Plans remain in the works for Dream Trip U.S.A. 2008, and the whole family is getting involved now. The trip has already worked its way into our geography, history and art lessons.
The most exciting news in recent weeks has been the offer of the use of a pop-up trailer for the trip. A co-worker offered up his trailer free of charge. It's not used often, but sits in his driveway. Loaning it to us would empty his driveway for a spell while perhaps providing us some added comfort. My mind has been reeling with the potential of it all (and the additional costs, more on that later).
Today we got to see the trailer for the first time. The 1994 Jayco is a tw0-axle behemoth weighing in at 2800 pounds (well under the 3500 pound max for the van). It sleeps 7, and includes more amenities that one could imagine a little box could manage. The idea of shelter from inclement weather (besides our tent) is compelling, but there are a variety of negatives to pulling it to. I'm still undecided, but tend to lean away from it at this point.
* we could stand out of the rain and wind while cooking
* the girls would have somewhere to stretch out and relax in inclement weather while I go about the daily business of packing, unpacking, cleaning and cooking
* the door, however, flimsy locks
* super easy to pop-up with its crank system
* no need to roll up bedrolls and completely pack kitchen, luggage, etc. away into boxes in back of van every day (there are storage cubbies in the trailer)
* cassette toilet for nighttime emergencies
* water heater and shower
* reduced gas mileage (increased gas consumption = higher fuel bill)
* increased cost to camp at many spots where tent spots are less expensive than trailer spots
* challenge of hitching up the trailer every morning without a spotter (it has to be unhitched so the pop-out won't hit the car)
* reduced speed for pulling trailer means longer days on the road
* challenge of finding parking spots, particularly in big cities
* $400 just to get the hitch and related equipment installed on the van so we CAN pull the free trailer
* Time invested in getting the rig ready to roll, including repacking bearings and who knows what else we find
How would you weigh in on this decision?