RV traveling is one of the most rewarding experiences that a couple can do in their golden years. Lynda and I have been RV traveling for several years now, we can hardly wait for our next adventure.
Our favorite is our annual early spring trek south to the warm sunshine of the southwest desert. Christmas is done and all our children and grand children have left to go back to school and work, too bad for them…….LOL. The house seems a little quiet after the holiday so we start planning our first adventure of the new year.
This article is about how to haul your big boy toys.
I am not talking about the kind of toys that fit in a toy box, well maybe the box on your pickup, I’m talking big boy toys, the type that burn fuel.
Our first trip south, probably 20+ years ago, we didn’t consider taking toys with us, we didn’t have room either. We traveled in our motor home, no car behind, although back then towing a car was not as popular as it is today.
We explored a couple of the south western states, a couple was all we had time for, it was only a 3 week tour.
You need a good atlas when traveling especially if you are considering boondocking or getting of the interstates for some secondary highway tours Click here to check out my review.
During that trip we got the itch to spend more time traveling in our RV, in fact my plan was to travel south every year at least for a couple of months once we had retired.
After retirement, the first trip was great except the only activity we were equipped do enjoy was hiking or riding our bicycles, which was great but I realized if we were going to dry camp or boondock for more than a week I would need other things to keep me busy.
Lynda has her hobbies to keep her occupied, she quilts, sews and reads. I am not much of a reader and as far as quilting and sewing go……..hum ….. not so much.
During this first tour south I paid close attention to all the different rigs people were using to bring there riding toys along.
RVers use many different configurations to bring their toys along, you nay see small box trailers covered containing some kind of ATV and maybe an upside down boat above.
Other RVers may tow a flat bed trailer, they come in all different lengths. On these flat beds you will see boats, ATVs, motor bikes, sand buggies, jeeps anything you can imagine.
The most interesting trailer you may see has an elevated deck with a boat or some lighter weight toy on the top level. The upper deck is an elevator controlled by a 12 volt winch with pulleys to hoist whatever is loaded high enough that the lower deck could be usable for other stuff.
Some RVers tow a pick up with a ATV or some other toy in the box. On occasion you will see a trailer being towed behind another trailer. This is legal in some states and provinces but not all, check the laws of the state or provinces on your route before you head out.
Another interesting arrangement is a one or two wheeled trailer with the deck rigidly attached to the tow trailer’s frame (not swivel ball), Idaho Tote is one brand. These are also not legal in all areas.
One of the better alternatives is the toy hauler travel trailer The small versions are a travel trailer with a rear loading ramp that doubles as a folds up door.
Inside, where the toys are parked while traveling, there is usually a system that enables the bed or beds and furniture folded up against the wall or ceiling to be set up after the toys are removed. These trailers are probably great for weekend camping as the living area can be small.
The larger version is the 5th wheel toy haulers, which works very well the disadvantage of these large rigs can be the weight they can be very heavy. A large truck is needed to tow them safely.
Always check your vehicles manual for towing and hauling capacities. Also some states and provinces require a special endorsement on your drivers license. This may mean taking a drivers course.
Even though there seems to be many solutions to the issue of hauling your toys, none of them are perfect. Generally a compromise of some sort is neccessary.
The perfect solution.
On one of our first trips south we boondocked near Quartzsite, Lynda and I were sitting in our lawn chairs enjoying a warm afternoon, when the ultimate rig pulled into a vacant near our camp.
A 40′ diesel pusher towing a trailer that seemed much longer than the motor home, wow, the ultimate. Being the considerate person I am I waited for the couple in the motor home to disembark. I wandered over to say… Hi
I was itching to see what my new neighbor had in the trailer. I introduced myself and asked what he was hauling in the trailer. He started to describe the interior but maybe my tongue hanging and my glazed over eyes told him that I needed to see inside.
I hope I can remember all the toys inside, a 2up ATV, a side by side , a small aluminum boat on a trailer, a flat bed trailer strapped to the inside wall to transport the ATVs in case there was a destination down the highway to ride from, a jeep SUV and many other smaller less important items.
Our new friens Mike and Janet had every toy they needed to make their boondocking experience perfect, the boat was obviously for another stop on their tour.
Mike and Janet, Lynda and I became friends, although Lynda and I only had our bicycles at the time, and could not tour with our new friends on ATVS, we shared several happy hours and meals.
One of the best experiences of RVing is meeting other RVers, enjoying social times around the campfire or enjoying morning coffee together.
Lynda and I have kindled several long lasting friendships with other RVing couples.
After that first retirement trip I knew we needed a way to bring our toys. We had a motor home so the easy solution was to buy a cargo trailer.
On our next tour south we were well equipped, the cargo trailer contained 2 quads, 2 bicycles, my street motor bike, and many other smaller necessities. This worked great, we had the toys along and we did not have to break camp if we needed a few groceries.
I could hop on my motor cycle and head to town for supplies as long as we didn’t need too much. I could only fit 1 dozen beer in each saddle bag, but I only got away with that once, apparently the beer was not the most important on the list.
An Unexpected Problem
My Dad always said if it has tires and burns fuel at some point you’re going to have troubles. It was outside Palm Springs on highway I-10 a spark plug blew out of the engine block in our motor home. The engine was a trident V-10 , I just had the spark plugs replaced.
The repair facility that was performing the repairs suggested the spark plug was over torqued. I contacted the shop at home that had done the initial work. I relayed the comments for the repair facility in Palm Springs. They conceded to pay for half the repair bill of $1000.
We have a Good Sam Roadside Assistance membership so it cost 0$ to have our motor home towed to the repair shop. Click here if your interested in a Good Sam membership.
After this expensive mishap I did some investigation into this type of engine to see if this was a one off or a problem with this engine, a problem with the engine was my conclusion.
So by my calculations $1000.00 times 9 = $9000.00. Even though this beautiful class ‘A’ motor home had only about 60 k miles it was time for it to go.
We bought a towable, travel trailer. A new 36′ trailer with 2 slides. We already own a 1 ton diesel pickup so this was a good fit, it pulls our new trailer with ease, and that gives us a vehicle to go for beer.
You are probably thinking what about the toys??……….Well I had been thinking about this issue for awhile….So the bicycles are on a rack on the bumper of the trailer and I have the pickup box for an ATV right but that’s only one toy. What about the rest?
A snowmobile deck was the answer, this deck is supported with legs that elevate the deck above the sides of the truck box, it extends to an 8′ wide deck with room for 2 toys and you can still store stuff under the deck.
Our first trip south with the new trailer and 1 ATV plus 1 street bike, one problem, the ramps that came with the snowmobile deck were a bit short which made them too steep to ride the motor bike up onto the deck.
I built more ramps to lessen the slope. I was still a bit chicken to ride the motor bike up the ramp onto the deck, I was having night mares, we decided to leave the motor cycle at home.
We now haul 2 ATVs on the deck, problem solved, ARVs handle the ramp very well, especially if I park next to a elevated bank to lessen the slope of the ramps.
There is another solution to this problem that is becoming popular, people are leaving their toys and even their whole set up in the south. They fly south andpick up their rig from storage. I’m not sure what the cost would be, I’m thinking pricey but there is the fuel savings.
Just a note we live in Canada and traded in our motor home for a travel trailer in the US more about that in an article to come.
So as you can see there is more than one way to skin a cat and more than one way to have your toys with you while you are RV traveling.
I hope you enjoyed this article, if you have any questions or comments please feel free to post them at the bottom. I love the feed back.
Thanks for visiting.