I've gotten several PM's from people who are sensitive to my feelings - especially after the wreck. So first, thanks for the good Karma. Think good thoughts on Friday afternoon as I wend my way across New Jersey to the Cape May Ferry (the effen weather better be mild because I refuse to blow chunks in my new truck or my new trailer... I will hang onto the rail and feed the fish if need be.)
NOTE TO SELF: Take a couple of colas along to settle the stomach - even if they fail, coke kills the acid and tastes pretty much the same even coming up.
I really feel fine, physically and emotionally. I'm not expecting to get in the truck once "Eddie Boy" is hitched and take off without a single qualm, but I've set up a route that will literally allow me to pull off at just about any point and deal with any PTSD event or unexpectedly strong reaction. Thanks for NOT mailing me any adult diapers though!
NOTE TO SELF: A box of kleenex and a big fluffy towel for the seat in the truck, In the trailer a quick change of clothing laid out and ready.
Now last words about the accident - causes and prevention
Had a Reese dual cam - The new Airstream came with a Hensley. I would have bought a Hensley or ProPride if the deal didn't include this hitch. I had 16 inch rims, Michelin tires, centramatics and regularly stopped and took breaks/naps so I wouldn't get road hypnosis. I had new rubber on the truck too, and I'd checked the air pressure in both the truck and the trailer first thing in the morning. I was quite well rested and the weather was clear for the first time in 3 days. Is it possible that I relaxed my guard because the weather WAS good? Yep, that could be a factor. It was the only day I was really enjoying the drive. I usually don't see other Airstreams on divided highways because I'm alone and need to concentrate on what is happening on my side. I do remember glancing over to the other side to see if there were other RV's on the road, and I was actively looking for a campground sign because I wanted to stop rather than push the last 200 or so miles.
I do know that something pulled me to the right and by the time I could react the whole rig was on the hard berm and the trailer wheels on the right side fell off. Whether a brake locked up on the trailer, a "road alligator" got wrapped around a trailer wheel, the trailer broke loose from the tow vehicle (It did, but when? It did buck the tailgate of the truck three times), or something that I didn't feel happened to the tow vehicle I can't tell you. The wind was also quite gusty but not excessively high - so maybe a freak strong sideways wind? It's even been suggested that my spare tire mount might have fallen and dug into the road, or an axle actually broke, or a tank strap broke, fell and dragged. Two days later when I looked at the skid marks there were some white skid marks - I think the tanks hit the road when the trailer tires went off the berm.
Bottom lining the accident - It all happened so fast I could analyze it for years and never get the "right" true, actual answer.
The only thing I know for sure is that I'm 64 and I was driving legally under the speed limit which was 70. What I do know is that my reflexes weren't fast enough to get out of trouble. If I'd been going 55 I still might have wrecked - but I ALMOST got it straight - and at 55 my chances would have been infinitely better.
I am changing hitches, I will hit the scales a lot more often than I have in the past, I will be more careful with all of the details of checking breakaway switches, chain length, hub temperature, trailer brake function... but most of all. I am slowing down.
I am now a "geezer tow" lady. My towing speed will be 55 max. I will take the road less traveled, I will pull off if my towing speed endangers or angers others. I will set a limit of 300 miles per day and DONE.
BTW - quite a while ago "Loudruff" Larry & Lou from Lorraine, OH switched to a Hensley. Larry had been a professional truck driver handling semis for over 20 years. He bought his current Airstream and the seller let him borrow the Hensley hitch to take it home. Within blocks Larry was a convert. I always meant to get around to getting a Hensley... but the money... and it's not like I tow 10K per year and... And my Airstream ended up totaled. Lesson learned. No fuss, no emotional drama, just a wry sense that Larry's testimonial alone should have convinced me to ACT not just to THINK about it.
I also know with abiding certainty that slowing down is more important than getting a ProPride or Hensley.
When I was just a little girl my mother made a remark that she thought that safety glass might actually cause people to be less afraid of driving like idiots - because they weren't going to get their heads cut off by going through the windshield. Goofy as it sounds, there may be some truth to that observation.
I was so lucky not to be hurt, Karma demands I do what I can to save someone else who might be a heck of a lot less lucky. Oh - and amazingly I was NEVER afraid I was going to be hurt. I had on the seatbelt, and for once in my life I was briefly glad I'm overweight - wedged tightly in the drivers compartment. If I were a healthy size eight, I would have rattled around in there and banged the crap out of myself. (The new truck has side curtain airbags... so screw it, I'm exercising more and eating healthier. It was no fun worrying that the EMT's might strap me on a backboard, then drop me head first down the embankment!)
Now let's close this discussion - if anything comes up that changes what I know so far, I'll share it.
May the farce be with you.