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Santa Fe, Here We Come

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Dear Readers:

As I mentioned, in preparing myself to be a good RVer, I read lots of articles and books about the RV lifestyle and tips for do's and don'ts. I anguished for a good month or so about what kind of vehicle I should be towing behind my Gulf Stream. Should I acquire a Saturn and join the "in" crowd? (I had read it is the most popular vehicle, but I'm not really a Saturn guy).

Plus, I already have enough vehicles titled in my name with two sons in college and a daughter who is about to be driving. I didn't really want to buy another vehicle. And I considered the way in which my vehicle should be towed. Should I get one of those things (a tow dolly, I think it's called) that you drive the front two wheels onto and let the back two wheels ride on the ground? That didn't look very safe to me, although I'm sure many of you use them with no problems.

Should I get a trailer and just tow it with my vehicle loaded on it? I spent hours thinking about this issue alone. To complicate matters, I own a 2008 Harley Davidson Road King Classic, which I intended to take with me on occasion. Should I get a hydraulic lift installed on the rear of the coach and carry my bike that way? I could not get the thought out of my head of that beautiful motorcycle falling onto the hood of my truck and the whole she-bang falling off onto the freeway somewhere between here an yonder.

And, which towing method was the most cost-effective? So, I took the Eagle Scout approach: I did all of these things -- well, not the lift (yet anyway). I bought the Blue Ox Aventa III tow bar and had my '08 Chevy 4wd PU converted AND I had a trailer custom built to haul my motorcycle and a vehicle when the trip so dictated. I think, but I am not sure, that I still came out a little cheaper than buying the lift and the tow bar combination. At this point, it's only money, right?

In any event, now that you know what I went through to get to this decision, you no doubt know that I read that you cannot back up your vehicle when it is being towed with a tow bar. Knowledge is a good thing, so I've heard. But as I found myself at the end of day one, eager to get to our spot and begin camping, literally, now between a rock and I hard place, I just had to try to back up. I really only needed to back up about 15 feet to be able to turn to the right and avoid the huge boulder that my truck was about to encounter, on less-than-friendly terms.

So, after sizing up the situation and debating the same with Mrs. Wendy (she told me not to) I made the decision to back up. What did all these people know anyway? Well, I discovered what they know and had already told me: YOU CAN'T BACK UP A TOAD VEHICLE. And now I know why, too. It's because your front tires will go wherever they darn well please when you do, that's why. Moreover, your tow bar will get in a bind, which makes it even that much more difficult to unhook ( and you will have to unhook). Suffice it to say that had I just been paying a little closer attention to my route when I entered the park, I would not have been trying to make an impossible turn around a huge boulder and I would not have needed to back up nor would I have needed to unhook. But I can't say I wasn't warned. Better yet, I could have just listened to Mrs. Wendy in the first place. She would agree with me on that!

Well, after straining and anguishing and much gnashing of teeth, not to mention of few expletives, I was able to unhook the truck, back it out of the way, back up the coach, aim it to the right and head it to our spot. As I'm sure many of you can testify, the beverages taste a little better when you have had to earn them. I know mine did on that night, our first night, as RVers!

Brad Steele

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