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Old 01-31-2008, 12:52 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by hotLAVA
Wow! what a beauty!
Is that an International Travelall?
Yes. 1973 International Travelall 1010

In nature, light creates the color. In the picture, color creates the light. --- Hans Hofmann
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Old 03-10-2008, 05:56 AM   #44
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Wilmington , Illinois
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I'll never do that again.........

We're back from our vacation. I'm hesitant to even talk about it.......
But writing is my therapy - it helps me sort out thoughts and emotions, and I could really use some therapy right now. Or maybe a stiff drink. Heck, both.
Read on if you care to.
Ignore if you don't.
I'll try to keep it short.

We left on February 29th to drop off
our beloved dogs (Chobe, our 12 year old black lab, and Dingo, our 10
year old cattledog mix) at Ric's house – our dog loving relative
willing to love our beasts for the week as we embarked on an 11 day
adventure in Florida. Our trip was delayed a day because when we
arrived at Ric's house, Chobe was panting for air and vommiting. Vet
exam, bloodwork, and X-rays confirmed Pulmonary Edema. This condition
has no cure (other than very risky surgery). The vet prescribed
tranquilizers to keep him calm. With Chobe calm and sleeping
peacefully, I looked at hubby and said,

"This could be the beginning of a trip filled with disaster.... .or a
mere bump in the road."

I'll describe the events that follow in two parts:
1- pre-unfortunate bird incident.
2- post-unfortunate bird incident.

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Old 03-10-2008, 06:02 AM   #45
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Pre-Unfortunate bird incident

A flawless trip to the state of Florida in '91 Olds pulling vintage
Argosy camper.

Silver Springs, Disney World - Life was great. The
weather at first, warm and sunny followed by cool sunny days when we
explored Hollywood Studios and Disney World without crowds or lines
for rides. At the end of one long, tiring day, we watched the
fireworks around Cinderella's castle and cuddled our happy kids. The
music filling the air promised: "When you wish upon a star your dreams
come true." I wished we had just a few more days.

It was Fiday morning, we needed to be home by Monday evening. Our
children have never seen the ocean. We decided to take them to the
Gulf coast before heading home.

The drive to the coast was a welcome break from the hustle/bustle of
our Disney adventure. Hubby and I patted selves on back for deciding to take our kids to Disney before they were too old to truly feel the "magic," despite our working dad/stay home mom budget. We did it.....
Suddenly - "POOF!" , then - "What was that?"
Tiny yellow feathers filled the air and quickly blew away as hubby
said, "I guess I hit a bird."

This brings us to the second phase of our vacation.
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Old 03-10-2008, 06:23 AM   #46
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Oh my God, you killed Tweety! Glad you had a great vacation.

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Old 03-10-2008, 08:23 AM   #47
Tom, the Uber Disney Fan
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Don't leave us in is Chobe!!!
2006 30' Safari - "Changes in Latitudes"
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Old 03-10-2008, 09:15 AM   #48
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Post-unfortunate bird incident

About 5 minutes after hitting the yellow bird, our car broke down in
Yankeetown, FL. As I registered at the campground that would be
our home for the next week, out of the corner of my eye, I catch a
glimpse of my four year old jumping around, arms flailing, screaming
"they're eating me!" The manager handed me a clipboard as I swatted
at my arms and legs. Casually she mentioned, "Those bugs: those are
called No-see-ems."

I did my best to scoop up the lemons and make lemonaid. To my kids I
explained, "Sometimes something unfortunate is really a
blessing in disguise. We're going to have fun."

I had my wish to have a few more days on our vacation, but reality set
in. My husband would not be paid for our extended vacation time and
our new transmission would cost more than our car is even
worth....going to Disney again was out
of the question.

Enterprise rent-a-car advertises that they pick you up....unless
you're in Yankeetown, FL. Then they make you take a cab. They should
really put that in their ads.

We drove to Weekeewatchee - it was closed.

We went to the beach - Signs warned of dangerous bacteria levels. We noticed these after we left the water.

My cellphone broke and could only be used on speakerphone. ...we were
really bummed out about that until I dropped it into the ocean and it
didn't work at all..... We only have one phone.

A highlight of the post-unfortunate bird incident part of the trip was
seeing the Manatee. Andrew loved them. He even picked out a
stuffed manatee toy in the giftshop. He named it No-see-em. When we were back at the trailer, No-see-em fell into the toilet.

Our car was finished on Thursday. We left the shop only to have to
return. They had disconnected the exhaust and never reconnected it.

45 miles later we stopped to fill up on gas only to watch the
expensive liquid pour out all over the ground. I called the shop that
did our trans, they said we have very bad luck...... you don't say?

After another mechanic and several friendly strangers advice, our best
option was to drive home with our damaged gastank, filling up every
hour because we could only put in 5 gallons at a time. Any more and it
was pouring out the top. Our gas gage - not working. Trip odometer
- not working. It was a crap shoot. Too much gas, sloshing out top.
Too little, we'd run out. We tried to keep it on the full side of 5 gallons. I'm
hoping our children aren't brain damaged from the fumes.

It's a wonder we made it as far as we did before the next break down.
We thought we were losing engine compression because we could barely
get up the hills. For this reason, we decided to take a 5 hour detour
through Alabama to avoid the mountains. About that time our
cellphone finally dried out and if you shouted as loud as you could
into the mouthpiece, the person you called could just barely hear you.
Ron got in contact with his brother Ric who put the 3 dogs (our 2 and
his 1) into his truck and started driving south to meet up with us and
tow the camper home and hopefully our wagon would be fine without the
extra load. We didn't think we were going to make it home. It would
be more than 7 hours before we would meet up with Ric.

In the time before we hooked up with Ric, we eventually figured out
that we weren't losing engine compression: when we were going up long
steep hills, our gas was sloshing to the back of the tank and we'd run
out of gas. There really wasn't too much we could do about that other
than stop for gas every 1/2 hour.

It was now dark and we were driving through an ice storm. We decided
to stay in a hotel just over the next hill. 1 mile to the exit, but we didn't make
it up that hill. Signs warned "Stop on shoulder only in an emergency"
That's where we broke down, in the pitch black, on a curve hidden from
approaching cars, next to a very steep hill, our cellphone barely
working, two small children, and don't forget: ice storm. I'm not
exaggerating, the amount of space between us and traffic was
the width of the line on the highway. Our car shuddered as the semis
drove by. I took the kids over the metal railing, down the cliff a
bit behind some trees and huddled in a sleeping bag covered in ice.
Maybe I was being Neurotic? At the moment, all I could think was I'd
rather be safe and frozen than have anything happen to my family.
We'd survive the cold.

I lost my glasses somewhere on that cliff.

It took about an hour for Ric to get to us after that. I'm shivering
just remembering it. When he pulled up they put gas in the car and it
still wouldn't start. "Just take us somewhere warm, dry and safe," I
begged them. We'll have the car towed." My husband had a funny look
on his face. Chobe (our black lab) died in the truck 5 minutes before
he got to us.

Ric said Chobe was calm, happy, groggy and tranquilized the
entire ride. He said he had petted him just a few minutes before. He
tried to give him dog CPR. He died peacefully.

The tow truck driver said we were lucky he could get our car so
quickly. He had 9 calls right after us. The next morning when we
drove home, there were cars in every ditch and all over the highway.

Poor Chobe, wrapped in a sleepingbag, rode home in our camper. We
stayed in a hotel that night. We drove all day Saturday and finally
arrived home just before midnight.

We burried Chobe yesterday. I know it sounds melodramatic, but
with all that has happened, I'm just grateful we're home and safe.
Maybe, someday, I'll be able to laugh about this.
For now I'm thinking Maybe not.
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Old 03-10-2008, 10:17 AM   #49
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Central , Georgia
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I am speechless…
except for,

I’m sorry if all the joking created such bad vibes for your vacation.

We are all sorry for your pet...and we will all raise a glass in Chobe's honor.

When the kids are grown they have a true story that no one will believe.

Best wishes from Georgia,
Travelers by aluminum roadships, loyalists to one species,
masters of convenience, herdsmen steeped in maintenance and restoration.

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Old 03-10-2008, 09:48 PM   #50
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Hi, sorry to hear about Chobe. I guess everything that could go wrong, did, on this trip. Hopefully this means your next trip will be without incident.

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Old 03-11-2008, 07:36 AM   #51
Tom, the Uber Disney Fan
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Like Martin, I'm so sorry about Chobe. I wasn't joking when I asked about him. I am a dog lover and have had a dog go into kidney failure while being boarded at the vet while we were on vacation. He went on "doggy dialysis" when we returned for four days to no avail so I know what a bummer loosing a pet in connection with vacation can be.

Take time to grieve and remember him fondly.

Tom, AKA Minnie's Mate.
2006 30' Safari - "Changes in Latitudes"
2008 F-250 Lariat Power Stroke Diesel Crew Cab SWB
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Old 03-17-2008, 06:42 PM   #52
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I'm so sorry to hear about Chobe. It's so hard to lose a pet, and after all that time they are so much a part of the family. I lost my black Lab Joey last year after a year of close calls. Sometimes I think we grieve longer for pets than people.

I got stuck last night and had to be towed, but it totally pales compared to your experience. I thought it was a drag, but no ice storm, kids to worry about or busy highway nearby. You are due for a pleasant and pleasantly eventful trip now.

Wherever you go, there you are
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Old 03-17-2008, 07:46 PM   #53
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Ohh Tracy, that's dramatic beyond prediction! So is the Olds turning into a large Alabama planter as we exchange these messages? I feel for you and your tale of Chobe trying to get to you in time. We had a dear doggy friend diagnosed with pulmonary edema on December 21st. Other problems flared over the following week. No good. You have our shared support. Your children will have good memories of Chobe -- will Dingo be getting a companion? We're finally getting a new special friend in two weeks.

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Old 03-21-2008, 08:12 AM   #54
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HI everyone. Thank you for your sympathy and well wishes.

Wagon update: Bob - we did bring the wagon home. Heck, the trans is now guaranteed for the next 3 years, 100,000 miles....I'm keeping it! I WILL NOT, however, be taking it on any cross counry adventures..... I took the wagon to my trusted local mechanic when I got home. When I picked it up, he explained what happend. When the exhaust was reattached after the trans repair, it was touching the gas tank. The gas tank is plastic. It melted a hole in the side. I'm sure you can imagine how I felt about that. This explains a lot about our experience, particularly why we couldn't go up long steep hills.

Dog update: my other dog was so sad at our loss. For about a week she didn't eat anything. Poor Dingo: no ankles to bite, no one to attack. My vet suggested we get a puppy for her. She's an 11 year old cattledog mix - I swear she's mixed with Coyote. She doesn't really care for other animals. She's kind of a harmless kind of way...... Honestly, I was surprised she was so sad about Chobe: despite the fact that he was her sidekick from the day we brought her home from the pound as a tiny pup, she didn't seem to care for him. She is doing much better now. I'm not ruling out a 2nd dog, but for now I'm happy having just one. If I stumble upon a cross between a Corgi and something that doesn't shed, sign me up!

Family update: I went out into the camper to grab something the other day and noticed I had that feeling - you probably know the one - triggered by "the smell" of our camper and a million happy memories and the promise of future adventure. In my head, a slideshow played: of places we'd been and things we've done. Among the memories, to my surprise, were scenes of us in Florida......I laughed.....that didn't take nearly as long as expected.
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Old 03-21-2008, 09:52 AM   #55
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Early in this thread we joked about you needing a camping psychic. Now, in all honesty, I'm not sure that you don't. I can't imagine having the string of scenarios you have had and still having a positive outlook on camping. You inspire us all. May your next camping trip not be an adventure, but a relaxing retreat from your past experiences.

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