Saturday, May 26

Goatmobile


We upgraded the rig this year for the goat show season.  Jennifer has been doing outstanding on the goat show circuit.  We are looking forward to nationals this year in Duncan, OK!  Our herd sire, affectionately named "Stink," has received his sire of merit and as of this weekend his progeny have earned enough for him to be ennobled (by our current calculations).  To those not in the goat world it's a pretty high achievement.  It's even more special because all the points towards his ennoblement have come from animals we have raised (minus one) and all of the animals were bred live-cover, not artificially inseminated.

We started having truck trouble with our 2004 F-350 about the time we purchased a new trailer (classic injector failure).  To maintain peace of mine and keep Jennifer rolling in style we also purchased a new truck. First a little on the new the trailer:

We purchased a 2012 Bison Trail Hand 310TH from Midway Trailer in Illinois.  It's a 3 horse slant with a 10' short wall living quarters.

The living quarters is a fully furnished home away from home.  The photo above is from the bathroom door forward.  It has a couch that folds down into another bed and we placed a queen-sized mattress on the upper deck.  It's equipped with a AC and heat, a double sink, a gas range and hood, a microwave, a freezer and fridge, water heater, and a full bath with shower and separate toilet.  A lot of the lower-end trailers will have a combo shower-toilet with the toilet in the shower, not something Jennifer or I were a fan of.  It's got an stereo system with indoor and out door speakers as well as an awning that extends out from the side of the trailer.

The Bison Trail Hand is a great trailer targeted towards that entry-level market.  It's only 7' wide so it does make for a cozy environment but so far it's been a real pleasure to use.  Jennifer is able to park near the goats and quickly retire to a hot shower and air conditioning when she's done for the day.

The Trail Hand has an aluminum skin over a steel frame, which makes for a fairly heavy load when you add goats, show equipment, and 35 gallons of freshwater.  The new truck, a 2012 Ford F350, is getting 12 miles to the gallon when pulling it.  The only things I would change about the trailer is perhaps look for a wider model and more RV style holding tank configuration (like an inlet to clean out the black water tank properly).

The 2012 F350 is the second year for the newest diesel engine of Ford which changed to a 6.7 liter PowerStroke diesel engine with a center mounted turbo.  This truck is so much quieter than the 6.0 you can easily forget it's a diesel, that is until you need to pull something.  The advertised specs are 400 horsepower and 800 ft/lbs of torque.  I'm pretty sure that's plenty for our application.

When not pulling the 27' gooseneck trailer the truck averages around 18 mpg on general driving and we've gotten as high as 20 mpg on long unloaded trips.  The truck is a geeks playground with all kinds of computerized options with a big bright instrument panel that shows you thinks like your instant fuel mileage, a graph of the last several minutes of mpg, the angle of the truck on two axis, the temperature of the transmission oil and engine oil, the gain settings on your trailer brake controller and more.  Plus it has the Ford Sync system that allows us to use our iPhones hands free and to stream music to the stereo.  It has many other features too that I don't use as much such as turn by turn directions as well as a vehicle health report.

One new thing to get used to having a diesel particulate filter (DPF) system and having to fill it with diesel exhaust fluid (DEF).  The first fill from the dealership lasted about 5000 miles.  When I first mentioned DEF to my boss he thought I was kidding and making up something like "blinker fluid."

The new truck of course comes with a warranty which means pieces of mind for both Jennifer and I, especially since she's pulling the big trailer on some pretty long hauls.  That plus the comfort of having a home away from home with her wherever she goes lets her focus on the goats while at the shows instead of shuffling between the show ground and unknown hotels in different parts of town.


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