Posts Tagged ‘Road Trip’

I didn't realize this patch was from WV when I swiped it .. talk about irony!

WARNING: Rant ahead

So .. yknow.. I’m the giver. Not much of a taker.

Even though I know that sometimes I have to be humble enough to ask for help when I need it, I usually don’t because I do what I have to do to make whatever works. I’m independent that way .. or call it self sufficient, maybe.

But when I do need help, the first people I go to is my family.

I’m blessed with an AWESOME family who will lend a hand whenever I need them to.

Ok.. so the ranting is going to begin now.

Y’all know my RV, Consuela, is currently 9 hours away in West Virginia. And y’all know that I need to get it OUT of West Virginia because we’re not moving there now and it isn’t parked on the property we bought.

After everything that happened during the road trip from hell, I get a bleeding ulcer whenever I think about driving back there to get Consuela and then driving her right back here.

I’m also worried about putting another 800 miles on my car but there’s really no way to get there from here and back without it. It’s not like it’s on a train route!

I would just feel a hell of a whole lot more comfortable if there was another adult with us. Someone who would ride with Chief on the way back so if there’s some kind of an issue with Consuela, he wouldn’t be by himself. To me, having another set of hands to help him would just make me feel better.

So I figured I’d ask my 26 year old former Marine Godson.

He really doesn’t have the responsibilities that my other friends and family do .. he lives at home, works three days a week.. and generally just “lives the life” if you know what I mean.

So at the beginning of the week I sent him a message asking if him and his girlfriend (who I adore and adores me back) wanted to take a road trip .. I promised fun, adventure and rest stop breaks but also let him know that I was kind of in a jam. He messaged me back saying that his girlfriend was working this weekend (the original plan was to go this weekend before all the damn snow) but asked me what I had in mind.

I send him a message explaining to him about Consuela and why I wanted him to come with.. and how my stomach is in knots and would really, really feel better if he came along.

Never heard anything back.

He’s been on Facebook posting status’ and whatever so I know he got the message.. he just didn’t respond to it.

And I’m kind of upset about it ..

I’m not one to keep lists of who does what for whom but I did a lot for this kid.. was there for him every step of his way..supported him when no one else would .. he knows that he can talk to me about anything and would loved him no matter what and it just hurts that the one time … the ONE time I ask him for a favor, he couldn’t even respond to it.

I did tell him that I would completely understand if he didn’t want to go… I’m not upset that he told me he DIDN’T want to go.. I’m upset because he didn’t tell me one way or the other..

Because isn’t that a life lesson? It is for me ..  it’s being reliable.. conscientious.. mindful of other people’s time and plans..

And it’s just weighing on me so I had to unload.

Eventually, I’ll talk to him and ask him about it .. I don’t necessarily think that calling him up now at 5am is going to benefit either of us, yknow?

<< end rant >>

Swiped from the 'net .. there was no sun!!

Okay..

So honestly, after crashing in a more then toasty Consuela while a blizzard raged around us I didn’t feel like going anywhere. I would have been MORE then happy to just spend the rest of my life parked in that rest stop!

Alas, it was not to be!

Fortunately, and thanks can only be given to God, I hadn’t lost cell service so we were able to call the kids back home and check in on them and the dogs. That was a huge relief for us.

Also, honestly, I did wake up a few times but went right back to sleep because I didn’t want to move!!

Can you blame me?

But at 5am, Chief woke me up by yelling IT’S FIVE O’CLOCK .. WE GOT TO GET MOVING!!

Ohhhhh!!!

But I woke up and we got situated. Thanks to God only again because Consuela started right up. She was getting better as she moved along just like Chief said she would. He still didn’t have heat .. or defrosters and the thought of possibly running the heater we had brought with us while he drove went kaput because the cigarette lighter in the dash didn’t work.. but that wasn’t going to stop him.

Driving INTO daylight instead of night time was a huge advantage too because at least there was the chance of sun and warmth.

So we leave the comfort of the rest stop and start the three hour drive.

You know, we’ve been doing so much driving since November that three hours doesn’t seem like very long. And truthfully, it isn’t.. except the WHOLE weekend was long and arduous and then you have to remember that we still had to drive 8 hours BACK.

Anyway.. so we get on the highway and I have to hand it to PennDot. The road was clear. Dark, but clear.

We pull off at the first exit because we needed to buy wiper fluid :: Chief had told me he had put the rest of the bottle in the car before we left on Friday :: and we decided to put another 50.00 bucks of gas in Consuela and to top off the wagon. The way he figured it, Consuela would have just enough gas to get to West Virginia. We were leaving her there anyway so it didn’t matter if her tank was empty.

Our plan was to drive straight through to the property.

NOTE: Did I even mention that here? Ok.. in our desperate attempt to find some place to live and coming up empty, I found an ad on Craigslist for a double lot of land for 3900.00. The owner of the land was willing to take 100.00 payments monthly for it. He had had to relocate to Florida for his job and having this piece of property for 20 some odd years wanted to sell it. It’s called a Land Contract. The only thing is that he never built anything on it so it would have to be cleared. There were sewer and water lines so we wouldn’t have to dig a well or a septic tank but still needed to be hands on in order to put the mobile home we bought on it. In speaking to the assistant Mayor, we found out that the village had changed it’s ordinance and a foundation was going to have to be laid. That was adding more complications and adding more time to a situation that wasn’t the best to begin with. So the plan was to drive Consuela down there.. leave her on the property so that when we went down to lay the foundation, we would have someplace to eat, sleep and have a bathroom at our disposal. That’s how the whole plan to move to West Virginia came about… completely by chance and Craigslist.

Ok.. so we get everything we needed to get at the gas station and get back on the highway.

I felt better about driving.. maybe it was because we had slept for almost 12 hours or maybe it was because I knew it was going to get light out instead of visa-versa or maybe because I had spent every waking moment praying. And I continued to pray out loud, in the car. It’s funny because Chief tells me I talk alot.. A LOT .. and after a while he says all he hears is blah blah blah .. I can imagine that God felt the same way!! LoL!

About an hour into the drive.. maybe less.. I notice sparkly things in the road and I remember thinking, “.. wow, the salt sparkles like diamonds.”

What can I say.. I have no excuse.

Because it wasn’t salt crystals.. it was snow. We were driving into yet another snow storm.  And trust me, it was just as bad as all the other ones.. and the trucks spraying salt was just as bad as it had been before and I was JUST. SO. OVER. IT. .. but I took deep breaths.. calmed myself.. prayed some more and kept an eye in the rear view mirror for Consuela’s head lights.

At 6am, I was looking for the sunrise.

At 6:30, I was looking for the sunrise.

At 7 AM I WAS LOOKING FOR THE SUNRISE!!

And finally, it came.. we had finally gotten off of Rt 80W and started travelling south. I don’t remember what the highway number was.. but we were heading south  and that was the important thing.. that and it stopped snowing.

There was only one little snafu .. when the TomTom (who wasn’t trying to kill us this time) notified me that we had to get off the highway, I put my blinker on well in advance so that Chief new what we were doing. It was one of those A .. B .. exits. We had to get off at B but he didn’t know that.. so when the exit came up ( the A exit ) and I went past it, he thought I blew the exit so he lingered on the right.. I was frantically waving for him to follow me and eventually he moved over. He didn’t see me, of course, nor did he hear me screaming No! No! No! but with thanks to God, we avoided a disaster.

And finally.. finally.. finally we saw the sign we’ve been waiting to see:

Welcome to West Virginia.

At that point, we only had about 35 miles to go and I so wished that we were together in the same car when we crossed the state line.

I stared using my fingers to let him know how many miles we had left to go and I was getting anxious to finally get to see where our new home was going to be.

Time seems to move slower the closer you get to your destination and I was trying to take it all in at the same time.

Initially when I tried to enter the street name into the TomTom, it didn’t recognize it because let’s face it.. this is a village with a population of 591. I’m sure most things there aren’t on a map but we had looked at the land and it’s surrounding areas so many times on Google Earth that I felt confident that if we just stayed on the road we were on, we would find it. I was just praying that Consuela had enough gas. She did.

Anyway.. this is where it’s going to get hard. At least for me. So many times we build things up in our minds and then reality doesn’t quite measure up to it.

I call it “tugging on the balloon string”.

There’s a little town right to the north of where we had the land and there were fast food places and dollar stores and pizza joints. Not what I was expecting but actually kind of a little glad that these kinds of places were really within a stone’s throw. We past through there and continued down the road and I started keeping an eye out for street signs. It was only around 9am on a Sunday so traffic was really light but I still had to be conscience of Consuela stopping.

And then I found our street.

And I wanted to cry. I still want to cry. I’m starting to cry.

Nothing any where near what I was expecting.. or even hoping.

These two lots were on the side of a freaking mountain. I mean.. literally. Oh, there were houses there.. people lived there.. but everything is vertical. And narrow.

Ok.. let me see if I get can the picture across this way.

Imagine a horse shoe. Now tilt that horse show to a 45 degree angle. That’s how steep the street was.

I turned the car up the street thinking that there was no way in HELL that we were going to be able to get Consuela up there. I had a hard time getting up there.. and when I did, it was just CONGESTED with houses. Anywhere someone could build a house they did.. in fact, it kind of reminded me of mountain goats perched on ledges. And worse, it almost has the feel of .. well.. a ghetto. Kinda.

I don’t know.. it was just the last thing I expected, I guess, so the disappointed was ripe.

So I follow the road around back to the bottom where the highway was and expected to see Chief and Consuela .. but I didn’t see them. Thinking that maybe he went down the highway a little to turn her around, I pulled over across the highway onto this little piece of ground and waited. Didn’t see him.

Now I started to panic. Of all the times I could have lost him, NOW I LOSE HIM??

So I pull onto the highway and head back toward our street (I’m going to start calling it our hill) thinking that maybe he went back the other way. This jerk was right on my bumper when I pulled out so I couldn’t turn up our hill but was able to pull over at the base of the another street. Looking behind me to back out, I see Chief and Consuela pulling into the same piece of ground I had just been at.

I drive over there and pull up in front of her and Chief gets in the car shivering like you wouldn’t believe. He started putting the heater on high and trying to warm himself up.. I mean, I had never seen anything like that before in my life. He just couldn’t stop shaking and he literally couldn’t even talk.

Once the warmth got to him, he started to settle down and we took another ride up our hill to see this property. I told him I didn’t know how the heck we were going to get a double wide up there.. he said it wouldn’t be a problem. The neighbor’s swimming pool..well, that might be a problem.

Because it looked like the neighbors had erected a really, really nice above ground swimming pool right on our land.

Talk about getting off on the right foot with the neighbors, huh?

Excuse me, yea.. we’re you’re new neighbors.. you need to take down that really, really nice pool you got there.

If I didn’t have an ulcer yet, I certainly started to get one now. Especially because my balloon string was not only pulled down but cut off. I wasn’t enjoying this.

We called the guy who we’re paying for this land and told him what was going on. He’s all aces this guy.. he was a little perplexed but felt terrible and was going to do all that he could do to find out anything he could. He deemed this his responsibility and didn’t want us putting bad tastes in people’s mouths the same way we didn’t.

So after being there for about, oh, an hour? There was nothing else to do but basically turn around and drive home. We left Consuela parked on that piece of ground across from our hill .. locked her all up and headed back home. I would have liked to maybe drive around the area and perhaps attend church services  but we only had 25.00 left in cash and I knew I was going to have to put gas in the wagon. I was only hoping that the half tank we were left with when we got to WV plus the cash that I had would be enough to get us the close to 400 miles home.

I didn’t think so and it was weighing on my mind heavily.

We set the Tom Tom to avoid the toll road so the route led us through West Virginia.. into a little piece of south western Pennsylvania.. back into West Virginia and then through Maryland.. where we hit even MORE snow.. and last,  into south eastern PA.

But the snow didn’t matter because Chief was with me.

I was at a quarter tank of gas when we first got into western Maryland and so I pulled over. I had a decision to make. And it was one that I knew was going to carry a heavy price.

There was 2.00 left on my debit card (by my calculation).. if I ran it through the gas pump as credit, and it worked.. I could get a full tank of gas out it it. It was going to cost me a 35.00 over draft fee but I really didn’t think that the 25.00 cash was going to be enough.

So I tried it.. and thanks can only go to God because the transaction went through and I was able to full the tank and remove the anxiety. Believe me.. it was a HUGE relief.

And as exhausted as we were .. we really enjoyed the ride back. He said to me that with all the craziness that we had gone through, we needed this. We needed to get out and away from everything because he realized that we haven’t been connecting. We go into the bedroom and he’s on his laptop and I’m on mine and this weekend just brought us together.

We talked about how depressing the area the property is in was.. and how neither of us was to amped with having other houses right on top of us. OR the power plant across the road. That was another thing. We were both a little shocked .. a little disappointed and thought that maybe we should rethink this whole thing.

When we finally got back to the house, we left the car to be unloaded for later and threw a quick dinner together for the kids. I called the assistant mayor and told him about Consuela and where she was parked because I didn’t want her to be towed or anything because we couldn’t leave it on the property.

Did I mention that Chief HAD taken her up our hill? When I thought he disappeared he was literally right behind me! But coming off the hill, Consuela started to slide so he had to kind of ram her into a tree to get her to stop. It was either a tree or a house. He opted for the tree.  There was no damage or anything but I’m sure glad we don’t have to worry about snow, sliding cars, sliding RVs and taking down poles or houses anymore.

So that’s the story.. I’ll fill you in what we found out about the pool, the property, the house we’re in now,  how almost my whole unemployment check was eaten up in over draft fees and just how very likely it is that we are going to be homeless in 16 days. And I’m not being sarcastic here.. I’m being dead honest.

But..

And this is a big BUT ..

God is good. I can’t stress that enough. We may not share the same kind of faith and I respect that but I can tell you with absolute certainty that we made it through this weekend the way with did only on His grace.

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…

Okay..

I think I have enough coffee in me to post about the weekend trip to just about everywhere it snowed! LoL! But I think to save your sanity and WordPress’s servers, I’ll going to split it up into multiple posts.

You’ll thank me later.. I swear!

On to it ..

Did you ever hear someone say, “.. oh, you should have seen her when she was younger?” .. Like, I don’t know.. a really old actress or something who’s better days were A LOT of days ago? Well.. that’s Consuela.

Consuela being the christened name of the 30′  1979 Dodge Fleetwood Southwind RV that we bought for 800.00 bucks.

This is what Consuela looked like back in the day

Not sure if I ever wrote about it on here but we found Consuela on Craigslist and let’s just say it was more then a chore getting her in our possession. The people we bought her from didn’t really use her the way she was intended to be used.

She stayed park in one spot during the summer and then was parked in another spot 2 miles away for the remainder of the year.

The first time we drove up to get her.. there was an issue with finding the keys and then an issue with finding a battery for it.. and then an issue with the title.. just a whole LOT of issues.. MORE issues then I like. Me being of the Plan! Plan! Plan! mind set and all. That was also the time when the Crack Whore was making all these allegations via text messages about leaving Spaz home by himself and then refusing to answer her phone resulting in us having to drive home.

Water under the bridge, right?

Oh yea. Riiiigghhhttt.

At any rate…

So as I posted HERE, we had to drive up to Lock Haven, PA on Friday to get Consuela which takes about 4 hours. Then we were going to stay over night.. Drive the 5 hours to West Virginia on Saturday.. stay over night.. and then drive the 9 hours back home on Sunday.

What did I just write about Plan! Plan! Plan!? Hmph.

Consuela

So Friday morning I wake up sick. Not “sick” sick.. but my stomach was bad and my head felt like there was a marble spinning in it. Not the proper condition to drive 4 hours.

Oh.. and did I mention there was a snow storm going on?

Yea.. snow is going to play a HUGE part in this.

Anyway.. so it’s snowing and I’m feeling too loopy to drive so Chief jumps behind the wheel of the station wagon that’s loaded with blankets and pillows and food and a heater and tools and Jimmy Hoffa and away we go.

Now, I’m not a good passenger. I’ve been getting car sick ever since I was a kid so unless the only place we’re going is around the corner, I’m always the driver. That’s just to let you know how sick I was really feeling because not only did I NOT get car sick, but I actually slept through most of the trip.

Not that it matters.. right now I’m hyper caffeinated so I’m over detailing everything. My apologies!

Anyway.. I had contacted the owners a few days prior to make sure they had everything ready to go and that there wasn’t going to be the kind of delays there were the previous trip. I explained AGAIN that we can’t keep tossing out the 80.00 bucks in gas it takes to get there and that we were on an EXTREMELY tight budget .. financially and time wise .. this weekend. She assured me that every was like greased lightening.. no issues.. no problems..

Consuela and Chief

You know it can’t be that easy, right? It’s me here, remember?

We get up to Lock Haven around 1:30pm and meet the couple.. who had just returned from WalMart with one of those emergency battery starters. Not a good sign.

No problem, Chief tells me. You have to expect this kind of thing when it’s been as cold as it’s been and Consuela has just been sitting since the summer.

We decide that Chief would stay with Consuela and the guy we bought it from so that they could get her started and I would go to the notary with the wife to change the title.

I’m glad the notary wasn’t far because she drove like a freakin’ maniac and I was going to hurl within the first ten minutes of the drive.

Anyway .. on the ride there I ask her if she had taken care of the title. She said she had.

NOTE: On the previous visit, she told me that the title was never put in their names. Some one had given it to them to repay a debt and it did nothing but sit on their river lot until the decided to sell it.

Oh.. but she hadn’t. The only thing she did was have the guy who’s name it was titled in sign the back. Not good. Not even legal. And she was told just how illegal it was by the notary woman who so no-nonsense she made an old school nun seem like a harlot. I’m biting the inside of my cheek because I was just thisdamnclose to saying somethings that I really didn’t need to say to someone who was my ride back.

Note to Self: ALWAYS take your own car when doing anything of any legal consequence that involves people you will never see again.

So she calls the dude that was listed on the title and explains to him that he needed to come down to the notary so that we can switch the title. He says he can’t because he was watching his grandkids. I am now a firm believer that the “ghetto eye shift” is universally understood because she started saying how we had driven the four hours, blah blah blah. She got the point right away that if this deal didn’t happen that day, I was going to want my 800.00 bucks back. Pronto. The dude says he could be there at 3 and I was like fine. I had to get Consuela insured and needed the VIN number to do that so all that could be done by the time 3 rolled around.

We go back to where Consuela is parked and Chief and the husband have had no luck getting her started. Well, she was starting but wasn’t staying started. I explained what was going on with the title. He wasn’t thrilled either but there wasn’t anything to do at that point but wait.

I get the insurance (86.00.. with only 24.00 down. Can you STAND it??) and give the notary’s fax number so that Geico can fax a copy of the insurance card to her.

We tell the couple that we’re going to follow them back to the notary to meet the dude because both Chief and I were starving and it didn’t make sense for all of us to go in their truck and have them wait around for us. Especially because I would have felt obligated to offer to buy them lunch and not only couldn’t I afford to.. didn’t want to.. or thought they deserved it.. it’s just how I was raised.

Back to the notary we go.. and the notary hadn’t gotten the fax with my proof of insurance. Great. So I jump on the phone and call Geico while we wait for the dude. He shows.. gets a tongue lashing from the notary.. I have Geico resend the fax.. the couple leave.. the second fax never comes. Great.

So I tell the notary that we’re going to grab something to eat because Chief is ready to pass out and maybe by the time we get back she’ll have the fax.

I go out to the car and tell a very hungry husband that we still have to wait and he says to call Geico again.. just to make sure.

I do and the third rep I talk to confirms that the faxes were send and did I think it was maybe the receiving fax machine that was the issue? Ok.. and I’m suppose to know that HOW? So I go back into the notary and nope.. hasn’t gotten any faxes and when I questioned whether maybe her fax wasn’t working properly you might have thought I asked her if she had false teeth.

Upstate people get offended by the craziest things!

I ask her, via the Geico rep, if she has an email address that the insurance info can be sent to.

Nope. Her computer wasn’t working.

FANfreakinTASTIC! I’m literally about to either cry or bust out the city girl can of whoop because how can a state agent NOT have a computer that works OR a fax machine that wasn’t from the 1980’s when insuring a vehicle the same time your processing the title and tags in the norm?

But I did neither. I just stood there with the Geico rep on the phone looking pathetic.

Which, of course, made the notary remember about her daughter’s computer and email address. Her daughter that just happened to be sitting in the kitchen of the notary’s home that was located right on the OTHER SIDE of the office wall. Yea.. we were in one of those towns.

So while the Geico rep is repeating “.. is it there yet? is it there yet? is it there yet? is it there yet?” in my ear.. and the notary is finalizing another vehicle for another customer.. and Chief is almost past out from hunger in the wagon.. I’m saying a prayer that everything is going to go the way it’s suppose to go because God gives you delays for a reason.

I would be saying that prayer a LOT this road trip.

Finally the email comes through.. we finalize the transaction and $191.00 later (in a check, which you’ll see is an important fact a little later on) I walk out with the tags and temporary registration.

By now it’s almost 4pm and my next concern is daylight. Or rather, how little of it we have left.

A few things you need to know:

  • I don’t do well driving at  night.. especially in unfamiliar places
  • Chief is going to be following me in a 3o year old RV that hasn’t been driven more then 3 miles in the last year
  • We wouldn’t have any way to communicate between us.. because the King and Queen of Idiocy never picked up walkie talkies
  • The campsite we were taking it to was a good 25+ miles away.. 10 miles if I wanted to be suicidal and drive through the  mountain on snow covered secondary access roads no wider then my car

Daylight was something I did NOT want to lose!

When we get back to Consuela .. she still wasn’t running. They would get her started by juicing up the battery but as soon as she went into gear she’d stall. Let me tell you, the guy we bought her from and his father in law were both working like donkey’s to get her to go.. and even though it was noble, I still think it was because they thought we’d want our money back.

Every minute that ticked by.. every shade darker the sky got.. the more annoyed I was getting. Chief knew it.. he can read my face better then anyone.. but if there’s one thing this man knows besides cooking it’s cars and motors. He knew that everything on Consuela was frozen and she just needed to be rocked back and forth until everything that would make her run got warmed up and stretched out.

And of course, he was right. Eventually .. at 6pm, we were ready to roll.

Did I mention it was dark then?

Did I mention how dark it gets upstate?

Oh.. and did I mention that highway lights or street lights haven’t made it to that part of the country yet??

I had previously called the camp ground that we were suppose to stay at last time we were up here and they were expecting us. They remembered us from the last time we were suppose to stay there because we paid for the site up front but because of all the drama with Consuela, the kids and the Crack Whore we never actually stayed there. The owner, Bruce, told me that he owed us a night.. which was really sweet and what we didn’t find out until later was that the camp ground was actually closed for the winter. He opened the gates just for us.

NOTE: Shameless plug for Holiday Pines Camp Ground in Loganton, PA. !

Ok.. so we’re finally on our way but we have to get gas in Consuela and still get something to eat. Driving on roads only lit by my headlights and constantly eyeballing my rear view mirror making sure that Chief and Consuela are behind me was so taxing that when I made the right turn off the side road and onto the main road, I didn’t realize that it was a two lane road and that I was in the lane of oncoming traffic until I saw headlights coming at me.

Not fun.

The gas station wasn’t that far down the TWO LANE main road and just as Chief was maneuvering Consuela to the gas pumps, she died. And I wanted to die right along with her. Not really.. but my heart sank. So did Chief’s. I can’t even describe the feeling.. but with only the Lord above to thank, poor Consuela only needed gas.

Did I mention that there was a split in the gas tank up where you put the gas nozzle in? So like, for every 5 gallons we put in we lost like half a gallon. Not good when you’re on a limited budget and you got a gas eater on  your hands.. a gas eater that eats MORE gas when driving into the wind.

I did mention there was a snow storm, right?

Ok.. so we get her started and all we wanted to do was drive RIGHT. ACROSS. THE. ROAD. to the Golden Arches of McDonald’s. It’s almost 7 by now and neither of us has eaten all day.

Right across the road.. what could possibly go wrong.

Me driving at night with Chief behind me in a 30′ box that doesn’t bend when you make turns and doesn’t stop on a dime, either is what happens.

I wound up missing the turn into McDonald’s because there wasn’t going to be enough time for Chief to stop Consuela behind me so we had to drive all the way back down the road to where we had come out of the secondary road earlier and I knew I should have just turned up that secondary road but I saw a parking lot on my right that was big enough for Chief to turn around in but instead of turning into the parking lot, I wound up turning onto a street .. one of those never ending winding ones that seemed like it was just going to go on and on forever before it put you on a highway.

If I could read minds, I think Chief would have had not problem turning me into dog meat right then.

And again, thanks  can only be given to God because not only can this man cook.. not only does he know cars and motors.. but he is also used to driving things the size of Consuela so he was able to pull a three point turn and we finally found our way back to McDonald’s. Where.. with only thanks given to God.. there was enough empty spaces in the parking lot on a Friday night to park Consuela.

We ate and then made our way to the camp ground.. which thankfully.. was uneventful except when we had to turn down a dark, narrow, snow covered road to get there and I was kind of confused as to which way to go so while stopped at a stop sign, I put the address into the TomTom. There was a local that was behind Chief who just couldn’t wait anymore so he blasted around us. Other then that, we got there and we got Consuela plugged in to the electricity so we had juice to run the heater we had brought. And good thing too because the generator wasn’t working and in 13 degree weather, you really need to keep warm!

We were excited. All the drama forgotten, we kept on giggling “.. we got an RV” to each other like kids on Christmas morning. It was something we both had always wanted for years and one of our earliest conversation was about how cool it would be to have one.

There was a whole tank of propane so while he got the stove working to make coffee,  I pulled the bed out and loaded them down with all the blankets we had brought with us. Because make no mistake.. it was FREEZING in there.

We had brought provision but one thing we hadn’t thought about was water. Because the camp ground was closed for the winter, the hoses at each site were closed down to prevent freezing. Now what? Neither Chief nor I can survive on one cup of coffee daily and we were both looking forward to snuggling up in the bed with a nice, hot cup and watching a movie on the laptop.

No problem! My ever industrious husband pointed outside at the snow and said, “.. we got plenty of water!” and proceeded to scoop cups of snow into the pot on the stove.

He may be industrious but sometimes he doesn’t have much common sense because if he did, he would have cupped the snow off just the TOP and we wouldn’t have had to strain all the pebbles, grass and dirt that settled at the bottom of the coffee pot.

At least we did that BEFORE putting the grounds in the water!

And let me tell you.. that had to be THE best cup of coffee I had in a long time!

It had been a long day and eventful so even though we wanted to stay up and cuddle and watch a movie on the laptop, it wasn’t long before our eyes started to get heavy.

There was a lot that needed to be done the following morning before we started out for West Virginia.. he needed to put in the secondary battery and wanted to see if he could get the generator to work.

We had to leave the camp ground by noon and considering how much stuff he wanted to accomplish, staying up late and getting up late really wasn’t an option so we bedded down for the night.. snug and toasty.

And then the roof started to leak. Right next to where we were sleeping. By that time, all we could do was laugh and put a towel under it to muffle the “plops”!

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!!