May 20, 2014

Do I have ADHD?

You know when I haven't posted in 4 days or longer, things may be happening .... and they

A year ago in June 2013, someone told me that I had to make a choice to either find my comfort level in my tow vehicle or in my trailer.

During my drive home last Friday after looking at the 1984 33' Holiday Rambler I realized I might have to make some changes. I didn't like the longer larger vehicle (rv or truck). I know if I had only one dog that my idea about traveling would be small and off the grid as far as possible. One of the full-timers I follow has a big ole F350, towing a 26' trailer, he is off the grid a lot but has mentioned at times even though the truck is diesel and 4x4, he is in locations that he is hesitant in either approaching or has attempted with things bottoming out. That's not good when your truck is 20' and you have an additional 26-29' behind you. I thought about that for a few miles that I was driving last Friday. I was also thinking about a 33' RV towing the smallest toad ... still limited.

I also started thinking about the older Class A idea and how much that was really going to cost me in the long run for any kind of repairs lurking around the corner. I was sure they were similar to any old vehicle, in my case it was the VW buses I had a few years ago. That was, even though they were in great shape and road worthy, something always needed to be repaired.  Also that 33' HR I looked at was on a different website for sale .. no year listed but shows it was 37'. The paperwork inside that RV shows also that it was not a 1984 but a 1982. I also remembered past and current Class A owners that wanted or want to downsize. Parking something smaller was going to be more comfortable to me. So you can probably already tell that the "brain cells" have been moving, somewhat non-stop at times.

The other night I asked a follower that has traveled full-time in every thing possible, from a cargo trailer to a 40' motorhome with slides. My question to him was what did he think was the best traveling combination. He replied traveling solo he preferred a truck / trailer. With my hounds, I could still to do a truck / trailer. Yet, I was finding out with my recently purchased larger Chevy Silverado 2500HD 4x4 Short Bed, it was feeling bigger than I thought it would be. It was my first larger truck but I was getting use to it, hadn't backed into anything or sideswiped anything. I knew it could basically tow anything that I would want to live in. It would be a great truck hauling down the highway pulling a 30' trailer or even a 5th wheel but that was not what I wanted to do. I knew with the size, even though it was 4x4, it was not like a Jeep, Hummer or FJ Cruiser 4x4 ... that could get off the grid without problems.

Like all shopping addicts ... I had been looking at some particular brand 4x4 vehicles recently .... around my RV inspections ... lol. I've missed my H3 with cylinder problems and I also know that was my 2nd choice at the time I bought it. There is one vehicle I have always wanted and a few use that same vehicle to tow a trailer and it's tow rating is a little more than the H3 I had. It has a bigger engine than the I5 engine my H3 had.

A few nights ago I asked myself if you were down to just one vehicle (my plan) instead of 3 .... what vehicle would you chose for normal travel, off-road trips and still have the ability to tow a 19' trailer???

It's the Toyota FJ Cruiser.

Yes, I know 2014 will be their last model. That's fine with me, parts will always be available. After all, the H3 Hummer was no longer being made either.

Actually I had been looking at the FJ Cruiser online for quite a while....years. I had a price range it needed to fit in, miles? really didn't care but I wanted all the off-road packages..the rock rails, the skid plates, the 17" wheels, tow package, brake controller, transmission cooler, luggage rack and on top of that it should get 15-19 mpg. I'm told around 13 mpg if a trailer is being towed.

Well late, late Sunday night I was poking around online and found one that met all the requirements.  It was not listed on the site I normal doing my searching. A friend had recently bought her new used car from a different site and I decided to try that.....and there it was. A short drive away, all the photos shows it's in great shape. Good enough to call and possibly go see it. I don't mind a little wear and tear in the cargo area.  So I called the dealer first thing Monday morning, a couple of hours away, to get a ballpark figure for the trade in value of my Chevy Truck. The range was acceptable and even if he gave me the lowest number, a deal could be worked. I cleaned up, made a fresh cup of Seattle's Best Coffee and hit the road.

Long story short, he gave me more than the trade in range we spoke of on the phone. In his area, trucks like mine are popular. The FJ was in fact better shape outside and inside than I had anticipated. It sounded great, drove even better and one I knew I wanted after the test drive. At the time I did not know what they were going to give my for my truck. I knew that I was willing to accept even a little below the number we spoke of on the phone, this FJ was that good. I'd make up the difference with cash. Neatly folded and tucked into the owner's manual at different maintenance dates, were all the applicable receipts for oil changes and routine preventive maintenance. Someone liked record keeping just like me. It was a 1-owner, bought new and had all the options that I had been looking for.

Will this FJ be a 'toad'? That is doubtful. I have decided to move away from the old Class A option. I was always going to supplement my rig, rv or trailer with a 8x10' PaHa Que tent for the hounds and I during the day. Maybe something like a screen room. So I am back to a 19' trailer, around 3,500 lbs max. I know this is hard for those that travel in 35'-40' motorhomes ... but it's what I am comfortable doing and basically has been more original plan.

Another thing that got me thinking this way was the drive back home on Friday after the disappointing motorhome inspection. That is .... I need a vacation. I don't want to spend the summer or the next month spending time tracking down a trailer to travel in while time moves forward. I need to get away for at least a few weeks, maybe a month before it starts getting extremely hot and humid where I live. I can handle extremely hot and low humidity. I will probably even avoid places that are extremely hot for the hounds peace of mind.

So I am going to pack up my new to me vehicle, find my scattered camping equipment and buy new what I can't find ... pull out my 2015 Travel Atlas and hit the road. I still plan on boondocking but for the next few weeks to a month it's going to be pretty low key and camping like I use to, only with hounds this time. If it doesn't work then we will turn around and come back, no big deal.

So I have replaced the 7 year old tires on the FJ with Bridgestone Duelers AT's, checked all the belts, fluid levels. I have done tests for the hounds to get in and out of the back of the FJ, either from the side or the back door (seats fold down flat) and they have passed with flying colors....all except Winston. He loves to ride, loves to go ... so he refused to jump out the back , refused to even stand up to let me pick him up and help him to the ground.....because he loves to ride, loves to go anywhere in a moving vehicle.

So there you have it. For the hundredth time I have changed my mind on rigs and combinations. I have a tow vehicle that I have always wanted, even if I wasn't traveling. I am more confident taking that places off the grid than that long wheel base truck. I can live with whatever trailer I buy and so can the hounds.

Like my friend told me last year, whom I cannot remember, you have to find your comfort level either with your tow vehicle or with your trailer. I chose the tow vehicle.

I'll not be around for a while to update the blog. When I say I need to get away from my location, I also need to get away from computers. I'll take my iPad for GPS purposes and email ... but I will not be blogging for a while. I want to live days right now without a lot of electronics ... just good 'old school' daily activity.

I just need a break.

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