Well we did it. Our first van rally! What a blast!
Ok, well part of it was. The rally part was. The getting there, not so much.
The night before we had checked the weather. The meteorologist said a little bit of weather in the gulf was worth watching but nothing at that point. This was the late news the night before we were leaving. So off we go a few hours later. About the time we hit the interstate my sister texted to say bad weather in Houston. Mmm... oh well I had just checked the night before so I wasn’t too concerned. Onward we go. Yay!
About two hours into the trip we began smelling something odd. Not to worry we were near what appear to be oil refineries. A few more miles and the smell is stronger. We decide to stop at the Buc-ee’s about 20 miles away and check it out. Nope. it won’t wait. I realize the smell is coming from our battery that starts the generator right which sits directly behind the driver’s seat. Not good. We are still 7 miles away from the exit. No way we will make it. We began hearing a hissing noise coming from the battery. A slight panic sets in! James manages to get into the right lane quickly. He may or may not have cut rather sharply in front of a big truck to make it to the exit lane, no scare there. Geez! We stop at the first place we can and begin opening every door and window. How on earth the battery did not explode is beyond me! It was so hot James could barely get near it to disconnect it.
Awful. Just awful. Turns out the car audio place in San Antonio we had taken the van to duped us. They convinced us we needed an isolator on the generator battery so it would not drain our van battery. Completely Wrong!!! A somewhat reputable place had sold us something that nearly cost us everything! We were already beyond disappointed in this place due to them installing a very expensive 360 camera that they could not get to work. What a mess.
So, there we sit waiting for the smell (sulfuric acid leaking) to air out and the battery to cool.
Remember the bad weather my sister mentioned, turns out it was a tropical depression headed right for us. We sat watching it approach as long as we could while waiting for the air to clear in the van but yet not get deluged by the tropical air coming for us. We had two choices call it quits and head home or keep on keeping on.
Yep. We keep on keeping on.
A questionable decision at times as the rain was so hard we cannot see the road. What do you do in this case, drive as far as you can as long as you can until you are so tired you have to pull over and take a nap. Lol. The beauty of a van.
After a 15-minute catnap and radar showing we are close to coming out on the other side of the storm we hit the road again.
Whew. We make it through and drive on pulling into New Orleans for the night. We figure the worst is behind us. Haha. Nope the joke was on us when we got to mobile Alabama and the storm we ran into there had worse rain than we had in Houston. But it came so hard and so fast without warning we just pushed through again. James felt safer driving slow and continuing verses trying to get off the interstate. And again, we make it through. Pure determination! Or questionably insanity, take your pick. We stop in Auburn to visit a friend and then slept in a Walmart parking lot on South College Drive for the night. Great place to stay. Well lit, friendly staff and no noise.
Alas, three days of driving, multiple issues later and we make to Fletcher, North Carolina! The weather was spectacular and the mountain views were majestic. The Asheville Van Rally staff couldn't have been any nicer or friendlier (thanks Kelly and Micah). We met awesome people all weekend, ate great food from various food trucks and yes had coffee!! Thanks to Farewell Coffee truck for keeping me supplied and to Arthur from Sugar Hollow Solar for helping us out with solar info and the stupid overheated battery! Both the coffee and Arthur were life-savers. A favorite highlight for me was my cohort and dear friend Linn, aka Linnea Dowell, came to meet us! She lives in North Carolina and drove over to spend a day with us.
So, when all was said and done-it was definitely worth the price! All the funky stuff getting there was worth it to have our first van trip/rally under our belts.
Next up, Austin. Yay, so much closer! Can’t wait.