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WD 40 and Cornbread. (Part II)

by Connie O'Donnell

...okay...where were we? Oh yeah, we were on the road again and craving decent food (anything NOT chip-like!) We laughed at my choice of music being Beth Hart's "Screamin' for my Supper," and all was well. We dined, and gassed up (which we did OFTEN since the gas gauge didn't work) and headed toward our next campsite near the border of Tennessee and Kentucky.

Just south of Knoxville, however, there was a noise. As the smiles began to fade from our faces, the noise grew into a squeal. Tom pulled off at an exit and into the nearest gas station, and by now the SQUEAL was turning the heads of people who were within a half a mile of us. Tom knew what to do. "It's the fan belt. Hand me the WD40."


"Okay, start her up."

I did. The squeal was just a bit less squeally, so as it was getting dark, we did what any sensible travelers would do, we hit the expressway and drove on thinking it would go away. (Tom is a risk taker and challenge lover. I'm resigned.)

We drove, oh, about 10 miles, when that little indicator that suggests you are running hot, went to the TOP! "Oh oh," said Tom.


I didn't need to ask; the smoke pouring from under the hood answered my question. Tom pulled onto the shoulder, waited for a break in traffic, climbed out and checked the engine. NO WATER! BUT....we hadn't finished off our gallon jug of spring semis whipped past, he poured the rest of our drinking water into the radiator.

We sat for a while, letting it cool off, and when he started it back up, the needle had gone down to the area "slightly less than hot" so he decided we'd ride the shoulder to the exit just ahead. We limped into the Texaco station, and parked in front before it ran completely dry again.

I was starting to lose my sense of humor by then. Tom, recognizing this, took out his cell phone and slipped into "problem solving mode." I went inside the Texaco, used the facilities, bought a candy bar, and made small talk with Betty, SueAnne, and Martha behind the counter. They provided phone books, the name of the town we were in, the exit number where we were now stranded, and small talk, to try and cheer me up. Guess they could tell, I wasn't a happy camper. In the meantime, Tom was outside talking into his cell phone, dialing and redialing numbers like crazy. He didn't come into the station and I didn't go out. We felt we needed a little distance at that point.

Finally, he walked in, a proud man.

"Okay, a tow truck is on the way to take the RV (this is the point when I began referring to it as the MFRV) to the next exit where there is someone who will look at it....tomorrow, or the next day for sure. I have a cab on the way to take us to the Knoxville Airport where we can rent a car and drive home and still be there before my meeting early tomorrow morning."

He looked so pleased. I was appreciative of his plan, but pissed more than pleased. My mission was to remove all of our belongings before they towed the MFRV away. So I removed and placed clothing, food, a bag of oranges that came all the way from Florida, a cooler, books, and Tom's FAVORITE pillow on the walkway in front of the Texaco and stood there like a homeless person....a pissed off homeless person.

Soon the wrecker pulled up and Tom motioned them over to us. (Like there was any other MFRVs sitting there with the hood up and a woman standing with all her belongings next to it?)

The driver from Moneymaker's Towing Service climbed out, wrote up a bill and I saw Tom lean forward and say "how much???" I knew I was not going to like this, so I walked over. Tom took me aside and said quietly "guess how much to tow it to the next exit? $185.00!"

"WHAT?? No WONDER they are named Moneymaker's!"

Tom shushed me, reminding me they would have our MFRV in their possession while we were miles away! Meanwhile Mr. Moneymaker hooked it up, and slowly pulled away and Tom said wistfully "it even looks good on the back of the tow truck, doesn't it?"

Then he looked at me for an answer and hurriedly called to see where the cab was.

The cab arrived. The tall, skinny driver emerged all in black with a silver ducktail, and placed our stuff in his trunk. Martha, Betty and SueAnne all came out to wave goodbye. From the backseat, Tom called numerous car rental places on his cell phone and could find no one that would let us have a one way rental. The driver, overhearing Tom's problem, turned and said in his Tennessee accent, "call 1-800-222-BUDGET and ask for Angie. Tell her Cornbread sent ya."

There was much nudging and I managed to stifle my giggling and Tom called "Angie" and talked to her in a professional tone. Angie couldn't help us EVEN if we were in Cornbread's cab. Cornbread shrugged and said "well, can't hurt to try. Sorry 'bout that."

Tom found a sympathetic rental car agent finally, and $45 later we arrived at the airport. We dumped all our stuff into an intermediate and were on the road north by midnight.

Tom glanced over and said "that wasn't too bad, huh?"

I turned up the radio.

(I have no pics of the good lookin' MFRV on the back of the fancy schmancy Moneymaker's Towing Service, because I was NOT in a picture taking mood at that point.)

....the story continues.... to get worse.

* Read: For Sale...The Start of a Dream (Part I).

Connie O'Donnell and her recently retired husband Tom, spend summers in Kentucky in a cabin on the river and winters in sunny Florida. Connie admits that they have become pretty impulsive, and that some of those decisions have "worked" and some...okay...MANY... have not. It's the "have nots" that are the more interesting stories!

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