Daily Archives: June 21, 2018

It Just Feels Right . . .

The day got off to a rocky start when about 5am a thunderboomer let loose, sounding like it was right on the roof of the rig and waking us both up.

Then the power went off, but only for about 5 minutes so it wasn’t too bad. However the fact that it poured buckets for the next two hours made me really look forward to going outside to disconnect and stow everything away, and driving too, of course. But by 7:15 when I finally did go outside, it had pretty much cleared up.

Right on schedule I pulled out of the park, with Jan following in the truck, heading for HOPS Propane about 3 miles up Hwy  6. They opened at 9am, and I pulled into the lot at 9:03. There was a guy standing out in front of the office and he waved me over to the fill station by the tanks.

After getting 33 gallons, I was paid up and out the door by 9:15. Things were looking up, and we were actually ahead of schedule, as I had figured at least 30 minutes there. But my joyfulness quickly faded.

I pulled the rig over to the side of the lot so we could hook up the toad and get on the road. But then I could not release the lock on one of my tow bar pins. The key just would not turn. I tried graphite in the lock and then Strike Hold. All with no luck

I even tapped with a mallet. Nothing. It was like it was the wrong key. Finally I got my ‘Persuader’ (an 18” piece of 1-1/4 galvanized pipe) out of the truck and started wailing away at it. And although it loosened it didn’t let go.

So I got more forceful with it, getting my drill and some titanium bits and started drilling out the cylinder, ending up with this.

Cut Tow Pin Top

Cut Tow Pin Bottom

I drilled all the way through it, coming out the bottom. It came out the side because it was deflected by the tip of the hardened steel pin. The hardened steel pin is why I didn’t even try to saw it off. Master makes some tough locks, believe me.

I had been at this for about 30 minutes when the guy who filled my propane came out and saw what my problem was. And  he said, “Just a minute. Let me get my torch.”

Expecting him to wheel over a big set of tanks on a dolly, I was surprised when he showed up with a case about the size of a large toaster oven. Opening it up I could see two smallish tanks of the oxy and acetylene, a tiny regulator, and a torch handle.

Lighting it off, he adjusted the handle until he had a small blue-white flame, and sliced through the 1/2” hardened steel pin like it was butter.

Cut Tow Pin


I want one of those.

Unfortunately in my astonishment I forgot to ask him where he got it. I’ll call and ask him when we get back.

By the time I got hooked up, we were about 45 minutes behind schedule rather than 15 minutes ahead. But for us it was no problem since our schedules are pretty much illusionary anyway.

I had another plain pin with no locking mechanism so I used it by tywrapping it all together with some big 3/8” tywraps I had and it worked fine. I checked it a couple of times along the trip and it never budged.

We stopped at the Buc-ee’s on I-10 in Baytown for diesel and coffee. I wanted to top off the tank for the trip, and 25 gallons did it.

The trip to Breaux Bridge was smooth with very little rain. Both the engine and the generator ran fine (Jan said they purred) and we had no problems or close calls.

A while after we were out on I-10, Jan asked me how it felt to be back on the road after so many months. I said,”It just feels right”, and we both agreed we had missed traveling these past 10 months or so.

We pulled into Poche’s Fish-N-Camp in Breaux Bridge about 3:15 and got set up. We decided not to even put out the sat dish or put up the TV, and just have peace and quiet.

Then about 4:30 we headed into Breaux Bridge to have dinner at our favorite place here, Pont Breaux. We started eating here in the early 80’s as we traveled through here. Originally it was called Mulate’s, but it sold a few years back, and the food is just as good as always.

Jan tried something different this time, the Grilled Catfish with Shrimp Étouffée, and Sautéed Veggies.

Pont Breaux Grilled Catfish with Shrimp Ettoffee and Sauteed Veggies

She said it was great.

I got my usual bowl of Seafood Gumbo with Shrimp and Crabmeat.

Pont Breaux Seafood Gumbo

The small dish at the bottom right is potato salad, which I always thought was a strange side for gumbo, but it was good so I ate it. Years later I found out that it was a regional thing to dump the lump of potato salad in your gumbo.

Who knew?

I still eat mine separately anyway.

Coming home I stopped off at an AutoZone and bought two new tow bar pins, one to use and one as a spare. Of course I bought another Master Lock, since I now know how tough they are.

Tomorrow we’ve got about 215 miles to travel up to Byram, MS, just south of Jackson. And the day will end with another great meal from one of our favorites, Sonny’s BBQ.

Really looking forward to that.

Thought for the Day:

Sometimes it seems like that government only exists to make government bigger.


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