Thursday, September 3, 2015

Crisis #3-The Hitch

         Well, not so much a crises, but a challenge to overcome.  Since we were arriving back to the campground from the bank significantly later than originally planned, I felt some pressure getting the Hensley hitch installed before nightfall.  At this point we knew we were getting low on fuel, down to 25 miles range on the trip calculator.  But with several gas stations in a town only 10 miles away, we (in theory) had twice as much fuel as we'd need, even if cutting it a bit close.  Considering that, we went straight to the campground and would fill up in the morning, that way allowing for more daylight to get the hitch installed.  Our research told us this is about a 3 hour process, which includes drilling into the A-frame of the trailer and assembling over 200 pounds of steel parts.  As is typical, any mechanical task will take about twice as long as a normal person.  Also typical is my failure to account for the fact that I have two children, both of which suck time out of the day faster than a binge watching session of 24.  If I think I'll have 2 hours to take care of something, 20 minutes might be more likely the case.  So as life would have it, I didn't really begin the installation process until well after dark.  I spent the next couple of hours reading manuals and discussing the instructions with Mama while fighting off mosquitoes with a small LED headlamp strapped to my forehead.  As the night wore on, my resolve waned and I soon climbed into our queen bed for the first time.  I couldn't tell if it was a comfortable mattress.   I was too tired to know the difference.
        I was up with the sun to finish hitch installation.   We had a 9am appointment at a local shop to have brand new tires installed on our trailer, I still had a lot of work left, and only a couple of hours of time.  Mama and the boys were soon up, keeping occupied as boys do - piling up rocks and dirt in the yard.  It was 4 or 5 more hours before I finally got the hitch installed and the campsite packed up for departure.  The only step left: hitching up the trailer to the Excursion.  In most cases this would be an easy task.  But the fact that I have never done this before, combined with the relatively tedious and particular Hensley hitch design, resulted in a long and frustrating process.  Repeated attempts to back the truck into the hitch allowing it to seat properly burned enough fuel to drop the range from 25 to 15 miles.  Finally we got things figured out and faced our first "moment of truth."  Will the hitch hold?  Did I install it correctly?  Are the tires even in well enough shape to get us into town?  Most concerning, do we even have enough fuel to make it?
       We slowly pulled away from the permanent front porch and awning, managing only to graze the rolled awning on the trailer lightly against the corner at the last moment.  A BIG sigh of relief, as that was the first opportunity we had to damage our (soon to be) new home.  With over 50 feet of truck and trailer in my side view mirrors, the thought of dragging this home seemed daunting.  But if I took it slow and safe, what could go wrong?

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