On my Aunties’ apple farm in Eastern Washington near the Columbia River and not too close to any kinds of shops, none the less an Airstream shop…. I learned a valuable lesson. The scenery was beautiful, and I was visiting my Aunt and Uncle so of course I was excited and let myself get distracted. Note to self for future, always follow my set up/tear down list, don’t talk to anyone until I’ve checked it over more than twice, and then, check everything again!
I was super excited to visit with my Aunt and Uncle and went in without unplugging my truck or turning my fridge over to propane. A voice inside my head said brought me back out a day later to check and yep, I had four dead batteries. I had not bought jumper chords for my diesel truck yet, which by the way has two batteries and would have really needed two diesel trucks, or at least one with an additional jumper to attach to the other battery. (I’m probably calling it the wrong thing. Forgive me.). The nearest shop was about an hour away for the truck and 200 plus miles for the Airstream… because yes… I drained both of those batteries too. And batteries are not cheap. Having paid for many reservations up front and lots of gas, I was near the end of my budget for this month and had just a couple days to solve the problem or cancel the whole trip as I would miss future reservations where one needs to book a year out to get a spot. In other words there would be a dominoe effect if I was thrown too far off of my scheduled travels.
In reality…. as mentioned in my last post, I had been terrified each time I got in the truck to drive and the Canadian Rockies were approaching. So inside I was feeling two things… one, could four dead batteries be the unsolvable problem that would allow me to slip out of having to drive through the Canadian Rockies? and two which was much bigger…… I was feeling stupid. I was beating myself up with all kinds of negative talk. How could have done this? How stupid am I? Why did I think I could do this? Why did I ever start this journey? How humiliating when everyone finds out how ridiculous I am! I can laugh now, but I was not laughing then. Although I did jokingly tell my aunt I might need to stay on their property and there was a starbucks in town that I could get a job at. I’m glad I can laugh now.
So, I have to say a huge shout out to some of the incredibly helpful and supportive and informative Facebook groups I am a part of. Airstream Addicts gave me lots of things to try. There was one guy who said he did the same thing only didn’t find out for three weeks. His advice was spot on. My uncle had a 14 watt charger (I think that’s what you call it.) It’s on my list of things to get. We charged the truck for 24 hours and went had fun to take my mind off of the “what ifs”. I did happen to have the adaptors for my 50 amp plug…. so I could go from 50 to 30 to 15 to my extension chord to the house which was a distance away… and plug my trailer in for 24 hours too. Luckily my beautiful “Beast” (2018 Dodge Ram 2500 Diesel 4×4) forgave me and her strong capable alternator started her right up no problem! And, my Airstream recharged too. I had already replaced the original batteries so I was not stuck having to buy new.
The WBCCI Solo Stream Sisters and Sisters on the Fly were awesome in helping me build my confidence back up which had been totally shot. The ladies shared stories of pickles they had found themselves in and how they found inner strength to solve them. They made my pickle look very small. One gal had to back uphill on a twisty mountain road and she called other sisters in the group who all drove out to help her. Incredible! I plan to get to know all of these folks well. We are not alone. Also, the famous Jihong Tang shared her experiences Airstreaming through the tunnels in Norway which basically were the equivalent of what was ahead of me in the Candian Rockies but all underground with turn abouts, and spirals that spit her back out onto the mountain on high up bridges where solid land was far, far below. She is definitely one of my heros in this world.
The delayed time also gave me time to reach out to Airstream Canada Adventures folks and get the scoop on the road conditions in the Canadian Rockies. This guided me to YouTube videos. You can’t get more real than that!
By the way I also have to give a shout out to the Airstream LA service department employees who were not working on Sunday but took my call anyway and helped me trouble shoot and educated me a little more on electrical systems. And a huge shout out to my girl Cassidy, ex bad ass horse jockey now bad ass truck and jeep sales woman selling out of Ontario Chrysler Dodge (That’s California, not Canada)…. for answering her personal cell on a Sunday and helping me connect with fellow employees who could help me trouble shoot on the truck. I always call that dealership before a random Dodge Dealership in some other state. Love both of those dealerships. They have been so good to me.
Besides all of the lessons learned above, the main invlauable lesson learned once I got back on the road and hit the Canadian border was to stay in the moment. I can say that in my head, but to actually do it, it took me all the way up the U.S. West coast. By the time I got to my cousin’s in Kelowna and we were headed out again with a forcast of rain and snow in the Rockies…. I didn’t worry about chains, snow tires, my driving abilities or anything else. I just enjoyed the here and now, and decided if it was supposed to be my time, then so be it. But more about that in my next post.
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