Wherever the Road Leads

Moving Day

How Hard Can It Be?

Tuesday, my month was up at Pine Lakes, time to move on. I was feeling fairly confident about packing up and disconnecting everything, though hitching up might be a bit of a problem due to the harsh angle the truck and trailer needed to be on.

Since moving in here, Amazon.com has sent a few things to make my life as a homeless person just a little bit easier. Like this idea…

balls

The colored balls are on a telescoping rods, like an old fashioned car antenna, with a magnet on each base. Attach one to the ball on the hitch on the trailer and the other to the ball on the truck. Back up using the rear-view mirror as a guide, maneuvering until the two balls touch. The hitch and ball should be lined up. It wasn’t quite that easy, but the balls did help.

weightThe night before, I had remembered that I had misplaced one of the special-shaped cotter pins needed for the weight distribution bars. I went to Ace Hardware just after they opened with the remaining cotter pin and got something that would work as a substitute. On the way back I stopped for gas, hoping to put off for another day the challenge of gassing up with the trailer attached.

Packing up, getting everything secure and stuffing pillows into cabinets to prevent items rolling around and breaking took me longer than I had anticipated. Also, I had made a new friend who has lived a fascinating life and is armed with stories that I could listen to all day. He stopped by for a chat. Finally, I thought I was ready. Sort of. After I took a shower using the camp’s facilities.

Scrubbed, I pulled the trailer out of my crescent-shaped site with relative ease. Because of the angle, I wasn’t able to hook up the weight-distribution bars in the site, I had to find a flat spot in front of the office. I got all the hardware and laid it on the ground beside where it would be used. I found the replacement cotter pin but couldn’t find the original one anywhere. I must have left it at Ace Hardware. Damn.

I hooked up one of the bars, attached the safety chains, the brakes and lights cable and the wire that activates the trailer brakes automatically if the trailer breaks free. Mad at myself for my carelessness, I set off for the hardware store. I was a little worried about being able to get in and out of their parking lot with the trailer behind me, but I had no choice.

As I was leaving the RV Park, pulling out onto a two-lane state highway, it dawned on me… “Where’s the cat?”

He was in the trailer, still. On the RV forums there are two schools of thought about trailers and pets. One is, leave the pet in the trailer, it has room to move around in surroundings it knows. However here in the South where it reaches 90ยบ before lunch, the trailer can become an oven. The cat is much better off in his carrier, strapped into the front seat of the air conditioned Tow Vehicle. ( A fancy name for your truck… a term I learned on the forums!)

I had to travel the mile or so, back to the Shell station, park, then retrieve a very scared kitty. And he had done what he usually does when he is scared: he left me a present. I cleaned it up, put him in his carrier and strapped him into the front seat. Off we went to Ace Hardware. Sure enough, they had my cotter pin behind the cash register.

I had parked off in a corner of the lot. I pulled out the remaining weight-distribution bar and forced it into its slot upside down. Damn again. I had to put blocks under the hitch and jack up the trailer to release some tension so that I could remove the upside-down bar. I finally got everything hooked up correctly and we were ready to go.

Pulling out of the parking lot, my stomach was growling almost as loudly as Tupelo when he’s ready to have another accident. Sure enough it happened. We made it back to the Shell station where I was able to make lemonade out of lemons. I cleaned up his cat carrier and left him loose in the back seat, then went inside where they sell biscuits and fried chicken, a Southern staple. I got me a biscuit with fried egg and bacon, a coffee and finally, at least two hours later than I had hoped, we were underway.

Tupelo was fine the rest of the way. He wandered the cab for a bit, wanted his head rubbed then settled down in the back seat. The journey was a good one from an experience point-of-view as it included not only two-lane driving and interstate driving on I-75, but also a side trip through Macon’s streets.

I had to visit a Macy’s store. I could have doubled back to the Athens store before I got underway or I could wait until I was settled in St. Augustine in a couple of weeks. However I decided that if tractor-trailers can drive on city streets, then so could I. As my father used to say, “You’ll never learn any younger.” So, without event, I made a detour to the Macon Mall, all 48′ of me.

Much later than I had hoped but safe and sound, I arrived in Arabi, Georgia, I-75 exit 92, meaning 92 miles from the Florida line. I got settled in but my recurring problem reared its ugly head one more time. I couldn’t break the ball on the truck away from the hitch on the trailer. I called Roger, the neighbor who had used Arkansas Engineering to fix the problem the last time. I tapped and banged and jumped on the hitch as he suggested but nothing worked.

I sprayed WD40 everywhere, jacked the hitch – and the truck – way up in the air then banged and jumped a little more… nothing. I used the hammer to bang the heck out of a screwdriver but that didn’t work. Alabama Engineering 101 came through for me, though. The Alabama Engineering philosophy? When in doubt, get a bigger weapon, y’all.

crowbar

One good whack with the hammer, the ball broke free and the truck dropped eight inches. Roll Tide.

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