Drive Me Crazy, episode 1



In the last 24 hours, we have prayed…a lot! We’ve experienced failure lights, had to back up a lot (back up camera still not figured out–thanks Tino) an insurance claim, a slide out that would not retract, and drove under 13’3″ bridge, successfully. Oh!!! Almost forgot, we hit a curb. A big one.

My relationship with god is really strong right now!

Ok from the top. We left Scott AFB for Ohio, I drove for a few hours and we made a stop at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The boys loved it!! We didn’t have great plan ahead skills with this stop and didn’t know where to park or that the museum closes at 4pm. We got there at 3:20pm. We (I) kinda freaked out and didn’t know if Hank would fit through the tunnel so we passed it and choose to park in a big empty parking lot. We walked through the tunnel and half debated going back to the truck and pulling through the tunnel for the full effect. Ugh, forget it.  The museum was very cool and had most of the winning race cars from every years race in their display. There is even a car you can get in and take your own pictures or professional pictures.


My boys love race cars!!

Next we had a few hours drive through Ohio to our tbd boondocking site. A likely Cracker Barrel somewhere down the road near Pennsylvania. Tino was driving now, for the second time… around 9:30pm we found our location at the St Clairsville/Wheeling, PA exit.  We decided to get some diesel before setting up for the night to have a quicker get away in the morning. After 3 days of driving we were all ready for a shorter day and more play time at the Shawnee State Park. (Reserved a month ago or so.)  After we filled up we attempted to exit the gas station and the turn was cut short. We hit the curb of all curbs and I saw my livelihood, safety, and home on wheels tipping to the already heavy left side and crashing. I screamed and  I wanted to close my eyes, I could not. All I could do was hold my breath and watch in horror. OMG it didn’t fall, but it did make a 30 degree tip, clear the curb and pop back up on all its wheels. Then I cried. [prayers]

We circled around and went back to the Cracker Barrel. Went towards the Rv/Bus area as the sign directed. We entered the wrong way for the spaces. Did we (Tino) try anyway? Yes, we did. How did it go? Exactly like you can imagine. [prayers] We missed. And we jack knifed turned. And I kept my eyes closed. [prayers] There was a class A motor home in the middle space and at the time we were closest to his vehicle he attempted to walk out his front door. 😳 He looked up, closed the door some and watched the entertainment. With a few corrections Tino adjusted enough to be able to safely maneuver and “go around.” We drove around and parked the beast. [prayers]

Next we encountered family discussions that included things like: do we turn on the generator? Do we put down the leveling jacks? And if we put down the jacks do we have to disconnect from the truck? We googled for answers. In the end we put down the legs to take some pressure off the truck and stabilize us a little bit. We turned on the generator but ended up leaving it off until the battery died somewhere around midnight. We needed heat as it was 38-40 degrees out…  in the morning we had a nice breakfast and left for our next nights reservation at the park.

2-3 uneventful hours later we arrived. It was a small town with narrow roads. Yippee. The gps tells me to go one way, Tino’s phone tells me another. Great. I pull into a dollar store type lot and proceed to block the road and every car because what I though was a pull through parking lot is in fact a dead end. Don’t care, not moving until I know where I am going. At that exact moment, a truck pulled up beside me and proceeds to tell me that our trailer lights are out and they saw the cord dragging behind us. “Are you kidding me? Great. Thanks” was all I could manage as I lay my head on the steering wheel. [prayers] Meanwhile Tino had gotten out and is trying to guide me in backing up. I get out and I’m not sure if I yell or go calmly pick up the shredded 7 pin power cord and yell his name. Hmm we unplugged this last night when using the battery and generator for power. I did not plug it in this morning. Tino arrives and says “Oh Dear Lord. I plugged it in this morning. I heard it click in. It was good.”  Now what – we say and/or think. I can’t remember. He calls the insurance company. I hear words like “tow to a facility.”  And a firm no, not an option. Then yes, that will work. [prayers] He writes down some numbers. We decide to get to our spot and set up then call our these people for help.  We also called the park and confirm there are 2 entrances. Perfect. I back up the beast, first try, and get back on the road. We drive carefully to our campsite. Great. A long back in site. A narrow road with trees. I got this. [pep talk] Boom, backed it in like a boss. Cool. Jacks down, unhook, autolevel.  Tino walks away to call for help.


Failure. [prayers]

Blinking red a$5hole lights. I assess and assess and try and fix the problem. Seems level. Maybe the back levels are all the way out. We know the left side is heavy. A stocked fridge. A full heavy freezer. A full water tank. I can’t overcome the failure after 30 minutes of trying. Someone will be here in an estimated 75 minutes with 7 pin hook up and various options to try and fix the problem here at the campsite. For an extra $70. Fine. Excellent. We don’t have to get towed somewhere and be homeless for an unknown period of time? [prayers]

I give up on making a nice green light and go inside. Seems fine. I need a break. The boys are starving. Slides out. Make lunch. There is a knock on the door!! Wow that was fast! ?15 minutes not 75 as estimated. 20 minutes later I hear things are not as they should be. The colors are not the same as he expected. They are trouble shooting the correct locations for right turn signal, brake lights etc. whatever. I continue dealing with the boys. They need to run I let them out, bundle up and had out myself. They cannot figure out the last three wires. Black, blue, and yellow. We end up calling Jayco because electrician-on-call-road-side-assistance-guy (toothless) Bill, is about to guess and leave. We have super speedy help and they email a copy of the schematic for the pin. Turns out those wires are power breaks, batter charger and an extra? Left turn signal wire. Solved. Done and done. Later the bill comes $330. Swallow. Breath. “Stupid tax” paid.  We spent the rest of the day playing and have movie night.



In the morning we have school time with the boys. Not great routine yet, but completed. Time to pack up. I start to bring in the slides. #3 – the big heavy one with fridge, pantry, oven, tv, fireplace etc on it won’t budge. No power to it. [prayers]

I go outside and press the dreaded auto level button.

Failure. [prayers]

Blinking red a$5hole lights. [prayers]. Ok. Shit just got real. We try to hook it up to the car and move it to more level ground. I maneuver slowly. We have 2 slides out. (To help offset each other and some weight. Ok.  More level ground. [prayers] autolevel.

Blinking red a$5hole lights. Sigh. Fear. prayers.

Replaying earlier conversation with the dealer in my head.  “Do we need/should we buy leveling blocks?” “No” he said. “You should be good. You have autoleveling, and your pads are bigger. Much bigger than they used to make. You should be good.”

Hhdhgcmhvgjkjddbjker We should have bought leveling blocks, maybe that would fix this. I go scouting and find some spare wood laying near the closed up for the season site host camper.    [prayers] We get it leveled with the blocks! [prayers]!! Go inside press the becoming-dreaded-#3 retract button and it starts to move! Then stops. [prayers] I can’t take much more. It’s seems stuck!? Fine I’ll empty some space of the cow in the freezer. [prayers] no change. It seems stuck. Tino goes and pushes.  Nothing. Ok, think. Re-attack.  [prayers] Underneath the corner getting stuck the laminate floor is puckering. Eventually we figure out its the rubber next to the sliding rail underneath the slide out. Tino holds it down, I retract. Perfect. Slides in.

We head out. Me driving. Still feeling lots of anxiety. The pre-programmed destination Fort Dix in the gps.  [prayers]. The brakes seem to be working. The lights on the trailer are working. Fewww dodged that one.

I’m not tolerating the boys shenanigans well. I’m again driving down these tiny streets. And guess what? The gps takes me the wrong way. I kept telling Tino this wasn’t right and no, we weren’t on this road yesterday. We are going away from the highway I want to be on and down some old country lane. With dirt piles. Great. I stop in the middle of the road and have Tino figure out what’s going on, where do we go now and do I have to backup out of this situation. My nerves are shot. I feel like throwing up. [prayers]. This day, if on my adventure with the boys, would be over. We’d go to a nice level area in a big campground and try again later. Tomorrow? Next week? Whatever. But today, we have to get to New Jersey for Tino’s training.

We end up doing a loop around town on the tiny country road which ended up being beautiful. (Did not start that way!!) and enter the toll booth for the highway. I literally feel Iike throwing up. I park the car and make Tino get in the drivers seat. He CAN handle the highway (maybe not town) and I need a break.

So here we are, current situation I’m writing this on an iPad and Tino is driving us to New Jersey. My relationship with God feels pretty strong right now. I’m not even watching the road. Or the camper. At all 😁

We made it!!


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