Travel Day to Bradenton FL

Sunday September 27th 2020

Every once in a while I have a travel day from hell. Nothing disastrous happens, but it is filled with problems and annoyances. Today was such a day.

The day started with rain just after sunrise. It didn’t last long and wasn’t very heavy. All it succeeded in doing was make everything outside wet. I had to dry my hands a lot and my shoes were soaked by the time I was ready to pull out around the 11AM checkout time.

I was on schedule to leave a little earlier, but the tow bar for pulling the car didn’t lock into place correctly the first time around. As I pulled out of my site one side of the A-frame tow bar collapsed. I had to disconnect the car, get everything line up again and reconnect the car and auxiliary brake unit. The tow bar is showing the nearly 40 thousand miles it has toad my Honda CRV.

The second annoyance was with my “in flight” entertainment. The blue tooth speaker I was using to listen to an audio book from my tablet ran out of juice. For about a half an hour it kept saying “low battery” every few minutes. Eventually it said “shutting down” and I was out of entertainment until I could find a place to change things up.

The next incident was about half way to my destination. When I went to buy gas everybody else had the same idea. There were three gas stations at the exit from the interstate that I chose. The station I was planning on using was jam packed and I would have to wait on the street to get in. Across the street another station with gas at a similar price looked to have more room at the pumps. As I approached the pumps a faster moving pickup truck cut me off and took the pump I was aiming for. I would have had to block the entry to the station to wait for another pump, so I circled around the station and tried the third set of pumps at the intersection. This station was almost empty and much smaller. I couldn’t get lined up with the pump on my first pass without blocking everything. While I was maneuvering to try again I noticed two things; the gas was twenty cents a gallon more expensive and my original choice of gas station now had space in line. Twenty minutes later I had a full tank and was waiting for traffic to clear so I could get on my way. It wasn’t my quickest or most efficient gas stop. At least I fixed my entertainment issues.

While I was stopped at the gas station, the inside of the coach got warm in the nearly ninety degree weather. When the dash board area gets really hot my rear view monitor starts to act up. Today it decided it didn’t want to show me what was behind my motorhome. It still worked for the right and left sides when I turned on the directional. Just the rear view camera that shows me the status of my towed car and the closing traffic from the rear wasn’t working.

Not having a rear view camera came into play while I was passing east of Tampa on Interstate 75. The monitor on my dash for the auxiliary brake in my towed car started beeping away. It seems the brake unit was out of position. This probably happened because of the very bumpy roads. It hasn’t happened before, so I need to investigate some more. Not being able to confirm that the car looked all right in the rear view monitor increased the urgency of finding a safe place to pull over. I took one of the exits just south of Interstate 4 that I was familiar with to find a place to address the auxiliary brake issue.

Once I was back on the road, mother nature got into the act. A typical Florida afternoon cloud burst storm decided to drop its contents on the interstate. I haven’t had to use my wipers much since the summer of 2019. The time last winter and spring in the desert dried the rubber out. My wiper blades basically shredded in the heavy rain. Pieces of rubber were flying off the wiper arms. I’m lucky the glass wasn’t scratched and I managed to keep an OK view out the front during the quick shower.

The last event on today’s journey was a three mile backup just before I got off Interstate 75 in Bradenton. An accident just before my exit was the cause of the backup. At least two cars were over turned. One was in the median and another was on the approach to the exit ramp. It took about half an hour to work my way through the backup and around the emergency vehicles onto the exit ramp.

Site 19 at the Lake Manatee State Park in Bradenton Florida.

I arrived at the Lake Manatee State Park a little after 4PM. The roughly five hour travel day is one of my longest for the distance. My final challenge was backing into my site without a rear view camera. It took a little longer with a few more pauses to get out and look around, but I’m settled in for the next two weeks.

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