I knew today was going to be a brutal ride around Pittsburgh. Sure enough, there were lots of hills and lots of traffic.
I got up at 5:00 AM and Dave and I went over to a local restaurant and had breakfast. By 6:45 AM I was off. I didn’t see much of Dave all day because of so much traffic and so many hills. They were short hills but steep and I had to shift into 4th gear. There weren’t many places to turn off so I could let the traffic around. But the trucks were gracious and tooting their horns and I had fun listening to the truckers chatting about Johnabilt on their CB radios as they were driving by.
I was 10 miles out and noticed an RV Camping World, so I pulled in and asked for an adapter for my main cord. The lady at the desk said, “sorry I can’t help you, the men are all in a meeting.” My hair stood up on my neck but I took the high road and figured they don’t need my business plus any advertisement they might of gotten from us being in there.
All morning I was shifting back and forth and up and down the hills, My neck was getting sore from the constant checking in my mirrors, making sure that no one runs into me.
I got out of my routine last night and didn’t fill the tank up, like I normally do before I pull into a campground, there was none to be found. I knew I should have enough for at least 35 miles and I was thinking that I should be able maybe make it to Mars, PA. Well lo and behold, this afternoon as I am putting along out on this back narrow country road, Johnabilt coughed and died right there. I quickly turned into a grass field and got most of him off the road. I knew I had at least 6 gallons in my spare tank, so I sat along the road pumping gas up to the tractor tank and debating if I really wanted to share this. It does humble a person sitting along the road. One neighbor came out and asked if he could help me. I never considered that I would be using more gas because of all the hills. Lesson learned.
I continued heading north and found another RV camping. Now this business was very helpful and I got my adapter.
I was climbing up this steep hill and felt my clutch slipping just then I realized I meant to tighten it yesterday and forgot. I got my tools out and tightened the clutch and off I went. It wasn’t long before it slipped again, so I spent more time standing by the roadside working on Johnabilt.
When I came across the Allegheny River and I saw a couple standing across the road shooting video. Next thing I know, I see them in my mirror and they passed me and stop ahead. I pulled over and David & Audrey Krzeminski thanked us for our mission.
I didn’t take a lot of pictures today mostly because I had so much traffic to look at, but I did take a few video’s.
As I was heading north on RT 356 looking for RT 228, and in heavy traffic, I could not see if RT 228 turned at the red light, so I leaned out and yelled over to a truck beside me to see if that is RT 228. He responded no keep going north, but I think it was Route 228 west because then my GPS took me all through narrow streets and through the mountain. I finally got down to RT 65 that runs along the river and just like that I had no clutch, so I coasted to the side and got a little worried. Out came my tool box and I noticed that I lost one of my tightening nuts on the clutch. I was still able to tighten them and put I wire through to hold for now. While I was there a gentleman on a cycle came by and asked if he could help. There are so many good folks in the American that we don’t hear about.
Cindy called me and said there will be a Father and his wounded son looking for me on RT 51. I was in a lot of traffic and told Cindy that I am not going that fast so they will be able to catch up with me. In the meantime, Dave texted me and said he was waiting at the Ohio state line for me. I got there and we took our photos. It wasn’t long before Paul and his dad Jim stopped by. I enjoyed talking with them and listening to Paul sharing his experience. I was humbled that Paul gave so much of himself for our Freedom. He is a real Patriot and it brought tears to my eyes visiting with them.
We left there and I was thinking that I stayed in New Waterford, well I was wrong it was further east. I pulled off and Dave came by. My phone was dead and we were trying to find a camp ground, when a gentleman stopped by and offered to help. He directed us down this road I had no idea it was 17 miles! He took us on back roads that were up and down and steep. There was one time that a steep hill came up to a stop sign, so I yelled out to Dave to please stop traffic because I didn’t want to stop or else my front end will come up as I take off . Shortly after, we arrived at a KOA and it was worth the extra ride. It was one of the biggest in the nation and so clean. They wanted to hear about our mission and when I went to pay, and Barb Kuder said no charge and told their employees to get us a nice spot close to the bath house. Thank you John and Barb Kuder. Their camp ground is Salem-Lisbon, OH, and a great place to stay.
I’m hoping to chill out tomorrow because I have some work to do on Johnabilt and I need to get caught up on registering my receipts.
We arrived at the campground at 7:30 PM. All in all, it was a long day, but I am so glad it is behind me. I did meet a couple more Veterans that would like for us to contact them so they can share their stories.
104 miles today; 12 hours in the cab and my body is still shaking with all the bumps.