I have been putting off trimming and skiing the back door for a while….. But now that its good and cold, the door and frame sweat, a lot.
So I got a dry day and got to work. First a layer of foam board was spray glued to the door. Its 1″ thick and R 5.
Next layer was a sheet of 1/4″ ply glued to the insulation. The glue was supposed to be temporary, but it holding well so far, I may add a few screws later.
This left me with covering the metal frame that goes around the back door. Its steel, and goes all the way through to the outside, so its cold and it sweats. I look a couple of scraps of the 1″ foam and cut it down to 1/2″ thick. This was glued to the steel to create a thermal break. Plywood is not very insulating, so a gap between the wood and metal is needed.
aNext I cut a piece of 1/2″ ply to cover the frame, and overlap the door. I am putting a gasket on it to keep the moisture vapor from getting behind it and sealing the space.
Really cleaned up the inside, its not just an aluminum door anymore. And no more dripping on the bed! That’s the last big wall piece that was left to do.
A couple little things have been done. I ordered some cushions online, they finally came in! They look great! They are 3″ thick, and Sunbrella outdoor fabric, made to my sizes. Glad I just had them made.
Also put new marker light bulbs in the truck. One was out, and they always seem to follow each other so the others were probably close behind. I used some LED ones.
Also stopped by my local Air Harbor to pick up some Jet A, I am going to try running the furnace on it, it should be nearly the same kerosense. Much much cheaper, and you get to see the cool planes when they are filling you.
I don’t generally like to leave the big bright porch light on, I know a lot of RV people do, but in the middle of nowhere when its really damn dark, that is too bright.
I wanted just a little light to help find the stairs, or just see a little light around the truck. So I came up with a plan. I bought some trailer marker lights, they are small LED’s 60 lumens ish, and mount in a 3/4″ hole. This was important, the flange around the bottom on the box is ~1 1/4″. My idea is to mount them to just shine on the ground around the bottom edge of the box.
So the first step is to drill a hole, A step bit was used to do this.
The lights work by removing the rubber, slipping that into the hole, then slipping the light into that. Its pretty secure in there actually.
Then the wiring. I had run a circuit to the passenger side tool box area when I was wiring the truck. I figured it would be handy for something in the future to have power out there. I used a light up push button switch, and an old antenna mount to hold it. It had to be spaced away from the corner a bit to clear the door for the propane access.
And the final result! Its awesome! Just a nice little bit of light around the truck. The camera makes it look a little brighter than it is, its just a subtle bit of light.
After our last snow trip I noticed the carpet under the dog bed was a bit wet from condensation. Need to do something about that. I had planed to insulate the back wall of the cab anyway, it was bare metal panels where the window used to be, so I had planned to do that for noise if nothing else.
So I ordered a roll of thin foam insulation (I ended up with EZ Cool) and got to work.
Pull all the plastic trims out, pulled the back seat, and rolled the carpet up onto the front seats. I am only doing the rear section at the moment, I don’t have time to pull all the front stuff out too. It takes forever….. Not much insulation from the factory.
Cut a piece bigger than you think you need. All the bends and curves make it shrink!
Then start at one end and work across forming, cutting taping. Don’t forget the holes for seats, seat belts etc! I stuffed it as far forward as I could then made sure it was kind of square and started working towards the back. It bends and shapes ok, not sure easy. But making cuts and taping it seems to get it to hold its shape.
Once the floor was done I flopped the carpet back down and started to work on the back walls. much harder, curves, small pieces, slots for the trim panels. But it got done. Spray glue worked great to hold in on the larger flat panels.
I also wrapped around the gasket between the box and the cab. Its not a lot of insulation, but any little bit helps. You can see the seats and trims are back in here too. Eventually I will probably carpet the back wall to match the trucks interior, but for now its shiny!
So the backup lights have never worked, no idea why. So it was finally dark enough to warrant fixing them. Backing up twisty FS roads in the dusk the previous weekend reminded me….
I had checked the fuses but its a complicated mess. Three fuses, two inside, one under the hood, one relay, the transmission selector switch and the added wring of the box, and tow harness… So I started at the junction box where all the lights connect in the back under the box, everything looked good. Traced the wiring all the way back to the transmission, all looked good. Range switch seemed fine and adjusted correctly. So I went back to fuses again….. There it was, one fuse turned sideways, I was checking the wring one. But new fuse in pace and all better!
But I had decided to add more reverse light. A cheap 20″ light bar should work well. I tied it to the trailer wiring so as not to overload the factory reverse circuit.
A couple of rivnuts in the aluminum plates above the back bumper and I have a spot to mount a light. This was my first use of rivnuts, super handy! They work like a rivet but leave a threaded inset.
A couple of stainless 1/4-20 bolts and the bar is installed.
The weather called for a good sized winter storm to hit the local mountains, so what do we do? Pack up and head out to try to find snow!
Snow level was still pretty high, higher than the ski area, but we found the highest spot we could pretty easily get to up a forest service road. We had been up there before, but never that high, there are a couple of steep switch backs that had always held us back. So I grabbed a new pair of tire chains on my way home from work and we headed out for an adventure.
Turning off the highway onto dirt it was still raining. We need to get higher!
Not long after it started snowing, not hard, but not sticking yet. After getting through the switch backs we made it to 4600′. Not much higher we could easily go, so we found a flat ish wide spot and called it good for the night. IT was snowing and sticking at this point.
We played in the snow until it got dark and headed inside for dinner. Made a little fire and went to bed for the night. In the morning I could hear the snow hitting the roof vents, good sign! But I had not checked the fuel for the heater before we left….. It was empty. I had extra, but it took a good 45 minutes to get the lines primed again.
It had snowed bout 3″ over night and was still coming down hard. After a quick breakfast we did some sledding and whatnot. Kid and dog had a great time throwing snow around.
We decided we should probably head down the hill before it got too much more snow. Only one car had come by in the morning, and it was a little slick.
Road looked a little different on the way down! Lots more snow. No issues going down the hill, just idled down in first gear. As it turns out in 2WD the whole time…. The front axle is not engaging, one more thing to be fixed. But overall a great trip and fun to play in the snow!
Sooo we needed a backup camera. I had an old phone I figured I would try use as a screen. So I ordered a Wifi transmitter and a camera. Good in theory, not so good behind a huge metal box.
But anyway, the camera and transmitter seem decent, the license plate light was tapped for power, and the camera is powered off the transmitter.
It was all installed in a tupperware for water proofness, and attached to the back bumper panel with VHB tape.
Now it works, if your behind the truck, not exactly ideal….. As soon as you move past the the back and down the side the signal just drops. Oh well, I guess I need to run wires….
Also a cell booster was installed. This works better! Definitely get better signal, but its still slow if the signal is weak. Also there is some interference with FM radio if its signal is weak also. The external antenna is close, but far enough per the install guide, but moving it further away may help. The unit is a WeBoost 4G-x, its in the glove box, and the internal antenna is above the rear view mirror.
So a wrap up of the first long trip we have done. 9 days, 2 states, 2 provinces, 3 people, two 100lb dogs. All worked pretty damn well. Truck eats up highway miles like a dream, drives really nice.
As always we come home with a list. Need to get clothes storage above the bed done. Getting under it all the time is a pain. Bed also needs a grab handle to help with lifting. Better seals are needed on the back doors. Back bumper needs to go. But all things we can tackle in time.
To start we headed from Seattle to Spokane. First night was in Riverside State park. It was hot, but the river was warm enough for careful swimming, there was a good current. Luckily we had a hook up site that night that allowed us to run our little portable AC unit.
Not a bad site.
There is a little suspension bridge across the river so you can hike up and down both sides of the canyon.
Next two nights were spent in the Silverwood Theme park RV campground. It was clean, had hook ups, but exactly zero shade. It was very very hot. But the park was a lot of fun, and water slides are good for cooling off! We had never gone before and the kid loved it.
We got up at 4am to head up to Canada, it was a good 6 ish hour drive and we had a long hike we wanted to sneak in that afternoon. Off to the mountains!
We had planned to hike up to the plain of six glaciers above Lake Louise, but upon seeing the line to even get up to the lake we turned around and headed to the campground where we would stay that night. We promptly passed out for a nap. We made some lunch and headed back up later in the afternoon, luckily as we had hoped the crowds had cleared out a bit, we were able to park and head up on our hike.
It was gorgeous, dogs loved getting out of the truck and into the lake. There were quite a few avalanche chutes to cross with lots of snow left.
The next morning we headed up to Takkawa Falls. The second largest falls in Canada I believe. Again getting up very early has its advantages. There is one very tight set of switch backs in the road. Take notice of the directions on how to go up them.
You have to back up them in larger vehicles, even full size truck have trouble with the turns. Early morning was good, no one else even on the road heading up.
We had breakfast in the parking lot then it was a quick hike to the falls, pretty amazing, especially how far the mist went.
Beautiful views were everywhere, even just the drive back down. Sun just starting to hit the mountains in the distance.
We headed further north to out next destination, Wabasso campground. But on the way we stopped for a hike up the Athabasca Glacier.
The glacier walk was very cool, but its amazing how fast its disappearing. They loose around 20′ of thickness each year. The visitor center seen in the very back of the second picture, by the green, was built in the early 1900’s and was right at the toe of the glacier at that time.
It was a fun hike out and back, we took a guided tour and quite enjoyed it. IT was pretty cool to walk on hundreds of feet of ice, looking down into the crevasses, and just felling it under your feet. Definitely worthwhile.
Our campground for the night was Wabasso, we had a great spot right on the river. It was in the “tent only” loop, but this site is weird and only allows truck/van campers. Not much tent room and lots of roots, so I guess they just decided to do that. One thing to note is the road to Wabasso is terrible, its very old asphalt that is pot holed badly down the outsides. Just be aware of many people driving up the middle.
We bought a firewood permit here, the Canada Parks have a permit for all you can burn fire wood, $8 at the time. They have dump truck sized piles around the campground. However it was the last fire of the trip due to burn bans.
We again arose early to head out to our next destination, and hopefully avoid the crowds. We were headed for the hike up the Edith Cavell glacier, but upon arrival to the road up it was gated….. Little did we know that permits were now required. We headed up the road to the nearby ski area, and found a pull out for breakfast. We did some quick googling which lead us to find out permits are issued at the visitor center in Jasper at 8am daily. Being that we got an early start we still had plenty of time to head to town and get a permit. When we arrived at the visitor center there was quite the line already forming. But we ended up getting a permit for 11am and headed back towards the campground. The only other issue was the road was limited to 21 feet in length vehicles, we are a little over that, but no one said anything. With careful driving we made it just fine. There are a few very tight turns and the road is narrow, but it didn’t cause any issues.
Since we had some time to kill before out 11am slot to head up we stopped by Athabasca Falls. These waterfalls are scattered everywhere it seems! But this one was pretty neat. It had carved a very deep trench through the rocks.
Then it was our time to head up to the Edith Cavell Glacier. Like I mentioned the road has restrictions on length, but after driving it I think it’s not a big issue. It seems to me that it’s almost more to keep the drivers who are not super comfortable in their rental RV’s off. Its pretty tight.
Sadly the meadows above the glacier were closed due to a mommy Grizzly having cubs and being aggressive, but the glacier was still amazing.
We hung around for a bit, climbed up the ridge line and took lots of pics. We even got to see a chunk of the glacier break off and come tumbling down, it was very cool and faster than I could get a picture.
We had a nice lunch here, there was a great breeze blowing through the truck with the windows open and we were in no rush. Not a bad place to hang out. We headed back down the twisty road and spent another night in the Wabasso campground.
We headed out the next morning, leaving the Banff and Jasper parks behind. We headed back to BC and for Wellsgrey Provincial park. There we had a campground reservation way inside the park.
Along the way we stopped and hiked up towards Mt Robson. The hike up to the lakes was much further than I had anticipated, so sadly we didn’t make it all the way. There were lots of people heading up to camp at the lakes towards the base of the mountain. It was still nice to get out of the truck and walk for a couple of hours.
We made another quick detour as I saw a little spur road that looked like it went down to the river we were driving along. Sure enough it did, but someone had beaten us down there. It would have been a nice spot for lunch, but we took a few pics and left the others to the spot.
Like I mentioned our camp site was a fair ways inside the park. What I didn’t know if the road was gravel…. But BC parks has done a GREAT job keeping the road up, it been very very well soaked in magnesium chloride, a dust control and bonding agent, it was smooth and we left almost no dust going 40mph down the road.
We did however start to notice some smoke off in the distance. Not enough to smell it, but it was definitely there. This turned out to be the start of a very bad series of fires for the area.
Nice little campground, right on the river. Lots and lots of mosquitos though. They would flock to the window screens whenever we were inside. We whipped up some dutch oven break and a batch of chili.
The lake just a quick hike from the campground was very beautiful. There is a portage your able to take small boats and canoes through, and many many boat in campsites along the lake. It would be a lot of fun to come back for. The smoke is starting to make an appearance giving the orange glow to the evening. The lake was very cold though, even being very warm out it was not more than you wanted to put your feet in.
A crazy storm wind and lighting storm rolled through that evening, just enough huge drops to leave lots of marks in the dust on the truck, and make us run to get the EZ up out in time for it to stop. The lighting was cool, right overhead and all around, but short-lived. It was a nice last night, a little cooler and lots of little trails around the campground.
We awoke the next morning to smoke. The wind and lightning had started lots and lots of fires around the area. When we got radio service it said 174 fires, and they were evacuating the town we were driving through.
Before we left Wellsgrey park we stopped at a few waterfalls. You would never know they were there from driving by, it all seems reasonably flat, but wow there were some amazing ones!
First was Helmcken Falls, wow was not expecting that. The area is volcanic rock, and the streams/rivers have carved huge channels into the ground. It was a quick walk from the parking lot and insanely beautiful with huge canyon.
We then drove a few more miles down the road to the next stop, Dawson Falls. This one was wide and not nearly as tall.
And lastly, just before leaving the park was Spahats falls. Not as grand as Helmcken, but wow that was a deep Canyon. It just dropped off. Very cool to see the way the water can carve through basalt.
After find the amazing amount of falls tucked away in this park, those were just scratching the surface really, we pointed the truck south and headed home.
Sadly the smoke was our view for a few hundred miles. It didn’t clear up until we were back to Kamloops. But the drive home was uneventful .
So all in all 1600 miles, truck worked great, we were all tired, and it was a great little trip.