Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Ready to Roll!

I picked up my Minnie and tow car today from Cliff's Welding and hitch shop, where it was being fitted with a Roadmaster Sterling All Terrain towbar and built in braking system. Jake, the rep who I worked with, went over all the instructions with me and walked me through all the steps of hitching and preparing to tow. I made notes of everything and took lots of pictures of each step and the final hookup, so I feel like I am as prepared as I can be.

We went back inside where he took a LOT of my money, 😆 then he walked me back out and we shook hands. He reminded me one more time to NEVER back up, and said to call if I had any questions. I hopped into Minnie and pulled out onto the street.

When I watched that car rolling along behind me in my rear view camera, I was overwhelmed with emotion and might have cried for a minute. 😉 A block down the road, I pulled over into a big parking lot just to go back and ensure everything looked okay, and to slam my Minnie door closed (because it was rattling), and then I got on the freeway ... yes, the freeway!! ... and drove her home.

The car sailed right along behind me and I didn't really feel it there other than having to keep a little closer handle on the steering wheel. It felt like it could have a tendency to wander a bit more than it does without towing.

We have been having record heat in the Valley of the Sun (more like the Surface of the Sun) this week, and packing and loading the rig has been a miserable job. But it's nearly ready, and I hope to pull out for cooler country tomorrow.

See you down the road!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Fit to be Toad

I bought a 2009 Honda Fit last week and will get the tow bar installed Tuesday.
Orange was my last choice of color! I had hoped to find a decent white, blue or silver one. I looked at a few Fits and even made an offer on one that was accepted. Then the owner disappeared (thankfully before I gave him my money!) and I didn't hear from him again. Maybe he got a better offer and decided not to even let me know. Anyway, I had seen this orange one in the search results and decided I better take a look at it, since the other ones were selling so quickly.

In my research, I had settled on wanting an automatic Honda Fit. They are nice and small, lightweight, and are one of the few automatics that can be towed. I have owned 4 Hondas in my lifetime, and am very loyal to the quality of their vehicles. I figured if I could find a decent inexpensive one, I would be set for many years of enjoyment.

Daryl and I drove to Scottsdale and checked the orange one out. It was in good shape with just a few cosmetic dings (nothing major), a very sound engine and nice interior. The mileage was a little high (105k), but Hondas have a very good reputation for upward of (or more than) 200,000 miles, so I knew it still had a lot of life. I thought it over and made him an offer, which he accepted. I decided I better jump on it while I could, because used Fits are gone before you know it.

The towbar installation will cost me about 3/4 of what I paid for the car. It's a very expensive process, especially if you get a high end towbar. I knew I wanted a Roadmaster All Terrain system so I wouldn't have to deal with binding, since I travel alone. I also decided on a built in braking system, which is slightly more money than a portable brake, but a lot easier to handle. Although I'm paying a lot for this, all of the equipment will be mine and if I change cars, I can have it removed and re-installed on another car. I'll just have the labor costs.

My plans are falling into place for a Thursday departure, when I'll head north to Idaho, Wyoming, South Dakota and Montana for the remainder of the summer. It's not a moment too soon, since the temperatures have been in the "one teens" this week, and forecasted to hit 120° tomorrow!!