The third Monday in May, also known as Victoria Day, is the first long weekend that Canadians across the country get out and celebrate the promise that summer is returning to our home and native land. By this time of year we have usually had lots of sunny days, the lawns have been reacquainted with mowers, trees are showing signs of green and a few brave flowers have flashed pretty faces.
This special weekend, gardeners flock to greenhouses, picking through selections of bedding plants, perennials and shrubs. They purchase colourful plants in anticipation of digging in soil that is no longer frozen. They have visions of showy crops being produced later in the year by their favorite flowers and vegetables . People are out in t-shirts and flip-flops enjoying the heat, or hiking a favorite trail, even just sitting in their yards or on their decks watching the birds nesting nearby.
We pack into campsites and RV parks until there isn’t an empty site to be found. We set up our chairs around a blazing fire pit, dust off the portable BBQ and are determined to enjoy the weekend. I say determined because the May long weekend has a reputation for sometimes being a challenge. It isn’t unheard of to get one last blast of very cold weather that may even involve snow.
I packed Rhoda and got her ready to take a shake down trip. My intentions were to make sure I had everything aboard that I would need when I leave on vacation. I had the tire pressures all where they needed to be, had installed the Tire Minder system and run a test.
I had the Blue Ox tow bar in the receiver hitch, all ready and waiting for my tow car. Batteries charged, propane and water tanks filled, gas in the tank. Ready for adventure!
I have towed trailers of various types behind cars and trucks before but I have never towed a car behind a Motorhome. This was going to be another first. Rhoda was parked and ready to be hooked up. Turns out that it is quite easy to hook up a toad (towed vehicle). Pins all in and double checked, cables attached, car in neutral, accessory fuse pulled. Check. All that was left now was for me to install the supplemental brake system for the first time. I had done some research before making this purchase and it looked simple. I printed off directions so that I could have step by step how to, right in the car with me and began.
Driver’s seat back, set brake box on the floor, hook up the control arm to the brake pedal, plug in the break away cable, plug the brake into the auxiliary power outlet, move seat forward until the brake lights come on then back the seat up until the lights go out again, run the set up sequence. Easy peasy! Why am I getting that message on the screen to reposition control arm??? OK, no big deal, I must have missed a step. I reset the whole system in case it had old data interfering with my set up.
Begin again. I go through all the steps. Same result, and again with the same results. Why am I still getting that message on the screen to reposition control arm??? I know, I know, doing the same thing over and over expecting a different outcome is not a good sign. I had to be doing something wrong….. For me, nothing beats seeing it done so I decided that I was going to have to book an appointment at the RV dealer and take a lesson. Then it dawned on me that there was probably a really good lesson already out there somewhere on YouTube. A quick Google search and I found one. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5AJguZluBHM I was right! I was doing something wrong but that was because I was following the printed directions. They were in error. This time when I went through the sequence the brake completed the automated setup, giving me a thumbs up. Well, not literally a thumbs up but I did get the number 5 on the display screen which basically meant the same thing, “Good to go.”
It was a little tense for the first few turns in and around the neighbourhood but I soon realized that this was no more difficult than anything else I had towed. I parked for the evening, thinking I might have a campfire and sit outside for a bit. May had other ideas! Growing up in the north, I consider myself fairly tough when it comes to the elements but this was too cold for me and my flip flops. I cooked inside hoping that would warm things up but in the end I fired up the furnace for a while. I knew “I” wouldn’t need the furnace to run all night, just enough to take the chill off the air would do for me. Brrrr. I shivered all night. Finally around 1:00 a.m. I got up to check the thermometer on the wall. It was reading +4C (for my American friends, that is about 39F) I surrendered and turned the heat back on. This was great practice for mountain camping.
The next day, I called it all a success and headed home with a 2 page list of items to add before my next Rhoda Venture trip. You probably already guessed that warmer PJ’s and footwear made the list. 🙂