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Old 09-13-2010, 07:26 AM   #1
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Toad or Rental

We're curious as to how many of you tow a vehicle as opposed to renting one when you arrive. We used to tow our Mini Cooper but sold it to buy the Berkshire so now we are toad less. We've gone the rental route and it has really worked out fine. We used Enterprise in Branson and in Boston and it was a lot cheaper than having a third car and paying for the cost of purchase, maintenance and insurance. Also the hassles of towing a vehicle when you don't plan ahead well enough for a fuel stop. What do you do?
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Old 09-13-2010, 07:38 AM   #2
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Ed,
I do the exact same thing that you are now doing and go the rental route. I it works out very well for the few times I need to have a car. It also saves on fuel and tolls as well.
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Old 09-13-2010, 08:35 AM   #3
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we rented last winter bought a 2010 wrangler in may its fun and tows easy and no hassle of rentals. besides my dw says spend now, when we are gone the money will go to our kids or the govt. and niether one seems to handle it well
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Old 09-13-2010, 09:23 AM   #4
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besides my dw says spend now, when we are gone the money will go to our kids or the govt. and niether one seems to handle it well
brianj
I don't know your kids, but as a CPA, I can definitely tell you the government won't make good use of it.
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Old 09-20-2010, 12:06 PM   #5
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wnytax

Wow - we are in a very similar situation. We have a Mini Cooper Vert that we used to love driving the kids around in on the weekends. Now that we have another kid - we don't drive it much and are now looking at the Berkshire. I was just thinking this morning that it was time to let the Mini go.. :-)

I have read a couple of these threads. I don't really like towing - and can see renting working well in a place like LA or major city - but what do you do for Yellowstone or when you are going to a National Park? Do they have rental locations - or do you just drive thru them and it's not that big of an issue?

When I look at RV Camp grounds - I'm checking to see what we can walk too - vs. drive to.. Is this what other folks do as well?

Thanks!

Alex

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We're curious as to how many of you tow a vehicle as opposed to renting one when you arrive. We used to tow our Mini Cooper but sold it to buy the Berkshire so now we are toad less. We've gone the rental route and it has really worked out fine. We used Enterprise in Branson and in Boston and it was a lot cheaper than having a third car and paying for the cost of purchase, maintenance and insurance. Also the hassles of towing a vehicle when you don't plan ahead well enough for a fuel stop. What do you do?
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Old 09-20-2010, 12:14 PM   #6
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Interesting thread. So far we're toadless and have rented just once (Whitefish, Montana - Enterprise worked out great).

The problem that I see is there are times when having a car would have been handy, but we didn't end up renting and didn't end up going either. Without the toad you are limited to where you can park your camper and then how far you can walk (for us that includes three little children).
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Old 09-20-2010, 12:42 PM   #7
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We have rented in places as far afield as Boston, MA and Cody, WY. The only downside we have run into was in Cody. We were headed to Yellowstone and we rented a car in Cody. The wife drove the car and I drove the motorhome. It is a fair drive from Cody to Fishing Bridge in Yellowstone but that wasn't the major problem. We were going from Yellowstone to the Tetons and we could not drop the rental in Jackson without a very heavy drop charge. This meant that we had to go back to Cody from Jackson and drop the car and then meet up with our friends south of Jackson afterwards. That being said, I still prefer the rental route. It is a pain in the wazoo having the toad and having to plan way ahead for fuel stops and even where to turn. It is a lot cheaper over the course of a year to rent when needed.
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Old 11-21-2010, 01:25 AM   #8
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We pull a 14 foot trailer, I am wondering why you say you have to plan ahead for your fuel stops? What does towing have to do with that?
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Old 11-21-2010, 10:06 AM   #9
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you guys just need to find a kei van and a small trailer lol


this is how big they are on a trailer. excuse the Wisconsin youngin lol

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Old 11-21-2010, 10:09 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by amarzano View Post
wnytax
I don't really like towing - and can see renting working well in a place like LA or major city - but what do you do for Yellowstone or when you are going to a National Park? Do they have rental locations - or do you just drive thru them and it's not that big of an issue?
Hi Alex,
We stayed in a campground in a town near Glacier National Park. We rented from Enterprise. Their office it turned out wasn't far away. The rental was hassle free except that it took several hours - making calls waiting for them to show up and at the other end the same typical hassles. One I'd forgotten about was that scramble to make sure everything is out of the car ("did you check under the seats?")

One of the benefits of having an RV is not having to schlep your stuff in and out of a motel and I remember thinking getting all the car gear (sunscreen, mosquito goop, etc) in and out was a similar thing.

The road through Glacier is not one for vehicles of any length or width. Our little rental car seemed almost too big in spots where they were doing construction where the road had failed. We saw one pick up with a camper on the back and it was having difficulty.

So to answer your question, yes there are places where you really do need a car.

I think the bigger question about a toad/rental is whether without a toad you are able to take advantage of what is available.

Once the motor home is hooked up are you really going to unhook it to run to the store? We stayed in a "park" (meaning parking lot) near Disneyland where there were barely inches between the rigs. There is no way we'd have left and tried to repark just to go to a store. We've stayed in provincial campgrounds where the evening ranger talk was at a site a couple of miles away. We'd have certainly gone in a car, and if it were just adults would have hiked. With little children (ages 4, 6, 6,) hiking at night when they are tired and would have ended up being carried isn't an option.

While we did rent a car at Glacier, the agent told us we were lucky that it was the last car yada yada, that it was unusual to have one left. Hype? have people found that to be a problem for the spur of the moment rental?
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Old 11-21-2010, 10:12 AM   #11
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Our Kia Sedona is too big and heavy as a toad, so I started looking for a restorable Messerschmitt "Kabinenroller", but the only one I could find had been fully restored and the owner was asking $15K for it.
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Old 11-22-2010, 09:20 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by MotocrossCamper View Post
We pull a 14 foot trailer, I am wondering why you say you have to plan ahead for your fuel stops? What does towing have to do with that?
The reason you have to plan ahead with a motorhome pulling a toad is that you can't back up without major issues with the toad. There are times that you can get into a tight spot and have to unhook the toad, move the motorhome, move the toad, then hook the toad back up. Needless to say that is a royal pain in the posterior. Even pulling something as small as a Mini Cooper still makes us almost 60 feet long and not overly manueverable.

If you'd like a good example of what it would be like trying to back up with a toad on a motorhome, hook up a small garden tractor trailer to your pick up and try to back it up. If you are like most of us you will find you are using many short words to describe the experience.
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Old 11-22-2010, 10:30 AM   #13
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heh thats why i favor car trailers
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Old 12-09-2010, 11:39 PM   #14
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We tow a Honda CR-V. Doesn't really cause us much pain. Main thing is when fueling we look for bigger gas stations so that the toad isn't sticking out blocking people from driving through the gas station.

I don't like backing the RV with or without the car on the back so I usually just plan my tight driving so I never have to back up. My CR-V is wired with its own lights so and the break away switch is mounted and wired into the car. To disconnect the car, I just pull 2 pins and disconnect the wire harness and the car is free of the RV. It take all but a few minutes to hook/unhook the car.

We've traveled with and without the car and with the car is much more convenient. On our bigger trips we plan for campgrounds at specific destinations but we don't plan the whole trip. For instance for Xmas were going to the Shenandoah valley and D.C. We'll be gone for 3 weeks and only have campgrounds planned for 4 days in Shenandoah and 5 days in D.C. The rest of the trip is wide open. I have no idea where we'll be and when we'll get there. When we do run across something we want to do spur of the moment, we don't have to try to figure out if we can get the RV in/out of the place. We find a Wal-Mart or campground and drop the RV and head out in the car.

Surprisingly, the car doesn't seem to affect gas mileage much either. We were getting 10-11 mpg on the last trip we took (around 1200 miles).
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Old 12-10-2010, 08:56 AM   #15
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Its a personal choice. We towed a 2007 Saturn Aura all the way to the west coast and had no problems going up and down the mts. Only one instance that I had to disconnect and that was my own fault trying to get around gas pumps. It didn't make that much difference on the gas milage either. If you were going to a certain place and not stoping along the way i guess renting would be an option. We just like taking our car and sightseeing when ever we want. We now have a 2010 Escape and love it. Its about the same weight as the saturn was.
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Old 08-26-2012, 05:30 PM   #16
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Interesting thread. So far we're toadless and have rented just once (Whitefish, Montana - Enterprise worked out great).

The problem that I see is there are times when having a car would have been handy, but we didn't end up renting and didn't end up going either. Without the toad you are limited to where you can park your camper and then how far you can walk (for us that includes three little children).
Folks would you consider renting a fully equipped Toad that could be delivered to you and picked up from you? I know price is an issue, but would you consider the concept if it was available?
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Old 08-26-2012, 07:21 PM   #17
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This is why I gave up on motorhomes and went back to trailers. Towing a car is very hard on it and it's a hassle. The best way to tow a car is in an enclosed trailer, but that has it's expense and hassles too.
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Old 08-27-2012, 12:58 AM   #18
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We bought a used Jeep Grand Cherokee that was set up for flat towing. We plan our trips by picking a CG near places we want to see or go to and drive to them. So far it has worked out well for us. We just use truck stops and look for easy access gas stations when refueling.
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Old 09-19-2012, 11:09 AM   #19
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We have been towing a Honda Accord with our Georgetown and find it to be little hassle. It tracks well and seems to have little impact on performance.

We usually look for a pull thru site for an overnight stay and sometimes will unhook to go out to dinner. As for fuel, we like Flying J, Pilot TS, or other larger stations. Unless I have a fuel stop planned, I gas up at about 1/2 tank to ensure ample supply in the event of traffic stopping or some unexpected issue.

So far, so good.

Bill
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Old 09-26-2012, 10:47 PM   #20
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We noticed that our perceived amount of enjoyment decreased when camping when we were without a vehicle. For the small amount of extra money to tow and the hassle required to hook-up the tow vehicle it doubles our enjoyment to have a 'toad' with us.
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