…the greatest of these is Love’s

Day 2 of our maiden voyage began with the realization that it was REALLY windy. Like 30-40 mph sustained gusts. Not the ideal towing weather but we had places to go and we were going to be on state roads not interstates so we decided to give it a shot. I noticed that one of the roof vents was not tightening down all the way and with the wind, I knew that something needed to be done. But, I could not figure out how to tighten it down. (I have since learned that you can find a YouTube video for ANYTHING.)

I thought since the nice owner had helped me the night before with my water, surely he’d help me again. We stopped by the office as we were heading out of the park. As luck would have it the office was closed. It was Sunday and everyone was headed for church. Well, we had duct tape from the day before so I thought I’d climb up the ladder on the back of the RV and tape the vent down until I could get it fixed. I’m a bit accident prone so climbing the ladder was iffy at best. I managed to climb the ladder but the wind was so relentless that I couldn’t bring myself to actually make the last rungs to get on top of the RV–it’s scarier than you think! I tried to reach the vent with pieces of duct tape but again, the wind was not cooperating. As it turns out the owner had not left for church and I assume that he didn’t want to return from church to find some middle aged lady lying in a crumpled heap in front of his office so he came out and managed to tighten the vent. (Tip-either tape your vent crank so they don’t work themselves open during towing or put in vent pillows to hold the cranks in place.)

We headed west on Highway 412 which passes through some of the most uninteresting scenery ever. The wind was constant but everything was going well. We drove past miles and miles and miles of farmland, no towns, nothing. All of a sudden, the truck slowed to about 35 mph and would not go any faster. Great, we’re in the middle of nowhere and what to do? Kara called my son who searched for an answer online. He said that maybe the filter needed to be reset and we should drive for about 30 minutes at 35 mph and 2500 rpm. That is exactly what the truck was doing but it had no particulate filter (discussed in an earlier post about sleazy used truck dealers.) Maybe there is a sensor that thinks it has a filter or something? Heck, I don’t know but we’re in the middle of nowhere with nothing in site so I guess we’ll keep driving.

Then there was a pop. Ok, here’s a farm road, I’ll just pull over and open the hood because that’s what you do. I’m not sure what I’m going to do once I open the hood but I know that is what you do! Did I mention it is VERY windy? I opened the hood and oil blew everywhere. All over the windshield, down the side of the trailer. Awesome. Even I know this is bad. Just then a man and his wife pulled up. This very handsome cowboy with his pressed western shirt and pressed jeans got out to help me. He suggested I put more oil in and limp to the Love’s Truck Stop which was only a mile down the road. He even took off his nicely pressed shirt to help me pour oil in. I had extra oil and he had a jug as well. Thank God for that man.

We made it to the Love’s Truck Stop in Boise City, OK. (Pronounced Boice City and it was the heart of the dust bowl. In other words, there is no reason to ever visit this place.) I got someone to look at it and he just shook his head and said, that’s just blown. So, I did what any one would do in this situation, I cried. I then pulled myself together and we came up with a plan. I have AAA with coverage for my RV so, I’d just call and someone can tow us to Amarillo (125 miles) to the Chevy dealer and we’ll just deal with it. So, we put in the call to AAA and now we wait. Kara was opening to door of the truck to go in and ask the Love’s Manager if it is ok that we are parking in their truck lot while we wait for the tow. Did I mention it was windy? The wind caught the door and sprung the hinges so now the truck door won’t close. Good thing we had that duct tape. Kara fashioned a rope out of duct tape to wrap through the handle and then around the back door handle. It wasn’t completely closed but at this point, did it matter?

We had several fine dining choices to choose from: Subway and Pizza Hut. I hate both. But, a friend had given me a 6 pack of Happy Camper beer (I was not a HC at this point) and Kara bought a pack of cigarettes because we had pictures to stage. What else can you do? You just have to laugh. So, I had my VERY bad hair day, seriously the wind was relentless; my dog; beer; cigarettes and a tumble weed. She told me to pose like the Migrant Mother pic. The original and my reenactment. Uncanny.

After about 8 hours, AAA informed me that no one would tow me due to the wind. Well, I guess I live at Love’s now. The kind couple from earlier in the day stopped by to check on us. I told them our predicament and he said he knew there was a trailer park just a few block away and we could get a semi wrecker to tow the truck and the trailer there. The tow truck driver had the personality of the Grinch but he hooked up the truck. Dexter and I were in the front seat and Kara in the back. As we’re being towed, Dexter moved and leaned against the door (you know, the door that is held closed by a duct tape rope) and I pulled it back just in case the tape didn’t hold. I hear from the back seat in a wistful voice “remember that time when the truck blew up and we were in the truck with the trailer attached being towed by a semi wrecker and Dexter almost fell out the door? Good times.” God, I love that kid.

Lesson 3: Some people go out of their way to be kind. I love Love’s. Duct tape; Red Green has been right all along. (Red Green was a PBS show and duct tape played a large role.)


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On the Road At Last!

After the truck-buying debacle and the epic photo my brother snapped for us, my daughter, Kara, and I set out for Phoenix. The only way to travel the country is by getting off of the freeway so Kara mapped out our journey through Kansas and into Oklahoma. The first day of travel went pretty well. I was a bit nervous it being the first time towing but the truck was running well (considering it had no exhaust system) and it had no trouble towing the light trailer.

We stopped for lunch at an Applebees which was next to a hotel with a large parking lot. You can’t just pull into any parking lot and since I could not back the trailer worth a darn, I wanted to make sure I had plenty of room. Turning into the hotel parking lot required a sharp turn. All of a sudden, the trailer wouldn’t move. I’m halfway into their driveway and I can’t move. I panicked and called the dealership to ask what could be wrong. They told me I just needed to plug the break away cable back in. Oh yes, I remember that now. There is a cable from the hitch to the truck so that if the two are separated, the wheels of the trailer will lock up. Whew! Easy fix. I guess the turn was so sharp that it pulled the pin. Heart attack one in the books.

We continued on and had to stop for fuel. A latino man who didn’t speak English well was trying to tell me something. I apologized for not understanding so he motioned for me to walk to the back of my truck. The tow plug (from the trailer to the truck which operates the trailer brakes and lights) was dragging on the ground. Yay. It must have been dragging for hours because it was half a plug at this point. Great, where does one go on a Saturday afternoon at 4 in nowhere Kansas to have this fixed? We found an Autozone and I described my issue and they had a replacement plug. However, the old plug had to be cut off and wires stripped and threaded onto the new plug. You would think as many times as I have cut and fixed the electric cord to my hedge trimmers, I could do this task but it was a bit more complicated than I felt prepared to handle. I asked the clerk if there was anyone I could hire to do this. Why yes, he had a friend who would be happy to help. Great!

So, as Meth-head Mike (I don’t know his name) was fixing my plug i was watching intently; not only to learn but to make sure all the wires were connected. He seemed to know what he was doing and I hope that young man has kicked his habit. At this point, I was just grateful there was someone who could take care of it. Kara purchased some duct tape to ensure the cord would not fall out again. The truck was missing the plug cover that hooks onto a ridge on the plug to make sure it stays plugged in.

We went on our way and found a nice trailer park in Guymon, OK. to stay the first night. I could not for the life of me get the water hooked up. I forget why but I remember the owner came out and helped me. I think he just added a washer–it was minor whatever it was. It had been a stressful day and I was glad to sleep.

It was fairly windy that day.

Lesson 2: There is no such thing as a good hair day in Oklahoma. And always carry duct tape.

Let’s Go Back to the Beginning

When I began my RVing adventure in 2014, I was going to blog but then a few things happened and blah, blah, here it is 5 years later. The memories have been popping up on FB so I guess I’ll relive it.

I had been dreaming of RVing and working from the road for years but, the boss wasn’t going for it. My daughter has MS and wants to visit all the national parks so I kept nagging him. Finally, received the ok and started researching everything. I looked at RV Trader every night, read blogs, compared and drove myself nuts. I’m not really a planner. I’m much more of a let’s do this and see what happens kind of gal. But, I try to be responsible so I attended the Escapees Boot Camp in AZ (invaluable, I might add) and then went to buy a used truck.

I’ve never driven a truck, let alone a 3/4 ton diesel. I thought, hey, I should go to a small town near my home (Kansas City, MO) and talk to what I’m sure will be nice people willing to guide me. So, as you can already tell, sometimes I’m just too trusting. But, they sure seemed like great guys. I told them what I was planning to do and they had just the truck. A 2006 GMC 2500 with under 200,000 miles but sharp and fun to drive. I knew this wouldn’t be a long term truck but maybe a year or two.

I bought new running boards and took it to my nephew to install. “You know you don’t have an exhaust system, just a straight pipe?” Me: “what does that mean?” Him “Well, it’s illegal…” This began my education of particulate filters and emission laws and just how evil and greedy some people can be. I went back to the dealer and demanded my money back. Nope, I bought it as is. But what about telling me it is ready to tow and just what I need and assuring me I was making the right decision? Some people have no morals. I decided to go ahead with trip and have the truck fixed in Phoenix. Karma. It will come for them one day. 

I bought a new Winnebago Lite 5 which is made by the former Sunnybrook company. 30 foot, rear kitchen. So far so good.

All packed up in Red Zeppelin and the Mothership, my daughter flew to KC to begin the maiden voyage with my dog, Dexter Corgan. Headed to Scottsdale with some sights to see along the way. I asked my brother to take a pic of the beginning of our journey. I guess I should have looked at it before leaving. Look how happy we are. 🙄F1291D89-FE6B-415B-A024-485C509A590E

Lesson 1. Some people are just plain evil. And don’t ask my brother to take a photo. 

 

Down the Up Staircase

It wouldn’t be a weekend without something happening, would it? So the driveway guy put in many loads of “pit run” which is gravel/sand something that will harden to make my driveway. When he left on Friday he said to go ahead and move the trailer up the hill and he would just shape it up this week. You would think I would learn not to listen.

The driveway is a circle drive so that I can just pull the trailer around to leave. You know, since I can’t back it worth a darn. I pulled it up and realized it was a bit soft and I wasn’t comfortable setting up so I decided just to pull around the circle and go back to my original spot until he was done and it dried a bit. Welllll, the circle isn’t quite big enough but I thought I could skirt the edge and make it ok. Au contraire. I was doing ok but I lose sight of the right side when making a left turn so I didn’t notice that I had gone a bit over the edge of the driveway–enough for the stairs to open. And since I didn’t see that, I just kept going. They must have bumped a branch ( damn those branches). I decided to just set up camp on the driveway approach. And I have a fancy step stool as my new stairs. Sigh.