You know how a “watched pot never boils”? Well, I was beginning to think a “bought trailer never gets picked up”. When we purchased our trailer back in January, and started planning our trip, it all felt so fresh, new, and exciting. And then winter continued on and the real waiting began. I think one of the hardest (best?) parts was being a part of the ‘Winnebago Minnie Travel Trailer’ Facebook group. It consists of members from all over Canada and the United States, and so naturally there are many people in the group whose camping season starts long before ours does. I would look longingly at the pictures of people camping (in lush/green parks), only to glance out my own window at the mounds of snow still covering our yard. And then I’d wait some more.
However, as it tends to do, time marched on. Spring (finally) arrived in Manitoba, and we headed south to pick up our trailer!!!! Andy at Sun Valley RV was very patient with us as we did a walk-through and he educated us on the various components and responsibilities of travel trailer ownership. When I mentioned that I’d heard, from the Winnebago Facebook group, that a number of people had to grease their wheel bearings (even on the brand new trailers), Andy popped the caps and loaded them up with more grease for us. He also quickly drilled a couple of drainage holes in the bottom of our battery case (after I asked to look in it), as it had a half-inch of water sitting in the bottom of it. We had expected to need to do those things ourselves, and were very appreciative and impressed that we no longer needed to. When I asked how to work the microwave he only paused for a second before willingly turning to explain it (at which point I quickly told him I was only kidding). And when it came time to hook up the trailer, he helped Dale put our hitch on and made sure we know how to use it. (Dale had already been watching YouTube videos, specifically this one.)
All in all, we’ve been happy with our buying experience. They gave us the best price right from the start (and we DID look around and compare offers from other dealers), and took the time to make sure we were comfortable driving away with the trailer. Not to mention answering a ton of emails/questions in-between.
The trailer had been ours since January, but now it was really ours. In our possession. Driving away with us. Ready to put our stuff in.
My cousin lives near the dealership (small town, southern Manitoba), and so we’d planned to meet up with their family for lunch. The place we were going has a very small parking lot, and they’d offered to pick us up at the local Wal-Mart – where we could more comfortably park. That was a good call! Dale has towed our little 4’x6’ enclosed utility trailer, and our 14’ tent trailer; but the Minnie was a different experience! It’s taller, it’s wider, it’s longer, it’s heavier. Trying to adjust the tow mirrors, and learning how the trailer turns were two of the biggest learning curves. After pulling into, around, and then back out of one gas station (without actually managing to pull up to the pump for gas) we immediately realized we are going to have to think carefully about where we can fill up when towing. Not everywhere is conducive to both pulling up to, and pulling away from the pumps.
After our lunch and visit it was finally time to actually head out on the highway to home. Well, to my parent’s home anyways. We were not planning to tow the trailer all the way back up north (1000 km), just to turn around a month later and bring it back down for our “Epic Trip”. Mom and Dad’s house is about an hour from the dealership. Dale did a quick stop at a roadside weigh station to make sure our trailer/vehicle weights were well within advisable ranges (we did still have to load our stuff up in it!) And we were off!
How quickly our adventure began! This (long anticipated) day was warm and sunny, with a side of 50 km/hour cross winds. (that’s about 30 mph). At first I couldn’t understand why Dale was only driving 80 km/hour on the 100 km/hour highway. Then he explained to me what it felt like:
I still wasn’t entirely sure I believed him, but I tried to sit back quietly as we slowly made our way back to my parent’s. The whole time I was doing a little math and imagining how much longer all of our up-coming driving days were going to be if we only drove 80 km/hr. I may have actually literally bit my tongue a few times to keep from commenting. About 10 minutes from our destination Dale asked if I wanted to drive/try it out. Ummmm….no. Wait, yes. Eep! No. Okay, yes. It was a really good thing that I did take a turn, because I now understand how he was feeling with all that cross-wind. It was a little crazy, and 80 km/hour was totally fast enough to be driving. Any faster and it started to feel like I didn’t have enough response time when a gust would catch the trailer. Anyways, I will definitely be a lot more patient now if Dale ever feels like he needs to reduce speed to feel safe.
Stay tuned for a peek at our ‘maiden voyage’ and first experiences in the new trailer! (And similar posts from the other half of the Twinnebago’s – Sherri and Erick!)