Resolutions to Shi$%y Situations and the Journey Home (July 15th - August 14th, 2022)
We left off at OMG! Gross, Disgusting, Putrid, Horrifying!!! Gag, Gag, Gag!!! My worst Glamper
nightmare all over again! Our poop had leaked out of the pump, into the bin and all over our items stored under there. The dog cage, our foldable tables, all my workout weights, my yoga mat, our outdoor rug….UGH! SO. FU$%ING. NASTY!
Ted, MY HERO, deals with the mess, pulling everything out and rinses out the bin while I get on the phone and try to find an emergency service that can come out to us at the Lansing Cottonwood Campground in Lansing, MI. No luck on someone mobile, but I did find Kitsmiller RV Inc. which was willing to take a look at it in their shop. So, we skipped the grocery store and we took the poop bus over to the shop for them to find the problem and then the 4 of us (Ted, myself, Azlan and Apollo) squeezed in the Jeep and headed to the airport to pick up my mom and dad. Fortunately they had a safe flight and we checked into the Causeway Bay Hotel getting an additional room for Ted, Apollo and I as Azlan was going to sleep in grandma and grandpa’s room and we knew the Glamper wasn’t a quick fix. The hotel was a bit run down and had very little staff, but it was a roof over our heads and a functioning toilet that I didn’t have to get dressed and walk through a campground for at 3am. The team at Kitsmiller discovered that some seals on the pump were rotted but finding RV parts in a hurry is almost impossible now a days, so the quickest solution is to order a whole new pump (yikes $$$). Being that it was Friday afternoon, the earliest the pump would arrive would be Tuesday morning. We gave them the green light and took the Glamper back to the Cottonwood Campground for the weekend. We wouldn’t be able to use the toilet but we could clean the bin and our stuff and still spend the days out there using the campground facilities…not ideal but this meant we could still have our local Saturday get together. That night after a delicious dinner at Los Tres Amigos, we were at the hotel and one of our friends calls me asking me where I am as she had gone to the campground to surprise us! I explained our predicament, she came to the hotel, and we hung out in our room sipping on some seltzers and catching up, almost like we were in high school. We had a great time!
Saturday morning after I walked Apollo, my mom and I went to pick up groceries and Ted's birthday cake. It wasn't easy to find a place that would make a spice cake with cream cheese frosting, but Bake N' Cakes saved the day. One of Ted's buddies brought his RV down and was staying in the campground as well. He decided to stay one more night (since we hadn't been there the night before) and supervised Ted's cleaning job on the bin while they cracked open a few beers. Our gathering started around 5pm and lasted well past midnight. It's not often that we party like that anymore but man we had a good time hanging out with old friends and meeting new ones!
July 17th started rough for the birthday boy...let's just say that they got into lots of shots during the party the night before! I took care of walking Apollo so Ted could have the day off to enjoy his hangover (hahaha) and in the afternoon we made a family trip to the movie theater to watch Lightyear. We all really enjoyed it despite some bad reviews. Ted got a new phone screen protector and we finished off the night with cuddles and TV in our hotel room. The next day Ted walked Apollo and I went to a near-by park to practice STRONG30 . I'm huffing and puffing with my music booming through the speaker in the this covered pavilion when a gentleman comes up and sits at one of the picnic tables. I offer to use my headphones, and he accepts. I think nothing of it and continue to workout. Shortly after, his friend shows up with poster boards and pamphlets...and soon enough I see they are Jehovah's Witnesses. I felt a bit odd in my fabulous skin-tight workout outfit jumping around behind them but I finished my session and then decided to save the booty-shaking Zumba practice for another time. I linked back up with Ted, we picked up my parents and Azlan and then went to explore downtown Lansing. Surprisingly, it was like a ghost town. We parked near the Capitol building and walked to the river seeing almost no other people on the streets - this was a first on our travels. When we ran into a woman on the street we asked her where all the people could be. She stated that when Covid 'hit', people started working from home and then never went back to the office, causing many restaurants and shops that were dependent on the workforce visiting during working hours to close. It was a sad sight to see. We drove a ways to Olive Garden to get some lunch and then went back to the Glamper and spent the afternoon playing games and cards while Ted (STILL MY HERO) cleaned out the bottom bin some more and did some laundry.
Laundry, let's talk about laundry for a second. We have an all in one washer/dryer unit in the Glamper that came with it. It's tiny, fits only about what 3 adults can wear, takes about 5 hours to do a wash and dry load, clothes come out wrinkly as f$%k, and it shakes the Glamper like one of those vibrating motel beds (but on super turbo mode) that used to cost a quarter when it's on spin cycle. Every time I opened the cabinet and saw the washer/dryer unit I commented on how I wanted him to take it out of the Glamper so I could have extra closet and storage space. If we used it a handful of times over the last four years, I would be surprised - at least until this summer. In an effort to get ahead of laundry when it was piling up, Ted started using it a few weeks ago. Yes, it's small and produces wrinkled results, but if he started a load when we were on the way out we didn't have to feel the vibrating effects and if he consistently remembered to switch the cycle from wash to dry, it actually helped a lot. He certainly enjoyed folding a tiny load as opposed to a whole week's worth! It's a shame it took us this long to figure it out (much like leaving the grey tank open for us to take showers without having to shut the water off between soaping up), but at least we got some use out of it. We could only use it if we had a full hook up though (water, sewer, & power), which we had most of the time fortunately.
On Tuesday, the 19th, we checked my parents out of the hotel (Ted, Azlan, Apollo and I were all going to stay one more night in hopes the Glamper would be ready on Wednesday) and had lunch at the Airport Tavern. At first glance we weren't even sure it was open but the cars in the parking lot told us otherwise. Turns out it's the best Bacon Cheeseburger Azlan has ever had...even though it was his first one! After we dropped mom and dad at the airport we went back to the hotel and took it easy the rest of the day. Wednesday morning I finally got to join ZT's Fit Fam online again for some classes - this time with a much better internet connection. We checked out of the hotel at noon and headed to Kitsmiller RV to check on the Glamper. It still wasn't ready so we decided to go chill in a park. I started writing the previous blog, Azlan grumpily moped around the playground and Ted and Apollo took a nap on the woobie (Ted's Army blanket). After a few hours, we packed up and went to Starbucks for some refreshments and wi-fi but as soon as we got there, we realized we had left the woobie in the park! Ted can handle a lot of things but I'm not sure loosing one of his deployment woobies is one of them. Luckily it was still there for us to recover it. When we got back to Kitsmiller, they had thought it was ready but when we tried to turn the pump on, it would not shut off. They had more work to do so we booked a night at the Red Roof Inn. Surprisingly we all kept our cool and stayed in good spirits, even having to pack and unpack suitcases and haul luggage up and down stairs yet again.
July 21st started off with me walking Apollo in the Woldumar Nature Center, a beautiful area with great hiking and running trails near a lake and through a forest. Shortly after, we checked out of the hotel and headed back to Kitsmiller RV to learn they needed a few more hours. The solution would be to re-wire the pump knowing that the light to indicate when the pump was ready for a flush would not work and it would also not shut off automatically if the black tank was full. We could listen for the pump and we knew about how much usage the black tank could take with the 3 of us so this solution would work just fine - for now. We spent the day near MSU playing at Pinball Pete's, eating some delicious subs at Capo's Cheesesteak Hoagies & Grill and even better crepes for desert at For Crepe's Sake and walking around looking for illusive postcards. Around 4pm we got back to the Glamper and after a few tests and tweaks, the pump & toilet worked enough for me to be comfortable rolling out. YAY! Finally! We were pretty happy to get back on the road, but more importantly to have our home back! It took us about 3.5 hours to get to Fort Firelands RV Resort just outside of Sandusky, OH. With all the delays we had, we were fortunate that they gave us a site that we wouldn't have to move out of the next day. We also found that our T-mobile home internet unit was no longer working and after spending an hour on the phone with tech support, we deduced we needed a new unit.
Friday the 22nd I found Tim Dorsey Fitness (TDF) and jumped right into Circuit Training, Spin and Core classes while the boys walked Apollo around downtown. This was the first time all summer I had done back to back classes and I was pooped...but super happy! The boys picked me up and we ran errands getting groceries and replacing our internet unit before heading back to the Glamper. Unfortunately, we learned that with the home internet device, we couldn't move around and not every place had service. We had to learn how to operate with limited cell signal and no internet. That evening, one of Ted's friends joined us with his camper & family for the weekend. They got the spot right behind us and had 2 boys about Azlan's age - Azlan was thrilled! The boys immediately took off playing and we all hung out into the evening. Saturday morning I took off for more fitnessing at TDF with Circuit Training, Kick Boxing, Beatz Boxing and a little Dance2Fit. TDF is a great facility and a unique one. Their group fitness classes happen in the center of the gym, not in a closed off room which I thought was interesting. They have great instructors, great classes and a great message about how important self love is. When I got back to the Glamper, we prepped everything for our get together while the kids played back and forth between campers, playgrounds and the pool. I also had this crazy idea about offering to teach a STRONG30 class at Tim Dorsey Fitness...and you know what they say, if you don't ask you will never know. I figured his members would enjoy it and I wanted to practice since I was already scheduled to teach at ZT's on August 8th (just 16 days away). He loved the idea and even said he wished I lived there! I was stoked and on the schedule for Monday! That evening we gathered together around cornhole, delicious food and a nice campfire reminiscing about the past and learning about local sites for us to check out. Azlan even tried a sleepover in our friend's camper but it was short lived and he came back to the Glamper stating he wasn't ready yet.
Sunday morning I got to practice while the boys played and our friend packed up his camper. It was hard for Azlan to say goodbye to the boys, he definitely missed having kids his own age on the road this summer. After they departed, we set off to discover Kelley's Island. We took a ferry, rented a golf cart and set off to find a hike and explore the shoreline. On the hike, All Trails had us off roading through the forest and it wasn't until we doubled back and talked to some Rangers that we found out several trails were no longer viable options. The shoreline was full of smooth rocks, perfect for skipping, which we did. We finished off our visit to the island looking at the Inscription Rock Petroglyphs and devouring some ice cream before turning in our golf cart and jumping back on the ferry.
Monday, the 25th, I spent the majority of the day writing the last blog while the boys went to check out the Marblehead Lighthouse and mini-golfing. As soon as they got back, I took off to teach STRONG30 at TDF, I was so nervous and excited at the same time! It was a fantastic opportunity for me to experience being an instructor in a new place with new students and I loved it - the members were awesome and we had great energy - workout slayed! Immediately after, I took another Beatz Boxing class (you punch and kick like in a kickboxing class but the combos are synced to popular songs), which is super fun! It was an epic way to end the day and the next morning I started right back up again at TDF with a Spin and Dance2Fit class before saying goodbye. Maybe one day I will be able to go back there again. When I got back to the Glamper, I took Apollo on a lovely hike in the Castalia Quarry Reserve and later that day Ted and Azlan went back to the Marblehead Lighthouse to climb to the top. We had a quiet night that night since the next morning would be a moving day.
Wednesday we woke up and did our normal morning routine - warning, this might be TMI - Ted used the bathroom first and shortly after he left with the dog, it was my turn. All went well until I flushed - the toilet clogged. OMG - WTF - NOT AGAIN! Now I'm close to tears, turning the water connection off to the motorhome so I can hold the flusher down and pour vinegar and baking soda into the toilet in hope it breaks up my apparently massive excretion. My HERO gets back and scoops out the mess into a bucket (much like last time) and gets it unclogged. At this point we are both fed up with the motorhome and looking forward to finishing the trip and hanging a giant FOR SALE sign on it. After we get everything cleaned up and we double check that the pump didn't leak into the bin below again (thanks be to God), we pack up and hit the road to West Virginia. Originally we had made plans to stop in Western Pennsylvania for a few days but our friends that were supposed be there were on vacation and we had lost a few days in Lansing. Additionally Azlan and I were supposed to fly home on August 6th from VA but in lieu of Ted's emergency room visits in the beginning of this trip, we opted to all drive home together so we adjusted our route home.
Our drive to our 50th State went smoothly and we rolled into Camp Morning Wood (Established Daily and 'Pitching Tents' since 1969 - ROTFLMAO) in Buckhannon, WV around 5pm or so. This little campground is right on the Middle Fork River and is a perfect getaway a few miles down a very narrow gravel road (definitely a pucker drive with the motorhome). We made a quick trip to Walmart and then collapsed back at the Glamper after the long driving day. Thursday morning we did a family hike in Audra State Park on the Alum Creek & Cave Trail. Aside from our Devil's Lake State Park hike in WI, this was one of the best hikes of the summer. It was a beautiful trail skirting the river and through the forest with some elevation for a little cardio. In the evening we visited our friends that we had been stationed in Hawaii with 10 years ago. They had an awesome dinner for us and we adventured out on their 4 wheeler and side by side for a sunset adventure - we all had an amazing time, especially Azlan on the 4 wheeler. When we got back to the Glamper, we were taking turns showering and setting up for bed when all of a sudden a very LOUD RRAT RRATRRAT RRAT RRAT RRAT RRAT RRAT RRAT RRAT RRAT RRAT RRAT RRAT RRAT RRAT RRAT RRAT RRAT.... noise starts that continues on and on. Ted and I run around the Glamper trying to figure out what it is and we finally turn off the Zone 2 AC, which takes a full 30-60 seconds to turn off after we push the button. When it shuts off, the noise stops - we found the culprit - one of the 2 Air Conditioning units in the Glamper....FML, its SUMMER!!! We try to turn it on again in an hour and same problem so we leave it off for the night. Our room is hot as it is, now turn the AC off back there and it was a sweaty night! The reality of the situation dawns on us...we need to be back in Palm City no later than August 7th so we can get Azlan ready for school...there is no way we will get the AC fixed before we head home...be prepared to feel hot!
After I walked Apollo near our campground on July 29th, we linked up with our friends and drove out to Seneca Rocks in the Monongahlea National Forest for another hike. This one had 700 feet in elevation gain, took just under 2 hours to complete, and got your heart pumping. The hike up to the top was absolutely worth it, yay to West Virginia for the hiking wins!!! Yokum's Store & Grill was our next stop for a quick lunch before heading to Smoke Hole Caverns. Stalagmites & Stalactites formed from below and above respectively and we even saw some that met in the middle. They had some water running through the cavern as well and our guide was quite funny with his rock formation explanations. Our friend, Ted and Azlan played a little mini golf when we emerged from the cool cave while our other friend and I shopped around the adorable log cabin store. We rode back through the beautiful mountains and stopped at Walmart to get a box fan in hopes of cooling our bedroom down at night before heading back to the Glamper for some much needed (possibly sweaty) rest.
The next morning we woke up refreshed, the fan moving the air from the front of the Glamper back to our room worked remarkably well (not to mention that the outside temperature was in the high 50's). Ted walked Apollo up the mountain near the campground to get cell service so we could check messages. It was quite surprising to see just how much we depend on the internet and having service, how many times we reached for our phones to look something up or send a message and we couldn't. It was frustrating in some ways yet liberating in others. I cleaned the Glamper and then our friends came over for Tubing, BBQing, and Campfire time! We took about 2 hours to float 2 miles but it was a lot of fun! We ate and sat around the campfire and then the owners of the Campground invited us to their home a few hundred meters away to enjoy some drinks and fireworks! Turns out they were really cool and had a great sense of humor (how can you not with a Campground called Camp Morning Wood?). The fireworks were shot maybe 50-100 feet from us and it was the closest fireworks show we had ever seen! Bravo Camp Morning Wood!
Sunday, the 31st (just 8 days before we are supposed to be home), the F&%KING TOILET CLOGS AGAIN! Y'all - I'm loosing my shit on the inside, I really am. I was LIVID. We left it there, simmering in baking soda and vinegar, and we went to a fantastic brunch at our friend's house. Azlan got to ride the 4 wheeler again and I got to hang out with my friend. We said our see-you-laters since they just got their first camper and will come visit us in FL one day! When we got back to the Glamper, Ted unclogged the toilet, yet again (still MY HERO), we packed up and got ready to leave the next morning!
Happy August!!! It's time to start heading home!!! I went and used the Porto-Potty in the campground as I did NOT want to risk another clog in the Glamper. I would have gone in the damn woods if I needed to, all we have to do is get home (preferably with a functional toilet). We tackle the mountains of West Virginia and head East into the State of Virginia. About 2 hours into our drive, about 4 miles into Virginia, and about 7 miles from the sleepy town of Monterey...BEEEEEEEEEEEEP....an alarm goes off in the Glamper and a stop engine engine light came on. Thank God Ted was driving and that there happened to be a place to pull over as we crested the mountain. He shut off the Glamper and we waited 15 minutes or so to see if maybe it was just overheated - same stop engine light came on as soon as he fired her up again. We couldn't call anyone as we had no cell service (yet again), so we dropped the Jeep off the trailer, moved the rig further off the road and headed towards Monterey - a kind driver had pulled over to see if we needed help and he guided us in the right direction. We park at the gas station and call AAA, they can tow us but have a $500 cap on the tow...This is a 35' bus we are talking about here, $500 is NOT going to cut it. Ted tries Good Sam's next...this is where it gets interesting...(Ted takes over writing now).
I call Good Sam and they tell me they can pull me to some rinky-dink town in Virginia, which is where the closest diesel mechanic is. They call the mechanic and there is no answer, so now they tell me they can pull me back to Elkins, WV...a town we drove through an hour and a half back...this is crazy. Good Sam tells me its 39 only miles, but google maps says 64 miles. The 52 miles I wanted to go to Weyers Cave, VA was too far according to them, so I would need to pay more to get towed there. I agree to the $224 and will try to get reimbursed by AAA later. Now it gets crazier! I call back after a couple hours of sitting at the gas station waiting to hear back, and now I can't get connected to anyone that knows anything about my case so I basically start from scratch. Good Sam's continues to work on our problem while we sit at the gas station and wait another hour. Finally, they call me back and say they have found someone to recover us, Bills Towing. I decide to call Bill to make sure we are on the same page and he tells me he will be on the road as soon as he receives payment from Good Sam's (which we all believe a manager is working on). About 30 minutes later, Bill calls me back and says he has been canceled...needless to say, I am irate! Its now about 6:30 in the evening, I had made initial contact with Good Sam at about 1:30pm...5 hours have passed, we are still in the same situation and now we are canceled! I call back and can't get connected back to someone that knows anything my case...AGAIN...so I basically start explaining everything to a new person and demand to speak to a manager. The manager comes on the phone...but now none of us can get in touch with Bill and soon after we find out that he, rightly so, went home because the tow service was messing around trying to get someone cheaper and haggling the price. Finally we get in touch with him, and after telling the manager at Good Sam's that the police specifically said we have to get off the mountain that night, she still tries to make us wait until morning because of the price. Fortunately, Bill wants to help us, he calls me again and informs me of the manager's dismissal of the urgency of our situation. I call Good Sam's one more time and yet again cant get through to anyone that knows anything about my case...so...another case starts yet again again! This is insane! FML!!! Finally the manager calls me back at about 10:30pm...and tells me she has approved the additional late night fee that Bill now required and he is on his way. I confirm this with Bill and at about 11:00pm, we start rolling to the Quality Inn Verona (this place is important later) in Staunton, VA. Mind you, we are still in the mountains, this 45 mile ride takes an hour and 20 minutes or so and it's well after midnight when we get there and get checked in...then Good Sam starts calling again to let us know the rig has been recovered...at like 2:00am. What a night!!! The next morning we call and go to Excel Truck Group, turns out the Glamper has a hole in the air hose that provides air to the turbo in the engine. It's not catastrophic, not even a big deal...but the parts to fix it will take 2-3 weeks. It is August 2nd and we need to get home to get Azlan ready for school. We clean up the rig, give all the food stuffs to the mechanic shop (and much to their delight, all the beer too), pack as much as we can in the Jeep, and postpone our reservations in Fayetteville and Savannah. Daisa was pretty disappointed she couldn't teach Zumba at the Fayetteville RV Resort & Cottages on the way home, but maybe she can join me when I go pick the Glamper up once it's repaired. We are going home! In the car, the Quality Inn Verona calls to tell me we left a book in our room. Nirav and I agree he will mail it to us in Palm City, something I'm very happy about...I'm reading Robert E Lee and Me by Ty Seidule. We make it about 4 hours to Lumberton NC, just North of the SC border and after checking in at the Holiday Inn, I take the dog for a walk and we have dinner at Texas Steakhouse & Saloon, where we have the best waitress we have had in a long time. This young lady was kind and had a warm giant smile the whole time.
Daisa walks the dog on the morning of August 3rd and we roll out just after 9:00am. I was determined to make it home today, and after a few stops we roll into Port St. Lucie for dinner with friends because we have no food at home! Dinner is spectacular and the company even better. We thank our friends, make our apologies and head home at 9:00pm. OUR BED in OUR HOME! It's good to be home! I'm handing this blog back to Daisa...
The saying Home Sweet Home, rang very true for us. Our little mansion! Yes, 1,300 sqft feels like a mansion after spending over 2 months in a 300 sqft bus. Giant closets, an enormous washer and dryer, ample space to dance, a huge bed, and best of all - a dishwasher!!! We jump right back into life at home and have some mimosas in the park for a birthday breakfast while Azlan excitedly plays with his friends. We all missed our friends very much and I also really missed ZT's Fitness Studio! Our first full week flew by as I started teaching classes, we shopped, unpacked, , received the book from Nirav (along with a reading lamp and Ted's favorite Paratrooper bookmark - pretty awesome of him to send us our stuff), did laundry, adjusted schedules, walked Apollo, hung out with friends, made doctors appointments, met Azlan's teacher, volunteered at his school, Azlan commenced 3rd Grade, visited with our neighbors and family, we took Azlan to Sailfish Splash (this day at the waterpark was what he earned for reading a total of 25 hours this summer), and Ted got a new bike. Now we resume our stationary (for now) life and enjoy our home, each other and our community. Stay tuned for updates and other fun blogs coming up!
Love and Best Wishes,
Daisa, Ted, Azlan and Apollo