The English language is full of expressions that have more than one application. To back up – along with its many forms – is one of them. For example, as in my last post, backed up is a euphemism for excrement that is not following the protocols of natural processing – or in our case, a blocked sewer line.
To back up can also mean to get behind, as in to support. Or, it can mean to reverse one’s steps, perhaps to start again. We back up our work on the computer to save it. To get one’s back up is to be offended.
When it comes to RVing and towing a vehicle, back up, as we’ve discovered, is not something you want to do, as today’s escapade illustrates.
Spurred on by the success of our first day’s travel – complete with a custom’s officer who kindly overlooked the two strips of cooked bacon we’d not declared – we decided to push even harder today.
We’re spontaneous like that…or, is it excitable?
Anyway, Ric went to bed just after 7:00 p.m. and announced that as soon he woke up, he’d make a coffee, and we’d pull out.
“You don’t even have to get up,” he told me cheerfully, obviously pumped to get going.
We’d parked at Walmart again, and left the tow attached for easy take off.
1:20 a.m., not long after I’d finally fallen asleep, Ric woke up. Riding on his wave of enthusiasm, I got up too, and coffee turned into route planning, and eventually we pulled out of Algona, Indiana just before 4:00 a.m. We had a shared goal in mind: get to the warm weather.
The thick wall of fog that accosted us as soon as we turned on the lights, was unanticipated. Road signs were only visible when it was too late.
“Let’s find a truck stop,” Ric suggested, “I need gas.”
We have an app for that – in fact, we have three or four apps for that – but given my own mental clouding in the morning (especially after little to no sleep), none of them were helping.
“It would be better if I could just read the road signs.”
I persevered and we did manage to find a Pilot about 1/2 hour into the trip. Ric pulled into the fuel lanes, overshooting the pump.
“I’m going to have to back it up about five feet,” he said dubiously. Reluctantly he put the rig in reverse and to our delight we discovered we have a back up camera, and it was a piece of cake – motor home and truck moved as one.
“My mirrors are icing up,” Ric said upon reboarding. “I’m not comfortable driving with fog and ice. Let’s pull over to the restaurant and have an early breakfast.”
Following the advice of the gas attendant, we pulled back out onto the road and approached the restaurant from a separate drive. A long curb at the side of the lot served as a parking spot. The waitress assured us that we were fine and that when it came time to leave we could drive around the building and exit.
Food just exacerbated my exhaustion and with a sudden sense of doom, I left Ric in the restaurant and headed for bed, where I collapsed into sleep.
Not sure how long I’d been out when I heard the engine engage and felt the bus lurch forward, slowly creeping around the corner, and then coming to a sudden halt. With horror, I realized that being in the back of the motor home while it’s moving is akin to being in a boat’s cabin at sea – nauseating. Suddenly, we were backing up and I heard the unmistakable sound of metal on metal and a loud crunch.
“Stop!” I yelled, both for my stomach and the vehicle.
Ric exited and I followed.
“We have a ouchy,” he said sheepishly, indicating the left rear panel of the RV. “Luckily it didn’t knock the tail light out.”
“What did we hit?”
The truck has a few scrapes but nothing that won’t come out with polish. “Thank God for that.”
“Yep, apparently we can’t back up around corners when the trucks wheels are locked in one position.”
Seems the waitress had wrongly informed us – the other side of the building was nothing but a dead-end. With a fair amount of finagling, Ric eventually managed to separate the two vehicles and turn the bus around before setting it all up again for take off.
By the time we were underway, the sun was up and the curtain of fog was slowly dissipating. An hour down the road we pulled into a rest stop and both slept.
At the end of the day, our ten hour travel time only landed us three and half-hours from our departure – still cold, and exhausted.
On the upside, we are in Effingham, Illinois at a lovely campground. A fitting place to stop for the night, given our effing day.
Universe, if you’re listening: We are done with backing up.
Writer, avid reader, former educator, and proud grandmother, currently experiencing life through the lens of ME/CFS. Words are, and always have been, a lifeline. Some of the best adventures, I'm discovering, take place in the imagination.