A Premonition Comes True

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Yesterday was our second day of what was intended to be a quick uneventful trip to Georgia from Mass. We were typically locked and loaded, prepared for anything. Off we went with a cheery good-bye to our summer home at West Hill Park and Ranger Viola as we left the Wildwood and hit the Open Road once again. In my mind, I put aside the comment I had made to my friend Penny last week. I had shared with her that I didn’t really believe in premonitions, but my Irish second sight had kicked in and I had an uneasy feeling about this trip.

The first indication that things might not go smoothly came when little Wicca began to whine from the backseat. Now this is a dog with a bladder that has never failed her. She’s a virtual holding tank. She never asks to stop, but now, as we were speeding down the highway between the big rigs, she decided that the situation was urgent. Her whining went from polite to demanding and just for good measure, Cracker the African Gray parrot joined in. In his repertoire, he has a near perfect dog whine. As the two of them reached crescendo in their duet, we finally found a safe place to pull off and let her out. She took a dainty leak and trotted right back to the truck. We still have no idea what that was all about.

Back on the highway, we settled in again for the drive, with Wicca refreshed and more relaxed. But the peace would soon be broken. We had not gone far before a pick up truck passed us with a woman leaning far out the window. She had a rather frantic look on her face and was waving to get our attention. I never knew that we could read lips, but both of us knew instantly that she was screaming, “You’re on fire!”.

We careened to a stop on the side of I 81, jumped out to the sight and smell of smoke billowing from underneath our little home on wheels. Arnie grabbed the fire extinguisher and I called 911. The dispatcher asked me twenty questions, only about three of which seemed pertinent at the time. She read robotically from a prompter giving me some common sense advice, all of which I ignored in the heat of the moment, no pun intended. I did not realize that she had dispatched help already and was just following a protocol, so it was very frustrating to stand there responding to a scripted inquiry. I was vividly imagining our little gypsy cart burning to the ground while she asked me everything but what I had for breakfast and my mother’s maiden name. I understood soon enough when not one, not two, but three fire trucks pulled up, sirens blaring.

 

 

The efficiency with which these guys worked together was impressive if not a bit daunting. I am not sure why they needed an ax, but they got out all suited up as if they were going to enter a burning tenement building. Now remember it is 93 degrees in the sun this day! They lumbered out of the trucks dressed like little boys in cumbersome snow suits ready to play. In no hurry to go anywhere, they crawled all around the offending tire sniffing and using a heat meter to locate the source of the rising temperature. Using their state of the art technology, measuring and conferring with one another, they concluded that the tire was hot. Now I felt better.

They stayed for quite some time waiting for the source of the heat to cool down, in the interim, deciding it was probably not the tire, but the brakes. Now I didn’t feel better anymore. In addition, the spectacle of fire trucks had managed to back up traffic on I 81 with miles of gawkers probably hoping to catch a glimpse of my dead body. But the firemen assured us not to worry, that they were not busy and had nowhere else to go at that moment. They were actually very nice and reassuring, but the magnitude of the response was a surprise to us as well as a reassurance. We were grateful, if not a tad bit overwhelmed and bemused. After they left, one safety officer stayed behind with us until I could reach our Roadside Assistance. In a couple of more hours, the heat seemed to dissipate and we decided to attempt to make it to the next exit where there is a mall. The safety officer kindly escorted us to that safe location with his lights flashing behind us. Thank you to all of these good guys for the assist…….we appreciate it!

As an aside, during all of this, I had been on the phone with our Roadside Assistance provider, Good Sam Club. Literally three hours of being on hold with them and the operator came back on to tell me that she had contacted everyone she could and no one could help us get the camper off the road. Her advice was to call the police. I will be making some calls tomorrow to address this situation, but in the meantime I would advise all my camping and traveling friends to drop this provider like a hot potato and sign back up with AAA for your roadside assistance. This was a serious situation and  Good Sam’s lack of response exacerbated it, keeping us tied up for over three hours with animals in the car and with no good outcome.

When I finally got off the phone with Good Sam Club (Bad Sam), I used my iPhone as a wi-fi source, fired up my computer and within 60 seconds found a dealer within 10 minutes of us who came right over, looked at the problem and got us to their dealership. They even put us into a complimentary campsite for the night so we were able to cook some dinner, make the animals comfortable and sleep.

I try to keep posts on Facebook up to date when we travel because we have friends and family who follow us to keep up with where we are and to know that everything is okay. It is a great way to communicate from the road. So this morning when I checked in, imagine my surprise when I saw that a number of folks had clicked “Like” on the posting of the firetrucks and camper on the highway holding up miles of traffic.  I “LIke” posts all the time just to acknowledge that I saw a particular post and enjoyed it and I am guilty of not always reading the posts thoroughly. I am going to rethink that habit now. Hey, are you guys fire truck aficionados, enjoy traffic jams or just  perversely glad to see me sitting in 93 degree heat for three hours waiting for a resolution?  Whatever your personal reasons, I am so glad you  “Liked” it!

This morning, we are currently sitting in the dealership waiting area where the only plug-in is four feet from the entrance to the men’s room which is a very popular place in the early morning. We’ve just been given the good news that all of the issues related to the braking problem we had are not covered by the warranty. But we will be back on the road sometime today merrily resuming the journey and hopefully finding the humor in some of the past 24 hours events. Meanwhile, dear ones, if anyone else has any premonitions about the rest of the trip, kindly don’t post it on Facebook because I won’t “Like” it very much!

I try to keep posts on Facebook up to date when we travel because we have friends and family who follow us to keep up with where we are and to know that everything is okay. It is a great way to communicate from the road. So this morning when I checked in, imagine my surprise when I saw that a number of folks had clicked “Like” on the posting of the firetrucks and camper on the highway holding up miles of traffic. I “LIke” posts all the time just to acknowledge that I saw a particular post and enjoyed it and I am guilty of not always reading the posts thoroughly. I am going to rethink that habit now. Hey, are you guys fire truck aficionados, enjoy traffic jams or just perversely amused to see me sitting in 93 degree heat for three hours waiting for a resolution? Whatever your personal reasons, I am so glad you “Liked” it!

This morning, we are currently sitting in the dealership waiting area where the only plug-in is four feet from the entrance to the men’s room which is a very popular place in the early morning. We’ve just been given the good news that all of the issues related to the braking problem we had are not covered by the warranty. But we will be back on the road sometime today merrily resuming the journey and hopefully finding the humor in some of the past 24 hours events. Meanwhile, dear ones, if anyone else has any premonitions about the rest of the trip, kindly don’t post it on Facebook because I won’t “Like” it very much!

4 thoughts on “A Premonition Comes True

  1. It does make me wonder because we must have been building up to the brake and fire problem at the same time that Wicca was crying like that. I didn’t connect the two, but it is possible that she knew something we did not.

    Like

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