Monday, August 4, 2008

Better Than Hitchhiking

Hitch-hiking is of course very dangerous and not within the repertoire of my farmgirl self.

However, I learned from farmgirl Carri a neat new trick using my thumbs to help back up a horse (or any other) trailer.

You may remember that I only recently got brave and learned to drive with our vintage (old, heavy, short-tongue-so-hard-to-tow) horse trailer hitched to the Sub. It was a necessary skill for me to learn since Madeleine will start Horse 4-H in the fall and I will have to drive the girls and horses to a nearby arena a couple of times a week. Ah, the fuel bill. But that's another post.

Today I had to pick up some hay at a neighboring ranch. No problem. I did think ahead to the particular driveway's peculiarities, and discussed them with my husband. I was worried because there is a triangle of farm roads that intersect at this barn, and gates at each side. I would have to do some tricky backing up. My smart husband said to just pull into the driveway on the right of the barn to straighten out and then back straight up to the barn. Simple, right?

There's the barn I'm aiming for. Backwards.

There's the view when I got out to make sure I was straight. Pretty straight. Oh, and those people are building a really nice fence there. I'll try not to hit it.

There's what happened when I tried to back up straight. Oh. Not so straight, you say? We shouldn't see the whole side of the trailer like that if we're going straight? That's not the barn behind the trailer at all?! Fret not. We will not hit the lovely fence on the other side. Nay, we will not hit the expensive remote control gate opener thingy either.

We will call our husband in a farmpanic. He will be in a VIM, or Very Important Meeting, and unavailable to help us beyond reminding us that it is a "pace not a race." Or, in English, "go slow and you'll be okay."

Crikey. Too bad I'm not the queen or I could continue thinking in the Royal We and someone else would be driving my horse trailer and picking up my horse hay.

Then I remembered that chicks rule. So sorry to be such a confused feminist and all. My friend Carri told me that if I got confused while backing up the horse trailer, I could simply put my hands on the bottom of the steering wheel with my thumbs pointing to one another.

Like this (oh, look, my pedicure is still cute):

It's kind of hard to take a picture of both of your hands on the steering wheel, but I want to be sure you see how to do this:

After your hands (mine really aren't that pudgy. It's gotta be the camera) are in the correct position, steer the trailer by the direction your THUMBS are pointing. It's a mirror-reading backwards thing. And it's genius. Because before I knew it:

This was in my side view mirror!

And this was in my trailer. Whew. Good to know we can count on our farm friends. And our thumbs.


Agent K said...

Crikey....and you were on the phone with me to boot...Whew you DO rock.

You will have to give me a real live tutorial cuz I just don't get it.
Drive slowly and speak even slower.

Way to go! Whoot-whoot!

Chickie Momma said...

FANTASTIC! Thanks for sharing this - it's one tip any farmgirl can't live without. And we all know we can't ask our HUSBANDS how to do it because they'd laugh.

Barb said...

I bet this would work for backing up a boat, too. I mean, should I ever be brave enough to try. I'm going back to read this again, just in case I don't have your number handy at the time.

~~Devita~~ said...

wonderful! i want to try it! :D:D

Cottage Rose said...

That bought back memories. I hated towing the horse trailer. First time I ever went out with it, someone ran up the back of it, 2 nd time, a friends horse went down in it, 3rd time was a breeze after that. They have a mind of their own when reversing. I only ever parked it where I could drive straight in and straight out again (it meant arriving early at events to get the prime spot)
Good luck!

Rachel said...

Oh, I get it! I get it! It took me a minute, but then I got it! Wonderful! I'm so excited. Now I just need to find somewhere to have to back up the camper...