As many a full timer has been heard to say, “Our plans are written in Jello” and can easily change at a moments notice. How well we now understand the meaning of that adage. Only we’re not the ones who jiggled the mold, repairs did.
Don had been noticing a shimmy in the front end of the truck which at first he thought was caused by the condition of the roads near the campground. You see, we are parked just off Indiana State Road 37, the major artery in this area and one of which we must take to get anywhere we want to go. SR 37 is currently undergoing major construction as the new extended section of I-69 will be connecting into 37 from I-465 around Indianapolis southward to I-64 near Evansville. All of this has caused large sections of SR 37 to be torn up making for some very rough and uneven patches of road. Then Don realized the shake was still there even when we were traveling on good smooth roads and an appointment at the local Ford Service Department was scheduled.
The truck spent most of one day in the service bay before we got the bad news. The beast needed it’s front end suspension rebuilt. New struts, new ball joints, two new front tires to replace the one year old tires we purchased last Summer, and a realignment, all to the tune of $3,700. Our emergency fund took a hit.
I insisted we make every effort to recoup our loss as soon as possible by changing up our Winter plans. Don was very reluctant to do so. He didn’t want to give up our Florida arrangements. I decided at this point that my best plan of action would be to write out what the cost of our wintering in Florida would be, along with all the planned stops along the way, and the projected amount we’d spend on gas. Then I researched for a viable and more economical alternative. I presented both options to Don along with the estimated amount we would save by “shaking up” our original plans. Don unenthusiastically agreed to the alternative option.
Now, one week later he eagerly embraces the new plans. Why? Well our pocketbook took two more hits. First, Don’s computer went kaput. It was over ten years old, frequently freezing up and losing data, so it was just a matter of time before it quit. Don placed an order with Dell for a new laptop. WHAM! Another $650 expense. And second…..
We’ve had ongoing problems with our Direct TV traveler since last December. We lost all of our HD channels, our screen would often pixelate, and the dialogue was no longer corresponding to mouth movements. Don had been nursing it along until we were able to get an appointment with Elkhart Satellite Systems in Elkhart, Indiana.
We were on the road by 8 am to make our way to Shipshewana Campground South, a five hour run. We normally don’t like our travel days to go longer than four hours but we knew that once we were north of Indianapolis, it would be a pleasant two lane drive through the countryside to our destination. Aah, but we had one little hiccup north of Indy. The route we like to take was under construction, forcing us to take an alternative route. Don doesn’t adjust well to glitches and I could sense that little rain cloud starting to form above his head, thankfully it didn’t linger for long as we found that the dreaded detour proved just as nice as our preferred route, maybe even a tad faster. Things continued looking up. We are parked in what we feel is the best site in one of our favorite campgrounds, in our favorite part of the state. And another bonus, Elkhart Satellite makes RV house calls. We ended the day with a stroll around camp at sunset then sitting in the glider out front to watch the horse drawn buggies pass by.
Brian from ESS arrived at 10:30 am and promptly went to work on our satellite system. After a lengthy amount of time checking the wiring, all the boxes and our traveler, Brian determined that the traveler needed to be replaced. WHAM! Our pocketbook was made even leaner, $2,410 leaner. Our $10,000 emergency fund just declared an emergency of its own.
One of the best things about this lifestyle is the flexibility it offers. Instead of taking a slow, circuitous route south to sunny southern Florida to spend the Winter, instead of paying high campground fees to camp (relatively) close to the Gulf of Mexico, we will instead be making a direct beeline south to Alabama to spend the Winter in one of our club membership parks at a much reduced rate. Barring any unforeseeable circumstances, our emergency fund should be healthy again come Spring.
Here’s lookin’ at you kid……