Sunday, 25 May 2014

Been Home Two Months, Weather’s still Cold & Rainy

 

It has been many moons since I have approached the blogging process. We have been so busy and done so many things including a three week trip to Australia. I do not know where to start!  Crazy weather seems to be foremost in conversations around the world, never-ending snow and heartbreaking damage from the ice  storms in Ontario and the northern US; drought; forest fires and flooding and unusually cold or hot temperatures; mudslides; drought; tornados and hurricanes all around the world!

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Here in Ontario the leaves are unfurling and spreading Fifty Shades of Green across the countryside. Spring weather is about four to six weeks later than usual this year and as such,she is being embraced with great passion. I will summarize our eventful trip we had back to snowy Canada in March.

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Heading north from Venice,Florida,we enjoyed the sights out the window, the small towns and the always entertaining signage.

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We arrived in Savannah State Park after a very long drive and parked under the pines. We scouted out a better campsite but Chris was unable to move the coach at all, as the STOP ENGINE light was on and CC refused to budge an inch forward or backward. We had no choice but to set up where we were and hope things would be better in the morning.

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Dixie couldn't care less. She had a shady forest floor to lie on, food, and her “parents” were close at hand.

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             We posthumously gave our neighbours the “Neatest, colour-coordinated Campsite” Award.

The following morning, our DAYMARE began. Rv-ers will know that  Stop Engine Light can never be good. It produces a similar effect one has when the wrench symbol appears on your car dashboard; a combination of nausea boiling in the stomach and dollar signs flashing in the brain. Chris consulted the maintenance binder and tried a few things but nothing changed. He then began a day filled with phone calls interspersed with crawling under CC and checking her panels for a solution. The cell phone was invaluable. Dixie and I  took some great hikes in the woods and added our support for Chris providing meals, dissuading anxiety and sprinkling around as much positive energy as was possible…tail wagging can go a long way!

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Freightliner has an emergency hot line where experts “walk” customers through their problems over the phone. The computer system in the motorhome produces a code that identifies the particular mechanical failure when the STOP ENGINE LIGHT comes on. It is a great service and we have had a few incidents in the past that Chris was able to get sorted over the phone. This. unfortunately, was not one of these situations. We were up against some challenging decision making. One option was to have  a Freightliner rep, come out to the park but the wait time was three-four days and there was no guarantee that he could fix the problem. Next was to hire a tow truck to haul our motorhome into the Savannah Freightliner Service Centre. As members of Coach-Net, our towing fees would be covered but we were looking at a six- seven day wait once there and we’d have to stay in hotel to boot. It was St. Paddy’s Day weekend, the most popular tourist time of the year. There were limited places to book especially because we needed a dog-friendly motel. Our final option was to pay extra for towing and go to the Freightliner Centre in Gaffney, South Carolina.  They assured us that we would be able to get into a service bay within a day or two, we could camp in their lot and we know the folks and the town as we take CC there every spring for her oil change. We chose Door # 3 and made  arrangements with the towing company to arrive the next morning. We tried our best to enjoy our campfire and get a reasonable sleep before our big day.

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It was quite daunting watching our home being connected to a super tow-truck in preparation for a very long journey. Chris has read many articles and blogs describing various types of damage to RV’s after they’d been  towed. Of course, everything inside the rig had to be secured most carefully to prevent things sliding around creating havoc when she was tipped up and towed.

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We followed tensely along behind CC watching her bump over rough roads, list somewhat to one side and slip under low bridges and trees. I think it was the most traumatic road trip we have had in our four years living in our motorhome. The 360 miles felt more like 1,000!

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The sun was close to setting when we arrived safely in Gaffney and a huge wave of relief washed over everyone: Chris, Dixie and I, as well as  Bernie , our competent and friendly driver.  Diagnosis, waiting for a part and its installation took a few days. Soon, healthy and ready for adventure, CC was on the road again leaving Gaffney.  The culprit was a clogged filter in the DEF system and the clincher, was the fact that Chris could have solved the problem back in Georgia if he’d received the correct information from the hotline!ARGGHH!!! Allz well that endz well!

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We enjoyed clear roads and easy travel as we approached the northern states. We skirted some storms and holed up in the scenic Stonewall Jackson State Park in the snow. Major storms slammed into towns and mountains nearby. I was hit with a flu bug that knocked me down for a couple of days. The park was almost empty and the snow added to the tranquility. Our tension mounted as we waited for clear weather and roads to head back to Ontario in time to prepare for our trip to Australia. Luckily the roads dried up for the last leg of our journey. Note the picture of Lake Erie, still crammed with ice.

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Our border crossing went smoothly, perhaps our luck was changing for the better!

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We spent the next few days running errands, attending medical appointments, packing for Dixie and ourselves while staying at Kim & Ed’s Home (THANKS) and the fabulous Inn on the Moraine B&B in Caledon East. “Silk” the black n’ white stud, is owned by our nephew Ryan. When Silk was convinced that Dixie was visiting for only a short while, he used his feline guiles and the two became best friends while we were away. Thanks for dog-sitting Ryan!  We stayed at an airport hotel in preparation for our early morning, April First flight  to L.A. and then on to Australia. 

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                                                                           Down Under Next………

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