Thursday , May 25 2017
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Remember, be sure to lube your fifth wheel hitch

By Kimberly Travaglino
Founder, Fulltime Families

They say, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions,” and we totally agree – having driven down that road one too many times.

Today, we ALMOST got a truck stuck to a fifth wheel. Well, that’s not exactly true. My husband, Chris, totally got a truck stuck to a fifth wheel. Mind you, it wasn’t his truck OR his fifth wheel.

It was the McCloskey’s “new to them” set up. But, before we get into the whole, “oh shoot, it’s totally stuck” part, I want to talk a bit about their story – which I find both interesting and inspirational.

The McCloskey’s have been in Menifee, Calif., for a few months. They were fulltiming in a Class A, but they really didn’t want embark on their “big trip” until they found a fifth wheel with just the right layout for their family of five.

I had been Facebook friends with Margie McCloskey for a while, but we hadn’t actually met in person until we pulled into the Wilderness Lakes Thousand Trails in Menifee.

It was a serendipitous meeting, as the coast-to-coast Trips pulled in on the same day.

Margie told us that they had actually bought a rear kitchen fifth wheel through a repo auction and they were looking to flip it to get a bunkhouse.

After touring the Trips camper, which originally was a rear living room, Margie and her husband, Sean, were inspired to keep the rear kitchen and redesign the living space.

So began the demolition (Chris’ contribution) and construction (Allen and Margie Lundy’s contribution) on the fifth wheel.

The McCloskey’s added two bunks in the main living area, tore out the majority of the carpeting and replaced the flooring with vinyl tiles and painted the walls. Looking at it makes me feel that our long hard search for a bunkhouse was in vain.

Although we like our bunkhouse, being in the Trips or the McCloskey families’ RVs feels so much cozier. (Ug! Did I really just say that? How could living in 350 square feet of space, regardless of the configuration, not be cozy?)

So back to getting it stuck. Well, after we ripped out all the resale value of their camper, we quickly pulled up the stabilizers and headed out of town for what was supposed to be six months.

We made it a month before the moving bug got the best of us, and we pulled back into Menifee to help the McCloskeys tie up the loose ends of their remodel and to enjoy the company of the “other Margie” and her Lundy Five.

In anticipation of their eminent departure, the McCloskey’s bought a 350 dually that came equipped with a king pin, brake controller and fuzzy carpet on the dashboard.

The king pin was just on the verge of the privileged title of “antique” but the men (Allen, Chris, and Sean) went with – “they don’t make ‘em like this anymore,” and hooked up the fiver. Did they need to move the camper? No. Where they going to pull it out of the spot? No. Back up a bit? No.

Just like the little boys sleeping peacefully in my bunkhouse right now, it was a toy the big boys (okay, Chris) couldn’t resist.

All was going well, until it came time to detach the truck from the camper. That’s when they realized the enormous collection of rust on the BOTTOM of the hitch.

There was much, pulling, tugging, gnashing of teeth – but the two would not come apart. So more pulling ensued followed by tools generally intended for uses that were employed to “gain leverage” and “pry them apart.”

Eventually, after 15 minutes or so, the guys were able to free the truck from the grips of the hitch, but not before they considered unbolting the king pin from the truck bed.

Tonight’s lesson – don’t let your good intentions cause your friends grief.


Kimberly Travaglino is the author of “How to Hit the Road,” a comprehensive step-by-step guide for making your family’s full time RV dreams a reality. She also serves as the editor of Fulltime Families magazine, a company that supports risk takers, pioneers and enlightened families blazing their own path across the country.

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Do you have a story to share? Let's RV welcomes contributions from other RVers about their travel experiences or other issues of interest to RV owners. To submit a story, email editor@letsrv.com.

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