If you scroll below the photo, you will find I have written an update on owning our F350.
We were looking to upgrade our current tow vehicle. Through researching various possibilities we were leaning towards the Ford 350 Super Duty crew cab with the longer bed. Initially, we scoured the ads and dealerships within a 20 mile radius looking at previously owned F-350’s under 5 years with as low mileage as possible. Then came Spring and with it the new 2015’s started to roll out. There had been some substantial changes in horsepower, torque and payload with an overall towing capacity up 17%.
Hubby currently drives a 1/4 ton truck, (the Denali is my every day driver) and we wanted to replace his truck with a more powerful truck that would serve as the tow vehicle too. We would like to have this vehicle before summer arrives. While we probably don’t need all the new extra horsepower etc. that is being offered in the new 2015’s we do tend to keep our vehicles for a number of years. Our current vehicles are nearing 9 years. The resale of these vehicles tends to be high which is always an added bonus.
So I guess the real question to ask is, do we want to be out a lot of money or a ton of money? (Ton, haha, I amuse myself. )
And then…there it was. Hubby had been busy following auto trader and the local dealerships for months when this 2013 Ford finally made an appearance. We went just to visit and five hours later we had a new truck. It’s a bit intimidating still, but hubby is getting the hang of parking it around town. He’s such a trooper as its pretty tight around here for parking. I’m so excited for the future of our travels. No more stress about weight on axles and payload and we may have the room to carry bikes in the future. Yeah !! Now, we just have to get it set up for towing.
I thought I would give an update on how we are doing with our F350 after having used it to tow for 3 weeks straight and using it daily as my hubby’s everyday driver. I remember in the beginning, driving it home from SF thinking what have we done? Would we be returning it the next day with buyer’s remorse? Needless to say, it was an anxious drive home. Fast forward 5 months. Relief is what I feel now. Hubby has gotten the hang of maneuvering his monster, I mean truck and parking it. We live in the Bay Area and well, it’s a little congested here with slim parking spots designed more with compact cars in mind than extra long trucks, but its not impossible and hasn’t been too much of an issue. In fact we joke how much shorter it is when he isn’t trying to park the Airstream too in the parking lots. But joking aside, I think besides just trying to drive and park it in public, our next biggest worries were 1) could we park it in our garage and 2) could we pull it down our driveway with the airstream in tow 3) and still make a U-turn? The Denali is certainly shorter than the truck, for sure.
Let’s say, it just fits in the garage. Our house is old school and garages in our neighborhood were not designed to accommodate large working vehicles but family sedans. But yeah, it fits and the garage door closes. Our second and third worries? We have a long, curvy driveway with redwoods on either side. There’s not much room for error, but if we go slow and swing way out on the sides, we just fit around the curves and through our gates and the U-turn? Well, we practiced and practiced many different configurations and finally figured out exactly where on our driveway the front tires need to be before we can begin the turn. Thank you!! I’m relieved to say yes, we can make a u-turn on our driveway without having to drive or back up over our landscaping. As far as the towing, hubby feels more confident driving the truck towing and parking the Airstream than he ever did with the Denali. And not just because of his new backup camera, which is another wonderful tool, and on more than one occasion he has hitched up without me or my son for extra eyeballs or directions. He says it just steers straighter than our Denali does.
It feels good riding in the truck pulling our Safari and feels so much safer driving up and down those mountains. Our family is continuing to grow and just the weight of the passengers inside..hemhem (I blame the growing kids? the dog?) was a weight we had to consider for the payload. We were always worried too about the weight in the Airstream and where we carried things. Only the bare min, without water in the tanks or carrying a generator, and bikes? Well, they and everything else extra was out of the question. I love not worrying about that now. I never batted an eyelash driving all through Oregon which is saying a lot, because I was extremely anxious about trying it out in the Denali. Always watching the temp gauge when we climbed those grades larger than 6% and worrying we might get pushed down the mountain. I thought the extra long bed was a crazy idea, but has come in handy for all our bikes, and other “toys” and gives us a larger fuel tank so we don’t have to refuel as often and the gas mileage seems to be about the same with or without the Airstream behind. We have found that even when we are not towing, it still has been our “go to” vehicle for local day trips or longer weekend trips to the beach house. We have more room to haul our luggage, a cooler, and then there’s the bikes. They have lived in the truck all summer. We have tried out so many trails just because the bikes were with us. There I go again. I keep mentioning those bikes. Are you getting that I’m really enjoying the family bike rides?
Of course. Besides it’s overall mass, I haven’t actually tried driving it yet myself. Which means, so far hubby has been the sole driver on all our trips and outings. I’m not sure my hesitation, am I nervous to drive it or am I just worried I’ll put a dent or worst into hubby’s new truck? The other drawback I can think of is the amount of passengers we can take. Our family fits comfortably but I sure wish it could fit at least 2 more passengers so we could take a few guests along with us. Of course, hubby’s Avalanche truck held the same number of seats, so it wasn’t a thought that crossed each of our minds at the time. We were just trading in one older black 1/4 ton lowered truck for a much larger, newer, longer and taller 1 ton truck in it’s place.
We will give it more time of course and see how we feel a year from now. Overall, it’s been a good trade for our family and certainly has given some relief to this mama who is not mechanically inclined and has never towed anything before this Airstream arrived in our lives. I’m happy to ride in that monster everyday and twice on Sundays with or without the Airstream in tow and not just because it means I get to read instead of drive or that the family bikes are packed along. But of course, that’s not a bad thing either.