It always takes longer than you thought it would – day 2

Last night I fell asleep right in the middle of thinking that I was going to have a hard time falling asleep. And I slept like a rock all night. I know you all worried about that, so I thought I’d get that covered right away.

The plan for today was to get up, get out, get gas and go to the RV and MH Hall of Fame.

And all of that happened. Eventually.

We did get up and out at a reasonable hour. The rest area we camped at no longer has fuel service. Either they are replacing all of the tanks or replacing all of the pumps, it was hard to tell. But we had to move another 30 or 40 miles down the road to get to the next area with gasoline service. No problem!

We get there in due time. There is no line, just one guy at the furthest pump in our chosen lane. He’s clearly been pumping gas for a little bit already, and it takes a fair amount of time to fill our tanks so we’re still doing well. Until his mind wanders and he starts flooding the area around his car (and ours) with gas. Trish alerts him to the problem. His only response was “Well it didn’t click. It’s supposed to click when the tank is full.” He just wipes the gas from the side of his car and drives away, leaving a good-sized puddle of gas on the ground in front of us. Trish alerts the attendant, who wanders out, puts little orange cones right in front of us and dusts the absorbent over the puddle.

Leaving us to figure out how to get around this new obstacle. Because there are a few hard rules about towing a car with all 4 wheels on the ground. Number one is you can’t back up. Ever. For any reason.  Because bad things will happen to your vehicles.

But Trish manages to get us out of there and we hit the highway again. I should mention that one of the things I do to keep myself entertained on road trips is count stuff. And I don’t count white cars or VWs. On a trip to Amelia Island, I counted the number of Cracker Barrels available at the exits. (It’s around 27, I think). On the way back I counted Waffle Houses. (Only 18) This trip I have been counting highway work areas, by state. It’s early in the race yet, but Ohio is well in the lead by having 9 separate work areas. Some last for miles. Many seem to require losing lanes, and we all know how that works. The result is that we did not progress as quickly as we had estimated. But no worries, the museum is open until 5 and we’ll be fine.

So when the highway traffic splits to two one lane sides due to yet another work area and we had to choose a side, there was no stress in our hearts. It’s easy to deal with traffic delays when you carry your own bathroom and kitchen with you.

Until we noticed that very soon after that, the lane we did not chose was not moving. At all. And the signs all say “One lane, 6 miles”. And then we’re thinking holy cow, one car overheats and we’ll ALL be sitting here for hours! (And would it be fair to charge the surrounding traffic to use our bathroom?)

But we maintain a respectable 20 miles per hour in our lane, driving past mile after mile of the other lane just sitting there and we are happy. And eventually it ends and we’re back up to 60.

Everyone else was back up to 70 of course, but that’s another rule of flat-towing the car. Max speed while towing is 60. It appears that this is very vexing to all of the cars around us. The truckers appear to be less annoyed, but they all have their own weird company policies to deal with and write it off. Mind you, I have it on good authority that most truckers believe that all RV drivers are idiots. To be fair, they give you the keys to a 20,000 pound vehicle that may be up to 40 feet long and you get no driving instructions at all.

So it’s very easy to be an idiot RV driver. But we looked it up on the internet, and YouTube has lots of driving videos. Also, because there are truckers sprinkled though out my family, I know some basic driving courtesies. Most truckers seem to appreciate us using them. And I reciprocate by joining them in thinking that everyone driving a car is an idiot.

Case in point. At the toll booth leaving the Ohio turnpike, the gate is not going up for the guy in front in my lane. I did not notice this when I joined the line. After a minute or two, the SUV in front of us starts backing up toward me. I beep, he stops. A minute or two later he starts easing backward again. I beep again, and he keeps easing back. It looks like he, in his cute little SUV, is trying to intimidate me and my 19,000 pounds of fun with his 4 or 5 thousand pounds. But as I mentioned earlier, we just cannot back up. So Trish hops out to tell them that we will not be backing up, because we can’t. Whereupon they inform her that this might take up to an hour to resolve (what?! It’s just a malfunctioning toll gate!). Clearly my inability to back up is somehow time-related and we’re just too stupid to know this. When Trish repeats that we cannot back up, the SUV passenger, I kid you not, says that maybe if we just back up slowly it will all work out. Because if you sneak up on it, you can always fool a machine. True fact.

Sure enough, while these kind people were educating Trish the toll gate opened and we all moved on. Sadder and wiser, I am sure.

And all of these things make very interesting stories, but they all take time. Time that was not in our schedule. Indiana so far has had only one work zone. But what they have that no one else has had so far are accidents. Multiple, everybody in one lane for 5 miles kind of accidents. Which is odd, because route 80 in Indiana is really a horrible road and much of the truck traffic around us in Ohio found other routes to take. Fewer trucks and slower speeds should be safer, but apparently not.

We did make it to the RV and MH Hall of Fame before it closed and were able to make a quick trip through the exhibits. We also learned that the ‘MH’ in the name does not stand for ‘Motor Homes’ it stands for ‘Manufactured Housing’. We did not make it to that part, maybe we’ll try again after we complete our Jayco factory tour tomorrow. It is very cool driving through the Elkhart area because something like 90% of all RVs made in America are made right in this little area. We passed by all kinds of very recognizable RV brand names on large buildings today. But don’t gawk too much, the roads are also populated by Mennonite horse and buggies. All properly licensed, of course.
Well, it’s been a long day, so good night all!


4 thoughts on “It always takes longer than you thought it would – day 2

  1. You write so we’ll, your travels are interesting. Why have you not written a book? I don’t think that most people will be terribly interested in counting of stop signs or how many RV’s are on the road but your insight & humor golden. Can’t wait for another chapter.


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