April 21, 2014

Trailers and Campers

First of all I have been having some really strange internet connection problems since last Wednesday. I've called my local provider for setting up an appointment with the AT&T phone people to come out and check their lines. They did the same thing in February or coincidentally the same time I was told my monthly fee was increasing $10 per month like the wireless plan I cannot have with them due to my location. Still I had to pay for that plan because their DSL plan was going away. I have no choice other than LAN lines for DSL or the HughesNet Satellite. What is strange is the period of time my connection has been intermittent. In the early morning hours up until 9am and after 9pm, it's a strong fast connection. I guess that is a way of telling me to back away from the desk and get outside.

It's another great weather day here in the 'tropics' of southern Indiana. The only thing I have planned for today is mowing the yard this morning after the sun dries out the morning dew. The hounds are still waking me up to go out in the dark morning like it's a normal work day. I guess they didn't get the memo that I have stopped working a job. Then ten minutes after that morning "dog bone" when they come back in, they are all sound asleep for the rest of the morning. Life is rough for these hounds.

The times my internet connection was working, I spent the weekend nights looking at forums that discussed trailers. I looked at trailers, all different lengths, different distance from my house, and different brands. I had a few phone calls to discuss different options, had a lot of private email offering suggestions and a few comments on the blog.

Whatever length of trailer I decide on, I am working with 80% of my towing rating so I can stay inside the safety zone as well as a little less weight for a mile or two added to the mpg. I'm not sure if that even makes much difference. I'm am finding out the longer the trailer is, the easier they are to back into a spot. Still with a 19+' truck, just a 21' trailer, I am looking at 40' going down the road. What's strange about that distance is, I would not want a 40' Class A. Am I looking at that the wrong way? An off-grid friend says 24' would be about the max they would buy based on how and where I want to camp. Other's suggest the bigger the truck, the bigger the trailer. So I guess it might depend on what is my priority, comforts of home or better off-grid navigation possibilities?

Included in this thought process on what length to buy, are the hounds. What will be enough room for them? Do I need just one slide out? I know from looking at photographs that one slide out in a trailer makes a world of difference. Like anything else there are pros and cons of having a slide out. Yes I can park the trailer where I am camping, unhitch and use my 4x4 truck for exploring, trips to the store or any emergency runs. That is one reason I like the truck/trailer combination. Still, it's hard to decide just on what length to buy. Priorities again.

By Sunday afternoon I had a brand new option to consider. Many of you will disapprove, some will think I am all out bonkers and have fallen off the deep end and other's will get their morning laugh. I even laugh to myself when I think about it. A clue is, I've always wanted the "EarthRoamer" but never had a spare $250K - $400K to buy one. So yes, the new option was a truck camper.  How did all of this come to the surface? While reading an rv forum yesterday in the "truck camper" section, someone posted they traveled with their wife and 4 dogs ... one of the dogs being large. Two adults and 4 dogs inside a truck camper for many months at a time (6 mos minimum).   I replied to that post asking if it was possible to travel that way with one less adult but one big dog, over 80 lbs. (my bloodhound) Not only did I get possible replies to that posted question, I received positive emails and private messages on that forum.

I knew someone I could ask, a friend of mine follows my blog, has been traveling with dogs for many years and by the pictures sent in the past of their truck and truck camper, it COULD be possible. They said it would work. Of course a ramp will be needed to help the hounds get into the camper and also save my back from lifting them. I was going to need ramps with a trailer and also helping them into the crew cab of the truck, so ramps are ramps.

Even with a trailer, the majority of time in my day will be spent outside. We just need a place to stay at night and during bad weather. I would take a screen room tent for me and the hounds to use if needed only during the daylight hours. If I ended up needing more storage I could tow a small cargo trailer or off-road trailer. I know that option is hard for some of you to swallow but it's always the way I wanted to camp ... off the grid. This has many advantages, too many to go into during this post but it might be a post later on after the "flames die down".

If it didn't work out, I would do what everybody else does in this area of rv, trailer traveling and what I have done once so far .... if it doesn't work then sell it and buy something else.

My hounds do not do much but sleep, sleep and sleep. I have had a better chance this past week to witness their schedules and it doesn't change whether it's a week day or weekend. The only times they are awake and active are 15 minutes in the morning, around noon to go out and mid afternoon to play, eat and a walk afterward. At night they are up for a short time but always asleep somewhere by 8pm. Although last week we walked twice per day. When we are outside, the bloodhound scouts ever smell she collects while the older basset lays in the sun .... and sleeps!!! Heidi, the "queen of the couch", doesn't like outside because the couch is inside, thus the majority of her time is sleeping. She does let me know by barking if I have gone past the normal time of feeding them.

So there is today's thought. Plenty of time to decide what to do, trailer or camper. I really don't want to hit the road until at least two of my vehicles are sold. Both were detailed over the weekend. The old '94 truck is getting visits, the '06 Mini Cooper is getting calls and texts with questions. In the meantime, I'll work in the yard, downsize more stuff inside and enjoy my new freedom.

Here is my idea of a great camping spot for weeks at a time

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