Smart Travel Ideas

Looking for smart travel ideas, Joel Randall chose to live in a travel trailer and has never been happier.

| March/April 1971

July 11, 1969 was my last day of institutionalized employment. After selling most of our personal items and organizing the balance, we moved on.

Our living quarters are a 1966 Avion 25-foot single axle travel trailer. We purchased the unit used and added folding bunk beds and dinette seats to the folding leaf table and two single beds already in the trailer. With this arrangement we are able to sleep six. The space is small for two adults and four children ranging in age from 4 to 10 but we have pretty well adjusted except for my wife's occasional bouts of cabin fever.

We are self-contained with water storage, holding tank, 12-volt lighting system complete with a storage battery backed with a 110-volt charger, gas or electric refrigerator, gas heat, gas water heater, gas stove and oven, three exhaust fans (all 12 volt) and a 110 volt refrigeration unit. Refrigeration is a near necessity, rather than a luxury, for six people living in close quarters.

Our tow rig is a 1965 International Travelall which is almost ideal for pulling the trailer as its drive train and suspension is built on the order of a light truck. We have adequate room for passengers with an extra two seats, storage and an elevated foam pad supported by plywood and legs above the storage area in the rear. The two-inch pad makes a nice bed for either children or an adult while we're traveling.

Our Travelall has a 266 cubic inch V8 engine and a 3-speed standard transmission. I would recommend a larger V8 of over 300 cubic inches and a 4-speed transmission to others planning our heavy use of a vehicle. Four wheel drive is a necessity for any off-road trailering. The Travelall is a comfortable, useable auto when unhooked from the trailer and, in my opinion, it's a mistake to plan a lot of trailering with a standard automobile. A car purchased as a factory tow vehicle might be alright but a standard auto will have problems such as overheating, drive train failures (especially in the transmission), weak suspension, and brake and wheel overloading.

We've towed over 5,000 miles and lived in our trailer for over two months now. Our travel speed is generally 50 to 55 mph if road and traffic conditions allow. We can pull much faster but the gas consumption increases greatly and the higher speeds are much harder on all the equipment. Increased speed also increases possibilities of accidents. Since we have no deadlines, there isn't any hurry for us.

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