The Campshaws Crap Out

Arriving home from our winter odyssey earlier this month, we attacked our spring chores with a vengence, in anticipation of a departure in three weeks for another month of camping before the summer hoards descend on our favorite campgrounds.  As it turns out, we needn’t have rushed to work.

One of the items on the ‘to do’ list was to get the Fireball into a shop to get the brakes and bearings checked out one more time.  Since our Louisiana tow/repair debacle, we’ve never been quite confident that everything is A-ok in that department.  The earliest appointment we could get was April 20.  John purchased a new jack to replace the one damaged in the tow (STILL waiting for AAA to respond), and left the Fireball with the service department, telling them our sorry story.  Two hours later, they dropped the hammer on us – Fireball ain’t goin’ nowhere.  The axle is severely damaged, and needs to be replaced.  The service technician told John he was amazed we drove home from Louisiana without incident.  Something about the spindle being damaged, yadayada.  At that point, I could hear John’s voice on the phone, but all that registered was, “I’m sorry, Babe, but we can’t go to the Blue Ridge Rally” (a camping extravaganza with 70 other T@Bs and T@DAs in the Smokies).  Axles are all custom-made, and take three weeks.  Any way we can go pick up the part and still hit the road?  Nope.  Any way we can still make the trip?  Nope!!

We can only surmise that the service guys in Louisiana didn’t recognize the severity of the damage to the axle in our bearing blowout.  Either that, or they just patched us up to get us the hell out of there.  The place to which we had been towed, on Sunday naturally (do these things ever happen on a weekend when someone is around to answer questions?), was a semi-trailer repair shop.  Yet, that was where the AAA dispatcher told our tow truck to take us.  At this point, it’s water over the dam.  We did get home safely.

Don’t want to overdramatize, but I’m in a black funk.  We were really looking forward to this trip.

But, we did get the estate sale for John’s folks’ house done.  Lots of work to sell off a lifetime of possessions.  They love their new home in a senior independent-living apartment, and that made things easier for everyone.

On the home front, I’ve gotten most of my spring yard cleanup done, and uncovered this bright green rock, hiding under a pile of decomposing leaves.  So many colors!wpid-20150411_152833.jpgOn top of it all, it snowed here on Earth Day – April 22.  Really???  Until happier times return to Chez Campshaw, the blog is going to go dark, so you might not hear from me for awhile.

Camp on, if you can…..

34 thoughts on “The Campshaws Crap Out

    • Wish I had thought of that title. It’s perfect.

      We’re not looking or hoping for anything great. We just want to catch a bit of May camping at this point in a reliable camper. Is that asking too much?

      Got any fun plans, yourselves? Your weather must be fantastic about now.

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  1. I”m so sorry to hear about your trip cancellation. Our dream trip of 3 months across the US came to a somewhat screeching halt–no, more like petered out, due to the nasty virus that hit us both and we returned home after five weeks. Turns out things happen for a reason as we need to be on the west coast due to family issues and the weather on the gulf coast hasn’t been exactly what we would have wanted (we are total fair-weather campers). So now we are reassessing what we want out of our retirement travels and I’m not sure we’ll revisit the 3-4 month cross-country trip; may be more staying in our third area of the U.S.

    I will miss seeing your posts.

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    • Being sick when you’re on the road is the worst, isn’t it? Hard to find a spot to stretch out and feel miserable by yourself in an RV.

      Hope you don’t give up on the longer tours, though. We (generally) find that it takes us a few weeks to hit our stride when camping. Once we’ve been away from home for about three weeks, I really believe that we could stay out full-time in our small camper. Bit, if you live in the Southwest, you’ve certainly got some of the most magnificent camping in your backyard.

      We hope to sneak in a week once we get the Fireball back in May. Around these parts, May is primo camping. Quiet, decent weather, not many insects yet. What else does a camper need?

      Once I get my attitude adjusted too the fact that I’m not leaving for Tennessee this weekend, life will be better. Hope you’ve got your next trip planned as well.

      Thanks for your note.

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      • The interesting part of our trip, and one we keep talking about, is that until the night before we came home, we never felt like giving up and going home, even during our 3 a.m. coughfests. The problem was we just never felt well enough to get our feet under us and decide exactly what we wanted to do. Seemed we were always trying to figure our where we could go that would make spouse feel better and also get us a good night of sleeping! We were going to head back to S California for the following two months until I got sick. We would like to try again but unsure where we want to go. We live in Oregon, which has some of the best scenery and camping in the U.S. which is why we’ve already made our summer camping reservations for Oregon and Lake Tahoe. But I do think we’ve determined that driving for long distances is not something we want to do, and we’ve also decided keeping our house is a bit of an anchor but not ready to give it up and full-time. It’s hard being retired! :-)

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      • Agree that the house anchor is one we love (although there are days when I wonder about that).

        The fun part about traveling, for us anyway, sure isn’t the travel part. Guess we are stuck with driving, until someone figures out a way to teletransport the Fireball to all the spots we want to see. Until then, we try to drive as few miles between stops as possible, and camp at least two or three nights at each spot.

        Happy Camping.

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  2. Hate those trailer issues. Jeeze, just want them to be perfect and work perfectly! Glad you’re safe and sound. Now you can come to Wyoming to camp this summer? What happened to the trade up idea?

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    • When we roll into your driveway, Liz, we’d better not hear any grumbling. Trading up may be in the outlook down the road sometime, but not now. We didn’t care for the Oliver Trailer that we were interested in, and nothing has really pushed us toward making a move for now.

      Would still like to purchase one of your whooping crabs watercolors if you’re interested in selling.

      Is it spring yet in Wyoming??

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  3. I heard about the snow from my aunt in KZoo – hope the spring weather returns soon for you! And what a bummer about the trailer! That is quite impressive that there were no incidents with the axle on the way home. I hope the ultimate fix comes soon and without more drama.

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  4. Imagine this …… We get a new larger Fun Finder trailer and get it home 6 days before our week long reservation outside of GSMNP. We’re so excited …. I add a larger flatscreen and we’re all prepped and loaded ready for that week in the Smokies (last Oct.) I hitch up the truck before dark so that it’s ready in the morning and we mount up with excessive enthusiasm. Imagine our surprise when we discover that our 2wd half ton can’t pull the heavier trailer up our steep driveway because of traction issues. We were already to camp in our brand new camper and we couldn’t leave the house ….. true story :-)

    Sorry to hear that we won’t see you this year and hope you get Fireball taken care of. All things happen for a reason :-)

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    • Neil, I’m sure your problem had a much more expensive solution than ours does. Yikes – that must have been a horrible day around your house.

      OK. The pity party is nearly over. It’s not the end of the world, although it seemed like it for a bit.

      Have fun in Townsend.

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      • Ironically, the truck I had wanted for years still wasn’t available when we bought the 2WD. Since we had no choice but to get a 4WD I got to spec out the new Eco Diesel V-6 turbo in the package so I think they call that serendipity :-)

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  5. Judy, my sadness at hearing about T@DA’s plight is only outweighed by my relief that you made it home safely. Isn’t it odd how out of kilter we feel when our campers are in the shop? It’s like they are essential to living almost.

    So sorry you are missing the rally. You have my empathy… if that helps. :)

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  6. So sad to see the Fireball being loaded onto the trailer and John’s head hanging down. Such a sad day indeed. I had so many things to discuss with you at the BRR and now we’ll have to wait. Sigh. I like David’s idea. Take the bikes out of the truck back and all the assorted tools, throw the mattress in the back and come to the BRR. There’s plenty of us there that will feed and water you with your favorite bottled beverage. :)

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    • Thanks, Susan. We did briefly think about doing that, but it didn’t seem like a very good option at the time. Wouldn’t you all make fun of us if we rolled into the BRR with a 1-800-RENTRV?

      Next year for sure.

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  7. Oh, J & J, I feel so bad for you and the Fireball. You have a good outlook, and it just must be that there was a reason the trip to the BRR didn’t materialize. We will be missing you guys to the max and hoping for happier trails ahead.

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      • Yoly and I will be working the summer at the Lake Tahoe KOA so Y’all come out and visit :-) At 6,300 foot elevation, the summer temps are generally a nice high 70s and there’s lots to see and do in the vicinity. It’s a beautiful area.

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    • Tenting with Jezzy is tough. We would have to take her with us everywhere, and that’s not fun for anyone. We had one real bad tenting experience with her, where she heard raccoons in the middle of the night, and charged out. John grabbed her leg just as she had punched a big hole in the door. So no more tenting. ;-)). We laugh about that now, but it was a long night. We wound up putting two leashes on her, and tying one to each of our ankles. Funny to think of it now.

      We will survive, I guess. See you soon .

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      • You can’t write comedy any better than that …. where’s the video camera when you need it :-)

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  8. So sorry to hear that the Fireball needs more work, and that you won’t be able to make the trip you had been looking forward to. Maybe a miracle will happen and you’ll be able to make the trip after all.

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