3K Adventure Conclusion

I’ll admit it… I prefer an early start when I have a long drive ahead of me. I often drive my family crazy by insisting on being on the road by 5:00 am. I would imagine it would drive any sane person crazy. Yet, that is how I like it. Get an early start and several hours down the road and look for a nice place for breakfast. The rhythm of the road is then established and the miles just melt away.

On the West Virginia to Lansing leg, we set the alarm for 5:00. Packing up is a small chore in the motorhome… you get dressed and that is about it. Items that can fall on the floor need to be stowed properly. Hooking up the car, now that takes time.

Trying to be as quiet as possible in deference to our sleeping neighbors, I drove the car to an unused campsite, then pulled the motorhome out into the road. Then I backed the car up into our parking spot, and backed the motorhome in front of it. Then began the process of getting everything hooked up. Even with all our experience so far, it took us until 6:30 before we left the campground. There are physically a lot of things to do to get hooked up, but things need to be checked and rechecked since a mistake could mean a mechanical disaster.

We drove for several hours with me at the wheel and Alice in the navigator’s chair. We located a gas station/restaurant complex alongside the 2 lane road we were travelling, and decided to give it a try. I looked it over from the road and determined I could get the rig in and out safely, so we pulled in and started the fueling operation. While the gas was flowing, I walked down the parking lot and tried to figure out if there was anyplace to park for breakfast. The place was a madhouse. There were several semi rigs out back, and about a half dozen school buses. We figured this must be the place the drivers meet for breakfast after their morning run getting this community’s children to school. There was one pull-through spot, but I’d have to act quickly. Once fueled, I started up and pulled into the last spot.

We had a nice breakfast, but I was uneasy. The parking lot was full, and I could easily visualize some desperate operator pulling in front of me, causing us a long delay while we unhooked, backed out, and rehooked (you can’t back a towed car up like you can a trailer.) When we came out, we were in the clear, so my worries had been in vain. We quickly got back on the road and were making good time again.

Some miles down the road, the GPS alerted us to an unanticipated turn. We were miles from the turn according to the map, but we decided to trust the machine’s judgement. It seems the road it chose was a few miles shorter than sticking with the highways. This road was a two lane, and it twisted over hill and dale. Once again, it is a stretch of road I remember among all those we’d traveled. Although it saved us a few miles, we lost a lot of time on this crazy stretch. We finally saw the reattachment point onto the highway ahead and breathed a sigh of relief, until we noticed a road crew running an asphalt chewing machine between us and the entrance ramp. We had yet another delay until the crew waved us through.

Our next stop was to be a rest area near Cleveland, where we’d arranged to meet our friends Randy and Stephanie to drop off some maple syrup and have a visit. Randy has been a good customer of my maple syrup since the beginning. Shipping syrup in glass jars is no fun, so we try to drop it off whenever we can. Plus we get a visit out of the deal. When we got on the Ohio Turnpike, we called them on our cell phone and they started toward the rendezvous point. When we pulled into the place, there they were waiting for us.

We pulled the rig into the semi truck parking area and walked inside to get a meal to go. Then came out and sat in the motorhome and had a very nice lunch. These truck drivers seemed used to close tolerances when pulling into and out of the lanes on either side of us. While we were chatting with our friends in our living room, several rigs maneuvered within an inch (I swear) of touching our mirrors. I looked over at the drivers, and they were as unconcerned as could be. “These guys are pros,” I thought to myself, so I let them do their thing. And there were no mishaps.

All too soon it was time to say goodbye to our good friends. We pulled out of the parking lot and onto the entrance ramp. I suddenly pulled over to the side and put it in park. “What’s wrong,” Alice asked. I’d patted my pocket and felt my car keys. When we’d walked in for the food, I’d turned off the car and locked the doors. I’d forgotten to unlock the steering on the car, and nearly drove on the highway with it; a serious and potentially dangerous mistake. I corrected it and we resumed the journey.

We arrived in Lansing some hours later tired but happy. We unhooked, backed the rig into my parents’ driveway, and had a nice visit. I slept well that night.

We spent two days visiting in Lansing, then hit the road for the final leg of the journey. For the only time on this trip, the maps and GPS could get put away. We knew this 500 mile stretch of road as well as we knew our own names. We’d traveled over 3,000 miles, and both agreed it was a lovely trip. We were busy planning our next one before this one ended.

Leave a Reply