The Adventure: Day 13

Saturday, July 27, 2019

We left Indy about 9:30, a little later than we’d planned, but I wanted to take our time loading up, making sure we didn’t forget anything, and had our bearings. We said a sad farewell to the Holiday Inn Express – Westfield staff. TJ at the front desk, Kym and Leslie in the dining room. They were great and helpful and kind and gracious.

We stopped to fuel up after about half an hour, at a gas station we’d visited last Saturday,

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Illinois

near the truck wash and Steak ‘n Shake. Then we were officially on new and unproven roads.

Pulling this huge trailer is no joke. It’s a giant wind sail. Every gust pulls or pushes us. Trucks that pass us create a draw that feels like an earthquake shaking us.

After an hour and a half, we entered Illinois and gained an hour as we went from Eastern time to Central. The trailer seemed to be swaying a lot so we pulled over at a rest stop (staffed with real people for giving information) and David made a call to an acquaintance for some advice. He left a message and I searched for a hotel on the outskirts of Springfield. I called to be sure they could accommodate the trailer. Then we continued on. 

I passed the time by posting this morning’s entry about yesterday, reading a little, looking at the new scenery, and making sure David didn’t miss any freeway navigation changes.

We needed gas shortly after we passed the last Pilot Travel stop. Of course. I didn’t realize we were that close to empty, until the low fuel warning popped up on the navigation screen. Dave didn’t realize how quickly the truck sucked up fuel, either, since this was our first long distance trip with the trailer.

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Rolls of hay

We still had 50 miles of fuel, and we were about 30 miles from our destination in Springfield, so we were fine, but Dave said to go ahead and find a gas station.

Which I did, in Mechanicsville, about 2 miles off the freeway. I cross-checked the route with our CoPilot app (of course! Lesson learned!) and looked at the gas station from a satellite view. I was pretty sure we could pull in, but not 100%.

We found it and it was close, but we were able to pull in and through. It had high roofs over the pumps, so we were okay. But they didn’t have “Premium,” which the truck needs, so we ended up getting only $10 of gas. We also bought beef jerky for our lunch, and headed back to the freeway.

We planned to find our hotel, drop off the trailer, and go to a Lincoln museum. We found the hotel, which was next to a Tractor Supply Company. Dave went in to ask the manager if we could park there. He brought her out a minute later and introduced me to Kimberly. Her son is an addict and she was very interested in the trailer. We opened it up and while Dave unhooked (she gave enthusiastic permission for us to park there), I showed her the highlights in the trailer. She got a little teary a few times as she recognized and remembered some of the things I pointed out as “red flag indicators.”

While Dave was unhooking, a part of the winch (?? I think that’s what it’s called??) that is used to raise and lower the trailer as it’s hooked and unhooked from the truck, broke. It had broken partway on Thursday, at the farmer’s market, but it broke the rest of the way today. We looked at the TSC store, but they didn’t have a replacement. The part that broke is what made it possible for Dave to use an impact drill to raise and lower the trailer quickly and easily. Luckily (??), we still had the original part for raising and lowering the trailer manually. So he put that part back on. But by then, it was nearly 4:00. Too late to do any sight seeing or museum visiting. We went ahead and checked in.

And I was out of steam. Remember, beef jerky for lunch? It caught up with me. We checked in, went to our room and it was hot in there. The AC wouldn’t come on. So back to the front desk to get a different room.

We finally got a cool room, got our bags in, and collapsed. I did a bit of Googling on “Illinois regional cuisine.” And discovered that a Springfield specialty is the Horseshoe. I found two nearby places that had it on their menus. One was called the Trade Winds Pub

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The Trade Winds–good thing a review said to ignore the outside appearance!

& Eatery. The other was the Engrained Brew Pub. David asked the front desk staff for a recommendation. They hadn’t heard of either one at first. They thought for a minute, then one guy said, “Oh, yeah, that’s a bar!” referring to the Trade Winds, about 3/4s of a mile away.

We headed there, to the Trade Winds first, since it was close, thinking to check it out, then go to Engrained if the Trade Winds didn’t make the cut. We followed my trusty Google Maps and found a deserted-looking hut in the middle of a dusty parking lot. With trepidation, we headed in. One of the reviews I’d seen said, “Don’t be put off by the exterior.” Good thing I’d read that.

Inside it was definitely a bar. Some would call it a dive bar. But it looked clean and the staff was friendly and quick. We didn’t even look at a menu, just asked about the Horseshoe.

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Basically it’s a piece (or two) of Texas toast, with meat, topped with french fries, topped with cheese sauce. The original has hamburger. Now they offer a choice of meats. The waiter said their most popular is the breaded pork tenderloin so that’s what we ordered. He said, “It’s big,” so we knew to order just one and share it.

Big is an understatement. We both ate until we were full, brought some back to the hotel (I think Dave’s planning to have it for breakfast), and we still left quite a bit behind.

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The Horseshoe, after we were both full!

We waddled to the truck, then made it back to the hotel. It’s early to bed for us. Our plan is to hit the road again early tomorrow. Our destination is Austin, Minnesota. It’s six hours and twenty minutes away. Today’s journey was not quite three and a half. So we’re adding another three hours to tomorrow.

No Mr. Lincoln for us. No Springfield sights.

But … we’re scheduled to be back in Illinois in late September/early October. So I know where I want to go! And maybe what to eat.

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The Adventure: Day 12

Friday, July 26, 2019

A good recovery day, after the excitement of Thursday.

IMG_2412Dave found a Ford dealer and bought some touchup paint. He consulted the collision department who said paint and clear coat would keep the scratches on the roof from rusting until it could be properly repaired.

I stayed in the hotel room and worked. I got some new words down on a tech writing job, so that’s always good.

We also did some laundry, expecting to hear that we’re done in Indiana and will be leaving tomorrow to take the trailer to Minnesota. That news came at 2:00. It’s a bit sad that we only got to do two events in Indiana and that the Colts Training Camp fell through. Everyone here has been so kind and welcoming. And everyone who’s visited the trailer wants to know where it’s going to be next so they can tell others. When I told a woman at Thursday’s farmer’s market that we were leaving in a day or so, her jaw dropped and she said, “Do you know the statistics for Indiana? Do you know what we have going on here?” We’re hoping to come back next year and spend more time. Or at least the trailer.

After we got the news that we were done in Indy, Dave called our boss to discuss moving the trailer to Minnesota for the Farm Fest. The boss will come to Minnesota for that and we’ll fly home for the first of our previously scheduled vacations.

IMG_2433Then we headed to Carmel, the next town over, to visit the Museum of Miniatures that we had popped into on Wednesday. We spent about an hour there. It’s an amazing place! The attention to detail is incredible, as well as the time invested. Besides houses, there are rooms, vignettes, scenes, exhibits of dolls and collections of miniatures.

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The admission fee is $10 and it’s well worth it. It includes an audio tour that gives additional information about some of the exhibits. I have a writer friend who makes miniatures and I thought of her often during the tour. As well as another friend who loves miniatures also. They both would have been in their element there.

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After looking at all the museum’s offerings, we left to find the elusive Indiana breaded pork tenderloin sandwich. Before we arrived in Indy, I’d Googled, “Indiana state food,” looking for a local specialty cuisine/dish. I found the pork tenderloin sandwich. We chatted with the consultants, and a friend from home who is from Indiana, and they all agreed: when in Indiana, you must have a pork tenderloin sandwich. It has to be breaded, and it has to be old-school, not “bougie.”

So I searched for the best pork tenderloin sandwich around us in Westfield or Carmel. I read lots of reviews. I debated driving thirty minutes to a definite old school place or take a chance on a nearby place with mixed reviews. But we really didn’t have time to drive any distance, and the local place, Muldoon’s, was walking distance from the museum.

It worked out great. We ordered the breaded (not grilled) pork tenderloin sandwich to share and substituted coleslaw for the kettle chips. It was everything everyone said. IMG_2440The pork was tender and delicious. It came with mayonnaise, pickles, and lettuce on the side, and a regular size hamburger bun. I’m not sure how you eat it as a sandwich. We just cut it up and ate it like a chicken-fried steak. Dave asked for mustard, but he didn’t use any. The pork was great as it was. 

We were back to the hotel and in for the night by 5:30. (I know. We’re such party animals!)

We talked about where to go on our way to Minnesota. We’re headed to Springfield, Illinois first. We settled on a route. I watched some of the livestream of the RITA awards (the Oscars for romance books) since I had some friends who were finalists (you all were robbed!). We took a last swim in the pool and got ready for bed and the next stop on the adventure!

Illinois and Minnesota, here we come. I hope we’re ready!

The Adventure: Day 11

I think I should be dating these … Hmmm … I need to go back and edit them.

Thursday, July 25th, turned out to be another crazy, roller coaster day.

It started out fine. The usual breakfast at the hotel. I’m already over the egg choices. The first few days I was fine with the omelets. Most people who know me at all, know I don’t IMG_2395do scrambled eggs. At all. Ever. But I can handle omelets with lots of cheese and other ingredients. But the packaged ones here lost their appeal pretty quickly. I can’t eat sugar on an empty stomach (I get nauseated, clammy, and shaky), so no cinnamon rolls , pancakes with syrup, or sugary cereals. Like most of the country, I avoid carbs (toast/muffins/bagels). Which leaves sausage. Good thing I like sausage and they usually offer both pork and turkey. Sometimes there’s bacon. Sometimes I do have half a biscuit with gravy. One day I did half a bagel with cream cheese. There are enough options that I don’t leave hungry.

Anyway, after breakfast, I did a little work while Dave readied the trailer for our event in the afternoon. We headed out about 11:00 for Lawrence, which is about 25 minutes away. Our venue was a farmer’s market, on the grounds of the former army base, Fort Benjamin Harrison. It’s been converted to other uses. There are restaurants and housing now. A central greenspace hosts a weekly farmer’s market. We arrived, got the directions of where to set up, which involved pulling the trailer up a curb, over a sidewalk and down the grass to the other end of the area. We did that okay, with minimal adjusting. (Meaning Dave only had to back up and pull forward two or three times to get the trailer mostly straight and even with the sidewalk.)

We unhooked, and I ordered lunch from Panera across the street from my app. We grabbed it to go and headed to downtown Indy to meet our consultants/event schedulers to view a venue and decide on its viability for the trailer. It took us a while to find parking. The parking garage we found had a sign that said 6’8″ clearance. It felt like we couldn’t make it, but the attendant at the front watched us enter. He said only the antenna scraped and we’d be okay. So we went in. We parked without mishap and walked to meet the consultants.

From their office, we walked to the nearby venue, City Market. It’s very similar to the Oxbow Market in Napa. Or Chelsea Market in New York. A collection of independent IMG_2398shops under one roof in an older, converted building. We walked quickly through and out, to see their outside area, called a rain garden. There is a lovely plaza with bistro tables, trees, bocce ball courts. And an open area not nearly big enough for our 32′ trailer plus a pickup truck to pull it in. The director told us that they recently hosted a Cirque du Soleil team with their trailer. Except it was only 20′ and took a whole team to position and make 5-point turns. The only other option would be to get a permit from the city to block off a portion of the street and that could take up to a month. We only have a few days.

So we walked back to the consultants’ office, which is on Monument Circle, which circles a monument. Convenient, right? At the center is the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, which was built to honor those who fought in the Civil War and two other previous skirmishes. There is a possibility of getting a permit to park along the circle for a few hours. The consultants will work on that, and hopefully let us know by the end of the day.

IMG_2397They returned to work and we walked over to look at the monument. We paid $2 each to ride the elevator to the top for some amazing 360 degree views of downtown Indianapolis. Then we returned to the parking garage.

This is where the day fell apart. Because contrary to the sign and the attendant, we did not make it out of the garage unscathed. The top of the truck scraped a concrete beam. As soon as we heard the contact, Dave stopped and backed up and attempted a different angle, but a parked car was sticking out pretty far which hindered how he could take that corner. We ended up scrapping pretty significantly. After we exited, he went to find the attendant, who, of course, was on a break. I took pictures. Dave made notes. And we saw another garage across the street with a sign that said 7’3″ clearance. Another @#*%^$#&*@ moment. Why hadn’t we seen that place first??

By the time the attendant came back, we were pressed for time to make it back to Lawrence for the farmer’s market. But he gave us the owner’s name and number, and said he would pass on our information. And we hurried to the freeway.

IMG_2406We got to Lawrence just in time to meet up with the consultants again and to set up. They helped us unload all the boxes (mostly dried out from Monday’s rain) and set up.

We gave lots of tours. We think about 50-60 people went through the trailer. Dave gave a tour to the Lawrence police chief. I gave a tour to the adult sponsor and student captain of their Explorer post. And there were lots of other people. The consultants said they talked to about 150 people. About half of those said they’d seen the trailer on TV. So the media coverage Monday definitely got the word out.

Everyone I took through the trailer was very impressed and thankful and also surprised at how much they learned. And disappointed that this was likely our last Indiana event. They urged us to come back soon. We assured them we want to!

At 7:15, the last tour was over. The market ends at 7. We loaded the boxes back into the trailer, told the consultants goodbye. They promised to have a final answer about another event by the end of business today. IMG_2409

We hooked up again, pulled off the sidewalk and into the road and headed back to the hotel. Got here about 8:30, exhausted. Dave felt like White Castle, so after we unhooked, I collapsed in the room and he made a dinner run.

Then he called our boss to share the trailer news. Not a fun moment. And the fact that the consultants still don’t know if we’re done in Indiana didn’t help. If we’re done, we’re going to move the trailer to its next venue in Minnesota. But if we have to stay for another event, our boss has to get someone else to drive the trailer to Minnesota. We took this job with the understanding that we had two previously scheduled trips we would be going home for. We need to be home August 1. At this point, we don’t know if we’re flying out of Indianapolis or Minneapolis. For people who like a plan, we’re learning to be flexible!

It’s Friday morning now, technically day 12. Dave’s doing laundry again, I’m working. He found a Ford dealer nearby. He’ll go see them soon, to see about getting touchup paint to cover the scratches so they don’t rust, until we can get them repaired. Hopefully the garage owner will agree to have his insurance take care of it. Prayers for that, please! Also on today’s agenda: finding the Indiana culinary specialty–the fried pork tenderloin sandwich.

The Adventure: Day 10

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Another quiet day to regroup, work, and get organized.

After breakfast, I worked in the room again. I contribute an article quarterly to an online magazine and it’s due tomorrow, so I worked on that in the morning. Dave went to Walmart for some supplies.

RALI_Indiana_Indianapolis Star

We received an email from our consultants, the PR people who schedule our events. It had all the links from all the media from Monday. And it included a picture of today’s front page of the Indy Star. With us! Above the fold!

Talk about crazy!

By 3:00, we were ready for a change of scenery, so we went back to Carmel, a town we’d driven through last week that looked so charming. We arrived about 3:30 and went immediately to the Museum of Miniatures, but they close at 4:00 and there wasn’t enough time to see everything. The docents told us to take a look around to help us decide if we wanted to come back. They were very nice and accommodating. We did take a quick look and decided we’d like to come back when we can spend at least an hour or two.

IMG_0707We headed down Main Street. One of the things that caught our attention last week was the statues scattered along the street we drove down. Walking the street let us look at them up close. TheyIMG_0709 were so cool! Life-size, and life-like. They were “people” doing mostly ordinary and everyday tasks. A policeman directing traffic. A woman with groceries. A street busker. A man reading a newspaper. Dave got the idea to take pictures of each one.

There was also a sculpture of a head.

IMG_0716I’ll let you guess whose idea this picture was. And who is behind the head. I think you can see what he’s doing …

IMG_2389We finished at Woody’s Library Restaurant for an early dinner. We shared several appetizers that were wonderful. It was a treat for me to eat in a setting surrounded by books, at a library table, on the old wood floor. It’s a unique setting and the food was excellent!

Back at the hotel, we talked to some friends on the phone, finished up miscellaneous tasks, and are headed to bed.

Tomorrow, we have an event at Fort Benjamin Harrison in Lawrence, at a farmer’s market, (4-7 PM EDT, if you’re nearby) and we’re going to check out a venue in downtown Indianapolis to see if it can accommodate the trailer. If so, we’ll be there next week.

We’re learning to be flexible!

The Adventure: Day 8

Monday, July 22, 2019

Our day started when the alarms went off at TWO THIRTY AM!!! Don’t forget, we’re still partly on Pacific Daylight Time. We did our best to go to sleep at a decent time, but I think I managed … maybe 4- 4 1/2 hours sleep…? Dave got maybe another half an hour (because he’s a man?? he fell asleep sooner??) I don’t know. I just heard the alarms at 2:30 AM.

We were close to our goal of leaving our hotel in north Indianapolis by 3AM. And, thankfully, the accident that delayed our journey delivering the trailer Sunday evening had been resolved, so we made it to our venue in about  35 minutes. We were the first to arrive.

I’ve mentioned that we spent several days transcribing notes, studying those notes, making sure we have our facts correct, etc.

Today is where that came into play.

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When we arrived to drop off the trailer Sunday evening

We got to the Beech Grove City Hall venue about 4:05. Again, a reminder, this is AM!!! Dave and I quickly set up the trailer, unloaded the boxes of supplies (literature, water bottles, Rx drug destruction kits {each one costs —$40.00!!!!! and they’re handed out like they’re candy!!!}. But never mind. I’m not an accountant. I’m not a drug specialist. I’m just a mom, a grandma, and someone who works with words.

Our consultants/PR reps showed up shortly after, and they set up their display tables.

We had previously decided that I would be the “public” face of Code 3 and our time with the trailer. I previously alluded to our strengths (DRP: charisma and people skills. CLP: succinct and articulate).

The early morning news shows were next. Honestly, I’m not sure I was awake enough at that point to know/remember what I said. I did four one minute spots with one station and two two minute spots and a Facebook Live with another. After that, they blur together. There were at least two more on camera walk throughs. Two newspaper IMG_2365interview/walkthroughs. And Dave says there was a radio interview also, but I have no memory of that. There was also a news conference in Beech Grove City Hall to announce some grants the city received for their drug education program, but we weren’t part of that. I did attend and got to sit for a minute and managed to not nod off.

I found that it’s a very narrow and somewhat tricky path to navigate. We want the media to help us get the word out about the trailer, but we don’t want them to show all of what is on the tour/in the trailer. Because if everything is shown on tv, why would anyone want to come and see it in person? I was deliberately keeping a few things from the news gals in the early morning, but somehow one of them heard about it and she brought it up, so I had to go along and show it. We do have one display of all the various drug paraphernalia we show, all in one place, and we asked that it not be shown. And I asked one tv reporter to be sure and say there was more to be seen and to please come and see the trailer itself and take the tour. He said he would.

Everyone, from the media to the city hall people, to the moms and dads who took the tour, all were very impressed and eager to tell others.

IMG_2368A major wrinkle in the day was a rainstorm. We had cardboard boxes of supplies stacked outside the trailer. Dave and another gentleman dashed to a nearby auto supply store for a tarp to cover them, but they still got pretty wet. We moved the tables of totes and water bottles into the trailer. The good thing about the rain is the humidity finally broke and the late afternoon and evening were quite pleasant.

The event officially ended at 2. We packed up with the consultant’s help, hitched the truck to the trailer and headed back to the hotel. Once parked and unhitched, we couldn’t bring ourselves to go out again for dinner. Breakfast had been a Starbucks coffee and sous vide egg bites at 6 am on the sidewalk beside the trailer. Lunch was a piece of beef jerky and pretzels on the sidewalk beside the trailer. We’d planned a nice dinner, but we were beat. Door Dash to the rescue. I ordered dinner from a local Italian place and we ate on the patio outside the back of the hotel. It was just what we needed.

Our next event is a farmer’s market on Thursday.

Unfortunately, the Indianapolis Colts Training Camp event has not worked out. We’re not sure where we’ll be after Thursday. If there’s more to do in Indiana, we’ll stay here. If there’s nothing else booked, we’ll head to Minnesota for the trailer’s next event at the Minnesota Farm Fest.

We’re planning a low-key day tomorrow. Laundry. Work. I’l post links as they become available. Thank you for your prayers! They were definitely felt today!!

 

Adventure Day 7

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Another day that started out so nice and calm and lovely and ENDED IN A CRAZY FRENZY OF *%$#&**%& what just happened??

We joined our local and long time friends Lyndel and Carrie Moe at their church then we all went to lunch at a BBQ place called Big Hoffa’s BBQ. And, I’m sorry to say, I was so hungry that I once again forgot to take any pictures. We got a sampler platter that we all shared. Brisket, ribs, rib tips, mac & cheese, garlic rolls (to die for!) and seasoned french fries. All fabulous.

Then we went back to the hotel in a food coma. Dave stretched out on the bed to “study,” but soon fell asleep. I read for a bit. We got an email saying we had a go-ahead to take the trailer to the venue for tomorrow’s event, a city hall in a small town, Beech Grove, surrounded by the greater metropolis of Indianapolis, about 30 minutes away from us.

Dave woke around 4, and we hooked up the trailer and headed out. Except my trusty Google maps app showed an accident on the freeway was causing a significant delay, about 20 minutes. There were two alternate routes. Greater Indianapolis is surrounded by a freeway, the 465. It goes East, West, North and South. I’m not kidding. One of the alternate routes just took the 465 the opposite direction. That was about 10 minutes longer. The other alternate route went straight through Indianapolis and was only about 6 minutes longer. So … I chose that one. The other two routes, I cross-checked with our trucker/RV/annoying-harpy-app. (Remember her from yesterday?) But I neglected to check the through-town route with her. (You see where this is going, right?)

Sure enough. We were 3 miles from our destination (after going through some reeeeaaallly sketchy neighborhoods and narrow residential roads with low hanging branches), Dave looked ahead, and there’s an overpass we have to go under labeled 10′ 7″. The trailer is 13′ 5″. Uh oh. The trucker/RV/annoying-harpy app knows our dimensions. *&^%#&(^@$!!!! Though no one actually swore.

And by God’s grace, Dave saw it in time. So we pulled into a parking lot and I opened the trucker/RV/annoying-harpy app and she was able to get us there without much further incidence. In a bit of poetic justice, we had to stop for seven minutes for a train that if we were three and a half feet lower, we could have avoided by going under the bridge on the original route.

But anyway …

We made it to the venue, only to discover that the parking directions we’d been given were for a one-way street and we’d be facing the wrong way. Sigh. I had a phone number for a local contact to call. Which I did. And she ignored it. Because it was an unfamiliar number at 6 pm on a Sunday. I get it. I left a message. She called me right back. She’s local, so came over right away. We showed her our dilemma. The trailer has doors on one side. The wrong side for the one way street. We decided to pull the trailer around the wrong way.

Our plan had been to set the trailer up completely, do a couple of practice tours with each other. By then, it was almost 7 pm. Rain was predicted for 7 pm. Clouds were gathering. We unhooked the trailer from the truck. We put up cones to save a spot for the truck tomorrow. And so much for any practicing. We left.

We have to be back there at 4 am tomorrow.

The good news is that the accident was on the opposite side of the freeway, so we could use the freeway to go back to our hotel. The bad news is that we could see there will be freeway construction going on in the middle of the night. Just when we need to be coming back. So we’ll be taking the second freeway option in the morning.

As we pulled off the freeway for our hotel, we passed a White Castle. Another non-California (or non-Central Valley?? chain) that we’d planned to visit. We’ve heard good and bad about it, but decided to pick up some sliders and have a quick dinner in our room. We just ate, and now we’re going to bed. We have to be up at 2:30, to leave by 3:00. We want to be on site by 3:30-3:35, because we still have to set up the trailer (which we didn’t do tonight–see above re: parking, one-way street, and rain woes) and be ready to go by 4 am. So no pictures for today’s post. I did take a few, but … good night!!

 

 

The Adventure: Day 6

Saturday, July 20, 2019. Day 6.

The usual Holiday Inn Express Breakfast. We’re near a big sports center, so there are a lot of teenage athletes here for various tournaments. We’ve seen baseball players and basketball players, male and female, here. They load up on the breakfast, shovel it in, and stumble back out.

After breakfast, we took a walk. We found out there’s a park right behind our hotel with IMG_2261a short path connecting the two. We walked about a mile, wandering some really lovely trails as well as a IMG_2260wide asphalt road. There was a swing overlooking a creek, so we sat for a moment, enjoying the green and the water.

 

Back at the hotel, we looked up the nearest truck wash and decided that was today’s project. After hooking up the truck and trailer, (our second time on our own–it’s getting easier), putting the address into my phone, we headed north.

Dave had talked to a couple of friends yesterday who had experience pulling trailers and he’d made a couple of adjustments. He felt better about how the truck and trailer felt today, compared to our trip here on Thursday. I could also feel the difference. We felt more stable, there was less swaying/fishtailing. So thank you, guys!

The scenery on the way was beautiful! Green. Lots of corn. Small farms. Small towns. We passed a small executive airport. An old cemetery. Lots of brick homes. I normally read while we’re driving, but not today.

On our way to the truck wash, we saw a Menard’s. We’d been told it was the local place to go for hardware. Kind of a cross between Home Depot and Fresno Ag. We pulled in and made our purchases. Some more boards for letting the trailer rest on when it’s unhooked. Some towels for wiping ourselves down after hooking up (have I mentioned the heat and humidity?) Dave needed a few minor supplies (washers, a drill bit). Then back to the truck.

We found the truck wash, about thirty minutes away from our hotel, without any trouble. We had to wait a few minutes for them to finish up the garbage truck ahead of us. They didn’t offer a towel off or drying service, so we hopped on the nearby freeway, hoping to blow off the worst of the water and reduce spotting. We only went a few miles and quickly turned around. The winds had picked up, so we didn’t feel quite as stable as earlier.

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By then, it was 2:00 and we were hungry. Again. How odd. Considering we’d had breakfast 6+ hours earlier, walked a mile, hooked up a trailer in 80% humidity and driven 30 miles.

There was a Steak & Shake back by the truck wash, so we exited there and parked. Steak & Shake had been on our radar to try so it was meant to be. Except we seemed to have caught them at the end of a rush. We waited about fifteen minutes for a table. It was worth it. The burgers were really good. They advertise steak in the burgers (of course) and they did have a great flavor, a nice char, and the toppings were fresh and there was a wide variety to choose from. We were so hungry, I forgot to take a picture. We both had a pretty basic burger. I had a single cheeseburger. Dave had a double bacon cheeseburger. We shared some fries. We were less impressed with the fries. We agreed the burger can easily hang with an In ‘n Out, but In ‘n Out’s fries are far superior. Dave had coleslaw which he also liked and compared to KFC’s. And since we were at Steak & Shake, well … it’s in the name, so we had to. We chose the Reese’s Chocolate Peanut Butter shake and it was amazing. Thick, chocolatey and peanut buttery. Alas, no picture of that either.

Because of the trailer, our trainers had recommended we use a different map app. One that would tell us if there were roads we couldn’t take the trailer down. I decided to use that app for the way back to the hotel, since I already knew the way. It was incredibly annoying. My phone is synced to the truck’s stereo/navigation system. We had the radio on, but instead of interrupting the radio to tell us something the app would just stop the radio, tell us the info and not return to the radio. Argh. Then when it was time to get off the freeway, it gave contradictory information and we missed our exit. The written directions said to take Exit 129B, but the map (and the street we knew we were on said we should have taken 129A). I was looking at the written directions, so we missed it and had to be rerouted. By then, I was D.O.N.E. with that app and opened my trusty Google Maps. I have a lovely British female voice give me directions and she immediately told me exactly where to exit and turn around. I closed the annoying app.

Except it refused to close! I exited the thing. I did the swipe up to close. I did everything I know to exit/close/shutdown an app, short of restarting my phone. So we had my lovely British Google Maps friend directing us, as well as a rude, mechanical-voiced harpy telling us to “TURN AROUND NOW.”

We managed to tune her out and made it back to the hotel, albeit a bit frazzled. We parked and proceeded to unhook. Dave said to time him, so I set the stopwatch.

We did it together (sort of–he does the heavy lifting) and did it in just shy of ten minutes. Then we got back to our room and collapsed. It was 4:00. It took us pretty much all day to get one 32′ trailer washed. Oh, and it’s covered in water spots. So, it’s not ready for its television appearance on Monday.

Sigh.