Thursday, November 8, 2012

The long, long day

Have you ever seen the 1953 Lucille Ball/Desi Arnaz film, “The Long, Long Trailer?” 

It’s a hilarious slap-stick comedy in which newlyweds Nicki and Tacy buy a 36-foot trailer and travel over the Sierra Nevada mountains. Tacy (Lucy) collects rocks as souvenirs. Of course, the rocks weigh down the trailer. Disaster after disaster strikes the couple—. Tacy tries to cook in a moving trailer; the couple pulls the trailer over a logging road and nearly sends it down the mountain; Nicki tries to level the trailer in a muddy quagmire during a raging rainstorm; and Nicki backs the trailer into a porch.

When I saw this movie years ago, I laughed out loud. I want to see it again; it’s that funny.

Of course, when those disasters happen to you, they lack the humor of the movie.
Yesterday, we didn’t experience any of the classic "Long, Long Trailer" disasters, but we did have one nevertheless. And it resulted in a long, long day.

We stayed at the Lazy Days campground outside of Tampa for two nights. We didn’t do anything special—just relaxed and worked on some projects in the motorhome. (Jim started to clean the water stains on the ceiling, using a formula we learned about in one of the seminars at Daytona. It really works—better than Oxiclean. The ceiling is looking good.) Jim also went to some of the free seminars Lazy Days offers to campers.

We left Lazy Days Wednesday morning about 10:30, enroute to an Encore resort in Claremont, Fla. At mile marker 43 on I4, Jim shut off the radio and concentrated very hard on his driving. What happened? The power steering stopped working. Jim had to manhandle our 38-foot rig off the road onto the grassy area. Thank goodness he was driving in the right lane.

A quick look at the engine told the story: A hose to the power steering broke, spewing oily fluid all over Toad (our car) and rendering the motorhome undriveable.

We immediately called the Good Sam road service. Because of where we were stranded, it took almost two hours for the mechanic to get to us. After he figured out which hose had to be replaced, he had to go into Orlando to have it made, then returned and put it on. The total time? Around seven hours.

We were quite comfortable, of course, since we have all the comforts of home with us. What wasn’t so nice, though, was the bill for this emergency service: $950. Ouch!

When the mechanic finally finished, we continued on our way. By this time, it was dark, and Jim didn’t want to try to hook up in the dark at the resort. We discovered that the local Walmarts did not allow boondocking. However, we finally found a Cracker Barrel that allowed us to park overnight. Of course, we enjoyed a nice dinner at the restaurant.

So, we had a long, long day, in some ways reminiscent of “The Long, Long Trailer.” Only it wasn’t too funny.

One thing is for sure: There is never a dull moment when we travel. Maybe that’s why we do it.
Until next time,

Your Reluctant RoVer,


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