Our first adventure with our “new home” happened earlier than we anticipated. Our little family was in the process of bringing our truck and camper to our sticks and bricks home when we had an unexpected major issue with our truck. We were only 45 minutes from home, traveling down the highway pulling a 40-foot-long camper and lost almost all of the pulling power of our truck. We were able to limp the truck and trailer off of the highway and into a Walmart parking lot. Thankfully our issue happened right near an exit with a Walmart right around the corner. Of course, this event had to happen on a Sunday evening when nothing relating to diesel repair was open. We were able to drop the camper in the Walmart parking lot and drive the truck over to an auto parts shop. While we were there, we diagnosed that the truck needed to be seen by an expert asap and there was no way we could pull the camper. Now what?
Well, we couldn’t leave the trailer parked in the Walmart parking lot with no one with it, so we made the decision to sleep in the trailer overnight. Thankfully we have an onboard generator that can power the camper and allow us to have electricity and heat. But, since the trailer is still winterized, we did not have any running water or a bathroom. We also had an empty RV. We did not have any bedding or pillows as we had not outfitted the camper at all yet. So, we took advantage of our proximity to Walmart and outfitted ourselves to make it through the night.
Once we had enough supplies to get us through the night and the morning, we headed out to dinner. We ordered drinks to drown our sorrows or celebrate our first adventure, depends on the perspective. The kids had kiddie cocktails and the adults enjoyed an adult beverage. After dinner, we settled in for the night and watched a DVD from the Walmart Redbox. I anticipated having a few issues getting the kids to sleep but they were surprisingly fine. They had a great time looking out of their windows and falling asleep watching and listening to the semi-trucks parked all around us. All was going well until about 2 a.m. when our generator ran out of propane. We checked the tanks when we got there but were unable to tell how much was in them. So, our proximity to Walmart again came in handy in allowing us to get a new propane tank. Unfortunately, after we hooked that back up our generator decided to not work as it should. It would run for about 30 minutes and then shut off. Since it was about 25 degrees outside, we definitely needed electricity and had to continue to turn the generator on again frequently throughout the early morning hours. Thankfully, the kids woke up in the morning oblivious to our issues, but the adults didn’t get much sleep after the initial propane run.
Once we were up and going in the morning, we found a shop about 20 minutes away that was able to look at our truck. Sadly, we discovered that our emissions filter was 100% clogged and needed to be replaced. This is a VERY expensive fix, but something had to be done to resolve our problem. We found a shop that thankfully was able to get our truck in to get worked on that evening. Prior to dropping the truck off for repairs, we very carefully towed our trailer into a nearby parking lot that we received permission to use for the night. Next, we dropped off the truck at the shop. We then borrowed a car from family to get home. Even though our time without was short, indoor plumbing and a hot shower are wonderful things.
Our savior of a mechanic was able to get our truck done by the next afternoon. By that evening we had our truck and camper moved to its resting place for the next month, near our sticks and bricks home.
It was a whirlwind of unexpected and stressful moments, but we are thankful for the timing. We broke down in a safe place and close to our family that who were able to help us out. We didn’t officially move into the camper, so we had another home to go to. It was a good opportunity for us to reaffirm that we have the right mindset to take on this adventure and whatever may happen in the future.
The kids and the dog were great throughout the whole time and they just went with the flow. Fred woke up during one of the generator shut downs and told us, while he was half awake, “I could get used to living like this.” I think we all passed this test and are looking forward to the next adventure.