Friday, May 28, 2010

Bringing Her Home...

My wife is a Craigslist expert. She regularly shows me campers and other items that she likes so that fateful Sunday morning in early April did not phase me too much when she showed me a 1966 Shasta Compact on her computer. I went along and encouraged her to contact the guy selling the camper. We were the first to call! She talked to him a bit more and as she spoke with him, I listened in to about half the conversation -- gradually becoming more interested. By the end of the conversation, she put her hand on the phone and asked my permission to purchase the camper, sight un-seen!

I guess I must have been in a pretty good state of mind because I agreed. Several hours later, we were two hours north of our home and sealing the deal.

As we were hooking up to pull away, I noticed that there were absolutely no safety chains on the trailer.  Now I have this voice in my head that is my father's voice and I could hear him, clear as day, disapproving of this setup.  I was unsure what else I could do --  Keep in mind that this was a Sunday afternoon - approaching evening and we were two hours away from home. I knew of one home improvement store about 10 miles away that we had passed on the way to get the trailer. I anxiously drove those 10 miles sure that the trailer was going to unhook itself from the tow vehicle and take out both the cars behind me as well as the gem we had just purchased. We pulled into the store and found that it had closed 10 minutes earlier -- lights were dark and no cars were in the parking lot (so I could not even beg someone to let me in).

I remembered passing a 24 hour Walmart about 10 miles further South. As I hit every bump and pothole on the way out of the Menard's parking lot, again knowing for sure that the trailer would be freeing itself at any moment, we made our way back onto the highway and made it to the Walmart after 10 more anxious miles.

Now I did not even know if Walmart would have a safety chain for a travel trailer - but it was worth a shot. So I made my way back to Sporting Goods on a Shasta Wing and a prayer and was pleasantly surprised to see that they had one. Within a few minutes I had purchased and installed, the best I could, the chain. Now, I could at least drive knowing that if she did disengage herself from the car, at least she would still follow me until I could pull over.

The remaining trip was uneventful. The trailer followed us just like a new found lost puppy. The little Shasta seemed to know that she was going to a new, loving home! When we got home, our kids (who were staying with Grandma who had come over to watch them while we made the trip North) came out and fawned over the new camper. My wife and I knew that we had a lot of work ahead of us, but it would be worth it in the end. We started making plans for family trips that night!

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