Monday, September 3, 2007

Overly Optimistic...So Sioux Us

Well, deep down inside, we DID all know this would happen. Except I had to laugh when Joe said, "I figured we'd still be in Pennsylvania by now." Instead, we are in Sioux City (well, NORTH Sioux City, I think), South Dakota. We crossed the Wide Missouri this afternoon, but it was an ignominious crossing... we were towed here.

The irony is, I *did* plan to spend tonight in a KOA in South Dakota. But I'd planned it to be about 7 hours further down the road.

We woke up this morning in Newton, Iowa, after a very comfortable night in a Wal-Mart parking lot (in the company of a half-dozen other RVs, and in a perfectly level spot, which makes our refrigerator happy.) Picked up a few things we needed in the store before we left, and made good time out I-80 and up I-29 until we stopped at a very dinky little town (Sergeant Bluffs, just south of Sioux City, IA). We got gas, had some lunch... and then when we tried to leave, we couldn't. The engine sounded perfect, the battery was strong, but as soon as the engine turned over, it stalled. We were afraid the problem was with the gasoline--but it seemed that it was just like all the other gas we'd been using so far. Fuel pump was working, etc.... and so we had to call Good Sam Emergency Road Service.

Good Sam ERS is the best- they take some time to make sure you are safe, then discuss what is wrong. Our situation sounded bad in that it was Labor Day, and therefore there weren't any mechanics open (the usual policy is to tow a disabled RV to a mechanic for repair.) The fallback position was that they would tow us to a nearby campground to stay overnight, and then tomorrow come and tow us to the mechanic. After looking up campgrounds, the lady mentioned this KOA, and i jumped on it (i could tell from the other options that they were NOT places I would want to potentially be stuck in.)

Despite the holiday, the tow truck arrived within 30 minutes, and the very nice young man had quite a time disengaging Mo's transmission so that he could tow us. However he did manage, and so we headed over the river to South Dakota, a trip of about 10 miles.

The truth is, we have a lot to be grateful for. If this mishap had happened earlier in the weekend, no campgrounds would have had vacancies-- Labor Day is one of the worst weekends of the year to look for a vacant campsite. And of coure it could have happened in the middle of nowhere instead of right by a largish city (our tow guy, a young guy raised in Iowa, asked if New Jersey was near New York, and wanted to know if NYC was "very busy". He was so cute! Omaha was his "big city".)

If we have to be stuck someplace for a day( i HOPE only one day!), this is a very good place to be stuck. They have a pool--good for hot, disgruntled travellers. There is an off-leash dog run for Roxy. The showers are clean, had very hot water with great pressure, and were free (sometimes you have to feed them quarters to keep the water flowing!) And there is free wifi with excellent service!

Meanwhile, Joe and I had to plan out tomorrow, so after we discussed it, i went to the KOA office to discuss it with them too. Joe wanted to go with Mo to the repair place, leaving me here with Roxy. I thought i would just have to "hang out" here, but that would be difficult with the dog-- what to do with her if i needed to go to the bathroom or something? But this KOA has 5 little "Kamping Kabins"-- little log houses with nothing more than beds and electricity. But they DO allow dogs, and they have little porches with hanging swings, too. So i rented a "kabin" for tomorrow, and Roxy and I will stay here while Joe goes to the Ford place to see about Mo.

This is not a bad option, but requires us to pack all our food (the refrigerator will be turned off while Mo is being worked on). Isn't it lucky I packed a largish cooler?? We need to put our bedding into the Kabin, because if it takes more than one day (please, God, no!!!) we will have to spend the night here again--but at least we DO have a place TO spend the night! And of course I need to have some books, my MP3 player, the computer, etc. Joe, meanwhile, will go armed with the 7th Harry Potter book--a worthy distraction, I must say!

So that is where we are. We only travelled about 230 miles today as a result of this whole business, and we are not too happy. But we are trying to remain optimistic (although I do confess we discussed what will happen if Mo turns out at some point on this trip to have a terminal mechanical illness.) As I said, we have lots to be optimistic about. It's still the beginning of our trip, and those of us who are living and breathing are all safe and sound. So somehow we'll come out of this okay. As I said to Joe, nothing is wrong that an AMEX card can't fix!

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