Just when we thought this adventure couldn’t get more exciting, the front of our Jeep literally tore off. Nobody was hurt and we should get the Jeep back tomorrow, so now I can tell the story…
It was Sunday March 19th, a gorgeous Florida day as we rolled into the parking lot of the Kennedy Space Center. I was driving Winnie the RV, pulling the Jeep Liberty behind us as we had been for the past 6,000 miles. We are about 50′ long in total when towing the car, so it’s not always easy to find a place to park even in a huge museum lot. A member of Kennedy Space Center’s security met us so we could follow them to a special area for RVs.
The security officer was in a golf cart, so we must have been going a total of 8mph when I turned left and felt the RV shake. Watching in the rear view camera, I could see the Jeep continuing to go straight as I was turning left. I immediately stopped and jumped out to see what had happened. I knew right away that our next few weeks were going to be different.
For those of you not familiar with towing a car that has all 4 wheels down, it works like this: The Jeep has a front tow plate mounted to the underside, just like a hitch in the back of the car, except instead of a 4″ receiver in the middle, it has 2 connection ports on either side of the license plate that stick out through the front bumper. We then use a tow bar that connects into the RV’s hitch and has 2 arms that connect to the Jeep’s connection ports.
Turns out the base plate mounted to the underside of the Jeep completely fell off on one side and the RV basically ripped it off the car, taking the front end of the Jeep with it. When I stopped, it was hanging off the car by one last bolt on the driver’s side, and the loose side had jammed itself into the parking lot. I imagine the bolts on the passenger side had gotten looser and looser over time and had fallen off already – they weren’t anywhere at the scene.
After the head security officer came to assist, a NASA mechanic showed up to help jack the Jeep up so we could dislodge the tow plate and unscrew it from the frame. I pulled the rest of the parts off the Jeep and threw ’em all in the back to be inspected later.
Luckily, this happened while going incredibly slow in an almost empty parking lot. It would have been a disaster on the highway. Although it looked like a mess, the Jeep ran perfectly with no visible mechanical damage.
We parked the vehicles and the amazing security and customer service team at Kennedy Space Center walked us past the line and paid for our tickets for the day. They could not have been more accommodating and helpful during such as stressful situation.
Needless to say, we have been driving separately for the past 4 weeks. Fortunately, we haven’t had many long drives between locations.
Our insurance is covering the Jeep damage, and the body shop should be done with the work tomorrow. They rented us a little Yaris for the last week so we could get around in Washington DC and Baltimore. The manufacturer of the tow gear shipped us new parts which will be installed next week and we are currently waiting to hear back from them about the ongoing claim to see who is really at fault – them or the installer.
All in all, this could have been much worse and we are extremely lucky that no one was hurt. Hopefully it is smooth sailing from this point on!
Check out new photos from the last few cities: www.WhatRVup2.com/photos