I thought that six minutes of backing up a hill to get out of a campground was supposed to be the most intense part of the day. I was sorely incorrect.
Had no intention of blogging, but figured that someone out there might want to feel better about their choices today,….so here goes. We left the Charlotte area for a two + hour drive to Travelers Rest, SC in order to chill out (in 90 degree heat) for a few weeks. Here we’ll get to visit with Lynn’s parents for a few days and then Jim and Holly, friends from Charleston and then Wayne and Elizabeth, new friends we met at Newmar’s service facility. And, we’d be back in South Carolina for the first time since April 17, when our home was sold.
Backing out / pulling out of the drastically overpriced and short-on-amenities Lake Norman campground, I was feeling relaxed behind the wheel, knowing that we were headed back to familiar turf to see familiar faces! You might think nothing could possibly go wrong….and you’d be wrong. As we passed our KOA campground on the opposite side of the road, the nice lady inside the GPS had one last command….and it turned out to be a doozie. “When Possible, make a U Turn”, she pleasantly said. Up ahead, I saw two U Turn lanes and quickly sized up which one afforded more width to make the turn.
I. Messed. Up.
Julie does all kinds of cool things….but she was not gonna make the U Turn. As we got just about broadside across the two Northbound lanes of Route 25, my usual witty command of the English language degraded into screaming . To be kind to myself, shall we say, I was not speaking in my “Inside Voice”. As I recall, I rapidly repeated two one-syllable words. One was “Oh” and the other rhymed with “Truck”.
“Lynn, we’re not going to make the turn!”
She immediately and calmly said, in her Inside Voice, “OK, Grab the Jeep keys and let’s go! I need your help”. I put Julie in neutral, apply the air brakes and as we hop out of the rig, we see fifteen to twenty cars backed up on this 55 mph rain soaked four lane divided highway with 60 feet of motorhome and Jeep blocking everything.
Oh, did I mention that we were in the middle of a thunderstorm? Perhaps I forgot and frankly that was the least of my concerns. It normally takes Lynn and I three or four minutes to methodically connect or disconnect the Jeep from the rig. There are air lines, electrical lines, two tow cables, emergency brake line and then the hitch is connected with two metal pins, each with a cotter pin to ensure safety. Then the Blue Ox hitch itself needs to be retracted, tilted up then over. Oh, and then the Jeep needs to be electrically taken out of Tow Mode into Drive Mode.
Funny how you can do a five minute routine in less than a minute when tractor trailers and cars are backing up on a state highway. Our four hands were a whirling blur, disconnecting clips, grabbing cables and then I said to Lynn, perhaps bordering on hysterics, “Back up the Jeep because I have to back Julie up to make the turn.” I’ll let Lynn’s Two Cents fill in that part and move on to me hopping back into Julie, backing up and completing the turn and pulling over to the side of the road to regain my wits.
With the campground less than a mile away, I figured Lynn would just follow me in. She had the presence of mind to know that we had wires and cables tossed all over the back of the tow hitch and Lynn ran up to me in the pouring rain to tell me to stay put while she brought the cables into the Jeep. A few minutes later, we were at the KOA, likely looking all slick that we’d already disconnected our Jeep from the rig, albeit sideways across a state highway.
Oh wait….You want to hear about sleeping in a wet bed, did you? Well, I’m your guy. An hour after the aforementioned near death adventure…Lynn was on her third set of clothes….Sweat got one, rain got the other. One late night, many years ago, my best friend having just introduced me to single malt scotch reminded me that this wasn’t the liquor to get buzzed on…..it was meant the be contemplated….a time for reflection. Well, this was not a scotch moment as no contemplative experience was sought after. This was an old fashioned – calm my “Oh Truck” nerves. Lynn knocked out perfect doubles of her Old Fashioned recipe (Yes Bob, of Bob and Stephanie…I’m talking to you…This was the Old Fashioned that blew your mind in Petoskey, MI)
One Old Fashioned became two. We hugged, kissed, laughed….realizing that despite my Truck Up, we responded amazingly and worked perfectly together. And as though inspired by my favorite Jimmy Buffet lyrics (ironically the song is called God’s Own Drunk) – he uttered “And That’s When He First Saw The Bear. He Was A Kodiak-Looking Fellow…About Nineteen Feet Tall….” Lynn, now NOT using her beautiful Inside Voice said, “We’ve Got A Leak! We’ve Got A Leak! Water Is Coming In!”
Good news is that it wasn’t on the floor or walls. Bad news is that it was right about where my knees would be in the bed. Towels…..a bucket….water is trickling down from the air conditioner vent. Shout Out to Greg and Denise, our Charleston besties that bought a 5th Wheel and on their first trip had water pouring into their bed from an air conditioner. We just wanted to be like the cool kids…be like the cool kids….
Time to call our all-too-familiar friends at the Newmar factory. Wait, did I mention that AT&T has great cellular service at this campground. Which would mean something if I had AT&T. So, I’m standing outside the rig in the pouring rain, under an awning trying to explain this to the Newmar tech at 3:58PM knowing that they go home at 4:00PM. I’m told to slightly un-level the rig to the rear and as soon as Lynn does this, gallons of water cascade off the back. Lynn mops up the water in the A/C vent once I’ve removed the air filters and the water stops.
I found a mobile RV tech that amazingly said that he’d be here at 9:00AM. I asked …..9:00 AM Tomorrow / This Week / This Month as RV service is notoriously back-logged. Probably because of shit like this.
No more water…until we turned the AC back on before bed. Then it dripped again. So, we lowered the temperature on the two forward AC units and left our bedroom door open. We stood in frustrated, buzzed silence with a small fan and every towel we could find, trying to get water out of our comforter, sheets and foam topper. Wet became damp and I slept feeling like I was competing in a high stakes Twister game.
Woke up at 7:00AM….In the Shower at 7:05AM….Realized we never turned on the hot water heater at 7:06AM….Back in the shower with hot water at 7:25AM. Anthony the tech shows up at 9:15AM….and to make an already long blog shorter….leaves after 4 hours and 20 minutes of labor on the roof. He found that the rear air conditioner was not secured firmly to the roof. As Newmar instructed, he removed the rear air conditioner, resealed everything and then reattached it to the roof. No conclusive smoking gun on what happened, but all signs indicate that the pouring rain while I was driving found its way into the AC and then onto our bed.
Fingers crossed….keeping an eye out on the forecast….will advise after the next storm. Anyway, as stupid as I felt….we came out unscathed. Someone here in Greenville is probably busy blogging about the idiot that jack knifed in the middle of the highway. Lynn and I are looking forward to an uneventful and dry next few days.
Mr. Todd – Settling down now with a Scotch. Lagavulin 8, cause I save the 16 for special times. To Your Health, Brother.
Lynn’s two cents – Well yesterday was by far the most “exciting” day we have had in the rig. I have to say Jim is handling everything like a champ. He is definitely a new and improved version of himself. Not that it wasn’t stressful for me, but I am pretty good at assessing the situation and trying to figure out the best solution as quickly as possible. That is really all you can do. Life goes on. We are settled into a beautiful campground and are looking forward a a couple of weeks of good old SC fun!