My wife and I rejoice in our annual pilgrimage to Disney World. Uneventful towing a 30′ vintage travel trailer is most favorable. Not so. The camper gods ordained otherwise. Within sight of Disney, I experienced a front tire blowout. BAM! My driving skills emphatically challenged, I eased the caravan of two along the apron of the Florida Turnpike. With jack and lug wrench in hand, I proceeded to change the mortally wounded tire. Not so. One of the lugs refused to turn. I even stood and jumped on the lug wrench. Unable to persuade the stubborn lug, I gave a final “all you got” jump. . . and suffered a blowout of a different kind. Not to be too graphic, but think small pink inner tube.
Unable to walk, sit, or lie down, Cynthia, my wife, and I finally made it to Disney’s Fort Wilderness. We set-up the camper. Oh, the pain! Cynthia called the VA in Tampa, two hours away. I’ll spare you the details. Let’s just say that the insensitive, cruel doctor was auditioning for a starring role in “The Chainsaw Massacre”. I felt as if I passed a bowling ball. No room or beds at the inn, he unsympathetically informed me. Back to Fort Wilderness – six hours, four waiting, two driving. Oh, the pain!
Cynthia telephoned the hospital at Disney’s Celebration. “Come on down”, they cheerfully said. Ten minutes later I told them my tale of woe, flipped them my Medicare card and became a guest. I introduced myself to my newest best friends, a little pink pillow and, of course, the doctor. With a respite of three months or so to wean our memory, Cynthia and I decided to take in a Braves game via Charleston – Charleston for a do – as in hair-do. Towing a 30′ 1950 vintage Spartan over back roads at 60mph was probably not in their design plan. Something didn’t feel right. We pulled into a rest stop, exit 183 interstate 20 in Augusta, Georgia. Holy cow! (that ain’t what I “really” said) The tongue was bent “up” where it joins the frame. We spent the night with eighteen-wheelers. Did you ever bed down with 20 plus Diesel engines – all running? We devoted the next day for someone to tow that thing – “thing” – because I’d like to torch the “thing”. In the meantime, we received a phone call from Cynthia’s brother, Erik. He and his wife, Mary, were traveling from San Francisco cross country in their newly purchased RV.
The conversation went something like this:
“Where are you? asks Cynthia.
“I’m in Augusta. Georgia?” Erik responds.
“Huh. Are you kidding? Where in Augusta?
“Huh. Are you kidding? Where on interstate 20?”
“Huh. Are you kidding? You’re not going to believe this, but. . .”
We camped with Erik and Mary while our “thing” was in the repair shop.
The camper gods weren’t done yet. On the way home after repairs, I missed a turn, an obvious turn, one that I’ve never missed. Swearing and explicating a mini hissy fit, I glanced in the rear view mirror to check oncoming traffic and saw my left rear trailer tire dancing the Calypso. The darn wheel and tire were about to extricate themselves from the “thing”. Holy cow! (Not what I “really” said). I eased the Expedition and trailer onto the sidewalk. Yeah, sidewalk. I pried off the hubcap and all the nuts and bolts fell to the ground. I needed help – a hole bunch of help. . . and, of course, it’s raining. I spotted a man seemingly out of place (out of place because he was dressed in a suit and tie) across the street in front of a grungy maintenance shop of some sort. Obviously, they couldn’t repair my “thing”. The well-dressed man heard my tale of gloom and dialed on his cell phone. “If you can make it around the next bend about a 100 yards, old Bill will fix it for you,” said he. I do and Bill does. What you have just read is the edited version of events. What you haven’t read is that it was Friday afternoon and old Bill was reluctant to start a major repair for this old Bill. I assured him that he would be rewarded divinely. That didn’t work, so I rewarded him in the best un-divinely manner.
There are morals to every story. This particular story(s) overflows with them. To wit: don’t ever underestimate the power of a stuck lug nut – especially at the “beginning” of your vacation. Believe in Providence. . .and most importantly, re-torque your trailer lug nuts after 500 miles. Oh, one more little tidbit. Do not, under punishment of Karma, ever refer to your home on wheels as the “thing”, particularly when in your home on wheels and on the road.
Submitted by William Warren of Columbus, NC as a part of the RV Centennial Celebration “Share Your Favorite RV Memory” contest.
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