That Time a Tractor Had to Pull Us Up the Driveway

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!

 

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We Did It!

We left our home in Red Hook, Brooklyn today.

The last few weeks have absolutely flown by. Thank you to all our loved ones who spent time with us these last several weeks – we have some damn fine friends in our lives!

As we  took our final pass up Van Brunt Street, I asked Travis how he felt. He was sad, I was in an in-between state of disbelief and excitement. Monkey, champ that she is, yowled as we carried her down the stairs and into the truck, but once she was deposited into her back seat screen box, she settled down and has been sleeping and chattering as per usual. I’m writing this blog post in the truck, we currently just passed Rocky Gap State Park in Maryland.

The mysterious case of the disappearing suitcase

The weirdest thing happened before we left – we didn’t have much to pack up this morning. The mattress, one bag of fridge stuff, our laundry bin the cat, and our bags. My carry on suitcase was one of them. I didn’t put much in there, just some clothes and my bath kit/toiletries. I remember zipping it up this morning. I literally don’t remember carrying it down or putting it in the truck or the RV. I don’t know what made Travis mention it about a half an hour after we had left, but as everything we had left was put into the RV in two trips, I figured it had to be in there.

The more I thought about it, the more I had no recollection of moving it beyond seeing it this morning.

I made Travis stop so I could check; sure enough, it wasn’t in the RV. I called our landlord who was kind enough to check our apartment and the curb – this was probably 45 minutes after we left – then called our friend upstairs and he walked down the entire street back to where our RV was parked and didn’t see it.

I’m completely stumped. The only thing I can think is that I left it on the sidewalk while placing other things, forgot to throw it in the truck bed that first run, then someone nicked it. It was 6:30 am on a Saturday morning so even that seems unlikely.

In any case, we’ve both gone over and over what could have happened – fortunately nothing irreplaceable was in there. I’ve already replaced the important bits on Amazon and was able to find the dress I was sad to lose on eBay for $25. Hot damn I love the internet.

Okay anyway, I’ll let you know if we ever solve the mystery but I’m not holding my breath – and I hope whoever finds my bag enjoys the motley selection of crappy tank tops, old underwear, and travel size toiletries. Score for you!

Here’s our plan so far:

Today we’re making our way to West Virginia. It’s probably about a 10 hour drive, but we’re breaking it up so our first voyage can be slow and relaxed…and so kitty can have breaks.

Once there we will put our boxes in storage with Travis’s mom and stepdad, who live on a lovely little hilltop in rural West Virginia, and we’ve decided to stay there for a month. It’s scenic, has beautiful sunsets, lots of fireflies, and all the peace and quiet you can handle. AKA a great place to decompress from NYC!

Originally we thought we might spend the last two weeks of August in Virginia’s Shenandoah  Valley, but prices for RV parks the last couple of weeks or the month are relatively out of control, so we’re going to stay put until Labor Day weekend, when we’ll head to the D.C. area for my dear friends Tanya and Scott’s wedding in Alexandria, VA.

From there we’ll head north and probably make our way toward Maine. We’d like to traipse around in Maine and Vermont through September and October, then make our way south as the temperature goes down.

My dad lives in Tampa, FL so our goal is to make it there by Thanksgiving. Maybe we’ll do Christmas in Key West.

After that we’ll make our way west. 🌅