Adventures with Bill & Pat
Friday, August 31, 2012
We are finally home and I think all 3 of us kissed the ground when we finally got home! For the most part, we had a wonderful time visiting with friends and family and it was great to see some that I had not seen in at least 10 years.
After suffering thru the hot weather in July, we got a welcome relief when we went to Michigan to visit friends for a week. They are in a beautiful campground and the cooler weather was a welcome relief. After we left there, we spent a night with friends in Indiana. Then it was on to my hometown for a visit with family and to attend a family reunion. It was great as all 3 of my brothers also made it and my youngest brother's 5 children and their kids were also there. I think we shocked everyone there. With the loss of a number of our relatives in the past year, we felt we should make the effort to see family, if only for a day.
We got to visit my younger son and his wife and daughter for a couple of days after that and he was able to help DH do some minor things to the rv while we were there.
We visited with a close friend who lost her husband 2 years ago and she was thrilled we were able to spend a couple of days with her. She treated us like royalty-took us out to eat lunch and dinner both days and fixed a big country breakfast both mornings. DH was loving that.
We then got to spend almost a week with DH's son and his wife and while we were there his older daughter and son came to spend quite a bit of time. The grandson started his 2nd yr of college just before month end. We are so thrilled to have a grandchild going on for more schooling.
It was wonderful to be able to spend a 4 day weekend with our camping club (we previously belonged to it when we lived in the area) and to catch up with a lot of old friends. They made us very welcome and had lots of fun activities for us to do. I even got to go tour a towboat (something very familiar as I used to do accounting for a barge line).
We headed back to the St. Louis area to visit 2 more couples before heading back south of town. One of the fellas just had a new heart valve before we arrived-he got out of the hospital on Sat and went out to eat with us on Mon!
After a visit with a couple of men who used to drive trucks for DH when he had a trucking company (one came and camped with us in the state park for a couple of nights) we headed back to his son for a final hurrah. We had a big birthday party on Sun the 26 th to celebrate two great granddaughters, one grandson (their daddy) and my birthday. We had planned to stay until Monday morning but with Isaac bearing down on Florida and they weren't sure where it would make landfall, we left early (Sun afternoon). I drove from 2:30 Sun afternoon until 10 am Mon morning when we broke down just as we were heading thru Tallahassee.
That is when our great trip turned into a nightmare.
I managed to limp the rv off I-10 and down the ramp and into the parking lot of a bank. Then it was try to figure out what was wrong and fnally give up and call our roadside assistance who arranged a tow for us. We ended up at the tow company's shop and they did the repairs but it was not an impressive operation and I would never recommend them to anyone. They had to order parts and we sat around all afternoon trying to find out what was going on. I say sat with my tongue in cheek as chairs were pretty pathetic! Finally got a lady to come in to the shop and she helped us arrange for a motel room and a cab to get us there (most places would have given us a ride). I was certainly great to get a shower and some much needed sleep. We went back to the shop after we had to check out of the hotel as we didn't want to pay for another night. Parts still had not arrived when we got back to the shop so we tried to stay cool and comfortable in the rv (DH had to pitch a fit to get them to let us plug into their electric on Mon so we would not lose all the meat we had in our refrigerator!) When the part hadn't arrived by 2:30, I decided we were going to rent a car and I was getting DH and Abbie home and the rv could sit. So by 3 we were on our way home and by 7:30 we at long last arrived there.
I wish that was the end of our sad saga but it isn't. After another good shower and a few hours of sleep, it was time to go back to pick up the rv but DH was not feeling good (reason I wanted to get him home) so our friends, Vicky & Sonny rode back with me. They are the couple we traveled with on the first part of our journey. We got back about 2 and the rv was put back together but the mechanic hadn't tested it. While he was doing that, I returned the rental car and by 3:15 we were on our way home.
Well, I say that with a little laugh, we made it 56 miles and it overheated. Sonny was driving and luckily we were close to an exit so we limped in off the interstate and into a service station parking lot. Called the mechanic at the shop and he said we should call VW! Next call was to my roadside assistance and then it was wait and wait. When it was 90 min and still no call back, I called them back. Seems there was a problem as we were having lots of heavy rain so that was causing lots of wrecks and I had asked for a bigger wrecker that could hold all 3 of us.
At first we thought we were going to be towed to Gainesville about 11 PM but then the driver called to tell us he was pulled by FHP for an emergency so it would be morning. Oh joy. Luckily the station had an Arby's in it so we had eaten supper at it and then sat in their booth and played cards till nearly 11. After that we decided we would try to get some sleep so traipsed out to the rv and rearranged things so they could get into the bed and I made a bed on the floor and we all managed to get about 5 hours of fitful sleep. The wrecker didn't arrive till 6:30 and the big rig he brought would not work for our little rv. So he had to go back to the shop and get a smaller one but it wasn't a big cab so we had a very uncomfortable ride to Gainesville (95 mi). Poor Vicky sat on Sonny's lap most of the way and then I held her some to give him a rest. What a ride. The driver told us you really know who your friends are when the limo breaks down and they crawl in the bus with you. I would say my friends went the extra mile.
All the while this is going on, DH is at home, not feeling very good and dealing with our car! It had a dead battery when we got here so he had put it on the charger but it still didn't run right and Thur morning it was dead again so another friend came to help him check it out-dead cell, and then he took him to get a new battery and put it in. Meanwhile another friend came to pick the 3 of us up at the VW dealer and bring us on home. What would we do without friends?????
We finally got back home about 12:30 yesterday. That was a relief but now we still have to deal with the rv. VW called late in the afternoon to tell us we have a blown head gasket and it would cost almost $10,000 to fix it! Well, at that point we nearly had a heart attack and told them not to do anything else, we would get it towed back here and pay them for checking it out!
Today we have attempted to get a towing company to bring in on down to our hometown where we will have a trusted mechanic work on it and for a lot less $$$$. However, one company backed out after saying they would do it and two others have never called us back. We called a number of them, but most of them do not tow rv's and some don't have the right to tow this far (we are 80 mi from there). We think our roadside assistance will arrange for the tow but we will have to pay for it since they fulfilled their duty by taking us to a place that could fix it!
In between all this fun and games, I have managed to get the laundry caught up, went thru 2 months worth of mail and taken care of paying a few things that weren't automatic, then I started work on the weeds! So far I have filled 3 large buckets full of weeds and I only have the front and part of one side done. All the rain we have gotten has really encouraged the weeds to grow.
Everyone says we should write a book about our adventures so this blog is my book on the joys of camping!!!