Countdown To A Sub-Zero Escape Part 3

Happy Thanksgiving—we’re almost to Des Moines Iowa! What a bummer to be so far behind schedule.  But the sun is up, the roads are wet, and we are getting back on track.  The bitter bitter -8 degrees actually feels more like -14 below.  It’s hard to believe there was a time I would gladly throw a 60 pound pack on my back and snow shoe out into “God’s Country” in the middle of winter and pitch a tent.  A trucker at the truck stop offers to look at my propane problem.  He determines that my tank is empty—just needs to be switched over to the other one, and makes the switch.  Everything seems to be working now!  He also checks my lug nuts to make sure nothing is getting loose.  I’m all set. Oh how I love to stop at truck stops!

Today’s goal is to drive until there is no more snow.  Try to make up for some lost time.  Maybe get to Missouri?  All I know is, we are heading to DESTINATION WARM!!  As we roll down the highway I can see the slowly melting road kicking thick, dirty slush up on my leveler legs through the outside mirrors, coating the whole front of the Toy Hauler.  It becomes habit to keep checking the mirrors, using the slush as my temperature gage.  As the sun climbs up the cold sky, we pass exits for Ames, Bethany, Cameron, stop a few times for gas and finally work our way around the outskirts of Kansas City.

The icy slush stuck on the trailer is completely gone.  It’s mid-afternoon. Temperatures are in the 40’s!

I want to keep going. Try to get back on track.  I target Columbia Missouri for our next rest stop.  There isn’t one.  We continue on and stop at a truck stop just outside of St. Louis around 8 pm.  The atmosphere in the building is uncomfortable.  Eye contact is uncomfortable with everyone.  My attempts to be friendly are met with silence and stares.  I quickly make the decision to keep driving, I fill up and we pull out of there.  By Sikeston I can’t keep my eyes open anymore.  We are far, far away from Ferguson now, so I pull into a truck stop to sleep a few hours.  I open the Toy Hauler door to a flashing red light on the propane detector gage, and the check fridge light is on.  The problem wasn’t fixed.

Once again I try to get the propane to kick on, so the fridge will work.  Why the propane smell?  Why isn’t anything working?  I push every button I can find.  Check the propane tanks.  I don’t see anything obvious.  A trucker comes by and attempts to help.  He checks the tanks and says one is empty and the other is almost empty, and turns the dial.  Exactly the opposite of what the other guy did….but it seems to have worked.  I thank him and scoot the kids into the Toy Hauler for some sleep.

Four a.m. I wake up to the propane alarm going off – I panic and toss the dogs out of the trailer, with me trailing behind.  WHAT THE F????? We all huddle together in the dark, staring into the trailer door.  I usher the dogs into the truck and try to figure out what is wrong with the propane.  The red light and alarm is quickly eliminated with the push of a button.  Is this Toy Hauler going to blow up or WHAT?  I am beyond nervous.  Ticking and alarm buzzers and flashing lights—I resign myself to shut everything off and take my chances with all the perishable foods.  Now that it’s Friday I may be able to find a repair shop.  With just a couple hours rest we are back on the road.

Thank goodness the rest stop in Blythesville is open!  I go in looking for information on RV services.  There isn’t anything close.  Realizing that I am still very tired, I take a much needed 4 hour nap and exercise the dogs for an hour in the sunny 50 degrees day before continuing on.  Armed with special directions for the most direct route around Memphis, I continue southwest down softly rolling hills and beautiful green landscapes, farmland.

The farther we go, the more tranquil and content I become.  We have escaped the frigid north.  It’s Saturday morning.  I start thinking about the propane situation.  Maybe something got too cold with my hoses and such on the Toy Hauler.  Surely everything is all thawed out by now.  I try again to get the propane to kick on and run the fridge.  The loud clicking noise is a good indication there is still something wrong.  All of the sudden, there goes that alarm and red light.  The smell of propane is overwhelming.  I scramble to stop the noise, and quickly air out the trailer of all smell.  Could the Toy Hauler blow up or WHAT?  I am beyond nervous. Yup, I need help.  This stretch of highway is void of anything that looks helpful.  Even the gas stations are few and far between, and set up with minimal service.  I stop at a rest stop near the exit for Dothan and fire up the computer to google RV Services.  I could get to the Tallahassee Camping World in a couple hours. I call them, and start by saying;

“I think my Toy Hauler is going to blow up—I smell propane in there.”

They don’t have service staff because of the holiday—and from the rest of my lengthy description of what’s been happening, they are certain the problem is a big one.  I would need to be there for days for them to get parts.  They can’t even promise to look things over today, as I would get there too late.

NO!!!!! Really???????   The tech on the phone suggests I try another Camping World. There is one much closer to me in Benton.  Just try them, tell them he said to go there.  Maybe they can at least troubleshoot and identify the problem today so we know what we are dealing with.

Okay.

I call the Benton Camping World.  They are only 15 minutes from me.  They agree it sounds like a major situation but will have someone look at it.  By the time I pull into their giant RV lot it is almost noon, and they have a technician standing by, ready for me.  The girls and I wait under some trees in the parking lot, and Jack stays in the truck, comfortable in his kennel.

Two hours pass.

The Service Manager calls me over to discuss what they found.

They checked all the gas lines and connections.

I have one empty and one partially full tank of gas.

They found one of the lines was plugged, cleared and tested it.

Everything works perfectly now.

They also checked the temperature gage, and electric connections to ensure everything was working properly.

They checked the tires, added some air.

I am good to go.

“What do I owe you for all this?”

“Don’t worry about it.  It’s on the house today.  You managed to get all the way here from Minnesota with 3 dogs?  Happy Thanksgiving.”

OH my goodness, how can I be so blessed?  I stare, dumbfounded, at the Service Manager, soon blinking away tears.

“Thank you so much!”  I give him a cash tip for the technician’s time, and drive past two long rows of brand new amazing looking fully loaded RV’s on Holiday Sale at Camping World.

We are all set to go now—within an hour I am crossing into Florida, honking the horn to celebrate!  It’s 65 degrees!  Within a few minutes we arrive to the official Welcome Center Rest Stop.  With only a few hours until dark, I decide we will rest here for a while, and tackle the last leg of our journey at night when there is less traffic on 10, and especially on 75.  The dogs are thrilled to be able to run around in the warn sun and stretch out on the grass.  I cook up some Turkey Chili, take a big breath, and smile.

We are so close—almost to destination paradise.

Life is an adventure!  Are you waiting for an invitation to experience an amazing life full of adventure, or do you just go make your own?  There are lots of inspirational stories under my blog category, “PRs Amazing Outdoor Adventure Update”.  If you find yourself not doing what you love, I invite you to contact me for help to create your own, amazing adventure.  Please feel free to share with others who may find meaning and value in exploring the possibilities with PR Brady AdVentures.

 

 

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Comments

  1. What an adventure!! And what a blessing to get your toy hauler fixed free of charge. It’s always such a comfort to know there are such good people in the world. Enjoy the warmth. I am freezing here although it’s supposed to be close to 40 this weekend.

    • Believe it or not, this week it’s “cold” here, too…..like 40’s at night and 60’s during the day (LOL)!!

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