I also considered calling this “And then we called the cops….” In fact, both headlines are 100% true. What are we talking about? Asking for help BEFORE it’s too late. And this weekend was the first time it really happened for us.
Our tight campsite
Because campgrounds were full, we chose a lovely site through Hipcamp for a two-day stay in Duluth, Minnesota. It’s probably an acre in size, with a few different mowed areas to set up camp. One thing I liked about it was that it was along a well-traveled road and sizeable (one lane each way with a small shoulder). That way we had room to swing it in and out.
We got into the campsite without any issues. But we quickly learned it wasn’t sizeable enough for us to turn around our 42-foot fifth wheel — mostly because the trees and brush became obstacles for us. Believe me, we tried getting it into a different position, but it just wasn’t going to work. So we positioned it back exactly where we came in, knowing we’d have to back it out on the road.
Our exit strategy
We took the time to discuss how we would depart our site. Joel would drive and I would have simultaneously make sure neither the camper nor the truck go into the ditch on either side of the entrance to the campsite and stop traffic (and if traffic didn’t stop, I needed to not get killed). Sounds fun right? It was the only real plan available to us. What could possibly go wrong?
Time to call the cops
After stressing out about this for two days, I had an epiphany the morning that we were leaving. Would an officer come and help with stopping traffic?
I called the Duluth Police Department’s non-emergency line and asked. I explained our situation, where we were at and what kind of help I was looking for. And sure enough they said they’d be happy to send a sheriff’s deputy to help us. They just asked that I call them back about 30 minutes before we were leaving.
As part of our preparedness, Joel backed the camper up right next to the road so we were ready to go when the St. Louis County Sheriff’s deputy arrived. He pulled up, we explained our plan and said we’d try to do this quickly and he could move on with his day. His response to us was amazing. He said (paraphrasing here) “I’m happy to do this. More people should be asking for this kind of help. And, quite frequently, they get into trouble when they don’t.”
Boy, did I feel validated! I was worried that my request was completely stupid and a waste of time. Joel also acknowledged that it was probably a good thing we called them.
The deputy put his lights on and parked his vehicle in one lane and then stood in the other lane to halt traffic if it was needed, while I watched and guided the camper. Once I knew the camper and truck were coming out safely, I nabbed my phone and got a little video.
Lesson here: you don’t have to do everything yourself. When you’re hauling your home behind you, it’s imperative to do as much as you can to protect it. And public safety officials are HAPPY to help!