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Our maiden voyage is now behind us!


Gary Hage

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Finally got to take our maiden voyage with our 2013 Redwood 36FB and the 2001 Volvo VNL421 we bought from Marv and Connie Marcy (toter only). I must say that both performed wonderfully, and that I could not be happier with this little dream toter of ours. Plus to have found exactly what we were looking for in an HDT toter already built is practically unheard of. ET Hitch and all! Yet Marv had built exactly what we had been looking for.

 

Unfortunately my wife was not able to enjoy this trip with me due to work obligations and the fact that this "maiden voyage" was a working trip of sorts for some warranty repairs, rather than a vacation. After much consideration on whether to take the Redwood to our dealership in Seffner, FL, and our concerns over being told the repairs will only take this long when as history shows typically takes longer with them, as compared to just biting the bullet and going directly to Crossroads/Redwood in Topeka, IN a decision was made. I opted to take Redwood up on their offer to do the repairs in factory at their Topeka location, knowing that they would have everything they needed right there at their fingertips. Unlike my very large dealership whom wanted the unit brought to them and left [for days] while they determined what they needed, ordered the parts, waited for them to be shipped, and finally installed them once they arrived. NOT!.

 

Without coming across as sounding like I'm promoting a brand, which I am not, please allow me to share this: from the moment I arrived at Topeka after my almost eleven hundred mile trip up from central Florida, plus through the three days our fiver was in the shop, to the final walk through once completed and taking possession of it, I never dreamed that I would have been treated so kindly and made to feel that our choice to have purchased their product over the several other higher end fivers available in the market was so appreciated by everyone I came in contact with there at the plant. That certainly speaks volumes to me! Plus the fact that although my two year bumper to bumper warranty had recently expired, they went several steps further and made corrections and improvements to items that along the way they have found in need of within the product line. Kudos to my manufacturer!!! I was given what every owner of an RV should get, no matter what brand they chose to purchase. In all, I had a total of four days on the road for the round trip, and three days in the shop with me taking delivery on the afternoon of the third day. Not bad!

 

Back to performance: Our Redwood has a GVWR of just shy of 17K and scaled out in the mid 15k range (we travel light!). It's overall length is 39'-11". The fiver tacked straight as an arrow behind the toter and the Cummins ISX (set @450hp) along with the Eaton Fuller Super Ten tranny pulled it along and up and over Mount Eagle Pass like the fiver wasn't even there! Never had to drop a gear on the inclines, and the jakes held it back without ever tapping the foot brake on the declines. I truly know we're good to go on the big mountain ranges with this rig!

 

Lastly: Since our Redwood came brand new (when we purchased it) with the Trail Aire airride articulating pin and the Volvo had the ET Hitch already on it, I had my concerns to the compatibility of the two combined. So much so that I even called Henry to discuss it. He was kind enough to share some of the experiences of others whom had similar hitch set ups on their HDT/fivers and suggested I try them together before changing the pin on our fiver. Having come from owning our own commercial trucking company for years, and having been drivers ourselves, we had decided early on in our researching for a future HDT toter for our Redwood that we only wanted to pull with an ET Hitch and nothing else. Removing it in lieu of the airride pin would not be an option with us. Upon doing so and towing it first as had been recommended, I was extremely pleased with how the fiver rode over rough bridge approaches, etc. The additional vertical travel provided by the pin, and complemented with the ET's helped keep a lot of the negative energy from our crumbling highway system out of our fiver's frame, etc. We didn't even have anything fall inside the fiver, and our clothes were still hanging on the rod in the bedroom closet when I arrived at my destinations! I will leave our hitch assembly just as it is. Plus I cannot wait to pull the Redwood again with our little Volvo toter, as having an HDT is truly the safe and comfortable way to travel with your larger fivers in tow! JMO

 

I wanted so much so to tell Marv how happy I was with the little toter he and Connie had built when I returned from my trip, and how thankful we were to have been given the opportunity to purchase it from them. But sadly, we were informed that the family and the HDT community lost Marv to cancer on the Sunday afternoon of September 13TH, 2015. Although we had only known Marv for a short time since moving their fifthwheel and purchasing the Volvo from them, we felt as if we had just made a friend for life. We only wish we could have spent more time with him, as he was a great person to be around.

Rest in peace my friend!

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You might say that it was actually my second trip pulling a fiver with this toter, being that we towed the Marcy's Landmark from N.C. to its destination for them. Which was nice as I was able to get to see how the Volvo performed prior to taking delivery of it and pulling our own. Plus the Landmark and or Redwood where very similar in size and weight, with the exception of the Landmark having a "fixed" pin rather than the Aire Ride pin like ours. Even so, no two RVs tow or track alike, plus it is a whole different feeling when its your own "house on wheels" that you are towing behind you. The cool thing is that we were able to transition into towing a 40' fiver from years of pulling 48' and 53' commercial trailers of all types. But I must say, with the axle sets being what they are on the fivers verses that of the commercial trailers we pulled, the fivers truly track must nicer around corners,etc. Plus maneuvering them into tight back in spaces is much easier.

 

Case in point: For my first layover on the "maiden Voyage" I was given a back in space at Fern Hills Club in Indiana. They had never had an HDT (especially one with a 40' fiver attached to it) at their resort before. There was a narrow single lane drive in front of the site with a creek paralleling the opposite side of the drive. Plus RVs in the sites on each side of mine. It was the last site available that had the length to accommodate a rig the length (63' bumper to bumper) of mine. The resort staff and onlookers truly were concerned as to whether my fiver could even be backed into the space, and clear all of the obstacles surrounding it. Don't ya just love it when you have an audience standing around watching to see if you know how to back your big ole rig, or not! :unsure: That is where having the 198" wheelbase that the Volvo has and the ET hitch being mounted as far forward as it is payed off! Plus with the turning radius in the steering linkage, I was able to hit the pocket on at 90 degree back in site straight on with the first attempt. People were literally standing there with their mouths hanging open! :lol: Yes, now I know, just how much attention we HDTers draw when we show up in the neighborhood! ;) Its really kinda funny to me.

 

Now I know that I don't have to worry in the future if there are no pull through sites available when we travel. Plus our permanent site at our home twenty resort is a 40' x 75' back in and I had my concerns over when the resort fills up with winter snowbirds. No more concerns with that! We're truly luv'n this concept of living fulltime in a nice fiver and getting to take your house with you when you go to visit the grandchildren!!! :D

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