Some people call them tow rigs. Some people call them toads (for towed). Whatever you call them, if you live in a 26 foot RV there are times when you really just need a car. Unhooking utilities, pulling in slides, and stowing stuff that could fall off counters just to go get some pasta you forgot is nuts. We know, that's what we got in to a lot on our trip south next year. We had to choose between going without, asking for a ride, or pulling up stakes. Not acceptable.
There is a world of knowledge around which vehicles are best to tow. All you need to know is this: to avoid ruining a car you need to be able to do something to stop stuff from happening when you tow it. First, you need to unlock the steering wheel and second you need to disengage the transmission so it doesn't turn without getting oiled. Lots of people seem to ignore these guidelines, but we're too cautious for that. On the other hand, I wanted to tow a Ferrari in a car trailer. I got no traction with that idea.
So, that led down a short path. The safe-towing requirements are met by very few vehicles. For our purposes, nothing beats the Jeep. Totally coincidental that the colors match the View. Honest. It had 49k miles on it and was located just a few miles from our home. Meant to be, I guess. This is NOT a sports car (and we sold mine). But it is a hoot to drive. I call it an "active ride." Which will be perfect in the desert. Can't wait....
So I was looking at the site today and realized that you'd need to be pretty observant to find the article I wrote about our trip to the Southwest last year. And really, who has the time to try to find stuff on a web site? Not that anyone has asked me where the article was, but in the interest of good usability, I feel obliged to make an effort....
Because it was such a long story, I put it in a separate section called, "Longer Stories." It's up at the right end of the menu. Don't feel like reading? Here's all you really need to see.
A week or so ago I decided to try to see if I could get the digital TV antenna to work better than it had at Bay View. Fred pulled the RV out on the pad and rather than plug in shore power (a ten-step walk) I decided to just fire up the generator, because, after all, you need to run them, right?
The View's systems are a bit complex. Instead of rotating a valve on an external tank, you turn the propane on by pushing a button. That I didn't know about. I fired up the generator just fine, except it soon sputtered to a halt, and would not start again. Oh boy.
As I write about the latest View repair, I'm suddenly reminded of a Microsoft story....
During the ill-fated Windows Vista launch, Asus built proof-of-concept laptop prototypes for the marketing team. I shamelessly begged for the ultra-thin pearl white one, which, tellingly, never made it into production.
The laptop was as slow and buggy as it was beautiful, earning its nickname Fabio. Our steamy romance lasted just weeks, as Fabio's hardware flaws proved fatal. Even though he was dumb and difficult, it was a tough loss.
The shiny, tempestuous View is bringing back those painful memories. I feel guilty, as if it may jinx everything, but I've already started thinking of her as Giselle. (Seahawk fans will know why.)
Yippee! On the 11th we found a park on the other side of Anacortes that had a (one) spot we'd fit into. Sobering to see how few spots in the campground were large enough, and ours is just a 26' RV. However, what a beautiful site and a lovely time. The rest of the loop we were on was largely empty, so it was almost as private as our back yard. ;-)
Bay View State Park is near Padilla Bay, but doesn't actually have a view of it. But it does have the word 'View' in its name, so that's nice.
Everything worked fine until I tried to use the microwave/convection oven to make scones. Boy did that thing get hot. Then it stopped working entirely, and I thought I'd killed it. The scones were truly hard as rocks. In retrospect, I should have taken a hint when they rose to full height within 90 seconds of entering oven. We figured we were into a multi-hundred dollar repair...
Quick update: Picked up the View yesterday. Made it home without limping. Now trying to figure out where to go.
We're discovering that you don't simply head out and expect to find a camp spot without a reservation, and we can't find nearby campgrounds with reservations available in the next couple weeks, so the grand struggle to take our first trip has begun.
Not like back in the day when you'd just head out and look for a logging road with a flat spot. Though, we could try that....
As soon as we got back from our boating trip to Canada, we handed over our lovely 2005 25' Bigfoot travel trailer to a very nice couple from Texas. They'd been looking for one for years. It'd only taken us 12 hours to sell it via Craigslist. Shows why we've always loved them. They're well built, hold resale value, and are desirable.
We loved the trailer, but it was work for Fred to do the towing and setup work. Not relaxing. So, we agreed it was time to move from a trailer to an RV.
We've had our eye on a Winnebago View style RV for years. They're beautiful, well built, easy to drive, and comfortable.
Happily, the day after the Texans left, I found the very model we wanted at a dealer about an hour and a half from here, in Marysville. It's a 2016 24G, looks like new, priced like 25% off new. Perfect!
Fred went by on his way to a Wednesday doctor appointment and bought the RV right out from under the next guy in line. (They're popular.) The following Saturday we went to pick it up. Fred didn't even make it to the freeway before the check engine light went on and the engine went into "limp home mode." Flooring it, Fred crawled back to the dealer.
"Ah, it's the battery," they said. So we went home without our new RV. On Monday, we went to pick it up and Fred made it about two miles up the freeway before the same thing happened and he had to limp back to the dealer. And come home empty-handed again.
Now the View is waiting in line at the Mercedes dealership in Lynnwood. They'll start work on it on August 31. The theory is that it's a sensor issue. Covered under warranty, thank goodness.
Next time, the dealer will deliver the View to us, I'm pretty feisty about not wanting to drive down there a third time. That way, if anyone limps home, it won't be us.
I sure look forward to future reports of happy travels.