As promised, it is time to fill everyone in that hasn't heard the horrible story of our journey to MI.
To start, we had planned on coming up the week of the 4th for months. We told everyone we were coming and had begun making plans for activies during the vacation. Then my husband's truck had tire issues and we had to sink a bunch of money into it, Brandon got really busy at work, and I got picked for jury duty a few days before we were supposed to be leaving. Our trip was falling through so we canceled it.
Ou luck changed a little and Brandon was able to get the time off and I was excused from jury duty at random. After a few phone calls, the trip was back on. We didn't want to make any promises so we decided to keep it low key and suprise everyone. We planed on leaving Friday evening and driving through the night but Brandon got off of work early so we got ready to go. On our return trip we wanted to stop overnight for a quick camping trip so we hooked up to the camper as well. And so it began.....
The drive started off interesting. We got a few miles down the road and noticed the vent to the camper was up (we figured one of the neighborhood kids must have been messing with it before we left). Brandon pulled over to see if he could get it down, which he couldn't. So we used a little all purpose duct tape and continued on our journey. We missed most of the Charlotte rush hour and were cruising along quite well. The kids kept the complaints to a minimum, with the occasional whine from Bailey and the continuous "are we there yet?" from Ty which we expected. Around 7:00 I noticed that Bailey and Tyler were having difficulty keeping their eyes open and figured we should stop for dinner and get them changed into pjs so we stopped at the nearest fast food place. At this point, we were in the middle of the mountains in West Virginia.
When we stoped and got out the the truck we noticed that one of the support feet for the camper had fallen down while we were driving. Brandon decided he would mess with it after we ate, so inside we went. While ordering our food, the lights in the building began to flicker on and off. We didn't think much of it since it was so hot out and we were in the middle of nowhere. A few minutes later a man yelled to his wife when the lights flickered again that they were "getting out of here now!" I thought that seemed a little extreme for the situation, then I noticed a few people huddled in a courner whispering and decided to be nosey. I overheard them talking about a tornado and figured it was time to find out what was really going on. As it turned out a very strong storm was approaching quickly and someone had spotted a tornado very close to the building we were in (they were talking yards, not miles). People began pulling off of the highway and running into the building screaming and crying. We all gathered in the middle of the building to wait it out. Thankfully, Bailey was able to distract several of the young teenage girls that were having a very difficult time coping with the situation. When the coast was clear, Brandon ran back out to the truck in pouring rain, put the foot back up and pulled around to grab us. Off we went again.
The storm must have been pretty large, because we were finding lots of trees and limbs down on the expressway and passed at least 1 accident scene. After about 10 minutes of driving, we heard a funny noise. Brandon and I talked and decided that it may have been the texture on the roadway, but when it didn't quit and the camper began to look a little out of level we decided to stop and check it out. Sure enough, we had blown a tire. Great. As Brandon was changing the tire another thunderstorm began to approach. Double great. He quickly got the spare on and hopped in the truck. Lucky for us, the spare was flat too, but it was good enough to get us down the road to the nearest gas station to put more air in it.
Off we went again, this time going very slow until we could find someplace that had air. The next exit was 4 miles up the road and we figured we could make it that far. When we pulled off and up to the station, we realized that the storm had knocked their power out. Yipee! So we babied the camper back onto the express way and went to the next exit where we ran into the same issue. This pattern continued for the next 30 or so miles. Eventually, we found a station that not only had power, but it also had air. After filling the tire up and the tank, off we went again.
Thinking the worst was behind us, we actually began making good time and putting a dent in the long 13 hour drive to MI. Then it got worse. We heard a loud pop, crash, and saw sparks flying. The camper was down yet again. Great. Just great. We pulled over on the side of the road to see what happened this time. It was now 9:30 and we were still in West Virginia, I was beginning to really not like that state. After assessing the damage we determined there was nothing we could do other than to call a flat bed tow truck and have them take the camper. After talking with AAA, one was dispached but we were told it would be a while because he was out of gas and couldn't find a gas station with power to fill up from. Just what I wanted to hear.
While sitting on the side of the road waiting for our tow-truck a very nice man that worked for the W Virginia courtesy patrol stopped and waited with us. Little did he know, it was about to be a long wait. The storm we ran into earlier knocked the power out to most of the state of W Virginia and a large portion of Ohio as well as some other states on the East Coast. 4 hours later, the camper was being hauled away and we were off again. And yes, we spent 4 hours with 2 little kids on the side of the expressway in the middle of nowhere.
All said and done, a trip that should have taken 12 to 13 hours ended up lasting 19 hours. I'm thankful we made it up alive, but would appreciate a good long cry in the corner some where. I'm hoping, and praying that the trip home will be much less eventful.
PS. After arriving to our destination, we have now had to sink more money into the truck as it is broken and my husband has contracted an infection that is no big deal for most people, but could land him in the hospital if he doesn't watch it carefully. I'm beginning to think this may be our last trip to Michigan..... :-)