June 19, 2006

This is how it went.
(I apologize for the poor writing, I'm kinda exhausted)

I left.

I got a chance to see how the motor home rides. It’s kinda like strapping yourself on top of a dinosaur. Not one of those sleek fast raptors or a powerful t-rex. No, this is like riding on the back of a big fat brontosaur. The dumbest fattest brontosaur of the group. It kinda sways from side to side and rolls over the dips in the road. I swear I was starting to get seasick.

The other drivers on the road seem to have two reactions to the motor home.
“Get the hell out of my way” or
“Holy crap keep away from that thing, it’s going to kill us”..

The motor home is huge. It’s 1977 huge. It’s a massive box on wheels. If this thing ever hits anything, there’s going to be nothing but pieces left of who or whatever gets in its way.

I was actually enjoying the whole experience. The cb radio was on, I had a Dickle Brothers cd playing and I could feel my sideburns growing.

I stopped for gas. Lots and lots of gas. Everyone I talked to said the motor home should get about 10 -12 miles to the gallon. After I filled up, I checked to see what kind of mileage I actually was getting.

7 mpg. S-e-v-e-n. Say it with me kids. Seven.
Holy crap. I left the gas station with a heavy heart and a light wallet.

Back on the road.

Boom. On a road in Lowell Indiana I blew a rear tire. It was 4:00 p.m. on Saturday and everything in town was closed. I asked the guy at the gas station and he told me about a tire shop that was open in Cedar Lake (about four miles up the road). I made it to the tire shop got the tire fixed.

More adventure.

I’m tooling along and the motor home starts running like crap. I pull over and leave it idling while I open the engine cover. All you could smell was gas. I looked down and saw that the fuel line had split and was pumping gas all over the hot engine. I turned off the ignition and sat there waiting for the gas to dry up so I could work on fixing the line. I also located my laptop and camera so I could make a quick escape just in case the damned thing did catch on fire.

Fixed and back on the road.

I made it to Walkerton Indiana at about 9:00. I pulled in front of the house of Kay from Fourteen Places to Eat. She has one of my favorite web sites and it was really really nice to finally meet her. We talked for some time and then we made plans to meet in the morning to photograph a parade in a small town called North Judson. I got back in the motor home and headed for a nearby campground.

I pulled into the campground and headed for the office. There was a black suv parked in front. When I got out of the motor home a man came out of the suv and asked me “Are you alone?”. I looked at him and asked him “Why?”. he said “I’m lookin for my daughter. You alone?”. I just said “Yep, just me”. He got into his suv and pulled away.

I rang the bell at the office and a woman came down from upstairs. She unlocked the door, looked at me and said “You’re late”. I had no idea what she was talking about until I noticed a big sign that said “Office closed at 9:00 p.m. DO NOT RING BELL AFTER 9:00”. I apologized and told her I was on Chicago time and didn’t realize the time difference. She said “It’s the same 9:00 everywhere and even here.” We stood staring at each other for a second or two and then she slid me a registration card to fill out. She said “I thought you was that guy looking for his daughter. You alone?”. I told her I was. She nodded and gave me a map of the campground.

I parked for the night.

The campground was called “Lazee Dayz or While Away or Camp-O-Rama(or some other swell name..I really can’t remember exactly). I plugged in the electric and settled down for the night. My motor home was quiet except for the hum of the roof air conditioner. It was peaceful it, was nice.

Then the “Gunnnnnkkkkk” noise happened. It came from the roof. It was the air conditioner. It bit the dust - fried out - bought the farm. Great., no air. I’ll just open the windows and enjoy the cool night breeze.

Good morning campground. How the hell did fifty mosquitos get inside the motor home? Ah, one screen has a small tear. Great, bugs.

I came to a decision that morning.

I drove over to Knox Indiana and met Kay for breakfast. We had a great time. She’s one of the nicest, wonderful and most talented people I’ve ever met. We talked for a long time. When we left the restaurant it was raining. I decided to bail out rather than go to the parade in the rain. We said a quick goodbye and I headed out in the motor home.

One problem.

The windshield wipers broke. In the driving rain. On the highway. Great. Wonderful.

One more thing.

Then the motor home suddenly won’t go more than 35 miles per hour. Once again I open the engine cover and try and figure out what the hell is wrong.

It took me about two hours to deduce that the fuel filters were clogged. I took both filters off and hooked the fuel line back to the carb. It started up and ran fine.

I believe in listening. I believe in listening to signs from above. Sometmes life gives you hints that you need to follow a different path than the one you're on.

You get where I’m going with this.

I’m still going to do the trip but The White Trash Experience ™ is over. Utterly completely totally over. I’m parking this money pit and renting a decent car - van- something that gets more than seven miles to the freaking gallon and I’m heading out

But where's the motorhome?

I called my friend Mike and we met at the farm in Earlville Illinois. That’s where that rolling piece of poop sits today. Mike drove me back to Chicago and I grabbed a hotel room.

The one good thing about the past two days was getting to meet Kay from Fourteen Places to Eat. She’s the lone bright spot in an otherwise horrendous two days on the road.

I also got to take this fine pic of my friend Dan wearing the famous
Puerto Rico Coat™. Doc, I'm on my way.


I pick up the rental car in a couple of hours.

Anyone interesting in buying a used RV? Cheap?

No? I didn’t think so.

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