If I had known ahead of time how high some of these mountains out here in Colorado really were, I’m not sure I would have decided to tow a travel trailer on our Great Roadtreking Family Vacation of 2013.
But now that I’m here and have climbed those super steep grades and come down them with brakes nearly smoking, I’m glad I did.
I’m towing a 21 foot long AmerLite travel trailer that we bought just for this trip from American RV in Grand Rapids, MI. It weighs 2,780 pounds. Empty. With supplies and gear for my daughter, Wendy; son-on-law, Dan, and granddaughters Hua Hua and Rachel and Charlie the Goldendoodle (he weighs 75 pounds), we’ve probably added another 200-300 pounds to the towing weight.
The Roadtrek eTrek on the Mercedes Sprinter chassis is rated for 5,000 pounds towing weight.
It has pulled that trailer up and down mountains all over Colorado. We’ve towed that trailer to 0ver 9.500 feet. The pictures accompanying this post were taken while we were coming down from the mountains at the Mesa Verde National Park in southwestern Colorado the other day.
The biggest effect towing a travel trailer has on our Roadtrek is mileage. The normal 17-18 mpg I get with the eTrek has been cut to between 10-12 mpg, This now after more than 2000 miles of travel.
Pulling up a typical mountain grade of 7 to 8%, I’m lucky to get my speed up no more than 45-50 mph. Going down, I shift the gears down and use the engine to help brake, as well as the brakes on the trailer, tied to my Sprinter brakes by a brake controller.
On super steep grades, on a couple of occasions we have had had to let those brakes cool down by pulling over to the road at the bottom of a descent to let them cool off.
So far, it’s been no problem at all. We still have to get home, so I am sure there will be more to write about towing a trailer with a Roadtrek on the remaining 2,000 miles back.
Right now, we’re spending several days at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. That’s about 8.500 feet in elevation.
But at the mid-way point in our family vacation, this has been a ball. My son Jeff and his wife Aimee are following us in a Roadtrek SS Ideal. We’ve picked up lots of curious looks from people seeing two Roadtreks and a travel trailer in a caravan.
But the funniest moment came when a fellow camper, spotting us in the campground in our matching Roadtrek windbreakers, asked: “Are you guys in some sort of gang or something?”
Oh yeah. We are. A Roadtreking gang.