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Is a Tow Dolly Right for Me?

The average car tow dolly has faded in popularity as people have come up with ways to modify their cars for easy towing with tow bars. Despite their waning popularity, tow dollies still remain in use thanks to many loyal drivers.

The main draw to the tow dolly is that it allows you to pull any front-wheel drive automatic car without using lube pumps and axle disconnects. This makes the tow dolly one of the most versatile instruments for dinghy towing.

There are a ton of tow dolly manufacturers in the market, and it can be difficult to determine if a tow dolly would be right for your car. Here are a few things to consider when purchasing a dolly.

Considering the Towed Vehicle

For the most part, the type of towing implement you choose rests squarely on the characteristics of the car you want to tow. The make and model can usually give you enough information to determine compatibility with a tow dolly. Some cars may still need modifications to get towed.

The most prominent problem deals with four-, rear-, or all-wheel drive vehicles. In a lot of cases, you can do a lot of damage to your vehicle’s transmission unless you disconnect the driveshaft. Manual transmission can also factor into the equation.

It’s a good idea to consult your manufacturer for information on your particular vehicle. From there, you can decide if a tow dolly is the most appropriate towing method.

Weight

Weight plays a big role in all aspects of towing. You have to consider the weight of the vehicle being towed as well as the weight ratings of the tow vehicle and hitch.

A four door sedan, for instance, probably won’t be too much of a problem for a tow dolly. A large sports utility vehicle, on the other hand, might call for something more robust. This is partly because tow dollies themselves can weigh quite a bit. The average tow dolly can weigh upwards of 500 pounds. So much weight can put a lot of strain on the towing car.

Speaking of which, it’s a good idea to consider the weight ratio between the towing vehicle and the vehicle being towed. Many moving companies that rent out tow dollies advise customers to keep at least a 750 pound buffer between the weight of the front vehicle and the weight of the back vehicle.

So much weight might force you to buy additional equipment, like onboard brakes and lights, just for the extra safety.

Overall, do some research and use your better judgment. Consider contacting your vehicle manufacturer and towing experts.

5 Essentials for an RV Camping Excursion

The sky maintains a crisp blue. The weather is heating up. It’s a crime that many of us are stuck in the office or classroom while the world seems to glint and shine in all its immense beauty.

It’s time to pack up the RV, hitch the car dolly, and get yourself on the road. Here are some essential items for a fun RV camping excursion.

1. Tow Dolly

Once you get to the campsite, you probably won’t want to lug your huge RV from trail to visitor’s center to trail; it’s just inconvenient. Instead, you should bring along your car, which means you’ll want to bring that heavy duty tow dolly.

A good towing dolly should be lightweight to accommodate an already heavy RV. At the same time, a dolly should be robust to deal with all the various trials and travails that come with hitting the open road.

2. First Aid Kit

The wilderness is an unpredictable place that is at once beautiful and potentially dangerous. Even with the best intentions and planning, you never know what might happen, and it’s a good idea to be prepared for the worst.

Scrapes, cuts, and splinters are pretty common in the wild. As small as it might be, an untreated cut can quickly become infected, which can really infringe upon your fun. A basic first aid kit should include:

  • Disinfectant/antibiotic ointment
  • Antiseptic
  • Adhesive bandages in various sizes 
  • Burn ointment
  • Gauze pads
  • Scissors
  • Adhesive tape
  • Cold packs
  • Sting and bite treatment
  • Tweezers

3. Furniture

Unless it’s raining, you’ll probably want to spend most of your trip outside of your RV, which means you’ll need somewhere to sit, relax, and enjoy nature. A set of lawn chairs or camping chairs is affordable and will make your camping trip just that much more enjoyable. If you really want to relax, consider purchasing a hammock.

4. Lighter or Matches

You probably don’t want to have to rub two sticks together to get a fire going. It’s hard and takes quite a bit of time assuming you do get things right. Whether you’re lighting the stove or attempting a camp fire, it’s just plain convenient to have a lighter and a few matches around. They’ll save you time and won’t tire your arms out.

Make sure you keep your fire-making implements in a dry place. Place any lighter fluids in air tight containers to avoid any emergencies.

5. Insect Repellant

Nothing can ruin a camping experience like insects buzzing in your ears. Make sure to have bug spray on hand. Use mosquito coil when you’re eating to prevent wayward spray from getting into your food.

Plan Ahead For Your Summer Vacation

Everyone usually packs their bags and heads out for some sunshine at least once every summer. It is great that everyone is seeking a little rest and relaxation, but the problem is that everyone is cramming their vacation time in at the same time. Planning in advance is a must, especially when you plan on heading to popular destinations like San Diego where the Ocean Beach vacation rentals and Pacific Beach California vacation rentals get booked up far in advance. Here are 4 reasons why you should start planning your summer vacation now.

Best Accommodations: People that travel to popular destinations every year know that the best accommodations are booked up fast. With a little planning, you can ensure you get one of the best San Diego vacation rentals located close to the beach and other attractions that interest you. There is nothing quite like walking out of your front door directly onto the boardwalk and sandy beach, but there are not a lot of those places available, so start searching now.

Cheaper Flights: We all know how fast the gas prices are going up, and the same thing is happening for airline tickets. Buy your tickets now before the next price hikes affect your wallet more than you anticipate. It is also a general rule of thumb that you should book flights a few months in advance to ensure they have seats available the days you want to travel and at decent prices. Even better, start tabulating all of your credit card bonus miles and see how far it can get you toward a vacation.

Research Events/Activities: Summer is the season for the best concerts, festivals, street fairs, sporting events, and much more. San Diego is no exception and a fun event may be the deciding factor for when you will take a vacation. But if the event is popular enough you are likely to see the rooms and flights fill up quickly. A little advance research of what you want to go see will help you get there at the right time.

Guaranteed to Travel: The worst habit people get into is planning their vacation too late and then dropping the plans altogether. It is very unfortunate because travel and relaxation is so important in our lives for helping us rejuvenate and maintain a certain level of happiness. Planning a vacation far in advance and booking your flights and rooms will guarantee that you get away this summer and eliminate the chance of skipping a much-needed vacation.

Where to Stay for Spring Break

Spring break is only a few short days away and people are scrambling to put together their last minute trips. Mexico is too far away to plan this late in the game but there are other famous spring break vacation destinations right here in our own backyard. Big city night life, relaxing beach vacations, raging parties on a lake, or even some last-minute snow bunny fun are all perfect options for this spring break. Now you just have to decide which one is best for you and what California vacation rentals you will be able to book on short notice.

San Diego: 72 and sunny every single day rings truer than ever when spring rolls around because the sandy beaches are ready for some barbecues and sun bathing. Some of the most popular beach towns are located within San Diego County. There is still plenty of time to book your La Jolla vacation rentals or Pacific Beach vacation rentals. Of course, pay attention to where you book your accommodations; “PB” is definitely the young party town compared to La Jolla or even quaint towns like Carlsbad in North County.

Las Vegas: Sin City thrives from spring break because the sun is out and pool parties are going full-throttle. Hit the strip until 6 a.m., count your winnings (or losses, of course) in the morning, order a Bloody Mary, and start the madness all over again. A weeklong stay gives you an opportunity to see more of the surrounding sites.

Lake Havasu: The spring break party of the west is definitely in, on, and around Lake Havasu. Boats, babes, and beers for miles make this a consistent good time for party goers. It’s not the big-city luxury life of the Vegas strip but you can be partying in the sun and sand all day long just as well at Lake Havasu.

Lake Tahoe: One last run down the slopes is possibly one of the best ways to say goodbye to winter and welcome in the spring. Lake Tahoe is within driving distance for all you vacationers procrastinating on plans that forgot to book flights, and this late in the ski season there should be plenty of rooms available for rent. If you’re lucky you will get snow on the ground and sun in the sky, a beautiful combination overlooking the deep blue lake. 

4 Projects You Can do With a 2 Post Car Lift

If you own a mechanic shop or you like to do work on your own vehicles, you might be in the market for a car liftCar lifts make performing routine and complicated maintenance much easier because you do not have to get down on the ground or under the car. There are several different types of lifts, but the most popular by far are the 2 and 4 post lifts. While 4 post lifts are more suitable for vehicle storage, 2 post lifts are a lot better for major reconstruction and mechanical fixes. Understand which projects are easier when you own a 2 post lift and make the right investment.

Working on the Engine

If the full frame is under the body of the car and you are working on the engine, a 2 post application will make it easy for you to lift the car up off of the engine and the suspension subframes. This makes the job less involved and complicated.

Transmission Repairs

Hoisting the car off of the ground with a 2 post application will also make for easier transmission repairs. They will provide easy access to the transmission from the undercarriage of the vehicle and will prevent causing damage to other vehicle components you would have to bypass when working under the hood.

Tire Rotations

When you are doing tire rotations you need all of the wheels to be off of the ground. These lifts are far more convenient then using a car jack and will prevent errors and injuries when you are rotating tires. It will take less time to complete this type of project. Using a car jack can be dangerous because it can easily slip while you are working under the vehicle. 

Quick and Easy Oil Changes

If you do not want to get dirty while you are doing an oil change a lift is the answer. These lifts will give you easy access to the oil pan so you can perform oil changes in less time.

If you do not already own a lift it is time to invest in one. Working on difficult jobs or even routine tasks is much easier when you have the right equipment. Not only are lifts safer than jacks, they will help you be a more efficient worker.  You can keep your customers satisfied and get your home projects done quickly so you can enjoy your free time.

5 Car Maintenance Tasks You Can do Yourself

If you own a car, you need to maintenance your vehicle so it runs efficiently.  There is nothing more frustrating than experiencing a breakdown and having to take your vehicle to the shop to pay your mechanic more than $100 an hour to diagnose and fix the problem. There will be times where you need to hire a mechanic. There are also times, however, you can fix or service your vehicle on your own to save money. With a little practice you might realize you’ve really got a knack for this stuff, at which point you can think about investing in  car lifts or an air compressor and do more DIY work right from your garage.

Changing Your Air Filter

If your air filter is clogged or dirty, it will affect the performance of the engine.  For better engine performance, you can change your own air filter in a matter of minutes and improve your fuel economy as well. Check out your repair manual, follow the instructions, and swap out the filter in five minutes.

Changing Your Oil

You do not need a car lift to change your oil if you are willing to get under the car, but it sure makes life a lot easier if you do have one. You need to change your oil regularly to keep a clean engine. Keep in mind that changing oil is a dirty job and you will need to buy the right oil, a filter, and an oil pan for the project to run smoothly. 

Changing Your Spark Plugs

If your car is starting roughly then you might need to change your spark plugs.  This is part of a tune up and you can do it on your own for free. The new plugs will cost about $10 to $15 and the project will only take about 20 to 30 minutes to complete. 

Radiator Flush

If you want to prevent a radiator malfunction you need to have your radiator flushed. You can do the flush on your own without buying any expensive equipment. Let your engine cool, use the coolant and the flush solution you purchased and drain the old to put in the new.

Replacing Fuses

Your car’s electrical system runs on fuses. If a fuse burns out suddenly, your headlights might go out or your radio might turn off. Luckily, you do not have to have your who electrical system overhauled if it was just a fuse. Find the fuse box located under the dash or on the driver’s side. Find fuses that look melted or burned and replace the blown fuse with a new one.

If you perform maintenance on your own car you will feel like a rookie mechanic.  You do not have to pay a fortune for these tasks to be done right. Save money and maintenance on what you can at home so you can save for the times when you really need professional help.

What Does Your Facial Hair Say About You?

Men’s facial hair is always a fun debate for both women and men alike. Women more often than not don’t appreciate the facial hair nearly as much as us men like growing it, but maybe that’s because we just need to figure out what style she likes. Every guy tries to grow facial hair that fits his style because the hair is like an accessory or extension of his style. Just like people identify with their cars and girls feel like they have slightly changed their personality when they color their hair, men personally identify with their beards and mustaches. Here is a quick breakdown of 6 facial hair styles and what they say about you.

  1. Full Beard: Out of your group of friends you are the person most likely to spend several weeks away living outdoors… unshaven. You think men can be grizzly bears too. Unfortunately most full beards don’t attract the ladies, or not the ones you would want to bring home to mom, anyway. Using a Thiers Issard razor to cleanly trim a full beard can give you a sophisticated yet chiseled look like what your grandpa probably sported on a daily basis. Just grab a bottle of Brut or Old Spice men’s cologne and you will be just like the old man.
  2. Goatee: You probably started growing facial hair in the 90s when it was cool to have a thick beard just around your mouth and chin like Ken Caminiti. Ken is no longer with us and neither should your stuck-in-the-90s goatee.
  3. Mustache: This is a tough call. A mustache can make you look like anything from a sophisticated scientist to a guy you wouldn’t want driving past your kid’s school in a van. Only a select few girls love a mustache on a man because it is hard for any guy to look good in one. If you are one of the rarities, then go for it.
  4. Fu Manchu: If your goal is to look like some wise member of the imperial family or master criminal from the books, then grow that mustache out so long and skinny that it drapes below your chin and then grease it. Good luck.
  5. 5 O’clock Shadow: The standard look these days for guys who want to seem relaxed enough to have fun but probably have some responsibilities and can’t show up to work with a full grizzly beard. The stubble look is usually a good hit with the girls, too.
  6. Clean Shaven: The baby face look can work for some guys who want to either look younger or are young and want to hold onto their metro personality. Chances are the constantly shaving folks have never grown facial hair before because they are nervous they probably can’t.

Simplify Your Spontaneous Weekend Adventures

Have you ever wanted to simply just leave town? Get the heck out of dodge? Of course! So what’s stopping you? San Diego is a wonderful destination for a weekend getaway. No matter where you come from, it’s the land of milk & honey to just about everyone. Coming from San Francisco or Los Angeles you may disagree, but getting into the “not your backyard” frame of mind is much easier when you’re as south as it gets.

Take the worry of parking out of your trip and just valet at the airport terminal—the parking gods will take great care of your vehicle while you’re sipping a mai-tai on the beach! If you’re coming from Oakland airport parking the shuttle is possibly a better bet since it’s only 8 minutes each way. Everyone knows SFO parking can be a maze to deal with if you don’t use the services provided, and who can’t walk the ½ block for their trip to paradise anyhow?

Once you’re in San Diego you’ll have plenty of opportunities to enjoy the subdued population density. One suggestion would be to check out La Jolla Cove where there are many live tide pools along the coast, then shop around Prospect Street for some new clothes.

You should definitely pack some party clothes because downtown San Diego is the place to be on a Friday night! If bar crawling isn’t your thing there is also some of the best clubs in the United States, such as Fluxx nightclub in the Gaslamp. You’ll want to put on your dancing shoes for that one! You can always enjoy the incredible island of Coronado, where life is a little bit slower and more refined. Maybe even stay at the historic Hotel Del Coronado. One thing is for sure, if you’re coming from neighboring Los Angeles, you may even want to use LAX long-term Parking because you won’t want to go back!

Usually it’s the cost of the trip, or obligations you’ve already made, even the simple act of taking care of a pet. Surely, there are ways around these roadblocks. There are so many deal websites out there for last minute getaways the cost of an average weekend at home may even be the same price as a quick trip to somewhere amazing! Whatever you have planned for your days off, could you postpone it to the next week? A little procrastination never hurt anyone, especially when the reward can be the memories of a lifetime. So drop that cat off at your mom’s and get on that plane.

How to Take the Stress Out of Planning Family Trips

Airport parking is a pain the derrière to anyone traveling. Add young children to the mix and suddenly daily tasks such as parking become even more of a hassle than you ever imagined. Have no fear, follow this easy-to-follow guide and planning your family trip will be easier than you thought possible!

There are always the top main concerns of:

  1. Safety of your items while you are gone.
  2. Cost of keeping the vehicle at the airport.
  3. Distance/logistics of getting to and from the vehicle to your airport.
  4. Remembering where the vehicle is located. (A tough task for even the most expert traveler!)

Some airport parking is very remote and leaving your items or even vehicle unattended for any length of time requires some amount of trust in a parking area. For instance, at LAX parking, ‘The Park at LAX’ offers a safe and secure location including licensed, bonded and insured security with 24hr cameras. How’s that for safety?

When you factor cost of parking into a family trip, it’s always going to be the most economical cost behind safety. There are two distinct ways of paying for parking with a family, drive-up valet, or economy self-park. If you’ve set aside a good chunk of cash for parking on your trip the best option is by far to valet. The least amount of time taken from car to airport and terminal to plane seat is always the best with kids. No matter what day it is, you have a limited amount of time to corral the family together and accomplish whatever task you have in mind before all hell breaks loose. Today that task should not be parking—it’s simply getting to your destination. If you include the valet in your travel plans, they will bring up the car for you before you arrive back!

Now, if your budget doesn’t allow for the luxurious valet service, then you need to be smart about your preparations. At San Jose airport parking and SFO parking you can pay ahead and even reserve your spot. This will save you time and money in the end—just be sure to take advantage of any free shuttle service offered so you can maximize your cost savings.

Last but never the least, write down details on where you leave your vehicle. Keep notes on what valet company you use in your phone in case you misplace your ticket. If you self-park and happen to have a camera phone handy, take a picture of something close by your car so you have a landmark to find. Never use other cars as landmarks because you never know when they will be moved; remember, you’re leaving for days not just a few hours. Best of luck getting the family all together for your trip and don’t forget to tip your valet!

About Me


Hansen Hunt

I'm a backpacker passionate about sustainable tourism. After backpacking around Europe, Mexico, and South America, I started my personal travel blog at www.unomos.com to share my adventures and travel tips. On any given day, you will find me playing frisbee or attending craft beer festivals.




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