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2Doodles
Hi ALL,

This looks like a good place to ask some questions. We did a pop up trailer when we were kids but I was a teenager and hated it. My folks had 2 different motor homes (the big ones ) and a fifth wheel but I never went anyplace with them and sadly they are gone now and I can't ask them! We retire next year and now it all looks pretty good!

My husband and I are thinking of getting a travel trailer as a down payment on the "big trip" . You know - the "let's go see everything we never saw before" trip.

We have a 2007 V6 4Runner Sport Edition (low miles) and the trailer we're looking at is a 2008 Cruiser Fun Finder X-139- suitable they say for an SUV. We are in agreement we don't want anything big and we can't afford those beautiful conversion vans. Travel trailers is the only thing we are willing/able to afford.

We have NEVER towed anything or camped (well not for a really long time and not together anyway but that another story!) We figure this is the only way we can ever afford the 8000K+ round trip to Alaska and back and see everything in between (northern route up/southern route back to NC).

We have two 70 lb well behaved dogs to take with us. There is NO WAY I would every leave them for 6-8 or more weeks or pay the boarding bills either! I'm willing to locally board the dogs sometimes on our trip/like doggie day care unless we are at a hookup and the A/C is running and we can leave them in the trailer (we have a giant knock down crate already).

Getting the trailer early will let us pratice- which I've heard is the thing to do.

SO...are we CRAZY to think we can do this? Traveling with just us I think we're fine but with the dogs? To Alaska. We like driving, love to site see and once in awhile play golf.

Advice please. I'd like to learn as much as I can before we go. Thank all. Look forward to your valuable experience!
FosterImposters
Welcome aboard 2Doodles!
Glad you found this site.
You'll enjoy checking out campgrounds and RV parks for your trip(s). And always someone in the forum to offer advise or share experiences!
As for hitting the road...? JUST DO IT. rolleyes.gif
Life is not complete without a bit of adventure, experiencing magnificent places, meeting new folks...and making memories that will last a lifetime.
Cheers! cool.gif
Trentheim
Don't focus just on the towing aspect. Take some time to really prepare the whole camping/living experience. Know what you absolutely have to have in the camper to get through the day/week/etc...

Being still relatively new to RVing, it's the little things that took me by surprise (getting the RV level is VERY important to a functioning toilet!)

but above all else, Don't Panic and have fun.

J
kcmoedoe
Great idea. Don't fret the trailering, the trailer will go wherever you tow vehicle goes, (the ditch, into the woods, stuck in the mud etc rolleyes.gif laugh.gif ). Towing is not hard at all. The dogs should be fine, just check with the RV park before you arrive to check on the policies. Many parks have facilities and services for dogs. We have stayed at parks with great dog parks and even at a park that did pet sitting in our rig. That was nice. Biggest hassle may be getting the dogs in and out of Canada, be sure you check on current regulations. Always have their health records with you and alert your vet you may need to get some records faxed to where every you are staying. (groomers, boarders etc may need these records before they can accept your pets.) Be aware that pets are not welcome on trails or in the back country of many national parks. Leaving them in the camper for the day with the AC is a good option. Be sure you let your campground know the dogs are in the RV in the unlikely event of an emergency. A good park will welcome the opportunity to help you. Have fun.
KentuckyCampin
All the info on the web says your 4runner has a towing capacity of 5000 lbs. Should tow that camper no problem. Just make sure it has a towing package transimission cooler. Overheating a transmission in the mountains would be bad. Towing a camper that size should be a piece of cake, just practice a little before you guys head out. Especially pulling into and out of parking lots that may have barriers/poles close to the entrance/exits.
Other than that, like everyone said, have fun and take lots of pictures!!
Tikijenn
We are also new to camping. We have done a lot of tent camping and decided to go the travel trailer route not even a year ago. We have camped twice now and have not brought the dog along yet because honestly we're a little worried about what to do with him. He is an 80 lb lab and since he has a nice sized yard at home to run around in and play with the kids we don't take him on the leash except when going to the vet. We are worried that we would be a nuisance to others around us with such a big rambunctious dog. So, should we attempt bringing the dog along with us? Right now we are still doing fairly local camping trips until we are very comfortable with it so boarding is an option. But (with a little persuading my husband) I know that cross country trips are coming soon and boarding for long term trips probably won't be a choice.
Texasrvers
Tikijenn,

Many, many RVers travel with their dogs and other pets. I even admit that one reason we choose to travel in an RV is so that we can take our animals with us, and I think it would be a shame to leave yours behind.

I think a big question here is just how "rambunctious" is your dog. I'm not insinuating that he is aggressive, but at 80 pounds your baby could be quite a handful even if he is just playing. I think you will find that almost all campgrounds require pets to be well behaved and under control at all times. Therefore, I think you need to be sure he is leash trained. You mentioned he is only on a leash when he goes to the vet, but you didn't really say how well he does with that. If he does not walk well on a leash and obey commands you may need to give him some training.

Also since you said you are new to camping you might not know that almost every campground has some kind of a pet area--some better than others. You will find everything from just a small patch of ground full of weeds and stickers on up to fenced, off-leash play areas with exercise equipment. If you read the reviews on this site you will find members make lots of comments about pet areas, and that should help you find places that will welcome your dog.

Be aware that you will need to clean up after your pet, and some parks charge extra for pets. They might also restrict the number, weight and/or breed of the animal. Just be sure to check ahead.

Here are some threads from the forum that should give you more information about traveling with pets.

"Dog Accommodations in RV Parks" and "Pit Bulldogs" both on page 1 under RV Park Discussions

"Charging for Pets" on page 2 under General Chat.

If your dog is well behaved and friendly I'm sure you won't have any trouble and you will certainly enjoy having that member of your family with you.




Bud in Florida
Welcome 2Doodles! I would suggest that you take a few week-end trips before your long adventure. Take the unit to a big parking lot-- like a school on the week-end and practice backing. Then go to a campground that has open sites where you can practice getting in and out. There are plenty in NC, esp near the coast. During these trips you can get an idea what you need to get through a few days camping. You'll probably find you can get along with less rather than more. Once you feel comfortable with your rig-- head up to the NC mountains. That will give some practice on winding roads. With the size of the unit you are pulling, if you have ant-sway bars you'll be fine. Then it is planning for the big trip. My wife and I are heading out west this summer for 6-8 weeks and have been planning for a year-- see separate thread on this forum. You can get great information from the members here. Have fun, have a good road service plan and take your time
lynnz
We travel with our 80 lb lab and 40 pound mix in a 26' travel trailer. The Lab loves it. I bring the "puppy" gait so the lab cannot wake us up so early. When we leave the dogs in the trailer, I always leave the radio on for them.
798hand
i pull a 22 foot dutchman around the country with a ranger youll b fine
04 jayco ken
I wish I were tagging with you. My high strung female lab was more relaxed when on a camping trip than when at home. (but then so am I) The big sweeties (in doggie voice) will be fine. They catch on quicker than kids. We drive for a while, potty break, small drink, drive more.
Suggestion 1. This is going to sound crazy. Ready?
Read owners manual. See?
Suggestion 2. Find local CG and do some weekends. You will figure out what you will use, what you forgot ect. The shy camping types wont give you more advise than you want either. Don't take the griddle and the electric skillet and the 10", 12" stove top skillet. You will be surprised how creative and minimal you can be.
Suggestion 3. Have your trusted mechanic pull radiator and blow the years of stuff that collects in the A/C condenser. (it looks like a radiator in front of the radiator) There is stuff between the fins of these two that you wont believe. From feathers to fur, bugs, sand and general crud. You will not believe how much better your A/C will work and engine cooling too. I saw a reply about transmission cooler. Ask your mechanic, Heat build-up will kill an auto-trans faster than anything. When towing, trans jumping from between gears builds heat. Heat that you wont even know is building. When trans starts searching for a gear just pull it to the lower gear. I tow 98% of the in 3rd gear. It may sound like the engine is working hard but in reality it is not. It is spinning faster but its okay. I will tow at 3200 all day long. As long as the gauges are in the normal ranges it is fine. You may be able to run in OD set the cruise and roll. Don't be afraid to pull down a gear on long downhill too. If you can let the motor lug it down and stay off brakes that is a good thing.

Rear axle seals are inexpensive to have replaced -At Home Before You Leave-.
(just don't freak your wife out by pulling axles at 8:pm the night before you start on a 4k trip)

They are very expensive after the tow truck driver drops you off at his cousins garage. You know, the old 'how much is the bill?', Cletus says 'how much you got?'
Belts are inexpensive in the driveway too.
Opinion; Premium Synthetic lubricants are worth every penny.
If your trusted mechanic disagrees with any of these points, get another mechanic opinion.

Suggestion 4. Towing 500 miles a day gets old in a big hurry. Sometimes you have to, but if you can sleep til the sun comes up or have time to walk around the CG before you start cooking dinner, it can make all the difference. Having time to only run 60-65 instead of 65-70 mph you can pick up 1-3 MPG. That is huge. And don't freak when you get 10-12 mpg. Truck and TT is not the most aero friendly thing out there.

***** There are NOT 2 fuel stations at every exit out in God's country like in OH or NC******

The 30% ethanol fuel for 10 cents less in the corn belt states does not make a 98 Chevy 350 very happy. Keep a can of Gumout and Dri-gas with you. Bad fuel rare, but happens.

Suggestion E. Have Fun. I sounds like a beautiful trip. I am envious, but plan the same someday.

Thats all I have to say about that.
04 jayco ken
Invest in the slide over mirror extensions. $60 or so. Being able to see the front and rear side marker lights on trailer will make life (and backing) much better.

Backing; Slowly. Do not cross hands! If you have that much wheel in it you need to pull forward to straighten up. I have a good bit of towing 'sperience and I use 1 hand at top, and my rule is I can go from 12 o'clock to 5 o'clock, or 12 to 7 if backing 'straight'. If you use the side of the trailer as a sight (the view in your mirror) when backing straight and just bump the wheel 11 to 1 and go slowly, slowly. Dont be afraid to get out and walk back there. Your backing buddy can only relay so much info. Remind backing buddy that if they cannot see your eyes in the mirror, you cant see them.
Farmerswife
QUOTE(2Doodles @ Mar 5 2009, 06:15 AM) *

Hi ALL,

This looks like a good place to ask some questions. We did a pop up trailer when we were kids but I was a teenager and hated it. My folks had 2 different motor homes (the big ones ) and a fifth wheel but I never went anyplace with them and sadly they are gone now and I can't ask them! We retire next year and now it all looks pretty good!

My husband and I are thinking of getting a travel trailer as a down payment on the "big trip" . You know - the "let's go see everything we never saw before" trip.

We have a 2007 V6 4Runner Sport Edition (low miles) and the trailer we're looking at is a 2008 Cruiser Fun Finder X-139- suitable they say for an SUV. We are in agreement we don't want anything big and we can't afford those beautiful conversion vans. Travel trailers is the only thing we are willing/able to afford.

We have NEVER towed anything or camped (well not for a really long time and not together anyway but that another story!) We figure this is the only way we can ever afford the 8000K+ round trip to Alaska and back and see everything in between (northern route up/southern route back to NC).

We have two 70 lb well behaved dogs to take with us. There is NO WAY I would every leave them for 6-8 or more weeks or pay the boarding bills either! I'm willing to locally board the dogs sometimes on our trip/like doggie day care unless we are at a hookup and the A/C is running and we can leave them in the trailer (we have a giant knock down crate already).

Getting the trailer early will let us pratice- which I've heard is the thing to do.

SO...are we CRAZY to think we can do this? Traveling with just us I think we're fine but with the dogs? To Alaska. We like driving, love to site see and once in awhile play golf.

Advice please. I'd like to learn as much as I can before we go. Thank all. Look forward to your valuable experience!

mtnmanky
Welcome! I am also a newbie to the forum and it is a GREAT help!

when you head to alaska, and do be sure you do...(we flew into Anchorage 4 years ago and rented an RV for 10 days...which was about a lifetime too short!)...you will need this book: http://milepost.com/ it is the "bible" of what is where on the roads. get it weeks before you go and spend some fun evenings perusing it.

be sure you keep close tabs on the dogs in Alaska...it really is wild. the tourism folks try to discourage bringing dogs, because it is so wild and so big that "city" dogs can get overwhelmed and lost if not kept tabs on, but lots of people did it, and all that I talked to had good experiences.

wish I could go with you!

sunday, monday, tuesday, wednesday, thursday, friday, saturday....see, there is no "someday"!
biggrin.gif
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