Off of 1000 RD east and 300 RD north, in Douglas County, Kansas. That’s where the right wheel assembly of our pop-up camper abruptly parted ways with the axle, and roll-bounced into the opposite ditch behind us.
At the same time we were pulling over to the side of the road — as much as one can pull over to the side of a two-lane interstate highway — a family was pulling into their driveway nearby. Seeing we were in distress, they came over to help us get as safe as we could, get in the more-traffic-than-usual Sunday traffic. Oh, yeah, and in the rain.
It was that impending rain, of which we are in desperate need in this area — just look at any of the Kansas corn fields this summer and you’ll see what I mean — which had caused us to partially pack up camp the night before, and arise just after dawn yesterday in order to close up the camper and head home earlier than usual. We left camp way early, but that’s about as far as our planning got us.
In pretty short order, a gentleman in an older Suburban with firefighter plates pulled over to help secure the roadway, and alert oncoming traffic to the hazard — to us… we were the hazard.
I tried calling AAA. Tried. I was told that because we do not have RV coverage, they would not be able to assist us. Even though what we needed was a standard, flatbed tow truck, which any disable car could have required, AAA would not help. I understand policy. I also understand two adults, two elementary-school aged children, and two dogs in a pickup truck, hooked to a disabled camper, in the rain.
Fortunately, the nice guys at Hillcrest towing answered the call quickly and professionally, getting to us in short order. Loading up the camper was another matter, though. It took over an hour for Stacy and the tow driver to get the camper loaded without inflicting further injury.
Remember those two kids and two dogs in the truck with me? They were amazing. If there was any time we needed them to be calm and patient, this was it — and they were.
Eventually, we were back on the road, minus the camper. We back-tracked ever so slightly, and Stacy retrieved the wayward wheel. We had broken down just thirty minutes short of home, and arrived in what seemed like no time.
The kids settled in for some well-earned cartoon time. Stacy slowly unloaded the truck and I went about the business of getting ready for the week (still in my peejays, because we were hurrying home this morning, so I just never changed).
Showers all around, dinner, and a bit of ice cream later, and everyone was ready for bed.
I wonder what the rest of the week will bring.
Have you ever had a travel mishap? I’d love to read your story.