Coast to Coast: Return Trip, Relearning to Pack

Our first order of business in the morning was to assemble the kennels and then repack the car without using any of the interior cargo space that we previously had. The three kennels took up everything but the floor behind the front seats. We bought shipping boxes and packing tape to temporarily hold some of the cargo while we figured out what to do with it. We quickly found ourselves out of time with the hotel and just put everything in the parking lot so that we could work there and figure out a new place for everything. This isn’t even all of it.

Once the trailer was packed at the hotel, it was easy to see that we’d need even more cargo space. So, we bought two 45-gallon Husky totes. I figured one would be enough, but bought a second, just in case. Then we went to retrieve the cats, Mom’s cremains, her records, and other effects from her good friend and executor, Joyce. There was more stuff than I expected. The Husky tubs were a wise purchase; I’m glad I bought two! With everything loaded, there were two buckets that we had been traveling with that wouldn’t fit in the trailer. One was a sealed Chemical Guys bucket that had my “Motherfluffer” towels inside. There was no way I’d leave that behind! I found a home for it in front of the Husky tubs. The other bucket was simply an uncapped cat litter pail that carried some cleaning products. I left that behind.

The cats were already in small pet carriers in Joyce’s home. They are “Miss Kitty,” an eleven year old female long-haired calico; “Rusty,” a ten year old, 20+ pound male long-haired orange tabby (perhaps with a touch of Maine Coon), and “Digby,” a five year old male polydactyl long-haired orange tabby. The boys have been afraid of strangers for as long as I recall, perhaps especially true of men. Rusty freaked out in a major fashion when we walked in. Our first task was to get each cat out of Joyce’s carriers and into our kennels. Miss Kitty was easy. She is very nice and easy-going. The boys were a handful. I did most of the handling because I wasn’t going to wind up chasing cats all over a strange house because one got away. Nope! I manhandled them straight into our kennels without fanfare or sympathy. HAHA!

Our plan was that those kennels would not be opened for ANY reason unless said kennel was inside of a locked room.  We didn’t take any photos of the cats at this point. They were scared out of their minds and burying their heads under the bedding in their kennels. Each cat had food, water, and a litter box. We used disposable basting pans as litter boxes. You can see in these photos that the kennels are plenty large enough for that. The two forward kennels rested on a level platform. This photo shows one of the two 5V USB fans that I added to ensure the rear kennel got plenty of fresh air. Rusty, being the largest cat by far, rode in this kennel. It seemed cruel to put him way back here and out of sight. But, as already mentioned, he was so scared that seclusion was best for him.

I decided to weigh everything individually once I added the Husky totes to the trailer’s lid. Thankfully, I had overestimated the trailer’s weight when we left Virginia. Surprisingly, the trailer box has just 290 lbs of cargo inside (I thought it was more), the two large tubs on the lid weigh 165 lbs combined, and the cargo rack/bag has ~120 lbs. I know the trailer itself weighed ~500 lbs when I ran it across the scale two years ago. The Outdoorsman 300 rack, OffGrid basket, and under-chassis spare tire weighed about 100 lbs combined. Adding everything together estimates that I’m pulling about 1175 lbs. The tongue weight is 165 lbs, or 14%. That’s a bit on the heavy side, but within the acceptable 10-15%. The extra weight on the tongue helps smooth the ride and minimizes hitch noise.

As for cargo inside the car, the kennels weighed ~40 lbs, the three cats weighed 50 lbs, we weighed 350 lbs, and my wife’s Starbucks mug collection was killing us. HAHA! Combining the weight inside the car, the hitch (165 lbs), and the rooftop cargo box (165 lbs), the car itself was carrying ~800 lbs. There hadn’t been a single problem with stopping it all. We had one instance where I had to jab the brakes. The car stopped the trailer so abruptly that it startled my wife. The same brakes that give the GTI performance stopping power also happen to stop a trailer pretty well! 😀

Next, we start our journey back to Virginia with three whiny cats!

Let the Fur Fly!


About Scott

I grew up near Houston, TX and served in the U. S. Coast Guard for over 30 years. I have an electronics background and continue to work in the electronics engineering field. I taught myself the basics about automotive systems as well as how to perform some of my own maintenance (cars and bicycles). I became involved with Amateur Radio and computers in 1995. The explosion of technology has made my job and several of my hobbies quite interesting. My hobbies include Volkswagens, bicycling, photography, electronics, amateur radio, web management, and reptiles. Visit my websites to learn more.
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