Ghost of the In-turd-er

Just how much adventure is enough?

Grandpalyle’s Ark’s maiden voyage was a big hit. Heads turned wherever we went. Annie and Matt brought baby Hazel Marie, diapers and all. The weather was perfect. Devil’s Lake, Wisconsin is a beautiful state park with well spaced sylvan sites.

Dozens of visitors at the park stopped to ogle Grandpalyle’s Ark, take pictures and ask all about it. All was going beautifully . . .

. . . right up to the point when the engine caught fire. Well maybe not actually on fire. Just so much smoke that we pulled off the road thinking that the engine had blown up.

Disappointed fire-fighters can’t even find smoke.

A good samaritan in a county truck called the fire department. Although we were just outside the middle of nowhere, they arrived in force. First the ambulance, then the pumper. Just when we thought there couldn’t possibly be more equipment in Nowhere, USA, the hook and ladder truck rode up – lights and siren blazing.

Unfortunately by the time they arrived the “fire” was out. No flames (there never were any), no smoke . . . it wasn’t even hot any more.

By now a crowd had gathered. But unlike gawkers in the city, these onlookers – at least a dozen of them – were all wearing full dress emergency gear. I bet these poor smoke-eaters don’t get to dress up more than once a month. And the party was over before they got there.

What a downer. No fancy fire. Just a dead motorhome by the side of the road. I feared our fate was to watch Grandpalyle’s Ark be towed away again, this time to have its fried engine replaced.

What would we do with the left over food? How was I going to get a houseful of stuff home? How would I explain to the other grandchildren that their fabulous camping trips were cancelled? How was I going to explain to Marie that Grandpalyle’s Ark was the In-turd-er all over again?

Second ambulance on the scene

Good Sam to the rescue . . . this time even better. In about an hour another ambulance arrived. No lights, no sirens, just something that looked like it was no longer useable in Central America.

Fortunately for us, the technician driving it was as experienced as his truck. He found a broken hose . . . down under fourteen other hoses . . . down under the “doghouse” engine cover next to the driver’s seat . . . down in parts of the engine that I really didn’t need to see.

He fixed the hose, added some coolant and sent us on our way before dark. The only gratuity he would accept was the extra burrito Matt had thoughtfully picked up in nearby Sauk City.

Disaster or adventure?

Impromptu roadside picnic while technician repairs Grandpalyle’s Ark
  • Instead of stuck at the side of the road in an old wrecked In-turd-er, we were parked in Grandpalyle’s Ark, a beautiful updated land yacht.
  • Rather than aborting a trip we had looked forward to for weeks, we were on our way home after a wonderful outing.
  • We weren’t stranded. Matt and Annie were right behind me . . . and they had their own wheels.
  • The motorhome wasn’t filled with food that was about to spoil. We were on our way home and it was all gone. Matt and Annie had to drive into Sauk City for dinner when we got hungry.
  • We weren’t sad. We were celebrating the end of a wonderful vacation.

We were on the road again . . . again.

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