Archive for the ‘The Scotty’ Category

A Hitch in Time

I think that God can often be seen working in the minute timing of events.  Such was the case on the the day that we decided to take the family to the beach with our Scotty trailer in tow.  We loaded up with all the usual stuff the night before so that we could get an early start on a Saturday morning.  Water, food, clothes, beach stuff…we were packed out.  When morning came we all dove into the Suburban and took off…Mom, Dad, 4 kids and the dog….out for a day of fun.

Now you must understand that I was kind of new to towing and the Suburban was equipped with a bumper type hitch.  It was a U shaped piece of heavy steel with two holes in it that attached with two bolts to the underside of the thick steel bumper of the Sub.  I was naively proud of the installation having mounted it myself using bolts that I obtained from my drawer full of miscellaneous hardware.  The short tongue that held the hitch ball was welded to this U shaped piece of steel.  It looked pretty good and had worked fine for many miles of towing.  Today would be a different story.

We took the Washington route to Long Beach instead of crossing over to Oregon where the road is straighter and nicer.  When we went through the coastal mountain range, the road was rough and winding.  We zigged and zagged our way through the hills jerking and swaying as we went.  Finally we pulled into Long Beach, Wa. and headed North down the main road.  All seemed fine and we were having a nice good time.  The kids were eager to bail out of the Sub and head for the beach.

When we arrived at our destination in Ocean Park, we turned left off the main road and right down the next street over.  When we pulled up to the stop sign where we were going to turn left to head for the beach access, suddenly there was a loud BANG!! In the rear view mirror, I saw the front of the trailer crash downward.  There was no warning, no creaks or groans, just a sudden BANG! CRASH! as the tongue of the trailer hit the pavement.

Click HERE to view the location.

We all got out of the Sub and I looked down to see that the entire hitch was laying on the ground with the trailer still attached along with the safety chains.  The two bolts that held the hitch were laying in pieces on the ground, they both snapped in half at the same time.

If these bolts had broken when we were in the mountains we would have lost the trailer in a dramatic crash.  If only one bolt were to break, the hitch would have cause the Sub to swerve out of control.  The timing of this mishap was perfect.  We pulled up to the stop sign and came to a full stop, then the hitch let loose.  It could not have been better…. or could it.  What was I to do now?  I had to find a way to repair the hitch.  I walked around the corner to the right and discovered that we had broken down right next to a hardware store.  I took the old bolts into the store to get some replacements and the clerk wagged his head and said, “No wonder they broke, you used mild steel bolts, you can’t do that.”  He sold me two “grade 8” hardened steel bolts of the same size with nuts and washers.  I fixed the hitch and we continued with our adventure.

Moral of the story… NEVER, NEVER use a bumper type hitch to pull a trailer.  On our next trip, we pulled the trailer over to Dad’s ranch and told him the interesting story.  He said, “Well let me fix that hitch for you so that will never happen again.”  Out to the shop we went where he welded up the strongest hitch you have ever seen custom fit to the frame of the Sub.  He was a retired welder and heavy steel mechanic and well equipped with steel and skill to do the job.  He was right, it never happened again.





Olympic Peninsula

We took the Scotty on a trip around the Olympic Peninsula.  It was a fun trip and the Scotty delivered a safe experience.  While on the trip, the grandkids slept in the tent with Lynnel.  We also encountered this big bear.  If you crammed, the Scotty would hold two adults, four kids and a hound dog.

Scotty in the Olympic Peninsula.

Scotty in the Olympic Peninsula.

Kids sack out in the tent

Kids sack out in the tent

Not so friendly bear

Not so friendly bear

Trips to the Ranch

We took the Scotty on many trips.  Our favorite  destination was always “The Ranch” in Idaho.  We always pulled the Scotty with the “Ugly Truckling.”  It was a Chevy Suburban, 76 I think.  It was very ugly but it ran like a champ and got horrible gas mileage.  We sometimes called it “Old Reliable” because it was so dependable.  It never let us down and we used it to tow other cars home that did.

Pulled by Ugly Truckling

The Scotty at a park along the way.

The Ranch

The Ranch

Our first trailer

I think it was 1988, at least that is close enough.  I was working for Massie Glass and the boss told me that they needed some extra office space for about 3 months.  Struck with an idea, he purchased an old, well worn “Scotty” trailer and asked me to converted it to an office.  He said that if I did a nice job, I could have the trailer for free after he was done with it.  I set to work and soon the inside of the trailer looked like a nifty little office complete with desk and computer.  Three months later, I pulled it home and remodelled it again into a comfy little travel trailer.

It was small, with no bathroom.  The ice box was an “ICE box”….you had to put ice in it to keep things cool.  There was a three burner stove, a tiny closet and a little cabinet space.  A double bed graced one end and a fold down couch/bed was at the other end.  Since we had 4 kids, sleeping arrangements were tight.  The wife and I took the double bed.  The two girls slept on the couch and the two boys slept on the floor with their feet under the fold down bed.  When the weather was warm enough, the kids slept in the tent.  Hey it was free, and we had a great time using it.

Pretty Ugly

The Scotty.  Lynnel and Tyler

The hitch was just a simple hitch with no sway bar and no load leveler.  There were no trailer brakes.  Since it was a “Scotty,” it towed very well.  We pulled it behind our Chevy Suburban.  At the time, it was perfect.