Thursday, December 27, 2007

Second Day to Ashville - December 27th

We awoke late.

The curtains in hotel rooms keep all light from the room. It was 8am, and we jumped up, and all got on the move like we were Marine Corps privates being yelled at by our the Sarge.

The parking lot was slippery, because there was an ice rain over the night.

I went to the old Volvo hoping for a minor miracle - that the old diesel might start. Bev was walking Crash hoping for a minor miracle - that he might pee. I sat in the front seat, put the key in the ignition, whispered a prayer, and turned it. It roared to life!

Crash just sniffed the snow, he did not pee.

We began our travels toward North Carolina once again. We were not much farther than the night before. I had discovered the previous night that I could not travel much above 50 MPH. The trailer wanted to fishtail if I went much faster, so my travels would be quite slow. Besides that I was lucky to hit 50 MPH on a decent hill.

So here was the challenge for the day: I was going to be traveling slow - between 40 and 55 MPH. I was going to be getting hot going uphill, and turning on the heat would be necessary to help keep the engine cool. All extra electrical draws upon the engine would have to be avoided so I could keep the battery charged enough to start it each time I stopped - thus, no lights, no radio, no heat. Okay, this was going to be tough.

So here is our plan: Travel by daylight. Use the heat only when straining uphill. Go as fast as safely possible - probably 45 to 55 MPH.

We got going about 8:30am, and hit South Western Connecticut, New York City, and New Jersey between 11am and 3pm. Yep, it took that long to go that short distance. What would be an hour without traffic took almost 4 hours. This is what I hoped to avoid - traveling by night.

When the traffic was normal speed everyone passed us. Big trucks roared by, and nearly caused the trailer to fishtail behind me each time. When the traffic was crawling I almost was thankful for it - it crawled for hours.

Bev and Mom laughed about the journey, and talked about how we looked like the Clampett's headed to Beverly Hills. I was intent on the road, and the trailer, and tense with concern for safety's sake, and for the prayer that the old car would keep going. Such tension made me grumpy if my attention was diverted even a little. By about 3:30pm we were more comfortably traveling the New Jersey Turnpike, and sometimes safely traveling at 60 MPH. Woo-Hoo!

We made a couple roadside stops. It wasn't until almost 4:00pm that Crash peed. He peed a long, long time. That was good.

As the daylight wore to an end I had to turn on my lights, and we looked for a hotel. Here I am at EconoLodge at exit 5 off the New Jersey turnpike.

Driving by daylight worked. I can drive with my running lights so the trailer has its lights on, and periodically use the heater to keep the engine cool going uphill, and still recharge the battery sufficiently to start it easily again, but the headlights draw on the power way too quickly, and I noticed this even having them on for half-on-hour tonight.

It is dark by 5pm. This is not a good time of year to have to drive by day.

Benezir Bhutto was assassinated today. The owners of the hotel are of Indian or Pakistani descent - I am not sure which. They were quite caught up in the news when we arrived, and seemed almost rude, but then we had not heard the news until after we checked in.

I walked around the area found a mall, a Coldstone Ice Cream, and brought mom and Bev a surprise treat. It was a treat for Crash too. He likes to lick the cups afterward.

Tomorrow we leave earlier than today, and hopefully do not have the traffic we had today. But alas, Washington DC is ahead of us.

I've been having to add a little anti-freeze at each stop, and a little oil at every other stop. This old Volvo burns oil pretty quickly.


Evan Hansen said...

And here I am at your house joyfully working on the space...I almost feel bad. For a pick me up remind me to tell you about the trip from SC to RI in a honda crx that would travel 400 miles on a tank of gas but only 200 before it needed to guzzle another quart of oil...all on 3 hours of sleep and after a 7 hour shift of delivering pizzas. I made it, Phil, SO CAN YOU! :) I will pray as I sand the joint compound on the walls.
May peace (and safety) be with you!

cern said...

Sounds like your journey is like the pilgrimages to the Holy Land in the middle ages. You'll get there.



Pastor Phil said...

Hey Evan,

Perhaps this will end up in the official annals of the 740 Diesel Volvo.

Pastor Phil said...


The journey is part of the pilgrimage. I guess that's what we are on.