May 30, 2019
After a couple of false starts, today I head west. It’s bittersweet this time. When I left two years ago, I was alone and left nothing but my home. This time I am sneaking away to create less drama with my two-year-old granddaughter who turned into a Grammy’s girl. I remind myself I can always return in a couple of weeks or before. While I do not have a return date, I feel it will be nine to twelve months before I head east again. Welcome to my blog/vlog as I record my journey.
About my false starts, I visited my sister in southeastern Kentucky and it went well. We visited friends, went to parties, and shopping at the different second-hand shops in the area. All the things we love to do and experiences we love to share. The beginning of my trip deemed ‘Off to a great start.’
Then, tornados hit the region of Ohio my daughters and their families lived. I returned to help with the grandkids while others cleared debris. I thought of documenting the experience and decided I would refrain from exploiting the disaster of other people’s lives. It devastated homes and displaced the families which lived within them.
Before I get ahead of myself explaining my journey, I have to make it down Death Hill in Covington, KY. Many accidents happen on this stretch of Interstate 75. The degree of grade is steeper than the recommended allowance for an interstate. Truck brakes overheat, burn up and in my case Go-Out.
Losing the brake pedal on that particular stretch of highway scares the fearless. Of course, I made sure plenty of room remained between the vehicle in front of me and my rig. Unfortunately, less aware drivers dart into space I made available for safety reasons. My brakes continued to slow me but there was not going to any stopping quickly. I downshift to second and maintain the extra room between myself and the vehicle in front of me. No smoke from my brakes, I’m thinking that is good and probably a master cylinder.
After forty-five minutes of nerve-racking driving, I’m across the bridge and in Ohio where the interstate is flatter. The next exit I pull off and into a vacant industrial parking area. With the use of my infrared sensor gun, I check the brake temperature. They’re what I consider warm, not overheated. I sit and wait for them to become cold. That will allow rush hour traffic to thin.
Four weeks previously, my mechanic had gone over the brake system for me as a requested precaution. The journey would include the Allegheny and Appalachian mountains. With seventy percent brake pad left, I felt confident heading across the mountain ranges.
I’m about ninety minutes from my mechanic and limp the rig into his shop. Slow, steady and three hours later I drive into the tornado zone. Plows cleared the debris from the interstate and piles of house frames, belongings, etcetera littered the side of the freeway. I coast into Jordan Motorworks in Huber Heights, off I-70 (about a mile or two east from I-75/I-70 interchange). To my surprise, he opened the shop door as I coasted into the lot.
Lots of talk about the current weather aftermath and the three tornados that hit Huber Heights area, followed about a conclusion it’s probably the master cylinder and let’s part you in the parking area’s rear lot and keep you safe. (He is such a sweetie.) The conversation continued around the aftermath of the tornado and his eighty-year-old father that grabbed a pillow and slid into the basement in the nick of time as the tornado went overhead and knocked his home off the foundation.
Fast forward to the next day. The malfunction of my brakes diagnosis: a caliper broken in half. The parts place sent the wrong one, and we wait. Two days later the brakes fixed and I head to daughter #3’s, where I will driveway surf for a couple of days.