As I was driving today, I thought of calling this post “All the Single Ladies” after the Beyonce song because here’s the message especially for solo women who might be thinking this is all really complicated and hard and it would be crazy to consider doing it yourself. It’s not. It’s not super easy, but like most good things in life, a little work goes a long way to a big payoff.
This towing an Alto is pretty easy stuff:
- Get the mirrors adjusted right. It took me about 5 seconds on the highway to realize the function of the mirrors, and that I had set them up completely backwards. So I pulled off at the next exit, used a parking lot with stationary cars to reset the mirrors and the rest of the trip, they were great. They stick out from the sides of your regular mirrors so that you can see the area immediately behind the trailer. It sounds obvious, but I didn’t get it until I was actually on a road with two lanes and could see what I was missing.
- Make sure your trailer insides are secure. I did a pretty good job at this, having heard some horror stories about maple syrup spilling out and cupboards opening onto the floor. At the halfway point, when I stopped for lunch, I did a spot check and everything was pretty good, so I was happy about that.
- Know that stopping takes longer. Not a ton longer, just feels more sluggish and slow than usual. I might have slid a bit over the line on that first stop, but the road was deserted (which is why I was practicing on it) so no harm done.
- Know where the traffic around you is. I checked my mirrors a LOT, more than usual when not towing. I wanted to know who was coming up and if they were going to pass me, etc. And if there was a slower vehicle ahead of me, I used the mirrors to figure out if I had enough of a gap to pass. And believe me, I wanted a big gap in traffic before I made my first passing attempt. (An 18-wheeler if you must know!)
- Gas mileage is definitely lower, so keep an eye on that. My Subie has a computer that calculates on the fly average gas mileage in the trip and, based on that, how many miles are left in the tank of gas. Once it got below half, I looked for gas stations, and picked the one the trucks used because it had easy pull-through pumps.
Things I had not realized about towing your own house behind you, and these seem like revelations to me, but obvious once I thought of them:
- You are basically towing a toilet. So, gotta go and no rest stops? Pull off at the next exit, pull over, and there you go, your own toilet is right there. Awesome. Completely.
- I could have made a peanut butter sandwich instead of getting a crappy BK chicken nuggets thing. Because I had stopped for gas and my kitchen was right behind me. This thought literally did not occur to me until two hours after I stopped for gas and crappy lunch. Doh.
When I got to the campground outside Ottawa, I set everything up and then realized that (1) the front entrance was not grass, it was the only dirt spot on the whole site and (2) I have a caravan mover so I can just move my Alto around. So I did. I love that thing.
Best thing about today, besides the whole “wow, I really can drive this rig!” moment? Having Facebook friends drive 45 minutes each way from Ottawa to come meet me, tour my Alto (they own different models) and bring me food, wine, and beer. We had great conversations, a beautiful sunset that we ambushed with multiple cameras like we were Hollywood paparazzi, and then talked under the star-lit sky until we reluctantly parted ways. A perfect way to end a darned good day!
- Miles Driven: 336 (336 overall)
- MPG: 16.2 (16.2 overall)
- Side trips: None
- States/Provinces: Quebec, Ontario