This past weekend we traveled for the first time hauling our 16’ trailer for our business with our camper to the Strawberry Festival in New Hope / Lahaska, PA. This addition makes our rig about 51’ total in length. Whoa buddy! You know how they say the first step is always the hardest, well this wasn’t exactly true, but the first step certainly challenged us. Where we live on the side of the mountain in our “sticks and bricks” we can’t exactly maneuver things around to get this all hooked up in the driveway. Even if we could, we would have a pretty hard time driving it out of our neighborhood. We took the trailer to a church parking and left it where we could bring our camper to hook up, only once we were there the lock on the hitch would not come off. Gary had just used it in the driveway to remove it from our truck and transfer it to the RV, but that sucker was not budging. We didn’t have an WD-40 and going back to our house in the RV was not an option. We were unable to leave our neighborhood for about an hour, already departing several hours later than planned. (It takes a long time to make sure you have everything you need in your camper!) Thankfully my friend Becky’s family of heroes came to our rescue with some lubricant for the lock and we were on our way.
The first hour and a half or so was rough. As I have mentioned, I am not a hearty traveler. I get motion sick. Riding in the RV creates a lot of movement you don’t get in a car and I had to adjust. We were also on I-81 out of West Virginia and into Maryland with a lot of construction – which meant narrow lanes. I read somewhere that the average width of an RV is 8’ and that the minimum width allowed by law for a road under construction is 8’6”. Those six inches are NOT enough. As we bounded down the highway, I tried hard not to think about those six inches and Gary’s inexperience with driving the rig. Six inches. Six inches. Six inches. Six inches. Yeah, I thought about nothing else. I even tried to work, distracting myself with my laptop but it was of no use.
Once we got into PA and on state highway 78 – the road was much better. Wide open lanes with great shoulders – far more than six inches. I started to relax, look around, converse, and even got excited about the experience. Gary had used Mapquest to plan our route because we have not yet secured a truck/RV GPS navigator – to stay on main highways. He also called the property manager to make sure we had the best information about accessing the festival. He also used the Waze app to keep up to date on the traffic, accident reports, and road conditions, which started trying to reroute us. We stayed the course on our planned route and expected Waze to catch on that we weren’t taking a detour until we started seeing orange signs “DETOUR AHEAD”
A large section of highway 78 was under construction and instead of giving us only six extra inches to navigate, they closed the road. As a result, we spent nearly two hours on the back roads and through the countryside of eastern Pennsylvania. It was a beautiful side of the state I had never seen. The problem was we were on unfamiliar roads. They were narrow and winding in places. Gary maneuvered the rig like a pro with few difficulties until we got to this one little town where a short, steep hill jutted up and over railroad tracks. The AC in the front of our RV isn’t working and it was hot so we had our windows down which allowed us to clearly hear the screech as the jack on our trailer shredded against the ground. Hours later when we finally arrived at our destination just before dark weren’t able to unhook the trailer from our RV because of the damage. The parking manager put us in bus parking where we comfortably resided for the next several days.
There was a lot of excitement on this trip – I’ll spread it out over the next several blogs. I hope you’ll join us for the journey.