Hi Gailanne, we drove from Portland to Redding to buy/check out our trailer about a month ago. Your trip in reverse! I can identify with your trepidation. I was worried even though this is our 2nd trailer refurb and I have a mechanically minded husband. But this is all do-able, it just depends on how much time, energy and money you want to put into it.
I think if the trailer goes over the hills that is a pretty good shake down test. Do look at the tires- if you see lots of cracks think about a stop at Les Schwab for new ones, feel the hubs, if HOT, go back to Les Schwab or another tire place, repack the bearings. Look at the tongue check that is it crack free and fastens securely over your hitch ball. Make sure your safety tow chains are in good shape and hooked to your tow vehicle. Oh ya, don't forget trailer mirrors on your tow vehicle, makes changing lanes much less scary. And make sure your trailer lights
work right, we were 3 hours down the road before someone told me mine were reversed.Then get in your vehicle and try it out on a non-highway road for 10-15 minutes, make sure you breathe. Then head for home, breathing and easing your death grip on the steering wheel. Try to time your trip so you are not driving in rush hour traffic or at dusk as both add more stress to this first time drive. Keep breathing and drive 55. Let all the speedy non-towing vehicles to pass you. If you stop on the way home look for easy parking, pull throughs etc, you don't need the added pressure of backing right now. Remember this is not rocket science, if you are careful and pay attention it's not likely to be life and death. It is going to be fun and exciting.
So if you are interested here is more about our buying trip and the road home. If not best of luck to you with your new rolling home away from home.
Since it was a 7-8 hour drive for us we made reservations to spend the at an RV Park in Redding. We brought a tent in case we didn't buy the trailer, sleeping bags, the dog, DH's tools and our cash.
We met the seller, and looked over the trailer. It's level of disrepair was what we expected so we gave her the money, hooked up and drove off. I was hyperventilating most of the way to the RV park. When I drove down, I was on pins and needles she was still waiting for the title
in the mail. We totally lucked out as it arrived that day and she signed it over to us.
By the way if you need a place to stay in Redding the RV park was lovely, Premier RV. Premier RV Resorts
We looked for a spare tire of the trailer before we bedded down for the night but couldn't find one. I didn't sleep much in our new little nest, I was worried about driving the Siskiyous the next day. My whole reason for buying the trailer was to be able to haul it up hills with my Subaru Forrester. I was going to find out and soon.
Took off fairly early as we didn't have much to pack up. Hit Starbucks then hit the freeway and the first mountain. It towed like a dream, smooth as buddar. It took me about 2 hours to relax behind the wheel. The drive home was un-eventful (YAY).
Since then we have been remodeling, and have found more things that need fixing but were not apparent when we bought it. Even a small crack in the frame that will eventually need repair. Finding more stuff wrong is typical of any used thing I have ever bought, and at 40 years old it's allowed to have some issues. We are heading out this weekend to camp in it.
Again wishing you the best on the adventure. Remember we are doing this for fun!