Thursday, July 1, 2010

Trial Run

Recently My Marine and I bought a used RV. It isn't big and it isn't fancy but it suits us to a T. We planned our first trip to be to Smith Mountain Lake which is my favorite place on Earth. Before we went there though we thought it would be a good idea to take a test run and see how everything worked. This turned out to be an excellent idea as you will soon see. We decided to drive to my Ex's and pick up Miles for dinner. This would also serve the purpose of showing off the rig to Miles. We also decided to take the poodle with us to see what kind of road dog he would be. My Ex lives about an hour away so this was an excellent test run of the engine. We got up there with no trouble at all, picked up the boy and went to dinner at Olive Garden which I had been craving. We had a lovely visit with Miles and Seamus the wonder poodle proved himself to be an excellent RV dog by not barking or whining or anything when we left him alone in the rig. We dropped the boy off and went to Wal-Mart, this errand had two purposes, one was to buy some "stuff" we needed to make the rig homey and the other was to see if there were any overnighters there and perhaps join them. Did you know you could spend the night in a Wal-Mart parking lot for free? S'true!! When we got there, there were already two rigs parked for the night, but they were dark and quiet so we didn't get to meet our neighbors. We did shop and enjoy ourselves and when we got back outside we had to decide whether to go "home" or stay put. When we tried to start the generator we had no luck, so that made our decision for us, no electricity, no thanks. We headed home. At this point it was around 11 or 11:30 at night.

While we were testing systems we decided to test our GPS. It has a menu choice to locate campgrounds so we decided to see if we could find one. The closest one listed was in Haymarket, VA. We followed the directions off the highway, through a neighborhood, out into the countryside, up a find a farm house that was dark. There was a sign back at the road saying it was a camp ground, but there was no evidence whatsoever that anyone was camping there and we were not about to knock on the house door as now it was after midnight. So we set off again towards home. About 20 minutes from home a belt broke. We didn't know what it was at first, all we knew was that the engine had lost power and it was 1am and we were on a desolate highway. Luckily we were close enough to home to know what was at the next exit so we got off there. We kept driving west but we were going much slower and we didn't know how long we would last or what damage we might be doing to the engine. When we got to Linden we pulled into the Post Office parking lot which was well lit and My Marine got out to assess the damage.

It turned out we had broken a belt, which was minor but certainly not fixable at that moment. Lucky for us there was a bathroom and a bed with fresh sheets available!! Also lucky for us, the parking lot was level, so we didn't have to worry about rolling out of bed or sleeping with the blood rushing to our heads all night. We climbed into bed and spent our first night in our new home. It wasn't a very peaceful night. I must say that the people of Linden, VA love their post office!!! It was visited all night long!!! There was a LOT of mail to go out and it had to be out no matter the hour! I never knew that country post offices had such night time traffic!

In the morning My Marine got out there and opened the hood and started doing what he could to get us back on the road. After a while a man walked up with a cup of coffee in hand and asked if we were "broke down". Nah, we always sleep in post office parking lots and play around under the hood. It is our favorite entertainment. He turned out to be a real nice fellow though, he gave us the number of his mechanic who lived down the road and made "house calls". We never got his name or the name of his mechanic, but the mechanic did come about 30 minutes later and figured out what we needed, ran to town for the new belts, came back and installed them and never stopped talking the entire time. He was just what we needed and I hope we are as lucky when we are somewhere far from home.

We got back on the road and made it home with no further incidents. We were so glad that we had practiced first!

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