The closer I get to retirement, the more I want to live closer to prime overlanding and offroading terrain. Moab, the Colorado mountain passes, Grand Canyon, etc. The trip from Philadelphia, PA to Moab, UT is +/- 2000 miles. That’s five days each way. What a waste of vacation time. Since we have offices in Scottsdale, AZ and Plano, TX, I started to look into relocating.
The trip from Scottsdale, AZ to Moab UT is +/- 500 miles. A little more than one day each way. Great, exept that the cost of living is ridiculous. I can’t believe how much more expensive, compared to when I looked into it a few years ago. So it’s not going to happen. #sigh
The next choice is Plano, TX. The drive from Plano, TX to Moab, UT is +/- 1000 miles. That’s two days each way. Much better than five days each way. So Plano, TX it is. I lived there for a few years around 2010. The cost of living is very reasonable. I just hope my ex doesn’t run into me. Really. She’s a horrible driver.
It took me a few weeks to find a place that checks all the boxes on my list. I wanted an apartment that has “lifted Jeep friendly” secure indoor parking, washer, drier, dish washer, and fast internet. I got lucky and found a place that has all that plus a 2,100 square foot gym and a huge fenced in dog park. It’s 4 minute walk to the office, so I’ll be able to take my dog out for a walk during lunch. I signed the lease and I can move in on March 6th.
I looked into shipping companies and container companies. Too expensive. I went through all my stuff and realized there’s a lot of stuff I don’t really need. So I decided to donate clothes that don’t fit me anymore (Goodwill), and a ton of stuff that takes up space but I won’t ever use. Boxes of old computer equipment, bike stuff from the 1990s, etc. Now I’m sure all my stuff will fit into a U-Haul 5×8′ cargo trailer. My Jeep has the factory tow package, and is rated at 3500 pounds. More than enough for this trailer, even if fully packed.
I spent a couple weeks getting up to speed on towing, trailers, and hitches. I was surprised to find out that U-Haul only rent you a trailer if your Jeeps that have a hard top. The speed limit is 55 mph, the cargo needs to be strapped down and distributed properly (60/40 for front/rear), the tongue weight needs to be between 10-15% of the full trailer’s weight. I have a Bluetooth rear view camera that I plan to eventually mount to my grill for my next climb up Hell’s Gate. It’ll be on the back of the trailer during my trip.
I needed to do some math to figure out what I’d need to attach the trailer to the Jeep. The distance from the ground to the top of the receiver hitch opening (Receiver Height) is 22.25″. The distance from the ground to the bottom of the trailer coupler (Coupler Height) is 18.5-18.75″. Subtract 18.5 from 22.25 and the necessary hitch drop (Drop/Rise Needed) is about 3.75″. I decided to get an adjustable receiver so I can use it when I get my offroad camping trailer.
Once I knew what I needed, I called eTrailer and as expected I got a very smart customer service person. She asked all the right questions. I gave her the all the numbers I came up with, and my Jeep’s vehicle tow capacity information. I wanted an alluminum hitch with stainless steel balls, and a stainless locking pin. I didn’t want to go with steel, because they’re more than double the weight and not really any stronger than aluminum (which is thicker of course). She proposed these two items, and I ordered them.
I weighed the parts once they came in and was happy to find that the weight was spot on. Well under the claimed 20 pound weight, compared to 40 pounds and up for steel parts. Very high reviews, more than strong enough for this trip. I’m confident this is the last hitch I’ll ever need.
Back to packing boxes.