Today started just as we planned. We all got up about 6:30am and were in the van and leaving WalMart by a couple minutes after 7:00. We went ahead and got gas as well as changed a blown fuse, and then drove toward the interstate. When we almost missed a turn, Charlie braked hard and the fuse blew (within maybe 3 minutes of changing it). We got on the interstate and stopped at the first rest stop, just a few miles down the road. We got the kids out to play, and Charlie started trying to figure out what in the world the problem was with this silly fuse. He found a lot of corrosion in the electric brake wiring harness and had fortunately already bought a replacement part, so he tore that apart and started switching everything out. After at least 2 ½ hours, it still wasn’t working. We managed to find a trailer place not too far down the road, so we pulled in there. They spent about an hour helping us, and we left feeling confident that our problem was fixed. It was now about 1:00pm.
In order to get to Albany, we had to take some smaller highways through the mountains. I was so happy to have the brakes working and not have to worry about getting through the mountains safely. Just as we came out of the mountainous drive, the fuse blew again. We stopped at a Home Depot to buy more fuses and figure out what to do next. I called probably 4 places to see if they could help us, but everyone was booked and definitely not interested in overbooking themselves on a Friday afternoon. We kept changing fuses and talking about solutions while driving to try to reach Albany. Charlie discussed options over the phone with his dad and came up with a temporary fix that would hopefully work. At a rest area north of Albany, Charlie implemented his temporary fix, and we got back on the road. That seemed to do the trick. Then, of course, we sat in Friday afternoon traffic for a couple hours trying to get through Albany.
Once we finally made it through that, we had smooth sailing for several hours. Then we drove into a bunch of rain. That wasn’t too bad for a while. The kids had been treated with numerous snacks trying to keep them happy while they were constantly waiting on repairs, so we waited until 8:30 to feed them dinner. That part of the plan worked perfectly – they filled their tummies and then went to sleep. We managed to drive another couple hours in peace and quiet with most of the van asleep. Then the rain got to be so intense that it was time to stop. I knew that convincing Charlie that it would be best to stop wouldn’t be the easiest (he likes to push through difficulties), so I started looking for the closest place that we could pull into for the night. There were no WalMarts in the area, so I started looking into truck stops. There was one just a few miles away at an exit for Pine Grove, PA. Since Pine Grove campground in Maine had been a wonderful place for us to be stuck without the van, I quickly pointed out to Charlie that this was a sign from God that it was time to stop. Fortunately, he completely agreed and, we pulled into a truck stop probably 45 minutes north of our destination of Harrisburg, PA. Charlie and I jumped up into the camper, opened the slide, set up the beds, and then began carrying kids in and putting them to bed. The rain was absolutely crazy, but it stopped not too long after we went to bed and we managed to get a decent night’s sleep. The blessings were many: Pine Grove had once again provided us with refuge; we made it there safely; and we finally had the brakes working well enough to get us home and could go to bed worry-free.