When my wife, Lisa, and I packed up my recently purchased 23-foot Haulmark car hauler in Vancouver, Canada, it was not with a restored 1966 Corvette Stingray or an old Austin Healey aboard. No, my acquisition was full of mattresses, desks, filing cabinets and stuff one gathers when working and living thousands of miles from home for six months.
During the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, we had been in charge of a fleet of General Motors Corp.'s hydrogen-electric fuel-cell vehicles. But with the games over with, the time had come to return home ... 4,000 miles away on the other coast.
The trailer was purchased for the Olympic program and during our stay in Vancouver, the idea it should become a permanent part of our life became obvious ... to me. After all, who knows when a call might come with a request to move a car from somewhere to somewhere else? Hey, with all those Internet automotive sales, surely the world needs someone like me with a state-of-the-art car hauler to solve their most pressing automotive transportation needs.
Think of the benefits. We'll always be able to take a spare car with us. Forget the spare tire. Well, it's not the environmental statement of the decade, but the choice will be there. With its flood lights, rubber floor and onboard winch, the car hauler will keep me occupied; it's a new hobby. I don't have a boat, ATV, snowmobile, hang glider or a Lear Jet, so now I have a toy. A pet almost. Clean it. Take care of it. Load it and love it.
Towing a trailer is fun, too. Loafing a loaded one across the country or backing it into impossible places is a downright rewarding driving experience. And let's not forget the fellowship that will flourish when word gets out to those hopefuls selling vehicles on the Internet. A grassroots grassfire will obviously spread about my ability to haul cars around.
Imagine, sitting around detailing the detail kit when the phone rings and a lady from Bangor, Maine, wants her beloved Maserati Superleggera 3500 GT delivered to someone in Toledo, Ohio. Or what if I find a '49 Ford convertible that needs to get from Los Angeles to Denver; a Gull Wing Mercedes from Denver to Chicago, for a retired chiropractor; and then a 1971 Hemi 'Cuda to a university professor in Montreal, Canada, who bought it because his uncle had one when he was kid?
Great cars and folks but there are downsides to car hauler ownership, things I don't like to think about such as, "Where am I going to park this trailer?"
The thing will not fit in our driveway. It's as wide as a transport truck.
The financial side is a swallow, too. Oh yes, apparently a trailer needs a truck to pull it. A naughty case of Duramax Diesel fever has been steadily brewing. The fact I've driven a loaner GMC Sierra 2500 HD Duramax for the past six months doesn't help.
Lisa and I had a relaxing trip home, trailer in tow. We stayed in Mom and Pop motels mostly because that's where we could park the truck and trailer. Wag my life Haulmark car hauler, wag my life.
Lisa drove most of the time, a critical element in my plan to gain full support for the truck-to-haul-trailer-around concept. She liked hauling and by the time we hit the Eastern time zone, she seemed onboard with my plan to add 44 feet of contraption to our lives.
But on the last day Lisa came clean.
"I've been trapped in this truck with you for 10 days and every time I start to drive, you start going on and on and on about this crazy idea to have a trailer and truck in our already vehicularly complex existence.
"Do you know how much you talk about this? Trucks. Trucks. Trailers. Trucks."
OK, maybe I was a little obsessed.
"Look, Lisa. Do you know how much I agonized over purchasing my first photocopier? It took me forever. Then I wondered how I ever got along with out it. It will be the same with the trailer."
With Lisa seemingly pacified by the time we got home, I was suffering from truck fever delirium: "I need this truck because I have this trailer. A trailer is nothing without a load so unless there is a load what's the point in having one?"
It took two days to unload the trailer after I suffered the front lawn trying to jockey it off the street into the front part of our driveway.
"Where are you going to put it?" Lisa politely asked after I had detailed the interior to look more like an operating room than a car-haulin' hovel.
I explained that Luke Thompson, who had helped out with our fuel-cell vehicle service at the Olympics, offered to put the trailer in the driveway at his house in the suburbs. I have always got along well with his wife, Ann, but there's nothing like a giant car hauler in the driveway to wear things thin.
That evening I backed into Luke's driveway and unhitched like a pro. I checked to see how much of the Haulmark was visible from the kitchen window. Not much, thankfully. But the white behemoth is right there when you drive into the yard. Wham. Garry's brainwave, in your face.
I thanked Luke and prepared to pull away. Free of the millstone, the Sierra HD would feel like a sports car.
"Now this isn't forever, right?" Luke muttered, eyeing his new driveway parasite.
Forever is a long time, but for the time being, it has "towwhere" else to go.
Garry Sowerby, author of "Sowerby's Road: Adventures of a Driven Mind" is a four-time Guinness World Record holder for long-distance driving. His exploits, good, bad and just plain harrowing, are the subject of World Odyssey, produced in conjunction with Wheelbase Communications. Wheelbase is a worldwide provider of automotive news and features stories.