Seattle area to Yellowstone & Tetons with the old Burro
, pulled by our 2011 Rav4 (4cyld). Surprisingly pleasant trip for someone not inclined to pull a trailer..... or indulge in the investment required for improved comfort and convenience over life long tent camping. Hoping following comments are placed appropriately to provide help & interest to other's as this community has provided me as a novice Eggshell RVer.
A 4 cyld. TV pulling a fully loaded 1200 lb. trailer proved totally adequate unless one's desire is to pull any mountain pass without dropping down a gear or two to maintain what ever the posted speed limit. I probably would not drive over 60 even with abundant power, but if you want to maintain 70 mph under any incline one would need more HP. We averaged 18-19 mpg unless a head wind, which we had across much of Idaho. We have electric brakes
but really didn't feel the need except for an added level of safety if emergency breaking (we have the 7 seat option which gives larger brake rotors & beefier rear springs). Had trans cooler & gauge installed before leaving which really helped mentally going up & over continental divide numerous times in 95d days. Gauge temp never rose more than 20d from normal level.
(like most 13') is so lite & small it trails behind without notice. Able to make u-turns in small parking lots, enter any drive-thru's, and park in most any pull-outs without worries. Backing into a campsite remains a 2 or 3 X attempt (my problem) but at least I know both vehicles will fit anywhere. Another surprise; even in 90d temps, the interior remained better than tolerable, which convinces me when re-gel coat time comes, I'll stay with the white. Nights could require the fan; maybe because the sleeping bag was overkill. Probably more information than anyone needs to know, but wife & I bunk separately, one front, one rear, just so one of us doesn't have to crawl over the other for potty needs (both well into our 70's).
I knew our sub-floor, patched properly by a previous owner, was going to need replacement in the near future but realized 3rd day out the amount of compression & flex was allowing the fiberglass shell to sink into the frame at the front and rear frame exit points. Panicked a bit after this discovery but formed an action plan in case more drastic floor & frame separation were to show up. Fortunately stress areas did not progress to any great degree.....we made it home with no problems. A fine winter project now presents itself.
We chose to swap out the fridge
for an ice chest & gave up propane
tank for portable camp stove. Ice lasts 3 days in a cheap cooler; we carry it in the TV when driving for access to beverages. Transferred to the Burro
it sits on a slide out base mounted in the original fridge
space. The Rav4 tongue weight
limit of 150 lbs. encouraged these decisions. Had concerns related to house battery
requirements (top-off charge by TV, solar
, etc.?), but found nothing needed during the 10 days. 12V from TV wired to house battery
with spade fuse, removed unless wanting to charge while driving. We only have lighting
, phone, camera & small portable fan charging needs. Most lighting
with portable/chargeable lights
placed anywhere needed. Charging available each day while driving which ended up leaving the house battery
at 12.8 the whole trip. Heating to be figured out if needed.
Before life with the Burro, we had converted a small, high top Ford Transit van which I, the only one of the team, still consider the perfect compromise.....mpg & freedom of back road, campsite travel. But I must admit, with some embarrassment, it is rewarding the admiring stares, thumbs up, comments, & requests for a tour that one gets traveling with an eggshell trailer......from those who recognize something special, something old and appreciate simplicity and lack of excess.