Friday, January 30, 2015

The Monsters are Coming, The Monsters are Coming!

I need you folks to pray for me. The Trio of Doom is on their way here as I write this.

Yes, Xander, Sheriff Camden, and Jensen are barreling down the highway en route to a weekend of terrorizing their old grandparents. We've tried to secure the house, but those little monsters will find something to destroy.

Gammaw and I have made a trip to the local package store and stocked up on our "medicine". I have to be pretty numb before I can handle this gang of cutthroats.

If I haven't posted anything by the middle of next week, then you will know we didn't survive.

I hope to see you down the road.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Deflategate

There are lots of issues to be concerned about today: terrorists who daily seem to become bolder and more confident; racial unrest, in part caused by repeated police shootings; Russian aggression in the Ukraine and surrounding areas; potential nuclear power in Iraan -- and the list goes on and on.

What does it say about our culture when a large part of the news for the last week has been concerned with how much air is in a football?

Saturday, January 17, 2015

A Brief Escape from Winter

It's been an unpleasant winter so far. We've had colder temps than we normally get here, and they seem to last longer. We've had several days when the highs stayed below freezing, and that just isn't the norm for this part of the country. And we've had lots of overcast days, and several periods of light icing. Overall, it's just been unpleasant, and we just haven't wanted to get out. The nice thing about being retired is that you can stay home when the weather is bad. But that also causes cabin fever, and I've had a bad case of it lately.

Yesterday was a pretty day, so I went out to our local state park - San Angelo State Park - to do a short hike. I've reported our hikes out there numerous times before. To review any of these, just go to our web site Living the Good Life and you'll find many of our hikes listed there.

For this hike, I put together a short loop trail of about 5 miles. I've not done any serious hiking all winter, and even my regular 3 mile walks have been very irregular, so I didn't want to push things. I started the hike heading west on the Tasajilla Flats Trail for just a short distance before turning onto the Horny Toad Trail. At a road crossing the Horny Toad Trail became the Nature Trail, which I followed more or less in a northerly direction. At another road crossing, I took the Lanky Lackey Trail northwest to Burkett Trail Head, the half-way point of the hike where I would start looping back. From there, I followed the Winding Snake Trail almost due east until returning in a southerly direction to my truck on the Chaparral Trail.

Below is my route for the day. You can view the area by using Google Maps and setting the coordinates at 31°28'24.68" N 100°30'35.60" W. If you zoom in close enough, the trails and even some trail names appear.

My route, starting at bottom right and moving in a clockwise direction.
This is a fairly easy hike. It was 45 degrees when I started and 65 when I finished. The sun was bright and the wind light. The route involves numerous minor ups and downs of 50 or 60 feet, more or less. Basically, you have an empty lake bed, and the trail winds from ridge tops into the long dry lake bed and back up the next ridge. Along the ridges, views are good for long distances. There is little brush along the ridges. Down in the lake bed, though, cactus and mesquite are often thick. Trails up to and down from the ridges are rocky. They aren't a real problem, but at my current age I take them slowly and make sure I have good footing. I like to use a single hiking pole on these trails for extra support on the slopes. Trails along the bottoms are on packed dirt, so that is easy walking.

There are no really outstanding landmarks. Near the Burkett Trail Head at the halfway point of the hike, there is a small pond out of sight to your south. I suppose there is a seep or spring there, and water trickles down from there. On the return trip, you pass the runoff from the seep again, where reeds and cattails proliferate, and a small pond appears next to the trail. Not far past the pond is an abandoned day use area from the days when the park was maintained by the Corp of Engineers.

Otherwise, it's just a walk through some West Texas terrain with plenty of fresh air. I did not see a single person along the trail, so I had the place to myself.

Here are some pictures:

Typical West Texas scenery, with mesas in the background. If you look at center left at the low lying ridge, you may be able to make out some picnic tables. That is the area where the return trail is located. Center right is what remains of the old Red Dam.

This is typical of trails along the ridges. Little vegetation, good vistas, and a light, rocky surface.
In the bottoms, trails are packed earth, and this makes for pretty easy walking. Lots of mesquites in most of the bottoms.
Trails up and down slopes more or less look like this. Loose rocks can cause slips and twisted ankles if you aren't careful.
I was thankful when Burkett Trail Head came into view. The trail begins its loop back here, and I was already tired at this point. Note mesas in the background and Pulliam Ridge jutting out from the top left.
Lots of vegetation around the seep. Brush on left has been beaten down by animals that drink from the seep.
Seep forms a little pond along the return trail. If you zoom in close on the Google Map coordinates I supplied above, you can see this pond; a larger pond is visible to the south/southwest of this one on the map but not from the trail.
When I first sighted these old picnic tables, they almost looked like burial platforms from an Indian burial ground.

And what would a West Texas hike be without cactus?











Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Our Camping Lifestyle

The lifestyle we lead while traveling in a trailer more or less determines what we need in a trailer. Often, people neglect to consider their lifestyle when RV shopping.

Typically, our day begins with me rising first, usually an hour or more before Donna. I like a small breakfast, usually toast or cereal, along with a large mug of coffee. If I have my computer, I'll spend time working on my blog, downloading and processing pictures I've taken, or doing other things. If I have an internet connection, I'll check email, or research other places to go or stay on our trip.

If the weather is nice, I'll take my coffee and a book outside and read for a while. When Donna gets up, we might turn on the TV to catch some local news/weather so we know what to expect for the day in case we decide to hike or travel.

We then start our day. We might go for a hike, or we might venture nearby to a museum, farmers' market, or any other number of places. We don't eat much, so if I've had a good breakfast, then I'm good until mid-afternoon. Donna may have a bowl of oatmeal or even just some granola bars; she's good to go for hours. We usually take snacks along (nuts, trail mix, granola bars, etc.) and these help us until we return to the trailer. If we do go to town, we may eat out if we see a place that really appeals to us.

When we get back to the trailer, we like to sit outside. Usually mid-afternoon is when new guests begin arriving at the campground, and we always enjoy watching them stream in and set up. We like to check out their license plates to see where they are from. We wonder where they've been, what they've done, and what they've seen. We like to check out all the RVs and their different styles. You can learn a great deal this way. And some of the newcomers are entertaining to watch as they set up their rigs. Yeah, we are easily entertained. You can just imagine what a bug zapper and a six-pack would do for us.

If the weather is right, we may start a campfire. We usually eat our big meal of the day at this time, hopefully something grilled like steak or burgers. Sometimes we'll just broil some sausage on spits over the fire and snack off and on.

As the evening wears on and the fire burns down, we finally decide to retire to the trailer. Donna will go in and shower while I secure the campsite -- put out the fire, stow the lantern we've been using, put up our chairs, etc. I then take my shower and we may turn on the TV for a while. I usually go to bed first. I'll turn in, read a while, then drift off. Donna will stay up all hours of the night and greet her fellow zombies before turning in.

The next day, the cycle begins anew.

Of course, this does not happen every day. Some days we are traveling. Some days the weather does not allow us to sit out. Some days we have laundry to do, or maintenance/repairs to perform on the trailer. We also have to go grocery shopping occasionally.

So, when you consider this lifestyle, you can begin to see what we need in a trailer.
  1. We need a good place to sleep.
  2. We need a place to prepare our meals.
  3. We need a place to sit and watch limited television and relax.
  4. We need adequate storage.
  5. We need a full bathroom with a good shower.
The weather here has been pretty miserable lately with a lot of cold temps and wintry mixes; on top of that, Donna has been a bit under the weather. But we hope that the weather will start improving near the end of this week so that we can get out and start doing a little shopping.

I'll keep you posted.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Information Regarding Trailer Weights

If you read the previous entry on the floor plans we have been looking at, then you saw the specs regarding trailer weights. The information the RV industry provides regarding trailer weights is very confusing. One of the problems is that there seems to be no standard terminology.

One company may use the term "unloaded vehicle weight (UVW)" to refer to the total weight of the trailer, while another may call this the "shipping weight" or even the "base weight". Still, another may refer to this as the "dry weight." Regardless, all of these terms refer to how much that trailer weighs without your personal items (clothes, food, etc.) in it and with no liquids.

But, this still may not be accurate.

In some cases, those weights given are before other items are added, such as the air conditioner, the refrigerator, the microwave, or the television. The only way to really know the true weight of a trailer is by having it weighed. Yeah, you can ask the salesperson, but often he/she does not know. A lot of mystery seems to surround all of these weights.

Another number you will see in the specs is for the GVWR, or Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. Simply put, the GVWR is the total weight a trailer can manage as set forth by the manufacturer. This is an important number. If you subtract the weight of the trailer from the GVWR, you arrive at the "cargo capacity" or "carrying capacity" of a trailer, or the amount of weight the trailer can manage in addition to its own weight. I've even seen this weight referred to as the "net carrying capacity".

For example, in the Rockwood 2109 that I referenced in the earlier entry, the GVWR is 4,855 pounds and the weight of the trailer is 4,091 pounds. This is a difference of 764 pounds, which is your cargo weight. Actually, the web site states it is 714 pounds, and I can't account for the difference. I notice such errors quite often on these specs. It adds to the mystery, I suppose.

So in the case of the Rockwood, that means we can put 764 pounds of gear in that trailer before we max out its weight. That isn't much room to play with. For example, if you filled up the fresh water tank in this trailer, that would be an additional 288 pounds itself, as a gallon of water weighs roughly 8 pounds. Then you have propane, clothes, food, and all sorts of other items to consider. It would not take much to bring this trailer to capacity, and I don't like pushing or exceeding limits. It just isn't safe.

Unfortunately, there are people out there who buy trailers based solely on the dry weight of the trailer and don't take into account how much they will add once they load the trailer. Can your tow vehicle handle all of that weight? If your vehicle is rated to tow 3500 pounds and you buy a trailer weighing 3500 pounds, then you are overloading your tow vehicle because you have yet to add the hundreds of pounds of food and gear and other items you will put in your trailer. I hear people who do this say, "But my vehicle can pull it." Sure, it can pull it, but can it control it? Can it stop it? Can it manage it safely?

I remember a commercial by Toyota from a few years ago. Now, keep in mind as I relate this story that I love Toyota vehicles. The company wanted to advertise the pulling power of the Tundra, so it showed the Tundra pulling the space shuttle. Sure, the Tundra could pull it, but it certainly wasn't practical. I can put my truck in neutral, get behind it, and push it if it is on level ground. But if it suddenly got on a downhill slope, I would not be able to stop it. Likewise, I would not be able to push it up a hill of any size. Being able to do something and being able to do something SAFELY are two very separate things.

If you intend to buy an RV, make sure you learn what all these ratings mean and then stay within your limits.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Floor Plans We Are Considering

So, with all the information I've shared in the last few entries, you have a pretty good idea of what we are looking for in a trailer. Here are floor plans of trailers currently available in our area that we are considering.

Rockwood 2109 Mini Lite

Rockwood 2109

This is a standard floor plan, and many of the listings below are almost identical in layout to this plan. The major differences will be in amount of storage, location of TV, and similar items. But there is surprisingly quite a bit of difference in weight and cargo capacity.
  • Unloaded vehicle weight: 4,091 lbs
  • GVWR: 4,855 lbs
  • Cargo Capacity: 714 lbs.
  • Length: 21'8"
  • Freshwater tank: 36 gal
  • Grey water tank: 30 gal
  • Black water tank: 30 gal
The bed meets our requirements. There is room on either side for us to get in and out (a "walk around" bed). A wardrobe is located on each side of the bed for hanging clothes, and there are also small cabinets above the bed (OHC) for smaller items. There is additional storage under the bed for larger items. The sofa is comfortable, and faces the TV which is located at the end of the galley counter near the foot of the bed. The TV can also swivel to face the bed. The table can be stored behind the sofa when not in use. The bathroom is a bit small, but certainly adequate. There is an additional wardrobe just inside the door, next to the fridge. It would be good for hanging jackets, rain gear, and the like. There are also storage cubicles above the sofa. There is a large pass-thru storage bin under the head of the bed and accessible from outside. Another exterior storage is beneath the sofa. A gas grill is optional. We like the optional gas grill, for then you don't have to carry charcoal.


There are a few other trailers with very similar floor plans. Because they are so similar, I'll not post their floor plans here in order to save space. You can click on the links below if you wish to view them.

Coachmen 192RBS
  • Base weight: 3,535 lbs
  • GVWR: 5,900 lbs
  • Cargo Capacity: 2,363 lbs.
  • Length: 22'6"
  • Freshwater tank: 36 gal
  • Grey water tank: 30 gal
  • Black water tank: 30 gal
All in all, not much different from the Rockwood, but it is considerably lighter and has more cargo capacity. There seems to be less exterior storage (no storage under sofa). It does not have a ladder to access the top of the trailer as the Rockwood does, but it has a more streamline shape in front to improve tow ability and fuel efficiency.

Keystone 207RBS
Note: link will take you to general page. Click on your area of the country, then look for the 207RBS floor plan.
  • Unloaded vehicle weight: 4,030 lbs
  • GVWR: 6,200 lbs (Not given by manufacturer; this is based on my calculations)
  • Carrying Capacity: 2,170 lbs.
  • Length: 24'2"
  • Freshwater tank: 43 gal
  • Grey water tank: 30 gal
  • Black water tank: 30 gal
The Keystone is a nice little trailer. First, the bathroom is larger. It actually has a small tub as well as some storage. The galley appears to have a bit more storage, too. But it lacks the exterior storage under the sofa that the Rockwood has. I do not know what the exterior looks like as we have not seen this one in person yet. It is located in a nearby town. Like the Coachmen above, it has more carrying/cargo capacity than the Rockwood.

Starcraft Launch Ultra Lite 21FBS
  • Unloaded vehicle weight: 3,710 lbs
  • GVWR: 4,900 lbs
  • Cargo Capacity: 1,190 lbs.
  • Length: 23'6"
  • Freshwater tank: 28.5 gal
  • Grey water tank: 30.8 gal
  • Black water tank: 30.8 gal

The Starcraft  lacks a bit of storage in comparison to the others, and it really has a cheaper appearance inside. I do not think we will seriously consider this trailer.

Similar to the above, but a bit different, is the Cruiser Fun Finder 215WSK. Rather than a regular sofa, it has an "L" shaped sofa with a removable table. It's a little longer at 25'1" and a bit heavier with a "dry" weight of 4375 lbs. It has a 44 gal freshwater tank and 38 gal tanks for the grey water and black water. This increase in the black and grey water tanks, especially the grey water tank, is significant. I'll explain this elsewhere. But I don't care for the outdoor kitchen. That is wasted space and weight for us.

There is a KZ Spree Connect Z241RKS that I rather like.

KZ Spree Connect 241RKS

 Here are the specs:
  • Unloaded Vehicle Weight: 4490 lbs
  • GVWR: 6,000 lbs
  • Net Carrying Capacity: 1,510
  • Length: 25'9"
  • Freshwater tank: 40 gal
  • Grey Water tank: 32 gal
  • Black Water tank: 32 gal
I like that you have a private bedroom on this trailer. A person can go to bed and be shut off from the living area by a solid door and by what appears to be a collapsible door (between bathroom and bedroom). And in addition to the sofa, there is a dinette. The bath is large and includes a tub. We have not looked at this trailer yet, though it is available at a dealer in a nearby town.

Finally, there is the Coachmen 246RKS. This one is available locally, and we have looked at it. The local dealer has it in more than one color.

Coachmen 246RKS
  • Unloaded Vehicle Weight: 4,310 lbs
  • GVWR: 7,000 lbs
  • Cargo Capacity: 2,648
  • Length: 28'3"
  • Freshwater tank: 49 gal
  • Grey Water tank: 33 gal
  • Black Water tank: 33 gal
I rather like this trailer. First, it has lots of interior storage. There are wardrobes on either side of the bed plus an additional wardrobe between the sofa and the bed. On either side of the sofa, there is additional storage, although there is no overhead storage above the sofa. The dinette is a nice addition. The placement of the bathroom between the living area and the bedroom also helps bring a bit of privacy to the bedroom even though there is no physical door that separates the two areas.But the weight and length are really a bit more than I want. We are still considering it, though.






Monday, January 5, 2015

What We Are Looking for in a Small Trailer

So, after reading about my objections to Casitas and Trail Manors, you may be wondering just what we looking for in a small trailer?

We want to keep the total trailer length less than 28 feet or so. In fact, we'd like to be somewhere in the 23 to 25 foot range. The longest Casita is 17 feet in comparison. We also hope to keep the weight in the 4,000 pound range, with lighter being better. By comparison, the heaviest Casita comes in at just over 2,000 pounds. We may have to go a bit above 4,000 pounds to get what we want in a floor plan, though.

We have several features that we really aren't willing to compromise on.
  1. There must be what I call a full bath; we do not want a marine or "wet" bath. There should be a shower, toilet, and sink, each operating independently of the others. If the shower has a bit of a tub, that would be a plus. The bathroom should have a little storage.
  2. The refrigerator should be 8 cubic feet or larger, not the smaller 6 cubic feet fridges that you find in folding trailers or smaller trailers.
  3. The bed needs to be a permanent queen size bed, with access on both sides; this is often called a "walk around" bed in the literature. We don't want anything that folds up or down for our bed. And we don't want to crawl over each other to get in or out of bed. There should be room on both sides of the bed for each of us to get in and out (to "walk around").
  4. We need a comfortable place to sit at the end of the day or for those times when we are confined to the trailer, such as during bad weather. To us, sitting at a dinette is not comfortable, so we want something more. A sofa would do fine; two comfortable chairs would be even better.
  5. There should be adequate storage inside and out. For outside, we need a place to store a grill, lantern, and other traditional camping gear. We also need to store hoses, wheel chocks, tools, and supplies for the trailer. I like to take plenty of electrical cords and hoses, for some campsites have hookups spread all over the place. We also need a place for fishing gear and hiking gear. Inside storage needs to be sufficient for hanging clothes, pots and pans, and canned goods among other things.
  6. And we like our television and radio/DVD player. The television should be situated where we can look at it head on from where we sit. The TV should have a booster/antennae as well as a cable hookup. Even when we are traveling, we do like to keep up with the news and be aware of the weather. And at the end of a day, it is nice to be able to sit back and watch a few programs before turning in.
We really do not require a dinette. Some models we are currently considering have a collapsible table that sets up in front of a sofa. When you don't need the table, it folds up and stores behind the sofa, giving more floor space. We rather like this idea. In our Rockwood, we mainly used the dinette for working on  the computer. We rarely ate at the table unless our oldest grandson was with us. Most of the time, we'd eat while sitting in our chairs watching television or we'd eat outside. Eating outside is our preference.

So, these are the features we have in mind as we look at trailers. In the next entry, I'll share some floor plans that we are interested in.



Saturday, January 3, 2015

We Consider a Casita

Like the Trail Manor in a previous entry, we have spent years looking at Casita trailers. Their manufacturing plant is located in Rice, Texas, on I-45 between Corsicana and Ennis. We've actually visited the plant twice over the years and looked at their models on display.

I think Casitas are well built trailers, and they can be the perfect trailer for the right people. As with the Trail Manor, they have a very loyal following. They are light weight, aerodynamic, and well-insulated for a trailer. I have even read the blogs of some people who full-time in these trailers.

But for Donna and me, they are a bit small.

First, they have absolutely no outside storage. You'd basically have to store everything in your tow vehicle or the inside of your trailer. I'm talking here about water hoses, tools, sewer hoses, wheel chocks, grills, charcoal, lanterns, and all other related items that I do not want to store inside the trailer or even in the back of the truck. I want these items with the trailer. There isn't much storage inside, either, though there are numerous little cabinets. But there are lots of creative people out there in their Casitas, and they continue to find ways to make things work. If you are a handy and creative person, the space limitations probably would not pose a problem for you.

Second, the bed is such that whoever is on the inside must crawl over the other person to get out of the bed. And the bed is actually the dinette. On some models, there is another side table that people opt to use for dining and they just leave the full dinette made into a bed permanently. For a single person, this wouldn't be a problem.

Third, there is no really comfortable seating in the trailer. Yes, there is seating, but on stools or dinette style seats. I like something a bit more relaxing.

But probably the biggest factor for me is the bath. Not all Casita models have a bath. Those that are so equipped have a marine or "wet" bath. This means that the toilet, shower, and sink are all in one cubicle. When you take a shower, everything gets wet. When you want to use the toilet, you actually place your feet in the bottom of the shower. This is really only an inconvenience, but at our current stage of life, it is not an inconvenience we are willing to endure. Also, the shower compartment is quite small. We did have a small trailer several years ago with a marine bath, and I just never cared for it.

But the Casita line of trailers is really quite good, and the Casita community is outstanding. There are a couple of very active forums for Casita owners, and it isn't hard to see the passion folks have for these trailers. There is a similar line called Scamp based in Minnesota. From what I can tell, it is virtually the same trailer, though quality may vary one way or another. I've not seen many Scamps in my travels, but I've seen Casitas all over. There are 2 currently in my neighborhood.

We were staying at Goliad State Park just outside Goliad, Texas, 3 or 4 years ago in our Rockwood. An older couple in a Toyota Tacoma with a camper shell pulled in towing a Casita. If I recall, they were from a northern state -- Minnesota, I think. They had 2 kayaks strapped atop the truck and camper shell and 2 bicycles strapped on a carrier at the back of the Casita. I really admired them. Here they were far from home and traveling about as efficiently as you can. No doubt, with the "toys" they had, they were enjoying quite an adventure. Folks like this really know how to get the most out of life.

But Donna and I want a few more luxuries, so our search is for something just a bit larger and more comfortable.

Friday, January 2, 2015

It's Cold Outside!

As I write this about 6:30 AM Friday morning, it is 32 degrees outside. This past Monday, I walked in short sleeves around our neighborhood. Monday night, a front moved through, and it began very light precipitation Tuesday. The high on Tuesday was in the low 40s. Later that night, the temperature dropped even further. Our high on Wednesday was 23 in San Angelo. Yesterday -- New Year's Day -- we never reached the freezing mark. Our high today is expected to be about 34 or so. And all of this freezing weather has been accompanied by light moisture, enough to keep the roads slick.

We're not used to this kind of cold weather in San Angelo. Usually, such weather moves in and out very quickly. It's unusual for it to stick around so long.

It's weather like this that helped us decide we did not want to full-time. Cold weather in an RV is just pure misery for us. And you really can't get away from cold weather. The weather has been cold and wet even down in Brownsville in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. If you live in an RV full-time, you're going to get caught in weather like this at some point. You just have to endure it.

2 years ago -- while we were living full-time in our trailer for 8 months -- we fled sub-freezing weather in this area and went to Big Bend for a week. When we arrived, it was sunny and warm down there, quite a contrast from the cold we had been enduring up here and in Big Spring. Then we got hit with a freak storm and were snowed in for several days.

So, we're pretty comfortable with becoming fair-weather campers. During the coldest months -- basically mid-December to mid-February -- we'll hunker down in our nice, warm home, wait for the worst of the winter weather to pass, then set out and play during the next 10 months.

I don't think I ever posted any pictures of the snow we received while in Terlingua 2 years ago while staying at the Big Bend Motor Inn and RV Park. Below are a few of those. We ended up staying an additional 3 days or so while waiting for the weather to clear.

Early morning in the RV park.

Clear space where a traveler spent the night. I'm surprised someone ventured out on these snowy roads so early in the morning in this hilly country. There are no snow plows down here to clear roads.

Our truck and trailer. We just hunkered down and turned up the heat.

A wintry sky over Big Bend. This is not the kind of weather you want to spend in an RV. All you can do is dress warmly, turn up the heat, keep a pot of coffee on the stove, and open a good book.







Thursday, January 1, 2015

We Consider Trail Manors

I've been looking at Trail Manor trailers for close to 20 years, I guess. I like the concept of this trailer, and it certainly serves a niche in the RV market. Several years ago, we came very close to buying one. For the right people, this could be an excellent choice.

The Trail Manor line has expanded in recent years, but I've always been interested only in the folding line, or what the company today calls their "retractable" trailers. Some folks may find their "rise" travel trailers interesting as well. These function similarly to the old Hi-Lo trailers that "telescope" straight up. And let me state up front that these retractable trailers are hard wall trailers, not fabric as with your standard folding trailer you see so often on the highways. That does add a bit of security and durability.

For the right people, a Trail Manor "retractable" trailer offers many advantages: it is light, can be towed behind smaller vehicles, is very fuel efficient, and can even be stored in many garages. Because of its low profile, it is easier to tow with reduced trailer sway and reduced affect from winds. If we were 20 or 30 years younger, such a trailer might appeal to us, but at our current stage of life, we want a bit more ease.

First, it takes a bit of an effort to unfold these trailers. They actually are pretty easy, but there is still some effort involved. So, once you arrive at your campsite, the first thing you have to do is unfold the trailer even before you start connecting everything. After you unfold the trailer, then there is the internal setup, such as erecting the bathroom walls, securing the seal along the junctions, and so forth. I simply don't want to do that these days; 20 or 30 years ago it would not have bothered me.

Second, you can really only access the trailer when it is unfolded. One of the things we like about a regular hard wall trailer is that we can stop in a rest area along the road to take a nap, make a sandwich, or use the bathroom. Heck, I could even take a shower if I had sufficient water in the fresh water tank. With a Trail Manor, you would have to expand the trailer before doing any of these things. And when you are loading your trailer before your trip, you would have to set it up to put food in your fridge, clothes in the wardrobe, and other supplies in the trailer. Then you would have to fold it back down when you were ready to start the trip. Again, I just don't want to have to do that.

I also have a bit of an issue with the toilet system in a Trail Manor. Even after looking at these trailers for all these years, I'm still not comfortable with their recirculating toilet system. And that doesn't mean anything is wrong with it; I've just never seen it in use. And since the trailer is a folding trailer, you really don't have the storage space of a regular hard wall trailer, and the fridge is smaller than what we want.

But Trail Manors have a loyal following, almost a cult following. And for adaptable people, I think the trailer is certainly one worth considering.

On a final note, a Trail Manor is not cheap, but it does seem to retain its value well.