Sunday was a tough, tough day. Rudee and I were in tears several times throughout the day as our friends departed one at a time. Rob and Jany Runion gave us a card as they were pulling out. They had to leave early to go to the hospital because Rob's Dad had taken a turn for the worst. We opened the card as they were driving away, it was one of those musical cards and played "thank you for being a friend". Needless to say I was reduced to a sobbing idiot ..... damn, I wasn't prepared for this!
The worst goodbye was to our kids and grand kids. They all left late in the afternoon and we were virtually the only ones left in the campground :-(
We did get a call from Craig and Joanie Isenhower who live nearby in Sheridan, Indiana. They wanted to get together so we met them at the Pizza King for supper. Craig and Joanie are a great couple who we were just getting to know well.
Thanks to all of our friends for a great week end, we'll see you again real soon.
Monday morning we got a slow start packing up. We were dragging our feet waiting on news from Rob about his Dad. When Jany called and told us there were no real changes we decided to go ahead and get packed up and on the road.
We pulled out at 10am and pointed the circus train South.
Rudee followed me in the Dakota and we communicated by CB radio. The trip through Indianapolis was not too bad since we avoided the morning rush hour. Rudee needed gas so we stopped at a Flying J just south of Indy. We got off just in time because we could see a large back up forming just past the exit. Once we got the Dakota filled up and us emptied (too much coffee) :-) we hopped over onto US 31 and bypassed the traffic jamb on the interstate.
The rest of the trip went well and we ended up spending the night in a Wal Mart in Athens, Alabama. We rented a movie from the Red Box kiosk and I fired up the generator and we settled in for the night.
This morning we were both up early and, after showers, we returned the movie and hit the road. The drive through Birmingham was just as I remembered it, rough roads! In Montgomery we cut over to US 231 down to Troy where we took the State Road 167 "short cut". This road bypasses Dothan which has become its own traffic nightmare.
We stopped at a closed and abandoned gas station in Enterprise for a picnic lunch on the tailgate of the Dakota.
Back on the road we were soon crossing the state line into Florida. Then the rain started, just some sprinkles at first but it soon turned into a steady downpour. That's when I heard it .... BOOM. I checked the mirrors but nothing seemed wrong. I have a camera pointed at the bike and checked the monitor screen, nothing wrong there. I called Rudee on the CB, she said she heard it too. We were on a four lane so I had her drive beside me to check things on the 5er and truck. All Ok on the drivers side so we swapped lanes and she checked the passenger side, nothing wrong there either .......... hmmmmm.
We drove on and kept a close watch on things and eventually saw that the left rear trailer tire looked funny. I pulled over behind a gas station right away, in the rain of course, and saw where the side wall had come apart on the tire but it was still holding air. Weird.
We have a roadside assistance plan but in the past they have taken anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to show up so I decided to go ahead and change it myself, in the rain of course :-(
Swapping the bad tire for our spare took us about 20 minutes and we both got so wet we had to compltely change our clothes. Our undies were even soaked :-)
One of the advantages of having an HDT truck is that you can install a retractable air hose and use the air compressor built into the truck. I also carry a small air powered impact wrench and sockets making removing and installing the lug nuts a breeze.
We decided that we had been through enough for one day and started thinking about where to land for the evening. We had hoped to get a little further and stay in another Wal Mart but since it was still fairly early (2pm) we didn't feel comfortable doing that. We decided to head for a KOA we have stayed at in the past. I headed onto I-10 to make the 90 mile last leg of this long, long day.
We no more got on the highway when the rain worsened, it got so bad at times and we had to slow down so much to see that we ran with our emergency flashers on.
We came upon 2 serious accidents where the cars had apparently hydroplaned and went flying off the road. The lack of visibility and the accidents just added to our stress levels and we were both more than ready to park this thing!
That's when it hit me .... this isn't a vacation and you don't have to be out here risking both of your lives just to get somewhere!
I decided right then and there that we would not be doing this type of traveling again. Weather gets bad, STOP. Things start going wrong, STOP.
We did make it to the KOA where Rudee was able to do all the laundry while I heated up some left overs for supper. Teamwork, gotta love it :-). The rain is still falling but they are calling for sunshine tomorrow, if not we'll STOP until it does shine :-) I'll keep you posted!