2-27-2014 Traveling North from Key West to Fort Pierce and a flat tire!

Key West_063Our last day in Key West was a day of preparations for traveling north.  We took the opportunity to stock up on some groceries at the commissary, bought supplies at the Exchange, and filled both the MoHo and the Tracker with gas.  The car wash near the camp ground was reasonably priced as well, at a buck and a quarter for several minutes, we cleaned off all that lovely salt air on the MoHo and had time to wipe her down to a nice shine.

Must mention a side note here.  After more than six years on the road, the MoHo paint is as shiny as new, with no oxidation or discoloration.  Something called whole body paint rather than decals makes a big difference, I believe.  Mo uses a simple combination cleaner/wax when washing the rig and we have never put any other kind of wax finish on it.

Alison visits_004Other errands for the day included taking Abby to the groomer to get all that long hair trimmed back.  She was visibly cooler and happier when we picked her up and the price was reasonable as well. Good thing I didn’t read the reviews but it was the only place available and all we needed was a haircut.  The name of the place was “Doggie Style”.  Hmmm. 

I spent the afternoon cleaning the interior and doing laundry, taking a shower, and enjoying the beautiful day before we ambled off to the Sunset Grill for Happy Hour.  Hoping for some coconut shrimp, I was disappointed that that particular menu item wasn’t available, but settled instead for some nice peel and eat shrimp, better for me anyway.

Happy Hour at the Sunset barWe spent some time listening to folks laughing and partying, watching the view of the sun toward the west, but decided that waiting another 90 minutes for the sunset just wasn’t high on our agenda. So glad we left, because walking around the campground we came upon some folks we met earlier in our stay who had managed to snag a great waterfront site after just two days in the park.

Happy Hour at the Sunset Bar at SigsbeeTom and Judy were gregarious folks who know how to make friends quickly and carry on a lively conversation.  We enjoyed every minute of our sunset time with them and exchanged emails and addresses for future get togethers.  Judy’s sunset conch blowing brought out the neighbors with their own conchs and they all created a lovely harmony with the big shells.

The next morning we were on the road early, traveling north again along the Overseas Highway.  I especially loved being high enough in a motorhome that we could see over the road barriers to the gorgeous water.  On this last morning, the skies were cloudy and storms were brewing all along the route, with a few momentary downpours, but nothing extensive.

on the way north_007The route was straightforward, and we had already decided to use the Florida Turnpike to miss the most extensive area of traffic around Miami and Fort Lauderdale. I had no clue what the final cost would be, but checking the website for our Florida SunPass it was about $30 for the route from Homestead to Fort Pierce.  The transponder worked just fine and all four axles were documented with no overcharges or undercharges.

Our reservations at Alexander Springs allowed for one overnight stop somewhere along the route, and with a point on the map, we picked Fort Pierce. Another reason for choosing Fort Pierce for our overnight stay was the convenient access to a Cracker Barrel restaurant at the point where we planned to exit the Turnpike and get on I-95 to continue north.  I called the restaurant and they confirmed that we could stay overnight in the RV parking area so we took a little extra time to explore the small town of Fort Pierce.

on the way north_003There is a small historic area downtown, and a nice Manatee Center near the wharf and beach.  Again, we discovered several parks on the beach that prohibited dogs, but closer to the main beach there was an access area that said not a word about no dogs, so we took Abby out for a run.  The water was rough, the winds strong and the temperatures were quite chilly.  That encouraged the kite surfers, however, and they were out in force.

We arrived at the Cracker Barrel in time to get a nice level spot along the edge of the parking lot and decided on an early supper.  By the time we landed, it was raining misty, so a warm home cooked supper was nice.  Cracker Barrel seems to focus most on home style farm style kinds of food, with things such as meat loaf, pot roast, and mashed potatoes on the menu.  I laughed because we had both green beans and carrots and they were very tasty, but not “tender-crisp”.  They were well cooked and highly seasoned mid-west style, the way our mothers did.

on the way north_011When we walked back out to the MoHo, I noticed a tire seemed low, and a closer inspection revealed a more serious problem. Our passenger side inner dual tire was completely flat!  Whew.  No idea that it was low as we traveled a couple of hundred miles along the turnpike.  We choose not to have sensors because my trucker daughter insists that they cause more problems than they solve.  Don’t need a discussion here, I know lots of readers feel differently.

We couldn’t have had the problem in a better place, all settled in for the night in a safe spot off the road.  I called AAA RV in Oregon, and was routed to a Florida agent who then said someone would be out within an hour.  After the designated time came and went, I called again and was told that there was no one in the vicinity who knew how to do RV tires who was available.  Daughter Deanna, who drives this route often said, “Mom, the Pilot, the Flying J, and the Loves are all right there within a mile of you and they all do truck tire fixes”.  I could have called them, but then I would have had to pay and try to get reimbursed from AAA and didn’t want to do that.

friends 002Instead we just waited, and finally at 10:30 PM, in the rain, our truck repair guy showed up, traveling all the way from Miami, a two hour trip. Yon was all smiles and I couldn’t understand a word that he said, even though he was speaking English.  I also couldn’t imagine how he was going to jack up the rig with just the little bit of equipment he had on his pick-up.  Yon’s smiles came and went and he fought with the jack in the rain, and finally hauled out some kind of hydraulic jack that operated on his air system and got the rig up.

He was also expert at hoisting those tires around, and immediately knew we had a valve stem problem.  I did understand those words.  He was right, and once he got the rig hoisted, within minutes he had the tire off, had the valve stem replaced, and the tire checked and re-inflated and reinstalled.  Quite a guy.

Mo bought all new tires just before this trip, but the tire in this position was the spare, one of the vehicles original tires, and the stem had cracked.  We fell into bed at midnight in the rain, happy that all ended well and our tire repair happened so easily in such a good place.  That kind of good luck with what could be a serious situation just seems to follow Mo around.  Pretty nice.

Author: kyotesue

Soil scientist/mapper working for 35 years in the wild lands of the West. I am now retired, enjoying my freedom to travel, to hike without a shovel and a pack, to knit and quilt and play, to play with photography and write stories about all of it.

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