Thursday, November 11, 2010

Our first AAA call.....

All we wanted was to see the Erie Canal.  That's it.  Not a big deal.  As we were driving east from Buffalo, I didn't think that was too much to ask for.  Really.  Another chance at a great history lesson for us all.

Examining the map as we were driving down the road I spotted the Old Erie Canal State Park, just east of Syracuse, NY.  Perfect I thought, what could be better?  I set the GPS and off the highway we went.  So far so good.

Driving driving driving, we get to the park.  Humm, there's a fork in the road and no indication as to what the difference might be.  OK, so we choose the one on the right and off we go to wherever it might lead us, hopefully right up to the canal itself since we didn't want to spend too much time there.  Our goal was to get to the western edge of the Adirondacks that evening.

We round a curve and see just a head of us, the parking lot.  The rather small parking lot with two cars parked in it, one on either side.  Uh oh.  There's no way we were fitting in there and certainly no way we were turning around in there.  If the cars weren't there then maybe, just maybe, we'd have a chance, but not as things stood we didn't.  With plenty of room and grass on either side of us though, we decided to turn around then and there and head back down.  No problem, we've done it before.

We've done it before yes, on dry grass and less muddy conditions.  Apparently, here the grass was wet.  The ground was wet.  It had been raining the past few days after all.  Hello?!?!

Too late.

S started making the turn.  So far so good.

Got half way turned when, oops, the truck wasn't of the tires was spinning.  Then another.  Then all four were spinning.....S emptied our fresh water tank hoping it would lighten the load.  Nope. No luck.  S tried many other ideas and maneuvers with no luck.  Finally, he called uncle and told me to call AAA.  Guess we weren't going anywhere for a while.....

So here we were, completely blocking the road and not able to move an inch.  Cars were not coming in and cars were not getting out.  Thankfully we're not talking about the busy season here, but still.  We had already made friends with those now stuck in the parking lot.  Two older gentlemen who were happy to chat, offer advice and wished they could help.  For two people who were stuck because of us they were really nice!  Well, truth is S offered to detach and move the truck so they could pass, but they declined.  After all, this was quite a show!  And as S put it, this is going to be a live episode of  "Modern Marvels".


OK, so given that we were gonna be here now for a while, we let the kids out and took food over to the picnic tables to have a late lunch.  If we had to be stuck, at least it was in a beautiful place with gorgeous fall foliage!

The kids being kids though immediately set about playing utilizing every tree, stump and guardrail.

It was a Kung Fu Panda moment -


Yes there's a child up in that tree


Soon after we sat down to eat, a police officer drove up.....

S immediately went over and explained the situation.  He came back with a serious face and explained how the officer HAS to report the incident and give us a BIG ticket.  He totally had me, we were not in trouble. The officer was courteous and very business like.  He was satisfied that S had it all under control, by calling AAA that is, and off he went saying he will keep an eye on us.  So far so good, again.

Having eaten I took the kids on a short hike down to the Erie Canal.  Remember, that's why we were there in the first place!

Well, it's basically a river.  No, I didn't expect much more, but it is basically a river.  We talked about the history a bit and enjoyed watching the ducks swimming by.  While down there we chatted with another family fishing off the bridge.  They asked us if we had come down from up above.  I said why yes we had. They asked what's going on up there?  I asked what do you mean?  They said there was a police officer parked blocking the road going up......I said oh, I guess that would be because we're stuck in the mud up there and no one can get through. They laughed.  I deserved it.  It was funny!


After that little exchange we headed back up to the scene of the crime, leaves crunching beneath our feet


AAA had arrived!  Huge truck!!  It was a semitrailer mover!!!


But unfortunately it was the wrong truck nonetheless......Yes, that huge red thing was not enough to pull us out.  Actually, it had the wrong attachment if I'm not mistaken.

Ya know, you tell the operator EXACTLY what it is you have.  I mean EXACTLY.  You tell her that we need a tow truck to attach to the 5th wheel (providing the exact specifications of course) since we can separate the truck from the RV and get the truck out without assistance.  It's the RV that needs to be pulled out of the muck.  No use.  They send the wrong one anyway....

So off we go to climb more trees.


Finally, reinforcements for the reinforcements arrive.  Along with 3 other guys.  First a puny Chevy Silverado.  I mean come on!

Then the big guns show up.  Woohoo!  Now we're talking.

Here you see us, the new arrival, the initial arrival, the pick up truck belonging to the 4th tow guy AND the police car, who has now come up to watch the show.


Let the games begin!

Gettin' the correct attachment set up on the tow truck.  They also got their tools out and followed S's directions to remove our kingpin attachment (have NO idea what that is btw...) so it would fit properly.

Nice wording on the side, no?  Wait, it gets worse.  To try and give them the benefit of the doubt though, they could be using the rugby definition of the word.  Look it up, as my Dad would say.  Either way, there's a grammatical error at hand here.  But who am I to talk....


Back it up boys, nice and slow....

The four shadows you see in the peanut gallery are mine, one of the stuck gentlemen, S, and the police officer.  It was quite a show.  Everyone was riveted.  Not kidding!

The kids by now were safely in the truck watching a movie.  The mosquitos had come out in full force, not to mention big tow trucks backing up, and a movie was the perfect solution.


Oops, dropped all the bits from the toolbox out on the wet grass....


Rearranging things on our hitch and theirs.  Messin' around with stuff.

S praying, please don't break my hitch, please don't break my hitch.....


Aay yaa yay we're tilting.....and the pants are dropping.....Come on, haven't we got enough to deal with?  Do we have to have a peep show as well??


Yup!  He lost 'um.....I hope the kids were well engrossed (no pun intended) in the movie....


At this point S turned to the police officer, who up 'till now was polite though very official and all business, and with a straight face said: "Boy, that guy sure is in the wrong profession!".  Well, that brought the formality barrier crashing down and the officer and S had a good laugh :-)

More wiggling and playing with the attachments....

More praying,  p-l-e-a-s-e   d-o-n-'t   b-r-e-a-k   m-y   h-i-t-c-h!!


One last adjustment and......


Out she comes!



There were a few precarious moments there when the RV was so tilted I was really worried it would completely fall over.  Those moments were pretty quick though which is why I have no photos of them. The whole fiddling, attaching and pulling out time was probably about 45 minutes or so.

These are the marks we left in the grass.  Kind of hard to tell, but we were pretty sunk in there.....


Finally, we were back on solid ground and could separate from the tow truck.  All devices and hitches were in one piece I'm happy to report.


Finally everyone could leave, pants and all.  Thankfully.


Seriously though, those guys were so so nice and really knew what they were doing.  THANK YOU where ever you are!!  The officer jumped in his car the minute we were free of the mud and sped off.  I have a feeling he was hanging around past his shift just to see how it all turned out :-).

Needless to say we didn't make it to the Adirondacks that evening.  Instead of camping in a beautiful location we again ended up at the nearest Walmart, East Syracuse this time.  Funnily enough the signs said 'no overnight parking' but management said it was ok to do so and there were other RVs doing the same, so we joined them.


And so ends our day of the Erie Canal.  Remember, that's what it WAS all about to begin with....


  1. thanks for the laugh! what an experience. hope you'll stay off the grass from now on.

  2. Wow, you guys experienced one of my bigger fears of towing on RV, glad to see it turned out OK. Also I bet you were glad you had AAA to pay for that.