Thursday, April 15, 2010

Back in COLD country

So -- we had a l-o-o-o-n-g trip back. We had bought a few vehicles in Florida and wanted to bring them all back with us. Have a 2000 Ford F-350 pickup truck, which is heavy-duty enough to pull that load. In the bed of the pickup truck, strapped down very securely, was the 1990 Honda Goldwing motorcycle. On a hitch behind the pickup, was a trailer (flat-bed kind) with my Rav 4 secured on it. Plus the remaining pickup bed area, the seat area (crew cab) behind the front seats of the Ford, and the entire Rav 4 were all loaded with stuff we were bringing back.

We left Florida late on Wed. afternoon (L had a dental crown installed that day), hitting the road about 5 pm. Things were going pretty well, until we got into some slight grades on the highway (I-75). Then the Ford began to lose power, and we could not get much out of it - 40 mph and we turned on the 4-way flashers so others would know to go around us. Finally we decided to hit a hotel that nite (Hampton Inn in Lake City, FL - the last FL county before entering GA).

Next morning we pushed off again, and we had the same problems. Stopped at 3 Ford dealerships (and probably talked to one or two more) - we worked with some nice folks at the first 2 places, but they were unable to solve the problem. Others could not squeeze us in at all - this was because it's an agricultural area and they work on lots of diesel trucks. We kept going back on the freeway, might get 30 - 50 miles, and the next serious-sized grade would cause the same problem. Finally got up to Byron, GA (only about 150 miles into Georgia, from FL), and set up an appt. for Friday morning. After an all-day session (they only charged us 4 hours labor, but spent more time on it, with diagnosing and actual work), PROBLEM SOLVED. I should mention that the dealership drove L back to the hotel, where he caught an hour or two of additional sleep. But we didn't drive out of Byron until just before 5 pm. Just in time to run into some serious Friday nite traffic in Atlanta - pure hell, and us watching carefully for exits, merges, etc, toting all that crap with us. Ugh.

We finally pulled off the freeway to eat, thinking that the traffic would be lighter after that. Cracker Barrel is NOT my fave place to eat, and this one was FULL of small-town families and lots of screaming, yelling kids. And parents who seemed oblivious to the antics of their offspring. I gobbled down my food and went into the gift/check-out area. Of course, Cracker Barrel does NOT serve alcohol, and by that point, I was in SERIOUS need of same. Splitting headache, probably from all of the stress we had just gone thru.

Long story short - we pulled an all-nighter, driving right on thru to Duluth. L was doing all the driving, and we finally had to roll into a rest area around 4 am in Illinois (just south of Champagne) off I-57. He was falling asleep and really needed some naptime. Try bunking TWO people in the front seat of an F-350! He put a pillow behind his back on the driver's-side door, sat upright, and I carefully positioned myself between his legs (he's about 6-3 or 6-4). I really didn't fall asleep (had caught a few winks earlier, while he was driving). But he DID get about an hours' worth of shuteye and it really helped. The next sleep crisis came in northern WI, and I told him that he was scaring me by drifting off. We got a little testy with each other - which actually served to wake him up! And he was okay the rest of the way to Duluth.

We stopped at our favorite pizza place in Duluth, Sammy's, where they have known L for years and years. Gobbled down the crew special (lotsa meat - a guy's delight) and a beer apiece and drove to L's house on Island Lake, about another 30 minutes plus. Tired, we were. Got enough of our stuff unloaded to get us thru the next morning and finally crashed for the night.

So -- just about over the 1st week back in the North Country and ready for the weekend. Gotta unwind and finish unpacking. Miss our friends that we made in FL, and yet happy to see the family/friends back here in MN.

Later, readers...

1 comment:

The Retired One said...

What a nightmare!! So sorry you had so many mechanical problems!
It will probably take you a few weeks to catch up on sleep and feel routine again.
We have had heat here and a really nice spring...until today. ha It was freakin' cold and windy and barely above 38 degrees. But they say it will warm up next week, and we will be heading down to Florida for the big event then.