So...we've been offline for nearly a month! We recovered from the flu. WJ built a fantastic platform bed (I'll try to get pics uploaded to the album but Dad's internet is really slow...) on April 1, we started loading things over the weekend, and Sunday I was achey, tired, cold, not hungry even for soup, and just out of sorts. By Tuesday I had a temp of 102.9! Yay flu....
While I was recovering, he's loading, sorting, cleaning, and he kept walking around Wanda looking at the tires. You know, the ones that took them 3 bloody weeks to put on because (now that he's told me a bit more about conversations) they ordered the wrong tires [B]3 times[B]). He called up the shop and the guy grumbled a bit but the moment WJ said "I understand seating in, but these are loose
" he sent out a service truck. About 1/2 of the lugs were not only not seated, but they were completely loose - the split rim still had a gap between the pieces! Crikey!
We finally left Akron, Ohio April 13th. And ran out of gas.
We now know our range...and thank goodness for roadside assistance! Got to the truck stop north of Dayton, and as we're walking back out after eating to go to bed, I ask where the gas cap was.
She's an old thing - te next day we stopped at an Auto Zone and there was nothing that could be used. I call the gas station from the night before and they checked the pump and there it still was. (External thread heavy thing!) So we backtracked the 36 miles to get it, and headed on our way again.
And not quite to Dayton as we're going through construction, we have people honking and pointing to the back of Wanda. There's no place to pull off as the shoulder was blocked off with concrete barriers, but we start slowing down and pull off as soon as we could. And.....the trailer is not on the hitch. It was, thankfully, about 50 feet back, in the ditch. The safety chains (not very heavy duty to begin with, to be fair) failed after
the barriers, the trailer went nicely into the ditch, into a slough of mud and water, and stopped. Because of that mud, it didn't go up the steep embankment and flip.
It's too mired, so we call a tow truck and they find a shop who can help with a better hitch set up and tow it there. Turns out the receiver isn't a 1-1/4" receiver - it's some spare tubing!! So the adapter wasn't working so well so these guys manufactured a sleeve to set in the receiver to hold the adapter better, found some engine hoist chain and cut us new safety chains, and p-clamped the wiring up for us. They also crawled under and around the trailer (this is a 10+ year old 4x8 folding kit from Harbor Freight that Dad and my brother put a permanent floor on plus rails) and declared it damage-free!
We spent that night in a Motel 6 just
on the other side of the Indiana state line!
They suggested we take the highway near the interstate and that sure was a pretty drive. We spent that night (the 15th) in Vermilion, IL, with no issues!!
The next day a random truck driver gave us some great advice and bought us the Rand McNally 2016 Motor Carrier's Atlas. He also highly recommended the I80 Truck Stop and so that's where we made it to that night and slept there. WOW is all I have to say about that place!!
Left there on the 17th but didn't get but 85 miles or so - we had to replace the upper radiator hose. Spent that night in Center Point, IA where I had a moment of panic as a truck driver started talking about the hitch. Well, the set up we had the hitch is like a giant lever so it looks like it's going to fall apart but it isn't. He was a really nice guy, too.
On the 18th we made it about 60 miles - but we stopped to meet Wauto!! He and WJ took out the failing thermostat and found a tube that needed replacement. His wife is super friendly and I'm so glad we got to meet up!! He was kind enough to introduce us to the shop in Traer, IA where we got the tube replaced (turns out that the tubes were installed wrong....
). We spent that night in Waterloo, IA.
At this point, we'd been smelling some sulfur but assumed it was the stuff being spread on the crops as we drove by. Well, the smell was getting more pronounced when we stopped at a rest area - a quick Google...."WJ, you better check the battery." Sure enough...the battery was overflowing acid (I know I'm not saying that right, sorry!). So in Hampton, IA we bought a new battery. We spent that night in Albert Lea, MN.
From there, it was fairly smooth sailing. We spent the 20th in Sioux Falls, SD, the 21st in Murdo, SD, and we were in my Dad's driveway the 22nd. Other than running a bit warm on some of the long hills, she drove like a champ!
We boondocked every night but 1 at a truck stop and that was fantastic. But because it took so long, and we spent so much extra money (tow and hitch repair/chain, motel for 1 night, battery, radiator hose, tube replacement, more meals than budgeted), we are flat broke. So we'll be staying in the Black Hills for at least the summer, if not longer. I was able to hit a job fair for a finance company and got a job offer the next day - although it is pending drug and background check. I should start May 16th and with the little bit we have left and the tax refund check Ohio mailed me we should be okay for gas to get to/from town. Dad is loaning us his minivan which is great.
WJ and Dad have already redone the hitch and found out that we have two propane tanks under the body! It will be great to be "home" for awhile - but I sure do still want to spend a few years in the PNW.
Dad's internet is really slow, but we'll try to pop on with updates! I think Dad is tickled to have a project to play with - as long as we can pay for the parts!