A Roadtrekking friend, Pogo, invited a bunch of us (Facebook: Roadtreking the Group), down to his place in Gautier, MS for a Mardi Gras get together, and I decided this would be a wonderful way to kick off the 2014 travel season. Plus, I have never been to the gulf area.
So I loaded Olga, my two year old, RT Adventurous and said a gleeful goodbye to snow and single digits. I took a scenic route south through the Ozarks where we (my dog Ruka and I) spent the night in Little Rock, AR then pushed 10 hours the next day down to the gulf.
My friend, W. Dan, was prescient enough to reserve one of the last spots for me at a Gulf Islands National Seashore campground in Ocean Springs, since I was a day early. This is a gorgeous campground and we highly recommend it! I pulled into a site next to another Roadtrek with Alaska plates and wouldn’t you know it, it was Jeanne, a gal I’d met in Hot Springs two years ago! She was the very first Roadtrek owner I had ever met and travels solo a lot. She was quite the inspiration for me. Small world indeed!
Next day, Dan and I were to meet everyone at Shepherd State Park in Gautier. He left to do some laundry in town (he’s been on the road since the end of November) and I went on to fill propane and diesel. Slowly exiting the gas station, my fridge door flew completely off the hinges and everything ended up in the aisle! I kept driving the couple of miles to the campground where several folks from our group were gathered near the entrance. I drove up and they all crowded around to greet me.
I mentioned my door debacle and immediately, Cammo Ken jumped on his bike to go get his tool kit. He and James Angel met me at my site (13- remember that number!) and got to work. After all- anything related to food is a dire emergency and demands prompt attention. Turns out, the door latch was not catching properly, so when I turned the corner the door swung open so hard it cracked the plastic casing around the bottom pin on the hinge. All of the pieces were salvaged so Ken and Jim puzzled them back together with the epoxy I happened to have and let it set for about 5 hours. They also fixed the door latch so no repeats. Cheryl G. was nice enough to store my perishables in her fridge for the day.
Then it was hugs, glad-handing, gift exchanges and introductions all around as the rest of our group arrived, about 24 in all, from as far away as Canada. We met up with Pogo and Vicki, our Gautier hosts, and they took us to a fabulous local restaurant. Afterward, we gathered round the campfire to end the day well.
Next morning, I decided to de-winterize so filled my tank with water and turned on the pump. Water came spraying out from under the bathroom tap! Lisa Gruner (who makes the very best Pecan Pie and Apple Cake) was handily with me to advise. W. Dan had a metric Robinson (what an awesome name) tool so I took the cover off the plumbing and found the fitting had come loose! To the rescue again came Cammo Ken, James Angel along with Jim Deipenbruck. These guys are the dream team! All of them into the van for a major confab on problem solving!
Turns out, the fitting wasn’t properly installed. Some discussion, a few knitted brows and chin rubbing- and voila! Silicone was found in James’ kit and the fitting rigged back up! We let it set for about 5 hours (that seems to be the allotted time for things to set) and I had water!
A great day followed at Pogo’s home where he had spent many hours smoking up some delicious pulled pork. He and Vicki put on a huge spread and we kicked back in their lovely home on the canal. Then we convoyed into town for the Mardi Gras parade that night and had a ball. Our very own Mike Wendland even finagled a spot on the mayor’s float (who just happens to be Pogo’s neighbor). Such a ham!
That night, exhausted and full, we set up another small campfire at Phil and Ellie’s site, but on the way over I got a gnat in my eye. I couldn’t get the little so and so out and worried my eye so much, that I woke up the next day looking like Bob Costas at the Olympics- quite red. I was, literally, bug-eyed. It felt better, though- the thing must have come out and today I don’t look too scary, the red is almost gone.
Sunday, we lined up our rigs for a trip to the Blow Fly Inn, over in Gulfport, for some real down home Cajun lunch and Dennis George noticed one my outside vents coming off. After a little duct tape and some finessing, he fixed it. I decided I’d had enough of site 13!
My lesson this trip (so far)? If I have service issues, just go to a meet-up where the labor cost is low- maybe a cookie or two or three.
I have to say that I wasn’t the only one with issues this week: I want to make that clear. W. Dan recently had a run in with a low hanging balcony, Mike W. came down with the flu and his Roadtrek eTrek started making a weird ticking noise that may be a bad belt, and Jim D. had to jiggle the connector on his battery to get on the road. Not to mention, Dennis George, who just got his cleaned out RT CS back after having had it stolen!
But the winner is Cammo Ken, (one of my repair knights) who went for an emergency tooth extraction at Pogo’s dentist. He’s hunkered down for a while, but he’s got his wife, Laura P., and the rest of us who are glad to nurse him back to tip top shape. He’s on the hook for teaching us how to fish, after all, so we need him back in the saddle.
But even with all the issues, it’s been a wonderful trip- they always are. In my next blog, you’ll see why.
Forward ho and may the gods of easy traveling smile upon us!