To tow or not to tow?

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Fulltime Jane

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Jan 1, 2007
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My husband and I are setting off soon in our 32 foot Allegro (Class A diesel puller) for as much as a yearlong adventure.  We are back and forth on whether to tow a dinghy or not (we haven't done it before and have little experience).  There are many pros and cons.  We'd prefer not to and are thinking of relying on bicycles/feet and good planning to avoid having to tow.  I'd love all the comments and opinions out there regarding towing.  Has anyone successfully/happily done without a dinghy for an extended sightseeing US tour?  Are we kidding ourselves by thinking we can do without?  Thanks for the advice!
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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I guess it depends on how much experience you have walking and biking to places. And perhaps how much stamina and courage you have, since some  (perhaps many) of your campsites will be relatively far from towns or attractions and/or require travel on busy roads. Personally I wouldn't even consider it, but perhaps we are spoiled. And we rarely worry about staying close to stores or attractions, since we know we have transportation available. I'd hate to give up our choice of campgrounds because of travel constraints, but that's me and not you...

I can't think of any real cons to towing a car, except perhaps the cost of buying a good tow bar and a brake system. It's an aspect of RVing that folks often fear simply because they imagine it must be a difficult thing, but it's actually quite trivial.
 

Jim Dick

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Jane,

Not everyone needs to tow but I wouldn't think about going anywhere without mine. Good planning can help but one may get very tired of unhooking the utilities when you need to use the coach for an errand. Most campgrounds are not located conveniently to shopping. Bicycles can work but if the weather is bad it won't be fun. It could be a problem finding a place to park a 32' coach. Too many parking lots today have barriers that make driving through them more difficult than with a small vehicle.


Towing is very easy with the proper vehicle. We have towed Trackers and Grand Vitaras for several years. They are fairly light and follow the coach faithfully. They all were 4 wheel drive so they did not need any modification to tow. We have done a lot of off roading with them as well, seeing a lot of this country that many do not.

For a year long trip my advice would be to tow a small vehicle. I think it would make the trip much more enjoyable.
 

Ernie Ekberg

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Brenda and I did not tow a vehicle, once. Relying on  others for a ride is not good. Thus we have one of our vehicles with us all the time. I wouldn't want to run out of supplies in the pouring rain and have to walk or peddle a bike to the store. I'm old, and spoiled.
 

Karl

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Last year and part of this year I was toad-less and, believe me, it's no fun. Having to rely on friends is an inconvenience for both parties, and the alternative of walking and/or bicycling may not be viable for many reasons. Perhaps more importantly is you probably would like to establish a home base periodically (a day, a week, etc.) and then travel to places of interest within, say, a fifty or hundred mile radius. Even the most meticulous planning would still make that nigh onto impossible without a toad, given the distances between them. For a short trip it may be o.k., but for a year-long journey... I wouldn't recommend it. You'd probably end up buying a car and towbar before you were half way through your trip anyway, so why not do it now when you have the time to find a vehicle that you like (if you don't already have one), and get it and the coach ready at your convienence, rather having to settle for something less to your liking later?
 

Ron

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As others have mentioned I am sure you will regret not having a toad.  What do you do in an emergency??? Being without a toad would surely be a handicap.
 

UK-RV

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UK
Hi

We've now been here touring for 12 months.

When we first started, we hadnt got our toad sorted but found many offers of "here are our keys, just take our car" to go for groceries etc, from others on a couple of CGs in Florida - although we never did as we were concerned about insurance etc.

We spent a few weeks stuck at "you know who" whilst our RV was being sorted, and not having a car then was a nightmare I wouldnt wish on anyone - can you imagine having to sit at a dealership for days on end whilst they work on your coach.

From our experience there arent too many campgrounds in the heart of the places we wanted to see, and those that were obviously charged a premium for it.

Whilst back in Florida, we've met 3 British couples who came here to tour and all of them were going to use cycles - but all ended up buying a car after the first few weeks.

Go with the toad !!

Paul


 

ArdraF

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We are back and forth on whether to tow a dinghy or not

Jane,

We've been RVing since 1972 and initially had no toad because our RVs were small enough that we could easily get in and out of parking lots, national parks, etc.  On our first big trip around the country we depended on bikes - until they were cut off the front of our RV in Philadelphia when we stopped to see the Liberty Bell (couldn't find a parking place against a wall to prevent that from happening).  Then we were stuck.  Eventually we got large enough RVs that we needed a toad and got a small Tracker that we also could use four-wheeling.  It was on our second trip to Alaska with the Tracker - the first one had been without a toad - that we realized how much we had missed on the first trip because we couldn't get to many out-of-the-way or hilly places with narrow roads.  After that experience we decided we really needed to tow.  One time we didn't take it because we were just going to meet some of the Forum folks for a short outing.  That was the trip I lost my glasses in a restaurant and Sam graciously drove us 40 miles back to get them, an 80-mile round trip.  Now we always tow.  You don't want to have to depend on other people to get places.  We unfortunately also have first hand experience in needing to get to a hospital in a hurry when I fell off a ladder and broke my elbow.  (Note to person asking about cleaning windshields - Stay off ladders!)  When we sold the Tracker it was to a couple who had been fulltiming for a year without a toad and the lady was really happy to finally have a car to get around for grocery shopping, etc.

So, as mentioned above, it's personal preference, but I believe you'll wish you had one.  It's not really a big deal.  There are a lot of comments here on the Forum that can help you figure out what you need in the way of a tow bar.  There are several very good ones.  Also, many car manufacturers are cutting back on towable cars so it might be good to find one sooner than later.  The number of makes that are towable "four wheels down" (the ONLY way to go in my opinion) is declining rapidly.  When you talk with dealers most of them do not have a clue about towability, so my next piece of advice is to be sure to read the manual to verify whether the company "allows" four-down towing.  If not, it may affect whether they honor warranty work.  The guys on the Forum are much more informed than me about what you'll need or want, but most of us agree you don't want a tow dolly - too many hassles with them - which is why you want four-down.

In any event, we hope you have fun on your new adventure and we'll hope to see you at one of our rallies.

ArdraF
 

Fulltime Jane

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Jan 1, 2007
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My gosh!  You are all so helpful.  Looks like we're going to tow - all great reasons.  I appreciate the Tracker and Grand Vitara suggestions.  We're open to other vehicle suggestions as well.  Thank you, everyone!
Jane
 

ArdraF

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Jane,

If you want to go four-wheeling Jeeps are great and tow four down.  We now have an MDX which also tows four down and goes four wheeling, however starting with the 2007 model Acura no longer wants you to tow them.  For more of a sedan, people tow Saturns.

You'll get lots of opinions from the Forumites!  ;)

ArdraF

 

Marsha/CA

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This summer we invested in a new tow car.  We got a manual shift Hyundai Tucson SUV and I love it.  The Hyundai manual is the only one that is towable....the automatics are not.  The price was great and we feel we got a lot for out $$.  Mileage is close to 30 on the highway and about 26 or so in the city.  It is not a 4 wheel drive; but I haven't missed that part yet.  Also, the 4 wheel drive can not be towed.

Marsha~
 

On The Road Again

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Everett, Washington
Wow, lots of great responses.  My wife and I tried it for one year without towing. For many of the same reasons above, we bought a 2004 Honda CRV. It is my wife's everyday car and she loves it.  We have now towed it over 5000 miles. Not a problem at all. Towing a car on all fours is easy and once you get the hang of it, you can connect and disconnect in minutes. Be sure on what ever you tow, you have a brake assistant, such as a Brake Buddy. It maybe required by your insurance Company and is a Law in some states from my understanding. Saves the RV brakes and your nerves. Best of Luck and happy Rv'ing. Bud
 

Jim Dick

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Jane McI said:
My gosh!  You are all so helpful.  Looks like we're going to tow - all great reasons.  I appreciate the Tracker and Grand Vitara suggestions.  We're open to other vehicle suggestions as well.  Thank you, everyone!
Jane

Jane,

The '99 Grand Vitara we had was driven 82,000 miles and towed another 55,000 miles! I would still have the '04 Grand Vitara if it wasn't for my late life senility kicking in and forcing me to buy a motorcycle!!! ;D
 
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