TRAILER SCARE IN SOUTH CAROLINA!
Last fall, we sold a portion of our Ohio farm to our grand nephew and his wife. It was a tough decision as Audrey and I have spent a lot of time there the last 30 years. When we moved up in the late 80’s, we dove right in to a big project and renovated the main farmhouse on the property, which dates back to 1859. Needless to say, we have many great memories of time spent in this historic home. However, with more time being spent in Alaska and Florida the last several years, we made the decision to sell but keep it in the family.
We moved out of the house last fall but are back this spring to continue vacating the barn and other outbuildings on the property. As you can imagine, we’ve accumulated a LOT of stuff over the years! Tractors, mowers, wagons and a huge assortment of miscellaneous items I’ve acquired through farm auctions (a favorite hobby of mine at one time)…. all must go!
Audrey and I have made a few trips this winter between Ohio and Florida in our 1-ton dually, relocating some of these items. Last week, we borrowed a friends enclosed trailer to make another haul of a few furniture pieces and some family heirlooms we’d like to keep. A friends enclosed motorcycle trailer would be perfect for these items so we were grateful this was offered.
We were told we needed a 2” ball for the trailer so loaded this (and a few other sizes just in case) in the truck. We drove to Jacksonville for the trailer. On arrival, Audrey backed our truck up to the hitch. I had a little trouble getting the ball to slip in to the receiver but, after a few attempts, it connected and seemed to be a tight fit. I crossed the safety chains, hooked to the truck and we were on our way.
It had already been a long day so we spent the night in Savannah and continued heading north on I-95 early the next morning. We were happy to be on the road, escaping Florida’s intense heat for a few days and looking forward to visiting some friends and family in Ohio.
Our truck and borrowed trailer traveled well through Florida and Georgia….then came South Carolina. This is where I-95 gets difficult. Here we encountered some of the roughest potholes and severe bridge/road pavement breaks we’ve seen. And that’s saying something when you’ve driven the ALCAN!
On one of these unavoidable hits, the trailer hitch simply popped off the ball! If you’ve ever experienced this, you know what happens next. The trailer hopped to the extreme left, then the extreme right! I could see sparks, dust and smoke from the tires in the rear view while the trailer lurched violently from side to side and then ramming the back bumper of the truck! We were traveling 65+mph at the time so it was a real challenge to control. Gradually, I slowed the rig and got off the road fairly quick, although, it seemed like an eternity! Audrey and I didn’t say a single word to each other or take a breath until we were safely stopped on the shoulder of I-95. With big, wild eyes, we looked at each other and breathed a long sigh of relief!
Fortunately, I had crossed and hooked the safety chains so we didn’t lose the trailer and the hitch didn’t dig in to the ground and flip. We were also fortunate to have been driving our 1-ton dually. Otherwise, truck and trailer would’ve likely flipped or rolled. It was a terrifying 10-15 seconds for sure! It must’ve been quite a sight from behind. We’re, of course, extremely grateful no other cars were involved in the mishap and no one was hurt.
We contacted A-1 Towing in Ridgeland, SC who came to our rescue. At that point, I suspected we had the wrong size ball for the hitch. Bobby, the owner, confirmed this once on the scene. We needed a 2 and 5/16ths ball. I had checked the fit as usual but this is tough to do on a 2-axle trailer. I wasn’t familiar with this trailer so I should’ve taken more time to be absolutely certain we had the right fit. Hard lesson learned!!
I had a 2 and 5/16ths in the truck so, once at the service facility, we switched this out, made a few repairs to the trailer and were on our way again…3 hours later. The rest of our trip was, thankfully, uneventful. But Audrey refused to help with any driving. Go figure!