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Old 08-06-2015, 03:51 PM   #1
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Epic Trip Planning-Need Input

Hi!
We've just traded our 30' TT for a gas 36' Holiday Rambler. I'm in the early stages of planning an epic trip from south Florida via AZ to Mt Rushmore then back via WI next year in Sept.
What are your feelings and advice on towing a vehicle vs renting a car when we need one?
Secondly, are there routes we should avoid in CO? I would like to take rte 285 N to Denver from NM. Do you foresee any issues?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 08-06-2015, 04:05 PM   #2
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AS far as towing a car we do travel quite a bit. We home base in Oregon and have great grandkids in Maine, Florida and California so every couple of years do an around the USA trip (with lots of stops along the way). We would not consider any long trip without a tow car. Years ago I rented cars instead of towing but it was a bit of a hassle. We have broken down three times requiring several days of repairs or waiting for parts. Great to have a tow car to get around in those circumstances. I have not traveled on rte 285. That said Welcome to irv2 and I hope you have a great trip.
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Old 08-06-2015, 05:32 PM   #3
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We owned a Class C for ~11 years, never towed a vehicle but several time my wife would follow in a car. We now have a Class A, for the first year we didn't have a toad, big mistake as we made an EPIC trip to Alaska without a toad and still regret it. We now have a Jeep that we pull all the time, even on short trips as it is more convenient to get out and about in a car versus a motorhome.

As to your trip, you have started the planning process well in advance and you should get some good advice. I hope to make a similar trip/route in the coming years.
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Old 08-06-2015, 06:15 PM   #4
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Going to Mt Rushmore, Needles, Custer State Park, Devils Tower, Wall Drugs, etc you will definitely need a vehicle. My choice is a motorcycle just beautiful country. Other parts of the trip I would say you would need a vehicle as well.
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Old 08-06-2015, 06:21 PM   #5
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Definitely pull a toad! You will need to figure out the capacity of your hitch, the allowable towed load, as well as the allowable TOTAL weight of the tow vehicle, the toad, and all the stuff you want to pack in prior to purchasing a vehicle. Lots of threads on toad choices available on this forum, and WELCOME to the forum!
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Old 08-08-2015, 08:00 AM   #6
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The first year we had the coach, we didn't pull a toad - saw no need for it. We rented at the destination a couple times, and that got old fast. Starting with the second year, we started pulling a toad.

We don't always bring the toad: if we're going for a weekend trip, like a dog show, and we are sure we won't need to go anywhere, we leave the toad home. If we think we will want to go somewhere, we bring it along. Most of the time we're making a weekend trip to a dog show, and only half the time we take the toad.

But if we're going on an excursion, where we will likely want to take some side trips (or will have to head into town for groceries and supplies) we always take the toad.

It's a little more work to take a toad along, and it requires a bit more vigilance while driving (watch the toad's track while taking corners and plan ahead so you don't get someplace where you need to back up) but it's not that bad compared to the hassle of finding a rental car and hurrying to get it back before they charge you for another day.
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Old 08-08-2015, 08:14 AM   #7
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We never leave home without the toad. Just never know when one might break down. Even on short trips. We can unhook or hook up in 5 min. So not any hassle . As to not being able to Bach up -- one figures that out real quick and does not get in those positions.

Russell
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Old 08-08-2015, 10:19 AM   #8
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You need a toad. We did a similar trip without one, West Yellowstone had one car left at Enterprise Rental for $300 for 2 days, and such a hassle!

After that we tow a Chevy Avalanche, works great. X2 on the motorcycle, too!
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Old 08-08-2015, 10:44 AM   #9
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Take a towed. If you have a front drive car and it cannot be towed 4 down then look for a dolly with surge brakes. I'd use a dolly anyway but there are folks who would rather spend a few thousand more to go 4 down.
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Old 08-08-2015, 12:12 PM   #10
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We tried the "dolly" path and were very happy to throw a couple of hundred dollars extra in the pot to tow 4 down with a stay in play braking system.
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Old 08-08-2015, 12:29 PM   #11
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Regarding highway 285 from NM to Denver, there are a few places where the road climbs/descends for a few miles, however, drive with caution in those areas, it's very scenic and you shouldn't have problems.

If you're not used to mountain driving, be sure to gear down going up AND down and don't ride the brakes. When you get close to Denver (Conifer/Bailey), you'll be in a heavily trafficked mountain area and then descend into Denver, so plan ahead.

And, welcome to IRV2!

Hope that helps - have fun!
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Old 08-08-2015, 12:52 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lbwagner View Post
Secondly, are there routes we should avoid in CO? I would like to take rte 285 N to Denver from NM. Do you foresee any issues?
You've already gotten plenty of great advice regarding the tow'd, and I concur with all of it.

As far as 285 is concerned, my Mountain Directory reports that there are sections of passes starting right around Salida with grades in the 3-6% range, most of them 4-5%. Ironically, it isn't the steepness of the grades that's of most concern but their length. As pagosajoe already mentioned: don't ride the brakes - gear down to control your speed.

There are also several mentions of reduced-speed curves in the 45mph range, so pay attention to any warning signs and you should be just fine.
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Old 08-08-2015, 03:05 PM   #13
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I agree with the need for a TOAD

We always have the toad attached. Even on short trips. A couple of bits of advice from my corner of the room. First research the toad. We pull a Jeep Liberty. Most of the Jeep Libertys have a neutral select on the transfer case and no locking steering. Both make towing much easier. If this is the route you take make sure and leave the trans in park. Not all vehicles can be flat towed so do research first. We used a tow dolly on our last motorhome but the flat towing is so much easier. Second, I recommend a tire monitoring system. I picked up a nail in a rear tire on the toad around Chicago. By the time I realized the tire was low the sidewall was shot and I needed a replacement.
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Old 08-08-2015, 06:20 PM   #14
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Most of the Jeep Libertys have a neutral select on the transfer case and no locking steering. Both make towing much easier.
Yes, those are great features to look for. My old toad (Chevy Avalanche) was like that: transfer case in neutral, transmission in park, key out of ignition and lock the doors. My current toad (F-150) still puts the transfer case in neutral, but I have to also leave the transmission in neutral and a dummy non-chipped key in the ignition. I felt much more secure that nothing was happening to the transmission or engine when the transmission was in park, and I don't like leaving the key in it even though that key can't start the engine.

Quote:
Second, I recommend a tire monitoring system. I picked up a nail in a rear tire on the toad around Chicago. By the time I realized the tire was low the sidewall was shot and I needed a replacement.

TPMS is a very good idea. You'd like to think you will notice a flat tire on your toad, but the odds are very good that you won't. You got lucky that the tire didn't go completely flat, start shredding, and damage the toad with the tread flailing around.
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