Because what’s RVing without a few SNAFUs?!
Our two-day drive to West Virginia was all blue skies and smooth sailing. We crashed at an Econo Lodge overnight, since there was too much stuff in the RV to make sleeping in it comfortable or restful in any way (not to mention space for the cat to stretch out, use the litter box, etc).
The first room they put us in reeked of stale cigarette smoke and four 20-something dudes next door were blasting metal (I had specifically requested a quiet location). After a room switcheroo to one that smelled lovely by comparison with no neighbors, we were off to a night of deep sleep.
Yesterday afternoon we hopped off Highway 50 and onto 14 – a small, windy road that passes intermittent grassy fields between trees, trees, and more trees. Dilapidated barns, farm equipment, and Swallowtail butterflies went by our windows.
The final piece – one that Travis over the last week or two had said he “just wasn’t worried about” yet also kept saying would be “the most stressful part” – was the gravel and grass driveway leading up to the house. From the road, you make a left turn that almost immediately veers left around a corner and up a (relatively) steepish hill – think 12%-ish for you road warriors. After that, there’s one more smaller hill then a slow grade up to the house and field across from it.
We asked Tracy, Travis’s mom, to meet in her car prior to getting to this point – we figured it made sense to have a lead car around some of the sharper turns and a lookout for the final turn onto the driveway, since it’s on a blind curve. Just before we turned she hopped out of the car to say, “This is probably your last chance to change your mind – do y’all want to get out and look at it first or just go for it?”
“Let’s just do it,” said Travis.
After checking oncoming traffic and giving us the thumbs up, we went for it.
We went slowly, since it was our first time hauling our 32-foot beast full of all our boxes up a small dirt road. We got stuck after only about 50 feet up. D’OH!
It was a combination of things – one, when you’re only going 10mph it’s hard to get the proper momentum you need to haul something up a hill – but there was just no way we were going to gun it around a curved, steeper hill. Additionally, the majority of the weight of our moving boxes was at very back of our fifth wheel – not over the tires, so the tires were spinning out on the truck and trailer.
At this point we were only 1/10 of the way up the driveway. We couldn’t move forward and at this point, due to the geometry of backing up, it wasn’t entirely clear that we would be able to reverse back down even if we wanted to. I had a mild inner meltdown – for some reason this particular scenario is one of my worst nightmares. Getting stuck in the middle of nowhere with All The Things on a hot, humid day. TERROR.
Travis’s stepdad Bruce came down to assess the situation – we tried a couple little backups and re-starts but kept spinning out and at this point a couple of the trailer’s wheels were in the ditch. We talked about unloading the boxes to remove some of the weight, or moving some of the weight into the flatbed of the truck.
At this point I decided to get the cat out of the truck with all her stuffs and up into the house, so I hauled her heavy ass up the hill and threw her in the bathroom while Tracy went to get the tractor. That’s right.
By the time I got back down the hill, Bruce was on the tractor, which was roped up in front of the truck, ready to help haul our heavy RV ass up the hill. Now when I think “tractor,” I think of those beefy John Deere tractors from my childhood days in the corn fields of Idaho. I about laughed out loud when I saw this setup, wondering just how on earth would this work, but hoping hard AF that it would.
And it did. And my terror subsided and I am so eternally grateful for Tracy and Bruce for saving our bacon. The good news is we only have to do this once, and it’s done. And, for your viewing pleasure – here’s a video of The Tractor That Saved the Day. BEAST MODE!