Would you drive 12 hours in an RV with your wife and kids, your in-laws and a cat to be a guest on an hour-long TV show? I know, most people would think that’s crazy. But what’s a mad Aussie cutting horse trainer to do?
So with my sanity seriously in doubt, we set off for Nashville TN at sunrise loaded to the hilt (you know clothes line dangling out the window behind us), country music blasting and the kids excited for a fast-food breakfast (to the the disgust of my health-freak wife). The Fort Worth/Dallas rush-hour traffic completely tests out my newly-acquired RV-driving skills. Everyone including the cat is car sick before we even leave the Metroplex.
Finally cruising up interstate 30, just starting to relax and take a sip on my steaming hot coffee, when “BAM”! Narrowly avoiding 3rd -degree burns, I drop the coffee, and manage to get the RV off the road without flipping it. A blow out. Fortunately we find a tire repair center with our particular hard-to-find tires, and two hours later get on the road again!
Optimism a little dented but intact, I say “See how well she handled that blowout! What a great buy this RV was! It’ll be smooth sailing from here”. Famous last words…
After being on the road 12 hours, we’re just 20 miles from Montgomery Bell State Park, TN, when I glance at my gauges. For some reason my diesel tank is dead empty. “There is no way this could be right as I only filled up 200 miles ago” I think, “the gauge must be broken”. I wonder should I keep going because we are nearly there or should I check it just in case? Sometimes getting older has its benefits, so I play it safe and pull off the interstate. I jump out, look underneath and sure enough diesel is gushing out like the mighty Mississippi. “Oh @#$%&….!” By now it’s dark, raining, we are in the middle of nowhere and my tool box is about as useful as a hillbilly busker’s spoon collection!
I must have woken every diesel mechanic within 60 miles that night when finally at midnight one old boy says “son it’s your lucky night because I’m working on an engine like yours right now, I’ll be there at 7am”. After a fitful night sleeping over the running generator (had to keep the fridge running apparently), it’s morning and the mechanics are nowhere to be seen.
Nine am, still no mechanic, he’s not answering his phone and I’m laying under the RV in a puddle, while my father in-law holds the i-phone as a flashlight while we try to fix the problem.
I’m still under the RV covered in diesel when this beat-up pickup truck skids to stop in a puddle, splashing water on the only part of my clothes that are dry. Two toothless old boys jump out in overalls and ask if I’m the one who needs help from last night! Biting down the urge for sarcasm, I ask them if they have any hose. One of the brothers let’s out an almighty belch, scratches his basketball-sized belly under his overalls and says “Yep” while the other brother shuffles over and fishes out a stub of hose under the pile of bud-light cans in the back of the pick-up. I could have hugged them, dead-racoon smell and all!
Fifteen minutes later we drive in slow-motion to the nearest Diesel station 11 miles away. Overjoyed to make it, we pull in and read the sign on the diesel bowser “pump broken.” It’s two hours from airtime on RuralTV and we look more like the cast from survivor than guests on Horse Talk Live. Optimism severely battered!
“Hi I’m Lizzie Iwerson and welcome to RFDTV, how was your trip?” Well put it this way, it took us 28 hours to make a trip that normally takes 11 hours and we didn’t take the scenic route!!
After the challenges of getting there, nerves were the last thing on our minds. Lizzie and all of the RFDTV team are great to work with and the show is a great success. Although I bet the cameramen are still talking about that tight Australian who wears diesel as deodorant!
We have two great days at Montgomery Bell State Park which has a beautiful camping site nestled among the trees with leaves all shades of red, orange and gold. The kids fish for crawfish in the stream while my father in-law and I spend most of the time trying to ride my son’s rip stick, much to the entertainment of fellow campers.
But our idyllic respite soon comes to an end and we pack up the RV for the 12 hour trip home. “Twelve hours”, I keep telling myself, “It’s only going to take 12 hours”. At 3pm outside Texarkana, about to hit the home stretch and “BAM!” “Oh Crap” I moan, “Bam” again????”
I’m not going to bore you with details of this tiresome tire changing episode. All that I will say is we spend the night on the side of the road again. The next day, we finally find a tire place that has our “special” type of tires. Six hours later, four new tires later, and $$$$ later (we weren’t spending another night like that again!) we hit that interstate and do not look back till we pull up in our driveway. Thankful to be home, we go to unlock the front door and realize, no-one’s put a house key on the RV keyring!!!!
You can watch our interview on Horse Talk Live below:
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