As I write this I’m in a campground in the George Washington Jefferson National Forest in Virginia. Our home is parked in the middle of the Cave Mountain Lake Campground road where it died.
I keep reminding myself there’s joy in the journey, no matter what.
Originally I was going to write about the wonderful time we had in Pittsburgh. Joe’s veins are fixed and up to date. I had two teeth pulled and my jaw didn’t collapse.
We spent two holidays with my Uncle George and my cousins, which was great. We found a loving church near our apartment and settled in volunteering in Pittsburgh.
Last week Joe drove the motorhome to our Jayco dealer in Buffalo to have some warranty work done. Wednesday we waved goodbye to Western Pa. and headed south to the Virginia mountains.
Over seven hours of driving our rig performed well. There were no traffic tie ups, and except for Nikki, our big black lap spending her entire time shaking and trying to crawl onto my lap, it was an uneventful drive.
We pulled off I-81 and onto some back roads that took us through Buena Vista and headed for the Cave Mountain Lake Campground run by the U.S. Forest Service. The plan was to do a couple of days rustic camping before heading to the Smokies and eventually Baton Rouge where we are scheduled to help rebuild houses that were damaged in a flood.
We pulled into the campground and easily found our site. We were talking about unhooking the Mini Cooper and backing the rig in when Joe put the vehicle in park. Or I should say, he tried to put the vehicle in park.
The gear shift wouldn’t move. Joe shut off the engine. Tried to put it in park again. Now the engine wouldn’t turn on. We were stuck in the middle of the campground’s road.
Oh, and did I mention the mountain campground is rustic with a lovely rushing creek, beautiful trees, birds chirping, and no cell phone service whatsoever?
Lucky for us the camp hosts have a landline, for local calls only.
You may well ask where’s the joy. You’re stuck in a park with a disabled motorhome waiting for a tow that’s going to cost who knows what to take who knows how long to fix whatever.
If we hadn’t been stuck I wouldn’t have spent a wonderful evening chatting with Alison a New Englander who moved to Winchester, Va. , two years ago. She’s trying to understand Southern culture and visiting the parks in her new state. She’s also a mother reveling in her daughter’s college adventures while aching for a stepson who recently died after years of battling a drug addiction.
We wouldn’t have met Joan and her dog Todd, the camp host with a dry sense of humor that let Joe use her landline. I think Joe now owes her three dinners, maybe more, for her kindness.
And we wouldn’t have met Tom and Debbie, two more camp hosts who spent an hour keeping me company while Joe negotiated wreckers and Ford dealers. We spoke about RVs, the granddaughter they’re raised and life in general.
They all brought us joy amid a break in the journey.
As for the rig, well after being stuck almost 24 hours in the middle of the road and multiple phone calls to Ford dealers within a 100 mile radius who wouldn’t repair the engine, Joe finally found someone to tow and fix the rig. But first, the owner suggested he send out a mechanic to see if the problem could be fixed on site.
Roger from Auto Towing & Repair in Lexington showed up about 40 minutes later. He looked under the rig, moved the gears some and then removed the dashboard panel. A cable that connected the gear shift to the transmission had jiggled loose.
Roger reconnected the cable and then put a twist tie around it to keep it from jiggling out again. It was a ten minute repair.
Ten minutes and $120. Joe also gave him a tip.
Roger brought us joy, and a twist tie.