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The Toad

A surprising number of folks have asked me how I am able to explore so much from my 40’ motorhome – It’ so big they said; how do you get around town in that thing they would ask….

I realized they didn’t know I had another vehicle in tow – makes life a whole lot easier ☺ This provides a convenient runabout vehicle for shopping or sightseeing while leaving the motorhome at the RV park – Very nice arrangement if you ask me. I use my toad almost daily- a small SUV.

And, in the RV world, the vehicle you tow behind you is affectionately called your “toad” (as in your “towed vehicle”). I’ve adopted this term for my new car as well as having to learn a number of other RV terms – these folks have their own dictionary I think!!

Oxford Dictionary
• 1a tailless amphibian with a short stout body and short legs, typically having dry warty skin that can exude poison.
o Several families in the order Anura, in particular Bufonidae, which includes the European common toad (Bufo bufo)
• 2a contemptible or detestable person (used as a general term of abuse): you’re an arrogant little toad

RV lingo:

a car being pulled by a camper or recreational vehicle for use away from the RV

While looking into the RV life, I learned that the Toad needed to be researched too. And, I sadly discovered, that my brand new Tahoe would not be coming along for the ride – seems that most, but not all vehicles, can be either towed or modified to make them towable – except my beautiful, charcoal gray Tahoe – S#%& !!

So, on to plan B – find something that could be towed “four down” – yup, another one of those RV terms again

Four Down

Towing the vehicle with all 4 wheels on the ground

This is not the only way to tow but it certainly makes life easier. Some cars are designed specifically to allow four down towing while others are not or can only be towed after some modifications are considered (lube pumps and drive-train modifications). It’s the easiest way to tow your car – there’s no extra tow dolly equipment to haul around and store in camp and the connect/disconnect process is so easy and easily handled by one person- yours truly – me ☺

So what to buy??? – no worries– lots of good information around on what vehicles can be towed four down – just had to do some homework…

In a perfect world – I wanted something that didn’t need modifications as well as something that had some ability to go off the beaten path –little bit of ground clearance would be nice

Cue the car commercial – enter the 2011 Honda CRV – one of the top choices for RV’ers I have learned – in one campground it looked like a Honda dealership.

It gets great gas mileage, weighs only about 3,000 pounds –half the weight of the fat-boy Tahoe – and is specifically built for towing four down (there’s actually a separate section with set-up instructions in the owner’s manual for RV’ers – sweet!).

So hated to see the Tahoe go – but – took out dollars; twice the gas mileage; half the weight – I’ll do that trade all day long.

Wasn’t finished there though – yup – more stuff to learn…

How to tow it???

Enter the motorhome mounted tow bar –

With the tow bar mounted on the motorhome it can be folded up and left on the motorhome – nice – the most popular way to go I learned…the Roadmaster Falcon All Terrain was already mounted on the new-to-me 2007 RV – the previous owner left it on – very nice of him I think! The tow bar can handle 6,000 pounds and has self adjusting arms, easy release lever, and doesn’t bind up if not level – the all terrain design –very nice indeed.

And, there’s more – yup – needed to consider a couple of other things…

Enter the supplemental braking system…seems that it’s a good idea ( and legally required I read in some states ) to have the motorhome and car talking to each other about sharing the braking responsibility.

A nice and compact system called “Air Force One” would let the Honda share the load…when the RV brakes, the system tells the Honda to brake too – very good idea.

And – go ahead guess – there’s more….

One final piece of the tow puzzle – a tire pressure monitoring system.

OK – not completely part of the tow equation but is part of my design.

Tire problems are not just an issue driving the motorhome –at 3,000 pounds versus the RV’s 32,000 pounds, I hardly know the Honda is back there—and that can be a problem if tires go bad—you’d see me dragging a Honda down the road – not what those Honda folks had in mind for their little CRV

So I had sensors put on the Honda CRV in addition to putting them on the Bunkhouse. Have a little monitor up on the dash that is constantly checking tire pressures – peace of mind is a good thing going down the road ☺

Well, now you know the rest of the story…the mystery solved…I unhook the Honda; fold up the tow bar; and hit the road to see all this beautiful country…

See you down the road…

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