Recreational Double, Double, Toil and Trouble
What’s the best possible use of $10 and an hour of free time in Michigan?; Simple – earning the ability to legally pull two trailers at a time without a commercial drivers’ license.
As a perk for living in the Water Winter Wonderland, Michigan allows drivers to attain an R – or “Recreational Double” – endorsement, allowing pickups to simultaneously pull a fifth-wheel travel trailer and a second trailer.; There are some caveats, mind you – the total combined length can’t exceed 65 feet, and the truck must “have a towing rate equal to or greater than the total weight being towed.”; Draconian, huh?
Here’s the best part: unlike CDL or even motorcycle endorsements, there is no skills test required.; No, though you’ll be piloting a rig that’s longer than the articulated buses that drive past the state capitol in Lansing, the Secretary of State deems a road test to be unnecessary.; As one clerk at the SOS office put it, it all “seems a bit unsafe.”
In Michigan, all that’s asked of you is to “pass” a simple fifteen-question test – miss three, and you’re still in the running for the endorsement.; Miss four or more, and get back in line to take it again – you’re allowed a couple passes at it in a single day.
That, it seemed, wasn’t necessary.; Senior online editor Phil Floraday took the task seriously, studying Michigan’s three-column guide for all of , oh, seven minutes, earning himself a perfect score.; I, on the other hand, reviewed the pamphlet for approximately thirty seconds and scraped by with twelve correct answers (in my defense, some of the GCWR questions were poorly worded), enough to still earn the endorsement.
We’re not exactly sure why Michigan felt it necessary to allow drivers to live out their Convoy and National Lampoon’s Vacation fantasies without proving their ability to safely drive a 65-foot rig.; We’re not even certain of this endorsement’s legality outside of our state lines – Nevada requires a road test, while California demands you attain a full-fledged CDL.
All we know is we’re already trying to plan the most grandiose (and bizarre) summer road test of our lives.