Good morning guys…how are you today? It’s good to be back visiting with you again.
You know that Deb and I took a trip…Vicksburg, Gulfport, and Mobile. We’d rented a motor home and set out last Sunday morning about 4:30. We left home and had basically no traffic until we’d gotten to almost Tallahassee.
We were like…man, this is just going TOO smoothly, especially on the last travel day of the Thanksgiving long weekend. Where in the world is all of the traffic we were anticipating? We just guessed most must have gone home on Saturday, or, so we thought.
But, about Tallahassee it began to get heavier…and heavier…AND HEAVIER! Still though, it was no problem. Everything was flowing smoothly, and there just weren’t any problems. Like I’d said earlier…things were going just too smoothly.
We did realize that we were heading right into rain, but we just kept watching the sky up in front of us for the clouds involved in the cold front that we knew was headed our way.
The front that we were headed towards, from what we’d seen prior to leaving, was simply a band of showers that you normally get with these coldfronts, a thin sliver of rain pushed along by the front itself. No problem! We’d just pullover at a rest area until the rain passed…two, three hours tops.
No sweat, we’d stop, grab a bite to eat, maybe rest up, then go on. This motor home traveling was, well… “the cat’s meow!” Why in the world had we not thought of doing this before now?
So, just as we’d planned, we kept watching the front get nearer, and we started gauging rest stop distances, and sure enough, JUST as it first started drizzling we were pulling off into a rest area…about 90 miles west of Pensacola, and…the Alabama line.
It was 12:00 our time, and 11:00 their time. We were making great headway, and I told Deb that if the rain blew through in the next hour or so, as we had anticipated, then shoot, we’d be in Vicksburg by 4 or 5 o’clock!
We made a sandwich, walked Cheyenne before the rain started in earnest, then went back in, sat down, and relaxed for a while. Man, this RV traveling is ALRIGHT!
Then it really started raining, and it was coming down good for about an hour. At this point, it laid some, and we’re thinking that we’ll let the roads dry off a little from the traffic, then we’ll hit it again. Then it began to darken once more, and here it came again.
Now we’ve been sitting two hours, then three hours, and it looked as if it was finally blowing on out, so, we headed back out. Now though, we have wet roads, THEN even MORE traffic. BUT, we felt the rain had stopped, and it did! Phew!!!
Until…we got about 8 to 10 miles outside of Pensacola. THEN it came down harder than it had previously, so, off the Interstate once more. This time there was no rest area, and the exit we got off on showed gas stations off this exit, and there were, only 4 miles to town is where they were.
So, we headed to town down a two lane road that wasn’t much better than a dern pig trail. It was curvy as a snake, and we couldn’t hardly see the road because it was raining so hard. We finally came to a gas station and I went ahead and fueled up since we had stopped.
While I fueled up, and paid for the gas, ole Deb got on her computer, pulled up a radar, and guess what? This front we were in the middle of had formed into a low pressure area, and it was raining as far west as…TEXAS!
Deb and I both were like…WHAT in the world have we done? So, Deb says, why don’t we just go to James house and stay there a couple days? James used to be our neighbor here in Central Florida, and he moved to southwest Georgia about three years ago.
I tell Deb that it sounds good to me, so I called James…no answer. Deb goes…get me home! I’m like, are you sure? She says that she’s positive, and she’s stressin in all this traffic, and then the rain was making any attempt at driving pure misery. Let’s go home!
Well, that’s exactly what we did. We U-turned that mutha, and back to Haines City we were headed! The problem now though, was we were tired, stressed, and it was still raining and getting dark fast. But, we really needed to get ahead of the rain before we stopped for a little shut eye.
We stopped about 11 miles outside of Live Oak, slept, or you could call it that, for about an hour and a half. We got up, drove to Ocala, fueled up, and drove to the Florida Turnpike, and stopped at the Okahumpka Plaza, stopped and slept another couple hours.
We then got up, and drove home. You ought to have seen Dale’s face when Deb, Cheyenne and I came through the gate at the house. He was like, what in the heck are you guys doing back here? After all, we’d just left the morning before.
Deb beats me off the motor home and tells Dale, “Well, Dub got as far as Pensacola, then got to thinking about that he’d told you to keep our okra cut for us, and just keep it and pickle you up a bunch while we’re gone. Once he realized how much okra you’d get while we were gone, he said to heck with this…we’re goin home!”
Dale’s exact words were, “It sounds just like him!”
So, in just a little over 24 hours, ole Deb and I had driven right at 1,000 miles…in the rain, in the wind, and those dern semi’s going by us like there was no tomorrow. When they’d come by, they’d blow that motor home back and forth!
Once we got stopped in front of our house, I swear my arms, and fingers ached from grippin that dern steering wheel so tight. I was hanging on! But, with the good Lord’s help, and I do mean with his help, we got back home!
About 20 miles from our house, there was a pretty new motor home for sale out by the highway. I told Deb, “Lookie there, they’d bought them a motor home, and they’d probably driven to Pensacola and back, all in the same day too, in the rain, the dark, and fightin those dern semi’s! After getting back home, they put a for sale sign on it, and were gonna…buy a Honda!”
Deb’s words in answering my statement… “you’re probably right, cause if this one were mine…it’d be for sale time we pulled up in the yard!!”
In defense of motor homes though, I still feel they can be a lot of fun…I think. First off, the motor home coaches we saw on the highway, were dual axles in the rear, and had big diesel motors. Yes, they are surely a “step up,” versus what we drove, but they’re heavier no doubt, so I have to imagine much easier to keep on the road.
But, the one we rented was definitely nice, and weather permitting, they’re really no big deal to drive. We just happened to be on the road at the wrong time. Too much traffic with the holiday ending, plus we literally got into hours and hours of rain.
So, what did we learn? We learned we’d not be planning trips through the holidays. I’d never seen traffic this bad before…ever. Those dern people were whipping in and out of traffic, the traffic was bumper to bumper, and still they were just whippin in and out…in the rain…at night! We were glad to get home!
Just east of Tallahassee, about 11 pm., there was a wreck in the westbound lanes. 5-6 cars, at least, and I-10 westbound was shutdown…all three lanes. I’d bet the traffic was stopped for at least 10 miles if not more. Every time you’d come up a hill, once you topped it there were headlights as far as you could see, stopped, on I-10.
Well, long story short, we’re back at home, and…lovin every minute of it! I gotta go now though…I got okra to pick!! LOL!
You guys have a great day, and God bless! Deb says to keep a smile on your face, and one in your heart!
Dub and Deb