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Old 01-13-2015, 02:45 PM   #29
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Money vs. Convenience and Interstate Glamping

Here's a thought. If you're glamping, I really wonder if the cost of hauling a toad makes all that much sense. I'd probably never want one for an overnight stay, but if I were visiting friends or staying for a couple of weeks - stir crazy would be a problem.

I've noticed more and more small towns are becoming "golf cart villages" - Colonial Beach VA being one I visited less than a year ago. Many of those towns have cart rental stores, and nearby campgrounds rent the carts on a daily or weekly basis, too. A few places also rent Segways.

Come to think of it, is there any reason you couldn't drive a Segway up a ramp into the back of an Interstate? What do they weigh?

If you think about it, the cost of owning and towing a toad vehicle might not be that much less than judiciously renting a golf cart or a car on occasion. It might reduce the frequency of really going off the paved roads, but it actually shouldn't stop you from camping at all. And the run to a grocery store - well, reel in the power cord, roll up the water hose and go!

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hensley stringer alternative. You CAN leave the stringer in the Hensley Hitch on your trailer. It's what you do at the mothership.

Just pull the hitch pin out and drive away (After lowering the trailer jack and loosening the tension on the bars first). To prevent theft put a BIG padlock in the hitch pin hole, wrap the chains around the hitch and padlock them together too.

Getting the stringer back into your truck's hitch. I seriously doubt that you can back the receiver onto the truck end of the stringer - unless you have the stringer supported by something at just the right height and angle, but if you back up and get the receiver within a couple of inches of the stringer... easing the stringer across the gap on a sturdy ice chest with wheels? or a folding footstool (the 1 foot high size) shouldn't be a big deal.
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Old 01-13-2015, 03:51 PM   #30
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Here's a thought. If you're glamping, I really wonder if the cost of hauling a toad makes all that much sense. I'd probably never want one for an overnight stay, but if I were visiting friends or staying for a couple of weeks - stir crazy would be a problem.
My toad is my daily driver. Since I do not use my Interstate as a daily driver, I would have another vehicle even if it wasn't a toad. So for me, the cost of owning another vehicle has nothing to do with it being a toad.

The costs that ARE associated with it being a toad are:
Adding the towbar baseplates to the toad;
Rewiring the toad so that the taillights and turn signals work both normally and through an umbilical cable;
Adding supplemental brakes to the toad;
Buying the towbar for the motorhome;
The cost of fuel to tow the toad.

The cost of fuel is the only recurring cost. Based on the fuel economy I get with my Interstate towing and not towing over the same stretch of highway, towing costs me about 1 mile per gallon, from 19mpg to 18mpg. Now over a distance of 342 miles, towing I use 19 gallons of diesel. Not towing, I use 18 gallons of diesel over the same distance. As long as diesel costs less than $3.42 per gallon, it costs me less than a penny a mile in fuel to tow my Honda.

As for the other costs, since they're fixed one-time-only costs, amortized over the number of miles I've towed my toad (over 7000 miles as of today), since the cost to convert my Honda to a toad and add a towbar to the motorhome was less than $3500 total, it has cost me only 50¢ per mile of towing so far to do the conversion. In another 7000 miles of towing— and I'll be adding the first 1000 miles of that before the end of the month— the fixed costs will be just 25¢ per mile towed. And so on. The toad gets cheaper to use— as a toad— the more I use it.

Left out of the equation is the cost savings in using a 37mpg Honda to go exploring and make grocery runs vs. using a 19mpg Interstate to go exploring and make grocery runs while camped. Considering that I have camped in places where the nearest town to buy anything I've forgotten was 30 miles away that can make a difference as well.

But to balance that out, also left out of the equation is slightly increased wear on the toad's tires and brakes from being towed. But since the odometer doesn't add any miles while while it's being towed, those 7000 miles I've towed it are invisible as far as the official mileage is concerned.

Now in the interest of full disclosure, the primary reason I have a toad now instead of the big SUV I formerly used as a daily driver is that the SUV wasn't towable, I live alone, and I live in hurricane country. If I had to evacuate for a hurricane while I had the SUV, I'd have to leave one vehicle behind at the mercy of the storm while I bugged out with the other one. With the toad, I can load the toad with stuff from my apartment like it was a small box trailer, hitch it up behind my Interstate, and evacuate with BOTH vehicles, thus saving a larger fraction of my total net worth. Anybody who has been through Katrina, Rita, Sandy, or other major storms will understand.

Even if having a toad was completely uneconomical I'd have one for that reason alone, versus a daily driver that isn't towable.

But having a toad for that reason, it would be positively criminal NOT to use it all the time as a toad even for ordinary camping trips.

Now if your motorhome IS going to be your daily driver and you'll use it for everything, you would have to amortize the whole cost of the towed vehicle over the number of miles towed, and you'd never tow it enough miles to make that economical. But as long as you have a motorhome plus a daily driver anyway, it only makes sense for the daily driver to be towable.
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Old 01-13-2015, 04:37 PM   #31
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Another thought you might consider if going the MH route is to budget for renting a car where you need one and when. On our trip out west this past summer and fall we camped with several people that specifically camped in towns with car rental facilities so they could rent when they needed and where, and not have the added expense of all that is required of a toad. Enterprise even delivered a car to one couple at the camp ground, and another campground had cars for rent at the office, all kinds of cars from small Honda Fit to larger vans.
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Old 01-13-2015, 05:59 PM   #32
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Difficulties of towing a toad

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Originally Posted by bonginator View Post
This is interesting. D any of you drive your interstates on rough potholed dirt roads? How does it do? When we camp, we like to get off the beaten path and explore nearby rivers which typically requires driving down rough dirt roads and pullouts. What's the interstate like in these conditions? That is why we were thinking of needing a toad.

Yes - lots of rough dirt roads so far - many during our Alaska trip last summer. You just need to go slow. The worst was a trail to my brothers cabin in northern Minnesota. The route went from pavement to gravel to a logging road to two ruts in the mud with tree branches rubbing on both sides. Today it was a muddy dirt road leading to the Angel Oak tree on John's Island near Charleston SC. The Interstate as a Sprinter with dual rear wheels handles it well. Just don't go too fast to rock all the contents of your home on wheels.
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Old 01-14-2015, 06:15 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by bonginator View Post
This is interesting. D any of you drive your interstates on rough potholed dirt roads? How does it do? When we camp, we like to get off the beaten path and explore nearby rivers which typically requires driving down rough dirt roads and pullouts. What's the interstate like in these conditions? That is why we were thinking of needing a toad.
You can get mudflaps that mount on a hitch (including a towbar) to protect your toad against flying gravel, too. If you're planning to travel unimproved back roads, that would be a wise investment.
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Old 01-14-2015, 09:23 AM   #34
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Another thought you might consider if going the MH route is to budget for renting a car where you need one and when. On our trip out west this past summer and fall we camped with several people that specifically camped in towns with car rental facilities so they could rent when they needed and where, and not have the added expense of all that is required of a toad. Enterprise even delivered a car to one couple at the camp ground, and another campground had cars for rent at the office, all kinds of cars from small Honda Fit to larger vans.
Thanks for the suggestion. A rental car is not an option for us since we camp in lots of remote places to go fishing (hence the need for a vehicle that will handle small, potholed, narrow dirt roads.)
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Old 01-14-2015, 09:25 AM   #35
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You can get mudflaps that mount on a hitch (including a towbar) to protect your toad against flying gravel, too. If you're planning to travel unimproved back roads, that would be a wise investment.
I have a question about terminology - you mentioned a toad and your SUV in another post. Is a "toad" the universal term for a vehicle that you tow or is it a small vehicle?
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Old 01-14-2015, 09:27 AM   #36
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Here's a thought. If you're glamping, I really wonder if the cost of hauling a toad makes all that much sense. I'd probably never want one for an overnight stay, but if I were visiting friends or staying for a couple of weeks - stir crazy would be a problem.

I've noticed more and more small towns are becoming "golf cart villages" - Colonial Beach VA being one I visited less than a year ago. Many of those towns have cart rental stores, and nearby campgrounds rent the carts on a daily or weekly basis, too. A few places also rent Segways.

Come to think of it, is there any reason you couldn't drive a Segway up a ramp into the back of an Interstate? What do they weigh?

If you think about it, the cost of owning and towing a toad vehicle might not be that much less than judiciously renting a golf cart or a car on occasion. It might reduce the frequency of really going off the paved roads, but it actually shouldn't stop you from camping at all. And the run to a grocery store - well, reel in the power cord, roll up the water hose and go!

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hensley stringer alternative. You CAN leave the stringer in the Hensley Hitch on your trailer. It's what you do at the mothership.

Just pull the hitch pin out and drive away (After lowering the trailer jack and loosening the tension on the bars first). To prevent theft put a BIG padlock in the hitch pin hole, wrap the chains around the hitch and padlock them together too.

Getting the stringer back into your truck's hitch. I seriously doubt that you can back the receiver onto the truck end of the stringer - unless you have the stringer supported by something at just the right height and angle, but if you back up and get the receiver within a couple of inches of the stringer... easing the stringer across the gap on a sturdy ice chest with wheels? or a folding footstool (the 1 foot high size) shouldn't be a big deal.
Very creative idea. Are segways street legal and can they be ridden on rough surfaces like a potholed dirt road? I thought about an atv but then you have to deal with moving a heavy trailer around.
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Old 01-14-2015, 11:46 AM   #37
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Very creative idea. Are segways street legal and can they be ridden on rough surfaces like a potholed dirt road? I thought about an atv but then you have to deal with moving a heavy trailer around.
One of my (former) coworkers is mobility-impaired and I looked into the laws concerning Segways for her because she thought it would be better than a motorized wheelchair or scooter for her.

Only five states have not enacted any laws related to Segways: Arkansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, North Dakota, and Wyoming. The other forty-five states all have laws related to the use of Segways. I haven't looked up the laws in all 45 of those states, but I have looked up a random sampling.

Segways are generally legal on bike paths, sidewalks, and low-speed city streets. They are considered consumer products rather than vehicles under most of the state laws that I've seen, and have the same legal standing as a motorized wheelchair as an electrically powered mobility assistance device— except you don't have to be handicapped to legally use one. Some laws related to pedestrians also apply to Segways.

You can go here as a starting point for looking up your state's laws concerning Segways: State Segway Laws

As for off-road, even the "x2" models have limited ground clearance. You'll have to stick to improved trails; you can't take one on a mountain bile trail and expect to make it all the way around the course.

But as a plus, you can get cargo boxes or larger open-topped cargo bins that fit over the tires so that you can use it to schlep stuff back and forth, such as groceries or that potluck dinner you need to haul to the campground's clubhouse.

The supposedly "off-road" x2 weighs about 120 pounds including the battery pack. You can partially disassemble a Segway for transport. The battery pack, handlebar, and most accessories are removable. But you can't ship it by air— ground only— because the battery pack is considered hazardous material and can't be shipped by air.

A Segway isn't cheap. Cost is approximately $6000 new for the low-end models, and price goes up from there as you add features and accessories.
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Old 01-14-2015, 12:08 PM   #38
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Say goodbye to Airstream

And get a toy hauler with a powered RAMP.

Run your ATV up the ramp and into the garage.

The ATV gets you to the trout stream.


Of course you could get a Pan America but that's a BIG honkin' Airstream and the hauling capacity is probably good only for ONE ATV, and they aren't still making them but I'd bet you could find one somewhere. Even with some retrofitting you'll spend less than buying a new Interstate.

Wonder if the factory would take a special order? Hmmm. Call the mothership and report back.

Best wishes, Paula
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Old 01-14-2015, 12:26 PM   #39
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...

The costs that ARE associated with it being a toad are:
Adding the towbar baseplates to the toad;
Rewiring the toad so that the taillights and turn signals work both normally and through an umbilical cable;
Adding supplemental brakes to the toad;
Buying the towbar for the motorhome;
The cost of fuel to tow the toad.

...

Now if your motorhome IS going to be your daily driver and you'll use it for everything, you would have to amortize the whole cost of the towed vehicle over the number of miles towed, and you'd never tow it enough miles to make that economical. But as long as you have a motorhome plus a daily driver anyway, it only makes sense for the daily driver to be towable.
Without installation costs, toad parts were under 1k.
My Fit replaced the daily driver Mercury Marquis, only thing it doesn't do is carry the kayak so I kept my old toad Ford Ranger modified with a disconnect for transmission to make it towable, it carries the bikes too. but weighs in at 4k compared to the Fit at 2500 pounds.

When we had the Coachhouse van, didn't use toad and never missed having one, as the van fit in a regular parking spot.
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Old 01-14-2015, 12:33 PM   #40
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I have a question about terminology - you mentioned a toad and your SUV in another post. Is a "toad" the universal term for a vehicle that you tow or is it a small vehicle?
It's not universal for any small vehicle, because small vehicles that aren't towed aren't toads. If you pull it on a trailer, even a motorcycle can be a toad.

Another word for toad is "dinghy" which is a holdover from yachting usage, same way our electrical hookup is "shore power." But calling a towed car a "dinghy" is awfully pretentious, and I refuse to take myself that seriously. However, there are some motorhome owners— usually the owners of very large high-end and stratospherically-priced square-box motorhomes— who get offended if you call their dinghy a mere toad.

I save my pretensions for my AirForums ID ("Protagonist" is a pretentious name if ever there was one) and my vehicle names— "Kaiser" for my Interstate since the Sprinter part was made in Germany and "Mikado" for my Honda since it was made in Japan— both of which mean "Emperor" in their respective native languages.

But since all three pretentious names are used in jest— because they're deliberately pretentious— are they still considered pretentious, or iconoclastic?
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Old 01-14-2015, 12:42 PM   #41
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My Fit replaced the daily driver Mercury Marquis, only thing it doesn't do is carry the kayak
My Fit can carry a kayak. They don't make OEM cargo bars for the Fit's roof, but Yakima makes some nice aftermarket ones (the "Whispbar" models) for the Fit, that clamp on over the door frames. Available at Amazon. After installing them according to instructions, I've never once had to retighten them; they say put. Load capacity isn't huge, but it's enough for a kayak or two.

I have an inflatable kayak that I carry on mine. Not on the highway— I deflate it and carry it inside for that— but in the campground the best place to launch isn't always close to the campsite so I installed the bars to allow me to inflate the kayak once when I arrive, and deflate it once when I leave, and still schlep it back and forth within the campground. If I had a rigid kayak (and a place to store it when not in use) I'd carry it on the Fit's roof while towing.

Side note, why do they call it an "inflatable kayak" when it's really an inflatable canoe, just with a kayak paddle?
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