Tuesday, April 17, 2018

South Padre Island Spring ‘18

By Uncle Hans

Since this is an RV blog, I thought I would write about our recent 3600 mile trip to South Padre Island.  This was our 13th RV trip to Texas in 8 years.  This was the view of our driveway as we opened the big barn doors to leave at 0300hrs.


13th trip and departing into an ongoing snowstorm in April? 

Shoulda figured this was going to be an adventure.....

.......This trip was a little different because we took the cat, Cyrus.  He is normally well behaved and very quiet.  But he cried loudly for the first two hours, while I was white-knuckling in the snowstorm.  Then he settled down for the last three hours of white-knuckling....into Iowa, where the weather seems to always be difficult.  We later learned to put him in the closet, which he liked.  He also like to lay on the dash. 


     Because it is wider in back than in front, it is a challenge to miss debris on the road.  I saw a rock the size of a tennis ball on the road and swerved to miss.  I missed the front wheels but hit the rear wheel pretty squarely.  Didn't think much of it at the time, there are many, many potholes with more impact than that rock.  But, at the next gas stop, I noticed  the tire was low.  I aired it up and made it another 500 miles before I decided to get it looked at in Victoria, Texas, since there are limited services available on the island.  Turned out to be a

.....The aluminum rim was cracked in two places and causing a slow leak.  I stopped at a Discount Tire place, which is a national franchise, I think.  They mounted the spare and refused to take any money, even unmounted the tire and placed it in the spare tire storage. 


Wow!!  I thought.  That was a great deal  (......story "to be continued"....)

good call....... ......The weather was spotty, mostly cool and rainy.  I made the trip to Progresso with Ed and Judy, and we visited Arturo, Ed's golfing buddy who owns a  "Farmacia".  I walked up to the last big building on the North end, way past Clayton's. I ran into this little shark, on the end of a fishing line, catching a little sun on the beach.   And we met these birds, who you may meet sometime down the line as well......


.....On the day before we were to leave, Renee saw the bad weather news on the TV.  There was a big storm brewing, for the whole middle of the country, starting early the next morning.  We stalled until noon the next day to try to run behind it.  We just missed the tornado warning area in Dallas, but caught plenty of Thunder and lightening, wind and downpour.  We ran in strong wind all day.  We boondocked (camped in a Walmart parking lot for free) in Denton, Texas, where we had stopped before.  Next morning, we drove in wind and intermittent rain all the way to where it changed to freezing rain, icy roads and snow.....you guessed it.....in Iowa!  The RV, with the 750 lbs of rack and motorcycle hanging off the back, is a challenge to drive on DRY roads................ YIKES!! 


     We could get no further than Owatonna, Minnesota for another boondock......


......the next morning we were off, only 150 miles to go.  But the blizzard was still raging, and the roads were iffy, at best.  Not much traffic, though....LOL!  We snuck through the Twin Cities, and the roads actually started to improve as we went north.

     We thought we had it made.....home free.....when the RV started making an ominous noise.....and then CRACK!......uncontrolled swerve and skid on a snowpacked two-land road at 50 mph........"steer in the direction of the skid"....now the other way!.....I hope no one is coming in the other lane!.....coming to rest pretty much on the center line......silence........ lucky we were still alive.

      The wheel that had been worked on for "free" had BROKEN OFF without warning.



......I called 911, then called an old buddy (and patient), Jock.  When you have had as many scrapes as Neil and I have, you develop a "network" of "old buddies" in the rescue business.  The RV ended up in the heated shop, awaiting repair to a broken wheel, brake caliper damage, new wheel and tire.

15 miles from home.....


Renee tells me she has done the last of her RVing.  Her first choice for the November trip is flying, followed by a second choice:......


 Uncle Hans