I've just returned from another little adventure with kids and camper. This time we headed south, to the Land Between the Lakes in western Kentucky and Tennessee. (The mechanical difficulties of the previous camping post were a thing of the past; with a new ignition and a new fuel pump, we had no worries!) Our trip earned us 2 more stickers...
a spinning demonstration on a great wheel at the Homeplace
and even one completed sock for Heather--too bad I can't show you that one!
We also learned about constellations in a planetarium, saw owls and wolves at the visitor's center and spent one day on Lake Barkley at a birthday party for my niece.
But no trip would really be complete without a little more excitement! On our way home we stopped at a rest area somewhere in Southern Illinois. I noticed an older gentleman talking with my husband near our camper and wondered if the older man was in need of assistance. How optimistic I must have been! He was telling my husband that *something* was dragging on the ground between OUR truck and camper. That *something* turned out to be the plug that connects all the tail lights on the camper as well as the camper brakes to the controls in the truck. Apparently it had come loose while we were traveling. Ordinarily it would be no trouble to reconnect it. But driving with it dragging the road had worn about half of this plug away and no connection could be made.
As evening was falling hope of stopping for dinner faded and we began what might become a race against darkness, with no camper brakes and no camper lights. As we were south of Effingham, Illinois, I called information and found cell phone directory assistance to be a very satisfactory experience. I was connected almost instantly with WalMart, who claimed to have the wrong number of pins in their connector plug. I was then connected with Autozone, where the clerk also claimed not to have the piece we needed.
For some reason we took the Effingham exit anyway, thinking we would look at WalMart and verify whether or not they really had the wrong number of pins in the plug available there. We thought we needed a 7-pin plug but we weren't 100% sure. Maybe the WalMart 6-pin plug was what we needed after all. We took the exit to find out.
Not knowing where to find WalMart, we happened upon Autozone first. We thought it wouldn't hurt to look there anyway and at least they could tell us where WalMart was. I was calculating where we could camp for the night or find a cheap room if this plan failed. Driving without camper brakes and tail lights in the daylight is one thing, but we wouldn't have risked it at night.
If there was a positive side to this part of the story, it was that I got more done on Heather's 2nd sock while waiting at Autozone...
Our luck must have been changing, because my husband emerged from that store with the RIGHT plug! All that remained was for my brilliant son to cut off the old damaged plug, strip the wires and connect them all properly! No problem! Having a brilliant son really comes in handy.
We were soon back on our way, rewarding ourselves first with a hearty meal at the Effingham Cracker Barrell. We were home by midnight and arrived to hear the words of the audio book of Anne of Green Gables which refelected our sentiments exactly:
"I've had a splendid time....but the best of it all was the coming home."