We left Meridian, MS looking forward to a day’s worth of driving to Shreveport, LA on I-20. Our Pit Bull Suede has severe skin allergies. She seems to break out to almost anything we try to feed her. It took a year or two to finally find a protein for her that worked: venison and potato. The only place we could find her food is at Petsmart with a Banfield hospital attached. We found one in Jackson, MS right off the interstate. Just a quick in and out and we would be back on the road, right? Ahh, if only things worked out the way we always planned them.
I pulled the RV into the Petsmart parking lot, went over a speed bump, and SNAP! Something broke. I casually kept driving and parked in the first available space, hearing scraping along the way. I was freaking out thinking I broke it while Josh calmed me down and went into problem solving mode. We came out to assess the damage. The back hitch that holds our motorcycle carrier had snapped off of the bumper. We were dragging the carrier behind us at an angle. Thankfully the motorcycle started right up and looked OK. We untied the motorcycle, and parked it in another spot. Thankfully, there was a Home Depot in the same shopping plaza. We bought 1,500 pound ratchet ties and metal epoxy. We wanted a temporary fix, so we could get to a campsite or hotel and still have the motorcycle for transportation. The goal was to put epoxy on the hitch and ratchet tie it to the bumper. The epoxy would help stick together the hitch and bumper. One broken ratchet tie and thirty minutes later, our temporary fix wasn’t as great as we hoped. The ratchet ties pulled the hitch closer to the bumper, but not close enough. We quickly called Coach Net (our lovely roadside assistance provider) to see if any RV service and repair shop could squeeze us in. We didn’t have much luck on a Friday afternoon though.
So, we ran our errands at Petsmart, unpinned the motorcycle carrier, set in on the couch in our RV, left the motorcycle in the parking lot, and drove the RV to Lefleur's Bluff State Park. It was the closest, cheapest park we could find. After we found the park and saw they had vacancy, we drove back to Petsmart to retrieve the motorcycle. On the way back, I drove the RV while Josh followed on the motorcycle. I made it back to the entrance of the park and realized Josh wasn’t behind me. I panicked and called him immediately. The motorcycle broke down a mile or so before “home.” He called CoachNet again. They were able to provide a free tow back to our campsite. Two hours later, we were finally able to set up camp. The RV Park is actually two miles from the entrance of the park. At ten miles per hour it was time consuming driving to the RV park, picking a site, driving back to the entrance, paying for the site, and finally driving all the way back to the space we would call home for the next few days. Jackson, MS welcomed us with a stressful first day, but the state park was so beautiful, it melted our stresses away.
Our site was right on a lake. Not only did we have an RV site, but we had a huge area for tent camping. It was the first time I was able to set up our 15 foot dog runners at an RV park. Unfortunately there weren’t any sewer hookups, but on the bright side they had an awesome shower house. The park ranger was very nice and informative. He made sure we knew what sights to visit while in town and told us about the park a little. He said they didn’t get many bears, but there was “a friendly alligator in the lake who won’t bother anyone.” After our experience in Lamont, FL we certainly found this amusing. We were wary about how much it would cost to fix the back bumper, so we didn’t do much in Jackson. I learned “We Remain” by Christina Aguilera and decided to film a video. “We Remain” is on the soundtrack for the second Hunger Games movie "Catching Fire." I felt the scenery of the park reflected the Hunger Games well. While we were filming, cars kept driving by. Instead of trying it again and again from the top hoping to record uninterrupted, we filmed two separate takes. I then went back to the RV and edited my videos. I even decided to re-film the ending in our “back yard.” It was the first time I edited something this large. Check out the video for yourself, and let me know how I did!
Finally it was Monday! We woke up early and got to Camper Corral as soon as they opened. We were hoping to leave that day. They told us it would take a week to order a new back bumper. We were certainly feeling the pressure about getting to Utah. We took the news with a grain of salt and started talking about our plan B. As we pulled out of the parking lot, we saw a yard sign pointing down the street to a brand new RV service and repair shop. We already called every RV shop in the area. We decided to push our luck and see if they could help us. It couldn't hurt to try a new RV shop less than a half mile away. Their friendly staff greeted us outside and got to work on it right then. They had a metal fabricator who was able to reinforce and reattach the bumper with three inch corrugated tubular steel and tig weld to two inch triangle steel supports. Freshly painted and a new RV door handle later, we were ready to hit the road! We’re both sad we didn't get to explore Jackson. There is a lot to do there! When we go back, we will be sure to visit Ground Zero Blues Club owned by Morgan Freeman. Next stop: West Monroe, LA!