After our trip to Colorado, and the fun of shipping clothes to the hotel, I began to consider a trailer to pull behind the Goldwing. We could take clothes with us, raingear, jacket liners, and pick up groceries. When it’s really hot and you’d like to take your jacket off, you need a place to put it. Holding it on your lap doesn’t work for a long ride and if the saddlebags and trunk are full you’re out of luck. Enter the trailer. You have room for the jacket and your helmets when you stop for a meal. I’ve never had a helmet stolen, but that doesn’t mean I will not have one stolen in the future. That would be a real problem on a long trip. Locking your jackets, gloves, and helmets in the trailer is a real plus. Once you get to your destination, lock the trailer around a light pole or take it in the garage and you’re ready for day-rides.
Another big plus it that you can assemble a good tool kit to take with you. The motorcycle tool kit is woefully inadequate for anything except a starting point to build a decent tool kit. The truth is that a decent tool kit doesn’t necessarily take up a lot of space, and putting it together with good quality tools means that it will give you a chance to make a repair on the road. Not that I expect to need many roadside repairs – that’s the reason the trailer will be pulled behind a Goldwing.
Now to find one. There are a number of models available, in a huge range of prices. You can take a Harbor Freight frame and put a cartop carrier on it and voila – a trailer. You can spend upwards on $8,000 and buy a Tailwind. I’ve read a lot about this and I think the Aluma trailer made in Iowa would be the best bang for the buck. New, the Aluma trailers are around $1600 and they have a five-year warranty. Most trailers hold their value quite well, so there isn’t always a big savings by buying a used trailer. Usually, the savings from buying used comes from the accessories the previous owner has added, and sometimes you can get a better price at the end of the season.
UPDATE October 17, 2008: I found and made a deal for an Aluma trailer, but the problem is that it’s in Virginia and I’m not. I could take the truck out there and get it, but I’m going to see if there’s another way. Maybe I can arrange shipping, or maybe someone else is heading west and could get it part way to Illinois. Time to do some checking around.
UPDATE October 27, 2008: A gentleman named Jason on the GL1800 forums responded to my question and would be willing to bring the trailer from Virginia to Louisville, Kentucky. That’s a lot closer than going all the way to Virginia, so I accepted his kind offer. It’s a really nice feeling to know that there are people willing to help someone they’ve not met – it kind of restores your faith in humanity. Now to finalize all the arrangements.
UPDATE October 31, 2008: I met Jason and his brother in Louisville and brought the trailer home in my pickup. It’s still amazing to me that buying a trailer sight unseen from someone I’ve never met, having someone else I’ve never met take a day of their time to help transport it, and have everything go perfectly. My faith in humanity is restored. Now, I need to help someone else just because I can. Maybe this is a trend we can all follow – and we’d all be the better for it.
Humble thanks, guys.