That’s what I always say.
I’ve been stranded at this rather dull RV park for over a week now. Maybe longer, I don’t know. The days here waft from one into another. There are benefits: the Catawba River runs through my back yard, and even though the ground is still soggy from last week’s flood, Atina revels in having a place to run.
It’s a joy to watch her stretch out like a greyhound–she has the deep chest, sucked-in belly, and long legs that eat up the ground. She never lets me out of her sight, though, and after a scary misadventure getting stuck in briars chasing a squirrel (she can’t resist a squirrel!), she always comes to my call.
Today she even got to play with a short pudgy mutt who didn’t mind getting tromped all over by a puppy three times his size.
There are real showers, and an expensive but clean laundry room, and a restaurant where they serve breakfast and lunch for cheap.
In fact, this morning while I was in the canteen filling up on lousy coffee, Atina found the new bag of laundry detergent, the kind that is little pouches of clear liquid, and decided to sample the wares. Imagine my chagrin when I came in and found the bag ripped open, with an oozing pouch, and a guilty looking pooch on the bed.
I know a bit about detergent ingestions, and although I am trained not to panic, I did, a little, then read the label. It said to wash out the person’s mouth with water. Do not induce vomiting.
First I checked her mouth, in the vain hope that she had perhaps just sniffed the material and realized it’s not a treat.
But oh no, her lips and gums were slippery! Thank goodness, she was not foaming at the mouth…But I had to wrestle her mouth open to check it (just try prying a Malinois’ mouth open, I dare you. They’re not called “Malligators” for nothing!) Her tongue felt unnaturally slippery, and there was a faint but present aroma of unscented soap.
So I wet a shop towel and went to work cleaning her lips, gums, teeth, and tongue. Guess I won’t have to brush her teeth tonight.
Remembering the olden days when my ER was also the regional Poison Control Center (with a red phone, just like the White House), I counted up the pods and was relieved to find that all were accounted for, and that the one she had punctured was mostly full. That was reassuring.
I did call the vet just to make sure, and he said the worst that could happen is diarrhea (oh boy!).
This is a great place to camp for a night or two, rest and refresh, fill up the water jugs and dump the holding tanks and be on one’s way West.
It’s not the amenities that keep me here, but the repair shop. Sadly, I’m becoming a regular.
First it was the mishap with the waste water tanks. I went over a steep spot in a parking lot driveway and bumped the underside of my rig. Interestingly, I was on my way to this very RV park to do my weekly chores (real shower, laundry, dump tanks, take on water) when this occurred. I discovered the damage when I opened the “black tank (aka toilet waste)” valve to dump it, and instead of going down the sewer pipe, the nasty stuff poured out on the concrete pad, right under my rig! Shit.
This was right before Christmas. I begged and pleaded with the service manager to get my rig into the shop, just to look at it and see if it could be quickly mended, but they were working with a skeleton crew and could not do.
So I hung out till the following Wednesday, when they were at least able to look at it and decide that they could fix it, which they did and I am glad.
I went back up the mountain to my own property for a couple of days, because they were going to fix something else on Monday and I wanted a break from here.
So, on Sunday I started back down the mountain, because I had to have the van in the shop by 8 and I am not an early riser, so I planned to camp here the night before.
What is this “down the mountain”?
The locals call it “Cox’s Creek.”
It’s the most dangerous piece of mountain road in the Eastern United States, and according to one truckers’ guide to mountain passes, the most dangerous in the country.
Marry up continuous switchbacks with grades ranging from 7% to 12% and you’ve got a recipe for trouble.
“The ONLY runaway truck ramp,” and
“ROAD WORSENS BEYOND TRUCK RAMP”
…balm to the soul.
I’ve been having some issues with the traction control thingie, or at least that’s what I thought it was.
As soon as I pointed ol’ Jenny’s nose down the mountain, something went very wrong.
The front end of the van started bucking like a bronco. I tried to slow down, but couldn’t!
I switched over to manual and put her in third, and the thing over-revved so I had to slow her down by tapping gently on the brakes until I came to THE ONLY RUNAWAY TRUCK RAMP, where I pulled off and got out to check for a flat tire, but there was none.
So I crept down the mountain at 15 miles per hour, with a veritable parking lot honking at me from behind, but there was nothing to do about it.
Got down to the relative flat, said a prayer, went to the repair shop in the morning, got my whatever it was (I forget now) fixed, and headed out the park gate to go back up the mountain to get something done before having to be back here on Friday (tomorrow) to get the furnace fixed. Ho hum.
But as I took the gentle left curve out of the park, my brakes locked up completely and I came near to sliding clean off the road and over an embankment. I caught the fear in the eyes of the driver in the oncoming lane.
So, rather than going up the mountain, from which I could no longer come down, I went to Wal-Mart to stock up, since it’s clear I’m not going anywhere for a while.
Having arrived safely at Wal-Mart, I thought it would be wise to check the fluids. I grew up with grease on my hands, and even though these newfangled vehicles are now foreign territory to me, they still have oil and transmission and brake fluids, so I checked ’em.
Sonofabitch but the brake fluid was low. Very low. That made sense!
I consulted the manual to see what kind of brake fluid this beast takes, since I was at Wal-Mart and all. But it said DON’T top it off if it’s low, because being low means there’s a leak somewhere, because it’s a closed system.
And so forth.
But what luck! The town I happen to be stuck in is home to the only Chevy dealership for miles around that has a lift that can handle a 4 ton van! Yay!
So, after another weekend stuck in my RV park (which is not free), I get to haul ass over to the Chevy place on Monday.
I was really, really hoping to get the fuck rid of this van before shit like this started happening. I can smell a lemon when I’m living in it.
My new “unit,” as RVs are called, should be finished, um, next week. I’m supposed to drive to northern Michigan to trade in this heap and pick up my freshly built one, with dual wheels and four wheel drive, yay!
I am not at all sure that I want to make that trip, in the middle of the WINTER that I was not supposed to be here for, in The Lemon.
Tomorrow, while the furnace is being fixed, I am going to call the factory that made it (The Lemon) and explain all these things. My aim is to have the new unit delivered to the local dealer, with a considerable upward adjustment of my trade-in allowance. Or Else. Something.
As for The Lemon, all I ask is that it gets fixed sufficiently to get me where I’m going next.
Wherever that is.