Pack Rats, Odessa, and the Fear That the Bumper, Not the Sky, is Falling

While sitting on the couch on Sunday, discussing the trip with my father and my uncle, I learned that my uncle was not merely taking luggage… he was taking everything imaginable… literally everything BUT the kitchen sink.

Alex was taking a small backpack (one big enough for her clothes and belongings, but small enough that she could carry it herself on the way back home, when we hop a bus) and I was taking a medium sized backpack (my clothes are bigger).

My father was concerned about the weight being towed, so Alex and I kept it light. Truth be told, I’d have packed in a backpack for each of us anyway. I’ve traveled for a week long business trip in a carry on and have done just fine, this was a breeze.

So, while we were packing light, my uncle Dennis was taking his fishing poles, his guns, his tackle boxes, his bows and arrows, and his 4-wheeler (which would be towed behind the 5th wheel on it’s own trailer). So already we are beginning to look like a wagon-train. Kinda fitting, I guess, after all, we are headed west. :O)

This does not include his clothing and other personal items, mind you. And the real shocker… I learn that he’s taking a TREE STAND!!! Yup, ladies and gentlemen, he’s carrying something with which to shimmy up a tree and shoot the guns, the arrows, etc. at unsuspecting native wildlife.

The look on my father’s face was simply priceless as he told me about it.

So, we pack all this stuff up and head out. And we make it all the way to Odessa, MO before it all falls apart – literally.

While stopping for gas, Dennis notices that the hitch on the 5th wheel’s bumper is sagging. Then, we discover that the bumper itself has broken down from the weight of the trailer. Let’s face it, travel trailers aren’t made to haul massive trailers from their lightweight bumpers. So it’s 8 p.m. and we are in a truck stop with a hobbled wagon train.

Well, to save you the drama of the whole scene that followed and leave it suitable for most audiences…

We stayed the night at a KOA campground that just happened to be less than a mile away. We had to unhook the trailer, take the 5th wheel to the campsite and set it up to make camp and unhook the truck, then go back and get the trailer and haul it back with the truck.