Friday, December 28, 2018

Trailer Daze

Camping BT (Before Trailer)

We’d been over it all before: we spend months every year in Scotland, we’ve got significant investments in timeshare, why should we think about a travel trailer? To put the issue to rest we decided to at least look at a few examples of small travel trailers and since we were upgrading our two-year old Subaru Outback with a new one with a bigger engine, we might as well add a trailering package just in case.
We looked at two different trailers at different McMinnville dealers. Neither were very impressive—one was kind of cheaply made and the other would be too heavy for us to pull, but both would have been affordable. Our last look was at R Young RV in Milwaukie. There we took a hard look at teardrop trailers—rolling beds with outside kitchen units. They were well made, looked like fun, but we didn’t fancy crawling in and out and having no toilet. Finally, we looked at what is named a Mini Max—a larger teardrop with kitchen, full bed, and wet bath. Made by Liberty Outside, the Little Guy Mini Max is nicely made, well appointed, interestingly designed, and light enough for us to pull comfortably with the Outback. The cost, though, was quite a bit higher than we had wanted to pay—it was within what we could pay, but not what we wanted to pay. So, with a “we probably wouldn’t use it enough to make it worthwhile,” we ended our search satisfied we’d made a fair final decision.
Mini Max at the Showroom

Anne with the R Young Rep

That was early in August. Since our “final decision” we kept finding situations where we’d say to ourselves, “If we had a trailer…” Next, in September, came our trip to Scotland; a month in the highlands, islands, and lowlands of Scotland. We also realized that it is going to be harder to continue making two trips a year to Scotland—free golf is running out because I’m not writing any new books, driving on the other side is getting more stressful, it’s going to be more difficult and expensive to get rental insurance, etc. That means we’ll have more time to travel at home. Not that any of that changed our “final decision.”
Proud New Owners

When we got home, though, we got a call from the salesman at R Young RVs saying he had a small Winnabego trailer for a special price. We had a free afternoon and thought we’d take a look. The trailer was at a great price, but it seemed plasticy (if that’s a word) and bulky and it would be at the max towing capacity of our car. To make a final decision [I thought we’d already done that.] we asked to compare this trailer to the Mini Max. As we browsed around and through the new Little Guy, the salesman let us know the price had come down $5000. 
Hooked Up & Ready to Go (I Think)

It took us only a couple of hours to negotiate a little better deal and become RVers, as well as Timesharers.

Little Guy Mini Max by Liberty Outdoors: Specifications

*Dry Weight 1993 lbs.
*GVW 2900 lbs.
*Tongue Weight 280 lbs.
*Length 17’2”
*Interior Height 6’9”
*15” Tires (Rough Rider Pkg)
*Solar Power Charging


*100% Hardwood Cabinetry
*2 Burner Gas Stove
*19’ LED TV
*13,500 BTU AC
*16,000 BTU Furnace
*5 Cubic Foot Refrigerator & Freezer
*Hideaway Queen Bed
*Wet Bath & Toilet
*5 Large Dual Pane Windows
*Tons of Extra Bells and Whistles

For More Information
Walkthrough Video

Some of the Interior Features

Story One

After some work on the car’s trailer set up and final prep on the Mini Max, we brought the Little Guy (now named Melvin) home. We planned to back the trailer through our big double gate onto our back lawn. Once I found that even with a backup camera mounted on the trailer giving me a good view and Anne doing a good job of directing my turns, the back alley wasn’t wide enough for me to make the turn I needed (I’m sure a pro would have made an easy job of it). Plan two—we started pushing the trailer onto the lawn after attaching the tongue wheel. We had no trouble on the pavement or our gravel parking area, but the moment the small tongue wheel touched the lawn it was buried six inches deep with no hope of moving it the five feet further into the yard to be able to close the gate.
Maxine Outside Our Back Fence

Step Next — With help we got the trailer parked on our gravel back parking area outside our fence (too unprotected to be a permanent location) until we could move it to Anne’s sister’s in Salem. 
Nice Pad, Thanks to Our Yardman, Cruz

Then we arranged for a cement pad to be layed inside our fenced yard. With emergency help we’d overcome our first (of many, I’m sure) trailer challenges.

Story Two

With the Mini Max (now named Maxine, even though she’s a Little Guy) parked safely in Salem we planned to have our first sleep over in it. After an anniversary dinner out with Charleen and Dave, we climbed into the trailer, set up the bed with sleeping bags, and climbed in for our first of many Mini camping nights. An hour later I was still awake and getting more agitated. The bed’s too small! The trailer’s too small! I’m getting claustrophobic! I can’t breathe! I’m having a panic attack! I woke Anne up; actually my tossing and turning had already alerted her that something was wrong. We both started thinking, OMG, what have we done! What’s it going to cost to get rid of this folly? How much will we lose? And we haven’t even had it out once. Then, for some strange reason, I unzipped my sleeping bag all the way around which is quite wide anyway, and threw it over me as a quilt. Whew! Suddenly I felt 100% better. It wasn’t the small Mini Max that was bothering me; it was being confined in the sleeping bag.
Small, But Now Comfortable Bed

 I used to snuggle up in my down mummy bag when I was backpacking without a hint of a problem. We’re guessing it’s another one of those “age” things. We slept again in Maxine a week or so later with no problems. We had survived the second trailer camping challenge thrown at us.

More Stories to Come, I’m Sure

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