I want to thank everyone of you for the support, help and information you provided me during the last few days. If it wasn't for you all, this trip could have been a big disaster.
So, let's pick things up where I left off in the previous message. If you remember, I found out the hard way that some dealers are more concerned with getting product out the door than making sure things are safe. I am sure that not all dealers operate that way. I also found out what happens when you overfill the gas tank (thanks Glyn). THAT lesson probably cost me enough money in wasted gas to buy lunch.
So, after filling the tank and the tires I headed out to St. Louis to spend some quality time with my son at school. I made it just fine only to discover that he wasn't there! He didn't expect me so early so he went out with some friends. That wasn't a problem, as I needed to work ( I have to pay for this GMC somehow), so I logged on and began working. My son eventually shows up and we have a great time catching up. Well, after spending all of 2 hours with my son, Ken Burton calls my cell and informs me that I had better get moving as a great big nasty winter storm is on its' way. THIS is why we decided on the GMC. Ken doesn't know me from Adam and yet was concerned enough to contact the Merrells and make sure I was safe. Many many thanks Ken. If it wasn't for that call, I would be stuck somewhere eating more fast food.
So, at about 9:30pm I head out from St. Louis hoping to get as close to Blaine and Diane's as I can. It is amazing how the fear of getting caught in an ice storm in an unknown used RV can keep you awake enough to keep driving until 1:00 am! I finally stopped in Marshal, Indiana, about 1 hour from Blaine and parked outside a Burger King.
So, have you ever woken up at 6:00 am after a late night, gone to a fast food restaurant and had trouble deciding what to eat because everything looked so darn good? Yeah, me neither.
I had the pancakes as the thought of all the other greasy stuff just made me queasy. At this I am working on very little sleep, extra doses of adrenalin from the previous days excitements and the fear of a winter storm. Oh yeah, and I hadn't showered since Thursday. The coach had already been winterized, so the only water I had was in whatever restaurant I stopped at. I was obviously looking and feeling my best!
So on to Diane and Blaine's. What can I say. They were extremely hospitable, informative, and they even let me shower! We put the coach on the lift and the two of them walked me through all the things I needed to know and all the things I should have seen before purchasing. Had I 'seen' what needed to be done, I might have forgone the purchase. But I didn't and have a slightly longer list of things I need to do.
We looked at the play (slop) in my steering and compared it to his 1976. The amount of play was similar with mine being a bit more. This brings up a question that I will ask under a separate post as I am sure no one is reading this far in. The question concerns the condition of the steering box. When these coaches were new, was there still this much play in the steering or was the steering tight and has just loosened up over the years and we are just 'used' to it? If it was tight when new, then we should be able to reach that point again.
Well, Diane brought up weather.com and showed me that the projected storm followed my exact path home. So, into the coach I go and head out. I decide to bypass Hampton's place in Columbus and keep heading home.
I hit the mountains in Pennsylvania / West Virginia before the weather got bad. It started out slowly but got worse as it got darker. At this point, I am driving in the dark, it's raining, and the trucks are still barreling past as I am doing 35-40 mph. I think I am just going to have to have 'WUSS' put on my license plate. So, I am white knuckling it again. As I continue on, the the stove cover starts rattling, the Microwave has now shifted so that it is rubbing against the counter making a squeaking noise. It was a cacophony of noise that was slowly driving me crazy and I didn't dare stop on the mountain road to fix it. As I was trying to keep the RV on the road, I had a running commentary going in my head about what I was going to write today. Trust me it was good stuff...I just can't remember what it was!
Finally things got so bad that even the truckers were pulling over, so I pulled into a McD's in Frostburg, Md for the night. This was about 1:00 am. I awoke at 5:30 am to the sound of someone in the parking lot scraping ice off their windshield. So, while still dark, I headed home.
I finally got home at 9:30 am today exhausted and hungry but safe and sound thanks to you all.
Thank you.If anyone is still reading this, wow. If you are considering purchasing a GMC rv, don't let this story sway you from doing so. The support offered by every GMC owner I have met has been incredible. I have yet to have a problem that I was unable to get quality advice about. The GMC has no computers. It is a purely mechanical vehicle and can be worked on with wrenches, screwdrivers, sockets and a little bit of elbow grease and sweat. There are still several thousand of them on the road, so keep your eyes open and help keep them there.