I had one of those “Oh, shit!” moments while driving down I-75 on the way home. It was when my phone rang. I’m in the habit of just automatically putting every call through on the speaker, so when the caller asked if I had sold my fifth wheel yet, it was too late to mute the call, and the damage was done-my wife had heard it. Continue reading
I’m cruising toward Georgia in the Carolina Mountains at the breakneck speed of 10MPH. That’s because someone failed to put the DEF (exhaust fluid) into the tank, and when that happens the vehicle goes into “limp” mode, which I should be used to by now, since I am married and over 60. Continue reading
Before I start, I just want to shout out to that lone Ohio roadway crew that must handle the whole state. I know this because you haven’t had time to fill in the car-swallowing potholes that line your highways like the craters on the dark side of the moon. Here’s a haiku I made just for you:
Snapped axles, crushed dreams
Ohio, tragic state of
roads best not taken
So today I’m driving up to Michigan with a nearly full bilge tank sloshing around in the belly of my 5’er. The plan is to drop it along the way before I arrive at my friend’s house, because I don’t want the first words after “Hello” to be, “Where can I dump my crap in your yard?”
Once again I drive through a torrential flood to make the trip down the mountains from Boone more interesting (at least in the Chinese sense of the word). As an additional bonus, I also get to brave a narrow gauntlet of serpentine roads that feature rock outcroppings jutting out menacingly from the adjacent cliffs. At some points, I’m pretty sure it would be too dangerous to put an elbow on the sill of either window, so that by the time I reach what resembles a normal modern highway, I feel like I’ve gone through a real-world version of a “Road Warrior” video game in which players are expected to die ignominiously, and my hands are gripping the steering wheel as tightly as a Louisville Slugger (which is appropriate since that is very close to our final destination today). Continue reading
Part of the fun, I suppose, of traveling in an RV is the thrill of testing your driving skills by going mano-a-mano with tropical storm Alberto as you head into the twisting highways of the North Carolina mountains while towing a small house. Continue reading
The trip up to Jekyll Island is pretty uneventful. The F250 easily handles the 5’er it’s hauling, and even though there is significant wind shear courtesy of a named storm, it’s as solid as a rock on the road while returning about 10 MPG in the process. As a memo, my old truck was an F150 gas motor and it got 8 MPG under similar conditions.
The only drawback I can see right now is that I need to search for the “right” gas station, which is kind of like finding the right girl. Most of them do have what you want, but easy access without drama is a big concern.
An eon ago, I was a perennial road warrior and “million miler” frequent flyer for a Fortune 100 company. Then I traveled on my own pretty much all over the world. I’ve taken a lot of cruises, gone on many guided and escorted trips, and I’ve planned and executed my own multi-month journeys on numerous occasions and continents. So, “I know a thing or two because I’ve seen a thing or two” about travel, I guess you could say.
But what I’m NOT used to doing is hooking up my own house to a truck and driving it across the country. Nor am I used to camping out far away from the city center. My travel philosophy in general is- luxury and convenience don’t suck, so the idea of setting up my own portable house at each and every location I visit seems on the surface to be a bit crazy.
That attitude explains why my last RV adventure with a bumper-hitch trailer was a minor disaster, but my wife convinced me that a fifth wheel (“5er”, as some call it), is an easier way to “camp”, so I bought one, being both of unsound mind and married as I am. Now I’m ready for our first road trip in it, and I’ve decided, for those of you who are on the fence about this kind of travel, to keep a log and see how things work out. Continue reading
Texas-AKA flyover country
So I’m fueling up my new truck in east Texas cattle country, and for the first time, briefly, I feel like a real Texan. After all, this beast has a giant diesel motor just like every other vehicle in the Lone Star state, and it’s so tall that a ladder would be a nice accessory, so now I think I finally fit in, at least from a vehicle standpoint. I even have a country music station tuned in for good measure. Then I look down at my feet and see flip flops there, which provide indisputable proof that I am not any kind of Texican at all, but rather just a Jimmy Buffet-style Florida wannabe poser. Because after all, anybody knows that real Texans wear rattlesnake cowboy boots and belt buckles the size of dinner plates, so who, at the end of the day, am I?
I want to tell you, son, what a great country America used to be. I’m afraid if I don’t tell you soon, you won’t believe me in a few years, because things are declining so fast I can hardly believe myself how far we’ve “progressed”. So I want to say, just from my ground-level perspective, what it used to be like to grow up and live in this beautiful nation, and I want to say so right now before the mists of time blur my memory, or possibly before it becomes illegal to publish these increasingly uncomfortable truths. You can laugh about that possibility-right up until the moment it happens. So here’s what it was like in the USA, way back when: Continue reading