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Old 11-09-2017, 09:57 AM   #1
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To Toad or Not to Toad? That is the Question!

Most of us enjoy our Interstates as campers and as transportation when camping. So now that we bought a new 2018 Jeep JK Wrangler we are again asking ourselves if we want to bring it along. We've been renting cars when we stay somewhere and want to visit a city (Asheville, Greenville, Altanta, Albuquerque, Jackson Center, etc.) and that seems to work out fine. But sometimes on a short 2 night stay we also wish we had another vehicle to visit a restaurant to simply to go buy firewood.
So, anyone with a toad -- your viewpoints on the pro's and cons are solicited, as well as recommendations on what base plate and tow-bar you prefer and why.
Thanks...Joe H - aka AIJoe, 2016 ET-EXT,
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Old 11-09-2017, 10:43 AM   #2
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I bought the AI so that I did not have to tow anything... but I am completely new to all this life... so that line of thought might change with the years of usage.

I am getting a Mototote to cary a motorcyle for those odds trips. But for now, no plans to tow anything...
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Old 11-09-2017, 10:49 AM   #3
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And I could not resist to comment... I am waiting for the JL to come out with a diesel engine to trade in my current SUV. I have been part of the Wrangler forum for several years waiting to buy one...

Several forum members here that are towing a Jeep with their AI.
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Old 11-09-2017, 10:50 AM   #4
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Here is a thread on this:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f240...rt-170931.html
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Old 11-09-2017, 11:33 AM   #5
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We have encountered a very few instances of wishing that we had something smaller when out camping - roads where the Interstate was not advised or not allowed. But this has not been enough to even think about towing something. We have taken it to visit large cities - DC, Philly, Boston. In each case we parked on the outskirts and took the train in. I am not sure that we would have driven a car into the city even IF we had towed one along with us. We bought a smallish motorhome because we didn't want to have to tow a car behind us - and thus far we have not regretted that decision. If a person is a bit skillful/careful you can do a lot with a large Sprinter van.
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Old 11-09-2017, 11:40 AM   #6
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30,000 miles including two trips to the right coast and back and never a toad. Once rented a car for 3 days. Normally park the AI downtown. When we arrive in camp we hook up electric only in case we want to drive to dinner. We use very little water because we use the park shower facility. We only drag out the macerator hose & water hose when it's time to dump and fill (usually every 2 or 3 days).
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Old 11-09-2017, 11:47 AM   #7
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Wrangler Towing

It’s so easy to drive the AI towing our Wrangler we take it on virtually all our trips from short two day camping close by to our annual trip out to Colorado. Still find it easy to stop almost anywhere we want while towing, whether to fuel up or stop for lunch etc. Of course, for the past ten years prior to selling our Prevost last year, we took all the longer trips in the Bus towing the Jeep and that experience has made the AI and Wrangler combination seem effortless. We like the flexibility and convenience of having the Jeep with us to do what we want where ever we visit without moving the AI.
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Old 11-10-2017, 07:30 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by busb2 View Post
Of course, for the past ten years prior to selling our Prevost last year, we took all the longer trips in the Bus towing the Jeep and that experience has made the AI and Wrangler combination seem effortless. We like the flexibility and convenience of having the Jeep with us to do what we want where ever we visit without moving the AI.
Thanks EVERYONE for your replies. Guess "toading" is a matter of preference and the only way to find out will be to do it! Wish I had a neighbor here in Key Largo with a toad-ready Jeep so we could take it on a short journey, rather than spending the bucks to get ours toad ready.
Like most, we love the flexibility of toad-free camping! Heading up to Canopener 2018; the trip would make a great "toading" test. Car rental is about $700; maybe we'll just get the new JK set-up and see what happens. Experience is the best reference.
HOWEVER, busb2 - how about some comments on the Prevost vs. the AI. Sometimes when we are out there for 50+ days, we are drooling over the space and facilities of a Prevost, but . . . .
At the annual Tampa RV show (where we saw and bought our AI in 2016), Airstream and Prevost are the two brands at the front door. While we would now have a hard time leaving the Airstream-WBAC community, we would only do it for a Prevost! And then we'd really need a toad! So, share with all of us here on the Forum your thoughts on Prevost vs. AI, please.
Thanks
jch
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Old 11-10-2017, 07:33 AM   #9
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Toad or towed?
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Old 11-13-2017, 07:30 PM   #10
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Toad or towed?

Seems like towed makes more sense to me. For example... My "towed" is a (fill in the blank), where towed is short for towed vehicle.

Somewhere along the line somebody got cute or maybe mispelled the word so now we're stuck with motorhome owners referring to their toad. There are several stories in existence as to why toad is used but I still think it stems from the cute factor or from a misspelling.

Back to the OP, we like our Interstate perfectly fine by itself. We do not plan to tow a vehicle. We only hook up electric so it's quick to move out, move on. We use the Interstate to travel - very seldom stay in one place more than a few nights. YMMV.
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Old 11-13-2017, 07:40 PM   #11
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Many of our trips are four-night Airstream rallies and we usually take the Smart so that we do not need to depend on others. We are in one place long enough that everything is hooked up. The Smart is useful as extra space for rally supplies when we host.
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Old 11-13-2017, 07:49 PM   #12
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We plan to get an enclosed trailer to haul our motorcycle with us. Not really a towed, but can be a lot more fun.
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Old 11-13-2017, 08:25 PM   #13
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So, anyone with a toad -- your viewpoints on the pro's and cons are solicited, as well as recommendations on what base plate and tow-bar you prefer and why.
Thanks...
As others have pointed out, one reason for having an Interstate is the ability to NOT need a toad.

However, if you have another vehicle, and that vehicle is suitable for use as a toad, you might as well go ahead and outfit it as one.

I live alone, and I never wanted my Interstate to be my ONLY vehicle. And since I live on the Gulf coast, where hurricane evacuations are to be expected, it made sound economic sense for my daily driver to be a toad, so that I could take BOTH vehicles with me when I evacuate, instead of leaving one vehicle behind to be destroyed by the inevitable flooding.

And having outfitted my daily vehicle as a toad, it made sense to bring it along when I drive my Interstate. I have towed my Honda Fit for five years and 25,000 miles behind my Interstate, almost as many miles as I've driven my Honda. I do not for one minute regret bringing a toad along with me on any trip.

When the toad is being pulled behind my Interstate, I use it as overflow storage for all of the outdoor gear that I bring with me— lawn chairs, patio mat, barbecue grill, Clam Corp screen room, a folding table if the campground doesn't provide picnic tables, inflatable kayak, folding bicycle, etc. That way I don't have outdoor gear cluttering up the inside of the Interstate while I'm in transit.

Without the toad, I'd bring a lot less gear with me, because I'd have no place to put it. And I'd spend a lot less time exploring the area around my campground, because it's hard to use the campsite as a base camp for exploring if you have to break camp every time you want to go anywhere.

I suppose I could rent a car from Enterprise when I don't want to break camp to go somewhere, instead of bringing a toad. As long as I only stay at campgrounds where I have cell service to call Enterprise to come pick me up, and as long as I stay in campgrounds near a town that has an Enterprise car rental center. But I've stayed at several campgrounds where there was no cell or WiFi service, and I've stayed at campgrounds that are 40 miles from the nearest place to buy a loaf of bread, let alone rent a car. A toad sure does come in handy at times like those…

As for towbar and baseplates and supplemental brakes, I went with Roadmaster. But Blue Ox is good, too. There are other brands, but those two companies offer the best custom-fit systems made for specific makes and models of toads.
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Old 11-13-2017, 08:29 PM   #14
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There are several stories in existence as to why toad is used but I still think it stems from the cute factor or from a misspelling.
It's a deliberate misspelling. But It's an irreverent way to refer to the towed vehicle, and much to be preferred over the more pretentious "dinghy."

Bad enough that we call the electric hookups "shore power" like our RVs are yachts in a marina, without pretending that our towed cars are little boats too.
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Old 11-13-2017, 10:00 PM   #15
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On the planned cross-country trip I’m planning on bringing one of my street legal motorcycles. I have a small hitch carrier and a ‘RakAttach’ that allows it to be pivots out of the way for access to the rear doors without removing the bike.
Since my AI is an older model with excellent rear access, this is very important to me.

Mark
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Old 11-17-2017, 05:28 PM   #16
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If I want to tow a Jeep Wrangler with my Interstate, do I need any type of supplemental braking system? Does having a toad effect normal braking much?
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Old 11-17-2017, 05:40 PM   #17
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If I want to tow a Jeep Wrangler with my Interstate, do I need any type of supplemental braking system? Does having a toad effect normal braking much?
I have a surge brake on my Smart, but I can't tell when it is not connected. Of course, the Smart only weighs about 1750#.

There are state laws governing on whether a braking system is required, based on the towed weight. If you are legal in your home state, you are legal across the board.
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Old 11-17-2017, 05:50 PM   #18
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If I want to tow a Jeep Wrangler with my Interstate, do I need any type of supplemental braking system? Does having a toad effect normal braking much?
Legally, that varies by state. When you're pulling a toad, it has to meet all the requirements for a trailer of the same weight with regard to brakes, lighting, etc.

In terms of physics, the Sprinter's brakes can stop both the van and the toad under most circumstances, but in a longer distance. Using supplemental brakes on the toad returns the stopping distance to what you would have with the van alone. I definitely recommend using supplemental brakes for all toads.

When pulling my toad, I genuinely can't tell the difference in braking distance or braking effort, even on a steep downhill grade.

In my case, I used the Roadmaster Invisibrake, because I knew that I would only have one toad for the foreseeable future. The Invisibrake is a permanent installation, and fits neatly under the driver's seat. It didn't seem practical to use a removable brake system that fits in the toad's driver's footwell, that you'd have to remove and store somewhere before you could drive the toad.

An added benefit of the Invisibrake system is that no brake controller is needed in the Sprinter. The Invisibrake is activated by the brake light signal through the 7-blade connector.

AND, if you ever turn on the 4-way flashers in the van, that also activates the toad brakes. So while you can't ever drive with the flashers on when pulling the Invisibrake-equipped toad, you do have the option of turning on the van's flashers to activate the toad brakes without activating the van brakes, if that ever proves necessary or desirable. I've never had to do that while driving, but it gives me a convenient way to check toad brake function when hitching up, without needing a second person— just turn on the flashers, walk back to the toad, and listen for the activation of the brake system's vacuum pump.
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Old 11-17-2017, 06:59 PM   #19
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As others have pointed out, one reason for having an Interstate is the ability to NOT need a toad.

However, if you have another vehicle, and that vehicle is suitable for use as a toad, you might as well go ahead and outfit it as one.

I live alone, and I never wanted my Interstate to be my ONLY vehicle. And since I live on the Gulf coast, where hurricane evacuations are to be expected, it made sound economic sense for my daily driver to be a toad, so that I could take BOTH vehicles with me when I evacuate, instead of leaving one vehicle behind to be destroyed by the inevitable flooding.

And having outfitted my daily vehicle as a toad, it made sense to bring it along when I drive my Interstate. I have towed my Honda Fit for five years and 25,000 miles behind my Interstate, almost as many miles as I've driven my Honda. I do not for one minute regret bringing a toad along with me on any trip.

When the toad is being pulled behind my Interstate, I use it as overflow storage for all of the outdoor gear that I bring with me— lawn chairs, patio mat, barbecue grill, Clam Corp screen room, a folding table if the campground doesn't provide picnic tables, inflatable kayak, folding bicycle, etc. That way I don't have outdoor gear cluttering up the inside of the Interstate while I'm in transit.

Without the toad, I'd bring a lot less gear with me, because I'd have no place to put it. And I'd spend a lot less time exploring the area around my campground, because it's hard to use the campsite as a base camp for exploring if you have to break camp every time you want to go anywhere.

I suppose I could rent a car from Enterprise when I don't want to break camp to go somewhere, instead of bringing a toad. As long as I only stay at campgrounds where I have cell service to call Enterprise to come pick me up, and as long as I stay in campgrounds near a town that has an Enterprise car rental center. But I've stayed at several campgrounds where there was no cell or WiFi service, and I've stayed at campgrounds that are 40 miles from the nearest place to buy a loaf of bread, let alone rent a car. A toad sure does come in handy at times like those…

As for towbar and baseplates and supplemental brakes, I went with Roadmaster. But Blue Ox is good, too. There are other brands, but those two companies offer the best custom-fit systems made for specific makes and models of toads.
Or, had you a fine SUV ahead of a 20' you'd have not ever "left home without it". And had the capacity to never need consider a run to a grocery store.

I'll admit to being mystified by using an AI with toad in tow.

Don't anyone reply. I see it as one of Gods own mysteries as you pass me on the highway.

.

.
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Old 11-17-2017, 07:27 PM   #20
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My dream rig is a 45 foot diesel pusher with my Airstream Interstate as the toad. If I'm going to tow then I am going to go big. Make that a 45 footer with four pop outs and a late model AI as the toad. Ok now, back to my T1N AI and my bicycle on the rack.
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