The day started with very little sleep the night before as I tossed and turned with a major pain in my elbow. I had scraped my elbow somehow earlier that week and now my elbow was swollen and painful. It had started the day before, but got slowly worse. The pain was in such a place that I could not find a comfortable sleeping position. So Mark and Maggie didn't sleep much either.
We woke up and found the closest urgent care (once again the travel gods were smiling on us as this was the first campground that had provided us a list of nearby businesses which included not only one but THREE urgent care centers within 10 miles of the camp site). And, this was my last day of insurance coverage until either COBRA or our own health insurance kicks in!
The urgent care had to be one of the dirtiest urgent cares I have ever seen. There was an ant crawling on the floor of the room I was in, nothing seemed very orderly, and the floors were dirty. I tried my best to ignore the conditions and pay attention to the doctor as he told me that I had bursitis. Apparently the scrape I had became infected from bumping it and putting pressure on it (a small camper bathroom and a lot of time at the kitchen table on the computer probably did not help this problem). After a shot in my butt and some antibiotics he sent me on my way. The pain should subside in a few days and the swelling can take up to 3 - 6 months to completely disappear (wow!).
We headed out at 10 am looking forward to a beautiful drive through eastern Ohio, West Virginia and Maryland/Pennsylvania. We stopped about 2.5 hours for lunch at a rest area and as soon as we entered the camper we knew something was wrong. It smelled like burning brakes. Mark checked the camper and sure enough our left brake was smoking. We both mentally kicked ourselves for not having the brakes checked out when we were in Shipshewana as we had thought thay they did not seem right.
We gathered all of our resources to figure out how to get this fixed. Mark grabbed the computer, I checked the GPS for auto mechanics, and then we checked our Good Sam map (another "must have" for RVers). The map provided the answer we needed with a RV service shop just a few miles down the road. I called and the man who answered almost laughed at me for thinking that he might be able to help. He was busy with the Labor Day weekend rush and could fit us in next Friday. Thankfully, he provided us a recommendation for a place in Wheeling, West VA called Wheeling Spring. The man who answered the phone there said he could help. (I am sure it did not hurt to have a woman's voice calling and telling of our troubles - hey, whatever it takes!)
We made our way carefully to Wheeling Spring trying not to aggravate the smoking brake any more than we had to (and hoping that it would not catch on fire. These are ideas that your husband should not put into a wife's head), hoping that they would be able to service the camper today. Otherwise, we figured we were in for a long Labor Day weekend in Wheeling - which really would not have been a problem as long as we could find a campground that had space (on Labor Day weekend) and was nearby.
As we entered the waiting area of Wheeling Spring I spied a postcard that gave me hope. It said "Dear Wheeling Spring, thank you so much for fixing our camper brakes. They are still working to this day and we made it home safely". This had to be a sign, right? After what seemed an eternity of waiting, and feeling all the time that we would be spending the weekend in Wheeling, the mechanic finally came in and told us that he had been able to fix it just fine using parts from another camper whose axle had broken earlier that week. They charged us for 2 hours of labor only and sent us happily on our way. (the travel gods continued to smile on us)
We were both really tired and it had been a long day already, but we were happy to be back on the road heading towards our last campground before 5 weeks parked in front of Mark's sister house in Bethesda. Again, in the interest of time, we had to stick only to interstates. But even from the interstates we could get a good sense of the beauty of this area - huge rolling hills and wonderful forests. It reminded us of our Colorado, only with more diverse trees.
What a day....