Bumpity, Bump, Bump, Bang

We are in Rhode Island at a campground in Hope Valley. In front of our 5th wheel is a small, quiet pond. I have seen a mamma and poppa duck in the pond so assume there are eggs nearby - or soon will be. Behind us, down a bank but within view, is a babbling brook. The sun is streaming through the forest of trees around us and there's a gentle breeze blowing through our open windows. Finally, a peaceful afternoon to enjoy our calm and quiet surroundings and reflect on God's beauty away from the all the hustle and bustle we've experienced this week.

Lots of bumps and bangs!

Where to begin? I guess where I left off last Sunday evening. Mike had a couple of last minute details come up that he had to take care of Monday morning (one of which was to get a part for the leaking water heater. All fixed now.) We were on the road around 11 am, headed northeast to St. Louis. We stopped in St. Louis at a grocery store called Dierbergs and loved it! Similar to a Whole Foods but the prices were cheaper. Fantastic store! They only seem to be in the St. Louis/St. Charles, MO area but I did see a couple of stores located not too far away in IL on their store location map. Definitely will go back there when we're in the area. After 2 years of living in SW MO and not being able to find really good produce anywhere - or at good prices - this store was like a breath of fresh air. We were like 2 kids exploring the store and hated to leave. :)

Also, went next door to a Wild Bird Store and got a hummingbird feeder with suction cups. Little early to put it up yet here in the northeast but soon.

We spent the night about halfway across Illinois. Boondocked in a Walmart parking lot with about 10 other RVers and a dozen semi's. Much, much quieter than that rest area we stayed at in Florida on our way to Louisiana a couple of weeks earlier. This boondocking thing is a great deal if you're in a hurry to go somewhere and don't want to take the time to go to a campground. Saves money, too!

Tuesday was stupendous! It was my 62nd birthday. Yep, I can't tease Mike anymore that he's older than me. We go through this every year because his birthday is in January; it's become a running joke. Woke up that morning to cold enough temps that we had to turn on the furnace for a few minutes. Fantastic! So much better than 80 degree weather with high humidity!

Mid-morning we stopped at a rest area in Indiana and I practically skipped all over the parking lot. It was a beautiful, sunny day, still a bit of chill in the air and a light breeze; the grass was bright green; the dandelions were blooming everywhere; the trees were budding but hadn't popped yet with leaves. Just the kind of day I remember most of my birthdays being growing up on a farm in SW Iowa. Just made me so happy; I considered it a wonderful birthday present. Much better than 'things'. Mike took me to Cracker Barrel for my birthday dinner and I got phone calls from 2 of my children. All in all a lovely day! Boondocked again in another Walmart parking lot with about the same size group as the night before.

But, oh, the highways in Indiana. Very, very rough and bumpy for miles and miles and miles. (Bumpity, bump, bump.)

Wednesday morning we got a good, early-ish start and realized that if we timed things right, we could be here at the campground in Rhode Island late Wednesday evening. Yay! Our oldest son, Seth, and his wife, Corinne, were moving on Friday and we wanted to help but were looking forward to a day to rest up first. (The roads got blissfully smooth when we crossed the Ohio line.) 120 miles later all those plans flew out the window. We started hearing a funny 'tickata-tickata' sound and the steering starting having a lot of vibration. Mike pulled over and discovered that the right front tire on the truck - although still inflated - had blown its steel core. (Bumpity, bump, bump) The visible outside part of the tire and the tread looked terrific. What we couldn't see until it was off the axle was that the inside of the tire was very worn and cracked. Sigh. We weren't going anywhere on that tire. Thankfully, we have Good Sam's Emergency Roadside Service. They sent someone out to change the tire but we didn't want to travel far on the spare. Went to the next exit to a truck stop and started researching where to get a new tire. It needed to match the one on the left side that we had bought to match the one on the right side just before we went to Florida.

Confused? Well, when we bought the truck the end of January, one of the things we thought we had checked carefully was the condition of all 6 tires. We didn't want to have to replace all those big tires right off the bat. But, on the way back to MO from TX where we bought the truck, the left front tire went flat suddenly - got a nail or something in it. Because of where we were on the highway, Mike had to keep driving on the flat tire until he came to a place he could pull off. End of that tire! Drove the rest of the way home on the spare and bought the new tire to match the existing right tire back in Joplin.

So now we needed to match a brand new tire on the right side to the new tire on the left. Either no one had it or couldn't get it until late the next day and/or their price was going to be astronomical. Mike finally called the manufacturer who referred us to the area distributor who referred us to a dealer about 10 miles away. Bellino's True Tread Tires in Canfield, OH. They said that yes, they could get the tire by noon the next day. Oh, by the way, you're welcome to park your 5th wheel here for the night if you want in our back lot. Perfect! Off we went and they got the tire ordered.

The next morning we noticed a delivery truck of tires come in about 8:30. Around 9, one of the workers came and knocked on our door. Our tire was ready to put back on the truck. They had requested to the distributor that they be the first delivery so that we could get on our way. Plus they checked all the other tires to make sure they didn't have any issues we hadn't seen AND put air in all the trailer tires to bring them back up to the right pressure before we left. What a fantastic dealership! If you're ever in Canfield, OH, just outside Youngstown and need tires, we can't recommend Bellino's enough. They were wonderful!

Did I mention that their price was $30 to $50 less than any other dealer we called - for the exact same tire? Thank you!

We had a good laugh over this sign on one of their doors. Talk about an oxymoron! They explained that it was an entrance door but was to only be used by employees. Guess you're supposed to know that by reading between the lines. LOL

We were back on the road before 10:30. This time we WERE going to make it to Rhode Island - we hoped. Seth and Corinne needed all the help they could get to move since it was a week day. We had told them Wednesday evening we might not make it after all and they were so disappointed. We ended up calling them Thursday evening when we crossed over into Connecticut from New York to tell them that we were going to make it after all. We were all happy.

We called the campground to tell them we were going to be there that day after all but not until late evening. The owner said she wouldn't be there by then but not to worry. Our spot was P5 down by the pond. Just go ahead and park and we'd settle up later.

We should have just boondocked in another parking lot until daylight. It was after 10 when we got here and really dark. Once you're inside the park, the paved road ends and the roads become very rough and rocky, holes, with big trees on either side, stumps, posts, implements, etc. We finally found a map so we could figure out how to get down to the pond but the last turn was just nearly impossible to make so we gave up and left the rig in the road for the night and went to bed. There are a lot of trailers/campers here but most looked like they were left here year round and weren't occupied.

The next morning we went out to move some of those implements, picnic tables, etc., that were making it difficult to maneuver the turn. We were shocked to discover some major damage to our 5th wheel. We'd heard a popping sound the night before but honestly thought we'd just run over some sticks on the ground. The bottom front corner of the driver's side slide out had some major damage and the skin had been ripped away. It must have caught on either a stump or post. (There's the 'BANG'.) We are just sick over it!

We were afraid to open that slide, thinking it might just make the damage worse. So we just got it parked and leveled and took off for the moving day.

I was delegated to go sit at the new house and wait for utility people to come turn things on. I spent the time connecting with our insurance company, GMAC. So far, they have been so polite and helpful. Within half an hour of reporting the claim, our claim manager called. An hour after that the claim adjuster called and set an appointment to meet me back here at the campground to get the ball rolling. He wanted to know if we had a preference where the work is done. I mentioned that the only place we knew of was in East Greenwich. He said that yes, they were very good but it might be a problem getting the work done this time of year as the season was starting and everyone was really busy. But, because we were full-timers, they might put us at the head of the list.

He and I met out here around 3:30. He gave me an estimate, said it would definitely end up being higher than that (we only have to pay the deductible) and had already talked to another repair place that GMAC has worked with several times in the past that does excellent work. They could do the work right away but need to see it first to see what's needed. We're all concerned about this being truly fixable because this is an older trailer and might have some dry rot that we hadn't seen when we inspected it before buying it. Sigh. Wouldn't surprise me; Murphy S. Law is alive and well still.

We have to take the trailer there tomorrow - it's 50 miles away. So we have to leave our peaceful surroundings and drive through Providence tomorrow. UGH. Hopefully, this will all be fixable. Life and its hiccups!

Spent yesterday and this morning at a Bible Study Day and last night we finally saw our daughter, Sarah, DSIL, Art, and our 3 granddaughters! It was wonderful! We've missed them all very much; it was so great to get lots and lots of hugs from everyone.

So, here we are in limbo again wondering what's going to happen next. We have faith that whatever happens, God is watching over us and will see us through this. Stay tuned.

Gloria - The Internet GADabout


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