Hi again family and friends! We hope all is well in your worlds! As we know that several of you are dealing with some very difficult situations, please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers.
So it was time to leave FL and head off to the Southwest. Our next stop was Ocala, FL, than after a two night stay, off to Chattahoochee, FL, then Lillian, AL. For our RV friends, the camp we stayed at, Ocala RV Resort, boasted that we were in horse country so we, stupidity, assumed we would see some horse farms. Wrong! We were right off the highway. But, it is a very sweet location with a small pond including ducks, turtles, and fish. Nice place for families with children.
Of note, when you feed the ducks wait and watch. Dun-dun, dun-dun, dun-dun, all of a sudden from all areas of the pond tiny heads appear – turtles. All are frantically swimming to ME!!! This was a bit off-putting, sort of like prehistoric dinosaur heads popping up. There were hundreds and I do believe hundreds from all areas of the pond swimming to ME!!! Surprising, the ducks had no interest.
Pretty cute at first. Then, a bit creepy, then all was well as they just wanted the duck food and were gentle and a bit standoffish once they arrived. Kids would love it as they would never feel threatened but very excited. As an adult without knowledge of the turtles my thoughts were – were they snapping turtles and bite? Do I have enough food to keep them at bay?
Our next stop in Chattahoochee, FL, was recently purchased and in the process of rennovating the property. It will be quite different when complete as they will have zip lining at the campsite. New owner was very friendly and helpful. We were overnighting, just one night. We head out of FL on Sunday and off we go, Kenny, Uma and I. We are excited that we are leaving FL and heading west. We are off to Lillian, AL, our next stop.
If you have been reading our blog, you know that, to date, all has been going smoothly. Well, as we know, things never continue to go smoothly which is part of our adventure, right? Or misadventure?
Honestly, we weren’t surprised that after driving about 25 miles from Chattahoochchee, we had an alarm sound. For those that don’t know, if a safety alarm sounds you have a very short time to get 14 tons of motor home off the road before the engine shuts off (less than a minute in our case).
Okay guys, this may seem tame occurring in daytime but it was daytime on a very popular highway with a speed limit of 70 MPH, it was scary. Each passing car/truck rocked the RV. Kenny got us off to the side as best he could, set up safety triangles, got on his safety vest and Uma and I took shelter on a hill, on a towel next to fire ant mounds!
If you are already bored with this post, for RV folks, please read on for important information that may be useful to you in the future.
We were towed to Walmart – yes, that is correct a Walmart in Marianna, FL. (Sorry Keathley Klan) but we were happy to be in a safe place. No auto repair shops were open but we were assured that they would tow us to a repair shop early Monday morning.
There are some things that I have to acknowledge during our Sunday day/evening in the Walmart parking lot:
- We were grateful to Walmart for allowing us to dry camp in their parking lot;
- A women’s shampoo/haircut/blow dry is $22.00 + tip – yup – I actually did this and got a really good cut! Of course, it all depends on the stylist you get, right?; and,
- It is allowable (legal – who knows?) that you can park a truck in the parking lot and sell puppies and rabbits.
Our first tow to Walmart resulted in a broken fog light; no big deal. Our tow from Walmart to repair shop resulted in another broken fog light, a crack in the fiberglass front left side and our electric step gone forever.
We know that our adventures will also result in misadventures which we will have to embrace. Grrrrrrr – so hard to embrace breakdowns. Okay, so I am really rambling but for RV’ers important lessons can be learned so I will ramble on.
We belong to Good Sam Club Roadside Assistance, et al, and they sent us to a repair shop that they believed would fix our problem. After checking their website, Kenny had serious doubts. But they towed us to a shop that I won’t disparage. They tried very hard to help us.
I will try to paint a picture of this for you. We were in a small FL town about 50 feet from a railroad track where freight trains ran regularly, blaring their horns, rocking our RV, not a problem except for their first run at 3:00 AM.
The repair shop was composed of southern gentlemen, respectful, gracious, and we were introduced to our life line auto mechanics – Danny-Ray, Lightening, and Killer. Not making this up – all true. They were great at normal repairs judging by how busy they were, extremely good at their craft, and local police had their vehicles serviced there.
Although Danny-Ray tested things on the RV early morning until end of each day, on Wednesday he and his boss threw up their arms and gave up without offering any suggestions on what we should do next.
Okay, we had been calm until then and now we were very concerned. Kenny had to maneuver through dealing with various contacts, Spartan (our chassis connection), Cummins and Allison (engine/transmission). All were amazing and extremely customer focused. Bottom line, Kenny contacted a mobile unit which arrived Thursday am and we were on our way Thursday afternoon.
Lessons learned RV’ers or future RV’ers:
Insist that the repair shop they are sending you to is a repair location that has the expertise to understand and deal with problems with your particular RV. If you have concerns, keep all records so that if things go wrong, your expenses will be considered for reimbursement. Good Sam’s Roadside Assistance has acknowledged our problems and, although, they wouldn’t allow a mobile unit on our first call, they are being supportive of getting our RV back to its original shape.
We arrived safely in Lillian, AL, staying in a quaint, sleepy KOA park advertised as being on the Gulf, with a beach which was a bit misrepresented . A walk to the beach provided a great pier, if you had an inkling to fish or had a boat to launch but very brackish. Certainly not a place to swim. And the beach, if you could call it a beach, is not a place one would put down a towel and stake a claim.
But, we would stay there again if we were to end up in that neck of the world. Surprisingly gorgeous beaches within 20 minutes (either FL or AL). Who would think that the AL coast would have pristine beaches?
The AL coast was perfect – Kenny and I got our Fitbit miles in walking the beach. It was clear, warm water, not crowded. RV’ers take note, stopping there is worth your time.
For bikers or hikers, please visit the Gulf Shores State Park. We had a great bike ride. For hard core bikers (Shelly and Christie/John and Elizabeth) the trails are probably too easy. For me, perhaps not Kenny, it was such a fun ride. Gentle, somewhat challenging, but great coasting opportunities and this occurred in both directions. (Elizabeth and Christie, don’t laugh at me!). Trails are well manicured and well marked so based on maps provided before you start out, you can determine how many miles you wish to travel.
I only saw butterflies and bunnies, but Kenny called me back to see a diamond back rattlesnake that he had seen that I had ridden past. They are poisonous so Kenny’s motives of having me circle back were questionable. Note to family and friends: If I die of weird circumstances, please investigate.
Until next time, we raise our wine glasses and toast to you:
Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and enjoy the journey. – Babs Hoffman