Very first trip – learning opportunity number two

On the trip home from Colorado National Monument, we stopped in Clifton for fuel.  When we stopped there on the way out, we found a Sinclair station where fuel was a good 20 cents a gallon cheaper than anywhere else.  Of course, we wanted to stop there on the way back.

On our first visit, I simply pulled into the first outside pump, filled up and exited straight out.  Not a problem.

The outside pump was occupied on the second visit, but pumps on the inside were empty.  Unfortunately, that required me to make a U-turn to get in.  No problem.  Lots of room.  I pulled close to the first inside pump so that anyone else coming in could get around me and drive to the forward pump.  Tank filled, we fired up the engine and started to take off.

Crunch.

I looked back.  The trailer, which was still angled when we got to the pump, hit a post that the gas station people had wisely installed to keep people like me from hitting the pumps.  Although the Xterra cleared it with no problem, the turning angle of the trailer had kept it from clearing.   I now had red paint on the water heater panel cover and slight sheet metal damage.

I started to back the trailer up in an attempt to straighten it out and get out of there.

Crunch.

The Xterra bumper hit the post.  Fortunately, the bumper is rubber and the damage was limited to some minor scraping.

Now I had a problem.  I needed to back up the trailer without hitting the post, which was now nicely centered between the back of the car and the front of the A-frame.  With a few back and forth maneuvers, I finally got the job done and we were free of the pump post.

Back home with some paint thinner and fine steel wool, I was able to remove the red paint.  Now only a small square of slightly crinkled metal remains as a reminder of the incident.

Next time, I’ll hit outside pumps only, pull in straight and don’t pull in close unless everything is definitely in line.