I knew the mistake I made as soon as it happened & I knew right away without getting out of my seat we were gonna need a tow truck!! I had read about this happening to other RV'ers especially upon entering or leaving a campsite & especially at night. It wasn't a campsite I was turning off the road into, but a large parking lot on a dark street in an industrial section of Lindsay, Ontario Canada.
We had arrived in Lindsay Tuesday night Oct. 3/07 about 8 p.m. & thought we would take a drive past the Tech Mobile Communications place where we were going to have our satellite TV & internet installation & lesson the following morning. We missed the corner near their location but there was a parking lot just up the road on the right with a wide entrance. I could see there was a second entrance & decided to turn into that one assuming it was equally as wide. WRONG!!! It was dark & hard to see so I eased to the left of the road to make a wide sweeping right turn. What I failed to see was that the supposed entrance I was turning into was a narrow ramp type road for exiting the parking lot to the west. Everything was fine as we swung round & entered two thirds of the way up into the driveway. And then....... a bump, a scraping crunch sound & we stopped. A little pressure on the gas pedal & nothing. Into reverse, step on the gas a bit, nothing. We were hung up high & dry. I immediately remembered some of the RV forums where I've read about people getting into this situation so I knew what was wrong, we were in trouble, & needed a tow truck. What a sickening feeling it was as I stepped out the side door because the bottom step was only inches above the ground. The rear wheels had dropped into a ditch beside the driveway & the rear end of the coach was now sitting right smack down on the road. As I walked around the unit my heart sank even lower because I could not see any way of getting the motorhome out of it's predicament without causing a lot of further damage. Towing it out from the front or back was going to do some real serious bad stuff for sure. It was a really dumb mistake & I knew it. I was ready to give up RVing right there & then & just simply take up basket weaving & stay home forever. No doubt about it I figured...... we were in a rut!!
Meanwhile, Kelly was on the cell phone talking to our E.R.S. (Emergency Road Service) people, explaining our situation & location. The dispatcher had a tow truck scrambled within minutes. (Gaynors Towing Service-Lindsay) They even called back to see how we were doing. Now, that's friendly & efficient service I'd say & we had a tow truck there in less time it takes to drink a quick coffee.
As all the negative thoughts were rolling around in my head I had already made a second miscalculation by assuming the worst. (I usually do that) What I hadn't figured on though, was.....the positive tow truck driver. He was a young fellow, baseball cap, friendly & looking every bit like a capable mechanic type guy as he strode over from his truck. I didn't have to explain the situation, the problem was very obvious to say the least. He didn't say too much at first so I took that to mean we were really up the creek for sure. He got down in the ditch & crawled in behind the back tires for a look see. That's when I took the picture & you can see his legs & feet sticking out. In a muffled voice I heard him say something like, "hey, you got load levelers on the coach." Did I detect some optimism in his voice & maybe, just maybe, a ray of hope here?? He climbed back out & instructed me to go into the coach & put the rear passenger side hydraulic load leveler down. Well, that instantly got me real nervous for sure because I had only ever put them down once before at home in the driveway when I was trying to figure out how they worked. (which I never really figured out too good anyway) I remembered to put the emergency brake on, plus the hydraulic on/off switch but of course I dumped both valve levers & put all 4 levelers down. WRONG!! I could here him holler something at me from out the side door so I quickly managed to retract the front levelers & get us back down into earth's orbit again. I also quickly retracted the rear drivers side leveler too. Well, at least I think I did. Now, we were back in business & the tow truck driver fellow was probably wiping his brow & breathing a sigh of relief as he was thinking something like, TOURISTS!! He had me carefully move that last leveler lever into a down position & I could feel the back end of the coach lifting, & lifting, & lifting. Any higher & I figured we would roll right over into the next county. When it seemed almost certain, he hollered, "stop!! Then.... nothing but silence for about 10 seconds. Had he left & gone home, was it coffee break time, did Lindsay have a 9 o'clock curfew?? Finally I heard, "ok retract the leveler all the way up." I put the dump lever in the up position & the coach descended, but not as far as before. Hmmmmmm. "Ok, back up real slow & try not to spin the wheels" he said. What's this, could it be, could it be. YES, as I ever so slowly stepped on the gas the coach very smoothly backed right out onto the road. 'YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY:))" I quickly parked the rig & got out to see what wondrous miracle this young fellow had performed. "Short planks" he said. "Always a good idea to carry a couple of short sturdy planks with ya." He had them in the tow truck & when the leveler raised the passenger rear side of the coach he simply put 2 sturdy planks under the rear dual wheels. When I retracted the leveler the tires came down firmly on the planks & I was able to back straight out onto the road. Wow, talk about a feeling of relief.....but, then it got even better. As we inspected the coach underneath with flashlights it was apparent that there was no damage & a following closer inspection the next morning confirmed this. Thank heavens for butterscotch ice cream & smart tow truck operators:))))))) Too bad about some motorhome operators though:((
On our way home from Lindsay Wednesday afternoon Kelly remarked that she hoped I wasn't going to put this on our website. How ambarrassing!! I totally agreed with her so here I am putting it on the website. Well, here's the way I figure it. A lot of people don't like to talk about mistakes (especially men) but if we don't talk about them how are others going to know not to make them. Worked for me didn't it. I read about the hazards of turns with big rigs in unfamiliar darkness & went ahead & did it anyway....... Well hey, I'm a man!! Don't figure, do it.
Stay tuned for my next little blurb about Tech Mobile Communications & the reason we were in Lindsay.