Nick’s Blog

To Tow Or Not To Tow

 Posted by at 12:02 am  Nick's Blog
Oct 022015

Between the Gypsy Journal, teaching at Life on Wheels, the seminars I do at RV rallies, and social media sites like Facebook, I have received many of the same questions over and over from new and wannabe fulltimers and snowbirds. How do I get my mail? Which is best, a motorhome or fifth wheel trailer? Which is best, a diesel or gas motorhome? Should I join a membership camping club?

Another frequent question I get from people with a motorhome is whether or not it is necessary to tow a car. There are two schools of thought on this. Some (those who have not done it) argue that you can save a lot of money and hassle by not towing a car. They say they can stop at a shopping center to stock up on groceries before they get to a campground, and then ride bicycles to get around, or even rent a car if necessary. I’ve even had them say that if necessary, they can always get a friendly RVing neighbor to give them a ride if they need it.

It usually doesn’t take those who have tried it very long to realize that while that may work for weekend warriors, it’s not a good choice for fulltimers and snowbirds. The convenience factor alone more than offsets the expense involved in towing a small car a pickup behind their motorhome.

Yes, you can stop at a grocery store and purchase what you need before you go to the campground, but what happens when you’re parked and all hooked up and then realize that you forgot milk or sugar? Yes, you can rent a car if there is a rental company near your location and if they will deliver a car to your campsite, and if they will then come and pick it up when you’re done using it. That’s a lot of if’s.

Back when we were teaching at Life on Wheels, I had a student who was a self-described anal accountant. He loved crunching numbers and kept a record of every penny he had ever earned or spent in his life. He was convinced that it was much cheaper to rent a car when he needed than to pay for the upkeep on an automobile, a tow bar, auxiliary braking system, and the expense of insuring two vehicles.

After a full year on the road, he and his wife left their car with a daughter and spent the next year traveling without it. He told me that he tracked every expense, all the way down to the difference in the cost of going through a toll booth with a car in tow, or just in their motorhome itself. He also kept track of the cost of car rentals, taxi fare, and tips to the guys from the rental company that delivered cars to their campgrounds. At the end of the second year he was surprised to discover that they had saved roughly $100. He said that the convenience of having a car whenever they needed it was worth more than a hundred bucks a year.

I guess if you are a hermit that doesn’t like to go anywhere and are content to just pull into a campground and sit there until it’s time to move to the next one without doing any exploring or getting to know the area, it can be done. But realistically, if you drive a motorhome you need to tow something behind you. I’ve known a couple of fulltimers who accomplished it with a pair of motorcycles, but they both agreed that it was far from convenient and that getting caught in the rain with saddlebags full of groceries was less than fun.

How about you? Have any of you tried fulltiming in a motorhome without a tow vehicle? If so, how did it work out?

Have you entered our latest Free Drawing yet? This week’s prize is an audiobook of my friend Ken Rossignol’s Pirate Trials: Famous Murderous Pirates Book Series: THE LIVES AND ADVENTURES of FAMOUS and SUNDRY PIRATES. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.

Pirate Trials book 3

What’s better than a book about a magician who dreams of becoming an expert escape artist when he’s not busy having hellish nightmares, and who gets involved in the mystery of determining if those nightmares have any basis in fact? How about a book like that for free? My author friend James Rozoff is offering Perchance to Dream, the second book in his Amazing Morse series, free on Amazon for the next couple of days. Grab yourself a copy and check it out.

Thought For The Day – Beware of false knowledge, it is more dangerous than ignorance.

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