Leaving Crystal River is a lot like a hard candy Christmas. So sad to say farewell to the loving friends I leave behind, but so happy to receive all the great parting gifts they so generously offer me. The Manatee necklace from Leslie, the Oshkosh shirt from Sandy, the secret Morse coded bracelet from Sherry (aka Santa Claus) and Carol as well as the special recipe for a great Margarita from Matt will all make my travels less daunting. Each gift will remind me of how much I enjoyed my time with these special and awesome people.
Only a full-time RVer will understand the thrill and terror I experience preparing to hit the road on Sunday morning. Down to the last few items on my checklist, I discover that one of my slide toppers is not retracting properly. Michele notices the errant topper protruding above the roof like a giant misplaced accordion. The hour or so that we spend with Matt’s help trying to force fold it so the highway wind will not rip it free from the coach eats up my left turn safety margin at the campground exit. When we finally pull out of the Volunteer Village, I am faced with an endless four lane stream of tardy worshipers racing to church with no break for my turn. After a short prayer myself, I just pull out and hope Storm is watching out for me one more time.
And the fun begins?!
First, I negotiate the narrow and random lane meanderings of the eternal road construction through Homosassa. Once north of Crystal River, I begin to get comfortable behind the wheel. Then I am lulled into a false sense of security by a straight, lonely, wide 4-lane with no real driving challenges heading north. My serenity is shattered at our first fuel stop. The toilet will not flush – again! At least this time it has a perfectly good reason for failing. Turns out the water pump which is purring its little brains out is not delivering any water to the coach. Did I test this before I left? YES! Was it working then? Yes, perfectly. With no water (to the toilet or faucets either), boondocking at the Tallahassee Auto Museum is out for the night.
A Change of Plans
Michele jumps on her phone and finds us the last spot at Big Oak RV Park in spite of the fact that this is a holiday weekend and there is a HUGE soccer playoff in town. She does not have time to ask for Interstate to driveway directions from the park owner before Michele’s phone loses cell service. Preying on our weakness, the RV GPS and Google take us on the tiny roads tour of Tallahassee. At one point I make a right turn that requires me to force everyone in all four directions to back up and get out of my way!! I sob hysterically to Michele at one point, “Is this a driveway or a road?” The only part of the directions to the park that Michele gets before being losing cell service is that we must enter the park where the sign says exit. What does that even mean?
I am shaking so badly when we get to the enter/exit driveway that I overshoot. For just a second before I squeeze the last inch of turn radius out of the rig, I think I am going to have to back up onto a major highway to complete my turn. Miraculously the coach swings past the fence post I nearly flatten and we pull straight from the entrance into our parking spot. I hug the owner and Michele and kiss the ground.
What Do We Do Now?
We park conveniently right beside the campground restroom. Good because now even hooked to city water, the toilet has developed a bad attitude and flushes apathetically. We call FMCA roadside assistance and ask for RV Mobile repair services near Mobile, Alabama. I hope to maybe get these items looked at while we spend a couple of days in that area. In the meantime, no more boondocking for us on this trip leg.
Monte has promised to look things over when we get to Austin if we can’t get anything fixed before then. Thank goodness Storm left me with a lightweight and easy to extend ladder so I can cram that slide topper under the cover each time we move – ughh! Are we having fun yet? Wish us luck!