Welcome to our Adventure!

Al and I are thrilled that you have found your way to our blog. We hope you enjoy reading our journal and viewing our photographs of the natural wonder of our United States of America. Let's hit the road together!
Homer, Alaska

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Little Black Cloud...

Our second week at Fort Wilderness was just as much fun as the first...imagine that :-)! We were so fortunate that the weather this year was sunny and warm while we were there. There have been winters that we've gone that have been quite chilly!

Highlights of our second week included checking out the new French bakery in the France pavilion at EPCOT...not just once, but a total of three times...dare I even say, TWICE in one day!! Oh, we're so bad. The consensus is that the refurb is very nice, and the food and pastries delicious! One afternoon we had a wonderful lunch with dear old friends from Sag Harbor NY (our original hometown) who were visiting WDW the same week. It was great to catch up with their lives, and hopefully it will become and annual event...yes, we have already booked our reservations at The Fort for next year...any and all are welcome to join us :-)!

We were also lucky enough to have scored reservations at the newest restaurant in the Magic Kingdom, Be Our Guest in the new Fantasyland. The restaurant is set in the Beast's castle, and there are three separate dining rooms: The Main Ballroom, the West Wing, and the Rose Gallery. You really feel as if you are entering the castle straight out of the movie. The detail is that authentic...except there are no singing and dancing candelabras, clocks, or teapots! We did, however, receive a visit from The Beast twice during dinner :-). Food was French, naturallement, and we all thoroughly enjoyed our meals, right down to the assortment of cupcakes and cream puffs for dessert. Highly recommended for anyone going to WDW, but be sure to jump on the reservation bandwagon as early as possible, it books up quite quickly!

Our last day at The Fort we had another cookout with all the family, played Marbles and Cards, and made our reservations for next year :-). It had been so much fun, not just to spend time at Disney but to share it with family. It doesn't get better.
Casey is going to miss his Uncle Billy :-)!!

Now, you're probably wondering with such a glowingly good time, where does "the little black cloud" in the title fit in? Well, as most of you know, or have heard, now we have to deal with our trailer issues. Specifically, getting it back up to Keystone, where the necessary repairs can take place. Upon packing up at The Fort, we left for our short journey home to Homosassa, where we parked the trailer in front of the house and proceeded to empty its contents into our garage. Its only been two years since we started our journey, but wow, the "stuff" does accumulate, doesn't it?! I had hoped to be able to leave my stuff in it at least on the side that wasn't in need of repair, but upon requesting clarification I was asked to have it completely empty, as "while replacing the passenger side wall of the trailer, they may need to remove the other side of the trailer as well"...yes, you read that right. The are anticipating replacing the entire wall on the passenger side of the trailer. The also anticipate needing "several weeks", which is why we need to get it up there pronto so that we can get to Bar Harbor by the first of May.

So, we emptied all our possessions, boxed it all up and commandeered the back corner of the garage. At this time we plan on renting a u-haul trailer in April, picking the trailer up in Indiana and heading on to Maine from there. Ugh. At least we did "purge" quite a few items, figuring if we hadn't used them in two years, it most likely wasn't needed.

Early Monday morning, we headed out on the open road, headed towards Indiana. The pups were staying in Florida with their aunties, so we could travel faster. We had hoped to make it to Louisville, KY before stopping, arriving at Goshen Tuesday early afternoon. Well, we made it as far as Valdosta Georgia when the "little black cloud" descended again. I think I had written that starting back in October, while in North Dakota at the beets (I REALLY have no fond memories of that state at this time!), the truck started making a "tick tick tick" sound on and off. Unfortunately, never when it was at a dealer :-. Al, having worked on diesel engines in his boat, was fairly sure it was a valve lifter problem, but unfortunately, no-one was going to tear apart the engine, under warranty, on his saying so. Well, as we pulled out of the first rest area on I75 just south of Valdosta, the truck started running very rough, and making all kinds of racket. I really couldn't believe it. Long story short, we found a large Ford dealer with diesel service 11 miles away, we were able to get there under our own power, they heard the issue and agreed with it being the valve lifters, and (Thank the Lord) we have the extended warranty through Ford so the repairs are covered. The folks there have been great, so far, letting us store the trailer in their secure lot, and arranging for a rental car while the repairs are taking place (also covered under the extended warranty).

The bad part, at this point, is that the trailer has not made it to Keystone factory yet! As of Friday afternoon, they still hadn't finished getting into the engine to ascertain the exact problem, then they have to contact Ford to see exactly what they will cover having done. Then they can finally start fixing it. So we are looking at it being most likely another week before getting it back. So, I did some research, and at this time, we decided our best course was to hire a transport company to take the rig up to Indiana for us so we don't lose our spot in the repair cycle there. I was surprised, it isn't actually going to cost much more than what I would have spent on fuel round-trip, hotels and eating out while on the road. I think it is our best option at this point. We do have to make the trip back up to Valdosta tomorrow, though, as we didn't think to leave the keys to the trailer there, and the truck company needs to get into the bay to turn the battery on so the brakes will work! Always a good thing :-). Plus we left Al's toolbox in the basement as he wouldn't travel without his tools, so we need to collect that. I also need to call Keystone in the morning and apprise them that this is what is going on and they can expect the trailer Thursday or Friday. I really wanted to personally speak to the service department and go over the trailer with them, but I'll do the best I can on the phone.

So, that's our story. I'll keep everyone apprised of the situation as it unfolds, and ask for continued well wishes from everyone!


  1. Wow! You guys sure have a lot going on. I guess that's the way the lifestyle goes.....sooner or later you have "real life" issues pop up. Hope it all goes smoothly from here on. We are loving our volunteer job here in Lake Mead. Plenty of time to explore. Looking forward to Colorado. Take care!

  2. I guess the upside of this is that you have someplace to stay while all this work is being done . . . and you had a great time at Disney first!

  3. Boy you definitely have had the good with the bad. You are handling it all amazingly well!

  4. [Laura here, I can only post anonymously.]

    Geez, you guys have some really 'entertaining' black clouds!! Would have been nice if the truck would have ticked when it was at a dealership or even waited until you were returning from Indiana, but that wouldn't have made for nearly as memorable an adventure. Years from now when you talk about your Disney trips, you'll be able to mark this year by "Was that the year the truck died in Valdosta?"
    I had a 'grey cloud' of my own last week. I started to go to bed early, couldn't sleep so I got back up and played on the computer. About 1:30 a.m., I heard a 'crackly' sound behind me, then started smelling smoke. One of the outlets in the entertainment center fried itself!! It had a space heater plugged into it, but it hadn't been turned on for a couple days. I turned off all the breakers and it stopped, but I also went out and unplugged the trailer entirely. No damage except the outlet and it didn't catch fire; just melted and stank! Thank Heavens for insomnia -- and whoever was watching over me that night!

  5. Oh my, little black cloud is right! I hope everything goes ok with the truck.

  6. Wow! Wishing you the best of luck! Guess it could have been worse but it appears you have things under control.
    It'll be one of those stories you'll tell later...when you can laugh again :)

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  9. Oh my, after reading your comment I wondered hmmm why would they are not be taking the trailer up? It sounded like someone else was, now I know why. What bad luck, I'm so sorry. But I guess you weren't in a place where help wasn't so close that is a good thing. I wrote in my reply back that the bad weather is not to get into here until later on today. We have the radar on now and it is just entering In, at 2:30pm. So hopefully they have or will be through Indy by the time it hits there. The Northern part of the state will probably get all snow so if it gets bad I would think they would pull over and stop. I hope all goes well.

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