HI, All;

I know I'm probably jumping the gun here, but I don't yet have my kit, (have plans) so I'm just thinking thru scenarios.

I'm close enough (DFW) that I'd want to pickup my kit from the factory and haul it home using a one-way truck rental.

For those who've done it, I could use some suggestions / have questions:

1. What rental outfit did you use, and in what town?

2. What size truck did you use.  I *think* I can use a 10' truck, since if the spars were put on an angle they *should* fit diagonally.  Are my assumptions correct?

3.  Did you fly commercial one way to get there? What did you do with the one-way rental car once there?  As an example, I *could* fly into either STL or COU, but COU doesn't have Avis (I get a killer discount on Avis from my company).  Not a show-stopper, but it would be nice if the car rental return place was close to the truck rental pickup location.

4. How many moving blankets did you use?

5. Did anyone pick-up in the winter, and did weather impact your trip?

6. What did you wish you did / didn't do that impacted the return trip?

I'm planning on ordering the kit, and, based on Zenith's backlog, attend a workshop and pickup the kit at the conclusion of the workshop.  Since they say they usually run 2-3.5 months backlog, that puts me square into winter.

Thanks for your suggestions!

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Carl,  I'm pretty sure it was in Columbia, and I used Enterprise car rental from STL with a drop off in Columbia.  Enterprise gave me a ride to the Penske rental location which was not very far away (maybe 10 blocks or so?)  Zenith does a great job of loading everything into the truck...no worries about moving blankets or straps. It worked out well for me...good luck.

Thanks for the details, David; exactly what I was looking for. One final (?) question:  Did you attend the workshop on your "pickup" trip, or did you attend it previously, or not at all?  If previously, what did you do with the rudder when you finished the workshop?

Attended workshop three months previous to purchase...they will hold/store the rudder for you after the workshop if you haven't quite decided about or when to purchase the kit.  They held it for me at the factory and I picked it up when I arrived in January with the Penske truck. 

Perfect!  Thanks for the details.  I'm getting the idea that I made the right choice choosing Zenith this time around. Everyone involved seems very helpful and happy to help.  This is gonna be fun.

Carl,

I live southwest of Houston. in late November of 2009, I drove to the factory in my F-150 towing a 14' lightweight flatbed trailer and picked up my full kit, hauled it home after attending the rudder class. After reading your post, I calculated round trip from Dallas it would run around $855 to do this, (including the $495 crating charge, $240 for gas, and $120 for 1 night's lodging) assuming you or a buddy has a 14' or 16' trailer.

The nice thing about having the kit crated is, it stays organized, protected, and compact while you build in your garage. This method worked well for me.

Thanks, Jimmy;  I hope all is well with you (evidently you're good enough to get online!) after the storm.  I have access to a trailer, but really didn't want to drive both ways - especially if on the way North the trailer is bouncing all over the place!  But that brings up a good point - I guess I could always rent a Y'all Haul trailer on a one-way basis...  I'll have to throw that in the pile to think about.  Really didn't want the crate, though!

I live in Atlanta, I rented a car & drove to St. Louis. Next day turned in car & picked up 20' U-Haul. I carried a quick built fuselage and wings. Just barely long enough. Noisy truck, could not hear the radio, but the ride was good. I had 10 harbor freight large pads & 8 tie downs. Needed 2 pads & 2 tie downs. Folks at Zenith loaded & stowed every thing but me & my dog. Excellent trip.

I live in New Hampshire. I elected to borrow my brother's 15 seat passenger type van and take all the seats out of it except the driver seat and the front passenger seat. The distance from the inside of the rear doors to the engine enclosure between the front seats was just over twelve feet. I expect a rented cargo van would have about the same interior dimensions but you would have to check on that.

I then drove down to Mexico, MO and attended a rudder build class. The factory folks loaded the kit for me (no charge as long as a crate is not involved) while I finished the rudder on the last day of the class. The rudder got wrapped and loaded onto the top of the kit pile and I drove home. They did a great job of packing it, nothing got damaged and I had no worries about weather because everything was inside a nice cozy van, not on an open trailer or a roof rack or something. By the way, they provided all the packing materials - all of it was sheets of brown paper and sheets of cardboard. They told me they have loaded so many kits loose into vans and box trucks that they can do it easily and rapidly. They also said they prefer vans because the driver can constantly know the condition of the load and stop and fix something if needed. A driver of a box truck or an enclosed (or even open) trailer has no way of knowing how the load is doing without stopping and checking all the time.

I will concede this was an embarrassing amount of time ago, almost ten years, so they may or may not still provide loading services if you bring an cargo van. I would check on that with the factory folks.

I should think renting a cargo van in your area of Texas and doing a round trip to Mexico and back would not be too huge a cost and it would save you the cost of an airline ticket up to Mexico, the crating charge and the shipping charge. If a friend or relative had the time to go with you, it could be an adventure, as well! My wife Pat did the trip with me and we played tourist on the way out and back as well as meeting the factory folks, taking the rudder course and having a nice bonding experience. We also got flights with Roger in the factory planes. It was a great trip and I remember it fondly. Now, I just need to accellerate getting this kit built!!!

Thanks for the suggestion, Bob; I hadn't thought about a van, but I can see where it would be a bit easier to drive. I checked our van rental place here, and picking up on a Wednesday in time to get up there for a Thurs/Fri workshop, and returning on the following Sunday would be $574.  Budget 16' truck one way would be $332. I can fly standby to Columbia, so no air fare. Update:  the van price above was for a passenger van. A 3/4 ton cargo van would be $274, so now we're getting closer.

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