Friday, December 26, 2014

Step 1: Buy a Truck

If you've been following the blog, you know that Donna and I are considering purchasing another travel trailer. Well, we're committed now. A couple of weeks ago, we took the first step by getting a truck.

We loved our Toyota Tundra -- and I really like Toyota as a company. I've always had great customer service from the two dealerships I have dealt with (Tyler and San Angelo). Neither sales department was  high pressure, and the service departments at both were committed to keeping customers satisfied. I'm sure that there are those out there who may not have had a good experience, but as for me and close friends and family who have driven Toyotas, we've all had good experiences.

Our Tundra had a tow capacity of over 10,000 pounds and it was a pleasure to drive. But the gas mileage was nothing to brag about, as highway mpg was about 17. Donna and I are "gentle" drivers, so we can normally do a little better than most estimates -- we have gentle starts, usually drive below the speed limit, etc. And when we towed our moderate sized trailer, we normally averaged 10 mpg.

When we sold our Tundra and trailer nearly 2 years ago, we figured we had one more trailer in us, but we decided at that time that if we ever RVed again, it would probably be in something smaller. We wanted something easier to tow as well as more economical. And that is where we are heading.

This time, we bought a Dodge Ram 1500 with a tow capacity of 8,800 pounds. We anticipate purchasing a trailer at least 1,000 pounds lighter than our previous one, but more about later that in Step 2. The end of year deals on these Rams was just too good to pass by. And fuel efficiency for the Ram is at least 4 mpg better than the Tundra. I won't lie -- the interior is not as nice as the Tundra, but it's not bad. I think we'll enjoy the truck.

Our new Dodge Ram 1500

We had towing mirrors added to the truck. Basically, these mirrors extend just a bit farther out than normal mirrors. Then, when you are ready to tow, the mirrors can be flipped up and out to extend them another 3 or 4 inches. It does sound like much, but when you are towing, it makes a big difference.

Mirrors in standard position

Closeup of a single mirror in standard position

Same mirror flipped up and out for towing
Driver mirror in tow position; passenger mirror in standard position. You can see the difference.

Both mirrors in tow position

When we had our Tundra, Toyota did not have tow mirrors for trucks. I found a third party solution which enabled me to fit on extended mirrors when we were towing. The solution was satisfactory, but I was always just a little uncomfortable with it. I like the towing mirrors on our Ram.

Follow along with us over the next few weeks as we purchase our travel trailer. We've been doing quite a bit of looking the past several months, so we are close to a decision. I hope to be out in the trailer by the end of February or early March.

We'll see you down the road.

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