Hell On Wheels

Finally.  It’s just me, the kids, and my brand new 28 ½ foot RV Toy Hauler.

 

OK.

 

Right turn out of the dealership onto the highway about 3 miles.

Right turn off of the highway at the light onto a two lane about 2 miles.

Careful, careful, careful….over to the left hand lane and left turn onto I75, and cruise for two hours.

 

Piece of cake. I got this, right?

 

HA!  Think again, we’re talking about Hell on Wheels here.

 

Can’t seem to accelerate past 45 miles per hour or everything starts shaking.  Can’t seem to slow down to turn or everything starts jerking.  I can’t coast.  I can’t break.  I can’t take this!   I look down at the break adjustment thing.  The Tech Supervisor said I would not have to fiddle with it anymore, so I don’t.   What am I doing wrong?  A fleeting thought — maybe I should turn around and go back to the dealer.

 

God no, not that!

 

I cannot imagine having to turn all this around.  Go back there?  Hell no.  But there’s something wrong.  I’ve got to decide, do I get onto I75 or not.  I’m here, it’s now or never.  Yes, I’m heading ‘home’ to the people I actually trust.

Swinging wide, jerking like mad, I get onto the ramp and try to accelerate up to the highway.

 

Holy Hanna.

 

My front end is lifting up so high I’m afraid I’m going to pop a wheelie.  Everything feels like it’s bouncing.  I am a complete stress mess. Both girls are curled up tight with heads hiding in the back seat, motionless. I think I hear Buddy yelping back in his kennel.  I roll down the window and hear this horrendous squeaking metal on metal noise.

 

Now what the hell is THAT?

 

I get up to 45 mph, and am trying to merge into traffic.

OHHHHH god that tractor trailer about blew me off the road while passing.

JEEEEZUZZ these people in cars have no appreciation for RV’s on the road. 

No courtesy! 

The traffic is fast and heavy. 

If I grip the steering wheel any harder I will snap it into pieces.

What, oh what, oh what have I done?  What was I thinking, buying this thing?

Tears are welling up.

 

I press on.  I’ve got to do this.  I can do this.

 

Rest stop coming up in just a few miles.  Thank the gods.

I just need a break.  Just a little break.

I pull in, grinding and jerking the whole way.  I about get whiplash coming to a complete stop.  Park in a parking spot?  Hell no.  I just plain stop. Still gripping the wheel, both feet on the break, I stare ahead out to the rest stop parking lot.  Just stare. Tears start streaming.

I throw the truck into park, get out, and walk around.  Everything is still there—oh—except the temporary license.  Maybe that’s what those people were pointing at when they pulled up next to me back a-ways.  Now what do I do?  I’m not legal.  What if I get pulled over?  Should I go back?  Hell no!  I check on Buddy.  He is fine.  I open up the trailer door and look in.

 

Mass chaos. 

 

Everything must of went flying everywhere with all that jerking business. I’ve only made it maybe 10 miles down the highway.  It’s going to be a long ride back.  Why bother straightening up now?

I get back into the truck.

Start the truck. Make sure to click on the tow button.  Put it in drive.  As I inch forward, I hear the horrendous squeaking metal on metal noise again.

Surely this can’t be normal?

I’m bouncing and tugging back onto the highway.   My front end is pointing up but I can still see.  I am clinging half on and half off the far right lane, doing 45, then up to 50 miles an hour.  A couple cars come whizzing by, and everything rocks and shakes.  I slow back down to 45.  It feels like my truck is not able to pull this thing.  There is so much tension, it feels like so much effort.  The engine sounds like it’s going to explode.  All this bouncing, and tugging.   I look down.

 

OH SHIT!

 

I don’t even have a quarter tank of gas!  I forgot to get gas yesterday!  OH no! Oh no! Oh no!

I have to exit and get gas.   NOooooooooo!

 

Over there!  To the left, is a gas station.  It looks big.  I need big.  I take the exit ramp, grinding and jerking the whole way.  I about get whiplash coming to a complete stop. 

I take a very wide left turn, and one more into the gas station, and jerk to a stop, just about bouncing out of my seat.

How do I do this?  Hmmmm.  I decide to swing wide, drive all the way across and to the other end, and get gas on the end pump.  Inching along and pissing everyone else off,  I manage to complete this strategy, with the horrendous squeaking metal on metal noise happening the whole time.  I get out, fill the tank, pay, get back in the truck and look for my exit route.

 

Holy Hanna.

 

The road out is actually a super busy 4 lane, and it is bumper to bumper.  In addition, the gas station is packed and there is a line to get in and out, and 4 lines of vehicles trying to get into the line to get out.

I can do this.

I jerk my way into one of the 4 lines.  It’s dog eat dog in this gas station lot.  No one is cutting anyone a break.  I have visions of taking out a gas pump, or a light post, or a smart car.  I feel like I can’t swing wide enough to get into the main lane out.  Finally a truck driver guy stops and motions me to get into the line.  Oh, THANK you!  I swing wide and get in. We inch and inch along. Finally fifteen minutes I am up to the main street.

 

Holy Hanna.

 

I don’t know how to get out onto that road without blocking all of the lanes.  No one will let me in.  The people behind me are all honking because I haven’t gone.  I freeze.  I think I’m going to cry.

I can do this.

Finally some lady stops and motions me to pull out.  I still can’t because cars are coming from the lane next to her.  A guy on the other side of the road stops.  Great, two out of 3 lanes I need are helping.  I start inching.   It feels like I will snap off the hitch if I turn any sharper.  The horrendous squeaking metal on metal noise persists loud and clear the whole time.  Oh,  I am finally onto the road, and just have to straighten out.  Oh, stay in the left lane to turn left back onto  I75.  Mercy I am only getting eight miles to the gallon now and will have to go through this dreadful procedure A LOT.

 

Fighting back tears.  If this was the gist of my first 30 minutes pulling my new home on wheels, I surely won’t live through another 130 miles.

 

I cling to the right hand side of the highway until reaching the construction zone, where I fearfully slow down to about 30, and creep through the required detour in terror.  I am likely causing enough road rage behind me to end all wars.  I’m sorry.  I’m so frightened. There is something wrong, or I’m doing something wrong, I don’t know what I don’t know and for over two hours I am sniffing and weeping and clutching the wheel, clinging to the far right and just trying to stay focused and get back to Secret Spot Park.

 

Hallelujah there’s my exit. 

 

As I try to slow down it feels like the trailer is going to run over the truck.  I press the break a little harder.  Jerk.. jerk.. jerk.. omg  I am freaking out.  The truck is pulling, lunging, bouncing, and the trailer feels like it is rocking on only one side of the wheels, then the other side.

 

Hang on, I’m almost back, I can do this.

 

I bear down the last stretch of road before the turn to Secret Spot Park at a whopping 40 miles per hour.  Only 8 more jerking grinding miles to go. 

There’s my turn! 

There are no other cars, so I try slowing down half a mile before the turn just by not giving it gas, but the trailer still jerks like mad.  I get onto the turn lane, grinding and jerking the whole way.  I about get whiplash coming to a complete stop, waiting for cross traffic to pass so I can merge onto the road. 

 

Home stretch is a skinny county road.  I feel like I am hanging over the whole thing, and there is no shoulder on the right.  I barrel down the little road at about 25 miles per hour, tugging and grinding the whole way.  One last right turn and I see the entrance to Secret Spot Park.  I’m trying to wipe off my face and not look like I’ve been crying for two hours.

  

Oh man, how will I fit through the gate?  Everyone else does, stop being ridiculous.  I arrive to the gate, grinding and jerking the whole way.  I about get whiplash coming to a complete stop.  A ranger waves me through, and I continue on to the campgrounds entrance, bouncing, jerking, grinding and squealing the whole way, peering over the top of the hood.

 

OH MY GOODNESS, the place is packed! 

 

When I left there was no one on my end of the campground except me, and now there are cars and tents and campers everywhere!  How will I ever get this thing in there? 

Here comes Ranger Sam II, and he is completely confused that I am there trying to figure out how to park in campsite 6, since campsite 6 is already occupied.  Yes, Sam, it is already occupied, by me.  It’s me, Sam!

 

I swing wide to turn left onto our road. 

I made it.

I lived through Hell on Wheels.

Oh, man, I did it.

I start crying again. 

As I inch down the road, there’s Lois, and Buddy, and Dennis, and Bob, and Norma,a few other people, standing around in the road, and they are all watching me jerk forward….

 

They rush the truck.  I stop and get out, fighting the tears.  Everyone is talking at once.  Dennis is looking at the side of my truck and trailer, folks are walking around it, Buddy is shaking his head.  I am just buzzing with stress and relief and panic and gratefulness all at once and can barely here what anyone is saying.  Except for the clear ringing statements;

 

“God look at that, she could have been killed.

How could they let her leave like that?

Yes we’ll have to look at that…”

 

Dennis offers to park my new Toy Hauler into my campsite for me. I look up at him and wipe more tears from my eyes.

 

“ABSOLUTELY!”

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Comments

  1. Lynn Marie Macy says:

    Glad you made it home in one piece! This sounds terrifying!

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