Next time: Valium

By Mir
June 26, 2009

Two long days of towing, and we’ve finally landed in New England with Otto’s family. This is very, very good.

It will be even better once I finish hyperventilating. Which at this rate will happen… never. It turns out that I don’t even have to be driving to end up being completely stressed out by the trip. I eventually ended up just going to sleep at every possible opportunity, because being aware of what was happening was an adrenaline-fest. And I can only take so many hours of sitting there with my heart pounding.

In the course of just two days, we:
1) Had a mower on the side of the road clip a reflector pole, which then came flying at us and hit the underside of our truck (remarkably, no visible damage)
2) Had a woman in a tiny Acura zip up at 80+ mph and cut us off, necessitating a swerve that I was sure was going to flip the camper and crash the truck (remarkably, neither happened, but inside the camper the force of the swerve opened and emptied our pantry, then slammed the door shut on the newly-empty cabinet)
3) Nearly ran over a car that thought the proper response to our approach behind it on the highway was to jam on the brakes (no collision, but a whole lot of swearing) (also: news flash, a truck towing a camper is not the vehicle you want to play jam-the-brakes chicken with, you know?)
4) Realized that towing kind of sucks.

I have already informed Otto that for the drive home he is to pretend that I am Mr. T on The A Team and we’re boarding a plane. In other words, he is to drug my milk, load my unconscious body, and wake me up when we get there. Given his reaction to my various screams of terror, I suspect he is completely on board with this plan.


  1. Mom

    Ouch! So sorry. Hope the rest of the trip is nothing less than marvelous.

    Much love,

  2. Leandra

    Good lord woman! Are you sure my mom’s not with you? The last time they went camping one of their camper wheels came off! (Not that you have to worry about THAT or anything. heh.)

    Glad you made it safely. Hope the rest of your trip is uneventful.

  3. Heather

    I so feel your pain. When we towed our camper to the mountains the first time, the transmission overheated. Stranded on the side of a narrow mountain road is no fun…trust me. The rest of the trip simply perfect.

    Have a great trip and enjoy yourself!

  4. Kelly2

    Every single instance sounds like it happened in CT.

  5. Otto

    For the record, I had the wheel bearings on the trailer inspected – NO WHEELS WILL COME OFF THIS TRAILER, SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT THAT, WIFE.

    I am also looking at getting a set of “bull bars” for the front of the truck, maybe shaped like a steam locomotive’s cow catcher, so we can just shove the annoying people off the road with the greatest of ease.

    Or I could just mix some vodka into your morning beverage …


  6. annette


    I vote for the vodka. Glad you arrived safely:)

  7. Holly

    Otto’s comments are the best.

  8. beth

    I love Otto’s idea to just push annoying drivers off the road ‘with the greatest of ease’. PERFECT! Also, go ahead with the vodka…also, I can attest that IV Benadryl will knock someone out very fast!

  9. Chuck

    Dramamine always made me drowsy growing up. Plus, it prevents motion sickness.

  10. Beth R

    I vote for drugging the milk. Mr. T always looked so goofy as he passed out with a milk mustache :-)

  11. meghann

    I second Chuck’s idea of Dramamine. Over the counter and totally legal! It’s how my dad drove across Kansas the long way with me and my sister when we were kids. I think I woke up once the entire way.

  12. Lucinda

    Sad that many people don’t understand basic physics when it comes to trailers and the vehicles that tow them. My husband pulls a boat almost daily for his job and many times comes home with crazy stories. I’m usually so glad I wasn’t with him as I say yet ANOTHER prayer of thanks that he came home safely.

    It sounds like Otto is an excellent driver so you will be fine. Glad you made it safely and I think drugs is a good plan for the ride home!

  13. mama speak

    The mower story kills me! I can’t believe it hit the underside of the car. Do you know how bad that could’ve been? If it was above and it the hood/windshield??? I’m really, really glad you’re all ok. Oh man….

  14. Ladybug Crossing

    Note to self: Learn from Mir. Do not tow anything behind vehicle – too scary.

  15. jennifer

    Oh how I hate towing things. Even just a little, non-frightening boat. I always think that the slightest swerve is going to send us careening off the road to our death. ;)

  16. exile on mom street

    Don’t you have any of that hemp you were all smoking a while back?


  17. Erin

    It’s not anything like towing a huge camper, but a couple months ago, we drove six hours home with my husband’s brand-new (EXPENSIVE) road bike on a bike rack on the back of our car. I drove most of the way, and it was completely unnerving. I felt like the car was huge and I didn’t know how to compensate (even though the bike was giving us an extra inch on either side and just an extra foot or so off the back.

    We got home and I said, “If we are ever driving with TWO bikes on the rack, you’re behind the wheel.” One was stressful enough!

    All this to say…can’t imagine how nervewracking it must be to be pulling a big camper. Yikes.

  18. carolyn

    Once, my ex and I went camping with friends to Key West. We towed a big camper behind a full-sized van and we ALL HAD TO TAKE TURNS DRIVING!!! A nightmare, let me tell you.

  19. Aimee

    *snort* Kelly2, I totally agree. Those incidents have Connecticut written all over them.

    I agree, towing sucks. We towed from Boston to San Diego. NEVER again. I vote for vodka.

  20. Stephanie

    Oh gawd! I feel for you, Mir! We once had a very bad “wobbling” incident on the highway, when we were driving an old Ford panel truck with VERY loose suspension and towing a trailer. I literally saw my life flash before my eyes…I kid you not!

    I agree…SLEEPING through the trip is definitely the way to go, if you can’t get the drugs. ;-)

    Glad you made it, safe and sound and will be sending “safe travel” vibes for the rest of the trip. :-)

  21. Cele

    one word: Xanax

  22. Heather C

    Ah, I am having not-so-fond memories of hauling a six-horse angle haul trailer over the Rocky Mountains….

  23. Kay

    That sounds exciting!!!!
    I wish I was in the car with you too!

  24. Sara

    Sounds awful! Hope you are able to rest before the next leg!

  25. Anna Marie

    Otto totally has the right idea. Lots and lots of vodka. With a valium chaser perhaps…

  26. Heidi

    Vodka. Yes. Plus, when we travel, he drives and I read aloud so keep him entertained–and more importantly, it distracts me from the nuts on the road. Time flies, and it’s much less stressful.

  27. djlott

    Is your right leg sore from “hitting the brake” from the passenger side? My DH does not appreciate my unavoidable gasps while he is driving, but he has to put up with them since he needs me to talk to him while he drives.
    When we drive in his big pickup, with the camper and towing a humongous horse trailer, we might as well have a bulls-eye painted on the sides, front and back. Seems to attract all the idiot drivers out.

  28. Brigitte

    I managed to avoid the idiot drivers the one time I drove a loaded camper van with boat, giving my dad a break while on the quiet VT part of the highway. Then it turned out part of the highway had standing water, which I hit at about 60 mph. No thanks, never again!

  29. Karen

    Yes, Connecticut absolutely.. particularly I-95 New London and New Haven corridors!

  30. Jenny Ryan

    Yes, Valium is very good for these kinds of situation. Also Xanax. I’ll have to tell my husband about your Being-Mr.T-Strategy. I have a feeling he would be a big fan of that as well. :)

  31. PattiH

    Reminds of when I had to tow my parents’ 30′ trailer w/ my dad’s truck because he was too sick to drive home … White Mountains, NH through Boston, over the Tobin Bridge on a hot Sunday afternoon in August. I was 18. As my mother started to leave with my father in my car I asked her, “Aren’t you going to follow me?” Her reply: “You think I’m going to watch?!” And yes, she drove away.

  32. Katie in MA

    I second (third? fourth?) the Dramamine. Or let me know where you are and I’ll send the rest of my Valium that did NOT work for my flippin’ plane ride. Maybe you’ll have more luck.

    Also? Otto is particularly hilarious when he’s trying to calm you down. :)

  33. Nancy Mehegan

    Towing is the worst! I shiver still, remembering towing a friend’s U-Haul over the Tappan Zee Bridge in Connecticut. But we must be intrepid!

  34. kate c.w.

    Helpful tip for keeping stuff in the cabinets… bungee cords. When I was younger, my dad towed a big trailer and he had WADS of bungee cords. They crisscrossed all our cabinets, fridge, and whatever else we could hook ’em onto. We would snake them through handles and under knobs, every which way. It looked nutty, and added a few extra minutes preparation for each tow, but were well worth the effort. Our stuff stayed put. (Plus I thought the process was great fun.)

  35. Danielle-Lee

    OMG, I got all heart-pounding, palms-sweating just reading all that.

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