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 little 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.
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.
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.
After 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.
- 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.
- Oklahoma, US 281 overpass over I40, evening of September 27, 2007
- I-40 Westbound in Oklahoma – by Brian; Creative Commons License: License Some rights reserved by NCReedplayer; no changes have been made to the image
- Sick – by Claus Rebler; Creative Commons License: Some rights reserved by Claus Rebler; no changes have been made to the image.