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The Big Question

the big question feature image

"How do y'all fit in that tiny trailer?"

Almost without exception, everyone we met on our five-state weeklong vacation asked us that very question.

It was not the question we expected to hear just a day or two before we left, because we were preparing to sleep in our 9' x 7' tent. But five days before we were to leave, I casually mentioned to The Missus that I wasn't exactly looking forward to sleeping on the ground for a week.

I swear within five minutes of internet searching she found several used [email protected] trailers for sale within a day's travel. In case you don't know, [email protected] trailers (built by NuCamp) are a well-designed and very popular "teardrop" trailer. Teardrop trailers have their roots in the Depression and gained popularity in the post WWII era. They were essentially a bed on wheels, usually with a simple exterior kitchen on the back.

The particular [email protected] model The Missus was looking for was the LX model which was about a foot wider than the regular model and contained a king-size bed. This gave us plenty of room for us and our monster dogs.

EDITED TO ADD:
When I originally wrote the above, it didn't even occur to me that some people DO NOT sleep with their dogs. I don't understand such people or their motivations. Who could pass up a chance for the extra warmth, or the occasional tick crawling up the inside of your thigh? We have always slept with our dogs, and I'm grateful for that spacious 8 inches of mattress Hudson allows me every night.

The one we found had been well taken care of and had a few nice upgrades and accessories. Best of all, the sellers lived just a few miles away.

We bought it the day before we left. I then spent over 8 hours anxiously waiting at local U-Haul dealers as they installed a difficult hitch and wiring harness on our Honda CRV (that's a whole other story).

The hitch issue solved, we left four hours later than planned.

thanks, siri

"Honey, how's our water supply?"

Our trip took us from the eastern edge of Washington, across the Idaho panhandle into Montana, then down to Wyoming and on to South Dakota and back. The Missus loves her iPhone, and set up the navigation using Siri.

I'm not sure the makers of Siri  – dwelling in the crowded urban landscape of Cupertino and working in a massive donut that can be seen from space – understand the vast emptiness that can be found in the wilds of Wyoming. They programmed Siri to only care about the quickest route, regardless of where that route goes.

After the fifteenth gravel road Siri sent us on, I began to wonder.

I'm not against gravel roads (I live on one myself), but after the first eighteen miles waiting for a left turn – ANY left turn – the magic of technology wears a little thin.

Siri tried to save us three minutes on one gravel route, but ended up costing us twenty because the cows refused to move to the shoulder.

I'm not saying Wyoming is thinly populated, but we passed a lady on Highway 16 with a non-vanity license plate. Her plate number was 41.

Big Dogs and Tiny Trailers

Our little trailer worked great following behind our Honda CRV. At most campgrounds we were surrounded by massive giant campers and motor-homes. It felt like we were tiny visitors in the land of giants.

land of giants

In the Land of Giants, trying not to get squished

Everyone asked the question, and we always smiled and explained how much room was inside, even showing the interior to a few people who remained skeptical.

Wherever we went we had the biggest dogs with the smallest trailer.

big dogs and Bill Cody

The lovely Missus, our two enormous dogs, and some guy named Bill Cody.

If we had planned our trip with the sole intention of meeting lots of people we could not have done a better job. Our presence was a curiosity that could not be resisted, and they all wanted to know…

"How do y'all fit in that tiny trailer?"

tiny camper

Hold me closer, Tiny Camper!

About the Author

topdog

Topdog is the online persona of Steve Merryman, a semi-retired graphic designer, illustrator, and winner of over ninety regional and national awards. Living in the woods just west of Idaho (USA), Steve keeps busy on projects that interest him (tell him about yours – he might take it on!). Steve spends his spare time painting; writing; chopping firewood; shooting guns; hiking with his dogs; savoring the occasional beer; searching for the perfect cheeseburger; and wondering where he left his pants.

Comments 4

  1. Great story! Looks like fun. I’d take pride in being “right scaled” for the journey. I’ve always admired those little campers – and have zero interest in the monster RV experience. We have a 2018 CRV – how’d it go with the hitch and the drive?

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      Author

      In short, the Hitch was a Bitch.

      We decided to buy the camper Monday night after viewing it. On Tuesday morning I met the owner at a credit union and made the purchase.

      Immediately after, I went to the local Honda dealership and purchased what was the “recommended” Honda hitch for our 2018 CRV Touring model. They were too busy to install it that day so I went to U-Haul where they had the time to do the job. This is when we discovered the “Honda” hitch connecting bolt holes were nearly a quarter inch shorter than the corresponding bolt holes on the frame of the car.

      It took six hours. SIX HOURS of me sitting in the lobby waiting because The Missus was tied up that day. Finally having pushed and prodded and drilled and ground the fittings for six hours, they got the hitch attached. In doing so they had to disconnect and remove the foot sensor on the back bumper because the HONDA RECOMMENDED bumper would not fit otherwise.

      Now all that was needed was the wiring harness. The [email protected] uses a Round-7 plug (7-tab pins arranged in a circle), but the hitch (and the car) are only wired for a basic Flat-4 plug. This requires some experience, finesse, and a particular wiring harness set, which the U-Haul dealer did not have. It was after closing at this point so I had to come back in the morning and he promised a solution.

      Next day the U-Haul guy admitted defeat and sent me to the north Spokane U-Haul (on division by the former Stay-Fit gym we used to go to). They had the wire harness and two hours later I was all set.

      So here’s my advice: DON’T BUY THE HITCH FROM HONDA.

      There is a universal hitch for the 2018 CRV that U-Haul sells (unfortunately they were out of stock at the time). It fits without a problem and sits a couple inches lower than the one Honda sells, but there’s still plenty of clearance. There’s no need to remove the foot sensor if you have one. It has a 2″ female receiver instead of the 1.25″ on the Honda model (our preference because all we have are 2″ male slides). The universal hitch is about half the cost of the Honda hitch, and U-Haul can do the wiring for a 7-round plug (which should also include a Flat-4 as well).

      I will be going to U-Haul once the universal hitch is back in stock to replace this God-awful Honda hitch as soon as possible.

      The CRV and hitch are rated for 1500 lbs. The [email protected] is around 1200 lbs dry and empty. In our research we learned that many people with our model CRV (the Touring model) have towed up to 2,000 lbs without issue, however the long-term affects of doing so could be hard on your vehicle. We were probably in the 1500 pound range when towing as we stuffed a lot into our Thule carrier.

      Once attached, we towed the trailer just fine at 80 mph in Montana. Hardly felt it even in heavy wind. Of course we got much better gas mileage at slower speeds.

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