The Last Trip (For One of Us...)
This week on the Camera Couple: Rose has a work meeting up north and the couple have plans to camp in the last two states they have left in the northeast. Will Rose get to meet her coworkers in Portland, ME for the first time? Will the couple get to camp in Delaware and New Jersey? Or, will it be the last time we see one of the key members of the Camera Couple crew? Cue ominous music...
Rose had a work conference in Portland, ME, so we figured what better excuse to go up north!? Looking at the map on the side of our trailer, we had a few little (irritating) empty spaces in the Northeast: Delaware, New Jersey, and Rhode Island.
Of course, they're so small, you need a trained eye to see them. But we know they're empty, and we wanted to fill them!
Since going up north can be a struggle sometimes (95 and the George Washington Bridge in NY are my worst enemies), we decided to knock out the last few states on the way up for Rose's conference. We booked campsites in Delaware and New Jersey, loaded up the truck and trailer, and off we went!
The first stop of the trip was on the east coast of Virginia. We booked a quiet little campsite back in the woods for a few days before continuing the trek up the coast. There honestly wasn't much to talk about. We worked, and I shuffled up and down some hills on my skateboard.
After a few days, it was time to continue on to Delaware, our first new state of the trip. Unfortunately, it just wasn't meant to be...
As we were heading up the eastern part of Maryland, I felt a little shudder in the truck. It was easy to write off as a bump in the road, but I kept my wits about me. Then there was another. And another. I then noticed the oil pressure kept dipping whenever one of the bumps occurred. I'm not a mechanic, but I know a bad sign when I see one...
We pulled off into a grocery store parking lot, and I did a layman's scan of the engine and underneath the truck. I didn't see anything out of the ordinary, so we hesitantly hit the road one more time.
Luckily, there was a Chevy dealership just up the road from where we were. We figured it wouldn't hurt to just pull in and see if they can take a quick peek.
When we got there, I tried to explain what was happening. I'm not very good at making sound effects, so the service manager asked to take a ride to see if he could feel it. And feel it he did...
The minute I went to turn onto the road, there was a loud crash from under the truck. No matter how hard I hit the gas, the truck would only move about two miles per hour. Our worst fears had been realized. The transmission was toast, and our trip was put on an immediate hold.
The service manager said transmissions were on backorder, so it could take up to two weeks to get a new one into the shop. He also said we couldn't keep the trailer on the lot, so it had to be moved.
Now, in scramble mode, I started calling up everyone I knew in the area with a truck. Luckily—or as lucky as we can get in such a situation, at least—we broke down in Maryland about two hours from my family farm. I called my uncle to come and rescue us and he thankfully was available and willing.
He towed us to my brother's house just outside of Baltimore, about an hour away from the dealership. We were officially stranded until the truck could be repaired—and super lucky and grateful to be surrounded by helpful, generous, and accommodating family members.
While we were safe, we did have to cancel the rest of our trip. Rose wouldn't get to meet her coworkers in Portland, and we wouldn't get to add Delaware or New Jersey stickers to our map.
We spent about two weeks in my brother's back yard while the truck was in the shop. In that time, I learned to longboard (and how much I loved it), we got to cruise around town in his super-fun Ford Fiesta ST (turbocharged!), I got to see my buddy Kratos, and we still had a lot of fun overall.
Although the rest of the trip was canceled, we decided not to waste our northern effort. Once the truck was ready, we decided to hit the road again and head farther north to Massachusetts to spend time with Rose's family.
After another week spending quality family time in MA, we started making our way back down south toward home.
It might not have been the trip we planned or expected, but it still turned out to be okay (although a bit expensive). On the bright side, we were very lucky to break down where we did, and we ended up having a great time with our family.
As for the truck, we realized we might have been asking a bit too much of a little half-ton pickup. While we were within the weight rating (barely), an almost full-time camping schedule covering thousands of miles per trip in a 25-foot travel trailer might have done the poor thing in.
We thought it might be time to give the old Chevy a break and trade in for something a bit more hefty, but that's a story for another time....
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