30 million people can do this. Why can’t we?

Millions of people in the U.S. can do this. We did it for two years but can’t now. What’s wrong with us?

The morning of departure, after replacing our expensive heavy-duty batteries (You’d Think We’d Know By Now), the forever amateurs took a full 45 minutes just to hitch up trailer to car. It was to us a complicated, heavy business, nothing like our European experience, but still, how difficult could it be?

We’d wound the trailer down onto and up off the hitch so many times we were puffing and panting, slumped over in exhaustion, arms hanging limply, even too tired to curse – at each other or the universe. The salesman had performed the deed with ease as I wrote down every step. Did I miss something? The socket on the trailer should grasp tightly the hitch on the car. Instead it popped on and off again, like a toddler trying to pick up a basketball with one hand. When on the verge of cancelling the whole rotten trip, the socket, for no explicable reason, grabbed hold of the hitch but by that time and in our shattered state we put the right-angle stabilizing thingies on upside-down.

For our next dilemma, all four trailer wheels locked up every time Jimmy barely touched the car brakes causing the trailer to hop like a coyote jumping on prey and making the stabilizing thingies leap off in a bid to escape our inept handling.

“We can’t drive on the interstate like this.”

“I know.”

“Well what are we going to do?”

“I don’t know.”   Our theme song.

I won’t bore you with the technicalities but eventually we safely exited the storage lot and the journey, just into the next state, was fairly uneventful. The sign for Ft. Stevens, an Oregon State Park, was a welcome relief when we blundered on it.

It took three trips ‘round the campground to overcome disparate opinions on the perfect campsite, but we soon got down to the business of playing with all the gizmos. The central heating has the capacity of a blast furnace and sounds like one too. Operated by a remote control – a remote control for the heating and air-conditioning! – it’s another opportunity for marital power struggles and wildly fluctuating temperatures.

The control for the fridge was a little lower tech – a clip on a wire that slides up and down and falls off if you touch it – but seemed to make the difference between ice cubes or no ice cubes. We could see no reason why it should work. Maybe it was magic.

The on-board battery charger got on about its business without so much as a peep until you asked just a little too much of it, and then it whined – loudly.   Hmmm.   No comment.

And lastly, every few hours and completely unbidden, as is usually the case with these things, the electric water pump farted. It never failed to make us smile during the day but was a most unwelcome interruption to a good night’s sleep. Now I switch it off on the way to bed.

The socket and hitch remained temperamental for months. We still are.

Chilling on the beach after arrival in Oregon. That is NOT our trailer. Do you know what it is?

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