RVHer Fulltiming With a Dog and a Dude

Monthly Archives: December 2009

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Leaving VA

October 10, 2009

Our next stop on the way to Florida was Florence, SC, where we would hook up with some friends for dinner. My choice, even though the Dude is vegetarian? South Carolina vinegar-based BBQ. After doing some research and asking our friends, the only choice was Roger’s (www.yelp.com/biz/rogers-barbeque-florence).

As a general rule I avoid all things “barbeque,” especially ketchup/tomato-brown sugar-molasses-based BBQ because I hate that sweet shit [Dickey’s (www.dickeys.com/index.aspx) is palatable because their sauce is not sweet.)] slathered all over a perfectly good piece of beef, and I don’t really like pork, and I cannot stand BBQed chicken, much less chicken on the bone on the grill, or chicken to begin with for that matter…so really I don’t like barbeque at all. But, since I’m a good foodie and not a food weenie (definition: Someone afraid to try a food/cuisine because he/she “might not like it”) and since we were driving through South Carolina and since part of this journey is to try regional foods, well, Carolina-style BBQ was up.

We met with our friends at Roger’s and I have to say that the vinegary mustardy sauce was great. Tangy but didn’t cover up the flavor of what it was on. Make sure you try their hot shredded BBQ beef. It is black pepper hot and if you are not prepared you will cough up a lung (also, don’t take a big whiff because that black pepper will get you that way too). The buffet was a gorgeous example of Southern foodways (www.southernfoodways.com) and a vegetarian’s nightmare with mac and cheese, squash casserole, hush puppies, fried chicken and fish, collard greens with ham, coleslaw, green beans (probably seasoned with ham), and cobblers, along with iced tea (of course it was sweet, what else?). (I think the Dude was able to eat the mac and cheese and coleslaw.) The tables had bottles of Trappey’s Peppers in Vinegar Good on 'most anything, which I love, and free refills on everything.

We visited for a couple of hours and then it was off to our stop for the night in Manning, SC. We stayed at another Holiday Inn Express but this one used to be a Motel 6 or Red Roof or something because it was obviously a refurb. I wonder if each HI Express is individually owned like a franchise because there were no goody bags for the fur kids and the toiletries, while the same brand, were lacking in quantity and type. For example, the HI Express in Stafford had face soap, bath soap, shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, a shower cap (does anyone use these anymore?), and had toothbrushes and toothpaste at the front counter (ours were “packed” in the truck, somewhere), but the HI Express in Manning had shampoo, lotion, and body soap. I went to the front desk to ask for conditioner (another thing that was still packed in the truck and therefore inaccessible) and the lady said they didn’t even carry it. So, maybe each hotel buys their extras and this owner was just cheap? Who knows.

The day was not too long and the visit with friends was nice and the Dude and I didn’t wish harm on each other even once. It was a good day.

Next installment? Finally, finally into Florida and Biketoberfest in Daytona.

Exodus, Part Two

We take the exit that comes up almost immediately; pull off onto the shoulder, and hey! One of the trailer’s tires has blown out! Awesome! Delicious! And not only has it blown out but the rim is effed. Even better! OK, so we stay there and I call U-Haul and get THE most clueless woman ever. I can’t tell her exactly where we are because we had passed the signs for the exit just as the tire blew but I give her an approximation. She tells me that because the tire rim is damaged we are looking at about three hours before anyone can get to us. (Oh, great. There goes Vicky Lynn.)  Fine. Whatever. She says she’ll call me back when she knows more. The Dude and I both start looking on our Blackberries for tire stores nearby. We look on the GPS, we look on the computer and see that there is a tire store that should be just “right over there”  but it is listed as closed on Google, and no one answers the phone when we call so it must be closed. Oy.

It’s is coming up on a little after 3:00 at this point. We’re not in the middle of East Jabib but we’re not exactly conveniently located either. We are somewhere about 30-40 minutes into Delaware on I-95 S. There is a county/municipal building off to our right but it looks closed for the day. I can see a few streets signs so I walk over and get a better idea of our location because now I have an actual intersection. I call U-Haul back, hoping that I get someone a bit more with it and I do. I start talking to a very nice man who seems to actually understand what I am saying to him and how to read a map. I tell him what has happened and that I need to update our address in his system. He’s all, “Wait, have you already talked to someone about this?” And I have to admit that yes, indeed, I have already talked to someone and opened a ticket. Turns out you have to stay with the same person until your ticket is closed. Fabulous. He starts to transfer me to Ms. McClueless so she can continue to *cough* help me, and the system kicks me out! Oh, no you did NOT just disconnect me! I call back and start the process again and finally get to Ms. M. and tell her the street names we were are located. She can’t find them on her map. I tell her again that we are right off of I-95, just barely into Delaware at the intersection of Unknown and Lost. She still can’t find them. Fine. Just keep looking, lady, and I’ll keep trying to find something clearer than an actual intersection and I will call you later.

The Dude and I pull forward a little bit and can see under the interstate and notice that there are some semis coming out of something. We decide that big trucks must mean a garage of some sort or a truck stop or something that might help us so we slowly creep over there and sure enough it is a truck stop. With a café. With a menu. That has an address printed on it! Whoo hoo! I call up Ms. McClueless and give her the exact address with street number and street name, and town name, and zip code and she…can’t find it. She cannot see it on her map. Goddamn it! I open up my computer, punch in the address in Google Maps, and I can see this place just fine. I tell her and she says, “Well, can you see Such-and-Such street?” I expand the map by one click and yes, there is Such-and-Such and a couple of hundred yards to the SW of Such-and-Such street is the truck stop. I continue to try and explain where we are. As we are talking she says that she has the mechanic who has our tire and tire rim is on the line and she will switch me over to him so I can tell him where we are. I don’t know what goes wrong (It’s Ms. McClueless, what could possibly happen?) but she comes back on the line and tells me that the mechanic hung up. OK, whatever.

(Sometime around 4:00pm) Ms. M and I are still talking, still trying to get on the same cyber page, when the Dude, who has been wandering around the truck stop, comes back, gets in the truck, starts it up, and starts creeping over and around a copse of maples and what is there? The tire shop that is supposed to be closed! Praise the Lord and pass the Tastykakes! We have been sitting around for almost two and a half hours and this place was spittin’ distance the whole time. We could have actually pushed the truck from the point of the blowout to this place and not have broken a sweat. I tell U-Haul lady that I’ll call her back. The tire guys take a look at our trailer. They can’t save the tire because that sucker is shredded but the rim looks pretty fixable. They Indy 500 that bitch right off and we have a new tire and repaired rim and are back on the road in less than 20 minutes.

I call U-Haul and explain to Ms. McClueless that we have fixed the truck ourselves. She says to keep the receipt and we’ll be reimbursed. Wonderful. And we are off yet again.

7:30ish: My phone rings, and the screen is showing an area code I don’t recognize. I hesitate but answer and it’s the mechanic wanting to know where we are. Oh shit. The U-Haul lady didn’t tell the mechanic he was no longer needed. He has been on the road for hours to bring us a new tire and tire rim. I’m extremely apologetic and sympathetic but explain what happened and tell him that he really needs to call U-Haul and yell at them. I wonder what happened in that conversation.

We continue on down I-95 with our stop for the night planned for somewhere outside of DC. Lovely scenery from what we can tell because it’s starting to get dark. And hey? What’s that huge pointy shiny thing outside of Reston? It’s terribly impressive even from the southbound side of 95. Gorgeous. (The shiny thing would turn out to be the National Museum of the Marine Corps. http://www.usmcmuseum.com Semper Fi!)

It is now getting late and the Dude is getting really tired (remember, he’s been up since 3:00 am) and I’m trying to find a pet-friendly hotel that won’t break the bank. The only one I can find, the ONLY pet-friendly hotel in Alexandria, VA, wants a $200.00 pet deposit along with the nightly rate $189.00! Are you on glue? Have you been sniffing the Sharpies because that is insane and there is no way we’re paying that. The assistant manager says he might be able to give us a break on the rate but not until his boss has left which won’t be until after 9:00. Ugh, OK. We drive around a bit more and decide that fine, whatever, we’re exhausted, we’ll take the expensive place. We try to follow the GPS and we drive in some circles and think we have the right exit but it is actually a loop that puts us back on I-95 S. Fuuuuccckk.

We decide to just keep driving to the next town and find something there. While searching, our computer dies and we’re down to using our phones and GPS to find something. The Dude is getting really, really cranky and is getting angry with me that I can’t get a bead on exactly where we are so I can direct him to a hotel that might or might not accept pets and we’re yelling at each other and I’m considering punching him in the head and am imagining various ways of killing him when we find a Holiday Inn Express (Thanks overnight manager, Michael! You rock!) in Stafford, VA, that is not only pet-friendly but they gave us a pet gift bag for each pet! (I highly, highly recommend them if you’re traveling through that part of the country.) Each bag had water, a water bowl, some treats, and a poo bag. Oh, it was also only $49.00 a night. For all of us.

Finally in bed by 11:00 pm. One long-ass day.

Coming next, leaving VA and getting to FL.