Living the T.A.O. - The Artful Odyssey

Trip Start Oct 20, 2012
Trip End Jul 11, 2013

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Flag of United States  , Ohio
Friday, November 23, 2012

We spent our first night in a Walmart parking lot in Columbus. Good lighting, walking distance restaurants, LA Fitness next door and 24 hr rest rooms in the Mart - not too shabby. We were a day early to meet our friend, so we found a nice remote parking space for the night, only to have some guy pull up along side within arms reach of the door. He sat there for about 1/2 hour drinking beer, while I'm planning my first Walmart altercation with bear spray in hand. Mary's oblivious, and she was closest to the door, so I figured she would have to get sprayed too. He left. I didn't have to spray anyone. Lucky for him - and Mare.

We called in the morning after our daily coffee shop routine but couldn't connect with our next stop, so we decided to head out for Wheeling, WVa, where an old college buddy lived on some acreage that he was trying to sell to a mining company that was drilling below his house, wrecking his house in the process. Timing for a stop wasn't good, so we agreed to meet in Florida  sometime this winter, maybe reunite with some other classmates as well, and we continued on to Maryland.

It's amazing how many states you can travel through in the same amount of time it takes to get from Bigfork to Billings. Two strikes before noon and no one along the way in Pennsylvania made us anxious to get to familiar surrounds, and Mary remembered that Anna, one of our best friends, would be in Frederick with her boyfriend for the weekend, so maybe we could hook up for dinner.

Mary excitedly called to arrange the rendezvous, hung up after a brief conversation and turned to me with big puppy eyes. "She's crying!", and not with joy and surprise to see us, but because he wouldn't ...never mind, it just looked like strike three. It was getting dark now and I can't see very well at dusk so we need to find a place to park for the night and there was no room at Anna's. I'm getting a little stressed pulling the trailer through old town Frederick, getting really close to a lot of sideview mirrors on those narrow streets.

My brother Sam lives nearby but didn't get my message in the morning that we were on our way about a week earlier than we thought and Sharon's not going to be ready to deal with us without warning having just returned home from a last minute trip to the beach that had been organized by my sister in North Carolina as a Thanksgiving reunion, which caused all the Knoll siblings to change their plans only to find out that at the last minute the Carolinians weren't gonna make it because they just got a new dog who evidently wasn't up to a trip just yet, and there are no trailer sites to be found within a 50 mile radius so I'm going to my brother's house anyway because I need a place to park and he's my brother godammit, so I'll park in his front yard if I have to and - oh yeah, remember that noise under the truck that miraculously fixed itself? It's back with a vengeance, and now my brother is yelling at me on the phone while I'm pulling into his driveway as Sharon stares past me in disbelief that I'm standing in her foyer. Could this really be strike four?

By bedtime, we had enjoyed a great dinner and an even greater laugh with Anna, and all  was well with the Knolls after plugging into the garage and settling in the driveway, ready to put this day behind us.

One of the most valuable things one could ask for, especially when visiting a new town, is to know or know someone who knows a good, reliable, fair and honest auto mechanic. The "noise" under the rig was indiscernable. It sounded like something was grinding and clunking with an occaisional whine. It sounded expensive. $900 later, we had a new hub assembly and tie rod, and we avoided  the possibility of the right front wheel falling off in DC traffic at 60 miles per hour, which our trustworthy mechanic assured us would have happened ... soon.
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Anna on

We do have some laughs when we're together! One of the many reasons I love you both! Again, a thousand sorrys for the problems in Frederick that day!!!

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