Posts Tagged ‘Rest Stop’

Ok..

So just wanted to let y’all know that any pictures on this post were lifted from the internet. I would have preferred to put up my own pictures but with conditions what they were, the last thing on my mind was taking pictures.

You can understand that, right?

Alrighty then..

So after spending our first night in Consuela :: a lot more comfortable then I thought it was going to be :: we woke up and had to get started on what needed to be done so that we can leave by noon. It’s a five hour drive to West Virginia and that would put us where we needed to be just as it was getting dark.

And, you know, that’s important because I already told you what happens when I drive in the dark.

Chief was intent on working on the generator because when we parked Consuela next, there wouldn’t be an electrical hook up. So we drove down to the gas station about a mile away. It had snowed over night so the roads were coated. Driving around a curve, the car started to fishtail but I easily recovered from it.

CHIEF: You turned into the spin! I’m proud of you!

ME: Oh.. I know how to get out of a spin. I didn’t even think about it.

CHIEF: That’s good to know!

Remember that little conversation, ok? Ok.

We get to the gas station and we two cups of coffee.. a can of starter fluid.. brake fluid.. two gallons of water and a half pound of both cheese and ham. I had asked the woman to slice the ham ultra thin.

We head back to Consuela and when Chief went to start her.. she wouldn’t start. She had run out of gas again.

So back to the gas station we go. Driving around the loop to get out of the camp ground, the car slip and I almost slammed into the concrete structured restroom. Not a good sign but I chalked it up to not paying attention and off to the gas station we went. Because the gas can we already had held 2 gallons, we bought one that held 5. The new can came with a long hose that would have passed the slip in the gas tank we had discovered the night before but the King of Idiocy forgot to take it out of the container before he filled it with gas.

Anyway.. we return to Consuela and Chief is doing his best to get the generator going.. but it wasn’t going to happen. He did manage to get the secondary battery installed (that battery being the battery that died in my station wagon on Thursday causing us to have to buy a new battery for the wagon.. an expense that was NOT in the plan) .. and the windshield wipers working (important!).

The generator though, was bothering me and I made the suggestion of maybe staying another night in the campground to give him more time to get it working. Plus, I was worried about the snow and the reports that the western half of the state was going to get hit by storms.

Chief didn’t want to stay another night.. it was going to cost us 35 bucks and he felt the money would be better served in the gas tank. We still had 380 miles to travel to West Virginia.

We get everything packed up and start our journey.

Both Consuela and the wagon needed gas and since the gas station we had already been to twice was right near the entrance to Rt 80W we pulled into there.

Chief swiped my debit card in his pump and while he’s gassing up, I swipe the card at my pump. Mistake. One that if I wasn’t so nervous about the drive ahead I would have never considered doing.. because trying to swipe that card before his transaction was completed made it seem like something fishy was going on and my card stopped working. I tried using it at the ATM. My thought was that if the card was going to give me issues then I would just empty out the bank account. I know that the 191.00 check for Consuela’s title and tags was outstanding but I figured she couldn’t deposit it until Monday and it wouldn’t clear until at least Wednesday. By that time, my next to last unemployment check would be in and it would be covered.

Sure. I’d might get hit with an overdraft fee somewhere but that was better then getting stuck far from home with no money, no access to money and no where to get money from if we were stuck.

Only the ATM wouldn’t give me money. I was trying to take out 180.00 but it told me that the amount was invalid.

Ok. Deep breath.

No problem.. just a simple call to the bank to explain the situation and all would be good. Right?

Not even close.

The first thing the bank rep said to me after I told her we were a loooooooooooong way from home and traveling even further was that I should have notified them that we were traveling out of our usual area so they wouldn’t see charges and think the card was stolen.

Um. Come on. Really? REALLY? Do I also need to notify the governor and state representatives?

Whatever.

I told explained to her what had happened.. why I thought it happened and that it needed to be fixed PRONTO.

She asked me for my card number.. asked me for the expiration date.. and then told me that I was using the wrong card. That was NOT the card they had on record.

Are you $%^&*# kiddng me??

No. Really. ARE. YOU. @#$%^& KIDDING. ME???

I used THIS card THREE TIMES in the LAST HOUR and it was FINE until we we tried to both gas up at THE SAME TIME.

No. This isn't my card.. I swiped it off the 'net

So here was the deal:

TD Bank took over Commerce Bank. In an attempt to unify all the accounts TD issued new debit cards to all their customers regardless of if they needed one or not. They send the new card out last June, I believe, with instruction to have the new card activated and cut up the old card.

I did get the new card (it does not have embossed numbers).. stuck it in my handbag and promptly did nothing with it.

My old card (with embossed numbers) continued to work and never once did I have any type of issue with it until now.

The bank rep was INSISTING that that was what the problem was. She did not want to HEAR that I had used the card multiple times.. at the same place.. in the last hour ..

Useless.

However .. and thanks can only be given to God .. I still had the new, non-embossed card in my handbag. So I conceded and had the new card activated knowing that it had absolutely nothing to do with what the issue was. And sure enough, I still couldn’t use it at the gas pump.. and sure enough, the same problem was happening at the ATM.

The bank rep insisted that it was the gas stations ATM. Of course it was. The same way it was the notary’s fax machine.

I was, oddly enough, able to take out $20.00. Which I did 9 times in order to get as much cash in my pocket as possible. That left a balance of 17.00 in the account. I was sooo reluctant to part with the cash so I asked the cashier if it was possible to swipe my card inside. She was and I asked her to put it through as credit for 15.00.

And thanks can only be given to God because the transaction went through and we were finally all set to start the second let of our trip.

I don’t know why, but as we hugged each other before getting into our respective vehicles, I started to cry. Which may sound ridiculous because where was he going? 20 feet behind me? But you have to understand that this was a BIG trip.. in the snow.. where we didn’t have any kind of communication and I was in the lead. It was a lot of pressure.. a lot of stress.. a lot of fright. And I just wanted to be next to him.. or him next to me.. and I really, REALLY didn’t want to drive 5 hours.

He was touched but then I had to suck it up and get my butt in gear because we had already lost 1.5 hours because of the bank thing.

We get on 80W and were suppose to be on 80W for 266 miles, planning to stop every 50 miles so that Chief can add more gas to Consuela. Apparently, the gas gage didn’t work and neither did the speedometer.

Swell.

Getting on and off the highway was going to be rough because of the snow.. not knowing if I was going to need to turn left or right.. traffic lights, etc. For ME it would be ok, but I was worried about Chief and Consuela.

After the first 50 miles, we got off and it was not exactly ok but without incident. Except when Consuela started sliding and it seemed like she was going to slide into the old man and his car at the pump in front of her.

ME: You’re sliding

CHIEF: I KNOW!!

ME: Well, STOP IT!

Sometimes even I am amazed at the ridiculous things I say.

We put another 50 bucks in (total so far $110.00) and got back on our way. I, of course, blow the entrance back on the highway but Chief was smart enough to realize it and was able to pull over on the on-ramp until I could find a place to make a U-Turn and meet up with him.

About a half hour into the drive, we hit another snow storm. And boy, was it snowing! I had heat.. Chief didn’t. I had wiper fluid.. Chief didn’t. Rt 80 is a well traveled highway..

Truckers LOVE this highway..

Truckers don’t necessary love being behind an emotional woman worried to death about her husband driving a 30 year old RV, now being referred to as The Death Trap.

Every time they passed me.. showing their annoyance by cutting the pass way too close, my windshield got glazed with salt making it almost impossible to see. Windshield wiper fluid was only doing so much to help.

And then it happened. Trouble.

We had agreed that if Chief had to pull over for any reason, he would flash his headlights.

Which he did, about an hour into the drive and my heart stopped.

I pulled over onto the shoulder that was edged with rumble strips designed to wake a sleeping driver who was veering off the road. Because of the snow, I couldn’t tell if it was safe to pull the car further onto the shoulder. I didn’t know how much room I had before I plunged into a gully.. or a valley, for that matter.

Chief passed me so that he could pull over in front of me.. him needing more room to slow Consuela down to a stop.. and then I jumped back on the highway to pull up behind him.

I guess my nerves started to affect me. Why did he have to pull over? Was Consuela on the verge of dying? Was something going to blow up? What if it did? What if he got stuck in there? All these things playing in my head and when I pulled up behind him going a little too fast, I put my foot on the breaks and did nothing but slide. Almost right into the back of Consuela.

Thanks can only be given to God that the wagon came to a stop about an inch and half away from Consuela’s spare tire.

I jumped out and ran over to Chief.. his windshield wipers stopped working and with all the trucks blowing salt, he wasn’t able to see anything.

I swear I wanted to lose my bowels right then and there.

But again, with thanks being only given to God, he banged on the motor and the wipers started working. I still think I should have put on a pair of Depends!

Back on the road we went and the weather started to steadily decline. The snow was coming down harder.. the wind was getting stronger and driving became very, very difficult.

About two hours in, I ran out of windshield wiper fluid.

The storm was bad enough that the locals were smart enough to stay home so the highway was loaded with nothing but trucks and their salt spray.

I saw a sign for a rest stop .. with the next one being 58 miles away and decided that we were going to have to pull in because I couldn’t drive another 58 miles without windshield wiper fluid and now, at 3:30 is was getting harder to see because it was getting dark.

I put my blinker on and pull off onto the exit ramp.. the ramp split into two, cars on the right and tracks and trailers on the left.

Because Chief had to stay at some distance behind me, I was too busy looking  in my rear view mirror watching for his headlights that I didn’t realize that I had veered to the right of the snow tracks made by other cars and started to fishtail right into a picnic area.

I panicked and did what you are NOT suppose to do in this situation .. jammed on my brakes.. which only made things 100 times worse .. I released the brake and tried to regain control of the car but it was too late.. I was headed for the picnic table area and on a beeline to run into the two yellow safety poles that was on either side of a STOP sign.

Once again, thanks can only be given to God because my car went right between the yellow safety poles.. ran right over the Stop sign and slid into a parking slot with no damage to the car.

I didn’t know that at the time, though.. When the car stopped, I was toast. I was so emotional and broke down sobbing. What were we going to do if something happened to the wagon? We had no money for a tow.. no money to fix it.. nothing.

Chief missed all this.. he had to veer to the left coming into the rest stop because of the size of Consuela and when he walked over to the car shivering like an epileptic because he was frozen to the bone.. he had absolutely no clue about me skidding and taking out a sign.

I was sobbing big croc tears saying “.. I can’t do this anymore! I never wanted to do this!” and told him what had happened and why I pulled over.

He was more then understanding. He may have an issue with patience, but he knew that this was taking a toll on me big time.

We decided to stay over the night in the rest stop. It was about 8 degrees out and Consuela was worse then freezing but Chief turned on all the stove burners and the oven and put our coffee pot full of water on one burner so that the steam would heat up Consuela faster.

It was funny because if you stood up, you were warm from the neck up.. but if you sat back down, frost would come out of your  mouth.

We made Raman noodles.. which were THE best Raman I ever had!! .. made coffee.. and settled in.

But I couldn’t stop the emotions from coming. All I kept thinking about is the next 3 hours of driving and petrified that something would happen to him.. I realized just how much I love this man and just how devastated I would be if something bad happened. I was emotional for me, also. I explained to Chief that while he had led a life of adventure this really was my first on this kind of scale .. and not having the money in case something went wrong.. or being alone and far away from anyone who could help us scared me. A lot.

He understood.. he knew how afraid I was and the only thing he could say in comfort is that God had a plan for us and He would keep us safe.

In my heart I know that.. and while it does give me peace to know that, the emotions just got to me and I had to let them all out.

But we did have fun.. laughing and joking around and being stupid and the whatnot.

The plan was that we would pull out of the rest stop early int he morning.. he said 3, I said 4. By that time, the highway would be cleared and salted.. there would be less traffic and by the time we would have to get off the highway, we’d be hitting daylight.

Chief also said that if the propane ran out, we would have to get moving immediately because there was a chance of freezing to death without any heat.

But, thanks only to God, the propane lasted all night and we didn’t wake up until 5am.

We both slept hard.. we needed it. I needed it.

To Be Continued…

Caution: Snow is Worse Then It Appears

Sorry I haven’t posted anything about the National Lampoon Road Trip trip we took last weekend but we had a LOT to recover from and had to jump right back into the regular swing of things like, right away…  I’m just beginning to catch my breath so I’ll be posting about all that really, really soon…

Sucks being on a “normal” sleep schedule!! I’m sleeping through my usual blogging time! LOL

And like..

Driving 4 hours through a snow storm to Central PA on Friday wasn’t enough?

Driving  2 hours through a snow storm towards Western PA on Saturday wasn’t enough?

Getting stuck in the middle of it and having to spend the night in a rest stop wasn’t enough?

Driving 3 hours through a snow storm through Pittsburgh and into West Virginia on Sunday wasn’t enough?

Turning right around and driving the 8 hours BACK to South Eastern PA via West Virginia and Maryland in a snow storm WASN’T enough??

We got dumped with 10″ of the white stuff early this morning…

I guess after the 72″ we got last year it’s not so bad but I’m just sick of the damn stuff!

Instead of closing, Spaz’s school opened 2 hours late but we kept him home.. neither of us felt like getting up and cleaning off the car and driving through the mess (can’t imagine why, can you?)

Which meant that ALL of us were home AT THE SAME TIME.. a luxury usually reserved for the weekends *cough cough*..

But it was all good..

I wasn’t stuck in some rest stop on Rt 80 .. wasn’t trying to drive with windows covered with salt and no wiper fluid.. didn’t have to worry about Chief driving behind me in a 1979 Dodge Fleetwood RV that has seen SO MANY better days soooo long ago.

It was good not to have to worry about anything but who was going to take the dogs out!!