We only had our rig for about two weeks before we had to face our first move. Usually, moving between cities on the tour that I’m on means a couple hours of packing all my crap into luggage and/or large tupperware bins and cramming it all into my Prius, Tetris-style.
Now, packing means going to my last show of the week while my amazing boyfriend readies our housecar for the road.
This (apparently) includes, but is not limited to:
1. Flushing out the system in the rig, and then unplugging the electricity, water, and black water from the hookups on the camp site.
2. Pulling in both of our slide-outs into the rig.
3. Securing all loose items that we take out to live our daily lives. (I.E. the sponge and dish soap from the kitchen sink, the toothbrushes and toothpaste from beside the bathroom sink, all of the shampoo bottles from the shower, books by the bedside, picture frames on tables… all these things to into drawers or cabinets.)
4. Zip-tieing cabinet and drawer doors closed. Most stay pretty securely closed as we move due to the catch that is built in during construction, but a few are loose. To mitigate the amount of dish ware potentially flying around during transit, we tie most of the doors closed.
5. Bringing in our bikes. (This makes it super crowded, but until we figure a way to secure them to the back of the car we are towing, it’s the way it’s gotta be.)
6. Gassing up, so that when I came back from work, we were ready to go!
All of this took around 45 minutes, he says, and was easy as pie. I came home to a packed up housecar, two only slightly anxious pets (Mikko digs at the slide-ins as they move and Copeland enjoyed finding a new hiding place on top of the slide-ins once they were inside.) and a very proud boyfriend. (And rightfully so! He does so much and makes my life- especially on moving day, exponentially easier)
Copeland in his new hiding place- on top of our bedroom slide out.
We first drove to Cincinnati from Columbus to pick up my friend’s tow dolly that he was giving to us. He had used it 10 years ago and had no need for it so he said if we could pick it up it was ours. We made it into town as the sun was setting and his brother set us up with the trailer and we rolled on down the road, towing our Prius behind our housecar, happy as can be….
… for about eight hours.
Then, as I napped in the ‘living room,’ Phillip glanced in the rear-facing backup camera that runs while we drive and said “Um… somethings’ wrong…. there’s sparks coming from the car.”
We pulled over to find this:
A blown tire and twisted, hot metal. The trailer was done for, and for the moment, so were we.
We cut our tire straps to roll the car off the trailer (in theory) and forgot all about the safety chains attached underneath the car to the trailer. (D’oh!) The weight of the car was keeping these chains too taught, and after an hour of trying to jack the car up, push it, pull it, and otherwise beg it to move up to release the chains, we were still on the side of the road.
The struggle was real.
I called AAA and was told that the problem we were experiencing was not covered in our roadside package. (“But my car is literally immobile! This is the definition of a roadside emergency!” I wailed, to no avail.) We agreed to pay the full amount for a tow truck to come out to us and went into our house to take a nap while we waited, as it was fast approaching dawn.
This was one of the nicer parts of our dilemma- we had our HOME to wait in, on the side of the road. I made a snack and sat at the dinner table for a bit, reading a book like nothing was going on. Suddenly, Phillip sat straight up in bed. “I know what to do.” he proclaimed, walking back outside.
As he was drifting off to a frustrated sleep, he explained later, he thought about how this tow truck would show up and point out something so obvious and easy that it would leave him infuriated for such a simple oversight.
What he had realized, in his half sleep, was we had undone the car in the wrong order. We should have undone the safety chains first, then the tire straps. So all we had to do was put the tire straps back on, crank them tight once more, and the chains should slip right off.
And sure enough, they did.
I took the helm of the Prius and Phillip drove our house to a rest stop, where we parked for the night and slept off our slight trauma. The next morning, we drove both cars, caravan style to Milwaukee without incident.
But we still need a new tow dolly.