It all started with that ‘leap of faith’ to abandon the ‘normal’ lifestyle and embrace a whole new one, fulltime RVing. We began with a little research and whole lot of selling all the crap we thought we just couldn’t live without. You know, all that stuff you have sitting around you right now that has absolutely no use but as a dust catcher. The first two months was all about learning our new-to-us rig and getting used to living a stress free life with little to no worries, at least compared to what the worries we had with sticks and bricks around us. On April 27, 2011, tornadoes ravaged our home state of Alabama. It took us a grueling 3 weeks to get everything in order and collect donations for AL from our wonderful friends from TX. We knew we needed tires, along with a few other minor things to fully be ready to hit the road, but the tornadoes forced our hand to head out sooner. With a few prayers and burning sage, we left TX to drop off donations and do volunteer work helping our fellow Alabamians rebuild.
As luck would have it, everything fell into place, for us to head to Tuscaloosa, except the new trailer tires. What MapQuest called an 800mi/12hr trip seemed simple enough, except in the RV world 12 hours is easily 16+ when you look at the slower rate of speed you just HAVE to travel at, one of the hardest things for us to get used to. After only 30min on the road, the F350 started running hot. We had changed out the thermostat only a month ago, so it couldn’t be anything wrong with that, right? Wrong, little did we know when the gasket was replaced the weep hole had gotten covered up, being first time diesel owners; this was all new to us. We changed that gasket 3 times before we finally figured it out! The truck was all fixed, we thought, but 30miles down the road it was running hot AGAIN. This time a truck driver stopped and gave us some advice that it may be the hose on the bottom of the radiator, so that was our next fix. Ready to go again, but the truck is still overheating and we had only went about 40 miles in two days from our starting point. On Mother’s Day we found ourselves in an Advanced Auto parking lot changing out the water pump, 110˚F and no shade in sight, except under the truck and rig. At this point I was really starting to get down and out about our luck and on my special day too. This grandmotherly woman came up and asked if we needed any help, of course we did, we didn’t have the right tools to do the job, and she got on the phone and had the tool on the way in minutes. While we were waiting, she asked me why I was down and out, I started telling my sob story but she interrupted me with some very wise words I’ll never forget. She said “Look at me, I’m deaf, can’t talk plainly, have no teeth and I’m old, I have nothing to be depressed over and you shouldn’t either . You have your health, hearing and especially your family.” That woman was an angel in disguise.
After a few more hours on the road (more on the side than on it) we decided it would be best to land somewhere for a few days to de-stress and work on the truck. The whole water system had been replaced at this point, except the radiator. Looking at the map I realized it had taken us all of three days to go 1 hour away from home, was this really the lifestyle I wanted? Of course it is. At this campground we met some great horses and their trainer, got a few hours of fishing in and just rested. Daddy took the radiator off and traveled 20 miles back the way we had come to have it boiled out. After this, the truck ran like a dream and we hit the road headed to Tuscaloosa, AL.
Wouldn’t you know it; a flat tire would then delay us for only a few hours, by now we’re experts at delays. The thing here is, it wasn’t one of the camper tires that were extremely dry rotted, it was on the trailer I was pulling that had good tires on it (the small one with our storage stuff, more material things I felt I wouldn’t be complete without). At this point I was counting my blessings that it wasn’t the camper that was carrying about 500lbs of donations. Back on the road and a lot of boring hours driving behind the camper, we made it to Tuscaloosa, FINALLY! I have to only think that there was a reason all those camper tires held up on the blazing TX and LA roads.
To be continued….
A last thought
Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. ~Theodore Roosevelt