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Old 07-31-2006, 10:23 AM   #1
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2012 25' FB Eddie Bauer
Vintage Kin Owner
Virginia Beach , Virginia
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 5,678
Mis-adventures in Airstreaming OR

Foggy Mountain Breakdown OR
NEVER take directions that contain the words "Down Yonder" OR
Does this belong on the DumbA** Awards Thread

So I checked all of my tire pressures, torqued my bolts, pulled out my mirrors, but of course left my steps out before I departed Virginia Beach for a mini-vacation to visit my sister. Being adventurous Karen and I decided to meet in Pennsylvania and I'd stay a couple of nights at Penn Wood - an Airstream only camp.

The adventure begins:
Last Thursday I oversleep by an hour and have to hitch in the heat, not the cool of dawn. Next, a wreck on the Willoughby Bridge just before the entrance to the Hampton Roads tunnel - no exit, no way to turn around - an hour and a half to get out of TOWN.... (some would say God was trying to give me a sign... but did I listen?... NOOOOOO!) Route 64 was easier than usual, 395 around Richmond no problem, and then 10 miles down I-95 I run into the world's fastest moving parking lot. (Expletive deleted.) A tractor trailer jacknifed and spewed plywood all over the highway. Isn't it fun when you've got a 4 lane highway with one lane open moving at 15 mph? So why oh WHY didn't I jump off, go to Route 303 and zip up to 17... because it was my day for bad choices, that's why, little did I know that the backup was already 20 miles long. Well 3 hours later and I'm in Fredericksburg. Normally an hour and 15 min. drive.

17 to 522 North to Berkley Springs WV - not bad but fatigue is setting in. My poor sister will be waiting so I don't want to stop for a meal, so I grab the highest caffeine stuff there is from a vending machine - Mountain Dew. I rarely drink the stuff... now I remember why.... my stepdad used to call it "panther piss" which isn't far off. I Finally get on the PA turnpike and see the sign from heaven "Starbucks" so I gulp down a latte while traveling north of Pittsburgh.

Sundown has passed and I'm trying to find route 28 to 66 north to the campground. My sister is already there and I'm hoping it will only be another hour and a half. All of the ladies of the campground who play cards invite Karen to join them and she has a wonderful time. (We'll turn her into an Airstreamer yet!) Meanwhile it's a foggy night, NO moon and I'm on the darkest most poorly marked road, with construction barrels everywhere and the locals are buzzing by at 80 mph flipping me off because I can't see the road, the signs and OF COURSE I miss the cutoff between where 66 and 28 separate.

Karen has to leave the campground (down in the hollow) to go to the road to get a signal on her cell. I finally hit route 80 and backtrack to 66. My sister is waiting at the gate with flashers going so I can spot it, and one of the nice men has taken his car out to try to find me... He follows me in, then parks me. We hook up water and electric and Karen gets Ice and ready made Cosmos and that ends our first day.

Went out adventuring with Karen on Friday and had a great time. If you like small towns visit Franklin PA. Victorian homes to DIE for. Quaint museums, etc.

Went to IKEA, first time. Spent $$$$.

Part two to follow. (yep it gets worse, blown tire on a 7 degree uphill grade).


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Old 07-31-2006, 11:20 AM   #2
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1996 28' Excella
Where the water tastes like wine , Michigan
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Smile Wow glad you made it there safely

Wow Paula,
Sounds like a high blood pressure trip! Glad Friday was more fun and relaxing for you. That was nice of your sister and that man to help you get into the campground. No visibility is the worst!!
I can't understand folks who drive faster when they can't see?

Franklin sounds like a neat place. Nothing like hanging out with family/friends and retail therapy to put a girl back on her feet! Can't wait to hear the rest.

Steph in MI Air# 6996-
I Hockeytown USA!!
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Old 08-01-2006, 04:32 AM   #3
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1975 31' Sovereign
1980 31' Excella II
Sprung Leak , North Carolina
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Glad you "appear" to have survived (only time will tell ) Now you know why I HATE driving in that general area of VA, either you do or you don't I have spent many an hour or two or three or...stuck waiting on those freakin't tunnels. Last time some idiot wrecked on the exit just as I was going in, spent almost an hour sitting at the bottom of it 295 around Richmond is a known anomaly...built to current interstate standards but people still crash and block all lanes, with depressing regularity. F'burg is yet another PITA bottle neck. I always tell people to avoid I -95 between F'burg and the CT border

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Old 08-01-2006, 07:49 AM   #4
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I am in awe! You are made of stern stuff. I used to live in Norfolk and later moved to Pittsburgh - that is the worlds worst drive! I can't believe you willingly towed on the PA turnpike - that road is .......... worse than a Stephan King movie! Jersey Barriers on bothsides - holes you could hide a dead moose in (and Jimmy Hoffa) and everybodys in a foul mood. Nope not gonna go there ever again - no way.
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Old 08-01-2006, 10:45 AM   #5
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Paula.. Definitely the drive from hell but Pennwood is pretty close to heaven.. great people.. very very friendly.. Been there and can hardly wait to go back..
Marvin & Annie
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Old 08-02-2006, 03:25 PM   #6
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Chapter II - Ms. Toad's Wild Ride!

Oh, I forgot to tell you about my medical breakthrough - AFTER the 2 Mountain Dews and the Venti Non-Fat Latte from Starbucks. Those ingredients consumed in rapid succession WILL remove a kidney stone instantly. Suffice it to say I made 3 panic stops in the last two hours of my journey. I've found ONE disadvantage to having a rear door entrance to the Airstream... It CAN be a LONG way to run!

At any rate we enjoyed the night at Penn Wood, then went shopping at IKEA, then came back to the campground and as we were entering I said, "Holy....., That's Vintage Thunder!"

Sure enough we met the new owners who just got it on e-bay, got a tour and gave Donal, the owner's son, a pink flamingo pen. I also gave them this website and a few tips on using the search function.

Karen went home to Ohio the next morning and I followed. I had a little trouble with the back roadside tire on my Suburban, so I added air at the gas station before I took off. The drive to Ohio was only 3 1/2 hours and my brother-in-law found me a nice inexpensive campground where I parked. It's called Holiday Acres, about 5 miles south of route 76 on Route 43 (Ravenna Exit). Only $22 for water and electric with nice sized pull through spaces.

I visited Aunt Martha and hung out with my sister for the next day and a half -sister Karen found a Casita sitting semi-abandoned. She wants to get one, fix it up and call it "Airstream Escape Pod" and park it next to mine. BTW, John & Karen recently bought a Honda Ridgeline - so what kind of Airstream or Argosy Can they tow? (We're getting her .... hehe!).

When I headed out from Ohio, I decided to take an alternative route home, south on I-77 to Wheeling, then East on I-64. No more back roads for THIS girl on THIS trip! Was hit with a downpour that made me pull into a truck stop for an hour and a half, only 60 miles down the road..... another sign from God? Of course, I'm still not going "WHAT?".....

Back on the road with no further troubles, then just midway between Marietta Ohio and Charleston KAPOWIE! I wasn't sure which tire, but with a sinking feeling I knew something was flat. Praying "Please don't fudge up my new Airstream!!!!" I headed for the right berm with flashers on. Jump out and lo, it's the roadside rear tire on the Suburban. I've driven for 4 decades or so and have never had a flat that didn't happen overnight while parked. It's a First folks! Towing - 60 mph, uphill, 7% grade - which probably kept the whole thing under control. The A/S would have acted like an anchor, and the Reese dual cam didn't hurt either.

I sat, trying to stuff my heart out of my esophagus and back down my throat, for only about 5 minutes when a WV trooper came by and told me he would send "Courtesy Patrol" to change my tire. Well, even I'm not dumb enough to think you can change a tire on a 7% grade so I pulled to the top of the hill carefully - getting almost level. Then I chocked the A/S, parked and waited while opening the owners manual and refreshing myself on how to find the tool kit, remove the spare, etc. An hour and a half later I'm still waiting and daylight is fading, so I get out, unlock the spare, get the tool kit out, lower the spare and pull it out from under the Burb. Jack up the Airstream to take it's weight off the 'burb. Take off the hub cover on the rear tire, start to think I'm going to herniate myself trying to get the lugs loose, when up drives Courtesy and finishes the filthy job for me. The spare has about 30lbs pressure in it, so I head to the nearest exit at 20 mph and fill it.

After letting them cool, I found ALL of my roadside tires were 10-15 lbs low - something bad happened while I was parked in Ohio.... I love children, I prefer them broiled! Those tires were right when I left Va... and Penn Wood... the only child was about 4 years old.

1) I don't care how f***** hot it is, check your tire pressure on everything including the spare every time out.
2) Carry and use your own tire gauge. When I filled that tire in PA, I trusted the gas station air pressure gauge, brass and hard to read. I think I might have inflated it to 60 lbs instead of 50lbs. I was hot and sweat was running into my eyes, but I could have walked back and gotten my digital gauge and double checked it. The tire was low, so I should have had it pulled and tested for leaks, but I was in a hurry. I had to go 20 miles from Penn Wood to find a gas station so the tire was also not cold when I added air to it.
3) If it's too hot to check your tire pressure - do it at 4:00 am. I should have checked my tires, or at least the questionnable one, after I parked in Ohio, but I promised myself to have that tire looked at as soon as I got back to Virginia and "trusted it".
4) Read your owner's manual. After taking all of my crap out of the Suburban so I could get TO the toolkit! Advice: Find your toolkit, then rearrange your stuff so you'll always have access to it.

NEXT CHAPTER - never go to a campground that is described as being "down yonder a piece" OR "How I got the first scars on my new Airstream"

NEXT CHAPTER - in search of tires, Honey we don't carry anything that big

FINAL CHAPTER - 2 hours in a tire store with no air conditioning, and onward towards home.

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Old 08-02-2006, 05:35 PM   #7
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1975 28' Argosy 28
Rutledge , Georgia
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Hi, Paula,

After the Ft. Desoto forum rally, my three toolboxes are going to ride right over the axles in the AS. I think I'll have enough crap in the back of the truck anyway.


1975 Argosy 28 "Argosy"
1979 Excella 500 31 "Betsy"
1992 Lincoln Mk 7 LSC
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