A few things have gone wrong with the caravan all at once. The tyre went flat and did some damage, then lots of little things broke like the exterior water lid.
Packing up the caravan to leave Feildings freedom camping site – the caravan coupling just would not attach to the car! I lowered the coupling directly over the tow bar and it sat on top.
After jiggling and pushing everything I could think of, I decided to try a little CRC under the coupling handle.
Previously, when the coupling connection squealed while turning corners, I’d learnt NOT to grease the tow bar as there are friction pads in the UK coupling the can’t get grease on them. So I was very cautious about where I squirted the CRC.
Lifting the coupling handle up and down, there was a loud ping. I lowered the coupling onto the tow bar again and this time it slotted into place.
I was hugely relieved that it was working again, as I wasn’t sure what to do if I couldn’t move the caravan! The park might have become my home for quite a while.
I did do a safety check to be sure the caravan was securely attached to the car. This involves lowering the caravan coupling onto the car tow bar, closing coupling handle, then winding up the jockey wheel to rise the caravan and car – checking it’s still firmly attached to the tow bar. The Trudgians have a great video showing this safety check in more detail.
What do I think went wrong with the coupling? I think it became stiff with age. I think a spring or something HAS broken in the coupling. It use to show green below the coupling handle when it was attached to the tow bar. Now it flicks to red even though it’s firmly attached. I searched online and sounds like it is the safety indicator but it’s still safe to use.
To be extra cautious, I have bought some new friction pads for a better connection to the tow bar and will be sure to check the coupling is firmly attached before towing.
My next stop was Woodville on the return loop.
There are two reasons why I picked to stay at Woodville for two nights:
The town is tiny, with some basic shops and a Four Square (small supermarket). The main road is straight through town.
There is a camping area near town with about 5 powered sites and a grassy area. Go to the local petrol station to pay and get a key for the toilet and shower.
As it was about to rain, I parked on the concrete but paid for a non-powered site. This caused mass confusion that night when a bus turned up expecting to park at site 2 where I was. It really bothered this gentleman that I was there, but when I rang the petrol station, they were so relaxed and wondering what the problem was.
It’s a well maintained area, but right next to the town recycling centre with the sound of smashing glass during the day. You can also hear the highway traffic from the campground.
The loud location made me realise my obsession with finding a shower. I really should start modifying my caravan shower until I am happy with it.
My daydream was that I’d find my wheel spat on the side of the road mainly in one piece.
I drove to the gravel area where I had previously pull over to let cars pass and think this is where the tyre got a puncture. The gravel area looks fine and didn’t have anything particular sharp.
Carrying on down the road I thought I spotted some plastic and pulled over. It was part of the spat! Crossing the road, I found many small parts and started adding them to a plastic bag.
It wasn’t a whole piece like I’d secretly hoped, but I wondered if I could piece it back together like a jigsaw puzzle.
Getting back to the caravan, I found out that it was beyond my skill.
It’s been an unusual trip and has really tested me. But I still love this lifestyle and consider the tough parts as learning new skills.
Do you have any challenging caravan stories? I’d love to hear in the comments below.