Category Archives: travel

Towing a travel trailer with a mini-van

This is a repost from 2012…. but it is one of the most read posts on my blog!

My friend David sent me a note the other day – he’s got a mini-van and is buying (has bought) a hybrid trailer like ours.  He was getting some contradictory advice on towing.  Will his mini-van tow this trailer safely – is really what he wanted to know.

Camping in Nothern California

So I shared with him our experience in towing our hybrid with two mini-vans.

We had a Chrysler Caravan (’98 I believe) and it had a 3 L 165 hp Mitsubshi motor with a three-speed transmission.  It towed our very small, 1000 lb tent trailer well, not that we had a great deal of get up and go…it was sluggish with just a 3-speed transmission. But it did the job.

The 05 Uplander – Revelstoke BC

In 2005 we were fortunate enough to move up to the Chevy Uplander – not the best mini-van on the market – however that allowed us to purchase our current Surveyor Hybrid and with a four-speed transmission the Uplander pulled the trailer fairly well.   We needed to add the transmission cooler and the class 3 hitch along with the appropriate wiring but we did not touch the suspension or the alternator.  We left them as supplied by GM. We did, of course, add the equalizer bars to the towing arrangement which really kept the van and trailer level.

The Uplander was introduced in 2004/5 and replaced the  Venture.  The Venture had a very reliable 3.4 L 185 hp V6.  The Uplander got a slightly more powerful 3.5L 201 hp V6.  My only complaint was that on inclines it would rev up to 4500 rpm and going through the mountains that meant at times an incline of 17 km.

Camping in Billings Montana

I did check this out with GM who assured me that the engine could do 4500 rpm “all day”.  Really?  All day?  I still didn’t like it.

In 2008 we were able to move up to the 2008 Uplander.  This final version of the Uplander (GM ceased production that year) was given the 3.9L V6 producing a much better 240 hp.

Our experience has been that the additional 40 hp allows the vehicle to pull the trailer without needing to run into such high rpm’s.  In fact, we often call pull our trailer at 100 km/hr running at just over 2000 rpm.

The 2008 also came with a built-in transmission cooler and once again we didn’t touch the suspension.  The equalizer bars continue to do the trick.

I pointed my friend Dave to the website.  This company has been working with Canadians to set up tow vehicle/trailer combinations for years.  Take a look at some of the combinations that work!

You may wish to look at this article from the RV Lifestyle magazine (Vol. 41 No. 2) Hint: click on the article to enlarge it.  After you’ve read it, I would love to hear what you think?


I’ve been a travellin’…

Chicago, New York, Canmore and a weekend at Jackson’s Point have been part of the past few weeks and I have not recorded here any of the stories that made up that trip.

That includes the most expensive taxi ride I have ever taken, a revealing look at some of our work at our THQ in USE and USC, plus their wonderful hospitality. And then to top it all off, a trip to Alberta and specifically Canmore to meet our latest granddaughter, Paige.

Below are a couple of photos from these days…


Our weekend at Jackson’s Point was a wonderful mix of work, music and renewing friendships. There were a number of folks that have crossed our paths over the years and we got to lead the Bible teaching portion of the weekend. I focused us on the heart and how determining what is our treasure is, will determine where our heart lies!

20180519_144651While we were there Wendy was able to take her quilt that she’s been making for Paige in and top stitch it as the Quilting Gnome.  This lovely little shop run by Edith – yes I know her name – has just relocated and it was nice to see the new “digs”.


The trip to Chicago and then New York was tremendously helpful and I enjoyed every bit of it.  My hosts were enormously helpful and gracious and I walked away with some great information.


The airports were busy but all went well and the travel was without incident.  Sometimes that in itself is remarkable. Airports and airplanes, for that matter, are where you meet the most interesting of people and for whatever reason people seem very open to discussion when travelling.  THQ in Chicago is relatively new and it was fascinating to see how they had determined to use their new space. The building interior is bright and open and inviting.

But best of all was our time with the Waters west family, as we call them… Phil, Amanda, Carlyle, Fitz and now Paige are such a joy to be around and we had a relaxing if not exhausting visit! Those kids have energy and I was amazed to watch, hear and be with them.

No pictures of them (not because I don’t want to) but be assured they are healthy, happy and filled with a great vigour for life. We love being grandparents and any time we can be with our family is the best of time.

One last video from the adult music camp….


A day in Montreal

The old train station in Montreal represents the flavour of the city as you see how the architects of old embraced the old world look in a new and grand way. I suppose I could have taken a picture of one of the many great restaurants as well for if there is a city in this country that has consistently great food it would be Montreal as well. I’ve been here many times in the past few years and I am never disappointed.

This trip was a bit of a whirlwind as we visited a number of sites in a short time for some very specific reasons. Included in that was our largest thrift store in the country. What a remarkable team we have working in the Montreal area. They are great people.

I found a few remarkable items too including this through back to another day. It has two doors that slide to the right and left to give it a finished appearance when not in use, but the slide out turntable and colour television are wonderful. If you are from the age of flat screens and i-pods you may not be able to truly appreciate what it is that this family furniture item brought to the home. This would have been someone’s pride and joy.20170614_095017