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Crash Test Dummies

I’m beginning to feel a little like a Crash Test Dummy. In the past two months, we’ve dropped the 5th wheel UNHOOKING, tangled and mangled with a tiny palm tree, dropped the RV on the tail gate HOOKING UP.

Where are the professional Dummies when you need one?

Do you remember the old Crash Test Dummies PSA adds? I’m including one here – and thought by sharing our experiences with you, I might either give you a laugh or save you from experiencing something similar.

The first incident was almost, but not quite entirely our fault. We unhitched according to the directions on the panel and the video. We only had one practice try at the RV dealership so we carefully read all the directions. We’d been warned of the dangers of dropping the RV in the truck bed when hitching up. We had no idea we might drop it unhitching.

We put the front jacks down and pulled ahead slightly,  just enough to make sure we were unhooked and the RV fell on the little red box of safety cones. No damage that time. We didn’t know that with the automatic leveling system only one front jack lowered at a time. Since I’d been driving, I was on the left side and Heidi was working the panel on the left side. We had no idea the right jack hadn’t gone down.

We haven’t had that problem again. We certainly know to check both sides now!

Of course you already know all about my encounter with the palm tree. That was just stupidity on my part. Heidi was with the Jeep and I was new at driving the truck and at towing the 5th wheel. I turned a corner about $7000 worth too tightly. Good Sam was good to us and the repairs are set for February (when, yes, we will also get a bed saver installed). Maybe we should consider curb/tree feelers, too!

The next accident issue came as we were leaving one drilling company for another. Our FS worker showed up 2 hours early and was in a hurry to move us. He ‘helped’ us hitch up and we all thought it would be more expedient if he drove the RV from the pad. He pulled away and the RV failed to follow.

The damage to the RV was minimal.  We couldn’t do the put the front jacks one inch off the ground test because we can’t override the auto leveling one foot at a time issue. Since that incident we’ve taken to putting one jack up a little and dragging the other one about two inches.

The tailgate didn’t fair so well this time. It refused to open after a couple of days. The Chevy dealership in Cuero took it off for us and we were able to get a 5th wheel gate in Katy at Camping World on our way to Livingston.

Heidi and the very kind salesman at Camping World who put the tail gate on for us for free. The shop charge  would have been $100! He wouldn’t even take a tip! They only had one tail gate in stock that would fit the truck. We left feeling very blessed!

In Livingston, we found an RV repair shop that took a look at the hitch and said Well y’all clearly didn’t get this rigged up in Texas! No one puts this kind of grease on a hitch in Texas!

The grease that they put on it in Iowa was all gummed up with Texas caliche. They cleaned it and used a non-grease lube (yes, we bought a can) and now the jaws snap tight, just like they were supposed to all along.

By this time, we’d developed HUAD – Hitching Up Anxiety Disorder. No wonder, huh?

We spent a week waiting in Gonzales. Our mgr was waiting to put us back on rig we were with for a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving (although we didn’t know this and thought we were just waiting, period). We got word Thursday to be ready to move Saturday morning. Then we got a call Friday afternoon saying that they were ready to move us – right then. That’s the business, isn’t it? No complaints. We’re just thankful to be working again.

Fortunately, due to our severe case of  HUAD, we had already hitched up Friday a.m., a day early, or so we thought. Not early after all as it turned out. We hitched up and unhitched without a hitch, (so to speak) this time!

We’ve made a lot of mistakes, but, as they say in the PSA, you could learn a lot from a Dummy! 😀

Maybe you can learn from us!

And Andrew – thanks again for the yellow tape video! At least I can line it right up every time! Here it is again.

19 thoughts on “Crash Test Dummies

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  4. I don’t know much about traveling with trailers. It sounds heavy, and dangerous. BUT fun. Sorry for the two accidents. Such a crapper when you’re trying to have fun in your RV.

    Glad you’re writing again. Find those signals or waves.

    xoxo m

    • mel – clearly I don’t know much about traveling with trailers either! 😀
      I do love living full time in an RV – it’s such a simple life (when I don’t take the corners too tightly!)

  5. So Deb, where are you now? Are you in Livingston? We have moved from Carrizo Springs to Coushatta, Louisiana that is until we move again this afternoon. Glad to hear you got a good tailgate now. Shouldn’t have problems now that you can see better! Have a great day.

    • Cindy – Not surprisingly, I don’t know where I am! 😀 Somewhere between Cuero and Westhoff – way out in the county. Louisiana is so pretty. Did you like it there? Where are you headed next?

      • It is really pretty here. We are with a Frac team and move where they move. We are zig-zagging across the river it seems, going back to Pleasant Hill. It is really different than staying on one site from start to completion but I think I like it. So funny how we ended up in this line of work isn’t it. Never in mind life would I had thought I would be a gate guard…and it wasn’t even on my bucket list! Take care and have a great day!

  6. Let the Debbie “Fork” blog withdrawals STOP 🙂 Glad you are back, I don’t want my cuz to loose her fame status :o) ! xo
    P.S. Miss you

  7. Debbie, It’s been quite a trip! I’m so glad that we made the transition from a class A to the 5th wheel, but it’s been a challenge… I’m not over my HUAD, but I’m feeling like it’s manageable and I’m not losing sleep from it, anymore. I’ll feel better when the bed saver is installed, too. I just thank God that we didn’t ‘save’ money on the truck deal and go with something less! Lasso E RV was so right. We needed this truck.

    • Hi Betty!
      I thought that was Rick standing outside in his suspenders when we whizzed by! Even with the Wilson booster, we only have one bar. It’s slow, but seems workable so far. How’s your gate going?
      We’re back with the same bunch we were with for a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving. Nice group. 😀

    • Oh Diane – I’m not sure – somewhere not far from Cuero and Westhoff. Feels really remote this time, but only about 20 minutes to town.
      We kind of actually like the new tail gate better than the original one.
      Will you be at your same location for a while still?
      ~ Debbie

      • Looks like we’ll be here for a while. They are scheduled to drill the new pad the first week of Jan, and fracing the first one should start in the next week or so.

  8. Glad you’re back “on the air”. Also very glad you got a gate. You’ve had quite an adventure figuring out the new rig, but it seems like no matter how much you read and study beforehand, you just have to put your back into it and experience it for yourself. Your new 5th wheel looks really pretty, inside and out. We have had our share of “mishaps” too. (David says you should have gotten a gooseneck hitch put on instead of a 5th wheel hitch, but that’s just his personal preference).

    • Hi Penny!
      We didn’t have much input on the hitch – the truck and RV were already all set when we got there. We’re kind of slow learners but it’s getting better each time (thankfully or there wouldn’t be anything left, would there?)! 😀
      We both really love the new RV – and the R factor is great. Couldn’t even tell it was cold outside on the nights it dipped down to 25! Henry and I about froze last year!
      ~ Debbie

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