Patti and I picked up our Escape 19 at the factory in early July. We stayed around Chilliwack for a couple of days to make sure any questions or concerns about our new trailer were addressed before moving on. After leaving Chilliwack, we meandered east along CA Hwy 3 for 10 days, then headed north to Red Deer, AB for my cousin's 80th birthday celebration. Our plan was to leave Red Deer a couple days later, head south to the Laurier border crossing,, then follow US Hwy 395 back home.
Unfortunately, a couple of concerns and questions came up after leaving Chilliwack, making it necessary to go back to the factory before crossing into the US and heading home. After resolving the issues as best we could, we headed to the Sumas border crossing, made our way to I-5, then headed south. At Seattle, we headed east on I-90 to US 97 and south to the Cascade lakes area near Bend, OR for some kayaking on the lakes and along the Deschutes River. We then headed south and east to US 395 to continue our original travel plan back home.
Importing the trailer into the US was easy. We had to wait our turn in line behind other people with various border crossing issues that had to be resolved, but once we got to the counter and made it clear as to what we were doing, the border and customs guy that ended up handling our paper work showed the import papers that Tammy had given us to his fellow officers, mentioned what a great company Escape Trailers was for helping make the process so simple, signed and stamped the papers with a couple of authoritative thumps and sent us on our way. Registering the trailer once back into sunny SoCal was, on the other hand, a bureaucratic, time consuming and expensive process.
With a couple of exceptions, the Escape 19 has met or exceeded our expectations...
--- The combination of dual 6 volt batteries, LED lights and 95w solar panel with charge controller was definetly worth the added expense. With moderate 12 volt power use (lights at night; water pump, stove fan, Maxx Fan, and heater fan as needed, and combination radio/CD player as desired), the battery charge never fell below 80% and was always back to 100% by noon the next day.
--- The trailer tows better, rides better and backs easier than our 17' Casita (which tows, rides and backs pretty easily itself). I tow my trailers behind a Ram 2500 pickup with a Hemi V8, but would tow the Escape 19 with my wife's 6 cyl. Toyota 4-runner or other vehicle rated for 5000 pounds if necessary, so long as the appropriate equalizer hitch equipment was installed.
--- The toilet/shower area is smaller than the Casita's and there's no easy accomodation for storage of bathroom related stuff. It's a little cramped, but we'll get used to it. There is a bathroom vent, but no DC powered vent fan...that would be a plus.
--- The 5 cubic foot 2-way fridge changes from AC to propane easily. After a few days of driving with the fridge running on propane, Patti's concerns of doing so had eased and she has pretty much accepted it as the only way to keep the fridge cold on long drive days.
--- The "dual fuel" AC/propane water heater is worth the added expense...takes 30 minutes or less to get hot water either way and it's nice to be able to heat water on someone else's "dime" when possible...well, I suppose since I've paid the daily camping , fee it's still technically my dime, but at least it's not my propane.
--- The awning is easy to use once you get used to the routine, but the custom screenroom that attaches to it is a disappointment. Its design elimates two entry door functions...the built in step and door hook. It's overly long and sloppy along the bottom and difficult (almost impossible, really, on hard ground) to stake down neatly to keep wind from blowing it about. When I asked about these issues on our return visit to the factory, some suggestions were offered to solve the problems, but none of them were satisfactory. I'm sure Escape Trailers would have taken the screenroom back and given me credit for the cost, but since the outside of the trailer is now permantely peppered with all the required snap fitings, I decided to keep it and will find a way to make it work as best I can.
--- The stove fan vents into the trailer rather than to an outside vent. Air from the stove burners is sucked up by the fan and then blown through the front of the vent hood over the stove...OK in cold weather, I suppose, but not so good when it's hot. I've never seen an RV stove fan vent in such a way. So far, no problem (hasn't set off the propane or carbon monoxide alarm), but I would prefer the stove generated hot air vent to the outside. When using the stove, I make sure at least one window is cracked open and the Maxx Fan is running.
--- The sliding dining table had no locking device to keep it from sliding while traveling. As it always slid to the off center position, I feared this would put extra stress on the table and table supports while driving down the road. Reace fixed this problem on our return visit to the factory with a screw knob underneath to secure the table from sliding. Since it screwed tight to the table bottom itself, boring holes into the plywood, I attached a strip of 1" x 15" by 3/8" wood to the bottom of the table when I got home so the threaded rod now tightens into it instead of the underside of the table.
--- There's lotsa storage and Patti is having trouble filling it...but, I'm sure she will find a way. Since she's a fairly short person, she has trouble seeing and reaching into the top storage compartments. The bottom storage is mostly hers and the top storage is pretty much mine.
After 3 weeks of generally successful traveling with our new trailer, we're looking forward to adding some personal touches and modifications, then heading out for more travel adventure.
Rich McCormack (Poway, CA) email@example.com
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