with Lorelle and Brent VanFossen

On the Road – Day One to Alabama

We finally hit the road. It’s been two and a half weeks of trials and tribulations trying to get things fixed, debating on what must be fixed now and what can wait, and fixing the must-fixes in time to leave. We are one day behind schedule and there is much unfinished, but the must-fixes are done and we headed out today for Alabama.

Brent’s parents have been the absolute heros of out entire adventure to get ready to hit the road. For the past five years, they have checked on the truck and trailer in storage not far from their home at least every two months. Upon our return, they have worked over time to help us with the must-fixes, getting some of them done even before we arrived. Brent’s dad had the truck towed to a shop and had all the brakes done, windshield replaced, valves, tune-up, belts, hoses, all replaced and fixed so the truck runs great. New battery, everything all fixed up. Amazing. So when we arrived, it was drivable and we’ve only had minor things to fix on it, like new tires. There are other things needing fixing, but those are “later-fixes”. It’s drivable and safe.

So most of our must-fixes have revolved around the trailer itself since the truck is doing fine.

Monday morning, Brent’s mother and I spent the whole morning cleaning our dishes since we still didn’t have water in the trailer, but Brent and his dad got that finally fixed Monday afternoon and Tuesday was spent putting everything last minute away (except for two days of clothes and computer stuff still at the house) and fixing the last of the last minute items, and then rush back to the house for a last dinner with his family and sister, Lisa, and her two boys. We got to bed too late, cleaning everything up last minute, vacuuming the floors and cleaning out the bathroom and everything upstairs so we’d leave it nice for the next guests.

Wednesday morning, we finished up the cleaning and packing, loaded up the truck and headed for the trailer. We packed it up and got everything ready to close up the slideout and move, then headed to the storage unit for a last look see for anything we can’t leave behind and to clean it up for the arrival of our stuff from Israel that should be here in two months or so. We found two plastic bins that we used to keep our water hoses and odds and ends in. My goodness, talk about your walk down memory lane!

Evidence of the mouse who ate the plastic bin and half our trailerOne of the plastic bins had been eaten up by a huge rat that had invaded our trailer for over a month while we roamed around Florida, chasing birds outside and (what we through were) mice inside. We finally killed the huge thing after giving it a free tour of Florida and running out of more gentle options, but we still have evidence of his impact on our life. How funny to find that we still had the container the bugger had chewed into, consuming most of what was inside and edible – to the mouse but not to us. He’d eaten up paint brush bristles, the In our small basement compartment, our heat ducts feature taped up holes from the ratplastic on wiring, everything plastic, and chewed up wood and who knows what else. We’re still living with the duct taped damage from the rat eating his way through our heating ducts, using it as a passage way through the trailer. It’s been seven years and we are still finding the reminders he left behind.

Brent holds up one of the completely rotted away spray cansInside one of the plastic bins, Brent found two spray bottles, one of a cleaning solution for the engine and another paint can that had completely rusted their bottoms away and rotted. Their fluids had drained all over everything in the non-draining plastic bins and rusted and ruined the plastic and metal items. Whatever they were, and some we couldn’t recognize, we tossed in the garbage, including the bins. Ugh.

Brent goes through our bins to find rusted and rotted itemsBut we did find some hoses and other items in really good shape, and two of the bins are still good, so we were thrilled with that find, saving us some money in replacing electrical extension cables and other parts and pieces. We’ve spent a ton of money on little bits and pieces that needed fixing and replacing, though when I add it all up, I don’t think it will be as much as I think. It just feels like it. Our bank balance is getting lower and lower as the days roll on.

We cleaned out the back of the truck that had gotten junky with parts and pieces needed for a trailer since we’d kinda tossed them in as we found them, cleaned up the storage room to make more room for the stuff coming in from Israel in a couple of months, then loaded up our bikes and returned to the trailer.

Brent’s parents met us there, heros they are, with hamburgers from Braums. Braums wins our best of the very best hamburgers and ice cream (and everything) from everywhere in the world that we have traveled. I’ll have more about them later.

We ate lunch together, wedged in the trailer among the last minute things stuffed into the trailer, then loaded up the bikes inside and started the process of readying the trailer.

I’ll go into more depth about the moving-the-trailer process later, but basically, it is a step-by-step process to make sure that every latch is closed so cupboards don’t go flying, make sure that every part and parcel is tied down, latched or secured so it doesn’t go flying, and that all the power is shut off on everything that has power in the trailer. We check inside and out multiple times, and then hook up the truck to the trailer and test the lights and brakes, and then start to move.

It felt good to get just about everything right on the first time through. Brent’s mother, a veteran of trailers and motor homes, went around behind me to make sure I got it all, which really helped because I could talk through the process with her to make sure nothing was missed. Brent’s dad helped him outside. We got it ready and then slid the slide out in.

Now, this was Kohav’s first time in the trailer. She had a good ole time running up and down and jumping on the table and desk, checking out everything, but the slideout was new. She rode on it under the kitchen table, her eyes wide and golden, terrified to move, but liking the sensation anyway. There is a lot new to her now and it will take a little time to get her used to this new life on the road.

We picked her up and put her in the truck, did the final checks, and then headed out.

Brent’s mom was crying as we left, and I know it is hard for them to watch us go. I swear, they spend more time watching us leave than we spend with them. I know it isn’t true, and they are thrilled that we aren’t so far away now, but it is still hard for them to be away from Brent and Brent to be away from them.

As we left, I asked the critical questions that have defined our trip since day one.

“Are we there yet?”

“Nope.”

“Is it still behind us?”

Brent looked carefully in the rear view mirror and considered his answer. Then with the sly grin that I adore, he announced, “Yep.”

We were on the road again.

Lorelle
Tulsa, Oklahoma to anywhere in Arkansas

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