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Old 10-11-2011, 01:30 PM   #1
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A quiet weekend getaway...

Hi;

I have been away from the forum for a while now spending two weeks in Africa and then this past Thanksgiving weekend in Georgia.

First a little background...

Pntyrmvd didn't travel with me to Africa so I promised to make it up to her. We were chatting about the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend last week and decided it was not too important for us to be around here. The fall fair was on, but it will be here for another 140 years.

We decided to hit the road to beautiful Georgia. Atlanta ought to be great weather-wise and that old southern hospitality suits me fine. It would be a quiet, relaxing private time for the two of us. My dog Pint would of course come along, but that's normal. He's great for road trips.

So we loaded up the conversion van on Thursday afternoon and set off.


Now keep in mind this is supposed to be a romantic getaway, but, as always, there can be issues. Georgia is 950 miles from here. Oh well, let's go.

First stop the US border at Detroit. Full vehicle search et al. No issues so we continue. One hour lost.

We sleep at a great rest area in Ohio and continue Friday morning through beautiful country and with perfect driving weather on our side.

Friday afternoon we locate my target for the romantic road trip and the reason for the oddball assortment of gear I've brought along all the way to Atlanta. Remembering that anyone can spend the night in an RV at Walmart we find the nearest one as a back up. Then we return to my target.


Now at this point Pntyrmvd has figured that the romantic weekend I've planned is going to be interrupted with the need for her to drive either the 96 conversion van or the 1982 Sporty back the 950 miles to home. Suddenly she's not happy.

I tell her no, she won't have to do any driving. Modern technology has invented things that will allow us to tow my ("our") new toy home together! Just give me some time and I'll get it all set up I tell her. Clearly unimpressed she agrees to at least drive the 96 back to the Walmart behind me and my ("our") new (USED) Sporty.

We arrive at Walmart around 5 pm and I admit to being exhausted. Pntyrmvd goes into the store to find a souvenir tee shirt or two. I proceed to install the brackets for the tow bar. Ten minutes later she's back with live steam billowing out both ears muttering something about the rudest staff she's ever met. Big, nasty words accompany the hot clouds. Oh, and no tee shirts. I suggest we pack it in for the night and get something to eat.

We cruise around for a few minutes and realize that other than fast food, pawn shops, and bail bondsmen offices we are not going to find something "romantic" as planned. My thoughts of a special night in the conversion van, of which we've had many, are quickly evaporating.

I drive back to the more conventional neighbourhood we got the Sporty in and we quickly find a fantastic little pub with great BBQ and very cold Carlsberg. This is my redemption. After a great meal we wheel back to Walmart, park next to the Sporty, and I decide to have a celebratory drink in the new-to-me ("us") 1982 Dodge SMB EB. Three sips into my can of Labatt's 50 ale I fall asleep on the lower bench with my dog Pint next to me. Pntyrmvd leaves for the 96 conversion van. Twenty minutes later she's back telling me to get up, and back into the 96 as she can hear people screaming and somebody's dog is running loose in the parking lot barking at anything that moves. I agree and head back.

I pass out and am regularly awakened by a barking dog. Damn Walmart! Get that stray out of here. Now!

This continues until dawn at which point I get up and outside to discover the dog is following the security guard in his mini pickup truck. He seems to be trained to run behind it and bark at anyone who moves. Strangely though he doesn't bark at me or any other white people. Not quite sure what that means. The day shift security lady explains the screaming was the local high school football team playing a game on the field just over the berm in the parking lot. None of these explanations do much good. I ("we") needed sleep.

So Pntyrmvd gets up and out and we head over to McDonald's for what passes as coffee. I snag some more bits and pieces for the tow job and we return to Walmart.

Here I start slowly with the fastest trailer wiring job I've ever done. No time to tap into the Sporty's wiring. I have promised to have my lady out of the Walmart mad house by noon.


Okay, brain working. Let's get the supplementary brake system hooked up.


It works as promised and took only 90 minutes to install. Noon is coming quickly.

I crawl underneath and pull the driveshaft out and hang it next to the exhaust.

A few trips around the parking lot as a test and we're off. 1 pm Saturday. Not bad.

So here we are ready to drive a 42 foot long 12,000 lb train back over 950 miles of road. Piece of cake.


We ("I") get the rig 200 yds up the road after neatly exiting Walmart and look in the mirrors. Having flat towed a car for 2400 miles once before what I am seeing is new to me. The Sporty is wandering around the lane, pushing and pulling on the hitch in a strange way. I then pull over and head back to check things out. All seems well. I've left the steering unlocked as per instructions and everything seems hooked up. We proceed.

Atlanta's retarded traffic light system is not letting me put any miles on the rig at any sort of speed so I confess to Pntyrmvd that we'll try I-285 at 55 mph for one mile and see what happens. She has not forgotten the look of horror in my eyes minutes earlier and asks about the risk of the Sporty flipping us over. I say it can't happen. The tow bar would bend first I insist. So off we go down the on ramp with the prayers flying as we pick up speed. Strangely all seems fine. Then a car blows by us doing 80 while we are doing 55 and we start swaying. Not too badly, but enough to make me think this is going to be a very long trip home.


So off we go as I try to remain calm and confident while quickly learning about how this train is going to handle. Eventually I realize that the greater the speed difference between us and those passing us the worse the sway is. Otherwise she tracks down the road beautifully.

At one point I pull out to pass two trucks and am told by my lady that I'm going to kill us both. We make it by the trucks and continue. My nerve is getting better and we end up cruising at 70 mph for the remainder of the trip.

We enjoy the views.


We stop. Pntyrmvd even befriends an older man who is driving another old Dodge class B motorhome. Note the lack of a rear door. You only spot these things on a road trip!


We are constantly tailgated.


And eventually we make the border.


After checking in with the US vehicle export desk we cross the bridge, do the Canadian import paperwork and start our last leg home. Total time at both customs offices- 60 minutes. A new record. Three hours later I finally get home and have one of these, or two, or...


My dog Pint is very excited to have made the 1900 mile trip in two days.


And I finally get to post the picture you have all shown me of your Sportys!
The night shot in my backyard:


Pntyrmvd was so comfortable on day 2 that she moved into the back seat of the conversion van reading a book. Wow! I am still unsure if she will ever come pick up a vehicle with me again, though. That doesn't matter. I'm still honoured to have her in my life.

Thanks for all your support in getting us this far. NOTE: The 1984 4x4 B300 Dodge is on its way from Washington State. I think you can guess where this is headed!

Stats:
tow vehicle:
distance 1900 miles
1996 Dodge 2500 conversion van- 57,000 miles, 6,000 lbs
3.55 rear gear
mileage down at 80 mph 15.6 mpg
mileage home at 65-70 mph 12.1 mpg total weight 12,150 lbs

Sportsmobile
1982 Dodge B250- 220,000 miles
$1800.00
318 4 bbl
permanent toilet, full kitchen, front couch
uglier than a man's butt
1 cup of tea made on the Sporty's stove
tow bar
supplemental brake system

Regards,

Gavin
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Old 10-11-2011, 01:56 PM   #2
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Re: A quiet weekend getaway...

Thanks for tellin' the story and sharin' the pics!

Cheers,

Chris
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Old 10-11-2011, 02:02 PM   #3
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Re: A quiet weekend getaway...

Great story, but I've got to say that you're either very brave or very stupid for suprising your significant other with something like that. I wouldn't be breathing anymore if I surprised my wife that way. I'm glad it worked out.


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Old 10-11-2011, 05:24 PM   #4
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A quiet weekend getaway...

Sounds like you had a wonderful adventure. Hope you and you better half enjoy your rig.


Larrie
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Old 10-11-2011, 09:43 PM   #5
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A quiet weekend getaway...

Classic
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Old 10-15-2011, 08:41 AM   #6
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Re: A quiet weekend getaway...

Great writeup.

Enjoy.

steve
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