"There are places I'll remember,
all my life though some have changed,
some forever not for better,
some have gone and some remain"
Sunday, May 12, 2013
Bad Karma on i77
We just got back from Florida at 6:00 Wednesday night. It was a motorhome trip that involved towing her convertible, camping, vodka, firearms and huge expenditures of time and money. Thought you might enjoy the highlights.
We left without incident and drove south on into the night the first day. Dirty misty rain caused the last 3 hours driven that night to be less than comfortable. We crashed in the steady rain at a truck stop that night. The place was packed with huge trucks and a few $200k coaches. What's the sense of owning a 1/4 million dollar rig if you don't want to sleep in a parking lot someplace surrounded by idling diesel trucks?
The sun came out the next day and we breezed in to Kissimmee without incident. Cypress Cove Resort had our reservations all ready and the campsite they saved for us was just right. It has 50 amp power for all our goodies, water, sewer, cable tv and wifi too. Okay! It was time to crack open a bottle of Mexican Vodka and chill out. We rested that afternoon.
The next few days were spent going back and forth to Universal Studios. They do have a few roller coasters but most of the newer rides are those simulator things. Our favorite one is Harry Potter. You sit in a ski lift chair and swirl, rotate and lean all over, very cool and you don't feel like you might die. It was really well done, even the waiting line is totally themed like the Hogwarts Castle in the movies. They have an option to skip the ride and take the Castle Tour to enjoy the cool stuff they constructed along the route of the queue. Good food too!
That's about it for the good stuff. I rented a golf cart the second day we were there to make it easier to get around the campground. That was great until I backed it into the support for our extended awning. But the damage was (mostly) repaired by raising one of the hydraulic leveling jacks and lowering it over the bent area. Hey, it works well enough to be operational but the aluminum channel still has a little zig zag in it.
After getting a early start Saturday morning we followed our printed directions to help navigate home. It was a very nice day rolling smoothly north from Florida even after running into some construction the map, odometer and clock all agreed that we were about 45 minutes ahead of schedule. About 5:00 pm while passing a truck on a hill in North Carolina the dashboard suddenly lit up like a christmas tree. Temp gauges spiked on tranny and engine, the stop engine light was bright red and turbo boost gauge dropped to zero and we started to slow rapidly. I headed for the shoulder. We pulled over just downstream of an overpass. The coach was leaning at a precarious angle and still close enough to the road that every passing truck blasted us with a gust of air strong enough to make the entire 36 feet of diesel pusher shudder in fear.
The Good Sam road service people were quite friendly on the phone. A nice lady named Susan took our call and said she would send a mechanic out to fix our problem. Hang tight, she said and promised to call us back in a few minutes. An hour later we called her. There is nothing available for you right now... Sorry. Uh, what? How can that be? Even the Highway Patrol cop didn't have a tow vehicle to get us off the road, So we unhitched the car, packed up the cats, abandoned the parrot and drove to a hot sheets motel for the night.
The next day the company miraculously was able to find us a mechanic to come out to check us out. The problem was a fan belt tensioner pulley. This guy was able to "presidentially engineer" a bungee cord to somehow allow us to limp down the interstate to a rest stop where we spent another night on the side of the road. He came out Monday and installed a new pulley. He had way more guns than us and we had a fun time doing show and tell. The Guys flashed our guns and the girls compared tattoos.
Our frustration level was growing so we decided to drive 5 more hours to Shenandoah Valley and spend a few days there for R&R. We pulled into a nice KOA where we had stayed before and settled in. The next day we unhitched the convertible and drove out to visit a few micro breweries.
On our way back to the campsite a big fat chick, shaped like an upside down bowling pin clobbered us from behind while we were stopped in traffic. I think she was texting. So now Pats car is all smashed up. She is becoming less happy by the minute. We call the cops, exchange insurance and head back to the KOA. We both have doctors appointments and my buddy the lawyer is on it already.
We spent another night there, woke up early and planned an uneventful drive back to PA. Getting ready to go involves checking everything. Whoops, flat tire on the motorhome. That tire is a Big bastard too. Back on the phone to our road service company. Turns out they do not fix flats. They sell tires. $750 and they don't cover labor to mount it. Fugetaboudit. The nice girl in the office called a local who came out, removed the roofing nail and repaired the tire for $104. Guy had a serious case of meth mouth but man, he could wrestle a tire.