Home Children of God Publications Have Trailer Will Travel! Pt.6: Size & Weight!

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HAVE TRAILER--WILL TRAVEL!--Part 6!: Size & Weight!DFO 812-613/7/79

1. A LOT OF YOU FOLKS WHO ARE HOME-GOING COULD ASK YOUR FOLKS TO SET YOU UP IN A CAMPER OR TRAILER INSTEAD OF A HOUSE OR APARTMENT! That way you can keep moving & keep going on for God!--Or some of your kings or queens might like to help you finance a camper or trailer. We've already had that happen in several cases. It's one way to keep the family with you, & still have your cake & eat it too! You'll still be able to travel & go into all the world & preach the Gospel, with the whole family still serving the Lord!

2. THAT'S WHAT WE DID! That's what my folks did when I was young, & that is what I did when my children were young. So now I recommend it to all of you who want to keep going for God, do it by camping while travelling & preaching the Gospel! I highly recommend camping out, & particularly with a small trailer if possible.

3. NOW, HOW SMALL OR HOW BIG A TRAILER? I just heard one of our Family members got himself a 35-foot (12-meter) trailer, because he has about four or five children & he thought he needed something fairly big to live & travel in. Well, I want to tell you right now, I hauled a 35-foot trailer all over the United States for a couple of years, & that cured me forever of 35-foot trailers! Loaded it was as heavy as lead!

4. I HAD TO HAVE A BIG 20-FOOT FOUR-SPEED HEAVY-DUTY TRUCK TO PULL IT! Overall we were 55-feet long & weighed 10 tons, & I could never get that thing up to more than 45 miles per hour! Some of the U.S. superhighways required a minimum speed of 50 or 55, & twice I got chased off the superhighways because I couldn't go fast enough!

5. THE SALVATION OF TRAILER TRAVEL IS THE SUPERHIGHWAY, where you don't have to worry about little narrow winding roads & steep hills. These huge expressways, superhighways, turnpikes, autoroutes, autopistas, etc., with gentle grades & wide lanes & curves & huge wide open spaces & plenty of room to wind through the mountains without any steep grades, these are dream-like travel for pulling trailers, or even for campers.

6. BECAUSE THAT'S WHERE YOU'RE GOING TO NEED THE LORD, SKILL & NERVES OF STEEL, WHEN YOU START PULLING A TRAILER FOR THE FIRST TIME! You've never done it before, & suddenly you realise you've got this great big thing back there, much wider than your car, & usually much longer too, & all that extra weight on the curves & the brakes, & all that extra pull on your motor, & strain on your gears, & strain on your nerves--until you get used to it!

7. I WARN YOU, YOU ARE GOING TO BE A BIT NERVOUS AT FIRST!--With four or five kids screaming in the back seat & your wife screaming in the front seat, we don't want you to have a nervous breakdown in learning how to pull a trailer!

8. SO THE FIRST THING I WOULD SUGGEST IS, DON'T GET A BIG TRAILER! It's hard enough to pull a small one without the headaches of trying to pull a big one! If you get a trailer over 20-feet long, you do not need a car, you need a truck! Because even a heavily-loaded 20 to 25-foot trailer would be so heavy you'd need a truck to pull it.

9. THE AVERAGE LITTLE CAMP TRAILER 15 to 20-FEET can be easily pulled by the average automobile, but preferably a good strong heavy car with a strong motor, like one of these big old cars in the States. You don't have to buy a brand new Cadillac, Buick, Chrysler, Rolls Royce, Mercedes, etc. Sometimes you can pick up a big powerful heavy car second-hand pretty cheap, maybe 10 years old, & still heavy, strong & powerful!

10. BECAUSE IT'S BETTER TO PULL A TRAILER WITH A HEAVY CAR WITH A POWERFUL ENGINE, than to try to lug it along with some little mini! So I'd advise you, if you're going to go camping with a trailer, consider what you've got to pull it with to begin with! It had better be a fairly heavy car with a strong engine.

11. EVEN SO, THE TRAILER SHOULD NOT BE MORE THAN ABOUT 15 TO 20-FEET LONG, nor weigh loaded more than about 1,000 kilos, or 2,000 pounds--a ton! This I would say is an ideal size for a camping family. It's not too small a trailer to live in, & it's not too big to pull! At 20 feet you're getting pretty heavy!--Over 20-feet (or 7-meters) & 1,000 kilos you're getting up into something that's pretty heavy & you'll just about have to have a truck to pull it!

12. WE'RE TALKING NOW ABOUT THE OVERALL LENGTH, from tail to the ball of the tongue, not the body of the trailer. I would say that the minimum body that you would need with family of two or three children or more with enough sleeping, cooking, eating & living space, would be at least a 4 to 5-meter trailer body--about 12 to 15-feet long. That means close to 18 or 20-feet long overall, including the tongue of it, the part that sticks out & attaches to the car. With a 5-meter (15-foot) body you have about a 7-meter (20-foot) overall size, from tongue to tail.

13. NOW THIS IS JUST ABOUT AS MUCH AS YOUR CAR CAN STAND, even with a big strong heavy car.--And it's about as much as you can easily, comfortably pull & drive with comparative safety, & handle in difficult situations, & still have a vehicle which is big enough for your family to live in.

14. WHEN YOU START GETTING OVER 20-FEET (7-METERS) LONG YOU'VE GOT A LOTTA TRAILER & a lot of tail hanging out, & a lot to worry about with a lot of weight, & you're going to need a lot of power & a lot of weight up front in that towing vehicle to handle it, such as a good heavy truck with a heavy-duty truck motor! Most of us don't need that much, & the average family of even four or five children can usually get along very well in a trailer body 5-meters long, with an overall length, tongue to tail, of about 7-meters.

15. SOME COUNTRIES ALSO RESTRICT TRAILERS TO ONLY A CERTAIN MAXIMUM WIDTH. For example, Switzerland will only allow trailers up to 2-meters-10-cm wide, which is about 7-feet wide. So you cannot drive a caravan in Switzerland that's more than 2-meters-10-cm wide, or 210 cm. You can go up to 224 cm wide if you pay a special extra fee, but you're then restricted to certain highways & not allowed in tunnels or on some of their very dangerous winding Alpine roads--for which you can't blame them!

16. BUT IN MOST OF THE OTHER COUNTRIES OF EUROPE YOU CAN HAVE TRAILERS UP TO A MAXIMUM OF ABOUT 250 CM, OR 2 1/2-METERS WIDE, which is close to 8-feet wide, like most U.S. trailers. So I would say something around 210 or 224 would be good most anywhere. Of course the width adds an awful lot to your full-length inner space accommodations, bed space, storage space etc. Of course, it adds to the weight too, but it does give you more room inside when you add just a few centimeters width. You get the advantage of that width all the way, the full length of the trailer, so those few extra centimeters do count!

17. SO A TRAILER OF APPROXIMATELY 225 CM WIDE WITH AN INHABITABLE BODY OF 4 1/2 TO 5-METERS LONG (7-meters overall, tongue to tail), is just about the limit on body size for a travelling trailer. In other words, I would advise a trailer with a body not over 5-meters long & with an overall length of not over 7-meters. That's a body about 15-feet long & an overall length of not more than about 20-feet.--And its weight should preferably be not more than 1,000 kilos or 2,000 pounds, loaded, or 800 to 900 kilos unloaded.

18. YOUR LEGAL LOADED WEIGHT FOR A GOOD MANY TOWING VEHICLES, CARS OR VANS IS ALSO RESTRICTED BY LAW IN EUROPE. I don't know how it is now in the States. But in Europe now you are required to have a certain type of towing vehicle with a certain type of horse power & a certain weight to pull certain sizes & weights of trailers. For example, if your trailer is over 1,200 kilos loaded, or about 2,500 pounds, some countries will not even let a good big heavy powerful Mercedes pull it! You've got to have a truck or some more powerful & heavier vehicle.

19. THAT MEANS YOU'RE PULLING OVER A TON OF WEIGHT BEHIND YOU!--And unless your car weights about a ton too, in some kinds of braking circumstances & certain situations where you have to control that weight & swerve or stop it quickly, you just won't be able to, if you have a small light car that the trailer can push around!

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