2014 Outer Banks Trip and our 2014 X18D!
9 days, 1,500 miles, and a great trip.
This was our first BIG trip with the new camper! We totally love our 2014 X18D and are planning bigger and better trips for next year.
We left Connecticut on Saturday morning and drove to Salisbury MD for the night. It took about 7 hours to make the drive pulling the trailer and stopping every hour for little people to go to the bathroom and stretch their legs. We have a 6 year old son, and a 3 year old daughter so anything more than 8 hours in the car is too much and results in big problems at bedtime. I picked Salisbury as the stopping point due to it being almost the middle of the trip, and the fact that there was space at a Marriot Courtyard and we could use my reward points for a free night. We stopped at the same hotel on the return trip a week later. The hotel was also right on the route we were taking, and it had multiple eateries to choose from all within walking distance.
We departed Sunday morning from Salisbury and finished our trip in Frisco NC at the NPS campground around 430pm. We did stop at the Wright Brothers National Memorial for an hour or so as well as at the ORV Permit office in Buxton NC at the Hatteras Lighthouse to pick up our beach driving permit.
Now for the trailer towing experience.
We have a 2012 Nissan Pathfinder (V6) and we pulled the trailer all the way down and back with no issues. I have the weights/cargo down pretty good as far as what goes into the trailer and cargo area of the pathfinder and figure I am under the 4600lbs max for the trailer by at least 200lbs. We donít put much more in the pathfinder than toys for the kids and a cooler with some drinks, so there isnít much weight. For all the people who told me I would be under powered (V6) and barely able to climb up the hills on the Interstate I just have to say NOPE. The pathfinder towed flawlessly and had no issues.
We averaged 10.4 MPG while towing at a max speed of 65 mph. I figure that is not bad since the pathfinder usually gets 15 Ė 16 MPG anyway. I canít overstate how nice my Reese WDH and sway bar set up is. We were on the NJ Turnpike, I-84, and I-95 and never felt unsafe or uneasy when the big rigs passed us (and they did a lot!).
Now for the camping experience.
NPS Frisco campground was beautiful. Very quiet, very rustic. No hookups. We filled our freshwater tank at the Hatteras Lighthouse area and pulled the camper the last 6 Ė 7 miles with a full tank. I also had to dump the black tank when we got there due to the excessive use by the kiddos on the way down. I generally leave a few gallons of water in my fresh tank so that the bathroom is serviceable while driving. It makes the trip so much quicker if the kids can pee in the trailer at rest stops instead of having to find an open bathroom. We stayed at this campground for 3 nights and I have absolutely no complaints. It is first come, first serve, and we had many sites to choose from. Most looked decent, although some would definitely be buggy and windless due to the trees and dunes nearby. We were up high with some trees around us, but we had a wonderful ocean breeze the entire time. We dumped at the Hatteras lighthouse area when we left with no issues.
On Wednesday we moved to the Hatteras KOA in Rodanthe NC. The sites were small, very small when compared to the Frisco Campground. We had electric, water and cable TV, no dumps. The bathrooms were clean, the showers were hot, and the kids loved the pool (waterslides!). The campground was busy, but cleared out on Friday (it rained all day). My only complaint with the campground was the unbelievable number of flies. They were terrible and we could not eat outside without being swarmed. I actually sprayed an area behind our trailer where you could see hundreds of flies lying on the ground. It was disgusting. There was no waste, garbage or other obvious cause. One neighbor also commented on how bad it was and welcomed my wasp/hornet/flying insect spray can! My son loved the KOA as he could lay in the air conditioned trailer and watch TV!
Our Jayco X18D performed flawlessly! Friday was a complete washout, rained all day and nothing in the camper got wet or even damp. We had not used the AC (except in the driveway while loading) until this trip and it was on for 2 complete days. The trailer stayed cool the entire time (it was hot and humid). We used the outdoor shower a lot (beach sand everywhere).
One last note:
The best part of the Outer Banks was that we could drive our vehicle out on the beach! I am not a beach person, and generally hate going there. I see trips to the beach as involving a death march through the sand dunes carrying meager provisions followed by sweltering heat with sand in every crevice which ends 3 to 4 hours later with a similar death march back to a vehicle parked in the blistering sun. Well NO MORE!!! You apply for and get a 7 day permit ($50) and you can drive right out onto the beach (some restrictions). You can bring a big cooler, chairs, a tent, an umbrella that is actually big enough to provide actual shade!!!! You can drink a cold beer!!!!! I couldnít get enough of the beach. We are definitely going back. We will probably go a day or two longer, and camp on Ocracoke at the NPS campground next summer.
Anyone who wants any info on this trip, our experience, or our setup / equipment send me a message or post here and I will try to answer!
Iím also planning a trip to the Grand Tetons for next year as well!