Spotted a broken down truck and fifth wheel on the shoulder of the westbound lanes of I-70 a few weeks ago as we were making our drive from South Dakota to Virginia. For a brief moment, I was surprised to see a newer looking truck in distress--its hood open and smoke pouring out of it. Then, I noticed the brand of the truck and the name on the RV and my shock level dropped to zero. The broken down truck was inevitable and nothing could be done to easily (or cheaply) fix the situation.
I wasn't able to catch the specific year or model number of either the truck or the trailer, but both were new-ish and the exact specifications aren't necessary to understand this particular break down. Modern Ridgelines can tow 5,000 pounds, and Montanas weigh around 12,000 pounds empty (and usually around 16,000 pounds or more when full of gear). The numbers would never add up to make this towing situation successful.
In the earliest stages of our Tumbleweed.Life, we didn't know a great deal about towing capacity. We (mistakenly) thought a big truck was a big truck was a big truck--and this is probably the same error in judgment the driver of the broken down truck made. Looking back on those early days when our current life was just an exciting idea, we knew barely anything about trucks. And, sadly, we found the vast majority of sales people we encountered were more interested in moving their products than helping us figure out a safe and legal setup. We had to do the research and educate ourselves as to what was right for our needs.
Surprisingly, finding the information we needed to make an educated decision about acquiring a capable towing vehicle wasn't as simple as you would expect. Both of us were stressed for weeks as we read and researched and called dealers and attempted to navigate this process.
Now that we are on the other side of this chaotic process, we wanted to create a guide to help others in the way we wished someone would have helped us. Our headaches might as well save others time and undue stress. Most importantly, Chris and I have no desire to see you broken down on the side of the road when you should be out enjoying your Tumbleweed.Life.
You can purchase How Much Truck Do I Need? on Amazon for $2.99. It's a little more than 6,500 words and is stuffed with a great deal of helpful advice. The reference is a beginner's guide to trucks and its aim is to make you an educated consumer.
As you're reading the guide, please let us know (by email or in the comments to this post) if you have additional questions or insights about the acquisition process. One of the many joys of online media is we have the ability to change these guides to make them as helpful to others as possible. If you purchase through Amazon, they'll automatically send you updates to your Kindle, too.