2/8/13: BAD (Bambi Acquisition Day – Part 1.5)

“BAD” started with a day off from work. I breezed through 101 South toward Airstream Los Angeles.

The Navigation system calmly directed me.  ”Left on Las Tunas.”  There they were…all sitting pretty.

Setting up a VW Touareg to tow an Airstream Trailer is complicated business: 7-pin connector, brake controller, sway bars, equalizer hitch, chains, and electric jack. I read about these things and was eager to see how these things all worked.

It was a lengthy process while the Touareg was getting set up but I had the opportunity to get to know Ken and Michele, who run the Airstream dealership.

Meanwhile, Butters hit doggy jackpot.  All of the staff, Ken and Michele, fed Butters treats.  Below is cookie number 7 from Michele.

And here’s Butters in Ken’s office, working on cookie number 9.

Greg, the service manager and his team spent a couple of hours on the rig set up.

And voila! Bambi and Touareg were hitched!

Greg took me to RV driving school in the parking lot next door.  School consisted of Greg explaining the brake controller, learning how to steer, learning how to back up, hitching up/unhitching the trailer.  So one thing I must note here is, this lesson was strictly lecture based.  I did not have a chance to actually tow. Greg explained these things to me while he demonstrated.  This method actually worked well since I’m an aural learner and prefer to hear things and then apply them.

I had made arrangements with Ken and Michele so I could stay overnight in the trailer at the dealership.  The intent was to see how things worked in the trailer and then ask follow up questions in the morning.

After I learned how to unhitch Bambi, I took a drive to the local Bed Bath & Beyond and Target to pick up a few items.  A turquoise bedspread and matching pillow was a must.

Before I went to sleep, a moment of panic set in as I wondered if I would be mugged by bandits in the middle of the night.  I was soon eased by the fact that the Airstream feels secure once you lock everything up.  Worst case scenario, I had a dog with a loud bark, pepper spray, heavy skillet, lots of cooking knives.

Everything went well throughout the night, although it was a little cold in San Gabriel. The portable heater, my fleece PJs, Butters, helped but there was a definite chill in the Airstream. For some people, their morning ritual may be working out, meditation, eating breakfast…mine is brewing cappuccino with a stove top espresso maker. It’s a habit I got into 5 years ago and can’t seem to function without it. There I was in the parking lot, in my Airstream, frothing milk on Saturday morning.

Once Ken answered some questions I had about the brake controller and hitching up, I was ready to take off.  Remember, I had not towed Bambi yet.  I learned about towing through observation.

Ken’s final words to me gave me the final gusto to go for it.  “Remember, if you think it’s going to be complicated or hard, then it’s going to be hard.”

“People will see you and your trailer and will make room for you.  Take your time and stop traffic if you have to.  Don’t worry about them, you do what you have to do.”

“As you get onto I-210, that turn is sharp, so if you have to, cheat and go into the other lane to make that turn.”

I’m so glad he warned me about that turn.  As I set North to an unknown destination Ken’s words of wisdom rang in my ears.  “If you think it’s going to be complicated or hard, then it’s going to be hard.”  He’s talking about fear: the constant inner chatter that holds us back from doing things we want to do.

Towing a 4500 pound trailer behind me for the first time heading North on I-5 through the Grapevine…I don’t know if that was ignorance or courage.

It may have been a bit of both.

(To be continued…)

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