones down.

As for the Gnome. Travelocity runs ads about the Roaming Gnome, you see photos of him in a hot tub, on the ski slopes (or pile of snow), etc. I thought it would be a fun way for the kids to "make memories" and enjoy having their photo taken. My hope is by the end of this years trips for the kids to be able to put together a bunch of photos with the Gnome at all the various camping spots and attractions we visit.

NW: Yes that was us, I was looking for you but without an Outback in tow one Burb looks a lot like the others. How did your initial tow home go for you all? Do you recall which sales guy you worked with at Russ Dean? Have a blast at Bev Beach, the weather looks ideal, it was overcast one day for us but still made for a nice day and some amazing sunset photos. Let me know what site you got and your thoughts, I did jot down some ideal site #'s for a future visit.

 

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awesome sunset pic!

We drive an Aspen Green (darker green) Expedition. Tow home was fine. Glad we went with the 25 RSS instead of the 28.... shorter wheel base than a truck. Makes for a less stress towing. We worked with Don Goss @ Russ Dean.

We made reservations and have G37 @ Beverly Beach. With the warmer weather we thought it best to have security in having a site! Good thing too the night I was making the reservations, they were disappearing before my eyes...G 37 was my 3rd selection!

Well gotta finish getting house ready to leave.

PNW Outbackers Rally sounds fun!

~Happy Camping
 

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Hmmm? 11 mpg. I'm getting optimistic. We are picking our 26RS up on Monday, and the 'ol Avalanche is just itching to tow it home. I'll have to check it on the way home, about 85 miles, most of it on the highway.

LT's are on my list of things to get, but like you Steve, when there is a little less rubber, unless I find the handling with the Outback untenable.

I'll let you know how it goes, and of course, get some pic's posted. Glad you had a great trip.

Tim
 

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Great pictures and comments on your trip, thanks. We live about 20 minutes from Beverly Beach state park. The locals think we're nuts, but we go there several times a year and camp on the weekends. A few times my wife and daughters have stayed there during the week and I just go to work from there. The great part is being able to run home when we forget things.

We tried to go the Camp Sherman in central oregon, but were snowed out. We're off to Siver falls in a couple weeks, never camped there before.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
G37... we were there! Bit close to the playground since our two dogs are over protective, but it was a nice site... hope you all had a blast.

Tim I'll be curious what your mileage is, frankly I was a bit shocked that mine was that good, must have had a lot of tail winds though.

CTS, wow I'd love to live that close to BB, like you I think I'd go camping there frequently too. We're going to Fort Stevens this summer, do you have any other great coast parks you've been to or ones you would avoid? Its been a long time since I've been to Silver Falls, been to the Y camp there many times though. Hopefully it will be a wonderful trip for you too, just avoid 126! I know the NW Popup group has a rally there each year, so it much be decent.
 

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Wow G37! It was a bit close to the playground... I picked it because it was close, from the map I could not tell how CLOSE! It worked out well though. It was absolutely the most beautiful days to be at the coast sunny 78-80 Friday and Saturday sunny Shorts on the beach is a rarity in April ! Awesome camping experience.


Towing went great


Fort Stevens is very nice and clean. 4x4 will get you down to the beach near the Peter Iredale shipwreck. During certain hours you can drive north of the Iredale, there is a sign that gives hours you can drive down there, go back when it says you can drive down there, it will be worth it
. Of course you can walk at anytime. But if you drive about halfway between the Iredale and the Jetty wall you can start to find Sand Dollars (whole). We had a blast going last year. If you time it at low tide you can climb around the lower part of the Jetty wall and find Star Fish and other sea life. They are alive so you can't take them, but the kids had a blast (and us). Just be careful of waves and watch for incoming tides. Watch the clock and don't get stranded down there at the wrong time.

What part of the summer are you guys going? How long are you going to be there?

There is also a must see...the Astoria Column. They sell (fairly inexpensive if I remember correctly) little wooden gliders, buy the kids a little glider and walk to the top of the column, let them fly it down. Don't forget to take your camera!! The view is amazing


Of course this is all aside of Ft Clatsop


CTS, I remember reading about part of Silver Falls trails being closed. I don't remember what part(s), but you might want to check it out. It is a very nice park also, pretty falls! And 20 minutes from BB...how awesome.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
NWcamper2 said:
What part of the summer are you guys going? How long are you going to be there?
Thanks for the tips about Fort Stevens! We'll be there Aug 5-9, always open to meet up with other Outbackers too
 

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Y-Guy, your trip sounds great. That sunset picture should win you an award somewhere. SPECTACULAR!

We can't wait to explore the Northern Coasts haven't been up that far before but are looking forward to it now with our new Trailer. sunny

lisa
 

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You are all "OFFICIALLY" making me sick!


I WANNA GO CAMPING!

In the woods, by a lake, somewhere!

Ok, it's just jealousy, and a little 'cabin fever' talking. I love your reviews, I just wish I could have been there. Keep them coming!
 

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Tim I'll be curious what your mileage is, frankly I was a bit shocked that mine was that good, must have had a lot of tail winds though.
Steve, Picked the 26RS up today, and the Avalanche towed like a dream. Left the tranny in Tow/Haul, and was able to cruise at 60-62 on the Interstate with out much effort. I could tell the Outback was twice as heavy as the Trail-lite Bantam we had last year when going up a hill, but it was not insurmountable.

Gotta get a transmission temp gauge though. Don't know if I'm want to change the whole cluster or not. May just add an aftermarket, and install it in the open space on the lower left corner of the existing panel. I'll let you know how that pans out. Forgot to check mileage, but I would guess between 9 and 11 mpg based on the amount that the gauge moved.

Can't wait to add our own pictures to the gallery, as soon as the rain stops.

Tim
 

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Y-Guy
There are several other Oregon coast parks I'd recommend, and many I haven't been to, yet. I agree with you about honeyman, kind of rowdy, but a beautiful place.
There is South Beach State park just south of Newport (only about 15 minutes south of Beverly Beach). Nice layout, flat, and lots of bike trails. Not as close to the beach and no full hook ups (lots of water and elec. sites, though).

We've been wanting to go to a small campground at cape perpetua (sp), which is south of Yachats (yaw-hots). I believe it's a national forest campground so it's kind of primative. The website indicates a length limit, but when we drove through I saw several trailers and motor homes longer than our trailer.

Sunset Bay State Park is one of the most beautiful on the Oregon Coast. It's near Charleston, Oregon - west of Coos Bay. The full hook up sites are a little small and not very private, but the surrounding beaches, miles of trails, and gardens are amazing.

Harris Beach in Brookings is nice, but if you go that far, you might as well go less than an hour further south to be in the Redwoods. We stayed at Jedediah (sp) park. No hook ups, primative, but another beautiful place with lots to see and do.

We'll be at Fort Stevens State Park over labor day.

There is a state park I haven't been to near the three capes south west of Tillamook. We plan to spend a weekend there in the next few weeks. I also haven't stayed at D-lake state park in Lincoln City. It's also called Devil's lake, not sure which is the official name. My neighbor is the park ranger there. He used to work at Beverly Beach and says BB is nicer.

NWcamper -
Thanks for the heads up on silver falls. I'm looking forward to getting out of town, so some closed trails won't be the end of the world. Hopefully it doesn't rain too much, but a rainy day camping is a lot better than a sunny day at work!

Happy camping!
 

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ctsoderq,

FYI: The state park near Tillamook is Cape Lookout, and it's a nice spot. My family and I spent a long weekend there in February and it was very pleasant. The only downside was that the beach in front of the camping area is a bit rocky, so for my young kids (1.5 and 3.5 years old) we had to hike down the way a bit to the day-use area to access sandy beach. Not a big deal.

I definitely recommend it.

Oh yeah, and based on some of ya'lls recommendations we got reservations for Ft. Stevens on the weekend of May 1st and 2nd. Looking forward to bringing the bicycles and doing some exploring. Seems like a big park with lots to see.

Chet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Jolly-We have a trip to Idaho this summer, woods & good fishing lakes... you're more than welcome to join us.

Tim- I'm in the same boat, I think I may do an eBay bid to buy a Escalade cluster so I have the transmission gauge too. Go figure Chevy saved $25 and I'll spent $200.


CTS & Chet - Thanks for the camping tips, my 9 year old thinks it would be "so cool" to drive on the beach with our Av. We thought about taking it on the Dunes at Honeyman SP, even bought a flag, but I just didn't feel that comfortable. I did see another Av doing it though.

Maybe we need to consider a Spring Meet at the coast next year!
 

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Great shots Y-Guy, you've got those sunsets down.

Quick question, where is Honeyman State Park? I can't seem to find it on the Oregon or Washington lists.

Oh yeah, and I'm still game for a "mini-rally" for Northwesterners. Seems like there is enough of us around to put together a good shindig...

Chet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Chet, it goes officially by Jessie M. Honeyman State Park, here is the link to the campground. Its just a couple miles south of Florence. You don't have access to the beach, but you can back track to South Jetty. The lake, Cleowox is really nice and warm in the summers. Girl Scouts or Campfire has the other side of the lake. The Dunes are a blast. My kids loved it, but the expression of our exchange student was what made it so fun. Avoid the H loop unless you are into ATV's. During our stay I think only C and H were open, about 2/3 of the park seemed to be closed off.
 
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