Since we last left off things with the camper had been quiet. Things with Oliver however, have been busy. We found a tick on his head from the Lyme’s disease infested forest in Pennsylvania; a fall on ice resulting in a split open chin, visit to the ER and stitches; a tooth knocked out by his brother; and almost 3 weeks of homeschooling completed.
The dog has been throwing up because she keeps eating toys. And if left out in the mornings she thinks it’s fine to poop anywhere. Emerson has been known to step in it and wake me screaming crying. Let’s not even get into the raging attitudes from both boys and myself that accompanied the epic full moon!
Now, for yesterday’s adventure…
I thought about waiting for Tino… to help me move and empty the tanks as it would be easier. Ultimately I decided to do it without him as I will be for the next 6 months. I loaded the car for the laundry mat afterwards. Fun day ahead!
I did everything right. I followed my checklist. Only had a small issue with the heavy #3 slide. I messed with the rubber underneath and it came right in.
I checked everything twice. I backed up the truck onto the trailer hitch like a Boss, no corrections, first time! The locking arm swung closed like it is supposed to when you do things well. It was awesome.
And that was the end of awesome.
All of this started because the water tanks are finally reading full. The forecast is calling for 20s and 30s for the next week. That’s too cold for me to be outside dealing with all the stuff. Today is the day to move the camper to the dump station and back as it will be 46°. Not a big deal. Surprisingly it was quick clean up in the camper to secure everything that had moved out of position since our last drive.
I was going slow to turn and take the camper over to the dump station. It had been three weeks since it had been moved so I was very cautious, I was maybe going 5 miles an hour when all of a sudden I hear a very loud metal on metal sound and felt a loud thud and jerk. I looked into my rearview mirror in horror..
The camper was no longer attached to the truck and was grounded. I freaked out! Immediate tears and feelings of doom followed. I had no idea what to do. I had no one to call. Tino is in training all day without a phone, unreachable. I have no phone numbers for anything at joint base Dix McGuire. I quickly tried to lower the legs and get the camper to lift off the truck but quickly saw the blinking red asshole lights!
How are we going to move off of this road?
Is my home ruined?
Is the truck drivable if I ever get it out?
Am I going to make it home for Christmas and be able to leave next Friday?
Is this worth it? I seriously debate throwing in the towel for the whole idea
I continue to panic and cry and call Trey hysterically. He didn’t answer. So I kept calling. When he did finally answer his first question was “is someone hurt?” I quickly responded “No.” Then he told me to calm down. It did not work. Through tears and sobbing I explained what I was looking at and the situation. He said surely there is someone on base who has some equipment that can lift the camper up off the truck. I thought yes that has to be true. “I’m going to need my phone to use the Internet to look up a phone number to call.” I asked him if he ever thought about giving up when he had to pay stupid tax. Because that’s where I am at right now. I’m not sure of his answer, (?No) but I heard him talking about $ set aside for emergencies and these stupid tax situations. Yes, yes. I know that. We hung up. I think, hmm they are going to need a crane to lift this. And I’m surrounded by trees on both sides. Just great. Tears.
I ran down the street to scream for Oliver who was waiting for me at the dump station. He came back looked and had lots of questions. NOT NOW KID.
The first number I called was useless. Then I found the base operator number. I dialed, she answered, distant and bored. As I cried I told her that I’m having a really bad day. She perked up. I explained I’m staying at family camp and my camper just fell onto my truck, I need help. She immediately responded “I am so sorry ma’am, I will get you connected to the base police right away.”
The police immediately said they would dispatch an officer but that I should call my insurance company for help. They come often and have no problem getting on base. He wasn’t sure how much I would get charged if he dispatched someone else to help me. I hung up.
Where was I? InsuranceCompany? I have no idea. I looked through the glove compartment. Nothing. OK think. I remember Tino calling Progressive when we had the issue with the 7-pin. I dial progressive and proceeded to wait on hold for 5-10 minutes? No idea. A neighbor came driving up to leave in his camper. He u-turned in my space and drove away. Cool. Thanks for seeing if I needed help! He must not be a service member… @$$#0/3
In the meantime the police showed up. His first comment was I know nothing about this. What do you need. I begin to explain the process of the jacks and how they weren’t working. He asked if I had manual jacks or someway to put blocks under it so we can lift it off the car. I told him no it’s all electronic and it’s not working. He suggested restarting the battery. I looked at him like he was crazy. The battery? It doesn’t work like that. I should him the control panel read to him what the blinking red asshole lights mean and how to reset it. Oh shit I was pressing the wrong reset button. I quickly started lowering the camper legs and lifting the camper up off the truck again. Then it became apparent that the hitch was embedded in the tailgate and I did not want to lift the truck up off the ground with it. We started working hard to lower the tailgate. Got it.
The camper raised high enough with the legs to drive the truck out. We assessed the issue. The only possible solution was to reattach the camper if we could get a high enough and continue on my mission and empty the water tanks. We raise the camper as high as it could though we’re not sure that it was high enough to see on the hitch. Sure enough that it right onto the hitch like a boss and the clamp again immediately closed as it should when you do it right. Obviously I did not trust it and checked it four times with a flashlight and everything. At least this time I had an officer to watch as I attempted to drive the camper. 5 feet backwards nothing, 5 feet forward, nothing. Everything seemed fine.
He blocked traffic and I made my turn. Shaking and nervous. All seemed fine.
Oliver was at the dump station to direct me when to stop in line with the tank. I waved to the officer and told him all was well and he departed.
The nice neighbors a few spaces down came out to see if I needed help. Apparently they had seen Oliver by the station and me walking around with my hand on my head. They also had noticed the camper stopped for a while at the exit.
They did not realize what had happened. After they realized it was cold and I was still shaking from nerves as well they kindly left me to do my job.
I hooked everything up here shaking fingers. I guess the black water was too heavy for its goods and the tubing became dislodged from the sewer hole. Black water everywhere. Gross.
In the mean time the boys had run off to play with the dog. They came back covered in dog poop. Awesome.
The rest of the emptying was uneventful. Backing the beast back into its space was also not bad. Oliver helped some and I only got out of the truck once to check positioning. 🙂 the camper auto-leveled without an issue, though I closed my eyes at first. I ended up walking away and set up power and water again. I came back to a nice green light. Feww.
The boys walked in to the camper and undressed quickly. I put out the slides. They changed and we left. I couldn’t stay, even though the camper looked perfect and the truck was driving fine.
The laundry room on base is cool, it has a pool table, ping pong and couches. I needed a friend right now. Kristen is a good friend who I have known for almost 8 years. Altus, Spokane, Colorado Springs together and now they are stationed here at McGuire. We drove the 30 minutes to our friend’s house. Here the boys could play with her kids and I could have time to recover. Haha. Tino still has no idea…and won’t until tonight. I drowned myself in Christmas cards and baking. It was good.
Tino handled it well. I still haven’t filed my claim. Car insurance or trailer insurance?
A fox ate our gingerbread camper I left on the picnic table during the chaos. We slept well in the camper last night, and right now I’m in Philadelphia at the children’s Please Touch Museum. Fixing the truck is the problem for our coming weeks in Florida… ?do I even need a tailgate? Lol
All-in-all, I still plan to do my trip. I will never be done checking the locking handle on the goose neck hitch. And I likely will have ptsd driving, especially with the beast attached, for some time.
I am ready for the crazy shit to stop happening…
And lastly, if you are waiting to take this kind of adventure, don’t let my stories scare you out of it! There have been more good days than bad days! And we love our home on wheels.
I really hope I don’t have issues over the 1200 mike drive to Florida next week…