Monday, July 9, 2012

As luck would have it....

     We spent the rest of the summer working, getting the hubby’s license straightened out, seeing old friends and family and a trip to the ER for a head wound I acquired(a whole story in itself).  We saved every penny in hopes of being able to leave Bama before the school year started in FL.
      We stayed the last night in town at the mom-in-law’s house so the lil one could spend one more night in her bunk bed she prized so much.  After waking at 1AM, coffee in hand and everything packed and ready, we were ready to try and hit the road, FL bound.
      As I’ve mentioned before ‘Murphy’s Law’ should have been my middle name.  The problems started right away with the camper lights not working, again.  This was the same problem we had coming from TX, and I was not looking forward to being mesmerized by two flashing red lights on a big white box for hours on end on a dark interstate.  The hubby started checking all the connections and wires all while the truck lights were on, we needed power for the camper lights to work, all this while ol’Blue’s batteries were being drained. 
      We got the lights working, somewhat, but no juice to crank the work truck.  I hated having to wake a tow truck driver at 3AM to jump off ol’Blue, but it needed to be done.  A couple of hours later we were finally on the road, not too far behind schedule at this point.
      We didn’t make it very far before my luck would strike again, actually only the edge of Muscle Shoals city limits.  We had our first flat tire.  It was OK though, we had a spare, as dry rotted as the rest, but a spare none the less.  It only took about 30 min or so to change this one.  We went for a couple of hours more, almost made it to Birmingham before another flat tire would delay us more.  We were smart this time, we checked all the other tires and discovered a knot on one. Two tires needed replacing, but on the bright side we could use the knotted tire as a spare in a pinch, if need be.  Two tires and $289 later, we were FL bound again.  By now the hubby had become an expert at changing tires on the fifth wheel.
the first of many to come

      A few more monotonous hours on the road and we finally saw the Florida state line.  Once again before hitting I10, we had ANOTHER flat tire.  The flat tires were getting as monotonous as the highways were at this point.  This time the old dry rotted knotted ‘spare’ tire came in handy, as there was nothing around for miles.  This was probably not one of our wisest decisions; heck  leaving on four dry rotted tires was definitely not the best choices we’d made in a while.

      After so many flats the lil one decided to ride with mommy for a bit.  After hitting I10 eastbound we had a full blown blow out on our hands.  This one was the worst as part of the tire flew back and almost hit the Ranger, as I said a few choice words the lil one looked up saying “Great, another flat, look it looks like snow.”  No, she wasn’t seeing things, as the tire flew off the rim, it allowed the camper to crash into the asphalt, tearing off a fender and styrofoam insulation from underneath, making it look like a blizzard we were driving into.  About that time is when I saw sparks on the same side our propane lines were.  Sometimes we can have the worst of all luck, but then again considering it didn’t go up into a ball of flames, I was feeling pretty lucky at that point.  You see, when we traveled in the Rockwood Fifth Wheel, we ran with the propane on, so the fridge would keep on working as we went down the road.  Counting our blessings we decided to sleep on the side of the road until the stores opened in the morning.  After a rough night being constantly rocked by the big rigs passing, we got one of the insurance checks cashed and changed that tire. 
the last and most damaging of the flats

      We rode pretty well for a while, as we had replaced all of the camper tires, except one.  Finally, we passed the sign that read ‘Jacksonville 25mi’, only 25 miles left on this long drawn out journey, way behind schedule at this point.  Our last and final original dry rotted tire blew right past this sign.  By this time I was ready to walk if I had to, just to get there, but I couldn’t bring myself to leave the hubby on the side of the interstate.  We got the last insurance check cashed and changed that one; I’m still amazed at the price of camper tires.  There went the last of our ‘sit and relax’ monies we thought we would have to live on for a bit.
      At last, we were within Jacksonville city limits, heading directly to our winter home in Pecan Park RV Park.  After turning a 15 hour trip (my estimation on the travel time pulling a camper) into a 36 hour trip, I was very pleased to be able to get off the interstate for seven months.  We learned a ton of lessons on this trip, the most important one is to be flexible at all times and to carry twice the monies you think you may need.

Until next time…..

When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money.

 ~Susan Heller

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