Having been a liability defense lawyer for 20 years, I know the tragedies that may befall us when we do not practice reverence toward things that can kill us. Ladders, dynamite, wood chippers, sawzalls, fireworks, gradalls, methane gas, scissor lifts – you name it, if someone can injure themselves with it or on it, I’ve borne witness to the unfortunate results. (As my Torts professor used to say, “There’s always a fool who will attempt to trim his toenails with the lawn mower.”)
Because of these cases, I have a developed a healthy respect (bordering on irrational fear) for heavy machinery and all things flammable. For example, propane scares the crap out of me. And, I don’t care how many times I confirm that the electricity has been turned off, I simply will not fiddle with electrical wires. Did I mention that electrocution case?
It is with this knowledge that I approached towing the toad for the first time. And I’ll be honest with you: I became Scaredy McFraidy from Fear Town (which is just outside Panicville, in case you want to look it up on a map).
I picked up the Honda from the welder last week, and he was kind enough to give me a half-hour tutorial on the Roadmaster Stowmaster towing system and the Brake Buddy secondary braking system for the car. The more he talked, the more I realized that I had a lot to learn. Before our little chat I expected towing the vehicle would be easy, because of my towing experience with FiFi. Au contraire, mon frer.
As I sat on the ferry on the way home, I frantically dictated notes in the iPad so as not to forget any of the details he bestowed upon me. I then painstakingly read through the manuals for the towing system and the braking system. I planned to practice over the weekend, with the assistance of my friends in Port Orchard.
Then the weekend came, and I didn’t practice.
I made excuses like being too tired and having too many cocktails at the poker party the night before, but the fact of the matter was, I was paralyzed by fear.
What if I failed to properly attach the Roadmaster to the CR-V, resulting in my own car passing me on the freeway as I observed, “Wow, that looks a lot like my car!”
What if I forgot to put the car in neutral and to unlock the steering wheel, burning out both my transmission and all four tires?
What if the secondary braking system did not work, pushing the RV into the traffic in front of me?
On Monday, I knew I could not stall any longer. Rhonda and I are leaving this Thursday for Lake Wenatchee for a wedding, and it is imperative we have a car to travel from Lake Wenatchee to the wedding events.
Put on your big girl panties, tighten up those bootstraps, and get going, Tammy.
First, the Roadmaster. What a dream! There is no comparison to the creaky old archaic towing system on the 1955 trailer. You only have to be parked in the general vicinity of the RV in order to hook the car to it, because the tow bars adjust by sliding. The hitch cover, brand-new and state-of-the-art, leaves no question as to whether you are on the ball and locked.
Now, the Brake Buddy. I must admit to a rather steep learning curve on this one, but with Ken’s help, a new battery for the remote control, and several readings of the manual, it works. Mostly.
On Monday evening Ken and I drove Nellie and the toad all around Port Orchard, including down steep hills and in a vacant parking lot at the high school. I practiced braking and turning, verifying that in the tightest turn the car will not impact the RV. Bless Ken’s heart, he even rode for a little while in the toad to confirm the braking system was working. When we returned, Ken and his son Wes helped me unhook everything.
I don’t know about you, but so often I build things up in my mind to be more difficult than they really are. Then, when I finally undertake the task, I am surprised and relieved to learn that all things are possible. A little sweat, a lot of ingenuity (not by me, but by the inventors and manufacturers of all of these towing products), and hard work will repay you one hundred fold.
Am I saying I’ve got this all down pat? Heavens, no. But I’m on the way to shedding my fear of towing the car, much the way I am no longer afraid of operating the awning. Time and practice. Time and practice.