Sept 21st, Thursday – Thursday I hooked up Conchita to the Suburu. I wished I had an easy breaking champagne bottle to christen Conchita. Had to settle for hitching the trailer without killing anyone:
A post on the Casita Owners FB page, asked “You’re little Suburu is going to tow it?” Which made me think: “Well, IS the Suburu going to tow it?”
My Suburu is tow rated for 2,000 lbs, but a thing that has been niggling at my subconscious has been GVWR, or “Gross Vehicle Weight Rating”. It finally dawned on me that you shouldn’t exceed that total weight, even if your tow rating would put you over. For example, the GVWR for my 2002 Suburu is 4,190 lbs. But my car weighs around 3,045 lbs. Do the math: that only leaves 1,145 lbs that I can tow, and I am towing a camper trailer that is 1,200 lbs dripping wet(!!!)
This sunk into my reptilian brain as I was driving up the long hill on I-70, watching the heat gauge rise near the red point. I crested the hill, put the Subie in low gear and coasted as I watched relieved that the heat was slowly dropping down to normal.
Exceeding the tow rating bothered me. I mean, why didn’t they just say the tow rating is 1,145 lbs? Something I’m not understanding. I think I just relied on the tow rating, which was a result of my ignorance on how tow ratings are created, how towing works.
I’ve read on the internetz regarding people towing 1500-2000 lbs with their WRX as being a reasonable thing to do as long as you take it slow. Hmm. I’m thinking that I need more input in regards to what I can and can’t tow – may need to look at that used FJ Cruiser I’ve been drooling over!
Anyway, I was able to make it to the Blue River campground, a beautiful campground next to a, you guessed it: blue river. I tested my mad trailer backup skillz, going backward and forward on a likely campsite – until I noticed a tent deep within the brush. I moved forward, circulating around the campsite searching for a new one.
Finally I found a spot with a long entry next to a storage cabin. It’s on a hillside overlooking the other campsites and is the most remote and has the most distance from my neighbors. Perfect!
The sites by the river, while prime for that reason, are a little closer together. The fishermen can have it – I’m fine with my location.
I practice backing the trailer. What I’ve noticed is that it’s like steering a boat – small actions can have large consequences. When the trailer starts turning, sometimes it’s helpful to start straightening out as there is a lag time between the turn and the adjustment – the trailer will continue to turn in the turn direction prior to reversing to the opposite turn.
It went sorta like this for me:
Unlike going forward, where the trailer just “trails” in the direction of the TV, since the trailer is not powered, it backs with a sorta “hinge” effect – you turn one way, and the nose turns the opposite.
I wish I had the mystical “Backup Assist”:
Luckily, Shirley gave me a hint in backing up the trailer: grab the wheel from below, then move your hand in the direction where you want the rear of the trailer to point as you backup: swing right and up to make the trailer go right, left and up to make the trailer go left.
Backing a trailer can be a little discombobulating as you are going backwards, and basically have to steer in the opposite direction you want the trailer to go. Your body is also oriented forward, as you look at the mirrors as well as looking straight back, which gives very different perspectives on the direction of travel.
What helped me was Shirley’s hint of grabbing under the wheel to steer, and to correct early and often. After awhile I seemed to get a better hang of it.
The campground is pretty nice: $14/day, pit toilet, distance from neighbors, aspen turning gold.
The only issue I have with it is the road is somewhat close by, but the noise is just a quiet murmuring – if you’re closer to the river I imagine that the sound of the water would be louder.
All in all I’m pretty satisfied with my campsite selection. Tomorrow I am going to test leaving my trailer behind as I head out to Silverthorne to do some blogging, and tell my brother who is arriving tomorrow, and staying at a Ramada, where I’ll be at.