I promised a picture of the new truck and here it is. Rudee finally let me close enough to snap a photo :).
Some of you may wonder why not just have a large p/u truck like many others use to pull their 5th wheels. Well we had a Chevy 2500 when we first bought the Montana and it was a good truck and was capable of pulling the 5th wheel. We needed a way to haul the Goldwing with us since that is our main hobby and we both love riding the bike. I researched and found where some were using swivel wheel http://www.smarttrailers.com/ trailers mounted to the rear of the 5th wheels and this seemed like the best option. The wheels on these trailers swivel around and you can back the whole rig up w/o unhooking the back trailer. I decided that my son in law and I could build one. I purchased the axles on line and we bought everything else locally and built in in a few week ends. The trailer pulled great behind the truck but when we towed it behind the 5th wheel with the bike loaded up it was bad!! I guess we had too much weight back there and it caused the 5th wheel to sway back and forth to the point of being scary. I realized real quick that I had to find another way. Enter the HDT. In my research on the swivel wheel trailer I had found some who were hauling bikes and ATV's and even cars on the backs of former commercial vehicles. I begin some deeper research on these and asking questions on the Escapee's Rv Club HDT forum. It was there that in September of 07 someone posted a link to an ad for a 1995 Freightliner FLD120 that had already been converted to single axle and was set up for towing a fifth wheel. The only draw back was the truck was in Pacific Washington and I live in Indiana, not a real easy commute. I called my sister who lives in Tacoma and was surprised that the truck was parked within 5 miles of her house and my brother in law, who sells truck parts, knew the parts manager at the dealership! They went over and checked it out and arranged to have a mechanic check the truck from top to bottom, it passed muster and we bought it sight unseen. We flew out to Seattle and spent a couple of days with them and then started the drive back to Indiana. My good friend Niles let me "practice" in his Freightliner before we left so I had a good 1 hour of driving experience under my belt before starting cross country! I did fine though and we had a great adventure! We bought a motorcycle lift http://motorcycletrailer.com/rampage/ and mounted it on the bed of the truck behind the cab and have never looked back. We have been to Florida and back twice and all over Indiana in our rig and really love it. Our plan for retirement is to have Rudee follow along (or lead) when we move and then have the use of both the bike and the Dakota when we are parked. We don't anticipate moving as often as some folks do. I picture us staying in an area for 2 weeks to a month or more.
Rudee took yesterday off and she cleaned the 5th wheel and caught up on laundry. Today is supposed to be sunny and nice, we'll need to get out and enjoy the spring weather. I'll keep you posted.