We had used my car for driving around Branson, and this morning we were getting it back on the tow dolly. The back of our campsite was sloped down, which could have made the re-hook-up difficult. But I got the car on the dolly just right for an easy hook-up, when my mom said that we'd lost the nut off the tow ball again.
Sure enough, the ball just had threads showing under the trailer hitch, and it was angled toward the motorhome. Thank God my mom spotted it when she did! But I had to undo my beautiful dolly-drive-up job, so we could go into town for another nut. No, make that another tow ball, because the threads on the old one were getting worn down.
We asked at the RV Park office, and they recommended Wal-Mart. We haven't had good luck finding towing stuff there in other towns, so we got a Plan B (U-Haul), in case Wal-Mart didn't pan out.
But Wal-Mart came through for us this time. They had the right size ball, with nut and locking washer attached (fat lot of good the locking washer is, though, because we had one of those on the ball with the nut that just fell off). But even better than that, they had the right size ball with a hex-shaped base instead of a round base like the old ball had. AND, they had a tow hitch with a hex-shaped recess around the hole where the ball shaft goes. With both the hex ball and the hex hitch, you only need one (massive) wrench to tighten the nut. "By Grabthar's Hammer, what a savings!"
We brought the goods back to the motorhome. It was past checkout time, but we'd told the managers when they recommended Wal-Mart that we'd be leaving as soon as the tow ball was fixed. We swapped everything out and tightened the nut with our gigantic crescent wrench. Then our neighbor in the fifth wheel next door, who had been a plumber for 35 years, helped us tighten it even more.
We got on the road, but by the time we got to Fantastic Caverns outside Springfield, about 40 miles north of Branson, it was 2:30 already. And then we took the tour, where we rode in an open trailer being pulled through the caverns behind a Jeep. Very nice! Very easy on my mom's ankles. And very easy on the eye.
Needless to say, after an hour's ride through the caverns and then finally having our lunch at 4:00, we didn't make it all the way to St. Louis today. We'll get there tomorrow, and that means a day's delay in the most recent published schedule. Here's the new-improved version:
- Sunday and Monday, 9/16 - 9/17: St. Louis, Missouri
- Tuesday, 9/18: Hannibal, Missouri
- Wednesday, 9/19: Champaign, Illinois
- Thursday - Saturday(?), 9/20 - 9/22: Indianapolis area