Sunday, April 25, 2010 – Murphy’s Law Travel Day

Once again, thinking we had a short trip, we let ourselves sleep until 8:00, as we estimated the trip to be just 5 ½ hours or so. Our first stop was just 40 minutes from our departure at 10:00, at the Flying J in Wytheville, VA, in order to dump the tanks and get fuel. As I maneuvered into the dump aisle, Hubby pulled in behind me and turned the pickup off. We then noticed that the dump on that aisle had a very high curb, making it impossible for us to use it (gravity works, water won’t flow uphill), so I moved over to the pumps for gas. Hubby then tried to start the pickup, and it wouldn’t turn over, it just clicked. He popped the hood and started playing with wires, then decided the starter motor must have frozen, so he got a wrench, and later a hammer, to try to knock it loose. He also noticed that there was another RV dump on another aisle that had a low curb, so I after I gassed up, I moved over there and started on that job. Meanwhile, I went back and forth to help him try to get the pickup started. Hammering wasn’t getting the job done, but I noticed that after I would try to turn over the motor, the interior lights would cut out, then after a few seconds, would click back on again. I told Hubby I thought it was behaving more like a near dead battery than a starter, even though the lights were coming on with no problem. Well, after another ten minutes of banging and cooling down the starter motor, he decided to check the battery cables more thoroughly and discovered they were, in fact, badly corroded inside. So he cleaned those up and lo and behold, it started right up. This little episode wasted almost an hour, putting us under a little more pressure, as we had to be at Cedars of Lebanon just east of Nashville by 6:00 to check into the stables. So we hit the road again, going a bit faster than usual to try to make up some time. Just before we came to the I-40/I-81 fork…BOOM! Another flat tire! We pulled off to the side and did our thing, changing the tire in ten minutes, but now we had a problem. Do we try to find a replacement tire on a Sunday, or do we risk trying to make the remaining 150 miles without a spare? I started calling every tire place Gracie (my Verizon GPS), but couldn’t find any open, at least not before Knoxville. The ones I did find didn’t carry the tires we need. It wasn’t until we stopped at the Flying J on the far side of Knoxville when I spoke to a guy at Pep Boys who said they had the tires. I grilled him three times about the size and load range (E-ten plies), but he assured me they had 5 in stock, so we turned around and went back ten miles to their store. After ten minutes of searching, it was discovered that the tires they had were only 8-ply D Range tires. We were PISSED! We lost nearly another 45 minutes coming and going, and didn’t even get what we needed. That’s the last time we’ll be patronizing Pep Boys, now that we know that they use the “bait and switch” method of sales. Well, we had no choice now, we had to make it straight through, and risk running without a spare. We hit the road again, keeping our fingers crossed, and hoping that lightning would strike twice. I mean, how many times can you have two flats in one day? It’s already happened once on this trip, is it possible it could happen twice? Astronomical odds. Well, we managed to arrive right at 6:00 (after having gained an hour moving from Eastern to Central time), and were welcomed by Lena at the stables. We filled the water tank, got the horses settled in stalls, had a drink, took a show, and soon hit the sack, as we have a busy day tomorrow!

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