May 13 - Stranded in Pender

Monday morning. About 8:30am, Edward the Blue Ox tech knocks on the door and says he's taking the tow bar for service. To prepare for him, I'd been working on unlocking the two pins (locking type) that secure it to the receiver (one for the drop adapter and one for the tow bar) but, despite my best efforts, could not get a key into one of them -- it was jammed or corroded or something. He took the whole deal... tow bar and drop adapter together... and went off to do his thing.
In the meantime, we explored little Pender and looked for a store to get a few basic food items for the larder. Most towns of just a thousand people don't have a food store at all, or, if they're lucky, perhaps a C-store/gas station. What we found was Cubbys, a brand spanking new "Community Store". More a small grocery store than C-store on steroids, sure you could get fuel out front, but you could also get fresh meat, a wide range of groceries, and even hot prepared food at the deli.

There are a few things necessary to make a going community, and one of those things is a store... a place to buy the necessities, supplies, without having to run 20 miles to the next, larger, town... leaving your money in that community while yours declines. Yes, I was happy to see this little store and hope the community of Pender, in this Walmart-crazed culture of ours, will support it... will help make it a success.

Back at the bus-house, our tow bar was returned in like-new condition and with an assurance that it's up-to-spec and capable of towing for many more miles. The cost of this inspection and re-conditioning? $25... a real deal by any standard. Especially when they throw in a free night or two in their RV park. I'm glad we came.

Considering it was already afternoon, I arranged an additional night in the RV park so we could get an early start the next morning. We're planning to stop for two nights near Cedar Falls Iowa where we have some RVing friends to see. And since we're right there, we're going to stop at Northstar Campers to see their facility and find out more about these highly-considered truck campers. We're still debating our next rig... class B or class TC? That is the question. If we want to explore without towing anything there aren't many more options than those two. The decision point draws nearer.

Being concerned about our balky jacks, I wanted to get the bus-house ready for travel before we hit the sack for the night. So after dinner we stowed our loose gear, pulled in all but our bedroom slide, and retracted the jacks... and trouble loomed. The jacks retracted but a troublesome jack in the rear failed to send the necessary "I'm retracted" signal to the controller... which means the controller didn't send the signal to the chassis to "air-up" the suspension. So there we sat... despite my best efforts to remedy the situation by cycling the jacks again... unable to move. I called Coachnet, our road-side assistance provider, who couldn't offer much technical help with these particular jacks (Atwood Levelegs). They did offer to dispatch an RV technician but I declined until after I had a shot at talking to someone at Atwood... which would have to happen in the morning.

With all that on my mind, I retired for the night wondering how much sleep I'll be able to get.


Slightly Better than Most