October 14-17, Granger, IN

Bill is the driver (I’d be hesitant to try driving the van; I would never, ever try driving the van/trailer combo). Unlike me, he’s not directionally challenged. So it’s been his job to figure out our route throughout this trip. Before we left Cleveland he declared that our next stop would be somewhere around South Bend, Indiana–because nearby Elkhart was known far and wide as the RV Capital of the world.

My first reaction was annoyance–his obsession with RV life had gotten way out of hand! But then he explained: Surely around there we would find experts who could help with some of our problems.

What problems? First there were the skylights in the van that had been leaking badly ever since we’d paid the RV place in New York State $744 to fix a slight leak there. Then there was the non-working toilet dump hose in the van, supposedly checked out by that same despicable RV place before we left–clearly it had never been looked at and had come apart in Bill’s hands. Then there was another big problem which, believe it or not, I haven’t mentioned till now: the unnerving fishtailing of the trailer.

“I officially hate the trailer!” Bill declared once as we drove down the road. I tended not to answer these comments, but feeling the van swing back and forth within our lane–and watching the little bubble careen back and forth in the level on the dashboard–did not make me feel particularly relaxed or safe as we traveled down the road at a relatively sedate 55 to 60 mph, which was as much as we could handle.

The fishtailing was so bad–and Bill was so concerned about it–that I started seriously wondering if we should find a way to abort. In 19 years in which Bill has done 99.7 percent of the driving, I’ve seen him get disgusted. I’ve seen him get angry, and I’ve heard him complain of other drivers’ life-threatening behavior. But I had never seen him frightened before. If he was frightened, there must be really good reason to fear.

“It could be that I’m not accustomed to it,” he said. “Maybe I’m just being a Nervous Nelly.”

There are many areas of life in which Bill is indeed a Nervous Nelly. He tends to suspect that all large spiders might be venomous. Every time I get on an airplane without him he worries that it might go down, although he seems to have no such fear if we’re together. But driving? Never.

“You’re not a Nervous Nelly behind the wheel,” I told him. I thought we could get along without a functioning toilet in the van. We have one in the trailer anyhow. But I wasn’t happy with that fishtailing.

So we headed toward South Bend and wound up at a wonderful campground in Granger where we stayed three nights. The owner directed us to a dependable RV repair place where for less than $600 they put the toilet in the van back in order and largely mitigated our fishtailing problem by adding a load leveler to our hitch. (It wasn’t Bill’s imagination.) Oh, and they finally fixed the leaky skylights as well.

We’d spent our 14th anniversary driving from Cleveland to Granger, arriving too late to go out to dinner or otherwise celebrate. The second night, we did laundry and made a campfire, although the bundle of wood we bought turned out to be a little too damp to work efficiently.

Oh well. We had regrouped. Everything was looking better. Now we could really be on our way.

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