A day in the life of…
… a work camping wife, mom, and gramma on a family vacation
There’s so must to write about this time and so this doesn’t go really long, I’m going to divide it up into several posts. Our family is geographically divided up so much we don’t get to be together that often. Getting together at holidays is a rare occasion, so I’m happy whenever we can get together and I usually try to find some way to arrange that. About 6 months or so ago, I started thinking about where we could go as a family that would be interesting, fun and not cost a fortune. We’re living in our motorhome, with enough beds for more people, and younger son has a travel trailer so I thought about camping together. I found a nice campground near Washington D.C. that had nice facilities and that had two sites left that were side by side. I booked those two sites almost immediately. Our older son decided for this trip, they may want to stay in a cabin instead of in the camper so he booked a cabin for him and his family. Turned out this was a good thing. Here are a couple pictures from the campground website.
From the campground where we are working in Hillsville, Virginia, it’s a 4 hour 45-minute drive to the Pohick Bay Regional Campground in Lorton, Virginia. It ended up taking us a day and a half and here’s why. We “readied the camper” and started out in plenty of time. We even added some propane to the tank and picked up a few M&Ms for the road trip. “Reading the camper” means, taking the pictures off the wall, securing everything, unhooking the water, electric and cable, and bringing the slides in. I think we got on the road about 9 or 9:30 AM. It took us about 15 minutes to get to the interstate and about 10-15 minutes later, the tread came off the front tire on the driver’s side. We got the camper off the road and parked in a gas station near the exit. Since we have AAA for the motorhome, we called them right away. 4 hours later, they still couldn’t find a tow truck to bring us in. We are much better about not getting unreasonably upset in situations, so we waited and waited, but also called them several times to see what was going on. They kept asking where we were, what towns we were close to, and once we even had to send pictures of the motorhome. Here’s a picture of Dave not getting upset.
Finally, I got on my phone and started asking for tire companies in the area. We didn’t have a spare to put on. We needed someone to bring us a tire and put it on. Within 40 minutes, Thompson Tire from Pulaski Virginia came and put on a new tire for us and had us on our way. We got back on the interstate and made it down to the next exit 3 miles away. It was probably about 1 mile after we got back on the interstate Dave noticed the heat gauge maxed out at hot. He made it off the interstate to a closed business parking lot. Since we had so much luck with AAA ( note the sarcasm ) we decided not to call them again. I got on my phone and asked for “mechanics near me”. Tannahill in Christiansburg, VA came up. I was able to get in touch with them and the person who answered the phone was in the area on a parts run. He stopped by and found that the tire tread that came off had put a hole in the radiator. He called back to the shop and had one of their 2 tow trucks come out and pull us in. Note that they had 2 tow trucks and were only 3 miles away from where AAA couldn’t find any. Needless to say, we are not very happy with AAA right now.
I think it was the drive train underneath the motor home they had to unhook so they could tow it without ruining anything. That’s something I didn’t know. Dave probably did. It didn’t take very long for them to do this and get us towed back into their shop.
Once we got there, they looked at it more. Our motorhome has a Ford Engine engine. Tannahill found and ordered a radiator from the local parts department but couldn’t get it until the next day. They have arrangements with the local Comfort Inn that’s within walking distance from their shop for a special “Tannahill rate”. So we gathered up some clothes and hygiene items, and of course my skin care products and makeup, and walked to the Comfort Inn. It was nice and our special rate was only $60 plus tax. So, it could have been worse. In the meantime, they re-connected the drive train and started removing the damaged radiator. By then, it was almost 4 PM. We should have been checked in and set up at Pohick Bay by then instead of staying at the local hotel. So by renting a cabin, they had a place to sleep that night.
It was probably 3 pm the next day before we were able to take off again. We made it there with no further problems and the rest of the time got to enjoy our sons, their wives and our grandchildren while we toured D C and enjoyed the campground.
I’ll talk more about our travel to and from D C, using the metro, the city and I’ll post a few pictures in the next post.