Hiccups Right Off The Bat
Finally, after two months of renovation, we are ready to hit the open road. Sure we got off a little later than schedule, but everything is up to snuff and we, knock on wood, won't have to worry about anything else for a while!
Or so we thought...
The First Hiccup
We decided to head out early in the morning so we could park in the middle of the street to fill our water tanks before we left. We packed the night before and loading the RV went surprisingly well, and without any issues. We had lots of room for all of our life stuff from multiple pairs of shoes, makeup, hair products, cameras, cell phone chargers and more. We even had space left to spare.
We woke up early on October 8 at 4:30AM to pull the RV close enough to the house to fill up the water tank. That went well so we decided to take a 'trial' run around the block while no one was out to test out the weight difference and make sure nothing crashed out now that we were fully loaded.
The test run went well too! Until we starting to pull into a dirt parking space so we could grab the dogs. As we pulled in, careful to not hit the hill that rises up above our parking spot or the cars around it, we heard a loud grinding noise echoing in the silent morning.
Alex's initial thought was we hit a car. Shit! I looked in the backup camera and we definitely did not. So what was that noise? Alex said she'd get out to check and as she opened the door, we couldn't see the retractable steps.... because they were covered by a mound of dirt! Turns out our steps never retracted and the dug into the dirt landscaping of a neighbor's home. What?
Did we forget to retract them? No...they are supposed to automatically retract when the car starts. Ugh.... what happened? We can't drive with these steps sticking out, we would hit every curb and car on our right.
So the good news was I didn’t hit a car or crash the RV. The bad news is our trip is delayed once again. We called several emergency mechanics and everyone said they couldn't check it out for a week or so. This just couldn't happen. We had delayed our departure too many times.
I decided to man up and get under there. I gerry-rigged a way to retract the steps and we just decided to get them fixed at a later date. It was convenience issue, not safety, so we decided to head out anyway.
We got the dogs into the RV and headed out to San Bernadino where we were going to buy and attach our tow dolly. Alex drove our Hyundai Sonata behind me and two hours later we were buying our new dolly. We were actually on our way!
Our Second Hiccup
For weeks, I had been looking at ways to tow our car. I couldn’t tow it with a tow bar because it’s a hybrid and flat towing it would break the muffler bearing or drain the blinker fluid or something. So I had been researching tow dollies and found one at a great price at a dealer in Riverside.
After purchasing and loading the car on the dolly it was time to strap it down. They offered to help us so we could learn how to do it properly and safely. As I started to wrench down on one of the nylon straps around the wheel it quickly became evident that it wasn't going to work.
We couldn't believe it! Was everything against us today!
The ratchets that tighten the nylon straps worked fine, but when I went to release the straps, the ratchets folded up towards the car and would have carved out a huge corner of the fenders. We could barely get it off and were forced to cut it off.
We canceled the purchase of the dolly and are back to problem solving. Did we go home? Did we continue on with Alex driving behind?
We decided to go to a nearby Camping World, a store which has all kinds of RV supplies, and check out their tow dollies and to see if they could help in any way. Unfortunately, they only had similar tow dollies with the same problem. We were devastated. It looked like we were not going to be able to have the car with us for a year.
In a last ditch effort I started looking on Craigslist when I found our solution! A distributor selling tow dollies said he was very confident his dolly could solve our problem and he could meet us an hour away! Our prayers were answered.
And this dolly actually worked for us. It was a totally different type of ratchet system. So after another fully day of delay we could finally hit the road...fingers crossed!