Friday, March 17, 2017

We Have a Toad

We bought a motorhome in November.  It is the model we wanted and was below book.

We no longer have the van and trailer. That February sale went easier than expected - we didn't even put them on the market.

We have been looking for a towable vehicle - a toad. We needed it before our trip to Denver the end of April. Who, in their right minds - which we are - would want to drive a 38 FT motorhome in Denver traffic?

Michael has scoured various RV forums and guides. He knew the makes which would work. Many popped up in FL. I was resistant to the idea of another drive to FL and back between now and April. We hoped for a manual transmission.  If not manual, able to flat tow. The toad has to be 5K pounds or less - curbside. It needs to fit three youth in the back - comfortable enough for up to 200 mile trips. Our plan is to find a spot, set up camp, and take 200 mile trips around our location.

I had originally hoped for a pickup with a seat in the back. I saw all sorts of potential for packing the back end....however, the weight was off. We definitely ruled out a pick up after the five of us drove in one - our kids are not little. Next, I hoped for a hatchback so Yuuki could ride in the back. We knew the kids were o.k. crowding in the back seat (see blue car), but didn't want to add Yuuki to the mix in the back seat.

Yesterday, we stopped by the car lot of a family friend.  He had two cars that could have worked. He recommended we stay away from one. It was the same make and model  - but had something funky going on with the engine.
Yes, the Jeep is smaller than the 15 pass van - BUT we've been driving
the Versa in the background
We've been using Mom G's Versa - in the background.  This Jeep Liberty Renegade is in good shape, drives well, weighs 4,100 curbside, has a bit of a hatchback, a normal tow package and a partial flat tow package.  We've noted jeeps are popular toads. It had more miles than we wanted, BUT we know some of those miles were towed miles. It still has part of the air brake system, proving it was a motorhome's toad. 

Michael came home and priced the various parts he'd need to fix the tow package for flat towing. He went back this morning and took photos, which he shared with an RV mechanic. He wanted to see if it would be possible to add to what was there, or if it would all need replaced.  The mechanic said the brake and a few other things could be added to what was still on the Jeep. They charged double the prices Michael has seen on Amazon. He'll buy on Amazon and install himself.

Michael took the Jeep for a test drive and loved the way it drove. The price quoted was low book - FROM A DEALER WE TRUSTED. It was lower than our budgeted amount and we paid cash. Win, win, win! He called me and said he'd like to buy it and wanted to come pick me up. I drove it home - playing with buttons all the way. My best find is the radio control under the steering wheel. 😍

We have NEVER bought any vehicle, trailer, or gadget this quickly and easily. Michael's motto is,
"Do the research!" whenever we are considering a purchase. Research takes time - sometimes months. Then we have to wait to find exactly what our research revealed we need. This also takes time. Michael had been researching since we bought the motorhome in November.  We began to actively look when the van sold the end of Feb. We've also never sold a vehicle as easily as the van. Eugene has been good to us in vehicle sales. πŸ˜‰

Did I mention it is 4 wheel drive? It is meant for the types of roads our tortured vans traveled. πŸ˜ƒThe Dodge gave up after our three years in Alaska. 4x4 will be a good feature in Alaska. The Gherkins were surprised at how quickly we closed the deal. They agree they have much more room than in the Versa.


We smile at the changes in us since we began full-timing. At that point, the kids and I couldn't imagine being on the road without a 15 pass van. We had a table for school and each one had our own seat.....now, this feels big and we're excited about the possibilities for adventure.

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