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Old 07-30-2021, 07:18 AM   #1
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Well, it finally happened

I've been towing one Wrangler or another behind one of my 9 different motorhomes for a little over 20 years. Yesterday I was hooking up the toad and the wife came back and asked if I knew where her sunglasses were. I said no and went about my business.

About a mile down the interstate, while going thru my mental departure checklist, I just couldn't remember installing the hairpin retainer on the right side arm. Since I had hooked up the toad thousands of times and could do it in my sleep, I had a mental argument with myself about stopping to check.

Caution won out and I pulled off at the next exit. Sure enough, right there on top of the front bumper was the hairpin. The connecting pin had remained in place so, accident avoided.

Had I not checked I'd likely be on here next week telling how my tow bar mysteriously got disconnected and blaming it on parking lot vandals who pulled my pins.

Don't get distracted when doing critical tasks.
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Old 07-30-2021, 07:27 AM   #2
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Yeah, it’s critical to check and double-check. And then if there are doubts check again. I’m glad you didn’t have a mishap. Any luck with the sunglasses?
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Old 07-31-2021, 07:22 PM   #3
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Ya right, parking lot vandals. Doesn't anyone any more take responsibility for there own screw ups. Every trip I forget to do something like putting the leveler/jack's up before putting it in gear. Thank you engineers for the auto up feature.
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Old 07-31-2021, 09:28 PM   #4
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I always start over if I'm interrupted during any point in getting the MH ready to roll.
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Old 07-31-2021, 10:02 PM   #5
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It's not about admitting a screw up or not. It's more of doing a process so many times, exactly the same way every time that your brain just knows you must have done it right. It's muscle memory, sometimes you do a task and can't ever remember doing it, but when you go back to look, it's done.

Sometimes I double or triple check a task because I can't recall specifically doing it. 99% of the time I did. It's that 1% that worries me.
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Old 08-01-2021, 05:10 AM   #6
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Great point.

Getting distracted while filling the water tank is not a big disaster but embarrassing.

Nice neighbor told me he turned the faucet off after seeing water pouring out.

Glad it was not the tank flush.

Little distractions can be disastrous. I try to never leave the water bay area when using the tank flush.

When packing up we use a two check lists. One for the RV and a printed one in the Toad.
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Old 08-01-2021, 06:18 AM   #7
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So the real question is did your wife ever find her sunglasses???
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Old 08-01-2021, 06:32 AM   #8
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I did the same thing last winter. We spent three weeks in Padre Island Texas and when I unhooked upon arrival I laid one of the pins on the center front bumper. We drove the wrangler around the area for three weeks. When hooking up to leave I noticed the pin wasn’t in one of the couplings. Panic set in for a few seconds until I noticed the pin had fallen behind the front license plated and wedged itself there. Lucky break .
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Old 08-01-2021, 07:13 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickemo View Post
I did the same thing last winter. We spent three weeks in Padre Island Texas and when I unhooked upon arrival I laid one of the pins on the center front bumper. We drove the wrangler around the area for three weeks. When hooking up to leave I noticed the pin wasn’t in one of the couplings. Panic set in for a few seconds until I noticed the pin had fallen behind the front license plated and wedged itself there. Lucky break .
Carry spares, they're cheap and don't take much space.
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Old 08-01-2021, 07:36 AM   #10
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Glad you caught it in time. That little voice inside of your head is the best one to listen to.

I do my second check when I do my walk around to make sure all the lights are working. One time that voice suggested I check that the brake pedal had been pumped to drain off the vacuum from the booster. Sure enough, the tires would have been skidding first time I stopped! Thank you little voice.
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Old 08-01-2021, 09:20 AM   #11
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After full timing for a year I recently did something similar. I usually do one last visual check of all my connections and do a walk around of my rig before I pull away. This time I changed my routine (dumb) and forgot to put the hitch pin clips in the locking pins of my motorcycle lift column. It wasn't until I was going down the road that I realized I couldn't remember doing it. Now odds are there's no way those pins would come out with close to 800 lbs of pressure on them in tapered holes, but I still wanted to pull over and check. Unfortunately I'd just started down a two lane curvy road with heavy traffic. Took a couple miles to find a pull out long enough and not on a curve to stop. Sure enough, the clips weren't installed.

Prepping the toad for travel is a tough one, because my wife wants to help, but sometimes ends up following me around asking what I call "random" questions. While I know she's trying to help make sure I'm not forgetting anything, it actually makes things worse because it breaks the routine, or shifts my attention away from what I'm doing. That's why when everything is done, I do one more physical check on all my connections. As to the clips on the bike lift; it was completely my fault because I broke my usual routine and loaded and prepped it in two separate phases. I had done my visual check, but missed the clips because they were on the other side of the lift column.

For me, having a set routine is very important. For years in my job, I either opened and prepped a facility, or shut it down and secured it at night. The only times I made mistakes is when I varied my routine. Same with traveling full time. I'd rather stop to check only to find everything is ok, than to find out the hard way it isn't. The weakness with routine, is it becomes routine, and there are times you don't remember doing something.

Sure glad the OP caught the error.
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Old 08-01-2021, 10:11 AM   #12
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Good save! Glad it ended OK.
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Old 08-02-2021, 07:33 PM   #13
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She did find the sunglasses. On the floor by the passenger seat.
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Old 08-03-2021, 06:06 AM   #14
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While many people pride themselves on doing things by memory as I used to, I spent a lot of time in aviation maintenance where written checklists are mandatory. I have an Android phone so I use an app called RV Checklist and I created detailed step-by-step checklists for almost all routine and non-routine tasks. Yes, it's kind of an ongoing thing. I just did the annual front end greasing so I'm building a checklist for it because it's only done once a year and it's easy to forget the details that can make the difference between, for example, messy and non-messy.

My "Flat Tow Connect" checklist has 25 steps while the "Flat Tow Disconnect" checklist has 16 steps.

Why the difference in the number of steps? The "Connect" has extra steps such as how to pre-position the tow bar arms, lining up the car, checks to assure the tow bar is properly secured to the motorhome, testing the toad lights, etc., steps that are unnecessary when disconnecting.

The use of checklists is kind of an ingrained thing. If you've never lived by them you may think they're onerous and completely unnecessary. "25 steps to hook up the toad? I have one. HOOK IT UP!" is one reaction I got from someone else.

But I just sit in the motorhome before pulling out and look at the app and see if I've added the "electronic check mark" next to each step. If not, I re-check it. And yes, a full walk-around looking high and low by both us just before puling out are two of the steps.

FWIW,

Ray
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