I have shared the wild trip home, the 9 hour trip that took 24 hours.
The night before the big trip north, HeWho drives, was sharing with his cronies the new route we were to take. One that would slice a good hour off the trip. I am not sure how he discovered this new way, but if we could make it in 8 hours, instead of 9. I was game.
We bought the 39' Bounder last year. You will recall that we had a wedding to attend and 4 dogs to accommodate. We got a really good deal on the RV and although it was an older model with no slides, I liked the layout okay and it was clean and in good shape on the inside. The outside is, well, it is ugly. It is a creamy color with gray stripes and ORANGE and yellow thrown in. Ugly. But it gave us no problems at all on the drive up and back.
Since then it has been sitting on various sites in our park. HeWho likes to move it around and it sometimes ends up in our private drive if the site it is sitting on can earn some money. I loaded it for the trip, put sheets on the bed and although we would not be using the shower, I loaded in towels. Those towels were a life saver when Oscar peed the bed!
The night before we left, HeWho drives said he was going to put some tools on board, in case he might need them. This is when I had an inkling of what was to come. "Why would you need tools" I said? He replied with "you never know" as he walked outside.
I was still getting all those last minute items together, along with a list of what not to forget. Things like toothbrushes and daily meds. By the time we left at 9 AM the next day, I had forgotten about the tools statement. I was up and ready to roll by 7 AM and had to nag him along. He left in the car to get his biscuit and sausage after me telling 4 times that I did not want a thing, I just wanted to hit the road. I had my coffee, hot in one of his Bubba mugs and all my necessities on board. He brought me pancakes anyway. The man loves me, what can I say?
I wanted to leave early, while the park slept. Because I knew people would come up and need something. I was right, of course, I usually am. We finally pulled out and I texted the oldest daughter that we were on the way and should be there around 5 PM. Nine hours. I also told her about the new route her dad had discovered and that we might be there by 4 PM. She texted back that we would see about that ......
Things were going fine. I started off in the navigator's seat. Oscar, the blind dog lay on his blanket and Cujo was in my lap. Wall-E was whining to also be in my lap. Toni Louise discovered the large dash and began prancing to and fro. Would have been okay, but for the fact that when she got in front of the driver she paused to enjoy the view.
This when I grabbed a bag of dog treats and moved to the sofa. The blind dog, in unfamiliar, in unfamiliar territory kept falling down the stair well. He always ended up on the bottom step, right side up. He didn't even whimper, just waited patiently to be picked up. I imagined him thinking "hey, I'm down here, could you come get me?"
We made far too many stops. Cigarette stops, everyone an opportunity to nag about the health pitfalls of smoking, not to mention the cost and the smell and the fact that it was adding minutes to our trip. Little did I know that would turn out to be the least of my worries. I have to confess that I use that nasty habit to my benefit at times. Times when I buy fabric or plants. Things I really don't need, but just want. If he questions my spending, I point out that I don't smoke. I would still be happier if he would quit.
Sitting in my own world of dogs and audio books, I wasn't paying much attention to anything. From time to time, HeWho drives would tap on some gauge on the panel and mutter about the battery not charging. When we would stop I would ask what he was worried about and he told me he thought the alternator was not doing it's job. But, hey, we have tools on board, no problem. Right?
I just stayed in my seat, answering the store phone, taking reservations, telling people where to park and where to find assistance (Andrea is a saint!) But I looked up one to see that we were on Hwy 36. He had said we would take 63 to top of Iowa, then get on I-35 in Minnesota. 36 is the old route we always take. Cuts out Kansas City and about 2 hours of heavy traffic. Four lanes all the way, as 63 is. Apparently he forgot about his new way and automatically turned onto the old route. I texted my child and told her we were not making good progress. She knew that, she can tell time, too.
I was all set to see this new route, going somewhere we had never been before, but, since we were on the tried and true way, I didn't bother to offer any navigational assistance. I just stayed annoyed at the number of times we stopped. Seemed like everytime I had the dogs strategically positioned and was fairly comfortable on a short sofa with four dogs, we stopped.
It was dusk as we went through St. Paul. The only time he questioned me was when we had the opportunity to get on I-494. I told him it would be just as easy to stay on I-35E and go through the city, it was Sunday, after all. So, why he over-shot the exit to our child's house (also the exit to our old house when we lived there) is a mystery. Dark is falling fast and I ask why we are passing the Exit to County Rd. J. We should have gotten off at County Rd. E. This is when it happens. We lose all power. Lights, everything. We are on the side of the road on a very busy interstate WITH NO LIGHTS, in the dark.
THE TRIP FROM HELL! I call my daughter to dispatch my son-in-law. Speaking of dispatch .... HeWho no longer tows, but will take lock-out and fuel calls agreed to handle the dispatch calls for the towing company he works for. I cannot begin to tell you what a pain this was. He had been doing it all week and had the most annoying ring tone and flashing lights on his cell phone. These calls came at all hours. I would hear and see the phone, but he would sleep on until I woke him.
Then, he would not simply leave the room and take the call and then call for a driver so that his mate, the light sleeper could continue to slumber ..... No, he would leap up and grab the phone, then sit on the side of the bed and talk. This would not only awaken me, but the dogs. The dogs would assume it was morning and ready themselves to outside. This was not making me happy. It was worth no amount of money, not even the mere pittance the man paid him. You know who you are!!
My son-in-law arrived, with jumper cables. Yes, HeWho tows, mows, and has every tool in duplicate and triplicate did not bring jumper cables!!! I held my tongue, as I was terrified that someone would not see us and veer over and hit us. I watched in fascination as HeWho is familiar with traffic control used his cell phone flashlight to redirect traffic as Nick turned his van around to face us. This was, of course after he asked his father-in-law where he was going ....... maybe Duluth?
But back to the tool man. No, he did not put tools on board, not even a flash light. The first jump got us about 4 miles and off the interstate. We were 8 miles from our destination. The second jump got us only 1 mile. With the lights fading out. On the third jump I put my 2 cents worth in and suggested that he turn off the radio and any other device that was pulling power. I may not be mechanically inclined, but I do know the basics! Keep in mind that we were in the dark. Black dark, I think the moon and starts were hiding that night. So, as I stood there fiddling with the radio, trying to find the off button, I accidentally discovered the monitor to the back-up camera!!
The only good thing to come of it. We had to continue our pathetic pilgrimage with no head lamps to light the way. Nick was in the lead with emergency flashers on. I was praying that we would not cause an accident. We made there ..... at 9:30. Twelve and a half hours for a nine hour trip.
Unlike Gilligan and his crew, we did get somewhere and were not stranded forever.