We started fulltiming with a 36' Nemar Kountry Star - 34BKWB, with 2 slides. This unit, after we loaded it, was
maxed out at its GVWR of 16,250 lbs. We were glad to have the F550 pulling it - and it did a competent job. But after
fulltiming for a few years we realized that our next "dream" trailer would be in the heavyweight class, and have at least
3 slides. That caused us to consider trading the F550 for our tractor - which we did in the summer of 2003. We really had
no intention of changing trailers any time soon, but as often happens, fate intervened and we ended up aquiring another trailer
in February of 2004.
Our "new" trailer is a 2001 38' Royals International (by Carriage) 3741, with 3 slides. It is truly a "heavyweight",
weighing 18, 840 lbs empty, and 21, 440 lbs loaded with our "stuff". We are VERY glad to have the Volvo to pull this
Our pin weight with the Royals is 5020 lbs., but you don't even notice this with the Volvo - it just makes the ride a
little better. In fact, I barely notice the 5000 lb. difference between the Kountry Star and the Royals. We still get in the
10.1 to 10.7-ish mpg area when towing, which is what we got with the lighter trailer. Pulling "Grapevine" on I-5 north
of the LA area, we ran up it at 65 mph going north with the Kountry Star, and about 55 mph going south with the Royals. It
is not quite a fair comparison, since the road is obviously different, depending on the direction, plus we were in traffic heading
south with the Royals. But the extra weight does show up when pulling long and steep hills. Otherwise, we don't notice
The new trailer has some goodies on it that we really like. It has Bigfoot automatic levelers, by Quadra (http://www.bigfootleveler.com/
). These are hydraulic both extending and retracting, and are VERY heavy duty. Push a button and walk away. The
unit levels itself. A wonderful invention, which also enables you to change a tire by jacking the unit up. The trailer also
has an automatic satellite dish - something we never had before - that is so convenient that you quickly become spoiled. It
also came with a great Bose stereo/DVD. Sherry switched the furniture to Lazy Boy, which we love.
The exterior has painted graphics, and the entire unit is clear-coated. The roof is half inch plywood with fiberglass
on top - very solid when you walk on it. The walls are aluminum, welded on all 4 sides for strength, and the entire unit has
astrofoil as well as standard insulation. The double pane windows make it quieter inside, less drafty, much warmer and we
have NO condensation on the windows, like we did with our Kountry Star (which only had single pane windows).
We have 4 - 120 watt Kyocera solar panels (28+ amps), 4 - Sam's Club 6-volt batteries to store the power, and a Heart
Freedom 2000 watt inverter/charger to help us use the power. Three of the panels were on the unit when we got it, and I took
one off our old unit. There is no more space on the roof for much of anything, once we added the racks for our windsurfer's.
If we run out of sun we have a propane-powered 6500 watt Onan generator in the nose. The electical system is protected by
a Progressive power mangement system.
All these are things we love, but many of them we probably would not have added ourselves. THANKS, Jerry and Sherry!!