If you have an RV you know what I am referring to. A toad, also called a towed, or a dinghy, is a vehicle that is pulled behind the motorhome. The freedom of carrying your home and all you need with you is great. It opens up a whole new world of experiences. But, a 25, 30, or 40 foot RV is not designed to easily navigate shopping centers, park on city streets, or find a place to put your "home" while you hike nearby trails and parks.
Since most RV parks are not within easy walking distance of most of the above, you find yourself stuck at your campground. Or, you are faced with the hassle of unhooking everything and storing it safely away before you can drive the RV to wherever you'd like to explore for the day. Traveling with a dog makes biking to places not very practical, either.
The answer is to tow a car behind you. Then, when you need to go shopping, want to explore the area, find a hiking trail, visit a museum, or go out for a meal, the RV stays firmly (and safely) hooked up at your campsite. You unhook the car from behind your motorhome and drive to your destination.
Of course, having a vehicle does come with extra costs. A tow bar, brackets installed on the vehicle being towed, and a braking system that helps stop that extra 3-4,000 pounds behind the RV are required. Gas mileage, already poor for an RV, isn't helped any by towing something behind you.
A bigger limitation is what type of car or SUV you want to bring with you. Not many modern automatic transmission cars can be towed behind you with all four wheels on the road. Most lubrication systems will self destruct if towed that way.
There is another option: use a car dolly where the entire car is off the ground. But, that adds hundreds of extra pounds to the process and is more difficult to store both at home and at the campground. Modification kits can be added to most cars to pump extra lubrication as needed, but if it fails you have just killed your car. A manual transmission is also an easier solution if you have one.
In our case, neither of our cars can be towed behind our RV. So, we did two months of research, shopped online for another few weeks, and finally found what we were looking for: a vehicle that can be towed, was within our budget after trading in one of our current cars, and should make a great second car when we are at home.
Next up will be buying and installing the tow bar, brackets, and auxiliary braking system before we leave in July for our summer-long jaunt. I want to give myself several weeks ahead of time to practice getting familiar with the feel of a car tagging along behind me, and how it affects my ability to turn corners safely.
Of course, if we owned a travel trailer or 5th wheel camper instead of a motorhome there would be no problem. The truck that tows the trailer becomes your drive-around-town vehicle after getting to your campsite. But, we own a self-contained motorhome, so a toad was essential.
|Not all toads are green|