Shaken down

It’s Day 381 of 15 Days to Flatten the Curve. Deb and I are well, safely back home — or back house — at Second Chance Ranch.

Nineteen days after it began, the “shakedown cruise” has come to an end.

Our overnight accommodations — which we christened “Camp Cummins” — turned out to be quiet, secure and more than adequate under the circumstances. We extended only the bedroom slide, allowing easier access to the rear bathroom and some of the bedroom storage. The rest of the coach remained closed up.

That left it cramped up front, but we know we’ll be boondocking in places where pushing the slides out won’t be possible. This trial run gave us that experience. It worked just fine.

The shop on the other side of the lot was buzzing ’til past midnight. The bays were occupied by all manner of rigs, from extravagant long-haulers to cement mixers and garbage trucks. Even a fire truck.

We woke up early and handed our bus back to the shop around 7:30am. Today’s remaining work took longer than we’d expected, but we didn’t hound the service adviser and we had no interest in rushing the process — it takes as long as it takes.

Early this afternoon we watched through the waiting-room windows as Ernie rolled back out into the sun. All of us, dogs included, smiled at the sight.

The work was done. Over the two days required to complete that work, we were treated as well as our coach was.

The pusher and the generator have been freshened up. Several annoying problems were chased doggedly and fixed correctly. Color us relieved.

We paid our bill — when it takes as long as it takes, it also costs whatever it costs — said our goodbyes, fired up that beast of an engine and rumbled back toward the highway.

The Interstate drive back to Second Chance Ranch was just over a hundred miles. The terrain we crossed was mostly flat, featureless farmland. The route promised an uneventful couple of hours — but it didn’t turn out that way.

Apparently someone knew that we still had some unchecked boxes on our shakedown list. So we were treated to heavy truck traffic, tight construction zones, rain and a wicked-ass quartering crosswind. We also got caught in jams caused by traffic crashes.

We pressed through it all without incident, without so much as a hiccup. In the rain it was great to have a properly functioning set of wipers clearing the windshield, and my seat-of-the-pants impression was that Ernie’s diesel appreciated the attention it had received. Throttle response was just a bit crisper, it seemed to me, and smoother.

Parking the bus back at the house was a (relative) breeze. The dogs recognized the familiar surroundings. Deb and I took care of necessary business before collapsing.

It’s a good kind of tired.

So now we have a big win under our belts. Our shakedown was a success. From here we adjust, resupply, tinker a bit and ready the rig (and ourselves) for The Real Adventure.

Stay tuned…

Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath