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  1. Some things are worth waiting for...We began a search for the right travel trailer five months ago with sights set on trailering to the Moab Jeep Safari next Spring. Our minds were set on the "right" trailer, and for us, that came down to a floor plan and quality trailer design that we had considered in 1999-2000 when our youngest son went off college. That far back, Donna and I thought a well-appointed and constructed Holiday Rambler Alumascape would be the very best way to go. Fast forward fifteen years... A travel trailer can serve a variety of roles. If I were looking for an OHV or dirt bike-carrier to cover events like the King of the Hammers, a toy hauler would be perfect. (Neighbor/friends lent me their 27' Vortex for just that purpose in 2012.) Were I looking for a trailer to use as a hunting camp, I'd seek an older Kenskill or Layton from the day, toughly built yet not a huge investment when the toll of dirt washboard roads applies. In this case, the trailer aim is primarily event lodging, something akin to a quality "tiny home" domicile in the contemporary sense. For ruggedness and appointments, the Holiday Rambler's aluminum wall structure and "overbuilt" quality reigns. Short of a high end Avion or Airstream, this is as good as it gets, including an underbelly cover and four-season type insulation, oak cabinetry and a thoughtful layout. The search began at the same time I made a reservation for RV space at Moab. (Don't bother trying for reservations any less than a half-year in advance of the event, for RV space, a year ahead is sensible.) I know my filming chores will put me in the passenger seat at the EJS off-road events, so toting the XJ Cherokee 4x4 behind the Ram 3500 was not a consideration. For my purposes, basically getting a night's sleep, a travel trailer would eliminate the loss of sleep you can expect from a motel stay during EJS bacchanalia. Despite the hiked up rates that Moab motels demand during the Easter Jeep Safari, a night's sleep is not in the package...I had my reservation for a 30' trailer, we just needed the trailer! When looking for a pre-owned trailer in the current market, prepare for a wait. Prices are all over the board, there are markets where NADA retail price is wholesale and Craigslist prices are through the roof. We were looking during summer months, not a bright idea, as the sizzling market does simmer down in the late fall and winter...Nevertheless, we were on a mission to find the right 2000 to 2005 Holiday Rambler Alumascape bumper-pull trailer. We found many, often misrepresented for condition or grossly overpriced. Four dealerships had our phone number. Five states were within our sights, and on a quiet Sunday morning in early September, a Craigslist offering at Oregon caught our attention. A phone call found the owners/couple elk hunting with bows in a primitive range, and by the time the conversation ended, the purchase was cinched. The 2000 Holiday Rambler Alumascape 29FKS had two owners (close friends), and its history and documentation went back to the initial order and MSRP factory sticker. Original, never "lived in", garaged when not in use and inhabited by non-smokers, this time capsule held the promise. I am a restorer, and any minute wear would ultimately be addressed. Structurally, frame, body and interior wise, this trailer was in excellent condition. Here's a 2001 factory brochure, see the 29FKS floor plan: 2001 Holiday Rambler Alumascape Trailers.pdf. We waited somewhat patiently for the two week elk hunting trip to end then immediately raced up to the Oregon Coast with a Cashier's Check in hand. The trailer, described as "immaculate" was, well, as close to that state as one could expect for a 15-year-old trailer. Not a dent or damage top or bottom, very "clean" and original in every respect, this was one of the mildest use trailers we had encountered—and the price was right, slightly over NADA book retail with plenty of room left for the anticipated new tires and other maintenance chores. (Existing tires were aged, not worn, they needed replacing.) A new mattress, a stove upgrade to suit our standards and tastes, some routine service, and we would be set. As is at point of purchase, the trailer was totally roadworthy for the trip home. Paperwork and the check passed hands. Wife Donna and I had a pleasant return trip home with our new trailer! Here's a glimpse of our find, the trip home, and why we're very excited about our new second "home" and lodging on wheels. More details and travel stories to follow, this is our place to start: Moses
  2. Hi! I have narrowed my choice to one of two trailer models for hauling our Jeep TJ Rubicon: 1) Aluminum - ATC open deck 7,000lb (2 - 3,500lb easy lube torsion axles) - Can get what I think is a good deal but not sure if I should get a 16 foot or an 18 foot? My big concern is the payload issue: The 16 ft offers more payload: 988# Empty, 6012# Payload but a shorter deck. The 18 ft offers less payload: 1234# Empty, 5766# Payload but more deck! Price wise I have not seen a new aluminum trailer of this quality, at these prices, although we are still talking $5300 / $5500, respectively! 2) Steel - Kaufman open flat (not dovetail) deck 10,000lb (2 - 5,200lb spring axles) - Can have it custom made to my specs as follows: 17 foot Deluxe Flat Deck with added spare tire and rim and driver side removable fender. This steel trailer should be approximately $3600.00. What is the better trailer application for the Jeep? Also I like this weight distributing hitch: Strait-Line Weight Distribution w Sway Control - Trunnion Bar - 12,000 lbs GTW, 1,200 lbs TW http://www.etrailer.com/Weight-Distribution/Reese/RP66084.html Opinions and advice are most welcome. Say it like it is!! Thanks, Joe Mac
  3. Dirt motorcycling, ATVs/UTVs, quads and Side-by-Side recreation often involves trailers. For that reason, it has become increasingly more popular, especially for family recreation, to have a toy hauler. Others, whose primary aim is on-highway or light graded road travel with a pickup or longer wheelbase SUV, find travel trailers useful. Travel trailers range from smaller Scamp type conventional pull to 40' fifth wheels. Choices depend upon your tow vehicle, family size and budget! I have pulled travel trailers with everything from an FJ40 Land Cruiser to Suburbans and our Dodge Ram 3500 4WD pickup truck. For the 2012 King of the Hammers coverage, I pulled a 28' Vortex toy hauler to Johnson Valley. I found the trailer very satisfactory for living space and features, the trade-off being less insulation factor than a well-built travel trailer. I didn't mind sleeping with my XR350R Honda motorcycle nearby. On the other hand, my wife does. Some simply do not want a gasoline vehicle in their living space. In fairness to the Honda dirt bike, the machine never emitted a scent nor spill, so sleeping in the same room was not an issue for me. There are many concerns to discuss at this forum, including trailer design, weight, insulation factors for cold weather, air conditioning, appliance quality, towing ease, tow equipment needed to safely tow, trailer hitches, load capacity, onboard generators—you name it! Whether you're living in the trailer for lengths of time or a "weekend warrior" with the family at the desert with motorcycles, share your questions and insights here.—Moses Ludel
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