Recap: I live in a 36 ft 5th-wheel camper with my wife and four kiddos. We move around when and where the Lord leads to plant/work with churches. Moving from place to place doesn’t necessarily happen often, and it doesn’t always go as smoothly as desired. Previous adventures have included new hitches, wrong turns, and shredded tires, no power, different parks, and small floods, and terrific insurance and body work.
Then, we moved again.
We moved from SW Oklahoma to Oklahoma City on April 30th. Our packing and loading went significantly more smoothly this time around. The new hitch worked wonderfully! We stopped on the turnpike for lunch and were to our destination by 1:30p. Straight shot, no bad turns, no shredded tires – easy peasy.
We were in OKC for some mutual ministry (we administer the Lord’s life and love to the church, the church administers the Lord’s life and love to us) for the month of May. The plan was for us to park the rig at the home of one of the families in the church. They had spent a lot of time and money preparing a place for the rig to park and hook up, and we were looking forward to staying there. This was the destination at which we arrived. A little time to back in to the designated spot, a little time to set up, and no time at all to start fellowshipping with the saints. Done deal.
So, we begin to back in. It’s a narrow residential street, so the turns are tight. Mailboxes and trees pose as obstacles, but I’ve got three or four guys there to help me navigate the surroundings. After some time, admittedly a little longer than I would have liked, we get the rig backed into the spot. We’re situated between the house on one side and three trees on the other side. If I didn’t have to slide out three slides, we’d be done. However, I do need to slide out three slides, and the trees are in the way. I’ll now need to maneuver the rig to where the slides will fit between the trees. No big deal.
April in Oklahoma is generally a wetter month. “April showers bring May flowers” so they say. April showers also bring soggy soil. While the area for the rig was graveled, the yard leading up to it was not. And it had rained earlier in the week – early enough to give the impression of dry ground, but not early enough to actually be dry ground. And Great White Hauler isn’t a four-wheel drive vehicle. Soggy soil plus heavy machinery does not equal a good combination.
The first few times GW bogged down, we were able to bail him out. Each time, however, grew increasingly more difficult. Finally, after a couple hours (or more) of positioning plywood and two-by-fours strategically under the tires, we weren’t going anywhere. So, there we were, the camper on the right ground but not in the right position, and GW still connected and totally on the wrong ground and in the wrong position. If we didn’t have to live in the thing, we maybe could’ve waited a few days for the ground to dry out. And we had considered that until we looked at the forecast: more rain on the way in the next couple of days. Translation: no dry ground for a while. We were good and stuck. Time to call for help.
Tow Truck Hero to the rescue! A not-so-easily-surmountable ditch rested between the rig and freedom, so the going was slow. Well, not only was that an issue, but remember the narrow street? The tow truck couldn’t position itself for a direct pull out. Besides, the truck and the rig wouldn’t fit perpendicular on the road; we’d be in the ditch on the other side. So, we had to pull the rig back out onto the road at an angle. Oh, and remember the mailboxes and trees? Yeah, still issues. This was not an automatically given task.
After another hour or so, my wife, along with a few others, couldn’t watch any longer; they had to go inside. That was probably a good thing. It got uglier before it got pretty. I didn’t know the truck and trailer could contort like that and still hold together. But hold together they did. We narrowly missed trees. Our buddy, whose house it was, feverishly cut back tree limbs as Tow Truck Hero slowly inched the rig out of danger. We filled the ditch with bricks and boards and anything else we could find to bridge the gap. All was looking good until we heard the creak: the steps below the front door of the rig were digging into the ditch and bending off the rig. The dreaded ditch blocked our passage to freedom.
Therefore, the steps had to go. TTH skillfully backed the rig up just enough so a couple of guys could remove the steps. It was either lose the steps or lose the steps. We chose to lose the steps. After they were removed, TTH had all the clearance from the ditch he needed. After several repositionings of his truck, he painstakingly drew Great White Hauler and Ginormica to safety. We were finally clear.
I reinstalled the steps, and Bridget and I then took the rig to a nearby RV park. I remember joking on the way, “I hope they have pull-thru sites.” They did! We pulled thru, set up, and headed back to the house where our kiddos were still hanging out. Over 7 hours after we were supposed to be blissfully settled, we finally were. Though not at our original destination, we now had a bath house, laundry facility, and indoor pool all within a short walk from our rig. While it wasn’t what we had planned at all, the Lord, once again, took care of us.
Thus ended this moving daze adventure. And we lived happily ever after…