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For the next three days we will be repositioning ourselves across the country in order to get our solar equipment upgraded. You may be wondering why we would drive so far out of our way when there are solar installers all over the country. Well that's because we are really happy with the company, and especially their installer, from our first solar upgrade we did with them back in February of last year. Our 819 mile journey was not without drama, so read on!


STOP #225

Day 1 started out with Tricia taking this early morning photo of the fog over the Massey Marina basin while she was on her walk.

We were off the campsite by 9:00AM because we have a lot of ground to cover today. We traveled about 80 miles south in Iowa to the little town of Le Claire, just outside of Davenport.

There we filled up on gas, only 10 gallons worth, at a BP Station just before we cross over the Mississippi River into Illinois where prices jump up .25 a gallon. We are always looking to save a couple of bucks wherever we can.

We stopped at this particular gas station because located right behind it is the Antique Archaeology Store made famous by the History Channel Series, American Pickers.

They now have a second store location in Nashville, TN and we went inside to check out that store while we were there back in March of 2019. This time we skipped going inside.

We then crossed over the Mississippi River into Illinois and made it across the entire state without stopping for gas. With that success under our belts, we no sooner than crossed the state line into Indiana (my home state by the way) when I heard a loud POP.

Our TPMS (tire pressure monitoring system) instantly began making it's alarm sound and I slowed down to about 35MPH after putting on the hazzard flashers. We were less than a mile from our intended overnight stop location at the Indiana Welcome Station so I cautiously proceded up the road. There was really no better place to pull over on the side of the road anyway. There are two tires on each side of THE POD and with one flat the other should be able to support the weight for a little while.

As we pulled into the parking area we saw this sign. Great, OVERNIGHT PARKING OR CAMPING NOT PERMITTED, we'll have to deal with that after we get this tire changed.

We called the Roadside Assistance company we have coverage with and were told it would be an hour to a hour and a half before someone would arrive. It was still early and it would give us time to find somewhere else to spend the night.

If you have ever dealt with this kind of situation you'll know the first thing they want to know is are you in a safe location? I replied YES. Then what kind of service do you need? A tow, out of gas or in our case a flat tire. I replied flat tire. Then do you have a good inflated spare to put on, I replied YES. There were also about a dozen other impertinent questions, but I won't get into that.

Finally, where are you located? Here is where everything went wrong.

I told her, "We were at the Indiana Welcome Station, eastbound on Interstate 74, about a mile and a half outside of the Illinois/Indiana state line".

She wanted to know what city that was in and I told her I'm not in a city, I'm at the Welcome Station on the Interstate. She said, "Oh, now I see it on the map, the tow truck driver will call me with a new ETA when it get's closer. We went inside the Welcome Station, in the air conditioning, to wait for our call.

About 45 minutes later we got the call and he informed us he just finished a previuos call and was headed our way, should be about 30 more minutes. Okay.

Thirty minutes later he calls and says he's here in the parking lot but doesn't see us. Then he says something I don't understand, he asks if we are in the hotel? I tell him he's in the wrong place, there's no hotel here, that it's a Welcome Center Rest Area.

This time I even tell him that if he is coming from the east he will have to go into Illinois to the first exit and make a u-turn to get into the eastbound rest area where I'm located. There is no other way to get into the Welcome Center.

He says he'll be there shortly and hangs up. Meanwhile I get the GPS coordinates and relay them to the dispatcher, because the tow truck driver is not answering his phone anymore, and feel this may finally get straighted out. Nope!

The driver calls back and tells me he is on the other side of the state, some 200+ miles away, and I'll have to call back the dispatcher to basically start a new call.

I hung up the call and told Tricia we would change the tire ourselves. She said she'd like to do it so I just supervised. So after nearly three hours of waiting it took her just 27 minutes to change that tire and get us back on the road. Not too bad!

While we were waiting I located a Cracker Barrel Restaurant 30 miles up the Interstate that would allow us to spend the night in their parking lot. We arrived there in time to go inside and have a nice dinner and we also ate breakfast there the next morning.


STOP #226

DAY 2 also got off to an early start, but before we go too far we are going to need gasoline. That was not a problem because there was a station right across the street from Cracker Barrel.

Now that we've ate breakfast and filled the gas tank it's time to locate a new tire for THE POD.

Sixty miles up the road and just outside of Indianapolis (my home town by the way) we found a Goodyear Tire store and they had our tire in stock. We asked if they could squeeze us in this morning and they told us to get there and they would do their best.

Their best was pretty good because we were in and out of there in 45 minutes, which was nice because we have a long way to go before we stop for the night.

Today we drove through all but 30 miles of eastern Indiana, across the entire state of Ohio and finally stopped for the night at a Walmart Supercenter parking lot in the state of West Virginia.

When we realized we were making such good progress is our travels we called the campground in Pennsylvania to see if we could arrive a day early and get onto our site. Unfortunately our site was unavailable for Saturday night, but she did have another site we could stay on and then move us the next day to our reserved site for the week we had planned to be here. That worked for us so we booked it!


STOP #227

DAY 3 had us leaving the northern area of West Virginia and crossing into our destination state of Pennsylvania.

The width across the state of West Virginia on Interstate 70 is only 15 miles, so it didn't take long this morning to cross into the new state. Less than 100 miles later we left the Interstate behind and traveled a backroad through rural Pennsylvania to arrive at Hickory Hollow Campground.

It's beautiful country out here and we have some exploring to do after all the solar work is finished up. There is even a cave tour we missed doing the last time we were in this area, that's on the top of the to do list.

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