I had a premonition about this last night when I left Wheatland for Fort Collins. The plan was to drive the 130 miles, camp at one of my secret places nearby, get the van to U-Haul for the hitch installation at 9 AM today, then drive another 40 miles  south on I-25 to pick up my camper.  The premonition was that things would get complicated and frustrating.

Here is how the premonition became reality. Before going to sleep last night I turned on the van lights to see what was growling outside the van. From my vantage point inside the van, I did not see anything  lurking nearby.  Next, I was distracted by nature’s call, after which I snuggled into bed, forgetting to turn off the van lights.  Of course, battery was dead in the morning. Fortunately  I realized this at 8 AM and called my roadside assistance. I was not too far out of town so they came out and jumped the battery. I had, in the meantime, called U-Haul and told them I would be a few minutes late. No problem.

Finally at U-Haul, I did the paperwork and settled into one of  the  waiting room chairs. I knew the hitch and break controller installation would take three hours, so I brought along my entire entourage: computer, Kindle, mobile hot spot, crochet project, books, and water. I stuffed the large wad of cash for the down payment on the camper into my bra (I am out of checks), and I was settled in for only minutes before I was informed that the hitch was not in.

U-Haul Faded Sign

U-Haul Faded Sign (Photo credit: Lost Tulsa)

This was not a simple error. U-Haul rescheduled me twice because the hitch was not in. I have been waiting two weeks, and I rearranged my day off.  I called yesterday to check, and I was assured that the part was in. I drove 130 miles, one way. So, I am more than surprised when I hear that the hitch is somewhere besides here. The service people tried to find one nearby with no luck. They could get it over-nighted no problem and install it on Saturday, but I must be be back in Wheatland for the Fair Parade Saturday AM (another story for another day).

I needed to think this through; logistics are complicated when you live out in the boonies and must coordinate with civilization now and then. I had a raging headache because I only had one cup of coffee,  and I asked if they had some coffee for me while I pondered scheduling.  No coffee for waiting customers. I asked where the nearest place is for me to get coffee to go and tell them I’d be back in a few, after I had some time to think.  Oops, they could not  find my key. Finally it surfaced, I packed up the entourage, checked my bra, and took off, counting to ten backwards and forwards and wearing my best fake smile (the one where I clench my teeth and smile at the same time). I was really trying to be nice to the service people because this was not their fault and being bitchy to these innocents would make me feel even worse.  Besides that, I am a minister and should be modeling grace and compassion, regardless. Ha Ha.

By then, I was feeling jinxed so I drove slowly to the nearby 7-11 and focused on each little task: open the door without denting the nearby vehicle, walk without tripping, pour coffee without burning self.   I got the coffee without any drama (unless you count the guy who unexpectedly came down my aisle just as I was checking to see if the cash was still snug), and made it back to U-Haul in one piece. With caffeine in my veins I was able to think clearly, and we worked out a plan where they would do everything but the hitch this morning, and I would come back (130 miles each way) to have the hitch installed Sunday afternoon.  With the van keys in my teeth,  and the cash snuggled close to my heart, I hauled the entourage and coffee back into the waiting room and settled in again, eager to blog about this. But first, I called the camper dealer and the snarky dude says okay,  I can pick up my sweet little camper—my Half Moon—on Monday camper 3 I often preach about finding a silver lining when life is stressful. So,  I look around for something positive here. Right off I notice that my mobile hot spot is blinking GREEN, which means I am getting 4G service instead of the pokey 3 G that I get in Wyoming.  I attribute this to being in a college town, where the students need fast Internet so that they can buy terms papers online and  browse the porn sites instead of writing their own.  Not long after, I discover another perk to being in a college town on a hot day:  all the handsome dudes in their shorts and muscle shirts coming in and out of the U-Haul place. At least the scenery is good, although the number of tattoos on today’s  young people still amazes me.  I wonder, though , does “good scenery” count as a sliver-lining if the observer is nearly 60?

Fort Collins is an anachronism. So many of the  young men still have long hair and beards, while young white gals have beaded dreadlocks. I smile at this and wonder if I could get away with beaded dreadlocks when I retire.  Back in a jocular mood,  I  decide that the hitch jinx is over and invoke a “mind over matter attitude”.  Still, I will drive slowly and calmly home and hope that last night’s hail did not take out my garden. I vow to stash the cash somewhere safer when I get home.  I wonder, though,   is any place safer than a minister’s bra?

Downtown "Old Town" Fort Collins

4 thoughts on “Hitch Horrors

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