Preamble: If you know anything about towing and trailer hitches, I could use your counsel. I need a hitch ball for my Forester because the towing package inexplicably did not come with one. The problem is that I can’t find specs for the life of me. My specific concern is something called the “shank diameter.” If this is what I think it is, then it looks like it’s the 5/8″ one. I’m measuring the hole in the hitch. Is that right? Should I be able to get one by walking into an auto parts dealer with the hitch and saying “I need a hitch ball for this?” Or it is more specialized than that and I need to order it online? I should add that the nearest UHaul store is out in Redstone, which I’d rather not drive to. I will update this section when I go out tomorrow, but if you can give me any insights here before I do, I’d greatly appreciate it.
So, on with the show…
So, here’s the thing. Last weekend, I made a reservation on UHaul’s website for a moving van. I decided I needed a reservation when I drove by the local lot and saw that there was a real dearth of vans. In fact, there was only one. When it went through, I figured that either (a) I got dibs on either the van I saw or one that wasn’t in the lot, or (b) if there wasn’t one, they’d send one out. I was giving them a week’s notice, after all.
I had decided to stop by the UHaul place and confirm that everything was a-go and find out how I was supposed to pick the car up on a Saturday when they are closed on Saturdays. Unfortunately, the one day I stopped by there was nobody there. I forgot to stop by again. But I figured we’d work it out.
Yesterday morning I got a call from UHaul’s Arapaho dispatcher or whatever, and they called to inform me that there was no van available for my reservation. I would have to pick one up from Redstone. It would cost an additional $20 because it would be considered a one-way move. Or I could still do “in town” but I would be paying for mileage ($.89/mi). The second option would mean that we would be paying for over 100 miles for a move that is four blocks over. The first option would mean that somehow I would need to get over there without driving because I couldn’t leave the car over there because I wouldn’t be going back. Or I could get a ride back to pick up the car, but that was problematic, too.
Adding to this, if I was driving solo (second option) I couldn’t take the baby with me because you can’t put a babyseat in a UHaul. Which would mean that Clancy would need to watch the baby, which she doesn’t have time to do because of work obligations*. Further, she can’t drive me to Redstone (first option) because she is on call this weekend and that means she can’t go beyond a 20-mile radius. It also means that leaving her with the baby is problematic because if she gets called in, there is nobody to watch her.
So that just wasn’t going to work. Unfortunately, due to the fact it took them a full four days to inform us that the Callie location has no vans, we were hard-pressed to find someone to loan us a pick-up truck. Our neighbor had offered, but when I asked her I found out that their pickup is broken down. Clancy could ask around the office, but it was short notice and pickups are not as big with the doctors as they are with everyone else in town (and everyone else in town we know well enough to ask are doctors). The realtor had also vaguely made such an offer, but that was before we signed the lease and also before we turned down his brother-in-law’s offer to move us. So I wasn’t sure if that was an option, even forgiving the short notice.
Before calling him to find out, I decided that maybe we would just get a trailer from UHaul. We have the Forrester, and we got the trailer hitch package for a reason. The only problem is that the trailers we needed maxed out at 1,800lbs and the theoretical maximum for the Forester is a scant 1,500lbs. Now, we’re pretty sure that the 1,500lbs is more of a liability limit rather than an actual limit as to what the auto can actually pull. The maximum tow capacity is listed as much higher in other countries (3,200-4,400 lbs) and I don’t think it’s because they’re getting that much a tougher model. Rather, I think they have more to fear from lawsuits and so they are more conservative in their American estimates.
So I called UHaul and I lied. I said that the maximum tow capacity is 2,000. It turned out this wasn’t a lie. Even though it’s advertised at 1,500, the hitch itself says 2,400. Whatever, it’s four blocks. UHaul bought it and we made the reservation.
So yesterday I get the hitch out only to be reminded that I don’t have a hitch ball. I am quite glad I looked tonight so that I can go around town and look for one tomorrow. Now, theoretically I should be good to go. The hitch package on the Subaru is supposed to be complete (with break lights and so on – I’ve seen the cables). I am crossing my fingers and hoping-hoping-hoping that they don’t take one look at it and say “That won’t work.”
Because if they do, we’re hosed.
* – She has a job interview on the east coast next week. Rather than let her use her vacation time, they basically put the week’s worth of clinic in the first three days of the week. That means that it will be nigh-impossible for her to get all of her paperwork done before she leaves and that’s if she’s caught up from this week’s. She can’t catch up from this week’s without my giving her every possible moment to work on it (and even then, it’s iffy, because I’m going to need her to help me move some of the heavy stuff).