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This is going to be a long journal entry (divided into three parts) because we did ALOT in May. No time for opening jokes so put on your safety helmet, take some Dramamine and attach your eyes to the screen!
Honey, have you seen the duct tape?
The first couple days of May included us getting ready to leave USI RV park. We were happy to be moving on to the next adventure but sad to leave our new found friends. We said our goodbyes, hooked up the car, and the stairs broke. Yep, you read that right; our RV stairs would not retract. They were attempting to but it appeared that an internal component of the motor was broken. We were left trying to come up with ideas on how to keep the stairs up while driving. Fortunately, one of the residents of the park graciously provided us with bailing wire. He informed us that he always has bailing wire while traveling. You never know when you will come across enough random hay to make a bale or two… just kidding! I know why he packs it and I have to remember to do the same.
We wired our steps shut and that prompted another round of goodbyes from everyone. I will admit, it was emotional and I cried a little… manly tears though… like testosterone filled dew drops on my face. So…anyway…after the hallmark commercial, we headed off towards Michigan.
We tried something a little different with this trip. We only planned travel days of no more than 150 miles. We hoped that this would alleviate some of the stress of traveling. Once we got on the road, we realized we needed wipers for the rig. Rain was projected over the next several days and one of the blades was rather weathered. This wouldn’t be a problem, we figured, since our first overnight stay was going to be a Walmart. Our fist day of driving was unremarkable and we arrived safely at Walmart and slept.
I am the Viper…I vipe the vindows!
The next morning we went into Walmart and purchased a set of wiper blades. Upon getting to the RV, we realized that the J-hook on our rig was of a larger size. We took the wiper blades back into Walmart and had an attendant help us find a bigger one. After exchanging them, we attempted another wiper installation…no luck…these were too small, also. We decided to just return them altogether and try an auto parts store. We got on the road figuring we would see an auto parts store on our travels; sure enough we found one. Those wipers didn’t fit either. At this point, we decided to go to an RV place.
We set our GPS to the nearest Camping World along our route and kept driving. We were able to find wipers at the Camping World and purchased a set of portable folding steps (our temporary steps until we could fix the automatic ones). They gave us $25 off the total prices since they couldn’t find the part for our stairs. I wasn’t upset with them, but they said we were so patient. We took our wipers to the rig and slid them on… just kidding. Wish it was that easy; they didn’t fit. We brought them back, they apologized and gave us a refund, only the refund still included the $25 off and we ended up being refunded for the stairs and the wipers plus 2 cents. I informed them of their error and they just shrugged and said the transaction was done. Wohoo! Free steps!
Happy with our step investment, and sad from the wiper debacle, we headed off. It was time to find out what sort of blades would fit our wipers. I did a Google search and found the wipers that would fit. Now it was a game of finding who had those wipers. We found a Camping World in Missouri that carried them. We were a day away, so we stayed at a Travel America and made it first thing in the morning. I disconnected our step motor in the parking lot of the Camping World in order to see if we could match it while we were there.
They had the wipers! They fit!
What comes apart must be put back together.
Unfortunately, they did not have the motor. The guy in the parts department said it looked very similar to a window motor for a car. Another Google search led me to believe it was in fact a window motor for a 95 Ford Taurus. Now I just had to find someone who carried it. As it turns out there was an Auto Zone in St Louis which was where we were headed.
The part matched and I laid underneath the rig in a parking lot for about 45 minutes getting it all together. It would have taken me less time, but my taking-apart skills far exceed my putting-back-together skills (i.e. I couldn’t remember how the heck it all went back together). I prevailed in the end (with some problem solving help from Natalie) and we had functioning steps again!
We were flying high and all was right with the world! We had our wipers (which took us five stores and two states to get) and functioning stairs! We drove through St Louis like we owned the place and headed to our first RV park of the trip.
Umm…Let’s get out of here.
Our park for the night, or so we thought, was called Safari RV park. We called many times before arriving and there was no answer. We showed up and the place did not look safe. Let’s put it this way, we had been staying in truck stops and Walmart parking lots up until this point and we would not stay here. There was no answer at any door that looked like an office. No office was clearly labeled. No one came out to help. We drove the rig to the end of the row only to realize it didn’t loop around. This meant we had to take the car off the dolly in order to back up. This would not have been a problem if we weren’t in a seedy looking park in the middle of nowhere.
We accomplished the task as quickly as possible. We hooked up the car and found the door to the rig was locked. Our trusty dog Brewy had jumped on the door and hit the lock. Choice words were said; we were now stuck in an RV park that we were hoping to vacate quickly. Fifteen minutes later I had successfully broken into the RV. No one came out of their rigthe entire time we were there.
We used Allstays to find another RV park. **As a note, we have found Allstays to be very valuable on our travels! It tells us where to locate free parking sites, labels clearance on bridges, and finds propane stations. Check it out!
We were able to find an RV park called Cahokia RV Parque not too far away. They were a bit pricier but the park was well kept and had many amenities. It was a warm welcome after the long adventure we had just getting this far. We rolled out the slides and prepared to relax for a couple of nights. We planned to meet up with Natalie’s friend, Keren. Little did we know that the next day would be a whirlwind tour of the city of St Louis by our personal tour guide. Tune in next week for part two.