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Busted flat in VALDOSTA, GEORGIA.........(Part IV)

by Connie O'Donnell

...waiting for a tow, I was feelin' near as faded as my jeans, Tommy thumbed the tow truck down, just before it rained, and it rode us all the way to Exit 13...

....Okay, things seemed to be going well. Tom's favorite garage pronounced the MFRV road-worthy but "hopeless" and advised us to unload it. So... we packed up lots of items we wanted to haul back to Florida, and Murph the dog, popped a CD into the Walkman, plugged it into the Jensen, and we were on our way south, fingers crossed.

Except for constantly asking each other things like "do you smell something HOT?" or "what's that noise?" and a couple of scary moments when it didn't seem to want to start, it was pleasantly uneventful. We spent our first night at a lovely campground in TN.

We were back on the road and it was my turn to drive. We were near Valdosta, GA when it began to get pretty warm (weatherwise) so Tom slid the AC lever on and then...


"Pull over!" he shouted.

I pulled onto the shoulder, and turned off the key, right before the engine started to smoke. Once again, Tom popped the hood and held up the chewed up fan belt. We were a BIT smarter this time and Tom called AAA RV Plus for a tow. He suggested that Murphy and I stand on the other side of the guardrail as it was unsafe to sit in the broken down MFRV on I-75. So Murph and I jumped the guardrail, he sniffed and peed and took one paw and scratched at a large mound of loose dirt. EEEEK! It was a GIANT fire-ant hill and it was now exposed and millions of ants scurried about. I jerked the leash and we walked away to ....ANOTHER big mound, and another and another....

We hurdled the guardrail and jumped right back in the MFRV! I'd rather get hit by a Mack truck than eaten by fireants.

Finally the tow truck appeared, hoisted the MFRV onto the bed, and took us to Exit 13 (of course) toward the repair shop. Tom and I were in the cab with the burly driver and as we approached the shop, he became kind of excited. He told us that we'd soon see the BIGGEST TOW TRUCK IN ALL OF SOUTH GEORGIA. "THERE! SEE IT?" He was grinning from ear to ear. Tom and I were not all that impressed, but we were polite and said "WOW, that IS big!"

In the meantime, poor Murph was still in the MFRV probably wondering who the heck was driving with Mommy and Daddy not in sight. We will ALL need therapy after this.

So the garage owner, a guy named...ready?....Hollywood, looked under the hood, shook his head, and said "looks like your compressor blew. I'll have to try and find parts." (he did not look confident) Great.

So...once again, Tom got a ride to the airport and returned with a tiny Subaru into which we had to load ALL of our belongings, including two tall cast iron cranes, and our 90# dog. I rode the 4 hours to our Florida destination with my feet upon a cooler, my knees under my chin, and a very pissed off look upon my face. Geez.

Hollywood was right. He could not find the parts. Tom located them in Kentucky, from where we'd just come, and so we asked them to ship them to GA. No problem. Then we found out it would cost over $400 for shipping and they couldn't ship until after the weekend. More money...more delays. We knew it was time to yell "UNCLE" (slow learners...well ONE of us slower than the other) and we had a plan.

We love camping, BUT NOT IN THAT THING! So, since we had a nice new Chevy truck at the cabin, we decided to go to a camper show and look at slide in truck campers. The salesperson said "sure, we take trade-ins." Tom looked at me and said "pick out one....ANY one!" Now all we had to do is GET THE MFRV THERE and our truck in KY to Florida to pick up the truck camper! No easy task, that.

That's when we thought of our home-for-the-summer nephew, Tony. We made a deal with him. He agreed to immediately drive our truck to pick up the parts at the KY dealer for the MFRV, and drop them in Valdosta, before heading to Florida for a few days of R&R! We'd then have the truck there to pick up the new truck camper. He drove our other car back to KY after a lot of all-you-can-eat crab legs dinners.

Two weeks later, when Hollywood called to tell us it was fixed, (he told us that he "never saw a compressor blow up like that before!"), we rented yet again another car to go back for the recreational vehicle that WASN'T!

We drove it back to Florida never going over 50 mph, no radio, no AC, no accessories whatsoever. AND we drove in daylight so we wouldn't have to pull the little button to turn the headlights on. We were taking NO chances this time. We were TENSE.

A lifetime later we arrived at our house. Since the dealer was closed by this time, it had to remain in our driveway overnight. We set out the very next morning, armed with rosaries and a plastic St. Christopher statue, for the final one hour drive to the dealer and.....R-E-L-I-E-F!

So....did we make it? You'll seeeeeeee.......

Read Parts One, Two and Three:
*For Sale...The Start of a Dream (Part I)
*WD 40 and Cornbread. (Part II)
*"Busted flat in Knoxville...waitin' for a part...." (Part III)

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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