Thursday, November 22, 2007

Trail of Tears, Rips and Breakdowns...

Well, we FINALLY got on the road last Thursday afternoon after a false start. Made it all of twenty miles down the road when it suddenly dawned on yours truly that we (read "I") had left the registration for the trailer at home. Seeing as I'm such a magnet for cops seeking an hollow instrument to thrum their Kubatons upon, I decided discretion is the better part of valor and went back in search of the silly slip of paper. Fruitless after tearing apart the house for two hours, I was saved by my wife's exasperated suggestion I go to the DMV and get a duplicate.

A total of four hours later, we left with yours truly waving a registration and shouting "HiHo Silver, Away!"

Made it to somewhere outside of Boston where I grabbed a four hour restorative, then back on the road at midnight for another four hour run to somewhere just north of New York City. Put up for morning drive time and slept while the commuters wailed and gnashed their collective teeth.

Pulled out and hit the road about 9:30 in a drizzle and blustery conditions. All went well until the New Jersey Turnpike. Then the weather gremlins got serious. Stopped at a rest area and waited out the passage of the front somewhere near that hospital that House terrifies. Later the same afternoon, fortified by a nap, insulin and lunch, we "hobby horsed" our way down the New Jersey Turnpike on their trademark concrete and crack filler surface to the snafu from road construction hell at the border with Delaware, the gateway to the Delmarva peninsula.
There's nothing like five lanes of snarled traffic, me in the far left and needing to be in the far right! My wife's "powers of persuasion" (note to self - do NOT allow her to play with the Mossberg 500 JIC in traffic again) got us over to our exit and onto the amazingly complex network of local, unmarked highways and by-ways that constitute the transportation system of Eastern Maryland. Frantic cell calls to the 84 year-young uncle and a firing up of the old Garmin 76s GPS saved the evening and we wallowed into Rock Hall, Maryland under the cover of darkness.

A good thing it was dark, too. My only living relative lives on the main drag in town so you can imagine the mess that'd have ensued if I'd tried to back the Airstream into their driveway during rush hour! Well, y'alled be proud to know I did it first try, like I created the art of backing a 7 1/2 foot wide trailer down an eight foot wide drive!

We had an interesting stay with my peeps. Visited some fun restaurants, worked like a dog trying to get the water and sewage systems functional. We'd hoped to be back on the road on Sunday, but a combination of factors conspired to delay departure until midday Monday. Oh well, so much for visiting Nag's Head and Cape Hatteras on the way down. Instead, for the past few days it's been a steady slog down the Interstates to Louisiana.

Or at least it was until yesterday.

Just outside of Meridian, Mississippi we must have picked up some debris with our tires, because as we climbed the hill at 70 MPH we found ourselves being shaken to within an inch of depositing our kidneys in our shins! Off to the side we went. One tire shredded like you see on NASCAR races, tore up the side of the trailer, shattering the fiberglass inner wheel well and mangling the outer, ABS plastic wheel well and the aluminum shroud in the immediate vicinity. Changing the tire was relatively easy once I got her stopped and my heartrate back to something approaching normal.

No, the hard part was hacking and sawing (with a Ginzu knife) the ABS outer wheel well away that had collected as a hard lump of plastics between the two tires. Two hours on the side of the Interstate took care of that and then the hunt for tires began.

A lovely, soft-spoken young woman at Camperland RV Sales went above and beyond the call of duty to help us find a pair of tires at Ed Cheney's Tire Sales in downtown Meridian.

They got us fixed up with two tires and checked all of our tire pressures and back on the road in less than two hours on the day before Thanksgiving! Amazing service. A tip of the old fedora to the guys down there for helping out this old reprobate yankee hippy!

We made it the rest of the way to our destination in Baton Rouge, Louisiana before 7PM. Badly in need of a shower and some food, family took us in, cleaned us up and fed us more barbecue than I could eat! A good, long night's sleep and a cup of coffee and I am starting to feel almost normal, if normal is 60's and seventies on Thanksgiving morning! :)

So, there you have it, No pictures yet, haven't really had time to take any, but the wife has a few on her cell phone -- I'll see if I can get them off and into machine-useable form. Today we're doing laundry and cleaning out the car. Tonight, we take off to Texas for a Renaissance Faire with the kids and grandmonsters. Seems there's an oil well that blew up and caught fire last week right next to I-10, so it is closed west of Baton Rouge. Oh joy - back roads the whole way! Yippee Ki-Yay, motherhumpers ... ;) More on the flip side.


Janet said...

Ironically it WAS about 60 here today, and I also watched the latest Die Hard movie lol ;-) Happy thanksgiving!!!

Chris said...

Laughed my butt off over the comment about the wife playing with the Mossberg;)

I can't stand even driving something the size of an SUV so I don't think I'll ever drive an RV or tow a trailer. Just don't have the skills or patience!

Happy Thanksgiving, Wil!

threecollie said...

Done that tire thing once. Drove out of a rest area in some western state best forgotten. Picked up junk and blew both rear tires on my badly overloaded '70 Chevy 1500. The jack was too short (clever move) so we had to set it on a cast iron skillet I liked to camp with. We also hit a nice tire store with good folks who fixed us right up. We didn't get to eat much the rest of the trip though, having given them all our money. Looking forward to the pictures!