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Old 12-27-2010, 09:09 AM   #1
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Wowzah!: By the Grace of God!

Decided to bring "Twinkle" our 30' Excella 1000 back to Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama from a fun weekend of camping this morning.

All went well until I exited the freeway ramp leading to the Post. No ice or snow to deal with, except, suddenly, an elevated curved off-ramp bridge that was absolutely solid with ice and snow.

Was doing about 45 when I hit the edge of the ramp which turns to the left. The combined 53' of pickup and Airstream started to turn counter-clockwise as traction was lost.

I made a slight correction to the right, careful not to "ham-hand" it, and a very gentle tap on the brake as the front of the pickup headed directly for the left hand gaurd rail. "This is it..." I thought, knowing that once the left front bumper hit the gaurd rail the entire unit would jackknife.

By the Grace of God (Yes, I was praying intently!) the rig straightened just enough to avoid catastrophy and I made it to solid pavement without disaster.

Upon reflection:
  1. I'm never going to tow in icing conditions again...The laws of physics will not be mocked.
  2. I'm going to remember that just because a lot of the road is OK, it doesn't mean The State will close unsafe areas just for me. There had already been a wreck on that overpass earlier this morning, but The State left the unsafe bridge open without warning.
  3. Forrest Gump is one of the greatest movies ever made, IMHO, because, yet again, "Mama says Stupid Is As Stupid Does". And I am sometimes Stupid!!
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Old 12-27-2010, 09:50 AM   #2
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Decided to bring "Twinkle" our 30' Excella 1000 back to Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama from a fun weekend of camping this morning.

All went well until I exited the freeway ramp leading to the Post. No ice or snow to deal with, except, suddenly, an elevated curved off-ramp bridge that was absolutely solid with ice and snow.

Was doing about 45 when I hit the edge of the ramp which turns to the left. The combined 53' of pickup and Airstream started to turn counter-clockwise as traction was lost.

I made a slight correction to the right, careful not to "ham-hand" it, and a very gentle tap on the brake as the front of the pickup headed directly for the left hand gaurd rail. "This is it..." I thought, knowing that once the left front bumper hit the gaurd rail the entire unit would jackknife.

By the Grace of God (Yes, I was praying intently!) the rig straightened just enough to avoid catastrophy and I made it to solid pavement without disaster.

Upon reflection:
  1. I'm never going to tow in icing conditions again...The laws of physics will not be mocked.
  2. I'm going to remember that just because a lot of the road is OK, it doesn't mean The State will close unsafe areas just for me. There had already been a wreck on that overpass earlier this morning, but The State left the unsafe bridge open without warning.
  3. Forrest Gump is one of the greatest movies ever made, IMHO, because, yet again, "Mama says Stupid Is As Stupid Does". And I am sometimes Stupid!!

I'm glad you made it home safe! What a tense moment that must have been! When I was bringing our Bambi home this last February I ran into sleat, snow and ice! This was also my first tow experiance! I was slow and kept a good distance between the cars in front of me and then saw 4 lanes of brake lights in front of me! I felt my father (passed away 4 years ago) smack me on the head to GEAR down! I made it home safe but had very white knuckles and needed a stiff drink!

I'm glad you got through it!
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Old 12-27-2010, 10:15 AM   #3
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Recently, I towed a friends 2009 Casita home for safe keeping over the winter. I chose what I thought would be the best roads for the trip home. We encountered high winds, ice, and snow. The Casita towed beautifully and we didn't have any problems.
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Old 12-27-2010, 10:29 AM   #4
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I'm glad He was watching over you this morning.
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Old 12-27-2010, 11:22 AM   #5
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I'd rather be lucky than good any day. Glad you are ok.
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Old 12-27-2010, 11:33 AM   #6
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Glad you made it through that unscathed and I know how you felt after it was all over due to a similar incident that once happened to me. I was in a sporty Toyota Supra one drizzly Sunday morning and as I took a high speed off ramp (too hot) from one Interstate to another, as luck or ignorance would have it, I downshifted at the same instant that the roadway changed pavement type and the ramp banking flattened and my car was instantly 90 to my direction of travel (clockwise) and since I knew it was already too far gone to recover I turned the wheel quite a bit in the direction of spin and the car responded. As the car went all the way around it rapidly decelerated which allowed me to center the wheel at the right moment and continue on straight ahead after grabbing a lower gear and motor on through the ramp like I was Joey Chipwood (Not!) and had intended to do the stunt the whole time. There were no other cars around to see this feat and I know you'll likely be claiming BS, but I know it happened and I carry that thought as a reminder to slow down before curved ramps to this day.
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Old 12-27-2010, 12:23 PM   #7
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Thanks to all of you. Told my wife the Guardian Angels were pushing hard on the back of the AS. Glad to have the Reese Cam Anti-Sway bars working right too. They make a huge difference.
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Old 12-27-2010, 12:46 PM   #8
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thanks to all of you. Told my wife the guardian angels were pushing hard on the back of the as. Glad to have the reese cam anti-sway bars working right too. They make a huge difference.
god is good
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Old 12-27-2010, 12:51 PM   #9
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Sometimes you have to be GOOD to be LUCKY. Sal.
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Old 12-27-2010, 01:27 PM   #10
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So... other than the upholstery on your car seat... you're OK?

The spirit is willing... but but the bladder is weak!


Buy a lottery ticket. Right now your luck is golden... and the car's seat too?
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Old 12-27-2010, 01:36 PM   #11
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Buying a lottery ticket today might be a good idea! The seat's OK...will be stopping by the dry cleaner on the way home...
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Old 12-27-2010, 02:10 PM   #12
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Buying a lottery ticket today might be a good idea! The seat's OK...will be stopping by the dry cleaner on the way home...

Obviously you did the correct thing.

I am wondering what would have happened if you had just engaged the trailer brake with the controller.

I think that would have been my first reaction, but I have know idea what would have happened next doing that on ice.

Anyone know?

As a guy I used to fly with always said: Any landing you walk away from is a good one.

May you continue to have good fortune.

Ken
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Old 12-27-2010, 03:05 PM   #13
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As a guy I used to fly with always said: Any landing you walk away from is a good one.
Any landing you can walk away from is a good one. If you can use the airplane again, it was a great one.

Back when I was flying I realized that there really aren't good pilots and bad pilots. There are only good-enough pilots and not-good-enough pilots. (In some circumstances nobody is a good-enough pilot.)

Congratulations. By the grace of God, you were good enough.
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Old 12-27-2010, 03:37 PM   #14
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Glad you made it OK - always good to have Him watching over!

Those ramps off 565 into RSA are nasty when wet, and much, much worse when icy.

Steve
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