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Last Saturdays Luckiest Two People in Texas!

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Last Saturdays Luckiest Two People in Texas!

 
  #1  
Old 09-24-2009, 10:10 AM
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Last Saturdays Luckiest Two People in Texas!

My Dad has Alzheimers and we moved him into a wonderful care center in Bonham, Texas. My Mom is a Cancer patient and we are in the process of moving her to live with us in NorthEast Texas. My Dad has a 98 F150 Regular Cab short bed with a Reese Drawtite Fifth Wheel hitch in the bed and a Layton Lightweight Fifth Wheel travel trailer. I don't know how long, but pretty small as fifth wheels go.

We decided to move the trailer to our place so my Mom would have a place to sleep for a month or two while we get a place on our property fixed up for her. My Dad, being an Alzheimers patient was unable to tell me anything about the trailer or truck.

I'm a pretty good mechanic, deal with farm machinery, have worked on Fork Lifts, etc., so it didn't seem like anything difficult to accomplish.

The truck only has 44,000 miles and looks and drives like brand new. I brought the truck to my place to get it ready for the haul. I put it on the lift and changed all fluids, balanced all four tires and ended up putting brake pads on the front. I checked the transmission cooler he had put on the truck and it wasn't plumbed correctly so I fixed that. He had put the cooler on and rigged the truck after his mind had begun to slip away. In his earlier years he was a "build anything, fix anything" kind of guy.

I had in mind that this trailer was going to be a seriously tough tug for such a little truck, even though it has a V8.

We got to my Moms last Saturday morning which is about 125 miles away with half of that being through the DFW freeway traffic. After fighting compressors to air the tires, getting stung by wasps, chasing down pins for the upper portion of the fifth wheel hitch and all sorts of other challenges I was ready to tie onto the trailer. Just as a safety check I grabbed the fifth wheel hitch and gave it a good shake and it seemed very solid in place.

The truck had been setting for a couple of years due to his condition with leaves and all sorts of things in the bed.

I finally got everything together, checked the lights and the brakes and everything seemed to be good for the road. My precious wife of 35 years climbed in with me for the haul with plans to come back for my Mom next weekend after getting the trailer set up.

To my surprise, the trailer was no load at all for the little truck. I think I could have given quite a few people on the road a pretty good drag race while pulling it. We drove through all the worst of the Dallas traffic and made it North of McKinney seeing 65 and 70MPH quite often.

We turned onto the two lane and went through a few stoplights. In the course of this an impatient person pulled right in front of me and I had to jam on the brakes pretty hard. When I did and then let off the brakes, there was a SERIOUS banging. I pulled into an abandoned service station and started inspecting things. The cross braces were bolted solidly into the bed, but the trailers umbilical cord which I had laid down next to the hitch was cut. This did not look good.

I disconnected the hitch and raised the trailer off of it. I then drove the truck out from under the trailer and climbed up in the bed. I gave the hitch another good shake like I did before hooking up the trailer. This time, the hitch simply tilted right out of the back cross brace. I pushed rearward and the hitch tilted out of the front cross brace.

After taking a breather to let my heart make its way back into my chest, I started looking closer at the hitch and realized that the cradle portion of the hitch simply lays into the cross braces and is pinned in place. Just looking at it, it had appeared to be part of the cross braces.

I looked around and found a piece of rebar, and two bolts. I managed to break the piece of rebar in half by bending it back and forth and made a couple of make shift pins. I got the two bolts in place as make shift pins. I then drove about 50MPH the rest of the way home.

I figure that my wife and I were the luckiest people in Texas last Saturday, not to mention the luck of all the innocent souls who were sharing the road with us.


All this is posted so that hopefully folks will check their hitches closely before loading their precious family for their next weekend or vacation RV outing. I'm sure that most everyone on this forum is familiar with their own rig and this is no problem. Beware, however, when dealing with a set up that you are not 100% familiar with. This can be a life and death issue.
 
  #2  
Old 09-24-2009, 11:38 PM
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Sounds like the 'man upstairs' was looking out for you and yours that day.

I'm not a fiver driver, but I check my hitch whenever I hook up the trailer. I'm glad everything worked out for you.
 
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Old 09-25-2009, 09:19 AM
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Great post Doc and glad to hear that nothing bad came of it and you all are safe. You're right and even if it's our own rig we're familiar with, it doesn't hurt to take the extra few minutes to inspect everything to make sure it's safe.

On another note, our deepest sympathies to you and your family. You all are going through a tough time and just know that you all will be in our thoughts and prayers.
 
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Old 09-25-2009, 08:52 PM
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sorry to hear about your father.
If you haven't heard about this book it may be worth while checking it out. It's called The 36 hour Day. Look it up on Amazon. It's good info for helping family members of people with dementia illnesses.
 
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Old 09-25-2009, 09:21 PM
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Great post brother, thankfully you had someone looking out for you! Again thanks for sharing your experience with us, so we can all learn from your experience.
 
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Old 09-26-2009, 12:52 AM
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Yes that is a good post. I too am happy that you made it to your destination ok. We will keep your family in our prayers. God Bless.
 
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Old 09-26-2009, 11:26 PM
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Wow, glad you made it safe! I'll keep you in my prayers!
 
  #8  
Old 09-27-2009, 08:49 AM
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Thanks for all the prayers and good wishes and I will definitely get a copy of "The 36 Hour Day." Unfortunately my wife and I have WAY too much experience in dealing with Alzheimers patients. My Mother in Law withered away with it about 10 years ago, so we have more than our share of experience with this dreadful scourge.

May God Bless,
 
 
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