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Old 10-22-2020, 07:23 AM   #1
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A funny towing story

Yesterday, a friend and I were discussing towing a travel trailer. Hes around 62 and he said that when he was 6 years old, his family pulled their 22 ft. travel trailer through every state in the US.

There were 3 adults and two children. I asked what his tow vehicle was and he said it was a 6 cylinder, Ford Town and Country station wagon.

He said he remembers the car being unable to pull up a mountain when they arrived in CO. He said it just could not get up the grade, and a fella in a Willys Jeep pulled up and offered to help. That guy put a chain on the Ford and pulled it up the grade with his Jeep.

Unfazed, their trip continued as planned.

I loved hearing that story.
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Old 10-22-2020, 09:03 AM   #2
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Amazing that back in the day most towed their trailers with the family station wagon, usually the Ford Galaxy for us.
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Old 10-22-2020, 09:23 AM   #3
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Most cars were body on frame, had leaf springs and solid rear axle back before the 70s. They got poor gas mileage but there was a lot more steel in the suspension. When gas went up over a $1 a gallon the manufacturers started making them lighter to get better mileage; suspension suffered. The good news is that they are a LOT safer now than they used to be. Time marches on.
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Old 10-22-2020, 09:42 AM   #4
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Similar towing experience in Colorado with a 1989 Plymouth Voyager minivan with the family and loaded with stuff towing a popup up a steep grade. That V6 made an epic 140 hp on a good day. On normal hills low elevation it managed 45 mph with the trailer. That day in Colorado high altitude, gas pedal floored, even in first gear (automatic transmission), it almost came to full stop on the freeway.

Things have changed alot even since then. I noticed a new Chrysler minivan now has almost 300 HP.
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Old 10-22-2020, 10:19 AM   #5
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I've read the trailers back then were lighter than they are now but still a good story.
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Old 10-22-2020, 10:22 AM   #6
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Yes, and most were bumper hitches..
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Old 10-22-2020, 10:33 AM   #7
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This is the only 'back in the day' photo we have of "Bertha", my DW's Grandma's '53 Ford Victoria.
Photo was taken at Piseco Lake, Poplar Point Campground in 1957. What it doesn't show is the bumper hitch and 19ft Scamp.
We have been the custodians of "Bertha" since 1976.

Bob
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Old 10-22-2020, 10:35 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richw46 View Post
... The good news is that they are a LOT safer now than they used to be...

They last a lot longer too.
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Old 10-22-2020, 10:38 AM   #9
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They last a lot longer too.
Yes, they do.....👍

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Old 10-22-2020, 11:44 AM   #10
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Another challenge to the cars back in was the altitude when visiting the mountains. IF carburetor was set for "low-lands," it would run out of air in the climb. I remember my dad adjusting the carburetor on those type of trips. I also remember seeing cars at Pike's Peak belching a lot.
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Old 10-22-2020, 12:53 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gibson3798 View Post
Yesterday, a friend and I were discussing towing a travel trailer. Hes around 62 and he said that when he was 6 years old, his family pulled their 22 ft. travel trailer through every state in the US.

There were 3 adults and two children. I asked what his tow vehicle was and he said it was a 6 cylinder, Ford Town and Country station wagon.

He said he remembers the car being unable to pull up a mountain when they arrived in CO. He said it just could not get up the grade, and a fella in a Willys Jeep pulled up and offered to help. That guy put a chain on the Ford and pulled it up the grade with his Jeep.

Unfazed, their trip continued as planned.

I loved hearing that story.
That’s A Great Story ! Back in that era Folks always helped others out when in need or if they possibly had time or resources to do so!
My Dad & Mom with 5 children me the older of the group went to Sidel Louisiana back When only bridge across the Mississippi River near Baton Rouge was the Huey P Long Bridge. We had a long wait of slow moving to get to the Approach and Mom ask Dad to check & get gas so to be sure & a big V8 360 Ford Truck was lot of idling time & Mom again said why not stop ? OH We Will Make it !
Famous Words Right ? So near the peak top of arch of (Bridge 2 lanes west bound) The ford coughed & sputtered to a STOP! And it’s not so good to be with “Our Children & You Won’t Listen “
A Farmer comes beside us and ask what’s wrong?
He moves in front every gas can he had several was all empty & I was looking for a chain & barb wire all kinds of fencing tools and no chain or tow rope he did his best and went on So only option was to Start rolling backwards & y’all just should have seen the many dirty looks & more Semi’ trucks hit air horn only made Mom panic some more & Dad Had “ Eaten A Complete Flock Of CROWS BEFORE MAKING IT TO THE APPROACH TO GET OUT OF OTHERS WAY “
I AM EXTREMELY THANKFUL NO TRAILER WAS BEING TOWED”
I had backed Trailers up to Hay barns ect But Dad did not have the patience to do that and turn the wheels the wrong way most of the time! Also I often was taken along to be his Navigator & knowing Road maps at a early Age has had a lifetime of benefits!
It was not easy to keep him from making wrong turns & a KEY WAS THIS IN ADVANCE SAY “ up ahead you will turn Right & Point that way & Repeat it 3 times as his mind was thinking something else way off yet looking at traffic - Dad there is where you turn NOW THAT WAY - You may not find a turn around for many miles !
Getting his attention first & Rarely then 1 time I had to get to stop NO Do Not turn that way!

I hope this funny but seriously- Some Folks Try that because
Less Heart ❤️ Ache when no confusion and directions are easier with devices & some places a truckers map/ Atlas is a fool proof way until construction changes happen. A Compass may be essential tool to have!
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Old 10-22-2020, 12:56 PM   #12
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Slimp Dolly used to tow a large trailer with a small car (Airforum post)
https://www.airforums.com/forums/f46...lly-87055.html



First time campers should be required to watch the movie Long Long Trailer.
https://www.amazon.com/Long-Trailer-.../dp/B006PJCTUY
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Old 10-22-2020, 02:06 PM   #13
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My question is: How did they stop once they got rolling? Lots of advance planning I guess?

Cars in the 50's and 60's had drum brakes all around. They were easily overwhelmed with just one hard stop. And they pulled the car in randomly different directions (including into the oncoming lane!) and, when wet, became nearly useless.

The suspensions of the cars I drove in that era were not very stiff. Wallowy is a more accurate description (for that boulevard ride).

Combined with skinny pneumatic tires, that were prone to blowouts, and you had a pretty entertaining experience.

Hopefully, they had trailer brakes back then? Most cars were overweight and under-braked, so adding another 3000-6000 pounds of trailer weight would have been interesting. And mountain descents must have been a low gear adventure, just like ascents.
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Old 10-22-2020, 02:32 PM   #14
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Back in the day towing

The time...Early 1960's to mid 1970's. The trailer...25' (or thereabouts) Holiday Rambler. 5 kids plus Mom and Dad. The tow car....My father got a new company car every 2 years. He would go to the Ford dealer and order a big old Galaxie wagon with the largest engine and heavy duty everything. Next stop was the local welding shop to weld on a heavy duty hitch (the guy knew the size of the trailer) and electric brake adapter. Up next was a set of air shocks.

We traveled all over the States and some of Canada with no problems. Never a blowout or overheat even in the western mountains. No WD hitch either. Just pump up the airshocks until she leveled out and go. Most of the roads we traveled were not expressways. Some great times and set the future of travel for me. Oh yeah, gas was 20 cents a gallon at the Whiting Brothers gas stations in the west. Miss those days.
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Old 10-22-2020, 02:44 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitcat7 View Post
My question is: How did they stop once they got rolling? Lots of advance planning I guess?

Cars in the 50's and 60's had drum brakes all around. They were easily overwhelmed with just one hard stop. And they pulled the car in randomly different directions (including into the oncoming lane!) and, when wet, became nearly useless.

The suspensions of the cars I drove in that era were not very stiff. Wallowy is a more accurate description (for that boulevard ride).

Combined with skinny pneumatic tires, that were prone to blowouts, and you had a pretty entertaining experience.

Hopefully, they had trailer brakes back then? Most cars were overweight and under-braked, so adding another 3000-6000 pounds of trailer weight would have been interesting. And mountain descents must have been a low gear adventure, just like ascents.
I've been driving "Bertha" since 1976...the whole concept of 'driving' changes.
You do NOT get closer than 50' at 45mph.
You base turning speed on tire squeal, hear it...slow down.
You'd be surprised how courteous you get without seat belts.

Who else remembers Mom's arm across your chest every time she hit the brakes for an unexpected slow down?

Bob
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Old 10-22-2020, 05:13 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deeno View Post
Another challenge to the cars back in was the altitude when visiting the mountains. IF carburetor was set for "low-lands," it would run out of air in the climb. I remember my dad adjusting the carburetor on those type of trips. I also remember seeing cars at Pike's Peak belching a lot.

And lots of cars by the side of the road with vapor lock...
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Old 10-22-2020, 05:26 PM   #17
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We got a 14 1966 Shasta 1500 trailer in the late 60s and Dad pulled it behind our Buick LeSabre from Hays, KS to Lake Arrowhead, CA and back one summer. I can remember every detail of the trip, including the lack of a bathroom and being terrified we might go off the side of a mountain going through Colorado. Other than that, we had a great time and still have fond memories of that way simpler time.

This is the exact model we had. I thought when Nike came out with their whoosh, they were copying the Shasta whoosh.
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Old 10-22-2020, 05:53 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by uraljohn View Post
The time...Early 1960's to mid 1970's. The trailer...25' (or thereabouts) Holiday Rambler. 5 kids plus Mom and Dad. The tow car....My father got a new company car every 2 years. He would go to the Ford dealer and order a big old Galaxie wagon with the largest engine and heavy duty everything. Next stop was the local welding shop to weld on a heavy duty hitch (the guy knew the size of the trailer) and electric brake adapter. Up next was a set of air shocks.
Brings back a lot of memories. My father worked for Ford (not a dealer), had company cars, and their rule was rotate them every 3 months or 3000 miles (which sometimes meant every two months). They were able to sell them discounted as factory demos up to that point, I believe.

Lots of Falcons, Fairlanes, Galaxies, and then a long string of Torino wagons. The hitch had to be installed every few months on a new vehicle. And when he got an LTD Country Squire instead of a Torino a few times, it meant a new hitch. He liked the Torino wagons over the LTDs. Most of them weren't body on frame.
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Old 10-27-2020, 11:51 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uraljohn View Post
The time...Early 1960's to mid 1970's. The trailer...25' (or thereabouts) Holiday Rambler. 5 kids plus Mom and Dad. The tow car....My father got a new company car every 2 years. He would go to the Ford dealer and order a big old Galaxie wagon with the largest engine and heavy duty everything. Next stop was the local welding shop to weld on a heavy duty hitch (the guy knew the size of the trailer) and electric brake adapter. Up next was a set of air shocks.

We traveled all over the States and some of Canada with no problems. Never a blowout or overheat even in the western mountains. No WD hitch either. Just pump up the airshocks until she leveled out and go. Most of the roads we traveled were not expressways. Some great times and set the future of travel for me. Oh yeah, gas was 20 cents a gallon at the Whiting Brothers gas stations in the west. Miss those days.
The ol' Galaxy Station Wagon...the family "truckster" is more like it!
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