Monday, September 21, 2015

Transporting A Critter

Harley fetches the mail...

Harley dog has been with me over 5 years traveling by motorhome and bicycle. Recently during all the chaos of spraining my ankle followed by busting up my arm/wrist, emergency surgery, hospital, all that mess and hullabaloo, the motorhome had transmission problems simultaneously.

Never a dull moment around here!

Harley in the motorhome assists with reverse
"Back on up, keep going, nothing but a few trees back there... hmm... that tree reminds me, it's time to sniff over some pea-mail..."

Eventually the transmission had to be sorted out, and I made arrangements a few weeks in advance to have in repaired start to finish in one day. This was no small feat, as the transmission repair place was backed up silly and wanted us just to leave the motorhome for a few weeks until they could get around to it. I couldn't move out of it, so we struck a happy medium, and finally the day rolled around when we had to leave the motorhome at 6am on a super hot muggy day.

Harley waits in the rental car for us to shop for a picnic.

Through a stroke of luck, I managed to reserve a rental car in advance. I know so little about modern American cars, that when I reserved a "mid sized" car I thought it would have plenty of room for my super sensitive extremely painful left broken arm/wrist to ride along in the passenger seat. It was still heavily bandaged from surgery and in spite of the pain pills, being quite disagreeable to live with. But hey, I opted out of amputation, such is life. It had to travel, still attached to me.

I was dead wrong that a "mid sized" would be roomy. I should have rented the "luxury" car if I didn't want my injured arm to be banged around all day. Well, you learn something new every day... like do not break your arm, it's a world of pain and inconvenience.

Enterprise car rental which promised to pick us up, showed up late, then hid unmarked in the parking lot of the transmission repair place. The transmission place had 2 or 3 dozen cars in the parking lot, employees, customers coming and going and cars sitting, waiting on repairs. The driver for Enterprise, pulled in parked, forgetting about us. I think he was waiting for me to find a crystal ball...

When I couldn't find a crystal ball, I called Enterprise to find out why no one had picked us up. We were waiting inside, being that it was rapidly climbing way above 90F degrees even at 8am on a hot humid day. Well, by now it was nearly 9am, Enterprise was supposed to be there at 8am. A few phone calls later, we found out the anonymous car and driver were sitting outside, he was texting or something on a gadget when I knocked on the window, just parked among the other cars coming and going. Duh... It had never once occurred to the driver to check inside for us at the tiny office or that we might not see him in an anonymous car (no Enterprise signs on it.)

Life is goof.

Lesson learned. Next time pack a crystal ball...

The driver was dismayed that with my good right arm, I was carrying a tiny dog. Well what do you want me to do? Have him jog along beside the car? The transmission place wasn't running a boarding kennel, there wasn't one in walking/hobbling distance (sprained ankle). Harley weighs all of 6 pounds and sits on my lap, smaller than many purses. They threatened to charge us $150 extra for "dog hair" but eventually we got this sorted out without paying the surcharge. The car they gave us was dirty, but they were willing to clean it if we waited another half hour, but I just wanted to get going. We had lost nearly 2 hours of rental time already as once we arrived at the office, the person handling our paperwork kept vanishing. Harley doesn't shed. Even so at the end of the day we left the car far nicer than they gave it to us, so they should have been paying us for cleaning service. We carried out garbage that wasn't ours and swept out the dirt it came with plus any we may have added. So much for making advance reservations...

Once we finally got the keys to the car, it turns out a "mid-size" car is very cramped. A Ford Focus to be exact. My friend kept accidentally using two u's in the Focus name, changing it to something wickedly hilarious that gave me the giggles. Not to insult anyone that owns one of these, but I can tell you right up front, it was very tight. My very tall friend's right arm (he was driving) would accidentally bump my left broken arm/wrist and then the screaming and cursing and Focus mispronunciations and pucking fain filled giggles would begin. Oh joy.

Next we had to find "dog friendly" pursuits on a hot humid day, so we toured some used motorhomes, daydreaming about pricey possibilities, but hey, dreams are free (and fun)! Harley dog picked out some very large RV's he would love to own, he was particularly smitten with the used band tour bus that was 45 feet long and came with 12 bunks. He raced up and down the aisle, picking out a lower bunk as his new bed. He twirled around in it 3 times, then curled up to try it on for size.  As the heat climbed, we retreated back to the air conditioned comfort of the rental car. By now we were starving and needed to find a dog friendly restaurant but instead we fetched a "picnic-to-go" from Kentucky Fried Chicken then we drove with our aromatic food to Paris Mountain State Park in pursuit of higher altitude (1800 feet) cooler temps and freedom from the cramped car. Harley dog was thrilled that he had to eat chicken, being that in our haste to get out of the motorhome early that morning, we had forgotten to bring any dog food for him to devour. Poor thing. But he was gallant and gleefully devoured his chicken after we deboned it for him. Oh the things we do for our canine critters.

Harley reserves a picnic table at Paris Mountain while waiting for us to park.
At the end of the day, we got the motorhome back as promised, returned the car rental then brainstormed a crazy idea. I wanted my friend to test drive us and the motorhome's repaired transmission up to the mountains the next morning. So off we went to camp in parts unknown, which turned out to be Bear Creek in Asheville, North Carolina. Curiously, they had this old car in the RV park that reminded me of the old blue Chevy my family owned when I rolled into their lives.

This Chevy reminded me of my current life... Beat up, rusty, missing parts, leaking fluids, peeling paint, prone to overheating and just *ahem* a tad rough around the edges but still sturdy enough to survive the elements... slowly going nowhere at great expense... oh wait, that "slowly going nowhere at great expense" was my metaphor for living on my old sailboat.

200 meters long (656 feet) and 33 meters wide (108 feet)
Can hold an astonishing 6,542 cars on 12 decks (4 which are hoistable for larger cargo)
Depth to upper deck 118 feet

Speaking of boats, while camping at Jekyll Island, I biked to the beach to photograph the bridge, but it was hidden by this incredible car carrier, the Torino, leaving the Brunswick, Georgia port for Charleston, South Carolina then across that big pond lovingly referred to as the Atlantic Ocean.

Crossing oceans... I received a phone call from Croatia yesterday. Oh that cheered me up. One of my old buddies who is still sailing the high seas, working aboard a luxurious sailing yacht charter  (my former career, well one of them!) called up to chat. Oh fun! I could daydream and drool, listening to her latest pursuits, while remembering all the hard work and fun times I had while working on yachts and messing about boats. I miss the sea, the exotic locales, the fascinating people, but I don't miss the 16 hour work days, 7 days a week. Sometimes a glamorous job comes with caveats. Another day I managed to snap the bridge, um photograph it. That enormous freighter can clear under the bridge with room to spare.
Sidney Lanier Bridge (named for the poet)
486 feet high, 7,779 feet long
Clearance below is 185 feet
Brunswick, Georgia


  1. What a funny little dog . . . he makes me smile!

  2. Hey MM...I post Northern Virginia this morning on my way south I can't find your phone number so please email me let me know where you are so I can catch up with you

  3. That crazy dog makes me smile too!

    Hey Grammy... sent you another email. :)


Life is goof!