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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

How “Not” To Hook Up To A Trailer.

Well old Willy wins the Darwin award again.I got away with this simple careless oversight before,but this time it came back to bite me big time.

Monday morning as I was preparing to leave Tucson’s Gilbert Ray campground,I decided not to rush as it was a nice sunny morning and I only had just over a hundred miles to go that day.

As I was backing up to align the hitch/ ball…I use a mirror but the glare was causing me to not see it properly and consequently I bumped against the hitch…..I moved the truck foreword a few inches and jumped out to see where I hit,forgetting that it still was in drive(a cold motor still on high idle)……..As I reached the rear of the truck I noticed it inching forward on its own……As I turned to scramble back to the open drivers door to stop it,I slipped on the loose gravel falling flat on my face……I got up again as it was gaining speed and made another attempt,falling again as the truck went over the embankment across the road…….And this was the result.

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As I lay in the road face down watching this dilemma taking place,a crowd of neighbours came racing from all directions to see if I was ok….But alas,all was ok outside of some scratches and reopening of some knee wounds that I acquired when I tripped over the hitch on the first night leaving Texas……Time to hang up the driving boots you say?

As you can see it actually sheared off a sizable Palo Verdi tree and in the first shot note that the branches of this very thorny tree did considerable scratch damage all the way back to the front doors.I had actually removed most branches before taking these photos as the (picture taking) was an afterthought as I was waiting for help to arrive.

It would not move when I tried to drive it back out….Just dug in until I realized that the front suspension was hung up on the broken stump of the tree I just flattened.And it was no small tree.

The park host for our area went and got one of the maintenance men and a chain saw on a long pole,I guess used for trimming trees up high,but perfect for this job as access to the stump was surrounded with cactus….Well,he cut out one section and the truck dropped,jamming again,so he cut another section and this time it freed the front suspension and I was able to 4 wheel it back to the road.My heart sank as I backed into my campsite, the truck steered funny and was making strange noises,but it was the first time I had ever used 4 wheel low and wasn't familiar with the resulting experience.So after going back to 2 wheel it seemed fine.

I did a once around in our camping circle then after thanking everyone for there help,took off to the commercial area just outside the park to a garage where I have had work done before on my Jimmy….They put it on the hoist and inspected the underside……It seems that the annoying heavy duty skid plate that has to be removed every oil change was my saviour this time as it took the brunt and all was well…..The mechanic wouldn't accept any money for his service but he got paid anyway.

Outside of the many scratches and a broken grill trim,I’m amazed at the lack of damage considering how large the tree was.

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Id say that is one tough old Texas built Yota.


The remains of the stump centre right and the rest of the tree dragged back for access to extract the truck.

So with wounded pride and truck, I Carefully”hooked up and departed for the 14 day BLM boondocking spot at Why Arizona.

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This particular parking spot is an old favourite that I have used before.I was happy to see very few here this year as its normally more busy,although the new sign at the entrance may be a deterrent as it reads that we may encounter smuggling traffic in the area……Hey,that threat has always been here anyway.And this spot is special as its where I posted my very first blog entry two years ago.

Yesterday morning,being a nice warm day I did a little wander around with camera in hand and noticed a few Palo Verdi trees nearby…..I thought the truck looked a little uneasy with its headlight eyeballs shifting around……But for those of you who haven't seen one close up……They are really thorny,so the trucks paint job didn't stand a chance.

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At least my visiting friend the Phainopepla likes thorny trees.


And finally a shot of the many dry washes here.Very wooded, making this nice free boondocking spot a great place to just relax and bird watch or drink beer if you preferWinking smile


…..Oh! And by the way….The Pima County park officials in Tucson told me I didn't have to pay for the tree damage,so that was a relief.


  1. Well, we have all made our little mistakes from time to time that have come back to bite us. No exceptions!! Could have been worse I guess had you been parked on a cliff top overlooking the Pacific Ocean or maybe had your truck run into the next campsite & imbeded itself in the rear end of one of those big 40 foot diesel bangers. Looks like a cosmetic truck face lift should have you looking all sparkly & new again. Time to hang up the boots?? No way Jose:))

  2. Sorry you had that bit of bad luck...get one of those gel scratch pens those work wonders on scartches, I have a very similar finish on my Chevy Blazer and it hid the scartches perfectly!
    Love the Phainopepla-saw my first last yr when I was camping in AZ reminds me of the northern cardinal only with black feathers.

  3. Yep, we've all had big bloopers, that's for sure. Dust yourself off, and press on! :)

  4. Keep your head up. It's only one of the little bumps on the road of life although I sympathize with you. Better days should be ahead.

  5. Glad you were able to get out of it with just wounded pride. I agree those little incidents happen to most of us, so just carry on!

  6. I have to say, my heart did start to speed up just ever so slightly as I scrolled down the page. It could have been any breed of pick-up, but as I used to own a Tundra 4x4 (03 model) I think there was something a little extra going on there in the heart racing department. Certainly a good thing you didn't somehow get tangled up trying to get back behind the wheel. I've had some "experiences" getting extricated from snow drifts, but that's a whole other story.
    One thing I do know, is they don't like to turn sharp corners in four wheel drive, especially on dry pavement. First time I did that and the thing did that shimmy, I thought there was something wrong. It was just the nut behind the wheel.
    Hope you get 'er fixed. Would be a shame to leave it like that. I'm just saying.


  7. Glad ur ok papa :)

    when you get back at least you know a great painter :P lol
    be safer. :)

  8. I have stayed at Gilbert Ray for many years and It is a fail safe park but Murphys law has a way of creeping up an you. We all have made dumb mistakes which leaves you looking like an idot. Glad you were not hurt. That perticuler sitatuation could have turned out ugly.

    As a suggestion Walmart has back up camera's at a very reasonable price. I have one on my pickup and it is a great aide. You can install this camera yourself.

    John Rosasco

  9. I am just glad that you are alright. Could have been a lot worse, you could have been run over.
    Happy Trails, Penny, TX

  10. I have hit posts before while backing up, and seen others do worse, anything you do is fixable, glad you are okay!!!


  11. When I was young I got my 1959 Volvo fastback stuck in the snow. I put it in 1st, pulled the throttle (remember those?) out enough to keep the rear wheels spinning, got out and started pushing. The car came out of the snow and took off down the street. I ran after it but did not catch it. Luckily it hit a snowbank before it killed anyone! Like I say, I was young.