On the Road Again, Arrivals, and Returns – Horizons Unlimited Virginia 2015

We had called about getting the RV back, and was told to be there around 4pm. The shop closed at 5, and we were going to be one of the last jobs. We stopped for lunch after the coal mine, a Chinese place that google found when we were hungry. It was… a mistake. I was a bit worried when there was no one eating inside, but we were all very hungry at this point and decided to go for it. To say it was disappointing was something of an understatement, and we all felt a bit off later.

We arrived back at Glen’s, and Cliff was inside. We checked at the desk, were told it was being worked on, and there was a waiting room. We moved there, finding one trucker there on his phone and a very loud TV. We took a couple chairs and made a place to watch some Mythbusters episodes I’d downloaded before the trip, just for this sort of arrangement.

5 O’Clock came and went. So did 6. I didn’t want to be annoying, but we had been told the shop area closed at 5 – if we were going to be stuck another day we had to find somewhere to stay. I went and asked, and was told they were still working on it, it would be done soon, and there was really a mechanic still there, and still working. Near 7 we finally got the all clear. That was about the time I was supposed to be presenting at HU.

I’d sent some emails, explaining we were delayed, but hadn’t heard back. All we could do was press on, but we quickly learned Cliff’s headlights weren’t up to the task of dark, mountain roads. We found free camping in a parking lot, settled in for the night, and planned for an early start in the morning.

Up early, we pressed on for HU. We had the GPS on, but I was talking to Sue and missed a turn, adding time and a twisty road to the trip. Cliff didn’t seem all that fond of the twisty road either, rocking back and forth on his suspension. But we arrived before anyone lost breakfast.

Once there, I had about a hour before the my first talk (having missed one the night before). It was Sue and the girl’s first HU, and I didn’t really want to take off on them right away, but I go to these events to support HU – it’s an amazing resource for overlanders, and Grant and Sue are just good people. So I quickly unloaded Curiosity, made sure it had the right gear, and started my packing talk right on time. Sue and the Girls even managed to watch, and reports are I did a good job.

 Once class was over, we unloaded Sue’s bike, talked with friends, watched other classes. Sue’s two girls were so excited my my first talk they wanted to just spend the weekend seeing my two classes over and over, but Sue and I managed to talk them out of that. The result was, by the end of the weekend, people were walking up to us and mentioning they couldn’t recall talking a class that one or both of the girls weren’t in, usually right in the front row. Cliff the RV was no longer all that cool and both confidently stated they wanted to ride motorcycles all over the world. I was, of course, quite pleased.

I spent most of the weekend catching up with friends, making some new ones, and am almost ashamed to admit I took very few pictures. The girls met this guy and were super excited about it.

I saw this too and wondered if it was even legal (or a good idea)

Sue, another friend, and I loaded up the girls and tried for a motorcycle ride, but Sue’s bike almost immediately developed clutch/shift issues and we turned back. I’m a little sad, there was a lot of history going on right there, and I kinda wanted to see some of it. It probably worked out for the best, though, since everyone else wanted to ride the roads and avoid the massive crowds gather for the Appomattox anniversary. We got back without incident, but Sue was sad over the break down. It happens.

Sunday morning we said some quick good byes, I forgot to grab my unsold books, and we headed back north. The plan was to make the trip home in one day, since I had to work the next day at 6am (Monday). Everything was going fine until a traffic jam in louisville,  which caused Cliff to overheat. Nothing would cool the engine down, and the cap on the overflow tank kept popping off, causing coolant to spray everywhere We eventually stopped and got a campsite for the night (there is a KOA downtown – who knew?). I called work to say I wasn’t going to be there, and we went to sleep.

In the morning I took a long look at the coolant system and found a couple clogged vents and hoses. A walk to the local autozone found the parts I needed (with some explaining, I guess Winnebagos aren’t in the database). The walk back was hot, the temp must’ve climbed 15f while I had been in the store. I changed hoses and caps, refilled the radiator (as best I could, I’d forgotten to get a funnel), and with crossed fingers we got back on the road.

Cliff was fine the rest of the trip home, actually running cooler with (essentially) a coolant change. Traffic was fine too, and we arrived home, ready for the next adventure.


That one, though was just going to be me, Curiosity, Blue, and Cliff.

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