|Driving to Georgia
||[Jun. 23rd, 2010|10:27 pm]
It’s been an interesting few weeks. As in “may you live in interesting times” interesting. J’s work sent him to Georgia a little over a week ago, and I am writing this from a campground near Savannah, as we get ready to make the run back up to the Mid-Atlantic States.
It started off in early June with a friend and her family needing a place to stay for a night in our area. Since we had both motive and opportunity, we were able to set up the trailer for her. Since we were also quite busy that week, we set it up for several nights rather than just one, and stayed in the camper on the nights she wasn’t there. That was pleasant enough, despite the campground owner’s complaining about having someone other than us in the trailer. That was pretty bogus, as J clearly recalls letting her husband know exactly what we were doing. There are other campgrounds in the area that I am sure we can reach a better accommodation with. Especially since, now that I think about it, she had the same issue when we did this before with my sister in law, and that time I know we told her what we planned to do specifically, in advance. That, plus the ill-lit entrance on a blind curve, means we’ll spend our money elsewhere going forward.
Our plan had been to get a load of stuff out of the house during the week, and move it on to the Salvation Army (or the dump, depending) over the weekend. Alas for good intentions, on Thursday J’s work told him he was needed in Georgia. On Tuesday. Well, actually, we negotiated Tuesday – they were saying Monday. Ok, a day to prepare and three days to make 800-900 miles, that’s not terrible. But we still had the stuff to deal with, up to and including our Impala, which we never drive any more. Fortunately a friend of mine needed a car and the Impala needed a starter so we were able to work out a deal which satisfied all concerned. Friday, we moved the trailer to a different local campground, drove back to the house, loaded up the van and the truck and took loads (separately) to S.A. and the dump, stocked up on cat food, and set up for Saturday. On Saturday we took another load up to the dump (S.A. didn’t want some stuff) went back to the house, replaced the starter and transferred the title on the Impala, and got back to the campground with an hour to spare before checkout.
We pulled out of that place (very nice campground, Flory’s Cottages and Campground in Ronks, PA) at one in the afternoon. A fast run south found us at a very friendly KOA in the Shenandoah area, with enough time to get in and set up before it got dark. Good thing too, because the space was tight. We drove into New Market, VA, and passed up the recommended chain diner for a non chain version with a good crowd. Southern Kitchen was great; we tried and liked the peanut soup, surprisingly enough. J had the barbeque beef shortribs, rich with brown sugar and cloves, and I had the fried chicken. And of course they make their own meringue pies. We’ll definitely be back.
We were up early and back on the road in short order, hoping to make Tennessee before we had to stop for the night. J was towing and I was driving my MIL’s van, so she could join us later in Georgia and drive home from there. We were driving through intermittent downpours heavy enough to slow traffic on I-81 to 35 mph, and he was losing power on the hills. Not the normal it’s-a-pickup-towing-a-big-trailer loss of power; serious, barely able to climb the hills loss of power. We stopped and cleaned out the air intake and thought we’d fixed it, but it got worse in short order. We limped in to Bristol, VA, to a small campground (Lee’s Highway Campground) just off the freeway. It was a perfect campground to break up a trip, all pull through spaces with concrete pads and full hookups, and we were very thankful to be safely off the road. Since this was Sunday, we paid for two nights and planned for an early morning trip to the nearest Ford dealership.
Monday morning, we waited at the dealership until they could tell us what was wrong and how long it would take to fix it. After a few hours, they let us know it was the fuel pump (argh!) and depending on whether they could clean and reuse one of the parts, the truck would be ready either 5 pm that day, or the next day after they got the new part (double argh!) We went back to the trailer to strategize, and had worked out a plan in which we would drive a little further that night if the truck was fixed in time. J would drive to work from Wherever, TN in the early morning hours on Tuesday, and I would tow the rig to the campground we’d planned to stay in for the week. All that was thrown into happy disarray by the phone call from the Ford place, saying that not only could they clean the part but they’d worked double-time and the truck would be ready by two. We got back to the dealer at one to find the truck waiting and ready to go. We were thrilled. We had about 350 miles ahead of us, but there was just enough daylight to make it to our planned campground if we hurried. J made sure that the mechanic knew how happy we were with how things turned out. He simply said: “Well, you folks were in a bind.”
We hustled back to the campground and were back on the road before two. Only one sudden downpour this time, and the luck was with us. We got into the campground and picked out a site, private and shaded with plenty of room for both vehicles, got the trailer backed down the long drive and set up, and boom! Night fell. Immediately, or so it seemed. We literally put down the stabilizers and unhitched in daylight, and hooked up the water after dark.