Do you miss the Cat House on Wheels stories? Well, here is a doozy!
We usually leave Florida sometime during the last week in March which gives us plenty of time to get home for the litters born while in Florida to go to their forever homes back in Illinois. As you know, this year we had to delay our return until I was released by my eye surgeon. This happened on April 10 and we were on the road by 9:00 a.m. on the 11th. On our way out of Fort Myers we had to stop by the RV dealership who had our coach almost the entire time we were in Florida fixing a myriad of things, putting on new tires, re-painting the front and changing the oil in the generator…and there lies problem No. 1. They took the old oil out but when Jim checked it, the dip stick was dry! Obviously, they forgot to put in the new oil, or so they told us.
Okay, so they put in the oil, and we were on our way!
First night we pull into a Cracker Barrel parking lot where we like to spend the night. They have parking for us but no electricity. But that is fine because we have the generator to run whatever is needed, like the furnace or air conditioning. But guess what? No oil in the generator! So now it is obvious, they had stripped the plug and the oil leaked out. We weren’t concerned the first night because the weather was beautiful and we needed neither heat nor air. We would worry about it when we got further north.
Well, we didn’t need to worry because we weren’t going to get much further north! As we entered Tennessee, just over the line from Alabama, the check engine light came on. Within seconds, the red stop engine light came on. So at mile marker #2 on I-65 Jim pulled the motorhome over to the very narrow shoulder off the interstate and turned the key to off. We called our road service and seven (yes I said 7) hours later the motor home was being towed to the nearest repair shop, back in Alabama! And this repair shop informed us they could not get to inspect it to find out the problem until Friday – this was Wednesday!
We (by “we”, I mean Jim!) decided we could not delay our trip home for an undetermined amount of time – one main reason: what hotel would let us come in with seven cats, nine kittens and a dog!
While Jim was waiting for the tow, I took our Mini Cooper and drove to the nearest Enterprise Car Rental, also back in Alabama, to rent a vehicle large enough to transport us all home. (Now realize, I just had eye surgery, and I can’t see well enough to read any signs. Aren’t you happy you weren’t on I-65 in Alabama that day!)
We loaded everyone into the rental vehicle, one litter and their mom in one playpen, the other litter and their mom in a second play pen. Two cats are in carriers and the other three plus Zeke, the dog, are lying in the back. It is about 9:30 pm and Jim starts the vehicle and we head north.
About 20 miles down the road Jim stops the car and says “I cannot handle the meowing. We are letting these kittens out of the playpens!” For those of you who already have kittens from us, you know Jim and I totally disagree on this issue. I believe they have to be enclosed to keep them safe in the event of an accident. Jim, on the other hand, is such an animal lover, he cannot bear to hear them cry and feels they can just be left loose in the car.
After the day Jim had just gone through, I knew there was absolutely no point in arguing with him. I sent up a fervent prayer asking God to keep us all safe.
The kittens were fine, several slept on my lap or Jim’s. The cats were fine too. I believe driving at night was the right choice — yes, Jim, another good decision by you! You were right!
We pulled into the driveway of our home in Crystal Lake at 10:00 the next morning – Jim drove the entire 12 hours.
And there are 6 very happy families who are glad Jim safely transported their precious kittens back home so they could pick them up on Friday and Saturday.
We thank each and every one of these families and will be anxious to see photos as the kittens grow.
So what is wrong with the motor home? It is an alternator which is on order and will hopefully be installed later this week so Jim can drive all the way back to Alabama and then turn around and drive back to Illinois!
I think next year we will forget Florida and just stay home!