Thursday, August 11, 2011
Gary had called ahead to tell his buddy Marty that we were having problems with the van. Marty is a "Car-Guy", and could help Gary figure out whatever the overheating problem was. It took us nearly all day to get there, but we arrived at Marty's house late in the afternoon. I was parked in back of the house next to the garage, and un-hitched from the van. Marty had arranged to take time off work for the remainder of the week to help Gary with the van. Marty's wife Linda made a great dinner that night (and every night), and I saw Gary smile for the first time since leaving Ohio. We slept like rocks that night knowing we were safe and sound and help was at hand. As would be the normal routine for the rest of the week, Marty worked half days, then came home to help Gary. They replaced the thermostat. It was something that Gary had not replaced before the trip, but it made no difference. They tested the flow of the new water pump that Gary had installed, and it was fine. They checked the fan clutch, and it was fine. There was nothing else left in the cooling system that hadn't been replaced or tested but the radiator. It was removed and taken to a local radiator shop, but was so bad that it couldn't even be rebuilt. It would have taken the shop two or three days to get a new one, but Gary didn't have time to wait. He found a brand new one in stock at NAPA. Gary and Marty installed it, and test drove the van, and all was well. Too bad that dumb old radiator spoiled some of our fun, especially for Gary. I really enjoyed camping out in Marty's yard, and Gary had a blast hanging out with his friends. It was good to hear him laugh again. We stayed until Saturday morning. The original plan was to stay in Monroe for two nights at the most, but we ended up staying for five. We were supposed to go to eastern Tennessee to visit another friend of Gary's, then to his sister's farm in Georgia, and a side trip into Alabama. But we had been gone for so long already, that we needed to head home and go to the missed stops at another time. Marty, Linda, and Michael (their oldest son), wished us well and told us goodbye. We had a great time during our Monroe campout, and I'm sure we'll be back someday. Thanks SO much for the hospitality, y'all.