One-Month Report!

I’m writing my one-month into the journey blog from cozy Jacksonville, FL. My intentions are still pretty much the same as my original SE route with a few additions (Trinka’s pop’s place in Paisley, oldest restaurant of Florida in Ybor City, the oldest one in Georgia in Thomasville, as well as my sister-in-law’s sister!). But enough about the future…what has happened in the last 10 days?

Keeping pretty much to my route so far. Atlanta to Congaree to Charleston to Savannah to Jacksonville to St. Augustines to Flagler Beach to Paisley

I left my buddy’s house in Georgia headed to Congaree National Park, my first of the “national park” series. My days are getting all mixed up, but I think it was the day after the elections were held that I packed everything up in my van and headed east (Wednesday the 5th)

Beautiful drive through the foothills of North Georgia and the Chattahoochee National Forest with my high school buddy Paula.

It should have just been a 5-hour trip max. I have been taking the back roads on the journey and there I was toddling down 378 through the Sumter National Forest listening to Helen Keller’s “The Story of My Life,” when I started to hear a whistle. I discounted it thinking it was from the hose clamps I used to secure the solar panels. But once the book was over (about 10 minutes), and all was quiet save the whistling…it became more apparent that something was amiss! I pulled over off the deserted road into lots of green. Lo…I had a flat front passenger tire.

The beautiful roads of South Carolina heading to Congaree National Park.

How to get that crazy spare tire from underneath the vehicle? My Chiltons did say one word about it. Google it and oddly nothing. Finally, I looked on the back of the panel that hides my jack and there was the hint I was looking for. I just had to turn a nut on the floor of the van in the rear center. Sounds simple…and usually it is in most cases, but I have flooring over the whole back of the van! Subfloor and flooring! Which has my whole life on top of it!

A picture of the nut that lowers the spare tire after Cicilia cut an access hole to it at Perez Tire Shop!

The scene was alive with sound, and my imagination was more alive yet with swamp images from Princess Bride! But I put on my brave face and took everything out of the van and lifted the floor and found that key nut to get the whole thing going. As I was taking most things out, one by one, I was struck by just how much I have to be thankful for. Nearly all I have, has been given. Here is a snap shot from the flat tire scene, but with the addition of what I was thankful for while working on the situation.

Broken down on the side of the road I was just struck with great gratitude! For so many reasons!

Very few vehichles passed by but as I was finishing up airing up my spare tire, a white jeep came rolling up with his very own personal cloud inside of it. He stopped right smack dab in the middle of the road (that is how little traffic there was) and rolled down the passenger window, letting all the smoke out as well as a holler whether I needed help. I told him I was pretty well set up but needed to find a nearby tire shop. He told me that “in the next town of Saluda and you get to the first stop light take a right and then…blah blah blah” on he went with the directions. But I paid heed to every word he said. He bid me adieu and I put all my belongings back in the van and followed his directions exactly…into the “questionable” side of town! But of course, it was exactly where I needed to go!

Perez Tire Shop…not exactly the discount tire store I was expecting…but it was exactly what I needed!

I pulled up to Perez’s Tire service of Saluda. First thing I did was ask to use the lady room. After ducking down under a fallen beam and a toppled stack of old tires, I managed to find a black covered toilet with no seat! I thot I had better use my five gallon bucket (which, as an fyi, I haven’t had to use yet!). I began to doubt whether I came to right the place or not.

But after talking to Saul and Cicilia in my broken Spanish, but animated gesturing, and their limited English vocabulary I discovered it was a God-send. They fixed me up with a great tire for $35 dollars and then they highly recommended I change out my brittle spare tire. I asked how much? $20 they said. So two tires for $55! If that weren’t enough…I showed them the place I had to get to to put the spare tire back on (btw: they were VERY impressed with my mobile home!) and they got out a hack saw and a wee baby circular saw to cut a hole in the floor to get future access to it. His guess as to where to cut the hole was a bit off so we basically went with a square section! When we were able to gain access to it and put everything back in the van, they let out such a loud whoop that any language could have understood the satisfaction of it all! It was definitely the exact tire store I needed to be at!

My two knights in shining armor! They were very impressed with my rolling castle!

I may have to do a part two to this blog because I still have to share about Congaree National Park and the incredible canopy of flood plains that was. Then, there is Billy Sheppard, my very own chuck wagon gourmet chef who I spent three nights with unexpectedly. So hopefully I’ll write more. But now that I have a phone that takes pictures I hope to try instagramming or facebook posting from there. I’ll keep you posted!

8 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Jill Lein on November 16, 2014 at 8:33 am

    Love, love it sister!!! Love you too!


    • Posted by deblein on November 21, 2014 at 11:03 am

      Boy do I miss you guys! It’s amazing how quickly the night ends when you live by the sun! Thanks for being my support staff in this whole endeavor! Love ta yoo sister!


  2. Posted by JesusGeorgePaige on November 16, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    Beautiful photo of you & Paula! Your van may have “broke down” but Sistah your on the healing road with Jesus and He shines through YOU! Still missing your hugs JGP


    • Posted by deblein on November 21, 2014 at 11:05 am

      Thanks pal! It was a great delight to meet Saul and Cicilia at the Perez shop, and thanks be to God it happened all during the daylight hours! I have determined as a result, to try and not drive during the dark hours. I think that is a good practice when toddling along roads I don’t know! Miss you guys!
      Oh, and btw: I am so thankful for the gift cards the ladies sent! I’m still using them….it almost feels like every time I go into walmart I’m getting everything for free! Though I know very generous women paid for it all! Thanks a bajillion!


  3. Posted by mom on November 16, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    Said it before and must say it again! Your Grandpa Davenport is rejoicing with you and for you. Maybe also a bit of wishing he were with you. What a girl! Love you, love you
    (PS: you know every blog you put in here will remind me of my daddy.)


    • Posted by deblein on November 21, 2014 at 11:07 am

      When are you joining me momma? i would say wait until it gets warmer but it isn’t cold down here! Sometimes the night is too warm! Sleeping in my shorts! But I suspect heading west in January may be a bit too cold!
      I’d love to have some of grandpa’s handyman-ness too…I could use a few good nooks!

      I love you mom!


  4. Posted by Dan Lein on November 20, 2014 at 10:24 pm

    Wow Deb, absolutely love this trip, love the Perez’s too. Feel like I want to stop in next time I’m down that way. Hey Jill 🙂


    • Posted by deblein on November 21, 2014 at 11:09 am

      I love the Perez’s too! Just good all round folks helping a damsel in dismay! If you do go down there, bring the car with the worst tires on them, and they will set you up! The whole trip is going so dog gone fast, my notes can’t keep up with it. But hopefully I’ll be a bit more brief than my posts have been thus far! It’s warm down here in the Everglades, but it is raining today, so I’m trying to get some work done, but alas….here I am writing you!
      Love you brother! And spread the love with the rest of your family!


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