Saturday, February 27, 2010

Terlingua Postscript

No, we’re not back in Texas. However, after a recent visit to a Chili’s Restaurant, we now have a better understanding of a photo posted on this blog a few months ago. The Terlingua, TX ghost town is the site of the annual Terlingua International Chili Championship, which is said to be a cross between Woodstock, Burning  Man, and a big tailgate party. The Chili’s we visited had a bunch of photos of the Championship. So now we have better understanding of the sign in the photo. The meaning of the  submarine, sailing ship, and Statue of Liberty  remains unclear.

Big Bend 058

As for our current situation, the axle was not delivered Friday, so still we wait.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Waiting for Parts

We were rescued by a contract garage through the Good Sam Emergency Road Service program. The technician looked at the trailer and realized he couldn't do anything to fix it, so he escorted us about 20 miles down I-95 to his garage in Rocky Mount, NC. The garage is a big truck repair facility that does RV repairs on occasion. They decided we need to replace the entire axle assembly, which includes the brakes, etc. Problem is, they have no idea where to get the parts. While the manager there was trying to track down what was needed, we visited a small RV dealer/repair shop about 10 miles down the road. They agreed to help the garage track down the parts, and also consult with the garage on exactly what's needed. It turns out that there are several manufacturers of brakes for these things, and unless what goes on the new axle matches what's on the other axle exactly, we'll have problems.

So both shops are looking for the parts. Both promised to call me before COB Friday, but neither did. The truck shop has been in touch with the axle manufacturer and thinks there may be an axle in Indiana which may be able to be shipped here early next week. Now it's Sunday, and we hope to have more news tomorrow. Meanwhile, we've been exploring Rocky Mount and environs.

A side note: We used to think the idea of "Southern Hospitality" was something created by the Chamber of Commerce to get Yankees to spend money in the south. Having now spent several days here as something slightly different than tourists, we've come to realize that folks here are truly kind and helpful. The people at the truck repair facility have been totally accommodating and friendly, as have the people at the RV shop, who have spent a fair amount of time trying to help find the needed parts, even though they realize the repairs will actually be done at the truck facility. Not much in it for them, but they're helping anyway.

At the Marriott Residence Inn here, which is a pet-friendly hotel, the staff couldn't be more friendly and accommodating. We walked in without reservations, and after hearing our tale of woe, one of the desk people asked if we wanted a glass of wine or a beer after our hard day. Another desk clerk, when asked if he could recommend a boarding facility for cats (one option we were considering), he researched the question and in about 10 minutes provided us with a hand-written list of boarding facilities in the area, but also reminded us that the cats would be welcome at the hotel. So the cats are with us.

I don't know how long we'll be here. Our trip interruption insurance, which covers the hotel, runs out Wednesday, and at this point, we really would like to get home. Even after the trailer is fixed, I'm planning to bring it to the RV shop so they can check the other axle. I mean, if one wheel can fall off for no apparent reason, why would anyone think the others won't do the same? Right now, I don't have a lot of confidence in the trailer, so I'll want to have it checked over before we head home.

At least there's no snow on the ground here.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I Wonder Whose Wheel That Is...OMG

Well, in the last post I said we were wrapping up the blog unless something interesting happens. I guess this counts as interesting. We lost a wheel on the traier while driving up I-95 in North Carolina. We didn't even know it was gone until Penny looked in the mirror and saw trailer parts flapping in the breeze. The right rear wheel, tire, brake drum and wheel bearing are no where to be found. The side of the trailer is damaged and will need body work.We managed to get off the highway to a cigarette shop/gas station in the middle of nowhere and we are now waiting for a service truck from Rocky Mount, NC to come to our aid.

We thought we'd be home Friday, but it no longer looks that way. I'm beginning to have second thoughts about this RV thing.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Heading Home

We've been hanging out in Wilmington, NC awaiting a break in the weather up north. The forecast for the rest of the week is good, so we'll leave here Wednesday morning and spend two nights at motels with RV parking (I hope). Interestingly, while researching motels with RV/truck parking, we came across listings for two Knight's Inns, but the reviews were amazing. Many former guests listed them as "horrible" with one saying "that her kids got into the beds fully dressed" because the place was so dirty and another referred to it as "drug riddled and rat infested." We won't be stopping at a Knight's Inn.

We're making arrangements to bring the trailer to a storage facility since it won't fit in our driveway with all of the snow on the ground.

Unless something interesting happens on the way home, this ends the current segment of this blog. To be continued on the next trip.

Saturday, February 06, 2010


I haven’t been to New Orleans since before Katrina, which was, and still is, a great American tragedy. But the people who still live here, sure know how to party. We were watching the local news while in an RV park in Houston, and it was mentioned that Mardi Gras season started today. Since we were going to be passing by NOLA, I figured why not experience the excitement of the French Quarter the day before the Saints are to play in the Super Bowl.

We’re at Pontchartrain Landing RV Park which  is located on one of the canals that overflowed during Katrina. Driving here we passed neighborhoods flooded in the storm. There are still destroyed homes awaiting demolition next door to homes that have been rebuilt. I was thinking of taking pictures, but I’d rather remember this city for it’s wackiness and energy, and there was plenty of that in the French Quarter. DSC_0200

And lots of beads.We saw one of the smaller parades on Bourbon Street, and the combination of Carnival and the Saints in the Super Bowl has resulted in a combined energy level that may have never been seen here. There were black and gold hats, jerseys, tee shirts and beads everywhere. DSC_0203 I’m not a big Colts fan and I never though too much about the Saints, but this city really needs the championship, and after having felt the incredible pro-Saints energy here, I hope they win.

Even Santa showed up to support the Saints, so how can anyone not root for them.  DSC_0201





One of the neat things about this incredibly unusual city is the music. In the French Quarter, it’s everywhere. Right after we arrived in the Quarter we came across a street jazz band with a vocalist and a pair of dancers. They were terrific.DSC_0188 I think we watched and listened to them for 15 minutes. They were so good I even put a couple of bucks in their collection box.

One of the other great things about New Orleans is the food. We had a wonderful lunch at Palace Cafe, which is owned by one of the Brennans, and we’re having dinner tonight at their primary gem, Commander’s Palace. Then tomorrow, we head east and try to figure out when we can head home between snow storms.