Friday, August 8, 2014

Monday, August 4-Wednesday, August 6: Atlanta, GA

8/4/14- Travel Day to Atlanta, GA

This morning while I was getting my truck hooked up to my trailer, I noticed a short section of metal pipe jutting from the ground. I tried to move it, but it was buried deep and wouldn't budge.
It's a miracle that I didn't drive over it while I was being parked five weeks ago, and now I think the mystery of Ryan's busted trailer tire has been solved.

Ryan and I left the lot in Chicago around 12:30 p.m. We would have left sooner, but it was very muddy where my trailer had been, and Ryan would have gotten stuck trying to go through it.
He had to wait about thirty minutes for the trailer next to him to leave so he could turn wide and avoid Swamp Copeland.

A few hours into our drive we saw that northbound traffic on the Interstate was backed up for miles. The farther we drove, the more people we saw outside their vehicles, stretching their legs or playing games to alleviate their boredom.
The strange thing is that we didn't see anything that could have caused such an immense back up, so I'm not sure what the issue was. We were just grateful that the traffic was not on our side of the Interstate!

We picked a Walmart about an hour past Nashville, TN (which was roughly the halfway point of our trip) as a place to stop for the night. We pulled in around 2:00 a.m., and I was relieved that we only had 186 miles of our 725 mile jump remaining.

8/5/14- Travel Day to Atlanta, GA

We were all ready to go around 9:30 this morning, but then Ryan noticed that his trailer tires were looking low.
Ryan fired up his trailer's generator and we used my air compressor to get them up to the proper psi.

Before we went through Chattanooga there was a scary, steep hill that went on for 3 miles. Later Ryan and I talked about it, and we realized we had driven on worse hills with Kelly Miller, but this was the first mountain we've encountered on this tour, and we were out of practice.

About 80 miles from Atlanta we stopped to fill up our gas tanks one last time, but we ended up staying for a couple of hours because Ryan noticed that two of his trailer tires were dangerously close together.
He didn't want to chance driving the rest of the way to Atlanta like that because one more inch closer, and the tires would have rubbed together until they exploded.

Ryan talked to a Flying J employee, and they called a nearby mechanic who came out to investigate the problem.
While Ryan and Tatiana dealt with that issue I spent some quality time with Nico. He was cracking me up with all of the funny things he was telling me, like how he used to drink a lot of water when he was a dog, and how when he was little he slept in the bushes outside the Flying J.

The mechanic couldn't find anything wrong with Ryan's trailer's undercarriage, but a fellow RV traveler came over to investigate and said that one of Ryan's tires had popped inside, which is why it was too close to another tire. There must be another issue as well, but the gentleman (who used to work on airplanes) said that if Ryan changed that tire, he could at least get to Atlanta.

The mechanic changed the tire, and sure enough there was space between the wheels once again. Still, Ryan took it easy the rest of the way to Atlanta, and except for some heavy rush hour traffic outside the city, we arrived at the lot around 7:00 p.m. without further incident.

I was surprised and pleased that we were parked fairly soon after we had arrived. I was especially happy that I wouldn't have to spend Wednesday waiting around all day to be parked.
Before I went to bed I was able to plug into the show's generator, which meant one less thing I had to worry about tomorrow.

8/6/14- Day Off!

Helen and I went to sushi for lunch today, which was long overdue. We both realized that it had been over six weeks since the last time we had eaten raw fish. Simply shameful!
After lunch I took her by a grocery store so she could pick up food to cook in her hotel room.

Rob Hadaway, a former Ringling clown who currently works for Big Apple's Clown Care Unit, came by the lot to visit with me for a bit today.
He gave me some good suggestions for sights to see and places to eat while I'm in town.

After Rob took off I explored the Plaza Fiesta, which is the shopping center where we are playing. I found Ryan and Nico in the arcade/play place, and they joined me for a walk to scope out all the shops and food stands in the plaza.

A little later in the day Ryan and I dried and cleaned the water mat from Sunday's 8:00 p.m. show. We weren't able to clean it on the stage after the final performance because of tear down, so we just had to dump the water out as best we could and fold it up to deal with later.

In the evening Ryan and I drove up to Smyrna, which is north of Atlanta, to visit with our friend, Jim Maltman, and his girlfriend, Therese.  Jim is a former Ringling clown that Ryan worked with in China seven years ago.

We had a little cook out on the back porch of Jim and Therese's beautiful home, and the whole time we were visiting the stories and laughs were coming fast and furious.
We had such a great time hanging out and laughing that before we knew it seven hours had gone by!

Ryan and I got back to the lot after 2 a.m., and I was so wound up that I didn't get to sleep until 4 a.m. Today was a great day off!

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