I love writing fiction, but let’s face it, sometimes reality is far more interesting. My mother always says “Truth is stranger than fiction”, and I wholeheartedly agree!
Most of you know I live in a forty-foot travel trailer with my husband and dog. If you follow my Instagram posts, it would appear as if we load our lives into the RV, pull up stakes, then roll out of town and into a blazing sunset. But allow me to fill in a few of the blanks. Below is the reality of just one leg of one journey.
First of all we decided to get a new trailer hitch to pull the fifth wheel. According to Youtube, installation is a one-man job, and takes ninety minutes. Let’s just say it took us two days, and leave it at that.
We always plan to load up one day and leave the next morning, mostly because it always takes an entire day to get ready to pull out. Maybe it’s because we don’t have a bunch of stuff we don’t use and I hate trying to pack things we will need within an hour, but whatever the reason, getting ready to leave takes time. We tend to live in one place for at least a few months before moving on, so when we get ready to leave we get prescriptions filled, fill the propane tanks, take apart and pack up the patio, do laundry, clean out the fridge, organize the underneath storage, sweep off the slides (which doesn’t stop a ton of dirt from falling into the trailer) and make sure everything in the cupboards is able to withstand an earthquake without falling out, popping open, or crashing down.
So as per the plan, the day before departure, we took the vehicles in to top off the tanks and check them over. Surprisingly, on the way to do this, the Fuel pump went out on the truck! It’s not like it has to pull the house or anything, but yes, there was some panic involved. Luckily it was nothing that finding a good mechanic and driving three hours to get the part couldn’t fix. We simply moved our schedule back half a day, and took it in stride.
The next morning as we waited for the mechanic to finish up, we hit a slight snag when the top of one of the slides got stuck and wouldn’t slide in, but Steve climbed up into the tree next to the trailer and shoved it with his foot while I pushed the button, and it complied and glided inside. Now the only problem was Steve left standing six feet up in a tree, but he doesn’t want me to talk about that part, so I’ll move on. Even with truck trouble and all, we still managed to be hooked up and ready to roll by five PM on the planned departure day. Yay for us!
We hit the open road in good spirits, but a few hours out we hit a problem, which was minimal, but frightening. A long tale on one of the tie down holding the Polaris Ace on the trailer behind my car, came out and flapped down the road behind me like a ten foot tail. Since it was already dark at this point, I couldn’t see it, but believe me, I felt the yank when I ran over said tail with the trailer. It took some hazard lights and going forty miles an hour on the freeway, as well as a few more violent tugs on the trailer as I ran over it again and again, before we limped into a rest area and retied the dang thing. I may have been a little shaken up, but I think by this time, considering it was well past ten PM, stress and exhaustion could have been as much to blame for my state of mind.
I’m happy to report that we made it to our KOA destination at eleven o’clock sharp, and the slides opened with ease. The furnace purred to life, and our bed never felt so sweet. It’s always strange to me to drive for hours yet sleep at home.
The next morning Steve had to replace a hose on one of the airbags on the back of the truck (they keep the trailer from jerking the truck around) but he fixed that after only two hours laying in the gravel under the truck in frigid twenty degree wind, because he’s amazingly handy and I love him.
All went well on the road until we arrived in lovely Monongah, West Virginia, (pronounced mon-on’-ga) where we had a spot reserved, or so I thought, in a small RV park on top of a grassy hill. When we called for directions, because believe me, you need directions to find Monongah, we were told that they were over booked but they’d be happy to set us up in one of the their overflow spots in “town”.
I don’t know anyone who considers Monongah much of a town, first of all, but long story short, in the country, don’t ever have high hopes for anything called an over flow spot. I’d like to say that the hair-raising trip down the impossibly narrow and winding mountain roads with a giant trailer in tow was the scariest part. I’d also like to say that our disappointment with the camp site, which was actually a construction company storage yard with a plug in and sewer connection in one corner, was the worst part. I’d even like to say that parking directly behind a fire station seemed like the worst idea. (This was confirmed when the sirens went off at 2 AM) But I’d be lying if I didn’t say that backing the trailer up and over the uneven hump and into the parking spot was by far the most horrifying part of the day.
I’m no engineer, but any onlooker would have paled at the angle the truck and hitch were to the trailer, at one point. Once the trailer was settled onto the level concrete, however, I breathed a sigh of relief. Until I stepped inside, that is. The lurch the trailer sustained as we backed into the parking spot had tipped over the fridge, and it lay tilted at a forty degree angle, on the end of the dining table, with food spilled and smashed all over the floor.
At this point, I could only curse and hold the top of my head in place with both hands, but Steve quickly picked his way through the food and righted the fridge, which luckily was no worse for wear. (I may have been the one who forgot to latch it in, but I won’t admit it, and I won’t forget again.) We had to level the trailer and put out the slides before I could do much clean up. As a side note, Bingo was very unhappy that the pickle jar had ended up in his food dish.
After the mechanic debacle the day before, the five hour drive that morning, and the nerve-wracking arrival, I was admittedly in a stress coma as I cleaned up broken jars of salsa, smeared containers of humus, bags of shredded cheese, cans of soda, cartons of milk, and both the drawers of produce, but I couldn’t help but wonder where the rest of the food that had filled our residential size fridge, had gone. I clearly remembered a carton of raspberries, a dozen eggs, a package of hamburger, and other assorted food that had been in the fridge that morning. Where on earth had it gone?
I looked under the couches and behind the table, in the pantry and washer/dryer closet, but I couldn’t find the food. I had finally decided, after an hour of clean-up, that I had completely lost my mind, when I opened the large freezer drawer to get some ice cubes for my orchids, and there was the missing food! As the fridge had tipped, the freezer drawer must have rolled opened first, catching half the food as it slid out of the fridge above, but then was pushed closed again as the fridge finished it’s decent onto the end of the dining table. The carton of eggs had even been kind enough to fall directly into the ice cube bin, allowing me to dump the whole thing into the sink for a semi-painless clean up. (Note, frozen egg yolks don’t easily wash off)
So to wrap up, though I feel very lucky to have the wonderful life I lead with the ones I love, when you see lovely photos of folks flying down the road with their homes in tow, looking so carefree and happy, picture their sleep interrupted by fire sirens, their dishes wrapped and packed away, their flowers pots and picture frames wrapped in towels and tucked safely in the kitchen sink, and their fridges holding on for dear life.