RV/Camping – Live & Learn

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One of our first RV trips, Padre Island, Texas.

 

Traveling North America in an RV is a great adventure, my wife and I have been enjoying RV traveling for the past 8 years. Even though we travel for several months a year we haven’t put a dent in our travel plans yet.

RV traveling is tiring so a couple of days on the road is enough. You need to stop and smell the roses as they say. We find a place to set up camp for a week or two. Two to three weeks seems to be our limit in one place.

Our first trips 8 years ago were very enjoyable however I quickly realized if this is going to be our retirement lifestyle I’m going to need more to occupy my time besides hiking and bicycle tours.

Rv towing car

I had been noticing what other RVers were up to, many of them had some sort of motorized toy to enhance their enjoyment.

 

They had every kind of motorized off road and on road vehicle one could imagine.

I knew that this kind of activity was right for me, but now the problem of how to bring these wonderful things along on our travels. My first solution was a cargo trailer behind our motor home with a couple of ATV’s, and a street legal motorcycle, and of course the bicycles.

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Fairwell Bend, Oregon on the Snake River, our original set up.

This worked well except if we wanted to take off on a day trip or go to town the only convenient way was the motorcycle. We lived with this scenario for several years, until we had engine problems with our motorhome. We sold it and the cargo trailer and bought a travel trailer.

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Our new rig, just north of Valley of Fire, Nevada

Now another challenge, again how to bring along the toys, this time the solution was a snowmobile deck. Made of aluminum with a ramp and side extensions made it the perfect solution, I thought.

With the extensions out, the deck protrudes out over top of the truck box, this configuration makes the deck 8′ wide which is great for hauling 2 machines side by side.

Snowmobile deck with extensions
Snowmobile deck with side extensions.

I thought all was good until our first trip when I had to make a u-turn in a parking lot and one of the corners of the deck hit the front of our new trailer leaving a large hole in the fiber glass on the front of the trailer. When I decided to buy the snowmobile deck to haul our quads I didn’t take into account the width of the deck when turning.

Snowmobile deck
Snowmobile deck, notice the bottom frame that sits on the truck box deck.

Of course we were both upset by this event. I repaired the damage with a fiber glass repair kit ,which was surprisingly easy. Now I needed to come up with a solution so if I had to make another sharp turn I wouldn’t damage the trailer.

My first idea was to buy a hitch extender and after some research I concluded that a 6″ extension was the maximum allowable in order to tow the trailer safely. If I had an accident and the insurance company can find something unsafe with my rig it would void my coverage.

Hitch extension
Hitch extensions have a weight limit, this one is 6000 lbs.

I wasn’t entirely sure the 6″ hitch extension allowed enough distance between the corner of the snowmobile deck and the trailer. After some masterful calculations and some advanced geometry with a string I realized the 6″ extension wouldn’t be enough to keep from damaging the trailer on a sharp turn.

I am sure there are other hitch configurations available to allow enough room for turning.

As we were heading home from Arizona last month (May) the subject of the trailer damage came up in one of our conversations. My wife, Lynda, happened to say something about loading the quads a different way.

Loading quads
Loading quads from the side reduces the width

This started me thinking……what if I try to load them the other way, from the side rather than the back. I know the quads are not 8′ long so that would mean no deck extensions which would reduce the width of the deck to about 6′ not much wider than the truck box. My pickup has a long box, 8′ long so that shouldn’t be an issue. We agreed that I will try to load the quads when we arrived home, before I unloaded the snowmobile deck.

Hurray, I loaded both quads from the side with room to spare, a perfect solution and no hitch extension, which I wasn’t comfortable with anyway.

There are many ways to transport your toys on your RV adventures. I will cover some other scenarios in another article.

I hope this article has been of some help on the problems that can arise. The more things you have the more fun and also the more challenges.

I have created a comprehensive list of equipment and items you may need for your RV travels click here to check out my list.

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Thanks for visiting.

Gord B.

 

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A group ATV tour in the south west

 

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