Tuesday, January 8, 2008


This morning I opened my shades to see a fellow frantically working on his hitch. He had a 26' Laredo tag and was pulling it with a half ton pickup truck. The RV was light enough to be pulled by the truck, but my guess was that he didn't double-check his connections when he hooked up and his truck and trailer parted company when he made his first turn!

The owners of this motorhome also had a bad hair day with this mishap at a Flying J Travel Plaza near Tampa, Florida two years ago. The parking lot was packed and they had already hit two vehicles, when they tried to drive around them. Instead of pulling forward, they shifted into reverse, driving backwards over a berm and through an alligator fence by a canal. (Their undercarriage was a mess.)
We also had an unwitting surprise on our way to New Orleans to help out after Hurricane Katrina. A passing truck driver signalled that something was wrong with the back of our new fiver - when we stopped we found the fresh water tank laying on I-55, with precious water all over the interstate.
Of the three incidents, we were probably the most fortunate. We have a CrossRoads Cruiser, and the good folks at CrossRoads (in Topeka, Indiana), worked with us until our unit was properly fixed. They really went the extra mile on our behalf. I delivered hundreds of RVs in the 4 years I was a solo transporterand saw some factory horrors, but never lost a large water tank.
When I saw the RVer with the Laredo (another well-made brand that won't break your bank account), I realized he had omitted one cardinal rule of a safety check. When hooking up to leave, he didn't take the extra few minutes to check that the hitch and receiver were connected properly. We were always taught to crank the leg up higher than it started to be sure the ball didn't pop out. Apparently, this chap didn't do so. From the outside his unit appeared to be fairly new - but looking further it appeared it had just been well taken care of. Unfortunately he bent the post. Luckily there was a Camping World fairly close by where he could get it fixed. Hopefully he had good insurance.
The couple with the motorhome was another matter. Their unit was new - they were taking it home from the fantastic Tampa RV SuperShow. Again, I hope they had good insurance. It certainly wasn't an event they could laugh about any time soon.
Fortunately, such mishaps are rare in the RV life. But we do need to remember to go through all our checks when we hitch up and leave. Antennas are frequently left up (uh oh - I can put my hand up for one of those!); cords and hoses aren't always disconnected (embarrassing, but a good laugh later); we've all forgotten to put SOMETHING away inside and opened our doors later to some interesting results.
Many of us keep journals of our travels and share some of our interesting stories around leisurely campfires at night when our work is done for the day. We sometimes sound like fishermen with their stories about 'the one that got away'. We're a good breed of people.