Back Into Unknown Territory

After Walmart closed it was a quiet night in Perry, just like last time. I happened to wake up a little early today, so I dove into tightening the trailer wheel bearings before it got hot. Immediately, I was thwarted by not having a big enough wrench or socket. A trucker parked nearby offered to help, which was most kind, but even he didn’t have one big enough. I scoped out my route, and saw there was a Harbor Freight Tools along the way. I’d be able to pick up what I needed there.

I went to a local park to hang out, work, and give Lister some outside time. I also got a free trailer wash when the sprinklers turned on. Fortunately, Lister was hiding out under the van when that happened. I wrote two articles and edited two more by mid-morning, decided that was enough, and set a course for Harbor Freight in Bainbridge, Georgia.

There’s a fair bit of irony here. Two years ago, Trisha and I orbited this general area while waiting for her job to come through with a two-week stay in Bainbridge. She was quite interested in the place, but the company she was trying to work for screwed her over, so we never got to go — until now. I made it, and she didn’t. I no longer really care about such things, but I can’t help thinking of it while passing through for my own reasons. My visit had absolutely nothing to do with her. But I still went.

Harbor Freight did, in fact, have the socket I needed, a huge 38mm one. I ended up buying a set of axle sockets, and this was the biggest one in the set. I had everything else I needed to do this job in the trailer, including the hydraulic jack to take the load off each wheel as I adjusted the bearing. Unfortunately, the original bearing covers bent badly out of shape while I was knocking them off as gently as possible with a rubber mallet. Harbor Freight didn’t have any replacements. Fortunately, the Tractor Supply next door did! So I whacked those on and kept on driving.

As I’d hoped, this seemed to take care of the trailer sway at highway speeds. It still bounces around a little bit, but that’s normal. Most importantly, it straightens itself out instead of getting into a feedback loop, swaying more the faster I go. I set the cruise for 65 much of the way to my next destination: Dothan, Alabama.

Why Dothan? Once again, it was a conveniently timed waypoint along the way. It doesn’t hurt that a now former co-worker of mine, the one with the same job I had until this past January, just happens to live there. I also found Folklore Brewing and Meadery on Harvest Hosts as a place to spend the night. I never got a reply to my stay request, but with a Cracker Barrel across town as a backup plan, I decided to stop by and see if I could stay anyway. They verified my membership info and said yes.

I liked them so much, I redecorated my van for them. No, just kidding — this is their van and trailer. I approve of their choices!

I passed a couple of milestones on today’s drive. First, I’ve doubled the mileage on this van since I got it. Considering that it had only 720 original miles, that’s not much of an accomplishment! But from this point on, the majority of the miles on this van are from my own journey, which feels pretty good. The other milestone is leaving Florida for the first time in over two months. I’ve gone far enough north to be back in the South (TM). It’s still hot and muggy here, and I’m still in the south too late in the year, but I’m heading in the right direction, and making good progress.

Due to the time zone change, it’s not even 3:00 pm as I’m typing this. I’m giving Lister some outside time, since I’m parked in a nice open grassy area. Pretty soon, though, I’ll feed him, close up the van, and go enjoy some tasty beverages. Beer is good, but I also love mead, which is a sort of honey wine. This place has both, so I’ll have some decisions to make when I start sampling. Fortunately, I’m done driving for today, and my home is within stumbling distance.

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