We knew that life on the road would bring its own set of challenges. We knew we would have to stretch our collective problem-solving skills. We knew that sometimes frustration and disappointment just happen. What we didn’t know is that we wouldn’t even make it out of the driveway before we experienced all of that. We didn’t know that we would only get 3.5 miles down the road to spend the first couple of nights at my sister’s house!
Have you ever seen someone at the airport (or been that someone) repacking their whole suitcase near the baggage check-in? Maybe they’re going on an extended trip, brought a great big suitcase and packed it extra full to take all the necessities, but when they get to check-in they find out their suitcase is 20 lbs. overweight. Stressful, but manageable. There they are sitting on floor by the wall with their belongings strewn about, deciding what can stay and what has to go. Shift a little of their clothes to their carry-on, maybe send some things back with whoever dropped them off at the airport. They make it work. Now imagine that they take their suitcase back to check it in, it’s within the weight limit, but now they measure the suitcase and the dimensions are too big.
Back to the wall, where their mind is racing, trying to think of possible solutions. Can they smash the corners of the bag to get it under the dimensions? Can they just take their carry-on bag? Can they switch to a different airline that allows larger bags? Is there a store in the airport that sells suitcases? Of all the solutions to this problem, buying the new suitcase seems to be the best bet. So what if the price of the new suitcase doubles the cost of the trip or that they could have looked online months ago for the baggage requirements and avoided the whole fiasco?
Let me back up a little to Tuesday, the day before we were planning on leaving. It’s a busy, whirlwind kind of day of packing up our house, storing things in the garage, running errands and general last-minute preparations. As the day wears on, we keep packing our stuff in bins and loading it up. We try a few different Tetris moves to get everything to fit perfectly. Have I mentioned that Marc is a master of Tetris packing? We’re feeling good, but tired. We are wrapping things up, getting ready to hitch up and drive to Katie’s house where we are going to spend the night before we shove off in the morning. I’m inside mopping the floor and Marc comes in with the most disappointed look on his face, and says, “Its just not going to work…it’s too low…”
Now mind you, we know that the hitch, just because of the geometry of the RAV4, sits low. We’ve been on several trips to work out the bugs, know how it’s towed behind the RAV4, and Marc has spent countless hours trying to rearrange the configuration to give us just enough clearance to safely tow while still able to use a bike rack. We’ve felt pretty prepared for life with the camper. We’ve packed and unpacked the car and camper, we know how much space we have and how much stuff we can bring.
It was definitely a weight problem, too much or distributed wrong, but since it was 9 pm and we were both completely exhausted, we decided to go to Katie’s to get a good night’s sleep, and re-evaluate the situation in the morning.
We were right, the morning brought some new perspective and energy, and we headed back to the camper and spent the morning unpacking and repacking things, and some major weight redistribution and it helped. We noticed some difference in the height of the hitch, but it still wasn’t quite enough. Back to brainstorming we went, feeling a little stupid for not anticipating this major issue. Feeling disappointed that even with all the planning, we still weren’t prepared. We threw out as many different ideas as we could think of over a couple of burritos, but nothing was viable. We were faced with how to figure out a different vehicle to tow with, as we did not think any other modifications were going to work with the RAV.
As ridiculous as it sounds, we ended up going shopping and bought a new vehicle. We haven’t even left the county, and we just doubled our budget for the trip…oops! But we are now back in business with a 4Runner to do the towing and our new day of departure is tomorrow, Friday. I mean, what better way to break in a new car with a yearlong roadtrip?! We are pretty much in a state of disbelief at this point, and are shaking our heads and chuckling at ourselves. What an absurd way to start off our trip, but it is what it is. I have a beer coozie that says, “Don’t look back, you’re not going that way,” and we are taking those words to heart. Now we need to go stock up on some groceries, get a good night sleep, and finally shove off tomorrow!