Once again, it is time for me to make my semi-annual trek to Mississippi to join my Weight Watchers friends for a week of exercise, eating right, and having a great time. This time, we are based at Birmingham South Campground which is actually in Pelham, Alabama. Jim will be able to get around while I’m gone, thank goodness he has his own Droid with the navigation feature!
We traveled yesterday from Shepherdsville, Kentucky to south of Birmingham, Alabama, a trip of about 360 miles. We averaged around 9.0 mpg fuel for the 7-hour trip. We did have one rather major mishap, just proving that mistakes can be made by anyone! Our friends, the Wishnies, admitted to some recent “newbie” errors, but this one of ours is a pretty big one. Part of our usual “getting ready to travel” procedure calls for us to double-check each other after the car is hooked up to ensure that the car’s steering wheel is loose, the emergency brake is off, and the transmission is in neutral. For whatever reason, we didn’t do that double-check yesterday, and yes, you guessed it – one of those critical pieces was not right. The transmission in our 2006 Saturn Ion is manual, and it is not always easy to immediately tell if it’s in neutral, and it wasn’t. We towed the car less than 2 miles with the car in first gear, but that was enough to ruin a perfectly good engine!
Luckily, we have friends in the neighborhood of Pelham, Alabama where our campground is located. We got a recommendation for a good, honest mechanic and had the car towed over there yesterday afternoon. Our Good Sam Emergency Road Service paid for itself with their fantastic response to our call when we arrived at the Birmingham South Campground. A tow truck arrived in less than 30 minutes after I placed the call. The campground manager here was also very helpful, she let us park in a vacant site to drop the car so it would be convenient for the tow truck driver to pick up.
At first, we thought we might just buy a new car and let the Saturn go, but Jimbo at Barrett Automotive here in Pelham found us an engine with fewer miles on it than we currently have on the Saturn, at a pretty good price. We won’t know if the transmission was damaged until he gets the engine in, but at the price he quoted us, even if we have to replace the transmission, we’re still going to be OK. We are feeling very blessed that we were able to get going on a resolution to the damage we caused without further, even more serious trouble. Whether we’re sitting in a house or living our dream on the road, “stuff happens” and we know there will almost always be something we’ll have to fix. No one was hurt, our home on wheels is fine, and our “newbie” error will be overcome, with a lesson learned!
So, we’re moving on, a little poorer in cash, a lot wiser in following established safety procedures, with a rental car to use while the Saturn gets it’s “heart transplant” and I go off to Camp Taz tomorrow.
While I’m gone, blog updating may be delayed, or not, depending on what’s going on! Stay tuned for more of our adventures, Justravelin!