The Hitch Saga
My dad used to say he had a hitch in his get-along. Dad was never west of New York, so where he enjoyed using this western cowboy term of the 1800s is beyond me. The term enjoys several meanings. One is a horse’s jerky gait.
It was also a useful way to describe how a person was feeling, “I’ve had a hitch in my giddy-up the last couple days.”
In my case, the hitch is a piece of metal that cost me almost 20 days of constant frustration. It totally disrupted my carefully planned timetable of learning how to back up.
Here’s how it began… Katie delivered the Casita to me on the 15th of July. The plan was for her to unhitch and go check in to a local hotel for a few days. She would spend some time showing me all the tips and tricks of the Casita. She would also help teach me how to tow the Casita. That included backing up… A much-required skill I never knew.
All of July in Arizona is miserably hot. The hot sun toys with bubbling temperature gauges with plus 115 degrees. Although August brings the monsoon humidity, in 2017 it arrived in July. Such weather drove us inside within minutes. It was too hot to work more than 15 minutes outside.
The trouble began when the Casita coupler wouldn’t release the hitch ball.
This is the picture after three days. We finally had to pull the hitch pin from her van and let the still-attached-ball assembly hang down. It would be another day before we figured out how to get the coupler to release the ball. Despite using a 5-pound hammer, the solution was a simple tap with a screwdriver. <sigh>
I recall my first experience buying a new truck. Once I decided on the model, I was asked what bumper I wanted. A bumper is one of the hundreds of accessories associated with building your own truck.
So is the hitch.
If you ever stroll through the parking lot of an RV parts store, check out the various hitch configurations:
I just needed a modified basic model from this………
I will be towing the Casita with an anti-sway bar. It looks like this:
Notice that tiny shiny ball?
My modified hitch has its own tiny shiny ball on an extended tab:
Unfortunately, the hitch has a two-inch drop. I need the same configuration with a two-inch RISE. It was another eighty dollars and two days before I finally had the correct hitch to tow the Casita. You can see the extended tab reflected in the bumper.
By the time I bought this hitch, Katie had left. Now I was faced with the proper hitch and still had never towed the Casita or backed up.
I figured that was just a minor detail. At least I knew how to hitch up. So, I did and discovered at least two things.
To safely tow, the tow vehicle and the trailer must ride level.
NOT LIKE THIS….
The first discovery was a visual one. The Casita and the Toyota were not level. One reason could be my hitch. It wasn’t the proper height.
The second discovery happened less than five minutes later. When I went to put air in my air bags, we heard a definite hiss. Although I hoped it was only a leak in the air line, my airbags were seven years old.
A trip to my car shop confirmed I needed new airbags. Four days later, and almost three hundred dollars less in my almost depleted budget… I was finally ready. I had the proper hitch and anti-sway bar attachment. I had new air bags. It took more than 25 days and a bunch of money from the day Katie drove my Casita up to my front door.
But I was finally ready to learn how to back up.