Terrible End to a Trip — Where was Chevy Chase?

Vacation1983Looking back, it’s a little funny, but then it wasn’t.

We had been gone from home almost 7 weeks, traveling from Arkansas to as far away as Great Falls, Montana, with great stops along the way.

Our last night of camping was September 27, 2007 at a  KOA at El Reno, Oklahoma.  Although night-time temperatures were forecast warmer that we had seen during the trip, we decided not to use the air-conditioning.

Feeling a bit a little2007 09 27 030ed chilled during the night, I thought it was due to cool air coming in the open windows, but, in the morning, after I had been up for a while, I realized I was sick from something.

We considered staying another night because I was feeling bad, but I thought we just should head on home – even after spending time in the bathroom being sick.

I’d rather be sick at home than sick in a camper at a travel campground next to the interstate when we were only about 4 hours from home.

So I just toughed my way through getting set to leave, though I guess I was actually pretty wimpy about it. We did manage to hit the road a little after 10 A.M.

I drove as Karen had never driven the truck when we pulled our fifth wheel trailer.

I assumed I was sick because of something I ate.

i40The Oklahoma rock-and-roll, bumpity-bump interstate highways didn’t help with how I was feeling. I’ve never had motion sickness before, but it seemed to aggravate whatever was wrong with me.

We made it though Oklahoma City and stopped at the first travel first rest area after it,  just past Shawnee heading east.  I was sick again in the men’s rest room.  When I came out,  I laid down on the seat of one of the picnic tables for a while.

At the rest area just before the Arkansas state line, I was sick again.  I laid down on our bed in the camper and got about 15 minutes of sleep.

Our next stop was home – and more problems.

We knew we had a problem with the water line to the refrigerator. Our daughter and her boyfriend had found the leak right after it started several weeks ago.  They had managed to stop it and Karen’s brother had stopped by to check on it later, so we hadn’t worried.

Unfortunately, somehow, the refrigerator got unplugged — so we had stuff in the refrigerator and the freezer that hadn’t been cooled in weeks during an Arkansas late summer with the air conditioning turned off.

Pheewww!

Even after Karen tossed all of it out, the refrigerator and freezer still stunk.

Meantime, I was in the bathroom again, being sick.

After we got home, Karen had turned on the water heater at the breaker panel.  A while later, she yelled that there was water spraying out of the water heater – it  was actually the pressure relief valve opening at too low a pressure.

Forgetting that I had installed isolation valves at the water heater, I opened faucets in the bathroom to cut the pressure and headed under the house to isolate the main water line.

When I got there, I heard water splashing.

All  the water going into the bathroom sink was spilling out on the ground under the house from a drain line break.

Fortunately, we had dumped the camper’s waste water tanks at the KOA, so we had the camper restroom available.  Because of the sewer complications, we decided to sleep in the camper – just in case we needed to go in the middle of the night.

sickAfter discovering all of this, I still wasn’t feeling well.  I had a slight fever and a bad headache.  I hadn’t eaten much, just a couple of peanut butter crackers and a few more after getting home.


So where’s Chevy Chase when you need him? This trip ending reminded us of the Clark Griswold’s calamities it National Lampoon’s Vacation – just not as funny when bad stuff is really happening.


This article is a rewrite of a post, Terrible End to Our Trip — Shades of National Lampoon’s Vacation, first published on Haw Creek on the day it all happened, September 28, 2007.

We still have the refrigerator, but bought a new one shortly after this incident.  The old one is in storage in the workshop.

The water heater was an easy fix – replaced the relief valve.

I completely replaced almost all the drain lines under the house from where each line comes through the floor to where it goes into the ground to the septic tank.

While I remembered each calamity of the day, until I came across this while working on the new website, I had forgotten that they all happened the same day.  Of course, I’m sure I waited until I felt better before fixing anything.

Image sources:

  1. National Lampoon Vacation image from Wikipedia, © 1983 Warner Bros. Pictures – included link in image to Amazon should anyone visiting here want to buy a copy; I’m not affiliated with Amazon at this time.
  2. Oklahoma, US 281 overpass over I40, evening of September 27, 2007
  3. I-40 Westbound in Oklahoma – by Brian; Creative Commons License: License  Some rights reserved by NCReedplayer; no changes have been made to the image
  4. Sick – by Claus Rebler; Creative Commons License:  Some rights reserved by Claus Rebler; no changes have been made to the image.
arkansas, around home, camping, haw creek, life, oklahoma, on the road, travel
15 comments… add one
  • Hilary Mar 26, 2014

    Hi Mike – well that was a roller coaster of a ride with so many incidents .. actually probably a good thing happening in one day – rather than being spread across a few months …

    But the fridge and freezer off story … very unfortunate and very pongy! I bet you had some sleep before you got to tackling the breakages … though as you couldn’t move back in til they were fixed I guess you got on with it …

    All’s well that ends well .. cheers Hilary
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    • Mike Mar 26, 2014

      We don’t generally worry too much about our place when we travel. Given what happened with this one, you’d think we would. My feeling is that we’ll deal with it when we get home. Since our daughter and her hubby moved back to this area from Little Rock, they’ll be able to check on things more when we’re gone.

      (Had to look up pongy. Sometimes, the same language isn’t quite the same. 😉 )
      Mike recently posted…Haunted?My Profile

  • Hilary Mar 26, 2014

    I then had to look up the alternative .. think I got it – but I’ll stay away for now! Cheers and yes having family nearby helps … Hilary
    Hilary recently posted…Aspects of British Coasts: 2014 A – Z …My Profile

  • Rummuser Mar 26, 2014

    Phew! I wonder if you have the saying that we have here – “It never rains, it pours.” Tailor made for the kind of day that you had. Another saw – “All is well that ends well.”
    Rummuser recently posted…Amadeus.My Profile

    • Mike Mar 26, 2014

      Yes, of course — those go way, way back

      Found this:

      A proverbial phrase. The origin is unknown but the phrase itself was known by the early 18th century; for example, this item from a work by John Arbuthnot, 1726:

      It cannot rain but it pours; or London strow’d with rarities.

      and this

      This is, of course, best known from the Shakespeare play, but it was a proverb before it was a play title.

      John Heywood included it in A dialogue conteinyng the nomber in effect of all the prouerbes in the Englishe tongue, 1546:

      Lovers live by love, ye as larkes live by leekes
      Saied this Ales, muche more then halfe in mockage.
      Tushe (quoth mine aunte) these lovers in dotage
      Thinke the ground beare them not, but wed of corage
      They must in all haste, though a leafe of borage
      Might by all the substance that they can fell.
      Well aunt (quoth Ales) all is well that endes well.

      Shakespeare was well acquainted with Heywood’s work and wrote All’s Well That Ends Well in 1601. It is not only as the title of the play, but line appears in the text too.

      HELENA:
      Yet, I pray you:
      But with the word the time will bring on summer,
      When briers shall have leaves as well as thorns,
      And be as sweet as sharp. We must away;
      Our wagon is prepared, and time revives us:
      All’s well that ends well; still the fine’s the crown;
      Whate’er the course, the end is the renown.

      Mike recently posted…Haunted?My Profile

  • Grannymar Mar 26, 2014

    Not a day you would like to repeat! Glad it you lived to tell the tale.
    Grannymar recently posted…The ‘E’s of lifeMy Profile

    • Mike Mar 26, 2014

      Even one of those things would have made the return home a bad day. I’m still amazed that it was apparently so bad I blocked out the memory that it was all on the same day.
      Mike recently posted…Haunted?My Profile

  • Alan G Mar 26, 2014

    You had my sympathy almost from the start. I’m not sure I was able to ever visualize the humor in your situation as compared to that of Chevy’s road trip! Of course, things of this nature can always be viewed with a lot more humor at a much, much later date. 🙂
    Alan G recently posted…The Infamous Georgia Hedge Fly….My Profile

    • Mike Mar 26, 2014

      I guess the humor was in the thought of all of it happening to someone like Clark Griswold — or Cousin Eddie — who would laugh it off and move on to the next calamity.

  • Cheerful Monk Mar 26, 2014

    Wow! No wonder you blocked part of it out. At least you had the camper to stay in. I’m glad your daughter and her husband are close enough to check on things now.
    Cheerful Monk recently posted…The Meaning of LifeMy Profile

    • Mike Mar 26, 2014

      Yes, that’ll be better with them in the area. Of course we still haven’t made any definite plans for our next trip or trips. Probably two of them, one in this state and/or neighboring states and then, later in the year, up north to visit our other daughter and her little family (and do some more exploring while we are there).
      Mike recently posted…Haunted?My Profile

  • Betsy Mar 27, 2014

    Holy buckets! I’d have wanted to flee! Sounds like your spirit would have been willing, but the flesh was weak. 😉
    Betsy recently posted…Things to do in Orlando (besides Disney World)My Profile

    • Mike Mar 27, 2014

      It was just a matter of waiting out being sick, which was just til the next day and then fixing everything.

  • nick Mar 28, 2014

    I would have wanted to flee too. I’m hopeless at all those DIY things, I’d have to get someone round to fix them. And just the thought of all that stinking, rotten food – yuk! I hope the vacation was worth the aftermath.
    nick recently posted…Under the influenceMy Profile

    • Mike Mar 28, 2014

      Hi Nick — Yes, it was actually quite a good “vacation.” And, fortunately, Karen took care the bad food. I am not good with stuff that smells bad.
      Mike recently posted…Identify the movie this is related to.My Profile

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