My alarm went off and as I was coming out of my slumber I hear the sky open up. It was pouring! I had a little extra time so I went back to sleep and hoped it would stop or slow down in a little while. 7am rolled around and it was still pouring. I couldn’t wait any longer, or rather the kids couldn’t, so I dressed everyone in their rain gear and out we went.
We were soaked when we got back and I had to go back out and start breaking down. I usually hook up the night before but because of the angle of the site I couldn’t lift the tailgate once it was hitched up so I had to wait to get the dogs in first. I loaded the dogs in and started raising the trailer. It got almost over the ball so I could drop it onto the hitch and the electric tongue jack stopped. It wasn’t quite 9 am yet so I couldn’t go to the office and since it was pouring no one was out. I went up to the camp host and knocked on the door. This stupid old bat just starred at me out of her window and wouldn’t come to the door. Note: If you are a campground host then open your damn door and host!
So I went around the back of the office hoping someone had come in early. The guy that helped me fill my propane tanks the day before showed up and told him my problem. He met me back at the site and determined a fuse had blown. He went and found a couple more. He put one in and it blew. We tried the hand crank, that was a joke. Then put the other fuse in to try one more time. It got almost to the top again and the motor inside broke and the trailer dropped to the ground with a loud bang. Scared the crap outta me!
Luckily, I had a block under the jack or it would have landed flat on the ground and done a lot more damage. So always put a block under your tongue jack! You can see it a little bit in this picture, it landed so hard it bent the plate up around the post on the bottom.
So I had just bought an extended warranty and thought I could use that instead of having to find a Forest River specific dealership. I called the number and it said if your manufacturer warranty is still in effect, call them first. Great! after the sales guy swore to me I could use it now. So I called Coachnet and got roadside assistance to send someone to lift my trailer with a tow truck so I could get hooked up. To the right is the tow truck they sent. I waited 2 hours for it to show up because the closest company they worked with was 50 miles away. I had to get the dogs back out and open up the trailer again. And it was pouring so there were wrecks everywhere. The dispatcher said someone ran through a fence into an alligator farm and they were trying to get him out. Added a little humor to my morning.
He finally showed up and picked up my trailer and then I had to back in between the two under the hitch so he could drop it. You should have seen the crowd that gathered to watch the show! Half the campground must have been out there.
After we got it hitched, I had to straighten out then he had to lift it again so I could get the sway bars attached. We finally got it all connected, I stopped at the front to get my tires checked and filled and off we went.
By now the rain had stopped but I was soaked and the awful gnats came out called no seeums. They were everywhere and they bite! I started driving and didn’t get 40 minutes down the road when I drove right into the rain. This wasn’t a gentle shower or anything, this was hard pounding, unrelenting rain. I still had 179 miles to go. Most of the time I was driving 50-55 miles an hour on 95. It was raining so hard most everyone else was driving slow too. I had my wipers up all the way and still had hard time seeing the road. The construction around Jacksonville sucked! The jersey walls left no shoulder, the road there was concrete so it was light colored, with the white/grey sky and white lines it was a nightmare.
The only thing that saved me was my HD Vision Visor. This is one of those visors that clips on to your visor and had a yellow shield you can lower. This is the ONLY reason I could make the drive that day. It highlights the road and gives it more contrast so you can see it better. It also makes the markers glow so they stand out more. I tried lifting it just to see if it was making a difference and wow! what a difference. Best $18 I’ve spent in a long time!
So on we went. I didn’t want to stop because it was raining so hard I wouldn’t be able to take the dogs out and it would just get us there later. We were already flirting with getting there at dark. I got stuck behind a big piece of equipment for 50 miles doing 50. There was finally a weigh station and he had to stop. I got just past the weigh station and traffic came to a halt. One of the idiots that needs to drive 70 in the pouring rain flipped his SUV and the road was blocked. This was actually a blessing because after I got through it the rest of the traffic was getting through so slow, I had time to gather my nerves and relax a bit.
The closer I got the harder it rained. Then 95 went down to two lanes with jersey walls and barely any shoulder. I had to go to the bathroom so bad watching it pour all day and now it was almost dark and my vision was even worse.
Finally, we arrived. And it was pouring harder than it had all day. The office was closed and I didn’t know what site I was in. My friend Sheila was watching for me and came out. She had the owners cell number and called her. We got to the site and I got the slides out and ramp up and dogs out. We were all soaked through once we got inside. Thankfully, with my solar panels and jugs of water, I didn’t have to go back out and set all that up. I was able to watch TV and make dinner and that was all I cared about.
I couldn’t believe I made it and was very grateful I’d made it safely. It was the absolute worst drive of my entire life and that’s saying something.
The next day, I found an RV repair place and had to drive there in the morning to get the part ordered. Of course it won’t be in for a week. So the next challenge was getting the trailer off of my truck. This took about 5 people over all helping in different ways and a couple of hours. The guys in the campground were great and they all came over to help.
We finally got it dropped and leveled and I went to a painting class I signed up for before I got there. What better way to de=stress than with art?