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Old 09-20-2015, 09:00 PM   #1
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Hello from suburbs of Chicago

Hi All!
I'm an all-around newbie to camping and trailering, and also to possibly purchasing a FB camper. From a week's worth of research and forum watching, I agree with y'all that an Escape looks like the way to go!

Briefly here...my son just asked me "why get a camper when so many people don't use them, and then just sell in a few years!"
He's also correct, in that I haven't gone camping myself, except twice before!
However, that's been due to many obstacles; multiple military moves (overseas as well), my physical disability, kid's activities, scouts every weekend, hubby's dedication to serving in the military, and then being struck (and stuck inside) with 2 cancers/5 major surgeries over the last 13 years.

So, with kids out of the nest, a new home in an entirely new location, I've got the urge and time to start to explore the outdoor lifestyle and our beautiful country! BTW, fishing is one of my hobbies as well.
Actually the "urge" is also part of "urgent"; because I only have a couple of years left before I'm fully confined to a wheelchair and probably be house-bound. Also, with my health history, I'm not betting on having another 10-20 years of a very active lifestyle (I'm in my mid-50's). Camping in a tent is difficult for me, physically, and it’s so darned cold and buggy!
I thought a camper would solve these issues, and provide a measure of safety from wildlife (and wild people)!
Sooooo!!!! Dear Son said, "what about a hotel?" Well, again, I've never been able to book a place we'd like to stay in a pretty forest or at a waterside locale. Then, there's carting our suitcases and gear all inside...
I thought that having a camper would provide more latitude to "pick up and go" exploring/camping. From everyone's experience, is this the case, and an advantage to having a camper?
'Got many more questions, but first and foremost, what size/weight (17B or 19) do you think my 2010 Chevy Traverse (tow package on, can tow 5000lbs.) can comfortably and safely tow? I'd like to go anywhere, including up and down mountains, on rough roads, etc.
I'd want a pretty-loaded trailer, fully winterized, extra windows and batteries, water, etc., and I tend to travel "heavy". Reason being is that I'm an artist, and love my paints and gear with me. Additionally, I'm disabled with muscular dystrophy, and will have at least my walker and canes with me, if not a small wheelchair. Then there's my adorable little Chi and all of her gear...
Last but not least is my hubby , 200 lbs, with his bike, fishing gear, etc.
I hope to hear from you experienced campers, "Escape-rs", and also anyone who is physically challenged, to hear what your advice, experiences, and comments are!
Please let me know if you think I'm doing all of this too quickly.

Again, I just know that I want to get OUTSIDE, commune with nature, travel easily, safely, and interestingly, and start to live a little!!! Thanks!
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Old 09-21-2015, 10:35 AM   #2
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Oh, I forgot to add that my Traverse is a V6... Sorry, I'm not very familiar with automotive or trailer terms or workings.
I'm very interested in learning much more about the rv'ing /Escape trailering experience.
....anyone care to comment or say hello?
Also, especially if we decide to try and wait for a new build, I wonder if any Escape owners had any "accessible " modifications done to their Escape? Even after the fact?
Did any of you delve right in to rv'ing with a minimum of camping experience?
Thank you so much! Excited to be here!
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Old 09-21-2015, 10:47 AM   #3
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There is a rally not too far from you here http://www.escapeforum.org/forums/f1...ally-5332.html
you can see the various models, a 19 or 17 can be pulled by your Traverse.
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Old 09-21-2015, 10:55 AM   #4
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Thank you, CPA! I suppose I had the wrong terms in my search Engine. yep, only 2 1/2 hours away! This would be perfect to see the Escape in person!
I was just worried about the 19 footer being maxed out with my tow-ability. But you think it still would be way under the max? Thanx, Addie
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Old 09-21-2015, 10:56 AM   #5
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I towed a 19 with a FJ Cruiser v-6 without issues, same 5,000# rating.
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Old 09-21-2015, 11:11 AM   #6
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Welcome. I live in Des Plaines, IL. We have an Escape 19 in the driveway we purchased last year. If you'd like to come by and visit to discuss things, you'd be welcomed. There is just so much to talk about. As cpaharley pointed out, there is a rally just 2.5 hours west of us this weekend. We'll be there also. Almost the whole like of Escape products will be there and folks love to tell you about their trailers and experiences. Good luck.
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Old 09-21-2015, 11:51 AM   #7
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Hi Artlady,

I don't own a trailer and have only camped for appx 3.5 weeks in a rented motorhome earlier this year, so I can't answer all of your questions. However, I can pose some to you!

You state you'll be confined to a wheelchair and housebound in a few years. Bummer! But you want to get out there and have some fun with nature beforehand. Great!

Some thoughts for you:

We spent a lot of time last year and earlier this year looking at stick builts. While I'm not in a wheelchair or use a walker or cane, I did wonder how folks that are disabled would be able to use them. The steps can be tricky for an able-bodied person, much less someone not so able-bodied. A toy hauler could work with a wheelchair but the ramps can be rather steep in some of them. Not sure how wide the doors are to the non-toy hauling area for a wheelchair. And, most of those toy haulers are pretty crummy inside in terms of comfort and usability (least to me).

An Escape trailer will be less friendly to a wheelchair than many of the trailers we saw. A walker should be fine, but not a wheelchair.

ETI isn't accepting any orders right now, so by the time you can order and get it, you wouldn't be able to use it. That kind of sucks, to put it mildly. They stopped taking orders earlier this month and probably won't open up their books until next Spring (from accounts on this forum from others with far more knowledge than I have). Then you'll still have to wait over a year just to get it.

If you visit this site often, used ones do come up for sale, but you need to be able to have cash in hand and jump on it very quickly. It can be done, but you need to be ready.

If you do find a used trailer fairly quickly and you use it for the time you have left until you're in the wheelchair permanently, what will be done with the trailer then? Will the rest of the family use it and you're stuck at home? Are they able to get you in and out of the trailer if you go with them? Can you use a walker inside the trailer? Will seeing the trailer sitting outside without you being able to use it end up being too frustrating to deal with?

If you decide to sell the trailer, the Escapes have a very good resale value, so you probably wouldn't lose too much value on it.

Have you looked into the option of renting an RV for when you want to get away? I would imagine there would be more than just Cruise America in the Chicago area. There were multiple places to rent from in the Seattle area. Start googling and calling and visiting their locations.

I would think there are some Escape trailers in your neck of the woods. Hopefully someone will read your original post and will offer to show you theirs. You can also contact ETI (Escape Trailer Industries) and they can hook you up with anyone in your area that has registered with them as willing to do so. and you'll get a nifty card from that person that you can turn in when you order your trailer and they get a $200 check from ETI for their efforts in showing it to you. Cool!

Anyway, you really should check them out in person. And think about what you plan to do with the trailer when you're no longer able to use it.

Good luck with your decision.
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Old 09-21-2015, 12:21 PM   #8
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A toy hauler would be ideal as the rear drops down and forms a ramp, very easy access, but not an Escape.
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Old 09-21-2015, 12:49 PM   #9
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lovely note!

Laura, what a lovely, thoughtful note!!! Thank you for taking so much time to post...and ask some very pertinent and provocative questions!
Believe me, they are all things I've pondered. I can "pull" myself up the stairs of most campers right now. (hubby pushes from the caboose - or, if needed, he can carry me. I'm 110#s!).

The ease of the Escape setup and floorplan is small enough now that I can get around inside just by holding on as I walk around. In the near future, say a year or two, I can "transfer" from the bed to a little wheeled stool and scoot around the camper.

The windows around the camper afford a great view from which to see nature, and watch my family's activities, if it comes to me being relegated inside.

As I said, the main issue is waiting another year+ to start RV'ing - that wait will certainly limit the time I have left to get out and enjoy.
However, I will keep asking about gently-used trailers for sale, and keep my eyes open. I placed a post in the classifieds, hoping to catch a seller before they listed to the general population.

Oh, and why an Escape over any other used camper?
Well, without repeating all of the other posts who have addressed that very well, for me, it's the quality and different maintenance requirements (no leaks, no rusting rivets, etc.) that are most important. Second (as I mentioned briefly above), is the floor plan and windows.
Third, and perhaps most important, is that the Escape is insulated with thermal windows. Being so tiny, and having atrophied muscles means I am always c-c-cold! I need an insulated unit to help alleviate the chill factor.

Again, I appreciate your comment!
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Old 09-21-2015, 01:11 PM   #10
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Addie,
Some of the things you like about the Escape are options, so be careful in thinking all models have the things you desire.....
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Old 09-21-2015, 03:02 PM   #11
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Options, options

Quote:
Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
Addie,
Some of the things you like about the Escape are options, so be careful in thinking all models have the things you desire.....
Very true, Jim... I'm looking at the options, and researching them. This will probably lead to more questions in other forums! Also, I appreciated hearing the tow info.
Have a great afternoon!
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Old 09-21-2015, 03:06 PM   #12
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Hi Laura, Gary, and Jim-
I just wanted to add that I am now also researching a rental camper for the rally. I'm hoping to see a variety of Escape trailers there. And judging from these forums, looking forward meeting a great bunch of folks! Thank, all!
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Old 09-21-2015, 03:50 PM   #13
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Staying warm

You mentioned how you need to stay warm. Several years ago I bought a fuzzy zebra patterned throw from Sears that's electrical. Basically a small electric blanket. It's great for snuggling with on the daybed with the kitty. She loves the fuzzy fabric and many times I love the warmth of it when it's plugged in. It's too short to sleep with at night (for me, as I'm 5'10"), but it could work for you when you're lounging around the trailer. And when you're plugged in to shore power.

Have fun at the rally!
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Old 09-21-2015, 04:09 PM   #14
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FYI - I'm in Lemont (right near Lemont Road and I-55), and have a 2014 Escape 19. You're welcome to come check it out.

However, we'll be leaving this Friday for the Mississippi River Escape Rally and will be gone for a couple weeks.

Many folks have towed a 19 with vehicles that have similar tow ratings as your vehicle. It's worth understanding the math for your particular situation (ie towing capacity, payload capacity).

While I am a fan of the Escape trailers, I thought a feature that might be of interest to you is the Lil Snoozy trailer that offers a wide entrance to fit the mobility scooters (if that is a consideration for you).

Good luck on your shopping, travels, and with your health of course!
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Old 09-22-2015, 01:28 PM   #15
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Wonderful advice!

Hi Laura, thanks for the hint about the plug-in blanket. I've got three of those spread around the house! Yes, very helpful for my painful and cold muscles. The problem is, navigating around the trailer and still keeping warm! I could get one of those battery-powered heated vests and booties however. Also, a small plug-in heater. All-in-all, the insulated Escape would definitely be better for me, however.

Sm, I appreciate your advice about the lil Snoozy. Thankfully, I am not at the point of using a power chair right now. The snoozy has had problems with hazing/ cracking along with a few other things, which is why I shied away from them.
I would have to ask ETI if they can eradicate the wardrobe and build a wider door for a power chair ramp. Great thought!
Thanks so much for commenting!
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Old 09-22-2015, 01:45 PM   #16
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Renting an RV

Artlady, I thought of you when I read this in Sunday's paper. There was a small blurbie about a new website where you can find and rent RVs nationwide. It's supposed to be similar to Airbnb. I haven't check it out (yet), so don't know anything about it.

www.outdoorsy.co (yeah, co, not com)

Holy Cow - there's a 19' Airstream in San Jose listed for $305 a day! Holy Cow, I'm in the wrong business!

Just checked it for the Seattle area - a 1993 Casita 17 Freedom Deluxe for $250 a day! Dang!

Anyway, there might be something that will work for you for the rally.
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Old 09-22-2015, 01:59 PM   #17
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Hey, Laura! Will check it out, thanx! I also should register on some of the other FG forums to cast a wider net. Did you say you will be at the IL rally? If so, I'll stop by and say hello, if you don't mind.
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Old 09-22-2015, 02:44 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Artlady View Post
Hey, Laura! Will check it out, thanx! I also should register on some of the other FG forums to cast a wider net. Did you say you will be at the IL rally? If so, I'll stop by and say hello, if you don't mind.
Nope, not me. We haven't even ordered our trailer yet. Gotta get a few things taken care of first. But once I get the truck and trailer, I plan to start cruising around the country, sightseeing and visiting friends and all that.
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