After many long months, I was finally able to give my captors the slip and am now safely across the border at Port Huron and proceed west a few miles to the town of Lapeer, Michigan. The natives are friendly, milk is down below $5 a half gallon, and I even saw some grits in the hot cereal section – instant Quaker grits, but it's a start at least. I feel a whole lot better.
It was only through the most devious methods that I was able to free myself from the fiendish grip of Kim Jung Jim, the reclusive leader of this tiny, isolated country. I got stopped and searched at the border crossing and they grabbed my tomato, but after a seemingly interminable wait in the security building, we were able to get back in our old unit and proceed. We both heaved a sigh of relief as we passed through the gate in the barbed wire.
Just in time, too – the winter weather is fast approaching. As I'm sitting here in the Wal-Mart parking lot (see above photo) swapping all my stuff from the old rig to the new one, it's low 40s for a high and intermittent rain – that cold, driving rain that sends people scurrying across the asphalt, headed for shelter. I see snow on the radar in northern Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Nothing that will stick, but the long slow slide toward the yearly ice age has started.
The leaves have been changing for weeks up here, and the formerly sunny weather is unsettled as front after front blows through. I was getting anxious as the days passed, knowing full well the horrors of November and December from my previous imprisonment. Those leaves falling now will soon be covered with snow. No wonder they have Thanksgiving six weeks early in the north – any later and they'd never get that turkey defrosted.
My long hours of labor on the shop floor are only a memory now as I settle into my new unit and rearrange my possessions in their new home. There's so much more room in the Sprinter body that the cabinets are half-empty. I may have to move things around just to avoid rattles. One great thing about the new Roadtrek is the Alde heating system – 40 degrees and raining is normally miserable weather, but inside it's toasty and dry, even with all the door opening and closing as we move. Fiona the Fearless Kitty is VERY happy with the floor heating. Her under-the-bed sulking palace also has a little radiator of its own, so she's most comfortable under there.
The Roadtrek production floor workers were most accommodating as I finished up. Marianne the decal queen fixed me up with the proper insignia, meticulously aligned and installed, and the paint shop guys made sure the new unit was smooth and sparkly despite all the fabrication indignities it had endured. The interior glowed – cleaning and pre-delivery preparation was so thorough they kept finding my stashes of fasteners and stuff I had squirreled away in case I needed extras. The dash kit (wood decals around the radio and instruments) was so beautiful that Sharon just couldn't believe it when she saw it. They're all really great people to work with, and I'm going to miss them as I lie around on the beach this winter 😉