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Old 01-24-2012, 01:42 PM   #1
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How frequently do you use your TOAD?

We purchased our RV (Class A Thor Serrano 31V) 10 months ago and now we are considering the need of a TOAD. My question is not what to buy but how often do you actually pull the extra vehicle on trips? I can understand the need if you are going south for the winter and you will be in one spot for several months but want about touring the country for 3-4 weeks and expect to travel thousands of miles, a few days here and a few days there?
My co-pilot and I are in a discussion as the advantages/cost of pulling an extra car all over the countryside verses renting a car as/if needed. Our RV is very maneuverable so taking it to the store, sightseeing spots, and wondering the back country is not a problem. It would only become a problem if we were set up longer term in a campground and needed to pull in the slides and raise the jack to go the store or out to eat. So I am seeking anyone’s opinion or experiences, TOAD or no TOAD?

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Old 01-24-2012, 01:52 PM   #2
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I think you'll hear that most of us who have gotten used to having a toad would not be without one now. We have a 40DP so don't have the flexibility you do but IMO, I would get very tired of having to "break camp" to run to the store or out to dinner.

To me, the bottom line might be whether or not you ever intend to tow. The initial set up cost is high. Once you make the decision to do that, I'd hook up and tow without a second thought on all trips.

Best of luck.


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Old 01-24-2012, 02:25 PM   #3
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I can only speak for ourselves but when we did the 3-4 week thing we never took a vehicle. If for some reason we stayed longer in a particular area and needed a vehicle we rented one for a couple of days. We always used Enterprise and they would pick you up at your location and when you turned the vehicle in they always give you a ride back to your location. Now that we're gone 3, 4 5months at a time that's a different story. We never leave home without it.
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Old 01-24-2012, 02:57 PM   #4
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Let me start by saying we are not full timers. Our trips range from a weekend at the lake to 3 month caravans. Most trips are between 2 and 4 weeks and cover 3,000 to 5,000 miles

We started out not towing, but rather renting a car when we thought we might want or need one. After the first year we decided it would be cost effective and less time consuming to tow a car along. While there are lots of rental places out there some are a long distance from destinations, especially if you like going to national and state parks. Also we found that the rates are considerably higher in the out of the way places compared to high traffic areas.

We started towing our 97 Buick LeSabre on a dolly. It towed great and gave us the flexibility of visiting places along the way that wouldn't accomodate a motorhome. We loose about 1/2 to 1 mpg compared to going solo, but it's well worth the cost to have a car along. We can take day trips or just go to the grocery store without having to worry about whether the motorhome will fit in a parking lot. (some shopping center lots have entry ways designed to keep large vehicles out) Also we dont have to worry about the possibility that we might get parked in by someone not realizing how much room it takes to maneuver a motorhome (this happened twice in National Park lots).

After a few years we started towing a Jeep Wrangler 4 down. It seemed pointless to haul the Buick half way across the country just to leave it in the campground while we rented a Jeep to go off roading. The Jeep tows just as good as the Buick and costs about the same as well. We've used it in a emergency a couple times when we had tire problems with the motorhome.

We've put about 95,000 miles on the motorhome, and all but the first 5,000 have been towing either the Buick or the Jeep. It's like the American Express Card. Don't Leave Home Without It.
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Old 01-24-2012, 03:13 PM   #5
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The mountains I have seen and the trails that we have been able to go down I say Go Toad. You will enjoy your RV so much more. I have a Jeep Wrangler and it seems to be right for the roads less traveled. Happy travels whatever you choose. PS do not forget your GPS when you leave camp.
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Old 01-24-2012, 03:21 PM   #6
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We broke down a time or two and our Toad was a God send, I rarely leave home without it. Once we were up close to the UP and we had to borrow a vehicle because we had lost an electrical adapter somewhere, lucky the operator at the KOA was very nice and loaned us his personal vehicle. So we did the right thing and filled his very large tank. JR
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Old 01-24-2012, 03:29 PM   #7
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IMO not having a toad really limits you as to what you can see and do. Yes you can rent but can be iffy finding a place to rent from. If your trip just takes you to larger cities, no problem but if you want to get out to less populated places then you may be stuck.
Toads can be expensive to set up but I feel the freedom they give you is worth it, just be sure your toad is something you will like driving at home, not just on the road.
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Old 01-24-2012, 03:29 PM   #8
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I spent many years without a tow vehicle but I usually went just for the weekend with a group of friends so I always had a ride. Once I retired and started traveling longer in distance and time, I felt a tow vehicle was a necessity.. On the few times I have not taken it, I found myself wishing I had it and have even had to borrow a car to return home (less than 100 miles) recently. I almost always take the car just in case. Better to be SAFE than SORRY.
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Old 01-24-2012, 03:34 PM   #9
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we started motorhoming in 1974. We bought a 93 mazda pickup in 92,and started towing 4 down. We always tow except when going to ft. wilderness. (Disney has bus service wherever you need to go) We tow everywhere else for the ease of sightseeing.
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Old 01-24-2012, 05:13 PM   #10
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If I had a towed, and when I next get one.. It will be like that credit card One Mr. Mauldin used to hawk. "Don't leave home without it" (Ok so we now full time)

IF I had it I would be using it at least 2x a week, Possibly more.. Likely more.
Home is where I park it!
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Old 01-24-2012, 05:14 PM   #11
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Hi TheArnolds,
I am a 1/2 timer. During the 6 months or so I am in the coach, time is spent in a combination of touring (a week or less in one spot) and sitting in one place for a month or two. A toad is a must (no brainer). I don't know what else to say. There is no way I'm going to break camp to go here and there.
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Old 01-24-2012, 05:29 PM   #12
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You might also want to consider just having your co-pilot DRIVE a second vehicle. If you drive less than 8 hours a day, you probably don't need to switch drivers in the MH. A full towing set up costs thousands, and a fuel efficient car can be driven a long way for that money. No time need be spent to hook/unhook a towed.

Might want to try it that way first to see how it works for you before taking the plunge into towing.
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Old 01-24-2012, 05:47 PM   #13
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We take our toad on every trip, long or short, even weekend trips. But that's just us. If your are truly comfortable taking your rig out when you just have to go to the market, or out to dinner, or for a day of touring then great, you probably don't need a tow car. Renting a car is really easy enough, especially if you establish yourself as a "professional client" with a company...we have Avis Preferred. This way you can make your reservation on computer, and just walk up and pick up your car, check in is just as automatic, just drop off the keys and they bill you if needed. But still, you need to get to the rental place twice.
A light weight toad may not have any appreciable effect of MPG or handling. My previous car was a Mercury Tracer, under 2,000lbs. Currently we tow a Saturn Vue at 3,000lbs, but there are plenty of towable light weights out there that make good second cars. My friend used to tow an old basic Jeep. Made a great light weight.
Enjoy, any way you travel is still fun.
Happy Trails.
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Old 01-24-2012, 11:14 PM   #14
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The only tie I didn't take ours was when we went to have the front end aligned at Brazel's and they had a loaner car which we took to go to lunch while they worked on the rig. Other than that we take our all the time.

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