So where shall I start?
My last post I stated we were going to travel, dog rashes and all. From the comments below that post you can also see there has been some talk of a cargo trailer. That is nothing new because every since I saw a few cargo trailers owned by 3 or 4 bloggers I follow I have been thinking of that option. Why??
Well the one constant in all of this decision making is ... I am not trading the Toyota FJ. that will be my explorer and tow vehicle. That leaves me with about 5,000 lbs max that it can tow back here in the flatlands of the Midwest. When you take 30% off for towing up mountains out west, that adjusts the maximum load to an estimate of 3,500 lbs.
Like I have discussed in past blog posts when I had the H3 Hummer and the Toyota FJ ... the different options to live in are slim. That leaves the 16' fiberglass trailers and cargo trailers.
I can hear some yelling form the sidelines and the seats in the back row ... what about buying a Class A or Class C and towing the FJ? I have definite answers for that.
- The Toyota FJ canNOT be towed wheels down.
- ZERO interest in putting it on a trailer and the towing the trailer holding the FJ.
- The Class A is not the RV I want and will not get me where I want to go, it's too big.
- The Class C I found out from owning one a short period of time, is not the RV I wanted so I sold it right after the winter in 2014.
- To really tow the weight of the FJ I would need a Diesel Pusher to travel the western states. Not an option.
So the tow vehicle is my Toyota FJ 4x4.
I have read a couple of female bloggers that travel with small trailers and more than one dog, in The Blonde Coyote's situation, she lives in a teardrop trailer with two dogs bigger than my bloodhound. So it can be done, it's just with hounds I will have to put them in the "leash mode" at all times when they are outside.
I think with each of them having their own 20' of line, it will not only give them enough room to move around, lay down and sleep in the sun but also get tangled up which will give me enough exercise to sort through the tangled web of dog leashes plus expand my vocabulary ... so it could be an interesting mode, "leashing them at all times".
It's a poor picture but I took an iPhone picture of it on the wall.
Anyway, over the past year, talking with a fellow blogger that travels a LOT with dogs and has a Toyota FJ ... we have traded a lot of emails discussing trailers, cargo trailers, tent camping, dogs, the good and the bad sides of each of every one of those listed. Good ideas were presented for me to think about.
Last March after reading Greg's cargo trailer design ideas here, I was even more intrigued about the cargo trailer idea. The few that I saw for sale and there were only a few I found that were converted ... each had things I would change. Then why buy those? Why not buy new and implement what you want?
Then the idea of just sleeping in the FJ seemed like an option until I found out that I would have to sleep in the back section diagonal to fit my 5'10 frame. And it was confirmed it might be a problem with two issues. The bloodhound is big and has long legs. She also likes to think that everything is hers, such as all the dog blankets, my sleeping bag, the one dog bed, all the bones, all the dog food and consequently all of the back of the FJ.
It's her 4x4, I'm only the driver.
Add in a factor of not being able to open the back door of the FJ from the inside of the vehicle without making a modification ... practically sealed it, it would be too hard to just sleep in the FJ with three dogs and equipment ... even if the equipment was strapped to the roof rack.
Thus the thoughts of towing a cargo trailer increased.
A few years ago I had loaned all my camping equipment out to someone that knew how to camp but didn't have all the equipment. I wasn't using mine at the time, so I loaned all of it for him to use. He never returned it. Which turned out to be a good thing. This weekend I had an excuse to buy all new camping equipment that had new technology instead of using mine that was over 20 years old ... but still good gear.
I will keep you from all the details of my shopping this weekend ... I'll just say that when my Amazon shipment arrives on June 3 ... I have everything I need to be on the road.
That brings up the two options I have because there is now a new option after what I blogged about on Friday.
Sometime on Friday it was pretty well confirmed I was going to eventually be traveling with a cargo trailer behind the FJ. Also over a period of days, the majority of time the thought has been move all that I have left of my house possessions and put them into storage.
I would leave the house empty and for sale with my local realtor.
I would still need time here because I am trying to decide whether to have the factory do some installs to the cargo trailer. They would install a couple of windows, 30amp electrical system if I chose that, and let them cut the hole in the roof with an air vent, that I would later replace with a Fantastic fan. They will not install the Fantastic fan even if I provide it.
With the lead time of 3-4 weeks after placing a trailer order and moving things out of my house ... it looks like about a month or so before I would hit the road.
Basically as I write this I am only a couple of things missing that keeps me from loading up the hounds, the FJ, locking the house and the Mini Cooper's doors and leaving for a little camping vacation. Those few missing things were not at REI, not at Dick's Sporting Goods nor at Walmart but they were listed on their websites. With my 30 day free trial of Amazon Prime, I ordered those last missing pieces of the puzzle for a June 3 delivery.
One of those was a 2nd bone for the hounds. All three of them loved the bone I bought at REI.
Of course I only bought one bone thinking it is something Sadie cannot destroy and she likes to fetch. The color is bright enough that even I could find it.
The first time I threw the bone for Sadie to fetch, Winston sprints like he is 10 years younger and gets to it before Sadie could find it. They don't fight over bones. You can see from the pictures that both hounds think that one bone is theirs. The 2nd bone, different color, will arrive June 3. I know ... all the hounds will want the new one with the different color.
That's the new option and one that is very very tempting ... leave next week without any trailer, just a tent, let the yard grow, lock the doors, shut the windows and come back when the hounds and I are ready. That could be a week or 6 months .. who knows. When I get back the house "to-do" list is sitting there waiting for me.
Of course if it were to last 6 months that puts me into November and near cold weather, so I'd have to stay away even longer. I would venture to say if the hounds did well for that long, then longer is not an issue since we would have the traveling routine down.
Yet, I hate the thought of traveling with that "noose" around my neck sitting back in Indiana. It might be worth it to leave later, with a trailer and an empty house for sale.
That's it for the travel options but I still have a couple of other options to figure out. Here they are.
Option 1 - Take it off the lot next week "as is". Empty and a lot of room. Modify as I go when I decided I need an addition. I'm sure some are laughing ... let's see ... he wants to boondock but also "he might" do modifications that require power tools and material. What the #$!&%# is he talking about????
Well I am fortunate to have a few long time friends scattered over the western states that have invited me to stop by. Yes, they know I am still crazy, and I might be using their garage, power tools and ELECTRICITY to do some slight modifications. So all of us are on the same page in that regard.
Option 2 - Place the order for the cargo trailer, knowing it will take 3-4 weeks for delivery. It will at least include two windows and a ceiling vent (need a Fantastic Fan). I am leaning away from having them install an electrical system because I would prefer to use a Solar System.
During this 3-4 week waiting time, I could continue to the minor repairs on my house "to-do" list. Then once the trailer arrives, install insulation, put the walls back on, cover the ceiling ... then hit the road. During this time I would decide whether to lock the house full of stuff or empty and list it for sale.
iPad Mini or a New Mac Air
I was planning to use the iPad Mini as my "traveling" laptop. I could answer emails, check for campsites, get directions, read a book ... all that stuff. I could even use my wireless keyboard that I use now with my iMac. Couple of issues ... with the latest Yosemite updates bluetooth and networking don't play well all the time. A lot of the time they don't work...so no iMessaging and no using my wireless keyboard for the iPad Mini like I should be able to do. I could buy an external keyboard and use that to post to my blog.
The problem is I like to use the photos on the blog that I take with my Nikon camera, not my iPhone camera. Both are great cameras. There are adapters I can plug into my iPad and the Camera because I bought one. Yet when I and customer service rep plugged in the adapter it told us "will not work with this model" ... not sure what that means, it's the latest version of the iPad Mini.
With the MacAir I can do the uploading of camera photos, I can track all of my expenses like I do now on Excel, I can import my current Photos Library and add new images as I travel into the same library. I would have plenty of memory and could also plug in a small external hard drive for more storage and/or backup. I can slide my SDHC camera card into the side of the MacAir to upload all the photos taken by the camera. All simple to do.
The MacAir was always my plan for a travel computer unless I bought a class A, then I would have taken my iMac. It would also be my backup computer if anything were to happen to my iMac.
Why not take the iMac in the cargo trailer if I go that direction? Well a new MacAir will use a lot less watts than an older iMac....electricity.
So there it is. Lots of shopping, too much eating (fell off the diet wagon), and down to only a couple of decisions on when to leave. All the equipment is there for one option and not for the other option. The other option gives us more room and a longer wait time.
In a way, I think it might be better to sit the house "to do" list off to the side. Lock the doors to the house and car ... then take off for a short vacation. If it would turn into a disaster with too many hounds or lack of comforts ... then we reverse our driving direction and come back to what we are doing now ... very little!!