Yesterday was the first day we have driven the RV in rain. We were a little nervous but everything went fine. In fact we were pretty pleased that we were spending the cold (40’s) and rainy day driving because we certainly could not enjoy any outdoor activities. We drove 310 miles from Watkins Glen to Streetsboro, Ohio. John was a little nervous about driving on the outskirts of Cleveland, but that ended up being no big deal. The drive over was a scenic one with little traffic and good roads. The bulk of the trip was on Route 86, the southern tier expressway.
We arrived at the KOA in Streetsboro, Ohio around 5pm feeling really proud of ourselves for a good day of traveling. We checked in for 2 nights so that we would have plenty of time to see Cuyahoga National Park. Our site was OK but a little slanted. We quickly unhooked the car to run back to the office to ask for a more level site.
For those of you who have been following me, you know I have been super paranoid about setting up the toad(towed) car correctly. Honda has very specific instructions on the process you need to follow when getting the CR-V ready to tow. The easy part is really the hardware connection between the car and the motorhome. These connections take us a little more than 5 minutes. The part I get nervous about is getting the “transmission” ready to tow. You need to move the gears from park past neutral to drive and remain in drive for a minimum of 5 seconds. The next step is to put the parking brake on, put the car in neutral and let it run for 3 minutes. The next step is to move the ignition to the first “I” or accessory position and confirm steering wheel is not locked. Then the final confirmation, and yes, we have a time out, is a double check to confirm the key is in the right position, the car is in “N”, the parking brake is off and the switch to shut off the radio and other accessories is set to the “tow” position. So anyways, we did all of this.
We hop in the car to run up to the office and John puts the car in reverse to back it out of the site. The engine revs but the car is struggling to back up. We finally get backed up and on to the road. He puts it in drive and it is struggling to move. He says it feels like the brake is on. I had put the emergency brake on when we disconnected but I had released it. We pushed the brake on and released it again just in case it was stuck. This did not solve the problem. We tried to move forward, it was revving and moving slow. John said it still felt like the brake was on. We both agreed we had checked the set up before towing and had done everything right. We had even checked the transmission fluid level before leaving Watkins Glen. We tried again to move forward, something was smelling hot. No warning lights were on in the dash. We moved forward a bit more and something was smelling really hot. We put the car in park and decided we couldn’t move any further, something was definitely wrong. John hopped out of the car to get something from the RV as I made the call to AAA on a Saturday evening. John returned to the car and said that the brake lights were on. Hmmm, what was wrong? We looked down at the brake and it was completely pressed in, then it dawned on us, our braking system(part of the tow system) was activated. In our rush to get to the office we had forgot to cover the plug area that hooks the cars electrical and braking system to the RV. The system is designed to fully depress the car brakes if the cord is pulled from the RV or car. This way your car stops immediately if it is disconnected going down the road. Once you disconnect you need to put the attached cap on the connection or the car thinks it’s disconnected from the RV and brakes.
The lesson learned- we need a disconnect checklist in addition to a connect checklist.
Oh, and we did get another site and moved but it wasn’t very level either. We were pretty tired after setting up the RV, moving the RV, setting up again and going through this whole braking issue.