May 13, 2019
It was hard to sleep last night. I kept waking up during the night thinking about the mountain passes that I needed to cross today. I took off around 7 AM and it was raining hard. In fact, it rained hard all day. It wasn’t long until I got to the first mountain pass and what a climb. Johnabilt did great! I shifted down to 5th gear and crawled up over the mountain. It was coming down the other side that made my hair stand up. I was sliding in my seat braking Johnabilt with my feet and my left hand on the camper brakes, breathing heavy as I was watching my left mirror, making sure that no one ran into me. The road was sharp with switch-backs and then drops off fairly steep coming down. Thankfully, traffic was light so that made it a little easier. I pressed the camper brakes hard because I was concerned about Johnabilt slipping and jack-knifing but he did just fine. I can breathe easier now.
The next two mountain passes were just as bad with switch-backs as I was coming down. I put Johnabilt in 4th gear and I didn’t have to brake much since the engine held us back.
All in all, I had three mountain passes to cross today, and the steepest one comes tomorrow afternoon. Then the next challenge is as I am getting closer to Pittsburgh. I will be taking my time and concentrating one mile at a time.
Lots of folks stopped along the way today, taking videos and pictures and pulling up beside me and reading our billboard on the camper.
It was chilly and damp in the cab today, with temperatures only in the high 40’s. My side windows kept fogging up. The front windows were ok, because my defroster took care of that, but I had to keep the side windows open to watch traffic so no one would run over me.
I stopped in at a Shell gas station and Steve Koser’s sister and brother-in-law drove in to see me and he said, “Pull up to the pumps and fill that tractor up its on me!” Thank you Leonard.
After running 7.5 hours of hard driving it felt good pulling in at Shawnee Sleepy Hollow Campgrounds. I am a little exhausted but it felt good getting this far and over three of the passes, one more tomorrow.
When I pulled into the campground and walked into the office, the owner said, “You know, two years ago a man stopped in with a rig almost like that one you’re driving and I think his last name was also Stoltzfus, Here is a pamphlet he left me.” I told her that was me and she couldn’t believe her eyes. I explained to her our mission with Operation Second Chance and she told me to go out there and pick any campsite that I wanted and that there wouldn’t be any charge.
I started thinking about what she said and I began to wonder, ‘Did my looks change that much in two years? Do I look older or younger? Not sure I want to know! But today I feel so blessed. We had our tank filled up and we received a free night at the campgrounds. There is so much good in America. These are the things that we don’t always hear about.
I washed the camper since it I had lot of road dirt on it and checked the oil. I’m all ready to hit the road in the morning.
The sun was out for a few minutes but now it’s raining hard again and we even had a little hail here, but I am warm and cozy in the camper. I don’t have many pictures because I had my hands full coming down the passes. The last two pictures are at the campground this evening. It kind of looks like it was going to clear off but it’s raining again. Good night!