A jackknifing dolly Parton is quite the event on your birthday.  I suggest that every person celebrates their birthday this way.  Only kidding.  So now you are wondering what is jackknifing.  Well, Wikipedia says this: Jackknifing refers to the folding of an articulated vehicle i.e. one towing a trailer, such that it resembles the acute angle of a folding pocket knife. If a vehicle towing a trailer skids, the trailer can push the towing vehicle from behind until it spins the vehicle around and faces backwards.  Now that you know that, you may be wondering what is this crazy girl talking about with a jackknifing Parton.  Well, Parton is the name of my car dolly. The suggestion to name it that was compliments of my good friend Darina.  Yes, it’s cheesy but it’s perfect.  Ok, now that we have that over with, let me tell you about my birthday this year.

car dolly

So, it started that morning in Dassel, MN.  I spent the brisk morning getting Wanda ready to head to Wisconsin for my birthday and to spend the month with my friends and family before heading to the west coast for the winter.  I had just purchased Parton a few days prior and had never towed on her before but have towed on other dolly’s so I was ready.  My uncle came home from work to help me load the Jetta on Parton and make sure everything was secured and working properly.

Great, all set to get on the road.  It’s only about a 6 hour drive so I’m excited to get going and hang out with my friends for my birthday.  The drive was going great.  Nice and smooth.  No issues, and I hadn’t even had to stop to use the restroom yet. For anyone who knows me, you know that I usually use the restroom every hour or 2 so this was amazing.  Dehydrating myself worked.  Hahahaa.  I don’t suggest doing this in reality.

So, I’m about 2 hours out from my destination and Wanda is getting hungry, ie-she needed gas.  Ok, no problem.  HA!  So, as I’m running on fumes I find a gas station in Tomah, WI to fill up.  This place looks like it will work.  It probably should have too, but what I failed to mention is I have never backed up a vehicle with a dolly.  Now, people tell me that it can be done but I don’t believe it.  The task of backing up a RV is taxing enough let alone adding a dolly and a car.  Well, I backed the whole thing up just enough to get gas.  I will be honest, it was not smooth.  It also scratched the side of the Jetta.  That hurt my heart a little because I love my car.

So, I get the RV filled up and I’m ready to get back on the road.  This whole thing only cost me 15 minutes.  No worries.  Still plenty of time.  So, I get on the ramp to get back on the interstate and as I’m accelerating I can sense something isn’t right.  Something felt weird and sounded a little weird too.  I look in my review mirrors and see the Jetta on one side of the RV and not the other.  What in the world is going on?!??  So, I pull over on the side of the interstate, put my flashers on and go check out the situation.

Well, you may have guessed it by now, when I backed up the RV at the gas station I jackknifed the dolly.  What I found out was that instead of pulling the Jetta, it was actually dragging it.  Wow, not good on the tires or the whole system period.  So, naturally I am all by myself and freaking out.  Now what?!!?!?!  I know what needs to be done.  I have to disconnect the Jetta, pull it off of the dolly and straighten the dolly back out, put the Jetta back on and be on with my travels.  There is a problem though.  The way that the dolly is jackknifed I would have to back the Jetta off the dolly in to oncoming traffic.  HA!  There was no way that was happening.  The way the big trucks and semi’s were flying by me Wanda was shaking so bad I had to put my levelers down to stabilize her.  There was no way I was going to back in to oncoming traffic in a 70 mph zone.  Not happening.

travel mishaps

So, I got my bearings together and called my insurance company.  Now, before I bash them I will say that they did send me help, and the help was wonderful, but dang.  Trying to explain to someone what happened and what I needed proved to be nearly as impossible as backing an RV up with a dolly.  They could not simply understand I needed help with the dolly.  They asked me to back the car off myself and I asked them what kind of claim they wanted next.  I told them it could very easily lead to the death of me.  Naturally at this point, I’m getting super frustrated.  It’s my birthday and I’m stuck on the side of the road talking to someone who has no idea what I’m talking about or what to do.

So, his solution was to send me 2 tow trucks. Originally he was going to send one.  That one tow truck could pull the RV and the dolly.  LOL! Yes, that was the solution.  In case you aren’t following along right now, if it was possible to pull the RV pulling the dolly, I would just drive off.  Once I finally got that through his head he sent out 2 tow trucks.  Luckily for me the first person who showed up was also going to be the second.

rv mishaps

No, this isn’t him…….or is it?!?!?! 😉

I explained to the guy what happened and what needed to be done.  He took a look at the situation with me and realized what I was talking about and started helping with the process of disconnecting the Jetta.  This was not easy.  They say if you are going to do something, do it right.  Well I did.  I jackknifed the heck out of that dolly.  So badly that we had to jack up the Jetta to release the pressure on the straps and chains in order to get her disconnected.  So, we almost have it all disconnected, and I kid you not, the poor guy blew a hole in his pants.  Split his pants wide open.  I see his face go red immediately and he tells me what happened.  Yes, I laughed.  Finally something to smile about through this whole fiasco.

The good news is this did not stop him.  He stood in the middle of the road, directed me in to the oncoming traffic and took the risk of dying for me.  Once the Jetta was off the dolly we were able to move the sway bar back to the middle and put the Jetta back on.  Yeah, it was that simple.  It seriously took me more time on the phone with my insurance company trying to get someone out to help me than it did for someone to help me.

So, in conclusion to this fiasco here is what I learned:

  • It’s impossible to back up an RV with a dolly and car on it (yes, I said impossible)
  • When calling your insurance for a situation like this where they can’t understand, just be vague and get someone out there
  • Breaking down in your home on the side of the road isn’t all terrible.  I did get to sit in Wanda and have lunch
  • Sometimes splitting your pants is for the greater good.
  • Things could have been a lot worse…..A LOT
lunch in rv