Once we made up our minds to buy a small trailer, the question then became, "How small can we go?"
You might wonder why our old Rockwood would not have served our needs. Actually, it probably would have, but a smaller trailer will work better for several reasons.
First of all, I simply don't like towing. I hear some people say, "I don't even know that trailer is back there." Well, I always know when I'm towing something, and that is a good thing. As long as I know it is back there, I'm taking the necessary precautions. Those people who tear down the road as if they aren't towing a trailer weighing several tons on tires probably engineered for a maximum speed of 65 mph are a danger to themselves and those around them. And it's even scarier when you see rigs not properly outfitted with adequate hitches for the trailer they are towing.
When we towed our Rockwood behind our Tundra, the entire length of our outfit was over 55 feet. That's pretty long, almost one-fifth the length of a football field. It makes it difficult to park and to turn, especially in tight areas. Sure, I could manage it. In fact, I never encountered a mishap with our rig. But I didn't like it. And on windy days -- which occur very often in the West -- that rig would be buffeted around the highways like a flag on a pole. It isn't fun to drive under those circumstances. So, if I'm going to tow, I'd rather tow something smaller. That's just me.
Second, we really wanted something more fuel efficient. The bigger the RV the bigger the tow vehicle must be. The bigger the tow vehicle, the more fuel is used. Right now, the price of gasoline is the lowest it has been in years, but none of us believe it will stay that way very long -- at least, I don't. When you are towing, even the smallest improvement in fuel mileage can save lots of money. For example, if you go 300 miles in a day and get 10 mpg with fuel at $2.50, you will spend $75 on fuel. Under the same conditions, but at 12 mpg, you will spend $62.50 on fuel. $12.50 in savings on a single, fairly short trip is significant. On a 2000 mile trip (like we often take to Nevada and back), the savings would approach $84. And when (notice I didn't say "if") the price of gas shoots up to $3 or more per gallon, the savings become even greater. When you consider how much we intend to use our trailer, we will save hundreds each year in fuel costs alone with a small trailer as compared to a larger one.
Finally, we are still pretty adventurous souls. We've traveled enough now to know that there are lots of places in this world where you simply cannot-- or should not -- take larger rigs. These are often the places we want to visit. It might be someplace at the end of a road with twisting hairpin turns that long rigs can't negotiate, or some of the places in the national park service that do not have campsites for longer rigs. And pulling a small, light trailer up some of the mountain roads we've been on will certainly be easier than pulling a longer, heavier rig.
Donna and I are pretty adaptable, and we can get by in a smaller rig. Most of the time, we will be out visiting beautiful places where we want to spend as much time as possible outside. And outside gives us all the room we need. Yes, there will be occasional bad weather days when we get stuck inside. On those days, our little rig should be cozy and easier to warm than a larger rig.
In the next few entries, I'll share with you some of our trailer searches. Some of you may be going through the same process; in that case, the exchange of ideas might be helpful to you.