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Sunday, September 26, 2010


Mom-mobile with RocketBox
Mounting details here
Last weekend I moved Kathryn to Eugene. After she got done loading her stuff in the mom-mobile (2006 Mitsubishi Endeavor) there wasn't any room for anyone else, so it was just the two of us. It took as an hour to unload the car and carry all her stuff upstairs to her second floor apartment.

Yesterday we took John to Eugene. Four of us were going this time. He didn't have as much stuff, but it was still more than could be crammed inside Mom's car, so we hauled out the RocketBox, clipped it onto the roof rack and stuffed it full of more stuff. Since we had a bigger crew this time it didn't take as many trips to unload all of John's stuff, which was good because he's living on the fourth floor of a dorm. Yes, there was an elevator, but there was only one and it was slower-than-molasses, not to mention everyone else is using it because it is, after all, moving day.

I think this is only the third time I've used the RocketBox. We used it once, umpteen years ago, when we took the whole family to Iowa in the Windstar, and I think we used it once when we went skiing in Bend, but other than that it's been sitting on it's custom made brackets near the ceiling in the garage. I've thought about selling it a couple of times, I mean it ought to be worth a couple of bucks, and I wasn't using it. And then boom, circumstances collide and it comes in real handy.

Mounting it to the Endeavor was no big deal, it had a roof rack already. Just a matter of loosening the wingnuts on the crossbars and sliding them apart. We did have to make some adjustments. The RocketBox really needs to be tightened to the cross bars before the crossbars are tightened to the side rails.

After it was mounted, we couldn't open the tailgate all the way as the rocket box was hanging over the back end. We couldn't slide it any farther forward because someone had pop-riveted a couple of straps across the slot in the rails. I think this might have something to do with sun roof. The roof up there might not be able to take the load. We loaded the RocketBox with fluff and nonsense, so there was no weight to speak of, so we probably could have gotten away with removing the stops.

We tied the rocket box closed just to be safe. I had never done this before, and I had never had any trouble with the latches, but I never really trusted them. I mean the whole thing is kind of chicken-s***. It looks like this big, strong, bullet-proof case, when in fact it is a thin piece of blow molded plastic. The hardware that goes into mounting it to the racks is substantial, but the box itself seems dangerously flimsy. The latches are just little metal clips that seem like one good blow could dislodge them, and the locks don't do anything to make them more secure, they just keep the release button from being pressed.

On the other hand, the guys who built this thing must have know what they were doing because in four thousand miles of travel I have never had any trouble with it.

You want to know what the best part is? We drove home with it empty. It stayed closed the whole way without any problems, and it wasn't even latched.

Update December 2016 replaced missing slideshow with picture and link.

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