It’s official, we are off!
I guess it couldn’t have started out any differently than it did…unforeseen circumstances! We were waiting on a package from the post office, which never arrived and after spending hours on the phone finally had to give up and depart.
We got on the road and once we crossed into Arkansas I had the bright idea to text my buddy from high school and stop by for an unannounced short visit to see him and his precious little baby girl. When did we get old enough to have kids?!?!
Since it was day one of pulling the camper and dusk was setting in I wanted to triple check the lights and of course they weren’t working properly. Only one tail light was working and when I turned on the right blinker the left one was coming on. This was when I knew the adventure was really just getting started.
Luckily the tail light was a simple bulb that went out and a cheap fix after a stop at AutoZone.
Once that was resolved it was on to Memphis.
After stopping at the visitor center and driving over to the craziest Bass Pro I think I’ve ever seen – yes that pyramid you see is actually a Bass Pro – we walked a few blocks to go to a walking tour of Pinch district in Memphis.
Later that afternoon it was off to find some BBQ! And what better place to find it than an entrance in an alley. Seriously you can’t make this stuff up! After some delicious ribs at Rendevous we took a brief walk over to Beale Street to catch some music and grab a pint. Although there was a torrential downpour, it also emptied the street completely and made for some nice views of the neon lights bouncing off the waterlogged streets.
After a night of Boondocking (stopping for the night in a parking lot) in the Bass Pro parking lot we pulled out to head to Nashville. We didn’t make it far until the breaks were hit and we whipped around to check out a winery that we just happened to pass. The Century Farm Winery. It was an old piece of property that has been in the same family since the mid 1800s. The old guy – he was 92 – was a hoot. They let him drive from his house to the farm and that was it which was about .2 miles round trip. Pretty impressive if you ask me.
Since boondocking doesn’t always allow for the full amenities of a campground, especially when you don’t actually have all three holding tanks, we decided to stop at Montgomery Bell State Park outside of Nashville for a night and there we had all the luxuries one could ever ask for and by that I mean we got to take a shower. There were some great trails to do some trail running as well.
When we got to Nashville I got to see a friend and her husband as they became our official tour guides of Nashville. It’s always great getting some local perspective on where to go. That evening we went to The Station Inn, which is the definition of dive bar and saw a great Bluegrass band. Interestingly enough the mandolin player was from Conway, SC our final stop for the summer.
The next day we had the unexpected surprise of grabbing a drink with someone else from my high school. When you come from a small school it isn’t often you just happen to bump into people in random places, but thank goodness for Facebook.
Our next adventure was Louisville where we stayed at a KOA and by a KOA I mean we stayed in a parking lot about a foot from the next camp site with a train track running 10 feet from our camper. Quite possibly the best part however was the ashtrays under the No Smoking sign in the Pepto-Bismol pink bathrooms. But it was conveniently situated to do some exploring.
We went downtown and saw the Louisville Slugger factory and yet again met someone whose family lived in the Conway, SC area. Small world right?
And you can’t go to Louisville without going to Churchill Downs. It also helps when your horse wins but I guess Whitney wouldn’t know anything about that.
With about a week left before we had to report to Conway we departed Louisville for Gettysburg, PA. I’ll confess I’m a bit of a history nerd and was really excited to visit this place. We spent the next two days reading and looking at as many of the statues and plaques as possible. So much history and so many stories of courage and I’m certain so many smaller stories in the mix of the big story that will forever be lost and never told. I can picture a soldier pushing his buddy out of the way of cannon fire and multiple other acts of heroism that we will never hear about.
After a brief stop in Charlottesville, VA we began to make our way to Conway. Side note – I wouldn’t recommend taking your camper in downtown Charlottesville while it is pouring rain. Now we were on the home stretch, we would soon be in our destination and everything would be golden.
But don’t get ahead of yourself just yet, the road doesn’t always have the same plans as we do. As the truck next to us started honking I could see the smoke billowing from the camper. After rapidly exiting the highway onto the shoulder I jumped out to see what looked like the tire smoldering. My first thought was my breaks were locked up. I grabbed the fire extinguisher as I saw little flames and quickly got the propane tanks off the camper and grabbed a few items from the camper in case it decided to turn into a torch. After getting a tow we discovered that the axle had been bent for some time and the miles we had put on it had exasperated the issue, blew the bearings, and caught the grease on fire. Luckily we were safe and the camper was still whole.
We were stuck in some town, if you can call it that, 4 hours from our destination. After a repair we were back on the road and finally arrived. We got set up and ready to start relaxing when we found not one, not two but 4 yes 4 leaks. If anyone tells you that you can’t fix a leak with a bike tube you can direct them my way. After a week of fixing leaks we finally got to enjoy some downtime and relaxation. Needless to say, I think we are starting off exactly on the right foot.