So life is full of quick learnings and nothing teaches you how to be better than a complete failure. So today we went to start our big adventure across America. After months of planning, weeks of kitting out Red and planning every step, we set up on the drive and hooked up Red to the car, and pulled away.

A forced diversion

As we pulled away, we noticed that everything seemed fine apart from the fact we needed some gas. When you’re about to embark on a 200+ mile drive, you want a full tank of gas, so rather than taking the freeway to costco before we left, for some reason I took the back routes.

In our area, this involves a few treacherous hills, narrow roads, stop signs and lights along with many irate Kirkland drivers trying to getting a morning cup of Joe before church.

But we made it without issue, even the 45 degree downward hill, not a problem for Red and the Kia machine. And then we hit a bump in the road at Costco car park and it felt so bad.

A speed bump saved our life…

So we pulled into the car park and slowly navigated the speed bumps into the car park, and as we went over the second bump, everything crunched to a halt and Red dipped alarmingly at the front.

I gulped, and croaked out to Monique “I think we just popped Red off the hitch…” Monique looked out the door and low and behold, Red was off the hitch and just attached by cables…

I had to gingerly pull Red over the last bump on cables to get us to the side of the road, and jumped out to see how bad we’d screwed up.

Red mist makes you think the world is falling, and then you take a breath

So we inspected the trailer, and the spare wheel took the impact (very slightly bent but not a big issue, but then we notice the cup the hitch attaches to looks all wrong. “Did it always look like that?” Mon asked me, “I think it looks bent up a bit” I replied.

After a few minutes quietly swearing and panicking, we got our act together. First thing, can we get Red back on the front wheel and off the ground. So this is a 3.5 tonne trailer and you’ve got to lever it off the ground with a manual push wheel. I’m not some strong man, quite the opposite, but in moments of deep stress, the human body can do things you wouldn’t expect.

I tensed and pulled hard on the lever, nothing, I’d forgotten to take out the locking pin…. Deep breath, take out locking pin and pull, grrrrr, and Red was back up, lever locked in place, all looking good.

If your gut says it ain’t right, trust it

So when we pulled away from the house, neither of us was 100% about the hitch being fully on. Our drive is a big hill so you have to hitch at an angle and it’s tough. However, Red pulled nicely and seemed fine, so even though the cap seemed a little high on the ball, surely that was fine.

Seems not, and we’d not hitched properly and Red was not properly connected. When we went over the speed bump, it popped off the ball. How on earth could we make such a rookie error? Seriously, we’re going to go traveling for 7 weeks in a trailer and we couldn’t get the first hitch right?

The universe was looking out for us

So we could of taken this to be a sign that today was not to be the day, but we chose to interpret the incident as a sign that the universe was looking out for us all. Somehow it knew we’d made a mistake hooking up the trailer, and so it sent us over a speed bump in a safe car park to show us.

I’m pretty sure we’ll never make the same mistake now we know, and can you imagine what would have happened had we been speeding down a freeway at 60mph and hit a bump…

Definitely someone or something was looking out for us, and making sure we all stayed safe. Call it divine intervention, mother goddess, or my belief in karma, take a failure as a lesson, not a slap in the face. Pick yourself up, move on a be better, just don’t forget to check your hitch before every trip.

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