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Journey's End [Aug. 5th, 2009|08:54 pm]
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We're back at the house, at least until sometime in September.  J's work has ramped up in the wake of summer vacations and holidays.  I am working on clearing the house of stuff we don't love and/or use.

Our last weekend in Chanute coincided with the hottest weather we’d seen to date: heat indices in the hundreds.  I perspired in the fifthwheel, AC going flat out, wishing it was cooling.  J took me outside when I complained that it wasn’t working well enough, and the heat was like standing too close to a campfire.  After a short walk, the trailer was blissfully cool.  We did that a couple of times on Saturday and Sunday, and it worked every time.

Monday we went by the factory; they were swamped and glad when we said we’d bring the fiver in on Tuesday.  Getting hitched on Tuesday took a little extra time and care; the landing legs are not meant to support the full weight of the fifthwheel, so we used a bottle jack on the bad side to take the strain of raising the front of the fiver enough to get it hitched up.  We got to the factory, got the rig in place, went to unhitch.. and the landing gear worked perfectly.  It was way out of alignment, but it was running in and out just fine.  We took ourselves and the cats over to the break room to wait.  After a couple of hours, the shop manager came over and told us that they’d tried everything, and they couldn’t reproduce the error.  The legs had been aligned, lubed, run in and out over and over, and nothing.  He said they could tell from the alignment that something had been wrong but whatever it was working fine now.  We were happy with their efforts and eager to get back on the road, so we picked up the cats and headed out.  I think that the drive threads were riding on top of each other, and the weight of the fifthwheel over the weekend settled them back into the grooves.  It worked fine from then on, anyway..

Tuesday got us into Missouri to a small but great campground in the middle of nowhere.  We had a day of rest and nice weather; it was muggy, but cool enough that when I realized the folks in the van conversion across the way were having an impromptu jam session with hammer dulcimer and banjo, we were able to sit outside and listen.

Thursday we camped just inside the eastern border of Indiana; the drive was very nice once we were past Indianapolis.  On hearing of a major accident on the freeway we had planned to take, we diverted to the state highway paralleling the freeway and enjoyed seeing something more of the state than rest stops.  It was very slow in the suburbs, but settled into a nice drive on a good road.  At the speed we usually travel (slow), state highways and the small towns they run through don’t slow us up too much, and it was nice to drive on the “National Road”, US 40, created in 1806 by an act of Congress as the first Federally funded highway construction project.  The campground in Indiana was jam-packed; we were cheek by jowl with the neighbors, and of course J got a con call just as we were pulling in.  I always get the ‘interesting’ campsites.  It took a lot of backing and filling but we were finally in place, mere feet from the fire ring just behind us.  Yay.

As it turned out, the con call almost sent us into Georgia, so we stayed put until a definitive answer let us go on our way to Maryland late Saturday morning.  It made for a long day Saturday.  We pushed on into the night, getting into the campground at midnight.  That wouldn’t have been so bad except that it was another tight space.  No one, myself included, appreciated the back up alarm on our truck as we pulled forward and back getting into the site.  Once again, the ‘don’t check into a campground after dark’ rule was proved out.  Thankfully some of the folks nearby were still out and about, and most of the rest of them left the next day, so we didn’t have to do too much slinking around.  We had a pleasant few days; saw some friends, J worked in the area until Wednesday, and then got called to go up to Philly on Thursday.  We’d planned to check out of the MD campground on Friday and move to a campground north of Allentown, where my family reunion was being held that weekend.

Instead, we changed our reservations to a campground halfway between J’s work and the reunion.  I drove J to the house Thursday morning (we called his MIL from the road so she wouldn’t think we were burglars) and he took the car up to the work site while I headed back to MD.  It took the rest of the day to get the trailer in shape (laundry..)  On Friday I headed for near Quakertown.  It wasn’t too bad a drive; heavy traffic near Philly.  As always getting into the site was interesting.. it was a pull through site, sorta.  Pull in across the grass, go through the site, and back in across the drive in front.  As always, the ‘helper’ from the campground was less than.  We got it into the site and I got out to look: “I’m going to have to move over,” I said, “the utility post won’t clear our slide out.”  “Sure!” he said, “it’s only 15 inches..  “Umm, no, more like 36,” I said, looking at the post 20 inches from the side of the rig.

The trailer was finally positioned, and I thanked him and got him to leave before I leveled the rig.  It took three layers of lynx levelers to get set up, but we were all shipshape and cozy by the time J got back from work.  We were close enough to home that my MIL was able to come up for the weekend.  The family reunion was great, and we enjoyed hanging out at the campground with my MIL.  Poor Mister Guy had a rough time on his daily walk, though.  We knew he was spooked by gravel crunching -- along with diesel engines, large dogs (small ones he stalks) and people -- but we didn’t realize how bad it was until someone on a bike came crunching up the gravel path to say hi!  Mister Guy panicked and clawed J badly enough to get down, then set off running.  Well, he was still on the leash so J’s running behind him trying to guide him towards the trailer, so of course he’s being chased (crunch crunch crunch!)  My MIL threw the door open when he got close and he bolted inside.  For the rest of our stay walks were a matter of putting the leash on the cat and letting him look out the door.  A couple of times he went down the steps but as soon as he realized we were still at the scary place, right back up the steps to safety in the fifthwheel.

We stayed Monday for J’s work, and Tuesday to finish the packing needed to get the camper ready for storage.  On Wednesday we headed out, a little delayed by a gullywasher.  I was about to box the cats when the weather radio went off with a thunderstorm warning.  It was only for an hour, so we stopped packing up and had lunch instead.  An hour later we had clear sailing back to the storage lot.  I got us checked back in, and we got the trailer in the space and everything transferred out just before the skies reopened.  A good end to a fabulous trip.