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A New “Toad”

May 24, 2013


For us 60-somethings, the Jeep had become less enjoyable over the past few months.  When we bought it a little over a year ago as our tow-behind vehicle (or “toad”), we had some specific criteria, but those have changed, and we were originally only thinking of the fun times tooling around in state parks and maybe occasionally offroad.  We’ve discovered we’re really not huge offroaders, and after making a number of 4, 5, and 6 hour trips in the Jeep, the noise and discomfort became a bit much.  The time had come for a more comfortable, quieter ride.

We looked around while we were in Houston, and zeroed in on the Honda CRV.  The CRV is flat-towable behind a motorhome, simply by going through an idle and shifting procedure, then putting the automatic transmission in Neutral.  There are very specific procedures, including checking the transmission fluid and idling the engine for several minutes after towing for specific lengths of time, but no modifications are required (except for installation of the tow bar, of course).

We are looking forward to the new quieter, smoother ride, a usable back seat, and larger, more accessible cargo space.  Just loading groceries is going to be much easier on the old back.  If you’ve ever been on the highway at 60 miles an hour in a Jeep Wrangler with a fabric top, you will understand how nice it will be to just simply have a conversation without shouting.

We bought it at Gillman Honda in Rosenberg, Texas, just a few miles south of Richmond on Hwy 59.  This 2009 CRV LX, with 38,900 miles on it, had just come in to the dealer a couple of days earlier.  It didn’t even have a window sticker on it yet.  The CARFAX showed it had actually been out on a three-year  lease from Gillman, and all the regular service had been performed at Gillman as well.  It had been completely serviced since it’s arrival: oil, filters, fluids, etc.

We can’t say enough good things about how we were treated by the salesman, Joe Faili.  In fact, aside from the car itself, Joe was the reason we went back to look at it a second time and to make the purchase.  Joe is a rarity in the used car business: a full-disclosure salesman.  He pointed a couple of things out on the car that we hadn’t noticed, and he made the entire process, although typically long and time-consuming, as smooth and painless as possible.  He even sent the car back to the shop to try to get a couple of cosmetic things fixed.  AND he ran the car back through a quick carwash and delivered it to us in the front parking lot with a FULL tank of gas.

During the process, we decided to just use the Jeep as a trade-in.  The back seat had been stored in our daughter and son-in-law’s garage, and she also had the original car title in her files for safekeeping, so while the Honda was being looked at, we started a little four-hour side adventure.  First stop was back at the RV park, where we emptied out the Jeep and I removed the Roadmaster Stowmaster tow bar from the front.  Removal of two heavy steel brackets was more difficult, especially with my limited set of tools.  I had already been on the phone that morning with Master Hitch, here in Houston.  Their Spring, Texas shop had installed the towbar and made a really great impression with their knowledge and helpfulness.  I found that Scott, at the Houston shop, was just as easy to deal with.  We have a tentative appointment tomorrow to have the towbar reinstalled on our “new” Honda CRV.

Unable to budge the bolts holding the two mounting brackets on the front of the Jeep, we went to our daughter’s house, to pick up the back seat and car title, and to see if our son-in-law’s much more extensive collection of tools would help.  Nell and daughter Carol watched me strain to move just one of four bolts and suggested just taking the time to drive into town to Master Hitch and get them to remove the bolts.  We loaded the back seat, jumped into the Jeep, and got back on our way.

As we pulled out onto Highway 6 in Missouri City, we decided to just try stopping at a Walmart, Sears, or independent auto service shop.  The first one we came to was AutoFix Unlimited on Highway 6, and that’s where we met Eddie.  Although all the shop bays were full, Eddie took my keys, put Nell and I in the air conditioning in the waiting room, and in less than 15 minutes, came back with the two brackets in a plastic bag and had the Jeep sitting at the front door.   A very personable guy who was fascinated by our RV life, Eddie was the second auto-related person who made our lives easier in on day.  If you’re in the Missouri City, Texas area, and need auto work, go see Eddie at AutoFix Unlimited.

We drove back to the dealership in Rosenberg, finalized transfer of the Jeep, and picked up the CRV.  Then we topped off the day with dinner (burgers at Chili’s), and then parked our new “toad” in front of the motorhome and called it a day… a long and busy, but very productive day.

One Comment leave one →
  1. May 24, 2013 2:05 pm

    Nice car, bet you will enjoy it.My partner has the same Jeep, i need a stool to get into it and he just had hip replacement, so he struggles with it. I need to sit on an old dog cushion to be raised high enough to drive and because I always fall a tad short of reaching the pedals, I am always stalling it.(stick shift). When I was much younger I thought they were great fun,but now I hate it. so I am sitting here with great envy. Good luck, keep well. Syd Harper

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