We were traveling south out of Wichita, Kansas last Tuesday and it brought up a bad travel story from nearly 30 years ago. Do you want to hear it? Keep reading.
We were traveling the same direction in our very first truck and trailer and we made a memory we will never forget, although we would like to forget.😁
Our first fifth wheel was a 1979 Holiday Ramblette. It was made and sold by Holiday Rambler as an entry level camper. We purchased it in 1992 in an RV/Mobile Home Park in Sebring, Florida where it had spent all or most of its life.
After a blowout, new tires and a bunch of elbow grease, it was ready to roll! My dusty memories tell me it was 27' long and KJo and Odie agree. The weight of it matched perfectly with the 1989 F250 Ford Extended Cab Long Bed that I bought used as well.
Five or six weeks of revival and about 2500 miles later we were preaching revival in Wichita for Bro. Terry White at New Horizon Holiness Church. We were scheduled to be there through Friday night and then drive about 475 miles to our next revival in Arkansas that was scheduled to begin Sunday night.
We were having a terrific revival in Wichita and Pastor White and his folks asked us to stay and preach Saturday. That would require us to drive overnight, but I was young, impressionable and evidently touched in the head! I agreed to stay for Saturday night.
After church Saturday night we planned to hit the road as soon as they said Amen. But everyone wanted us to go out to eat with them one more time. Did I mention that I was young, impressionable and evidently touched in the head? I agreed to go for one last meal with the church folks.
Now, I need to mention that it was the first week of February and about 20 degrees. Our entry level Florida camper had tanks that were not enclosed. By the time I tried to dump the holding tank Saturday, it was frozen solid. Ouch!
We left the church very late and got on I-135 going south toward Oklahoma. On the south end of Wichita you go through the toll gate and follow I-35 south. We went through the toll gate and went straight ahead, THINKING we were driving south.
However, IF you go straight ahead without looking at the signs, that road loops around and goes northeast toward Kansas City. IF you want to go straight south, you have to leave the road going south and take an exit to the right and that road turns back to the south in the next 1/2 mile.
Do you know what we did? It was late Saturday night, we were leaving way too late, we had 475 miles to drive, our holding tank was frozen solid and we made a wrong turn. We went through the toll gate and followed the road that we thought was going south, but it was NOT going south.
We cruised along thinking we were going through Oklahoma to Arkansas and we were actually going northeast toward Kansas City. Ugh!
After about 50-60 miles we realized that we were not seeing Oklahoma road signs and we should have been. We were studying the atlas while driving and came to the conclusion we were going the wrong way.
But the road is a turnpike and the exits are few and far between. We had no choice but to go to the next exit, pay the toll, turn around, get another ticket and go all the way back to our starting point on the south side of Wichita.
We had driven over 160 miles, paid two expensive tolls and went NOwhere. Our 475 mile overnight drive became 635 miles. We pulled into the church about 1:00 PM Sunday afternoon. It was nearly 70 degrees and when I exited the truck I saw that my black water tank had finally thawed and it was leaking at every seam in the tank.
Fortunately, the church had a place to empty the tank and I took care of that immediately. The men standing around helped me get it done quickly and saved me more embarrassment.
Thankfully, I was young and I was able to bounce back in time to preach Sunday evening. Odie told me the thing she remembers most about that night is she got a crick in her neck sleeping in the back seat of the truck. She called it a cricket in her neck.😍
That was a bad night, but we made it and have lived long enough to laugh about it. Thank you for laughing with us.