Friday, August 7, 2015

A near disaster (literally)

August 7, 2015—Stuff happens. And sometimes when it happens, it gets very scary. One of those sometimes was today.

We had spent the night dry-camping at a Walmart in Henderson, Ky., and decided we would head toward Huntsville, Ala., where we would relax, go to the space center, and fish. We found an ideal place on Lake Guntersville, about an hour from Huntsville.

As you enter Alabama from Tennessee on the interstate (or any other highway for that matter), you drive in the mountains. They are not particularly high, but some grades are very steep. At one point, we were behind a truck that must have been carrying a very heavy load. It crept along at about 20 mph. We didn’t rush or try to pass, because our own engine was laboring, too. When we got to the top of the mountain and a rest area, we pulled over for the engine to cool off.

Steep grades going up mean steep grades going down. Frequent signs warn trucks (which, in this case, includes motorhomes), to shift into low gear to descend the mountain.

(I don’t like mountains. They are nice to look at in the distance, but I don’t like to drive in them.)

Finally, the hard climbs seemed to be behind us, as we were traveling along at 60 mph (never higher) on Interstate 24. It was a level area. Suddenly we heard and felt two thumps and simultaneously a car passed us blaring its horn. Jim always drives in the right lane (because we never travel more than 60 mph). He immediately slowed, pulled over onto the shoulder, and stopped.

He said his first thought was that we had blown a tire.

Not so. That would have been bad. What happened could have been worse. We got out and ran to the back of the motorhome to see what had happened.
I did not take a picture of the car butted up to the RV. But after I moved it back, in this picture you can see the broken tow bar and the sheared off safety cable.

The motorhome got scuffed a bit from the car butting into it. Also, the mud flap has a bit of damage, which can be fixed.


In addition to the tow bar, the hitch has two steel safety cables attached to the car. They are supposed to keep the car from running away if the tow bar comes off the car. In this case, the tow bar came off the motorhome. The cable on the left in this picture sheared into two parts.

Just below Jim's hand you can see the frayed wires in the electrical cable. It was unusable.


The pin that held the tow bar to the motorhome’s hitch broke! 

It was a locking pin; lock sheared off and the pin came out. The tow bar dropped to the ground. One of the two steel safety cables broke. The electrical cable that plugs into the car to work its lights also frayed and was unusable. Fortunately, the car bumped into the motorhome instead of veering off the road. If that had happened, the car would have turned over, been totaled, and possibly would have caused other cars to collide.

We were lucky.

Jim had an extra tow-bar pin and reattached the car. I Googled RV dealers in the area. About 20 miles down the road, we were able to buy a new electrical cable. We finally arrived at the resort about an hour later than planned.

This was a freak accident, but it proved the adage, “Stuff happens.”

The moral of the story: Check the tow-bar pin (and every other pin holding the bar and the hitch) before every trip.

Until later, your very grateful,

Reluctant RoVer


Linda

1 comment:

  1. Goof grief! After all that, though, you were only an hour late. Do they give prizes for RVers who overcome numerous obstacles and keep on truckin'?

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