Oh for heaven’s sake, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted about Babe the Big Blue T@da and her adventures. And there have been many adventures! We took our longest trip this past summer, when we mooch camped with friends in Illinois and Michigan. Here’s Babe communing with the much more famous Campshack at the home of friends John and Judy Crankshaw.
We enjoyed a wonderful un-rally, the Jordan Lake Jaunt, with old and new T@bbing friends in late September.
Then it was back on the cyclocross circuit, where we made our usual rounds until the famous Boonetown Throwdown, which takes place around Halloween, and which you may recall from previous posts involving the mysterious incident of the pump in the daytime, scary rednecks, and epic mud. This year’s Throwdown did not disappoint in the adventure department and, frankly, I may be all done with Boone since it’s evident that it doesn’t suit Babe in the least. As usual, it was a cold, muddy, rainy mess. And by rain I mean relentless hammering of thousands of gallons of water onto our trailer and into a topographical bowl. I had just finished a beer and a prayer of gratitude for being warm and dry when I realized that it was raining. Inside. the. Trailer. Oh, gentle reader it was coming in over the door to beat the band. Panic ensued. We stuffed every towel we had with us around the door and still it came in. For me (and for Sid the terrier–who was completely terrierfied by our terror), it was a near-sleepless night. The rain would abate for a bit, then mischievously tickle the rooftop, then pound down for an hour off and on all the way til dawn. I wanted to bail as soon as it was light. And bail we did, wringing out 10 or 20 pounds of drenched towels. I also wanted to leave, but that was not to be until the Manther had also become completely sodden and muddy in a grueling race.
Fast forward to a dry, sunny day at home when Frazier’s Mobile RV repair service came to call. A tube full of caulk at the suspected site of the leak and we were good to go. Chuck also added some extra caulking just to make sure we were covered. Babe went back to her site at the Poor Man’s storage yard until it was time for the penultimate cyclocross race of the season: Hendersonville. Oh, Hendersonville, how I love you. And Babe does too. The race organizer is the director of Parks and Rec for this beautiful mountain town, and so each year in December we hunker down in a little village of camping/cycling maniacs right there in a city park in the middle of town. But to get there this year we drove through one of the worst snowstorms in NC history into one of the heaviest snowfalls in recent memory. We left home around 8 am for what’s normally a 4 hour drive and pulled in to maniac village just as darkness began to fall. And did I mention it was cold? Overnight lows in the teens and still the snow fell. . .see the photo at the top of this post of our girl in the snow in front of much bigger and fancier trailers. Did I mention it was snowing? Yes, it snowed all day and all night and the town of Hendersonville was virtually closed. But we were snug and warm and. . .(*#*_^%+! NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! YESSSSSS!!! Guess what? As the snow melted on our toasty warm roof, the area around the door was getting wet. OK, not a deluge like we’d had in Boone, but water was delicately dripping down the door.
Here’s a little vignette of our visit to H’ville: Another view of maniac village, Chuck (aka the Manther) killing it in the snow, and a closeup of Babe taken by a friend.
Needless to say, we decided that we had to get Babe squared away ASAP.
What kind of day was it when we set out for NuCamp in Sugarcreek, OH at the beginning of February? Of course! It was freezing rain, but nothing was going to stop us from taking our baby back to the mothership for some critical surgery.
This is a view of Pilot Mountain near the Virginia border with North Carolina at about 9 am on a Sunday morning. That’s ice on the road.
And that’s ice all over Babe. In fact, the door froze shut. And the freezing rain pelted the front of the trailer so hard that water leaked in around the window and got the mattress good and wet. Oh, it was a fun trip I’ll tell you.
We spent the night snug and warm in a hotel while Babe toughed it out in a lonely parking lot. The next day we were up at 0 dark thirty again to get our girl in for her operation. We arrived at NuCamp as the sun rose over acres of T@bs, T@gs, and Cirrus Truck campers.
We got a warm welcome from Austin Jones, who is the manager for repairs. After a quick walk-through (and apology for the soggy mattresses clogging the floor), we had to say goodbye and head home.
It was like leaving your kid on the first day of kindergarten. We were morose until we hit the local doughnut shop down the road, and until Chuck figured out that he was getting 20 mpg without Babe on our bumper.
And so, a week later we returned to bail out our baby. What a wonderful job they did! And what wonderful people they are! A guy came out of the shop to tell us what great shape Babe was in. (I bet they say that to all the owners, wink wink.) They were so kind and friendly to us. Austin told us that a section of the roof over the door had lifted up, breaking the seal between the side wall and roof of the trailer. They repaired that and took off all the trim to make sure the rest of the trailer was intact.
Here’s happy camper Chuck with a post-op Babe. In addition to the roof repair she received a window transplant, four stabilizer implants, a floor inspection, and the piece de resistance: two cabinet lifts!
See? No more banging our (&#*^%!&_! heads on the cabinets over the kitchen. A similar change was made to the cabinets over the bed. We had been thinking of having the carpeted ceiling replaced with wood, the way the newer T@bs are finished, but opted to save that for another occasion.
Off we road into another glorious sunrise, headed for home. Nah. I lied. Of course it started raining cats and dogs as we crossed the Ohio border. But insider our little camper, all was snug and dry. Yep, if there’s a raincloud, snowflake, or ice pellet within 50 miles our Babe will attract it. She’s a water sign, for sure. See you down the road!