05/19/06 to 05/21/06
We were on our way to get the car Friday morning, when we got passed by a cute
blue Samurai.  As we were admiring it, it pulled over in front of us, then onto the
shoulder.  As fellow Samurai owners, we felt it was our duty to stop and help (and
take pictures.)  I was in the middle of recommending the mechanic we had found
when he looked at me funny and said, "Oh, I didn't break down, I just ran out of
gas."  Guess it's just us.  
Everything went smooth with getting
the Samurai, returning the rental
car, and getting out of Columbus.  
We were hoping to get to Jimmy
and Laurel's house in South
Carolina by nightfall.   On the way
we stopped in at another cow
breeder in Southern Ohio.  This is
"24."  She is a bred cow, but taller
than the miniature jersey's that I
want.  Isn't she cute?  
We proceeded on South, through
Kentucky and into Virginia.  We
were in Norton, VA when Richard
hit the brakes, heard a pop, and his
foot dropped to the floor.  Damn.  
Seems he had popped the seals off
the rear brake cylinder.  No
problem, we limped along to the
Advanced Auto Parts to get one.  
They had to order it, but it would be
in the next morning.  It was 6:30
PM, and we wanted to get the hub
off to make sure that was our
problem before we ordered the
part.  We were in the Advance
parking lot and I was trying to get
the lug nuts off when I busted off the 2nd stud (it came with one already busted off.)  
Well, Richard said we absolutely could not drive with only three studs, especially
since the two missing ones were right next to each other.  Advance did not have any
that said they were for a Samurai, but the did have some for a Tracker, and a lot of
parts are interchangeable, so with nothing else to do, we proceeded on.  Richard
broke two more studs, and the last nut threaded off like a charm.  No problem, we
just had to get the hub off, change the studs and wait for the brake cylinder.  Nope.  
We could not get the hub off.  It was rusted so firmly in place, it seemed the two
sheets of metal had become one.  After buying a chisel, rust removal spray, and a
Samurai manual, and borrowing a hammer and flashlight, we still had not
succeeded in removing the hub.  We thought maybe the spray would work on the
rust overnight, and walked across the highway to the Super 8.  In the tiny town of
Norton, VA, the Super 8 was booked.  So we walked to the Days Inn, they were
booked.  They called the Holiday Inn for us, they were booked.  With no other
choices, we walked back to the Advance Auto Parts and walked around the
building looking for a place to pitch the tent.  Nope, nowhere private, which left us
with no choice but to sleep in the teeny tiny tin can of a vehicle that was sitting in the
Advance Auto Parts parking lot under a security light.  We couldn't put the seats
back since the back was filled with junk.  It was a miserable night.  Richard was
snoring next to me while I watched all the damn kids squeal their tires and laugh and
holler in the adjoining parking lots.  (We found out the next day that it was
Graduation night, hence the lack of motel rooms and abundance of parking lot
celebrations.)  About midnight the rain started in.  It poured so hard, that great top I
have bragged on let all kinds of water in!
We woke up damp, cramped and cranky at 6:00 AM on Saturday and started in on
the hub again.  When the store opened I bought more crap, which still didn't work.  
Finally we called for the tow truck.  This is becoming a really bad habit!
You can see the gloomy clouds hanging over the gorgeous mountains.  The guy
talking to Richard is the proud owner of the Samurai parked in front of the doors.  
He got there just in time to gloat about how little he spent on his and that it runs.  Oh
yeah, then what's he doing at the auto parts store??  A**hole!
The boys at the shop got the hub off right away, and put on the part I had purchased.
 Then they got on the phone and called around for about an hour to find wheel studs
and brake shoes to fit (yes, they were worn clean through on the side with the
cylinder problem, but I didn't think it was that big of a deal.  They said they couldn't
let us go without new ones though.)  So then they sent a guy 50 miles one way to
get the brake shoes.  When he finally got back they got them on the bad side, no
problem, but every time the put them on the driver's side, the wheel locked up.  I
was so patient all day.  We had slept in the car (or tried to anyway), laid on the wet
pavement at the auto parts store, and sat all damn day in the shop, and I was still
not yelling at anyone, but we were making NO progress.  Finally, after 3 hours of
trying to get the shoes on the driver's side, they noticed that something important
was bent so bad that the new shoes were catching.  That side had decent shoes to
begin with, so after all that, they put the old shoes back one, and we finally got out of
there at 4:30, only eight and a half long hours after the tow truck got us there!!
So, I am tired of this "adventure."  From now on, we're calling this a vacation!
Besides our easy-problem-turned-disaster, we were enjoying the mountains we
were driving through on Hwy 23.  We stopped at an overlook, I think it was in
Tennessee, to enjoy the view.  (Notice it is still cloudy and raining.)
Finally, Saturday at 8:30 PM we got to my cousins' house in Greenville, South
Carolina.  Jimmy and Laurel live in a house in the middle of the jungle.  You
cannot see the road from their front porch because the trees are so thick.  My
cousin Derek, Laurel's little brother, was there too.  Richard and Jimmy jammed
on the guitar and mandolin while I went to bed!  Sunday we went down to the
creek that runs right through their backyard.  We waded up and down the creek
and had a great time.
After our creek adventure we got to work trying to dry out all our junk.  We
spread out the tent and hung up our sleeping bags.  As I was organizing all the
tools we had purchased at the auto parts store, just our luck it started pouring
rain.  The sky thought, "oh look, the Bronson's have their tent out again, time to
rain."  We rescued all our stuff and now we're trying to dry out in Jimmy and
Laurel's garage.
Although we would like to stay forever, Jimmy and Laurel have these crazy
things called jobs.  So we're leaving tomorrow morning, gonna see if we can
make it to Atlanta.