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Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > TC Rally, Wild Flowers, the kindness of strangers

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67avion

Carbondale, Illinois

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Posted: 05/02/16 06:51pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

So, my truck camping friend John Patterson (Exhaustipated) wrote to say that Jane and I should travel to the South East Truck Camper Rally this year. We had intended to head for Kenner, Texas, but John convinced me this would be different.

John was right.

Before I get this report jerked out of here, Reddog, I am not going to write about the rally as such. Going My Way (Phyliss) the co-host of the rally along with Eric (Kohldad) will be writing the details in the Rally thread. I am trying to stay within the Forum rules. Trust me. Besides, it involves a Suzuki Samurai.

So, as I was saying, we were driving along I 24 on the way to the rally and I said to Jane, "seems like the truck is pulling a bit to the left". Jane said to me, "maybe there is wind". We're always worrying about the truck pulling this way and that. It's probably the wind. We forgot about it.

Then a fellow pulled in front of me and I hit the brakes. I heard a crash in the back. We pulled over. My flat towed Suzuki had lost a pin in the right-side attachment to the tow bar....and as long as I went straight down the highway there was no problem. But, when I hit the brakes the whole towbar collapsed smashing the Sammy into the back of my 1967 Avion.

My first problem was physically separating the towbar, the tow ball, and the truck. Everything was bent together. I took out a hammer, a big screwdriver and channel locks and went to work. I had semis passing within a few feet as I laid under the wreckage beating and plying. Finally, like a miracle, it all came apart. I checked the Sammy and it started fine. I saw the dents in the hood and grill and I couldn't open the hood. My Avion didn't suffer any damage that I could see. But, then, it has lots of "character' from all the years on the road.

We were faced with a challenge: (1) drive on to the rally for 4 hours separately in the truck and Sammy. (2)Turn around and go home. (3) Try to get it fixed.

We were passing near Ft Campbell and Clarksville, Tn. I said to Jane, lets take a look and see if I can get a welding shop to fix the tow bar...if its fixable. I drove into a Goodyear shop for truckers. I told these two big guys the story. They nodded and said, "we have a real big hammer".

[image]

This is the honest to God truth. Those guys beat that towbar, stretched that towbar and straightened that towbar. They used the hammer, their legs and feet, and whipped that thing into total submission. It was in better shape after they finished than it had been before the accident.

So, I tried to pay them. "No, indeed, we're paid plenty here. We're glad to help." Of course, I later learned, they were vets of the 101st Airbourne at Ft.Campbell.

But there is more to this. We got back in our truck and headed on to the Smoky Bear Campground near Gatlinburg where the South East Truck Camper rally was happening. We disconnected the Sammy at the campground and discovered that the headlights wouldn't go off because of a short. The hood wouldn't open or fasten correctly. It was a mess. Several of the campers came over to look at my Sammy including Eric Kohl (Kohldad).

We met everyone and went to bed. It had been a very hard day.

[image]

The next morning Eric stopped by. He leaned over and studied the hood and grill. He went away and brought back two small come-a-longs. Hooked them up between my Ford truck and the grill of the Sammy, and very carefully began to apply pressure. The Sammy's grill moved slightly. He shifted the pressure to here, then to there. Folks it was like watching an artist. When he finished the hood shut perfectly and the damage was totally minimized.

Nope, Eric didn't want anything for his work either.

[image]

The next day we went to The Smoky Mountain National Park and Cade's Cove in our Suzuki. It was a beautiful warm day. The trees, grass and foliage proved that there were more shades of green than words to describe them.

[image]

We went along Little Creek and marveled at the mosses and wildflowers that were watered by springs tumbling down the mountains.

[image]

Cross Vine

[image]

Photographers were dotted all along the creek

[image]

But, to be honest, there were too many cars passing on this beautiful day. So, we took the Suzuki up and over the mountain on an unimproved road. That's why we pull that car - and because of the guys in Tennesse and Kohldad - we found this quiet trail. Flowers were everywhere.

Trillium

[image]

Dwarf Iris

[image]

Stonecrop

[image]

Celedon poppies and bluebells

[image]

We got so wrapped up in the wildflowers that I almost called Brian Appleby for a consult.

OK, Reddog, this is the rally part.

We got back and they were having the pot luck dinner. Phyliss had thought to get custom M&Ms made. Who knew that you could do that?

[image]

And we posed for the rally photo. Actually, I shot the picture, so I'm not in it. But Jane is up there near the top of the slide.

[image]

If it were not for John Patterson (Exhaustipated), our truck camping friend, we wouldn't have known about the rally. If it weren't for Phyliss and Eric we wouldn't have had a rally. If it weren't for the fellows from the 101st Airbourne we wouldn't have made it. And if it weren't for Eric (Kohldad) we wouldn't have seen the wildflowers.

Our truck camping community is full of skilled, friendly people who help each other. In fact America is truly blessed to have such a culture of giving and helping. Thanks to you all.

Happy trails,

D.

* This post was edited 05/02/16 07:08pm by 67avion *





GpnAZ

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Posted: 05/02/16 07:53pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great story, great pictures, glad everything turned out as well as they did!


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GoinThisAway

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Posted: 05/02/16 07:54pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

It was a pleasure having you and your DW come to the gathering, D. You'll have to thank Lisa, WVbassmistress, for the M&Ms though. She's a whiz at decorating on a budget [emoticon] Your idea for the group shot worked nicely and I'll be sharing one (this time with you in it) with some other photos over on the Rallies, Shows, and Gatherings thread.

I'm happy to see you were able to enjoy a little of the Smokies while there. I settled on the late April date partly because of the potential for spring flowers. I see you found some! Just beautiful!


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whazoo

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Posted: 05/02/16 07:59pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'm at a loss for words, well maybe "perfect" fits here. Outside of the accident itself everything else was...perfect. The people, the place, the people. Kudos to Kohldad and everyone who helped. This should make the "It's All Good News" news. Way to go D, great photos as well, what I expect from you! Hi Phyllis!

coolmom42

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Posted: 05/02/16 08:13pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

What a great trip! Even the misfortune turned into something positive.


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67avion

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Posted: 05/02/16 09:53pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks Phyliss for letting me know it was WVBassmistress who engineered those M&Ms. And it was a pleasure to meet everyone at the rally. Whazoo, the perfect thing would be for you and Mrs. Whazoo to have joined us. We'll be headed out West at some point for the first annual Avion camper rally at Muley Point. You're invited there. I plan to have timed quarter mile truck camper drag races and the fastest climb up the Moki Dugway.

whazoo

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Posted: 05/02/16 10:24pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Ah that wouldn't be fair D, I've smoked tires up that Dugway more than anybody I know for 24 years. Even helped a few people gone sideways because of ice. FYI if you go past the first "point" and make a right turn on a dirt road before the very end of the road, there is some very nice primitive camping on that road. It actually continues around the eastern rim of Johns Canyon. Congrats on your very fine trip and good luck with your Avion Rendevous. Hello to Sweet Jane from the Whazoos!
Thanks also for the invitation, that would have been perfect, but we moved to Idaho this winter and I may not make it back to that part of town anytime soon, there's so much to see!

* This post was edited 05/03/16 06:16am by whazoo *

Sango

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Posted: 05/03/16 06:44am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hey D, was great seeing you again. Thanks for sharing the pics and article. Look forward to Phyliss's pictures on rally as well.


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Gulf Coast Gypsies

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Posted: 05/03/16 06:53am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You have a gift for writing and a beautiful eye for photography D. It was fun reuniting with old friends and meeting new friends like you and Jane. The group picture turned out great. A very clever idea for staging us on the playground slide so you can actually see everyone. We tow a CRV so are acutely aware of "towing terrors". Your story of kindness along the way is inspiring that there are still wonderful, generous people that we meet along the path of life. I would encourage any of our fellow truck campers to get out and attend some rallies. You will learn so much and meet friends for life. Phyllis (Gointhisway) you did an awesome job! Safe travels everyone until we meet again!


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WVbassmistress

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Posted: 05/03/16 07:42am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Incredible pictures!!! Thanks for sharing. I am not so old I can't appreciate the sight of some well muscled men working [emoticon] - YOU TOO ERIC!!!!

It was a great weekend. I have to say, I am not much of a "joiner" or "groupie". As a matter of fact, my sister was shocked when I told her about attending this rally. But I am so glad I did. I had the pleasure of meeting some of this group 2 years ago at the last Gatlinburg rally and adding to that circle of friends this year. The "Westies" were a great addition to the group.

Thank you Phyllis for everything and thank you all for coming. Let's do it again!!!


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