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Friday, October 15, 2010

CHARGE - TO THE REAR

When Very young, I remember reading someplace about a military commander facing certain defeat commands:

CHARGE LADS...TO THE REAR

And so, I learned the two faces of defeat...lay down your weapons and raise your hands; OR,

CHARGE LADS...TO THE REAR

It is Wednesday, October 13, 2001: Just off Colorado Highway #52, 30 miles North of Denver.

My great dreams of completing my walk to Key West with Jodi leading the way simply crashed and burned...and I had NO idea why.

It was VERY dark when I made my oatmeal, washed my dishes as Jodi taught me (rinse with HOT water), and drove out of Char's Ranch.

When Sol rose, I was at Johnnie's Corner, next door to RV AMERICA, where I purchased SPIA. I ate a BIG breakfast. They were celebrating the 1950's, and ALL menu items were $0.58 (Yes, 58 cents). I even ordered and ate the entire gigantic Cinnamon Roll (said to be known the world over).

I then drove over to Loveland, Colorado, where T & T Tires is located. They opened at 7 am. Said my tires were special and had to be ordered...from where, I ask...Denver...

Won't be delivered until tomorrow afternoon, tho.

I'll drive to Denver & pick 'em up

Another gentlemen sitting in the back was clicking away on his computer...caught the truck just as it is leaving...how many tires you want...TWO I shout. OK, should be here by 2 pm.

One thing this walk has taught me...you want something, do NOT take the first "NO" for final. Push a bit and miracles often do happen.

First guy did not look too pleased to be over ruled.

So, waiting for the tires, off I went to get materials from LOWES to repair the damage to the underside of SPIA. When the tire blew, it shredded the metal undercoating of the camper body (to keep water out of the plywood framing), and severed the House Battery "HOT" line and the air lines to the rear Shocks.

Found what I needed to do the repairs, but did not have a proper power drill to put screws through the sheet metal. Asked T & T Tires if they would set the screws while up on the hoist.

15 minutes after the tires arrived by courier from Denver, my tires were mounted and I was ready to roll...

What about setting my screws and splicing my House Battery "Hot" wire?

NO TIME. We are too busy

But, Bu..B.....

I thanked them, paid the $250.00 and drove off, wondering if I dare drive 1,800 miles over the Rocky Mountains without repairing the damage.

Driving back to I-25, I see another RV business. On the spur of the moment (was really automatic...like a salmon instinctly going up HIS birth river, or that flock of honkers flying South from their Arctic "Birthing" grounds...SPIA turns in...I really had nothing to do with it...just sat there, tongue on my shoe.

Tim comes out...takes a look. James comes out...takes a look. Tim goes back to his office. James comes back with some tools. OK, Bruce...you should be outta here a 10 or so.

Actually, it took 15 minutes for James to make ALL the repairs, including re-tinning for waterproofing.

I walked into the office. James is done, Tim. What is the damage.

How bout $10.00, Tim says.

I have to force the words out, my throat is so choked up and my eyes fill will tears.

How 'bout $40.00 I reply; and Tim...Please give some to James....OMG where have you guys been hiding.

Now, unashamedly, tears are really running down my face...

You have no idea what you have just done, Tim....(Typing it was easier than saying it)

We try to do what we would like if we were you...not a big deal really...

Now, I really break down...Sniffling, I stagger back to SPIA, manage to start her up, and slide her out into the traffic, not looking back.

I gas up at Cheyenne and head West on I-80.

I pull off at Laramie. Wyoming. I slip SPIA into a secluded spot next to the train tracks and at 6:30 pm, I am sound asleep. At 4 am, I get up, make my oatmeal, and in pitch black coax SPIA out onto I-80 West. We stop a couple time for gas (she gets 16.6 mpg...not bad for an old lady - 1987 ) and end up in the Ranch Yard of Ed Price in Adrian, Oregon (not far from Boise, Idaho) Do we get around or What...

Remember Ed Price, Betty, and Lee? Well these three have been my near constant companions over the past 3 months or so - ever since Ed picked SAM & ME off Oregon 201 what seem like eons ago.

Ed and Lee had steaks all cooked up with sweet potato fries and those other kind of puffy potatoes...AND a can of BEER...Yum Yum.

Being it was VERY late (remember, I don't see so good in the dark and I missed a couple turns)and Ed had to GCA me in for 10 miles or so), we chatted for a bit and turned in. (What is GCA...please Google it...has to do with airplanes).

At 4:30 am, I cooked up my oatmeal, did a "Jodi" cleanup - HOT rinse and all - and at 5:30 am, quietly guided SPIA (actually, the GPS did the guiding...as I could not see the road in the dark) back onto Oregon 201 and up to Ontario. Gassed up SPIA and headed up I-84. Crossed the Columbia River just before noon, and arrived in Bellingham just as ole' SOL slipped behind the Olympic Mountains (remember them guys give Bellingham the "cone of protection").

I now sit at my desk in my home overlooking beautiful Lake Whatcom. I'm working on my table top computer, so pics (which are in HP Mini) must wait til tomorrow.

My "lady" came home from a meeting..."HI"...and no face to be seen...no "How ya do'n"

OMG it must be true

What Goes Around Comes Around...we been friends over 35 years and living together that past 10 years...

Thank goodness for Oklahoma Cows...at least THEY talk to me.

1 comment:

DJan said...

I am so sorry to hear that it has ended like this, Bruce. But it was a great try, with lots of adventures. I hope you will keep this blog going, as I find it very interesting, and your writing and pictures are outstanding. You have my email if you want to write to me privately. I am sending you a virtual hug, can you feel it??