Today we cruised through Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and are now resting comfortably in Florida with kitties on our laps after a delicious dinner of chicken, rice pilaf and broccoli. Of course, broccoli. We eat tons of it.
Our early start intentions are admirable, I guess; but we had to air up the tires and do a bunch of other stuff that always eats up some daylight. We knew that if the world didn’t end today, it would be the year’s shortest day and we better make the most of it. We were at a truck stop so it seemed reasonable to do the tires there. When I went to ask where we might do that, I was third in line and the only attendant was involved in a long phone conversation. Not looking good.
Finally got the info on where the self air-up station was and pulled over there. It was still windy and a little chilly, but Jim got his stuff out and proceeded to air up the tires. Except they didn’t. It was taking air out, not putting it in!
GAH! While he was trying to figure it out, I went in the shop and asked what the deal was, the hose seemed to be taking air out and now our tire was too low to go. The guy said “You have to push it in.” DUH! We are new at this, but I am pretty sure that Jim knew that. I said, “Can you help us?” He said “No.”
Nice. Merry Christmas and all that.
When I went back outside, Jim had taken the Tire Pressure Monitor System valve stem off and the tire aired up fine. It’s always when things look the worst that you know they will work out.
An aside: Right before he got it figured out, I was
helping hovering about and I found a bright shiny penny on the ground. In all my cars, I have always had a penny under the floor mat to bring good luck. I picked it up and put it in my pocket and as soon as I did, Jim figured out the tire valve and we were good to go. We have our bus penny now.
I started out driving and the road was good, the traffic was light and the sunny morning was full of promise.
Oh, I digress. Naturarly, we had to deal with the kitties and dose them and get them settled for the trip. Dosing them is stressful for everybody. Astrid and Tikita are pretty easy, but Carmella resists like crazy and ends up foaming at the mouth and not getting the full dose. We tried to do it earlier today so they could have some time out of the boxes before it took effect. By the time we rounded them up to put them n the carriers, Astrid and Carmella were weaving around like drunken sailors and Tikita was asleep in the litter box. Really.
We fixed up their forts and were off. For the first few hours there were no boxes rocking and rolling. A good sign. Once we switched drivers, some squeaks started and I reached in to pet, belly rub and comfort them. That seemed to work.
As we were navigating Mobile, Alabama, Jim was driving, checking the GPS and I had all the maps in my lap, coordinating our route. We really try not to make wrong turns because it just takes so long to get turned around, plus it’s stressful. Traffic is flying by and we are slow and trying to make sure we get it right.
Right before we crossed the big waterway (sorry don’t know the name right now, will research) what happens but Carmella comes trotting toward the front of the bus! She had escaped from her carrier and was loose in the bus. I scooped her up and held her on my lap as we went through a noisy, lighted tunnel and over the waterway. She was trembling and scared but OK while I held her. Once we got over the waterway, I put her back in her carrier and she stayed put the entire time. Astrid also stirred a time or two and I got her out and put her on my lap on the futon and she could see the bus was moving. So, progress?
We had aimed for Crestview, Florida, about 50 miles from Pensacola, but the Winter Solstice Day was getting away from us. Driving at night has always been a little problematic since the very first day we picked up the bus in Las Vegas. Upon arrival in Grand Junction at about midnight, the headlights went out while approaching Captain Ted’s house. They came back on, but still…
And now that we have the bike bag on the front, we noticed that it obscures the headlights somewhat and the high beams for sure. Have to work on that. And we are ready to be done by dark anyway.
So the idea is to arrive before dark. Since we had to alter our destination, we relied on the Wal Mart Atlas and RVers Friend to try to find a truck stop or Wal Mart near Pensacola. Florida is not that RV friendly so we wanted to make sure we could find a spot.
We had a truck stop and a Wal Mart scoped out on Exit 10. The truck stop was small and very full at 4:30 PM, so we continued to the Wal Mart. It was a Winter Solstice/pre Christmas hive of activity and the parking lot was packed. No way we were going to be able to park there. We decided to head back to the truck stop when we circled the block and saw a perfect, level overflow lot for the Wal Mart that was completely empty! We pulled it over and I went in to see if it was OK to park there. Always a good idea to check so we don’t have to pull up stakes after settling in.
The store was a madhouse! All those last minute presents from China just waiting to be bought. I mentioned to the Customer Service lady how busy they were and asked if we could park in the overflow lot, hoping desperately that we could. She said the sweetest words, “Yes, you can.” I thanked her effusively and even though I’m not really the type, I added “God Bless You.”
And I meant every word.
So we are in a lovely dark, quiet lot with kitties on laps, dinner over and gratitude in our hearts.
It’s not the end of the world after all.