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Old 06-23-2013, 04:19 AM   #81
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Default Re: Opinions on towing a travel trailer with a truck? Thanks

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Originally Posted by Mike
The parking looks big but I think I still have to shuffle things to make things work a bit better. Not sure yet what will work.
Yes, that's the Roadtrek. It is an antique but has been gently used, and will remain a backup travel system for now. Short trips, 48 hours or less.
There is much to do before we try it all out. I'll add any changes in status or "startling revelations" to this thread as they occur.
Thanks for the encouragement. It's all good.
Speaking of startling revelations, we've since gone through a power awning recall repair a few weeks back, which essentially anchored the trailer in the driveway until the repairs were completed. While we waited for a house call repair, I did some more setup stuff including the WDH to match it to the tow vehicle ball height and that entailed running around trying to find some specialty washers to adjust the hitch head angle. Then there were the 2 new torque wrenches I bought to torque various additional hardware.
And we still hadn't moved the trailer much more than a few feet up and down the driveway, let alone actually getting it on the road.
So, after much sober deliberation, we've decided the trailer saga is over, and we've decided to stick with the Roadtrek for a while longer. Even with the shortcomings we've worked around for the last 5 years, it's still a less labor intensive way to travel. The trailer is now officially for sale (I'll post particulars in the Trading Post on here), if anyone knows anyone who might be interested in a trailer. They are a lot of work, but also much less expensive than newer class B vans. It is a nice compact little RV, not too heavy to pull with a smaller capacity tow vehicle, but at our ages, there's no way we can keep up with the extra work involved in traveling by this method.
Lesson learned.
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Old 06-23-2013, 08:19 AM   #82
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Default Re: Opinions on towing a travel trailer with a truck? Thanks

Mike:

Don't feel bad, as I learned the exact same lesson, thinking that my F-150 and a travel trailer would be the cat's meow for trips.

I don't have the storage space at my place for a trailer, so it sits an hour drive away, and the only time it gets used is when I drop by each month for a checkup and to exercise the A/C, heater, and appliances, and when I drag it to a festival where it sits on site for a quarter of the year.

It is absolutely no fun for trips because on a long drive, if I want to stop by a little town, I have to find a CG or RV park, dump the trailer off (spending at least 10-20 minutes unhitching), and in the punishing Texas sun with 100+ degree weather, it is no fun whatsoever.

I cannot complain about the TT, it has been a solid trailer, and has not yet leaked, nor failed in any major ways.

However, I am going to be very happy on the day when it either gets traded in, or supplemented by a "B", and I can actually just drive to a small town, hit what events are there, then just find a spot the size of a parking spot to crash for the night, be it a RV park, friend's driveway, church parking lot, or some property that is used for a hunting lease, but is vacant on the off season. The nice thing about a "B" is that I can get with a friend in another town, and with a white hose, 20A connection, and a sewage clean-out using a macerator pump, I have FHU for the rig. Can't do that with a trailer.
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Old 06-23-2013, 02:16 PM   #83
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Default Re: Opinions on towing a travel trailer with a truck? Thanks

Hey, live and learn, as they say.

We're going to see if we can move it on to someone who has kids and a dog (or cat????) as an inexpensive way to do some family traveling, while they decide if it's the lifestyle they want (bringing your own bug free "house" with you on vacation).

If selling it doesn't work out as a best option, we've decided we can still travel by Roadtrek for a few more years, and maybe we'll find a "favorite place" to drag it to, and then leave it there all year round, hooking it up and using it during our Canadian winter months, and use the Roadtrek to get back and forth. That was how we had originally envisioned the project to play out. I'd prefer something like that, like you do, storing it while we're up here, and then pulling it out between November and March and using it as a base camp down nearer to you. I could easily do Austin, TX or somewhere else near there from December to March. You're only a 2.5 day drive from us.
Know any nice campgrounds with monthly rates, for staying, and for storing?

Link to Trading Post "4 sale" ad.
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=2643
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Old 06-23-2013, 04:01 PM   #84
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Default Re: Opinions on towing a travel trailer with a truck? Thanks

Mike,

You just went through what we went through a decade ago when we bought a vintage Airstream trailer and never got it out of the driveway for two years. We sold it and bought a B.
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Old 06-23-2013, 06:04 PM   #85
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Default Re: Opinions on towing a travel trailer with a truck? Thanks

Yup. Sadly, we're not unique in being the first, and we probably won't be the last.
I was getting concerned that it was going to start looking like the ones you see beside people's homes with grass and weeds growing up all around them.
Luckily, we hung on to the Roadtrek, jic the trailer didn't work out.
I had to fight tooth and nail to keep it all in the driveway, but as it turns out, it was the right decision, short term.

If any good comes out of this, it may serve as a warning to others that you can do as much homework as possible, and know that it still may not be enough. That, and I learned a lot about towing and hauling and the systems that support it, and even simpler things like the importance placed on proper torque of simple parts. It was educational.
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Old 06-23-2013, 09:13 PM   #86
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Default Re: Opinions on towing a travel trailer with a truck? Thanks

Sometimes even the best amount of doing homework may not help. I know that I never realized how much time it takes to unhitch and hitch, especially because there are so many other people here in Texas with trailers. However, what I didn't realize is that storage is very precious, and even though I had it planned where I was going to store my trailer, it is just too long a drive for a quick road trip.

Everyone makes mistakes. The idea of having the TT somewhere as a winter retreat is smart. I'm just going to unload mine once I buy my "B", and in the meantime, am working on some random projects when I'm not studying for certification exams and such.
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Old 06-24-2013, 01:50 AM   #87
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Default Re: Opinions on towing a travel trailer with a truck? Thanks

Hitching and unhitching isn't as easy as putting the gear shifter in Park, and making something to eat, or watching some TV before bed, or whatever. Although, after I figured out the principle of the WDH and sway bars, I was getting good at it, even having only done it a handful of times in total.
My concern was all the ancillary stuff that requires constant checking. I just didn't realize that there's a fair amount of stuff involved, and my memory isn't what it used to be. I'd be afraid of forgetting something, and would drive myself nuts trying to make sure everything was perfect.
That said, much of it can be done before your trip once, and checked again when you return. We were hoping for a more mobile truck/trailer combo that we could still "tour" in, without a lot of fussing with stuff. And, since literally millions more people travel by trailer or 5th wheel, I honestly thought I could get the hang of it quickly, and it would get easier. I think I realized after the 2 months we've had the trailer, it's probably easier for a younger cross section of the RV community to pick up at an earlier age, even though there are many who prefer it to motorhome travel, but probably have been trailering all their lives. I think it's harder to pick it up when you're older. At least that's how we see it now.
Maybe it will become our "vacation home" somewhere in an RV park somewhere in TX, or NM, or AZ. We'll see how it goes.
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Old 06-24-2013, 08:43 PM   #88
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Default Re: Opinions on towing a travel trailer with a truck? Thanks

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Hello all,
We'd like to spend more time in the south during the winter, and are looking for a way to do it economically and with two cats along for the ride. We're looking for input/comments/experience/pros and cons of pulling a travel trailer with a large(r) pickup truck. It seems like it might be our only option under the circumstances, as I don't think I could pull anything behind the class B. It would be too much wear and tear on an already stressed to the max chassis, engine, and transmission combo.
Basic Premises: Our target stay would be for at least a month at a time, but two or more wouldn't be beyond possibility. One of our greatest challenges is that we have 2 cats that do not travel well in the confines of a class B RV. The simple issue of where to keep a litter box is almost impossible to deal with. So something larger is probably the only way to go. We're considering selling our B and getting a travel trailer and a mid to large sized truck to pull it to a "destination" and drop it at a campground, and use the truck for day/overnight trips in and around the surrounding area, as well as supply runs. We believe the cats would be OK in anything 20' or longer, as nowadays these travel trailer things look like you could live in them full time, and not even know that you weren't living in a smallish bungalow in the burbs. They seem quite spacious, and some are very well equipped including all weather camping packages.

Disclaimer: We are getting close to the point (after 3.5 years of B-ing) where we feel like we're just about finished with the class B "touring" era of our travels anyway, and we've seen lots of places in and around North America. The B was a great tool for touring, fast, convenient, and economical. That said, we now have a short list of places in the US southwest where we'd like to plant ourselves during the colder months up here. Should we decide that a particular place is becoming too routine, we'd just pick up like you would with any other RV and move to someplace new. It's just a bit different than starting your B, and driving off. You have to hook up the truck/trailer first, then you start the truck and drive off. It does restrict some of the places you can drive, and the type of campsites you can fit into, but that's pretty obvious, and we're prepared to deal with that. Our feeling is, once the tt is parked, the truck becomes the touring vehicle, and that's going to have to serve as the fast, convenient, and economical part of traveling for us, should we proceed with our plans.

So, does anyone have any experience with switching from a B to a TT or vice versa? Any anecdotal info or even 2nd or 3rd party stories, good or bad, or just your considered opinions would be appreciated.
It's not a done deal yet, but it seems like about our only choice, to achieve our goal of spending more time in the warmer weather in winter, and creating a better overall travel situation for us and the cats, both short and long term. Up to now, we've used a local cat sitting service, but it's pricey, and it does limit the length of our stays away.

Thanks in advance, and I hope/expect this thread will get a lot of traffic. We need any and all input to help us to figure this out, and to point out anything we might have missed or misunderstood about trailers, and towing, and fuel economy, and insurance, and braking these things, and maintenance, and ERS, etc., etc.......

As another related question, do any of you belong to Passport America? Apparently they call themselves
the "50% off camping club", and they only charge $44/year to become a member. My cousin pulls a 20' tt and he's staying in Lake Elsinore, CA, at a really nice looking campground, for $15/night with full hookups, with the PA 50% off camping discount.
Thanks again, folks.
A few thoughts for your plans. Finding a good campground,regardless of price,can be difficult. Sometimes your dogs will require that you stay in a segregated area and pay extra. Additionally.many of the more reasonable parks are booked in advance because our neighbors to the north have discovered how warm and reasonable the parks are compared to Canada. In other words plan as far ahead for scheduling as you can. The larger your trailer the more difficult finding spaces to park ect. If you just snowbird and stay in one location,you will have fewer issues. As mentioned before your choice of trailer will be dependant on the tow vechicles capacity. Please do your homework carefully. Although warmer,cold spells do occur in the southwest. Have fun
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Old 06-24-2013, 09:59 PM   #89
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Default Re: Opinions on towing a travel trailer with a truck? Thanks

Thanks Ok pete.
We actually bought a small trailer back in March. Got a pretty good deal, imported it from Michigan, and added some convenience stuff to it, to make it even easier to set up and pack up and tow. Thought we had done more than enough homework to ensure it was what we wanted to do, to gain some space and amenities, over and above what our Roadtrek had. We looked into everything and had plenty of tow vehicle for it. We have been visiting the US Plains states and West and Southwest for years, and had pretty much figured out where we wanted to stay, probably somewhere between Houston and Yuma. Exact location was still TBD after a few long runs out with the trailer in tow, we figured.

Now comes the confusing part.
Change of plans. Rewind.
We've just now got the (Keystone Bullet 204RBS) trailer up for sale.
We've decided over the last 3 months, as we slowly learned what was really involved with trucks towing trailers, that traveling by truck, and pulling a trailer along everywhere you go, isn't for us after all.

So, if selling it doesn't work out in the short term, we may try to find a nice park somewhere south by continuing to tour with our Roadtrek first (as we've done for years), and then figure out the logistics of how to make it a regular vacation place. That might entail moving the trailer there (if we still have it) during our winter months, and storing it there when we're up here. We'd use the Roadtrek as our to and from transportation, and as an exploration and errands vehicle while there. If it sells, then we'll go back to touring with the Roadtrek, but may stay out for longer periods at places with suitable amenities for us.

As for finding suitable campgrounds, I'm sure it can be challenging. So far, we've been lucky in that we usually travel in the US west and southwest in the off seasons, and haven't had too many problems finding a place to park. Walmart always works for a night, if we're stuck.
We prefer NPS places in the off seasons, but would consider longer term stays at a well serviced, quiet, well priced commercial venture, too. Our basic requirement for services would be toilets and showers and laundry, for longer term stays. We have a cat, and unless he starts barking, we should be good to go at most dog restricted places, but that's a good point to consider.

The take away from all of this, as I suggested a few posts prior, is that you can do as much homework as you think you need to do, and it can still turn out to not be enough.
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Old 07-11-2013, 04:36 AM   #90
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Default Re: Opinions on towing a travel trailer with a truck? SOLD!!

SOLD! The trailer experiment is over. Learned a lot about alternative RVs, and about ourselves. If nothing else, it was an eye opener.
Onwards, and hopefully outwards.
I need a road trip (soon).
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Old 07-11-2013, 04:45 AM   #91
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Default Re: Opinions on towing a travel trailer with a truck? Thanks

That's great news Mike.
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Old 07-11-2013, 01:29 PM   #92
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Default Re: Opinions on towing a travel trailer with a truck? It's S

Thanks.
Now the search resumes for a larger B, a B+, or a small C, for longer stays away from home.

I think (therefore, I am?) we're probably looking for something like a Navion/View, or maybe a Born Free/BTCruiser/Kodiak, but they mostly lack the perma-bed set up. Fuel economy and value for money are always factors in our decisions. Sadly, we're not recent lottery winners, so price matters. Age, and/or odometer mileage, less so.

I think our simple list of what we want in our next RV are, a separate shower/bathroom area with more elbow room than most current class B bathrooms (even if we could afford one, that has always been a problem for us - we've managed to work around it for years now), and permanent bed combo, with a gas or propane generator to run the electrical load (A/C and M/W) off gird. If it has a decent galley set up, fridge/microwave/stove/oven that would be a bonus. We can probably work around that issue with a small propane grill or Coleman stove, and a small electric cooler of some sort. To this point, we haven't prepared much food ourselves, as our trips haven't been "stop n stay". If we do more destination travel in the future, we will probably have to figure out how to become more self sufficient food-wise, for a few days at a time.
Any other suggestions would be welcomed. Any links to RVs for sale that you might have stumbled upon, whether they're still for sale or not, would also be welcomed, as food for thought.
Tally ho!
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Old 07-11-2013, 02:37 PM   #93
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Default Re: Opinions on towing a travel trailer with a truck? Thanks

Mike,

You might find yourself again in a pickle going up to a Class C (c'mon there are no B+'s) and changing once again your travel habits and finding they still don't meet your needs for extended stays and give you frustration on the journey between.

But if you insist, I would look at the Leisure Travel Vans Unity. They beat the Navion/View hands down, IMO. I have looked at all of them at the RV shows and if there were no Class Bs and I had to pick a Class C, this would be the one.

Then if you move up to that size you'll need to tow or rent a car I would think.

Interestingly, in the BEE Social Group of people we rally with a couple of times a year, two couples moved up from a B to a View/Navion/Via for a couple of years and are now back down to a B. Both couples opted for the Winnebago ERA 70A.
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Old 07-11-2013, 04:36 PM   #94
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Default Re: Opinions on towing a travel trailer with a truck? Thanks

Thanks for the suggestion. That Unity looks really impressive. The "out of the box" price is prohibitive for us, and as it's on an MB chassis, so I doubt they'll drop much, even over a few years as they descend into the depreciated version.

If anything was learned from the trailer saga, it's more homework (> 100%) than we did is required, before taking any action. It ended OK this time, but next time, who knows.

Speaking of toads, we have a 2003 Cavalier that's in pretty good shape. It's supposed to be a flat tow.
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Old 07-18-2013, 02:54 AM   #95
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Default Re: Opinions on towing a travel trailer with a truck? Thanks

Hey Davydd,

After cruising the forum for some time now, I have to say that you have pretty good taste--or at least tastes like mine. I guess that's why we both chose essentially the same rigs.

Anyway, I agree that If I had to choose a slightly larger rig, it would be the Unity. I particularly like the one with the murphy bed. The extra space would be wonderful to have when at an RV park, and probaby even at a state campground or a Wal-Mart parking lot (although I would want to put the slide-out out). Driving it, as you say, might give frustrations. The day before we looked at the Unity at Johnson RV just outside of Portland, OR (I think it is in Sandy, OR), we had crossed the Golden Gate bridge the day before at rush hour in our GW Legend SE and it was tense. I can't help thinking how much more stressful it would have been had we been driving a LTV Unity. Also the day or two before that, we were going through LA at rush hour and that was stressful in another way the SOBs would cut in in front of us and put on their brakes. We kept trying to leave a safety cushion of room in front of us, but the LA drivers wouldn't allow it. A normal Sprinter under those conditions is a bit stressful to drive, but I wonder how I would feel in a much larger LTV Unity. I often wonder how Class A'ers navigate through areas like those.

Anyway, I have to agree that the Unity is a great looking rig when it's parked, but I wonder how it is in motion.

...........Rocky

Quote:
Originally Posted by Davydd
Mike,

You might find yourself again in a pickle going up to a Class C (c'mon there are no B+'s) and changing once again your travel habits and finding they still don't meet your needs for extended stays and give you frustration on the journey between.

But if you insist, I would look at the Leisure Travel Vans Unity. They beat the Navion/View hands down, IMO. I have looked at all of them at the RV shows and if there were no Class Bs and I had to pick a Class C, this would be the one.

Then if you move up to that size you'll need to tow or rent a car I would think.

Interestingly, in the BEE Social Group of people we rally with a couple of times a year, two couples moved up from a B to a View/Navion/Via for a couple of years and are now back down to a B. Both couples opted for the Winnebago ERA 70A.
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Old 07-18-2013, 02:37 PM   #96
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Default Re: Opinions on towing a travel trailer with a truck? Thanks

The rules of the road to some folks must be all about "size matters", and many are all about "survival of the fastest". Drive timid, and you may/will be abused. I don't think it's about the vehicle, as much as it is about the driver. Just my opinion there.
However, I've found that most non-RV drivers seem to respect a larger vehicle as something that can crush them like a grape, and so generally try to avoid making contact. We've never had too much trouble with being "dissed" in either our Roadtrek or in our F-150 SuperCrew. Our Cavalier is another story. I generally take it easy out there, and just chalk up the dart ins and outs and getting cut off to experience. You can't take it personally, unless someone actually makes contact, or you'll spend your trips in aggravation-mode. I'd have no problem driving anything as big as a class A DP, if I could afford one + a toad.
We've also found that California is a completely different animal, and has no specific rules of the road, except that everyone on them is late for something.
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