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Mountain Climbing

Fishing guide and boat captain Ken Penrod, who was featured in our June "Dream Jobs" story, trailers his boats more than 30,000 miles a year.

October 8, 2006

Lighten the Load
Pack all your extras in the truck — not the boat. And empty the boat’s fuel tank. Every extra gallon of gas adds about seven pounds to the load.

Bring a Trailer Jack
Trailer tires are small, and if they go flat your frame will be too close to the road to get a regular jack underneath. Trailer jacks cost as little as $30 at boatersworld.com.

Travel in the Evenings
Plan your trip through the mountains during the coolest hours. The traffic is lighter, the temperature cooler, and your transmission will thank you.

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Use Your Gears to Slow Down
This not only saves your brakes, but forces you to watch your speed.

Hit the Deer
We know it’s not PC, but when you’re manning a five-ton rig downhill, any sharp turn will make you jackknife. Says Penrod: “When I drive, I’ve already got my mind made up.”

Be Touchy Feely
Whenever you stop, check the hitch and straps, and touch the brake drums. If they’re hot to the touch, wait for them to cool down.

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Don’t Have a Ball
A ball on your bumper is trouble. Get a factory-installed hitch assembly that connects to the frame of the vehicle, not the bumper.

Lock the Hitch
Not so much for security as for safety. This will prevent the trailer from coming loose on a hilly road.

Inspect Your Lights Daily
Check your turn signals, brake lights, running lights and backup lights, and carry spare bulbs and fuses. There’s no Discount Auto in the mountains

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