Shakedown Cruise

First trip of the year, and this time with a new tow vehicle.  Since we bought the trailer, we’ve been pulling it with our old, trustworthy Nissan Xterra.  It had a tow rating of 5,000 pounds, which was more than enough to handle our 1,854-pound Rockwood.  The problem was that it was a stick-shift.

In 52 years of driving, I’ve owned only one car with an automatic.  That was back in the ‘70s with wife number one.  We bought a Chevy with a V-8 engine and a column-shift automatic, my now ex-spouse was so thrilled with it, she soon ran off with a used car salesman.  Best thing that ever happened to me.

I like manual transmissions, but not for pulling trailers.  The Xterra towed fine down the highway, but was not fun in stop-and-go traffic nor if we stopped on an uphill.

The biggest problem, however, was backing into a campsite, especially if it had an uphill slope to it.  Moving slowly required slipping the clutch and more than once we ended up smelling the pungent aroma of a burning clutch.

When we had to have the clutch replaced at less than 80,000 miles, I decided the stick-shift had to go.  This winter, we were offered a splendid deal on a brand-new Nissan Titan crew-cab pickup with a seven-speed, automatic tranny.  So, we went that route.

It’s white so we named our Titan “Tighty.”  It’s first tow trip was to haul the trailer down to Cheyenne Mountain State Park outside of Colorado Springs.

This was our second visit to this state park, which we really like.  It’s 60 miles from home and has lots of full-hookup sites.  At night we look down on the lights of Colorado Springs, and we hear Reveille and Taps broadcast daily from the Fort Carson army base located just below the mountain.

With a trip to the Four Corners region of Colorado and Utah upcoming, we wanted to check everything out both on the trailer and on the truck.  As for the trailer, we found we had forgotten a few camping items, but all else seemed to be in good working order.  On the truck, we discovered the tailgate was hitting the jack post, a problem we easily solved with a longer ball mount on the hitch receiver.

Best of all, Cheyenne Mountain State Park offers 21 miles of hiking trails, allowing us to discover what condition our condition was in.  Let’s just say there’s work to be done on that front.