So we picked up Homer on Friday! Our camper's name is Homer, as in Homer and the Odyssey (our van).
The folks at Orlando RV were great. I inspected it the week before, we drew up a list of minor items that needed to be done, and yesterday it was ready to go. We did our PDI, setup the towing mirrors and WDH and were on our way.
This was my first time towing a travel trailer and I was also skeptical on our van's capability. So we left our kids home and brought my uncle (an experienced tower himself) and his Tacoma, to have as a backup in case the Honda couldn't do it safely. The plan was for him to take me out of the small streets of Orlando and once on the highway, make a driver switch. Meanwhile my wife was driving the Tacoma just in case. I actually took the plunge and just to the camper straight from the dealership all the way home.
The van did well on the 3 hour trip. Didn't hunt for gears, except maybe 2 times on long slight uphills. Temps were rock solid despite a 90 degree temp reading outside. MPGs while towing were 11.2 vs 25 without towing. It was breezy and I could feel it. It had no problem getting to 65 mph, but I did have to floor it on the on-ramps to get up to speed. When larger semis drove by it didn't affect the trailer like I thought it might (my WDH also has a friction sway). We got hit by a lot of rain on the last 45 minutes, so I just slowed down to 55-60 and took it easy. Brakes were great, I adjusted the Tekonsha to a "guess-timate" while we were getting to leave and I think I lucked out and got it close. I could feel it brake with the van. Backing it into the house wasn't terrible, but my uncle was there for pointers, I need to practice on with him to be real comfortable. I've got a lot of hazards.
These two months that we waited on our Jayco, we have been really considering alternatives to the van, in the event it wasn't going to do the job safely. I think we are pretty set on changing it for a full size SUV (leaning towards a 2015+ GM sister), but we might wait a few months while all of our camping is going to be done a few hours from home (in flat Florida) for the rest of the year. I wish the Expedition wasn't 15 year old architecture...
Now our Jayco is safe and sound. I had a little issue with it as soon as I got home, and I posted it on this thread:
We love it! Our toddler is so excited to go camping with it. He's been wanting to eat meals and hang out in it all day today. Camp driveway is pretty interesting, specially seeing the neighbors rubber neck...Our first camping trip is a month away. We really planned on the 12 week lead time, but we lucked out and got it sooner.
Can't say enough about RV One (my sales rep) and Orlando RV (their closest dealer to me), they were timely, courteous and knowledgeable.
Thank you again to everyone on the forum. The help in each step of the process (shopping, buying, mods, needs list, PDI tips, towing, setting camp, etc). Is invaluable. I've also made a new friend with MIFL19H, and can't wait to meet him and his family sometime this year.
Now it's my turn to pass along what I've picked up. Up next will be modifications to the camper, camping trips and the tow vehicle upgrade later on.