Long Road Home
So this past Sunday July 31st we embarked on our journey home. Just before we left we found out that the running/clearance lights stopped working, so it's daytime only for this trip. We embarked out right at the break of dawn at 6:40AM.
Our trip started in Bedford, VA, we took US-460 over to Lynchburg and then took US-29 South towards North Carolina. After hooking up with I-85 we stopped for breakfast at about 10:00AM. The we got back on and took I-85 further south to meet up with I-77 in Charlotte.
Man am I glad we were in Charlotte before noon on a Sunday. The traffic was light, I could not imagine pulling this trailer through Charlotte in heavy traffic. Anyways we were soon into South Carolina still chugging away at a decent pace (much better than I expected). Though my poor truck was struggling to get 10MPG so gas stops were frequent as I didn't want to get caught with less than a quarter tank.
On one of our gas stops in South Carolina we watched the door swing wide open and decided we needed to do something. We managed to bungie the door closed from the inside. We need to replace the lock and are probably going to replace the whole door as it doesn't sit in the frame properly anymore. The bottom half of the outside part of the door has been replaced with a metal panel anyways so a nice new door isn't a bad idea.
Once we got to Columbia, we switched highways to I-26 heading southeast towards I-95. That said traffic on I-26 was terrible in the early afternoon (though isn't it always terrible). It was getting to be lunch time and my daughter's favorite road food in this part of the country is Cookout, we see a sign for a cookout in Orangeburg, so we get off the highway. After putting it in the GPS we realize that we're on an almost 10 mile detour to get to this place. We decide since it's a rare treat for her, we'll do it anyways. I was sick of I-26 anyways.
After a brief stop for lunch I let the GPS (we use Waze) recalculate our route home and it says it's significantly quicker to take US-21 south and meet up with I-95. Since I'm tired of I-26 anyways and I love driving on back country roads I go for it. Now I've heard of sleepy little towns, but some of these towns we drove through on the way down, we didn't see a single living soul out and about. Maybe everyone was at sunday afternoon picnics at grandma's house or something.
So after about 90 minutes on this route we meet up with I-95 and are really feeling like we're getting closer to home. We're in the S. Carolina low country so the roads are nice and flat like I'm use to at home. We're making good time and decide that we're going to stop at a KOA in Daytona. I update the GPS to send us there and it says we'll make it by 7:00pm.
Well I'm feeling good about that until we are well into Georgia, the slow going because of the sway in the trailer and the bouncing in the bridges (I'm getting a better hitch soon) kept us off the pace and now we'll be getting to Daytona at pretty close to dark. We decide to instead head to the KOA in St. Augustine. And we set our route there.
After getting through Jacksonville (thankfully Waze sent us into I-295 East instead of dealing with the always nightmarish I-95 through Jacksonville) we are on the home stretch to St. Augustine.
We get to the St. Augustine KOA with plenty of daylight, though the provision store is closed and we have to do the "we trust you" nighttime check-in. So when we get to the spot, the family is hungry. I hastily unhook the camper (this was a mistake I'll get into soon), order dinner, and head out to pick it up along with some breakfast food and drinks from Publix.
Dinner was good and we quickly decided to go to bed. At 1:00AM we are awoken with what was the biggest mistake I made on this trip. See we had intended to keep the trailer attached to the TV overnight, and I didn't think through everything I had to do after detaching. Well I had the tongue jack setup on a block. But I didn't put in the leveling jacks or the wheel chocks. So .. 1:00AM and BANG! The trailer falls off the blocks, the bunk above where we are sleeping slams open and the trailer is rolling. I will easily put this as the #1 scariest moment of my life. And it happened to be the luckiest too.
So the trailer stops rolling. We quickly get dressed and out of the trailer to survey what happened and fix it. Well when the trailer fell, it started rolling downhill towards my TV. Thankfully I never pulled the hitch out of the receiver and the trailers tongue hit it and stopped on the platform that holds the LP tanks (which I dont have). Resulting in only very minor damage to the stand on the tongue and no damage to the TV or the hitch at all.
So now at 1AM I'm putting the wheel chocks in and putting the leveling jacks in. We spend about an hour calming down and end up back in bed. We get a very restless sleep for the rest of the night and then are up in the morning. We quickly hook back up, check out and get on the road.
Thankfully the rest of the trip was uneventful, though as soon as we got into Palm Beach County, the other drivers started driving like I remember them to, so we quickly exited the highway and took the surface streets the rest of the way. Got home about 2PM and managed to get the trailer backed into the driveway (first time backing a trailer of any real size).
It was an exciting and long trip home. A total of just over 900 miles of rolling hills leading flat land. We could have gone faster taking I-81 over to I-77 out of Virginia, but there are mountains that way and we didn't want to drive over mountains never having towed a TT before. Glad we made it home safe and am looking forward to remodeling our Sunnie and getting her looking amazing soon.
1983 Sunline T1950
2006 Nissan Titan 4x4 Towing/Off-Road Packages