Search This Blog

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Tortoise and the Hare

We'll get to today's theme in a moment.  In the meantime, we woke up at 6am and decided to go out and check out the stream, Shaver's Fork of the Cheat River.  We fished for 2 hours or so.  Here's a photo of Kathy and the stream and the forest and the mountain and the foggy foggy dew:

After fishing and breakfast, we cleaned up a little, loaded our bikes on the truck, and headed into town for a scrumptious lunch and then a 3.5 hour bike ride on a rails-to-trails path in Elkins, WV.  It was a beautiful ride, level, through farmland and forest.  About halfway "there" an older couple dressed to the nines in spandex WV Mountaineers bicycle duds, riding their expensive road bikes, blew by us with barely a grunt.  Maybe 4 miles later we caught up to them.  They had a problem with one of the bikes.  We asked if things were okay, and they said, "Maybe not."  As we passed them, Kathy pointed out, "The Tortoise and the Hare."  There was some satisfaction in that!  :)  We reached our destination, rested, turned back, and when we reached where the other couple had broken down, the guy was doing CPR on a bicycle and presumably his wife had pedaled back to get their car to haul the bikes home.  Meanwhile, we finished our ride and had a wonderful time.  A total of 26.4 miles on a beautiful day.  Here's a photo of David and the bikes resting along the way:

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Rv at night

A Quieter Day

Here are two more sedate photos:  one of David at the dinner campfire, and one of Kathy at a campsite we found, near a beautiful waterfall, on our hike today.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Three Wise Men

So here's the story of the Three Wise Men.

Dave'n'Kathy woke up Monday morning, realizing that it had not been a bad dream, but indeed they were still boondocking at the back of Hidden Springs Campground, with Great White and the as-yet-unnamed 5th wheel trailer stuck in the mud.  Around 7am we called our emergency roadside service and by 8:35, these two unnamed dudes in big towtrucks showed up, and indicated by the snarl in their lips and their unintelligble grunts that they already knew we were idiots and that this would be a debacle.  So we led them down the camp road to our rigs and, in their own country way, confirmed that their suspicions were correct.

With this, a hellacious, furious storm of activity was unleased, and they whipped out chains, hooks, cranks and winches.  After excoriating us, "Don't you know that you NEVER unhitch your truck from your trailer if they're in trouble!?!" they proceeded to yank our 15,000 lb. truck out of the mud and straightened it out and had David back it under the trailer hitch.  We hitched!  Unfortunately, this was just the beginning.

I should take a moment to describe for you the Three Wise Men.  Chuck is the first Wise Man.  He was the one we encountered as we drove in dismay to the back of the wrong campground.  He handles maintenance and lawn mowing.  He's a retired big rig truck driver (little did we know how significant that would become).  Chuck took us under his wing and let us set up our rig for the previous night on Sunday, and greeted us in the morning with the most solicitous, "Did ya call 'em yet? Ya can start the generator if ya want."  More musical words never were spoken.  Frank was the Second Wise Man.  Frank owns the campground.  Chuck called Frank once Chuck realized we were in desperate straits (Kathy says, "Deep Doo Doo").  Frank hustled over Sunday night and supervised Chuck's vain attempts to yank our 15,000 lb. truck out of the mud with his little Ford F150.  Frank said we could stay the night for $20, but he really didn't want to take any money from us.  We didn't meet the Third Wise Man until this morning.  His name is Rick.  He's a local fisherman who has an RV at the campground, and he couldn't resist coming over and kibitzing.  However, Rick proved to be most helpful and calming with his suggestions.

We've decided that in this Mythology of the Open Road, the Three Wise Men deserve places of great honor. They stuck with us through thick and thin all morning, as the Doleful Twosome yanked and hauled and cursed and scolded us.  Eventually, the Twosome became a Onesome as the second got another emergency tow call.  Onesome tried everything he could think of.  Eventually, he hooked the back of our truck to his winch and pulled our truck, which pushed our RV, up out of the mud - BUT NOT ALL THE WAY.  We fishtailed and got stuck.  So now it got down to the shortest of short strokes.  Onesome pulled out the final trick in his bag.  He said he was going to have to winch the rear of the trailer and haul the truck and trailed out from the trailer's hitch.  Mind you, this trailer hitch is rated for 3,500 lbs., and the combined weight of the two monsters is about 31,000 lbs.  Kathy and I turned white, but we knew his wisdom and agreed.

Haul.  Winch.  Creak.  Groan.  Slide the wheels sideway.  Crunch the bike rack (but don't worry, it wasn't harmed).  And we slid sideways up onto the road, without cracking the frame of our RV.  Great White heaved a sigh of relief.  At this point, Onesome told us we were on our own, and we had to figure out how to BACK THAT CONTRAPTION OUT OF THE CAMPGROUND.  Accepting the inevitable, we agreed, paid him off, and sent him on his way.  I should remark, however, that in fact, we were tremendously grateful to him, and you could see the relief on his face, as we all realized that he hadn't destroyed our RV in saving it.

Now down to the real business.  Onesome left around 10:30.  Now Kathy and Dave and the Three Wise Men worked on backing the rig out of the campground.  I won't bore you with the technical details, but we moved about 3 inches an hour, it seemed, dodged one stump, three BIG trees, and three RV canopy frames - and that got us only halfway out of the campground.  Finally, Chuck (remember, he of the big rigs) finally could contain frustration no longer, and asked Kathy if David's ego would prevent David from letting Chuck do the driving.  "No way! Go for it, Chuck!"  So Chuck took the wheel and, as smooth as butter, that monster contraption eased its ways out of the campground, onto the road, across the road, and eased into position, and Chuck simply said, "Now you're on the open road!"  David wanted to pay Chuck for his efforts, but Chuck refused.  Frank took David aside and recounted to him how Frank had taken Chuck in after Chuck's retirement.  Chuck had been in ill health and penniless and Frank just gave him a home and a job.  David asked Frank if Frank would take money to help continue to care for Chuck, and Frank agreed.  There were also huge hugs among manly men, not to mention a sense of accomplishment.

Remember Rick?  He guided everyone past those stumps, trees and canopies.  Kathy offered him a big beer and he graciously accepted.

Chuck led us out to THE CORRECT CAMPGROUND, and we bade him goodbye.  As we thought about the whole experience around the campfire this evening, we decided to christen the 5th wheel trailer, "Chuck" in honor of that man of few words, infinite patience and unimaginable big rig skills who save the rig from permanent Purgatory in Hidden Springs Campground.

Here here, Chuck, and here's to the Three Wise Men.  We toast you as we enjoy our campfire and our anticipated dinner of grilled Ahi Tuna steak and veggies, as we gaze upon Great White the truck and Chuck the trailer and continue discovering the Mythology of the Open Road.

Home Sweet Home

We finally made it to our INTENDED campground - one day late. The story is long and will await another chapter this evening. We have lots of errands to run.
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Shaver's Fork of the Cheat River, Bowden, WV

The morning after the night before; waiting in Paradise for a tow truck. How Kathy wishes she had her fly rod.
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Ed & Gail Hit the Road

Where should we start?  How about at the beginning.  We got out of Hatfield okay, no foibles.  However, as we approached the historic Cumberland Gap, I think Daniel Boone farted and blew out the air intake hose on our truck's engine.  Actually, the clamp looked like it had been removed by our truck mechanic to get at something and replaced, but not tightened, so the hose wasn't tight enough, and the pressure of pulling 31,000 lbs. up over the Cumberland Gap just was too much for Great White.  We heard a "whoomf!" and suddenly the truck would only go 5 mph.  We crept up to a rest stop, opened the hood, and there was the hose, flapping in the breeze.  Luckily we have wrenches, and we hooked the hose back up and REALLY tightened the clamp, and off we went again.

Don't think that's the end of the story.

Our campground is/was about 5 miles East of greater metropolitan Elkins, WV.  We got there fair enough, but as we approached the campground, all of the very carefully solicited directions we got from the campground went awry.  We found ourselves driving down a back road, called the campground, and the guy insisted we were right there, just go back over the bridge and turn right into the campground.  So we did.

Only it wasn't our campground.  Nope.  As we drove back into the campground, Kathy observed that it looked like some backwater campground from "Deliverance."  And then we hit the end of the drive, at a small house.  Hmmm.  How do we get out of here?  Chuck came out of the house, a shambling 70-something, who told us we could drive over his grass and then back up and turn around.  Sure.  We drove over the grass and promptly the whole rig, truck wheels and all, got mired in soft ground.  Whirrrrr.  That's the sound of the wheels spinning ineffectually in the mud.

To make a long story short, Chuck and his boss Frank, the owner of the campground, brought over their 4-wheel drive pickup to try to haul our 31,000 lbs. of lard out of the mud, and it had the expected effect.  We were able to unhitch the truck from the rig and "rock" it out of the rutted mud, but couldn't get it out of the soft ground before it got stuck again.

Say us to Frank and Chuck:  "Thanks, guys, but tomorrow's another day.  Can we camp overnight here and we'll call Good Sam Emergency Roadside Service to save our sorry asses in the morning?"  They said, Sure, and we gave Frank (the boss) $20 bucks for the overnight campsite, who said it should go to Chuck because he's going to have to repair those hellacious mud ruts in the back yard.  So Chuck got the $20.  We hooked up our generator, powered up the RV, slid out the slides, and concentrated on dinner.  Kathy cooked while David schlepped down to the stream to get some questionable water to flush our toilet (no water, mind you). 

And here we sit.  We popped a really delicious beer from Iron Hill Brewery, had our steak and salad, called Katie to listen to her inevitable guffaws, and settled in to check e-mails and post this chapter to our little adventure book before going to bed.

I know, I know.  All those comments about Mickey and Goofey's trailer adventure.  All those remembrances of Lucille Ball's "Long Long Trailer," and so on.  But, hey, we're at home, we're listening to Bob Dylan, and we're going to get a good night's sleep and fight another day. 

No photos because we were too busy getting the truck out of the mud to snap action photos.  We'll take one in the morning and post it eventually, once we find out where civilization is.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Kathy Roughing it in the RV

Katie and Deb, that's the "Castle" cast @ ComicCon she's watching.
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Friday, June 24, 2011

Kentucky Wedding Trip 2011 - Here We Go!

On Sunday, we leave on our first real RV trip.  That day, we'll drive to Shaver's Fork Campground in West Virginia.  We plan to stay there three days, fishing (weather permitting) and otherwise bumming around and messing with the truck and RV.  On Thursday, June 30, we depart for Kathy's Aunt Dot's place in Rineyville, KY, near Fort Knox.  Kathy's cousin Billy and his wife Rosie will be our hosts.  We'll enjoy four full days of wedding festivities for their son.  Afterward, we'll head back to the Harrisonburg/Shenandoah Valley KOA campground in Virginia.  Rain or shine, we'll stay there July 5 and 6, and then head back to our RV nest at Oak Grove Park in Hatfield, PA on July 7.  Stay tuned for more blog entries as we progress (or not)!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Boulder Field Hopping at Rug Rat Camping 2011

Here's a video of the whole gang hopping out and back on the Boulder Field at Hickory Run.  It even has a little "rock dancing" sequence toward the end.  We won't name the dancers, but you know who you are!