Travails with the Traveling Princess

Let me start this confession with a confession.  Boy, did I screw up.

And now let me say it was not my fault…exactly.  

And now this.

On Saturday morning, we left the hills of Camarillo with our Dog House and Zoomobile.   The two were not attached given the gravity of the winding road leading down from my cousin’s perch of a place in the hills above the city of Camarillo.  What a spread they have.  Complete with tennis court in their backyard.  Suffice it to say, they have so much acreage, we were able to park our RV in their long, windy driveway and so we did.


Here’s a picture of them in their backyard which would be big enough to handle 5 skinny houses!!

And we decided that we should wait to hook up the car until we went up over the steep pass and down to Thousands Oaks.  As I’m wont to do, I decided to drive the hard part so Rayman could relax.  And off we went.  

Long about Rancho Cucamonga, I had tired of driving and asked Rayman to find a Starbucks where we could coffee up and change seats.   We exited the freeway, and drove to the Starbucks which was located in a shopping center that included a Ralph’s grocery store which I will now refer to as Ralph’s Center.  Rayman jumped out and ran into Starbucks.  I was driving and there was a sudden loud noice.  I didn’t know what it was and so I kept driving.  A noise got louider.  People were staring at me.  I stopped before making another turn and opened the door to the RV.  OMG.  Our Zoomobile was impaled on the brace which was part of our hitch gizmo (a technical term).  How did that happen?  OMG.  Where was Rayman?  Without taking a  moment to think, I jumped out  of the Dog House and ran across the shopping center to the Starbucks, opened the door, flailed my arms and he came to the door.  I said, “I have wrecked the car and the RV.  We need to run over to the site of the accident.  It isn’t pretty and I am blocking traffic.”  

Rayman reacted to this news quite calmly.  I was beyond surprise, seeing as how I was dripping with guilt and angst.  

Here is a picture of the two vehicles.  



Out of nowhere, Wes entered the scene.  He’s our new friend.  While Rayman and he and a few others were talking, I was on the phone with AAA ordering up a tow truck.  It was Saturday.  AAA was busy but would try to get someone to come ASAP.  By the time I entered the conversation with Wes and Rayman, it had been determined that Wes was a mechanical engineer and he had theories on how to dismount a Ford C-Max from tow hitch arm.   So, out came the hammer.  Whack, whack, whack.  Something moved.  But not enough to free up the car.  


Here is Wes.


Then a tow truck driver came and he wasn’t actually the one that was dispatched…just in the area and saw the cluster…k of a situation so was doing a drive-by.  Then the actual tow truck driver arrived, took a picture, sent it to dispatch and announced that he was certainly not going to touch the car or the RV for fear of liability issues…i.e. if he made matters worse.  Really?  Really he said.   After this blog, I will be composing my letter to AAA and raise the question of why their contracted tow truck company would not have liability insurance from AAA?  What the f…k?

So, while Wes and Rayman continued to try other ideas on the car/RV, I called AAA again and asked, “How is this a thing?”.  What were we to do?  Why were we paying for insurance?  It was then that the dispatcher said they would send out another tow truck driver to render a second opinion.  If the second opinion was the same as the first opinion, they would have us pay for the “dismount” and we would have to file claims for reimbursement (which I didn’t understand at all).  But those were the rules of engagement in this particular situation.  Then the dispatcher informed me it would be 90 minutes.  “90 minutes”, I exclaimed.   “We need someone here before 90 minutes.  The RV is up against the curb (almost) facing the entrance to Ralph’s.  Traffic was blocked.  The store couldn’t be happy and, lord knows, we weren’t happy.  And we have a party to attend at 4 p.m. and we need to get this done now.”  

I’m quite sure the party part of the objection was the reason that 12 minutes later, the first tow truck driver that was doing the drive-by showed up.  His name was Robert.  He was by his own admission a big Mexican that had eaten too many tacos and could not get into the car because the door wouldn’t open all the way because the door on the driver’s side was impinged by the bent-out-of-shape wheel cover fender. 

Here is Robert.


But, let me backtrack here and tell you more about Wes.  He had  removed all the pins that connected the RV to the tow bar.  And then he had me drive the RV forward except that the hitch was so bound up by the tow bar arm which was attached to the the tow bar receiver, that the car would not release.  

Then he came up with the idea of jacking up the car.  Sounds simple unless you don’t know where the jack it.  So we researched the location of the jack for the Zoomobile.  And we still couldn’t find it.  So, Wes googled it and found a You Tube video that showed it where it was.   It was so well hidden that I’m going to use the jack location to hide all my jewelry as no one will ever think to find it where the jack resides.  Just saying.  

But I digress.

Once located the jack was employed.  Wes then had me try to move the RV forward again, but, again, nothing would release.   But what did happen is that the tire was no longer on the ground and Wes suggested we try to free the tow bar arm that had jammed between the tire and the axle preventing the wheel from moving.  And that was done and we could not budge the tow bar.  

Rayman then suggested the we use the lug wrench from Wes’s daughter’s car (Wes had traded cars with his daughter in the parking lot where had lunch and she had his vehicle that had all his tools, sadly) to loosen the lug nuts so we could take off the tire… reasoning that the tow bar rod might release.  So, Wes retrieved the lug wrench and the plan was launched.  And to everyone’s amazement once the wheel was off, the tow bar fell to the ground.  The wheel was re-attached.  Mission partially accomplished.   Excitement ensued as evidenced by moi jumping up and down and taking pictures.  

Extricated Zoomobile picture.



To summarize, two guys essentially solved the problem of the RV/C-Max debacle with a hammer, a jack, and a lug wrench.  A job AAA wouldn’t touch.

Circling back to the story in progress, Robert, the tow truck driver showed up as the guys finished up the disengagement work.  He was astounded.   

Then the cop arrived.  

A nice sheriff, Omar, arrived and said they had received a call about our problem.  So while I was admitting to the crime of being in the driver’s seat, Ray and Wes and tow truck driver did what was necessary to get the car towed and that’s when we discovered that Robert couldn’t get into the car to drive it up the ramp of the tow truck (miraculously, the car ran).  So, Rayman forced the door open enough that Robert was able to squeeze in.  Don’t know what would have happened it the door didn’t open at all.  Presumably, the car would still be in the Ralph’s lot.  As it turns out, that might have been okay.  One of the employees from Ralph’s came out with a bottle of water for all involved.  The staff in the store had been watching and they felt sorry for us so they brought water.  Great gesture.

The sheriff in he meantime, ran my license, walked the route I had driven and got in his patrol car and drove off into the sunset.  He was very good looking, by the way.  

But the story of Wes doesn’t end there.  Wes’s daughter had just had some body work done by a shop near by but he couldn’t remember the name of the place, she wasn’t answering her phone, and couldn’t find it on the internets.  We said we would just use a AAA approved facility.  Robert, the tow trucker driver informed us that he would be taking the car to Foothill Auto Body but that they were closed.  Wes announced that Foothill Auto Body was the same place his daughter used.   So, we bid Wes a fond adieu and a hug from me for all his help.  Got his business card and jumped in the RV and followed Robert, the tow trucker driver to the body shop.  After I filled out a form printed on an envelop and sealed the keys inside and dropped the key through the slot, up walks Wes.  With a roll of Gorilla tape in his hand.  He was worried that RV might start flapping.  

What?  The RV start flapping?  Well, the dog house did sustain some damage.  The factory installed ladder on the back was bent out of shape and was torn from it’s mooring.  And a part of the body on the passenger side at the rear of the vehicle had been “altered” so the guys just sort of leaned on it to return it to it’s spot but the work on that looked a bit iffy.  Hence the tape.  Wes was worried about it coming apart and or the ladder banging.  

What a guy.  We were so lucky he was around to help us.  If he hadn’t come to the rescue, we’d still be there or at the very least we definitely would have missed the party.

One other event as if that was not enough.  Our pals Ruth and Tom were on the way down the same day for the same party which was a surprise 80th birthday party in Palm Desert.  When we had been turned down by the first tow truck driver, I sent out an SOS to them.  They were behind us on the freeway by an hour or so and had not reached Rancho Cucamonga yet.  So, they dropped by to see if they could help.  By the time they arrived it had been determined that we were going to be towed, so they left.  What great friends we have!!

We made the party, it was a surprise party that was actually a surprise.  And we had too much wine to drink.  In order to do all that, Tom had come to the RV park which was near Marriott Shadow Ridge Resort where everyone else was staying and picked up us so we could attend.  We were 10 minutes late which was a miracle.  Of course, by the time we arrived, it was too late to set the RV up and so that was left until we returned about 9:00 p.m.  Oh, joy.  But, again, Tom and Ruth were was so gracious to offer help on leveling the rig.  And to our delight, the slide on the passenger side opened.  And after they left us, our heads hit the pillow about 9:45.  

It is now Thursday, the car will be repaired, it will cost $6000 plus, will be done about Dec. 12, and we have a car rental so Ruth and Tom can have their lives back…i.e. they don’t have to ferry us around now.  

In conclusion, it could have been worse.  If the tow hitch had failed while on the freeway, it could have been a disaster.  As it stands now, the insurance company says it will not affect our rates.  And Rayman is unharmed.  Beau is in good shape.  I stand harmed in that my ego was bruised.  Really bruised.  But this too shall pass.




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