KEYWORDS: trailer, hitch, car, frame, weight, brakes

Back in the Saddle

David Berg

—By Father DavidDFO102425/6/81

—Mobility Can Be Dangerous!



I'm back in the saddle again!

If I'd come home tonight would you still be my darling?

For I'm back in the saddle again!

Have I stayed away too long?

Oh, have I stayed away too long?

If I'd come tonight, would you still be my darling?

Or have I stayed away too long?"

Ha, ha!—Two!

2. THAT HAS A DOUBLE SIGNIFICANCE, because I was dreaming I was back in the saddle again driving that little old black 18-foot trailer that I sold to Castro. We were parked on this vacant lot teaching an older couple how to drive it & how to camp out in it, a couple that were a little bit older than us. Seemed like I was young again! They were about in their 40's & we were younger than them. Ha! Well, I guess maybe they were just in their 30's, it's hard to tell. When you feel like you're young, anybody older than you seems old. Ha!

3. WE WERE TEACHING THEM HOW TO CAMP OUT & HOW TO PARK & HOW TO DRIVE, to pull all the shades down & keep quiet & no bright lights seen outside, 'cause when you're parked on somebody's vacant lot especially in those residential neighbourhoods somebody's apt to complain. You've got to look like you're just parked there, not camping there.

4. I SAID, "DON'T LET ANY LIGHTS SHOW OUTSIDE & BE QUIET & DON'T THROW ANY STUFF OUTSIDE!" They'd thrown something outside, I forget what it was, & I said‚ "You can't do that‚ you can't have anything lying around looking messy because the people won't like it & then they'll know there's somebody inside & somebody's camping there. You've gotta keep quiet & no lights, no junk outside" etc.

5. THEN I REMEMBER I WAS CLEANING THE OLD GAS STOVE & it looked like it hadn't been used for years, it was all crusted & sooted up. I had some kind of a metal scraper & I was scraping the soot & the rust & the dirt off & cleaning it up. I said, "You know, you gotta keep these things clean to get any heat out of them & make it work right. You gotta take good care of them, you can't just let'm get all dirty & crusty like this."

6. ANYHOW, WE WERE DEFINITELY TRAINING THEM HOW TO USE THIS TRAILER. Then I was driving it & I remembered how heavy it was; it was small but it was so heavy & you really had to have good brakes. In those days they had what they called electric brakes and you had to have a thing almost like a gear shift lever on the opposite side of the steering column of the car.

7. EVERY TIME YOU WANTED TO SLOW DOWN you had to take your left-hand off the wheel & operate your foot brake & your left-hand steering-column-lever brake for the electric brakes on the trailer at the same time. It was quite a trick to synchronise them, you know. If you slammed on your foot brake too quick you could jack-knife, so you always used your trailer brakes first.

8. IT'S SIMILAR TO THE AUTOMATIC ONES THEY HAVE NOW so that the minute you take your foot off the gas it applies the trailer brakes‚ the car slows down & makes the trailer brakes go on just from the weight & the pressure, which is a very good idea. It's really a good safety feature in these new trailers.

9. WELL‚ WE HAD TO PUT THE BRAKES ON BY HAND‚ on the left of the steering column‚ a little lever about eight to ten inches long & you'd pull it down to apply the brakes, & they were very effective, very strong. They were electric brakes powered by electric solenoids, magnets, you know?

10. MY NOSE IS ALL STOPPED UP, THAT'S WHY I'M TALKING SO FUNNY!—I haven't even cleared out my nose or my throat yet. I'm just wakin' up after makin' love to Maria. XXX! Love you, Honey. (Maria: Love you, Honey.) That was a good waker-upper! I was just tired. How did she know I wanted some lovin'? It was a woman's intuition. I said I was too sleepy to get up & too sexy to go to sleep, & she knew right away & started workin' on me, so I started workin' on her! So anyway, PTL!—We climaxed! HAL!

11. BUT I DREAMED THAT WE WERE DRIVING DOWN THE ROAD & I was going through that sequence of how to apply the brakes, first the handbrake for the trailer, then foot brake on the car. You have to apply the trailer brakes first, otherwise it's apt to try to pass you up & jack-knife. That's why you've got to have trailer brakes, especially on a heavy trailer like that.

12. A LITTLE LIGHT CAMP TRAILER, like on those little two or three meter trailers‚ a fairly heavy car can control'm pretty good with its own brakes, & a lot of countries & States don't require brakes for those very small light ones‚ that we call love-bugs. But it's even good to have brakes on them because it's safer. It's always safer for the trailer brakes to be applied first.

13. THEN I DREAMT WE WERE LOOKING FOR THIS CAMPGROUND in this suburban neighbourhood, & then real carefully driving this old heavy trailer again, 'cause it was 18-feet long & it was really heavy. It had dual wheels, not tandem wheels, but dual wheels like a truck; two wheels on each side that were side by side & not one in front of the other. They were regular truck wheels, truck chassis, really heavy. And I'll tell you, you sure had to have a good hitch for a trailer like that!

14. FOR ANY KIND OF A TRAILER YOU SHOULD HAVE A VERY GOOD HITCH that's not only attached just to the bumper & the trunk floor or the rear cross-member of the frame & maybe bolted to the trunk floor like I've seen some of them, believe it or not, but you need your hitch attached directly to the frame of the car, not just the body or just the bumper, but the frame way underneath.

15. AND YOU NEED CROSS-MEMBERS TOO‚ angular braces going from the hitch, one to the right & one to the left at about a 45–degree angle on each side of the main frame of the car to really keep the hitch firm 'cause it gets a lot of rough treatment, weight working up & down & back & forth.

16. FOR WITH ALL THAT WEIGHT WORKING THAT HITCH UP & DOWN & side to side & back & forth & braking & starting & everything else, it takes & terrific beating, & you cannot have some little rinky-dink hitch on any kind of a trailer. They used to put bumper hitches on for just a little luggage trailer or something like that, & in the days when they had good bumpers that was okay just for a luggage trailer.

17. BUT EVEN THEN, I POPPED ONE OF THOSE ONCE WITH A HEAVY LOAD & it just popped my bumper right in the middle & curled it right around & the trailer passed me up & jack-knifed & then the rear car wheel dug down into the road & blew out the tire & crumpled up the fender, & it's just a miracle of God I didn't have a real bad accident!

18. SO IT REALLY PAYS TO HAVE A REAL TOUGH HITCH THAT'S WELL-BOLTED TO THE FRAME with huge big bolts that ought to be at least about 3/4-inch thick. Where the hitch itself is actually attached to the rear of the frame it needs a couple of those big bolts, & then it needs a couple of these cross or angle braces, one on the right side of the frame & one on the left side of the frame that go from hitch to the sides of the frame. So the hitch is actually attached at about four places & with a couple of big huge bolts in each place.

19. AND THE BALL NEEDS TO BE SCREWED ON GOOD & TIGHT, make sure it's really tight. It takes a huge big wrench with a big bit & a handle almost as long as a man's arm to get one of those balls really on as tight as it should be & the big bolts too. Some cars I even had the hitch welded to the frame—in the old days they didn't have such simple ways of putting them on.

20. BUT NOWADAYS THEY EVEN BUILD CARS WITH ALREADY BORED HOLES IN THE FRAME & the rear & on the sides ready for the hitch. They even build ready–made hitches for different model cars where all you have to do is just buy it with a kit & you can stick'm on yourself if you have a good big wrench & plenty of muscle. But they really have to be bolted on tight or you're going to have trouble, & serious trouble if you let it get loose. Your trailer's apt to break loose & go passing you on down the road in the wrong lane or down the side of the cliff or something!

21. SO IT CERTAINLY DOESN'T PAY TO DRIVE WITH A POOR HITCH. We heard of somebody recently who said that the hitch was cracked or broke or came loose, so they were just taking it easy, they said they were going to drive slow. Ha! I'll tell you‚ a hitch can break just as easy at slow speed as at fast speed‚ the only difference being that your trailer will crash at slow speed instead of fast speed & it can smash it up just as bad! So you need a good hitch!

22. I ALWAYS MADE SURE WE HAD REALLY GOOD HITCHES, & if that wasn't good enough I'd have it reinforced with welded bars or something so it was really on there & could take a lot of heavy weight-load, bouncing up & down & jerking from side to side & jerking back & forth by braking & acceleration in opposite directions‚ so you really do need a good hitch.

23. YOU NEED A GOOD HITCH IN THE FIRST PLACE & IT NEEDS TO BE PUT ON RIGHT. And if you're not a mechanic with the right wrenches & you haven't got the right hitch, you'd better not try it yourself. It's best to let the experts put one on & make sure they get it on good. I think I put this even in the first article I ever wrote on travelling, "Have Faith Will Travel" (No.150.)!

24. I SAID, AFTER YOU GET YOUR HITCH PUT ON, if you're an average size man with fairly good weight, stand up on the hitch yourself on one foot holding on to the back of the car & bounce up & down real hard until you make the whole back end of the care bounce up & down. That's the kind of weight that bounces up & down all the time on the back end of your car & on your trailer hitch.

25. MOST OF THOSE TRAILERS, THEY'LL TELL YOU ON THE SPECIFICATIONS WHAT THE WEIGHT IS AT THE HITCH. But every time it bounces up & down, the number of specific gravities, or G's, as they're called‚ multiply according to the force of the bounce. And though they may say the weight on the trailer hitch is 75 kilos‚ every time that trailer hitch bounces up & down on a heavy bump & it's loaded—car's loaded & the trailer's loaded with your stuff & is really heavy—you probably already increased the actual hitch weight to 100-150 kilos by all the stuff you've loaded in the trailer up front.

26. THEN WHEN IT BOUNCES UP & DOWN, THAT MULTIPLIES THAT WEIGHT ON THE HITCH SEVERAL TIMES, maybe three or four or five times as much. So instead of weighing only 75 kilos like it says in the original specifications when the trailer's empty, you've already increased the load to 100-150 kilos just standing still, by the load you've put in it up front, in front of the trailer wheels.

27. ANYTHING FORWARD OF THE TRAILER WHEELS ADDS WEIGHT TO THE HITCH, which is one reason you need to put some of your heavier load in the rear of the trailer, under the beds or somewhere so that there's not so much weight on the hitch & it'll balance it better. It's very important to load the rear end of your trailer sufficiently to balance the front-end so that front-end won't be too heavy a load on both the hitch & the car as well as the trailer & tongue.

28. I HAVE ACTUALLY BROKEN TRAILER TONGUES BY HAVING THE FRONT-END OF THE TRAILER TOO HEAVILY LOADED. And as I say‚ I broke off a hitch by having it too heavily loaded too & not having brakes on the trailer. So you've got to be very careful about having a good solid hitch & well-bolted to the frame. Bolts are even safer then welds 'cause welds can crack & break, but the bolts usually will hold tight, especially with lock washers so that they can stand the working that the hitch & its frame get in all directions with a very heavy load.

29. AS I WAS SAYING‚ EVEN THOUGH A FAIRLY HEAVY TRAILER MAY SPECIFY THAT THERE'S MAYBE 50-75 KILOS WEIGHT on the tongue of the trailer at the hitch, you load the front-end of the trailer pretty heavily & you'll soon have 100-150, 200 kilos weight on the tongue at the hitch. And when that bounces up & down it can increase that weight several times so that it doubles or triples the weight every time that tongue bounces!

30. 200 KILOS WEIGHT ON THE TONGUE WITH A GOOD BOUNCE can increase its weight two or three G's to four or six-hundred kilos, & that's a lot of weight on one hitch, one little ball, one little trailer tongue! So you'd better be sure you've got that trailer really fastened tight with a very good hitch & a very good ball & a very good locking mechanism that locks it onto the ball, & very strong tongue.

31. DRIVE IT CAREFULLY & TRY NOT TO BOUNCE IT UP & DOWN or hit big bumps or even waves in the pavement that'll cause it to bounce up & down. And try not to make any sudden turns—you're not only apt to flip your trailer over but twist it right off the hitch, or twist the hitch off!

32. SO DRIVING A TRAILER IS REALLY VERY DANGEROUS & can be very dangerous if you're not super cautious & prayerful. Drive slowly, no sudden starts or stops, no sudden turns, no sudden bumps that can break your hitch right off. There are certain kinds of mistreatment & maltreatment which no hitch can stand, such as the sudden hitting of a very bad bump which is apt to break the springs on the back of your car, if it doesn't even break off the hitch! Or it's apt to crack the trailer tongue, which I've done, which is pretty bad.

33. WE SO BENT THE TRAILER TONGUE AT ITS ELBOWS THAT THEY WERE ALMOST TOUCHING THE GROUND! The elbows are where the two members of the tongue go back & are attached to the frame of the trailer. The trailer tongue is like two arms with its hands fastened together at the ball. Back at the elbows where they're attached to the trailer is where the greatest strain is on bumps & the sudden jolts, especially if the trailer's heavily loaded in the front. I cracked it so bad, bent it so bad that the elbows were almost touching the ground while the trailer was still hooked onto the car, & it was sagging way down.

34. SO WE REMEDIED THAT BY JACKING UP BOTH ELBOWS AT A WELDERS & welding on heavy steel V-bars at both elbows to reinforce the elbows, about half–an-inch thick steel or iron V–bars‚ heavy, heavy bars that he welded on like straps to the sides of the tongue & back onto the frame to reinforce the elbows so they wouldn't bend any more. There's a lot of weight on those elbows & there's a lot of weight on that hitch.

35. THE LORD MUST'VE LET ME HAVE THAT DREAM OF DRIVING OUR OLD TRAILER AGAIN TO REMIND YOU OF SOME OF THESE SAFETY FACTORS that you need to be very conscious of when driving a trailer or when having a hitch put on your car or when loading your trailer too heavily in the front etc.

36. JUST REMEMBER EVERY TIME YOU HIT A BUMP THE G'S ON THAT TRAILER HITCH ARE INCREASED TWO OR THREE TIMES LEAST, & instead of it only weighing 75–150 kilos, it suddenly increased its weight to 300 or 400 or maybe 500 or 600! When you stood on that trailer hitch bouncing up & down, standing on it on one foot, you weren't even getting that much weight, even bouncing it up & down.

37. YOU MAY HAVE INCREASED YOUR OWN WEIGHT TWO G'S, in other words, doubled it if you weigh 200, to 400 or something in pounds. Pounds, not kilos either, so that's only about 100-200 kilos. But maybe with your heavy trailer, heavy load in the front, maybe you've already got a couple hundred kilos which is 400 pounds or more load on that hitch, & when it bounces up & down that's going to increase to 800 pounds or 1200 pounds, & most hitches were just not built to stand that kind of weight.

38. SO YOU MUST BE VERY CAUTIOUS ABOUT NOT LOADING YOUR TRAILER TOO HEAVILY IN THE FRONT, put more of the heavy load in the back if you have to have too heavy a load at all. Try not to have any heavy load, nothing but your bedding & your clothes. Usually they put the kitchen in the middle so you can have all that heavy canned goods & dishes & all right over the wheels, which is a safe place.

39. THE SAFEST PLACE IN THE TRAILER FOR HEAVY WEIGHT IN RIGHT OVER THE WHEELS. Otherwise, if you have too much heavy load in the back & the front, then it can actually crack your frame right in the middle over the wheels if you hit a good bump, because it just has too much load in the back & in the front & it breaks in two! When you hit a bump the wheels go up & the trailer comes down‚ & if the frame is not extra strong it'll break right in the middle.

40. SO YOU'D BETTER BE VERY CAREFUL ABOUT HOW YOU LOAD THE TRAILER & THAT YOU HAVE A VERY STRONG FIRM HITCH, well-braced on both sides. Not just a hitch that's just barely bolted with a couple big bolts to the back of the frame of the car, but with two braces, one on each side going underneath the car to the side frames, bolted to the frame of the car. In other words, bolted to the frame of the car in actually three places with two heavy bolts in each place, is what you should have.

41. SOMETIMES YOU GET BY WITH JUST ONE HEAVY BOLT IN EACH SIDE BRACE OF THE FRAME, but it better be attached firm & screwed on tight or you're going to have trouble. Those braces had better be good & firm or even though the hitch itself is double–bolted to the rear cross-member of the frame of the car, the heavy weight of that trailer working back & forth can eventually crack you car frame right there at the hitch, cut a brace clear in two.

42. YOU KNOW HOW YOU'VE TRIED TO SOMETIMES BREAK A WIRE IN TWO, or a piece of metal in two by bending it back & forth several times rapidly until it breaks. This is exactly the action that the trailer hitch has on the rear cross-member of your car frame, it bends it back & forth constantly & on a trip thousands of times.

43. SO IT HAS GOT TO BE BRACED FIRMLY ON BOTH SIDES WITH ANGLE BRACES TO THE SIDES, the main side-members of the car frame so they cannot work back & forth at all, or it'll break that rear cross-member of your car in two just like you broke the little piece of metal in two by bending it back & forth real fast.

44. YOU KNOW HOW YOU TAKE A WIRE SOMETIMES, you take pliers if you don't have cutters, you just bend the wire back & forth several times rapidly & it'll break; or a piece of metal or a coat hanger or something, it will break that way easily if you bend it back & forth rapidly. It has a bad action on the point of the bend which gradually cracks it in two until it is completely severed.

45. THAT'S WHAT IT WILL DO TO YOUR CAR FRAME IF YOUR HITCH IS NOT BRACED ON BOTH SIDES with an angle brace that goes catty-corner across the rear car frame corners. These braces usually are at least a couple of feet long or a meter long & they go from the trailer hitch at an angle, one to the right & one to the left so that they go at an almost 45 degree angle across the rear corners of the car frame. They are bolted to the sides of the frame.

46. MAYBE ONE OF OUR DEAR ARTISTS‚ PERHAPS JACOB SAILOR CAN MAKE A DRAWING OF THIS or he can find a drawing showing exactly what this type of trailer hitch looks like & how it's bolted to the car frame. Or maybe I can even draw him a sketch so he can see, or he can go take a good look at a trailer hitch & see how it's bolted. (He did!)

47. NOW I'VE SEEN A FEW TRAILER HITCHES, SAD TO SAY, WHICH WERE PRETTY SHODDILY & FLIMSILY MADE. They looked good & strong & bolted, double–bolted to the rear cross-member of the frame, but they only had one cross-brace, only one brace, & I have actually seen some of them bolted to the floor of the trunk instead of to the sides of the car frame or chassis itself. Now that is not a good brace & it's not a good place to bolt it & it's not strong enough. It may be strong enough for lightweight trailers, small camp trailers, lovebugs, but it is not strong enough for a good-sized house trailer, say the average family size, five–meters‚ especially six or seven-meter trailers.

48. IT MUST HAVE TWO BRACES, ONE TO EACH SIDE OF THE CAR FRAME‚ & BE BOLTED TO THE HEAVY FRAME OF THE CAR & not just to the trunk floor. This is almost ridiculous! But I've seen some of them like that‚ said to say. But that is better than no brace at all & it's a fairly firm brace if you don't have too heavy a trailer. If you've only got a three or four-meter trailer, that may be sufficient. And with some very lightweight four or five-meter trailers that might be enough with just one brace forward to the trunk floor.

49. BUT WITH A REALLY HEAVY AND HEAVY-LOADED FAMILY-SIZED TRAILER, five-meters or more, you're going to need two braces from that hitch in a V-shape. The point of the V is at the hitch, & then they go out. The arms of the V are attached to the car frame on both sides, the heavy under-chassis of the car, the frame on which the car body actually sets & to which the axles & wheels are attached etc.—The same frame you have to jack up to get the wheel off the ground to change a tire etc. So watch out about hitches.

50. WELL, IN MY DREAM I WAS WARNING THEM ABOUT HOW TO CAMP & HOW TO DRIVE & brake & hitch & all these things, & how to drive carefully so that you don't put too much strain on the hitch by not hitting bumps & sharp turns & too quick stops or starts, all these put a severe strain on the hitch that multiplies the G's or the gravity or the actual weight that pound on the hitch several times its normal weight.

51. AND FINALLY, WE WERE LOOKING FOR THIS TRAILER PARK IN THE OUTSKIRTS OF THIS CITY & WE FOUND IT ON THE MAP. It's a very good idea to get yourself one of these books that lists all the trailer parks & trailer camps, campgrounds in your country. It tells you exactly what they have & don't have & where they're located & shows you where they are on the map, & most of them tell you what their rates & prices & facilities are, whether they have swimming or not & what kind of roads & access there is to them & the size of their spaces & all about their combinations, they're completely listed in some books.

52. IN EUROPE THE MICHELIN MAP BOOKS & CAMPGROUND BOOKS ARE SOME OF THE BEST. In the United States, in North America, Sears is one of the best & Rand McNally puts out one too. I don't know about the rest of the World. But often your local Automobile Association or Auto Club will have books of these campgrounds even in the smaller countries, or the State or National Tourist Bureau will have lists of campgrounds in its country and their facilities & prices & locations etc.

53. SO BE SURE YOU TRY TO GET ONE OF THESE, DON'T JUST DEPEND ON FINDING ONE BY ACCIDENT or sighting one from the highway. 'Cause some of them sometimes are far off the highway hidden back in the hills or the woods & you'd never see them just from the highway. You might happen to see a sign or something & they to try to advertise, but if you really want to compare campgrounds & prices & facilities & locations, you need to get a good campground book, if possible‚ or a list of campgrounds from the State Tourism Bureau so you'll know what their comparative rates are & their facilities etc.

54. I HIGHLY RECOMMENDED A GOOD CAMPGROUND BOOK SUCH AS MICHELIN'S FOR EUROPE, or Sears or Rand McNally's for North America‚ & if there are not books printed for other parts of the World, as I say, you could at least get a list of these from the Tourism Bureaus of the various countries or States.

55. WELL, WE WERE LOOKING AT THIS MAP & TRYING TO FIND THIS CAMPGROUND, & we finally saw that we were headed in the right direction & location. But apparently we hadn't taken note of what it said in the book about the access or inaccessibility. The Michelin books will even tell you how difficult the access is to the campground and whether it's in terraces & very hilly & difficult to negotiate with a trailer or not etc.

56. APPARENTLY WE DIDN'T KNOW, SO WE WERE JUST KIND OF CREEPING ALONG FINDING OUR WAY BY FEELING or the Braille system, & we were driving slowly enough & we drove slowly into this entrance road where the campground was supposed to be. As we rounded a curve to the right we suddenly discovered that not only was the campground extremely difficult of access with very steep roads in & out of highly-terraced mountainous terrain, but the road we were on was a cul–de–sac, a dead-end road!

57. AS WE ROUNDED THIS CURVE WE SUDDENLY REALISED ABOUT A BLOCK AHEAD WAS A DEAD-END & this road wasn't even wide enough to turn a car around on, much less a trailer! Cars could've gone & driven into driveways & backed out again & turned around, but you certainly can't do that very easily with a trailer. We were really stuck as we drove in there & we saw we were in a cul-de–sac‚ a dead–end road & no way to turn around.

58. I COULD JUST PICTURE US HAVING TO GET OUT & DETACH THE TRAILER & TURN IT AROUND BY HAND & then turn the car around & try to pass the trailer with the car on this narrow road & hitch up again to get out. That's what you have to do if you get stuck in a cul-de-sac like that. And it might be so narrow that you might have very great difficulty even in passing your own trailer, even if you have enough room to, or even to turn it around. It can be a real tight situation.

59. BACKING UP, AS YOU KNOW, IS REALLY QUITE A TRICK WITH A TRAILER! Quite an art! Sometimes you'll find it easier to detach & turn the trailer around by hand & then drive your car around & hitch up again, than to try to back out. Meantime there may be a lot of people waiting to get in or out while you're blocking traffic, and you're going to make an awful lot of people pretty upset with horns blowing & people screaming & whatnot!

60. SO WATCH OUT ABOUT GETTING YOURSELF INTO PLACES LIKE THAT! It's a good idea if you don't know your terrain, you don't know just what it's like‚ to even stop your car & trailer, pull over to the side of the road & send somebody out ahead to take a look around the corner to see if there's any way out.—Which is what we should have done instead of creeping on in. We were coming in gently & gingerly enough & slowly, very carefully, but as we got around this corner we saw that we were bottled-up for sure.

61. WELL, IT'S A FUNNY THING, & YOU KNOW ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN IN A DREAM! In this case it just looked impossible, it looked like we'd never get turned around here. It was a new camp being newly developed & they had bulldozers there working on levelling spaces & putting in fill & all that, busily working right then as we suddenly drove around the corner.

62. SO ALL OF A SUDDEN THE BULLDOZER SEEMED TO KNOW WHAT KIND OF MESS WE WERE IN so it began putting in fill alongside the road & building up a large wide earth fill big enough for us to turn around in! Ha! I must say as I looked at that fill, I thought, "Uh-oh! New fill is usually pretty soft & even if I try to turn around in that fill I'm apt to get stuck!"

63. AS I WAS THINKING THAT & LAMENTING OUR PLIGHT LOOKING AT THAT FILL, I thought, "Well, that's almost magical the way they filled that in so quick so we can turn around, but I'm a little leary about tackling it because earth fill, if it's not very solidly tamped or pounded down & made solid can be pretty soft!"

64. SO WATCH OUT FOR NEW ROADS & NEW EARTH FILL SHOULDERS OF ROADS for fear you might get stuck if it's not solidly tamped. They have to have this big equipment like pile-drivers to tamp down the fill usually to make it solid. So this new earth fill I was looking at, I was a little leary about trying to turn around on it considering it was fresh.

65. AND AS I WAS WORRYING ABOUT THAT I THOUGHT, "OH MY, HOW'D I EVER GET MYSELF IN A MESS LIKE THIS? Here I am supposed to be the expert & we've really gotten ourselves into a real bottleneck!" Or worse, it was a dead-end! At least a bottle does have a mouth, even if it's smaller than the rest of the bottle! So I was worrying about that & oh, my heart sank, & I guess I was so worried about it that it woke me up! Ha!

66. WAS I RELIEVED TO WAKE UP & FIND OUT I WASN'T DRIVING THAT TRAILER TRYIN' TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO TURN AROUND!—But I was lying comfortably in bed by my dear Maria & she was sleeping peacefully & sweetly & beautifully, angelically beside me. Oh‚ what a relief! I've said before sometimes that if I want to have nightmares all I have to dream about is driving trailers or trucks or even our huge big camper! It is quite a strain‚ Beloved, believe you me!

67. YOU'D BETTER KNOW WHAT YOU'RE DOING & KNOW YOU EQUIPMENT & HOW TO HANDLE IT & HOW TO DRIVE IT & load it, or unload it better yet! And what kind of hitch to have & all the rest, how to brake it & I mean brake it, "b-r-a–k–e", how to use your brakes. Not break it, but you will break it if you don't know how to handle it!—As we've had a few reported accidents already in the Family of people demolishing their trailers by not properly knowing how to handle them!

68. ONE WAS DOING THE VERY THING I TOLD THEM TO AVOID. A big truck passed them & then this wind started the trailer swaying & they didn't know apparently how to calm it down & it finally just rolled over. They can be thankful they got out of it alive! And a few have already jack-knifed theirs or broken their hitches & a few other sad calamities.

69. NEARLY ALL THIS IS DUE TO IMPROPER EQUIPMENT, improper installation of equipment, improper loading‚ improper testing‚ an improper hitch‚ faulty brakes or not knowing how to use you brakes‚ improper driving, unsafe driving, too fast or without your rig under control.

70. SO ALL I CAN SAY IS, BELOVED, "I TOLD YOU SO!" I spent a whole Summer writing those chapters on trailers & what kind of a trailer to get & what kind not to get & all about hitches & driving them, being wary of fires & everything! Somebody also had a fire because they were careless about their wiring & supervision of their children etc.

71. I BELIEVE I HAVE WARNED YOU & DELIVERED MY SOUL, & your blood's not going to be on my hands, because I've done my best to tell you how to buy a trailer & how to load it & live in it & drive it & take care of it & avoid these accidents or fires & other hazards. So if you have'm, it's not my fault!

72. I'VE DONE MY BEST TO INSTRUCT YOU & TRAIN YOU & TEACH YOU what to do & how to do it & what not to do. So if you violate these rules that I've given you, it's going to be your fault & not mine for having some kind of difficulty or even a serious accident because you were careless or you didn't follow the rules & you didn't make sure of your equipment etc.

73. SO PLEASE, BELOVED, BE SURE THAT YOU DON'T BUY A TRAILER‚ FIRST OF ALL, THAT'S TOO BIG FOR YOUR CAR TO HANDLE, & be sure you've got not only a car that can handle the trailer but a hitch that can handle it, very very firmly attached & braced, & that you know how to drive it & use the brakes & make curves. You can only go so fast around curves with all that heavy weight or that centrifugal force of multiplied G's on a curve—the same thing that keeps a ball straight out on a string when you swing it around your head—will also throw your trailer right off the road if you go around curves too fast!

74. YOU'VE GOT TO WATCH YOUR DRIVING & WATCH YOUR STEP & BE MIGHTY CAUTIOUS! And also don't let yourself get bottled up in cul-de-sacs & places that you can't get through or to even turn around in, or you may find it very difficult to back out unless you're an expert! So there you are, PTL! God bless you! I've given you another chapter in the Trailer Series & I hope you pay attention to it & hope it's not too late for some of you.

75. I THINK I COVERED ALL OF THESE THINGS BEFORE IN THE SERIES, but some of you have still had difficulty by ignoring them or being careless or violating these rules or not being careful & prayerful enough about your equipment & the kind you buy & the kind you have installed & about your hitches & brakes & trailer frames & loading & driving etc.

76. SOME OF YOU HAVE ALREADY HAD SOME PRETTY BAD ACCIDENTS. Thank God that you weren't seriously injured or killed, if you weren't. And sad to say‚ some little children did lose their lives in a serious trailer fire because of the carelessness of the parents, the adults, in not taking care of them & sleeping right there with them & being careless about their electrical wiring etc. & their electric heater.

77. THANK THE LORD, HE TAKES CARE OF US NO MATTER WHAT; even if we die we go to be with the Lord. But at the same time as I've said before, you don't want to lose your life of usefulness for the Lord by being careless & losing it too soon!—And go to all that trouble to have children & rear them & take care of them & get them to where they're just beginning to be useful to the Lord, old enough to stand & sing & help you in the Lord's work, & then lose them through some foolish carelessness of your own neglect & violation of the rules!

78. I THINK I'VE COVERED EVERYTHING & I'M JUST REMINDING YOU ONCE AGAIN of this because of some reports we've had of various people's problems & difficulties with their trailers. So may the Lord bless & keep you & help you to be more cautious & prayerful & obedient in keeping these rules that we've given you & following this advice that we have so laboriously passed on to you through great labours & a long long whole book of instructions! Let's hope that you are more cautious & prayerful in the future & that you don't have any more of these troubles or problems or accidents. In Jesus' name. Amen. PTL!

79. ALWAYS PRAY EARNESTLY BEFORE YOU START ON A TRIP, & pray every moment while you are driving, pray every moment while you're camping. "Men ought always to pray and not to faint." (Lk.18:1.) "Pray without ceasing" when you're mobile, because it's a dangerous business & it requires a lot of prayer & a lot of protection from the Lord! (1Thess.5:17.)

80. YOU SHOULD DO ALL YOU CAN DO FIRST OF ALL, & THEN WHATEVER YOU CAN'T DO THE LORD WILL DO. But if you're careless about what you should be doing, you can't very well expect the Lord to make up for your carelessness & your foolishness‚ your disobedience! He may just let you have an accident to teach you a lesson to be more careful & prayerful & attentive & obedient & mindful of the things which you should be attending to.

81. "HE THAT IS FAITHFUL IN A FEW THINGS SHALL BE MADE RULER OVER MANY THINGS" because he will be faithful in many things too. (Mt.25:23.) But if you're unfaithful in these small things, seemingly small things, careless about them, you may find out that you wind up being unfaithful in big things—in big times and big events when you really need them—they're apt to fail you because you failed them.

82. SO YOU HAD BETTER BE OBEDIENT & FOLLOW THESE INSTRUCTIONS & ALL THE WARNINGS WE'VE GIVEN YOU & all this whole series on mobility & be very prayerful & very careful and very mindful of your driving & constantly praying‚ praying all the time whether driving or camping or even sleeping!—I even pray in my sleep sometimes!—And stay mighty close to the Lord and obedient and in His will‚ or He can give you some pretty severe spankings sometimes for your being careless or disobedient or slothful or neglectful or just plain lazy & not taking care of things as you should!

83. YOU SAY, "WELL, I CAN'T AFFORD SOME OF THESE THINGS." Well‚ then you can't afford to be mobile! If you haven't got the faith for proper equipment & you haven't got the faith for properly treating it & driving it etc., then you'd better forget about being mobile and hole yourself up in the System somewhere in an apartment or a house that is a little less dangerous!—Ha! But GBAKY & help you stay mobile!—Love,—Dad.