Mar 142024

It all depends on the time of day. Let me tell you about yesterday and I’ll let you decide.

We were up at 4 a.m. because we had to be on the road by 5 to get to the airport for Tiffany and Destiny to check in two hours early for their 9:18 flight back home to Arizona. They had already packed and had put their suitcases in the back of the van the night before, so it was a simple case of doing our morning ablutions and hitting the road.

Now, let me preface this next part by telling you I don’t see very well in the dark, and the backup camera on the van had condensation on it. Those are my excuses and I’m sticking to them. Our driveway comes in from the road and then goes back to the barn, but also branches off to go uphill a short distance and curve to the left to the front of the garage. So when backing down the driveway, one has to follow the curve downhill to the barn road, which leaves you facing the street.

Because it was dark, and the excuses I told you about before, instead of doing that, I backed across the driveway and into the deep ditch next to the road. That’s the idiot part. Fortunately, I didn’t go all the way in, but I couldn’t get any traction on the wet grass. I was about to say we were going to have to leave the van sitting where it was and take the truck, but then Terry said that she and the girls could push me out. Yeah right. Well, as it turns out, they could. But I left a nice set of ruts across the grass in the front yard.

With that catastrophe averted, Terry drove to keep me out of trouble. We pulled out of the driveway a few minutes after 5 a.m. and were surprised at how much traffic there was going into the Birmingham area that early in the morning.

Saying goodbye is always hard, and there were some tears mixed in with the hugs, but we know we’ll see the girls again. Hopefully, in October.

Terry drove home, making a couple of stops in Tuscaloosa on the way. I got a message about 3 p.m. our time that the girls had made it safely back to Phoenix after a short layover to change planes in Dallas.

Now to the genius part. The other day, Destiny wanted to drive the Kawasaki Mule around some of the perimeter roads, but I had her pull up to the garage first so we could put gas in it. She did, and almost immediately it started running rough, wouldn’t go over about 5 mph, and the engine seemed to miss. I suspected there might be condensation in the fuel, so on our way through Tuscaloosa yesterday, we stopped to pick up a new fuel filter, a spark plug, and a bottle of HEET fuel treatment that removes water.

I watched a couple of YouTube videos on how to change the fuel filter, then poured the Heet into the gas tank and drove it around the perimeter road, hoping to mix it into the gas. Just like with Destiny, I couldn’t get over about 5 mph without the engine bogging down and seeming to miss. But then I realized when I put it in Neutral and revved it up, the engine ran smooth. What the heck?

Then I got to thinking. The problem started immediately after putting gas in the tank. Bad gas couldn’t have created the problem that quickly, and the Mule had run just fine the day before. What was different? Then I noticed a little red light blinking on the dashboard. The seat belt light. Then the light in my brain came on. The seat belt was not connected. I seldom wear it. I usually just pull it across the seat and connect it so the light doesn’t come on. But Destiny had worn the seat belt and then taken it off while we were putting gas in the Mule and didn’t put it back on. As soon as I clicked it into its receiver, everything worked fine again. Yep, I’m a genius. I can’t back up worth a damn, but I’m a genius going forward.

It’s Thursday, so it’s time for a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an RV camping journal donated by Barbara House. Barbara makes several variations of these, and they all have pages where you can list the date, weather, where you traveled to and from that day, beginning and ending mileage, campground information including amenities at RV sites, a place for campground reviews, room to record activities, people met along the way, reminders of places to see and things to do the next time you’re in the area, and a page for notes for each day.

To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed. After 90 days, unclaimed prizes revert back to the drawing pool for a future contest.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Thought For The Day – Why do they call it rush hour when nothing moves?

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

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