We woke up well before daylight, made coffee and breakfast and began the final stages of loading up for our trip. Also, we had to close up the house and garage and make them self sufficient in our absence.
It took us about an hour or so to make the final arrangements. Everything was loaded, locked and secured. We hop into the van and start him up...woops...nothing. Van won't start. Rats. Now, I had to go and get the truck out of the garage and jump start the van. Not a good start. Once I had the jumper cables hooked up, the van roared to life. Also, the automatic door locking system locked all the doors! My keys were in the ignition. Sharon's were in her purse...in the van! Dang...someone is plotting against us. Fortunately, the drivers door was not locked and we were able to get in and unlock the rest of the doors. I left the van to run and Sharon put her keys in her pocket.
I parked the truck back in the garage and secured the garage once again. While doing a final mental checklist I was trying to remember what I did with the van's power cord. Last time I saw it was on the ground near the power box. Not there. Honey! Have you seen the power cord? In the garage? Say what? We might need that. Power cord now secured inside the back door of the van. Ready to go?
It is just now getting daylight and it is humid as the lowest levels of hell. I reach over to engage the air conditioner. Everything sounds right, but nothing feels right. That means no cold air. Apparently, all the freon has leaked out of the a/c. By now we are about a mile from home wondering if we should give it up and try again tomorrow. Nope, we can keep going and fix it later. How bad could it be in the south in June? Bad.
What to do, what to do. By now it is starting to get hot. Real hot. We head out. For Alaska, not TN. I roll my window down and at least there is a breeze even if it is a hot breeze. Soon we arrive at Harrogate. For some reason, this is the town that the weather channel thinks is our local weather. This is also the site of The Cumberland Gap, of Daniel Boone fame and glory. There is a tunnel here. You can't go through here with hazmat without an escort and RVs are required to turn off their propane. They are nice enough to give you a safe place to pull over and perform that task. Once through the tunnel, I stop in a not so safe place and turn the propane back on. Off we go.
We made it to Middlesboro KY, site of our first fuel stop to top off the tank. Research found a station here selling diesel for $2.86 a gallon. This will turn out to be the cheapest fuel for the next 5 weeks!
I stopped at a Goodyear dealer to see if they could give us a shot of freon. Yes, he said! Come back next Tuesday and we'll fix you right up. I'd do it today, but my a/c guy is off and we are closing in 10 minutes. Thanking him, I report back to the van dejected and down trodden. I went back over to the Walmart parking lot and stared at the fuse panels hoping to see a blown a/c fuse. Not only was there no fuses blown, I never found one labeled a/c. I think there are 23 fuse panels in this van.
Day one is in the books. Not a real good start but a start nonetheless.