The continuing adventures of Marla and Taco: stormy in PA and broke down outside Akron

Guest post by Marla

A few weeks ago, we got acquainted with Marla and her travel trailer Taco as she led us through Taco’s renovation into a cute cross-country machine. Now enjoy part one of Taco and Marla’s travels: Marla begins handy-personing her way across the nation.

The first stop on my trek was to visit friends in Equinunk, PA — on the Delaware river. Less than 300 miles from home, it was the perfect first leg for my little truck and camper to attempt. I was anxious and white-knuckled through much of the drive, but arrived before dark and a NASTY thunder and lightning storm. The only casualties were half a bottle of bourbon — it toppled in the cabinet during the first 15 minutes, giving my camper the stench of a distillery — and a pane of glass in the camper that got poked out by my truck racks while trying to park the thing in the driveway. I will say I parked like a champ up a hairpin turn on a dirt road in the boonies.

I slept like a baby.

Very early the next morning, my friends Kinsley and Eva left for work at a nearby farm, so I made some coffee on my camper stove in my stove-top percolator and settled down to do some writing. Not 10 minutes into my blogging, the power went out. After checking the circuit breakers, I gave up and headed into town where I hoped to get a signal for my phone and make some calls to try to get everything fixed. My drive into town was obstructed in several places by downed trees and workers trying to restore power — whew!

During my first full day in Equinunk, I set up my portable solar panel to charge my power inverter battery pack. It works like a charm and I was totally self-sufficient in my camper. There is enough charge to power my lights, laptop, and other essentials through the night!

In preparation for my trip, I purchased a heavy-duty under-mount trailer hitch I should have installed on my truck before leaving, but of course I ran out of time and didn’t — figuring my factory hitch would do. It didn’t. I found a garage in Callicoon, NY with power and had them install the new hitch. Roche’s Garage hooked me up in a jiffy and made sure I had all the parts I needed for a safe journey. The waiting room of the office was filled with memorabilia of Roche’s past and present in addition to myriads of Ronald Reagan “pin-ups”.

My first task as Handyman for Kinsley and Eva was to make flower boxes for the patio — Kinsley salvaged old hickory boards from a neighbor’s yard.

We got a huge tub of the richest soil I’ve ever seen from Willow Wisp Organic Farm, where Eva and Kinsley work.

I got a tour of the farm and we ate as much as we could from the harvest and the other local vendors at the Callicoon Center Farmer’s Market.

We went to a wonderful Middle Eastern-themed Memorial Day Weekend party — the perfect ending to a perfect weekend.

Akron, Ohio was my next stop

I got two hours from Equinunk, took a pretty pic of Lackawanna Valley at a scenic stop, and then one of my camper tires blew to smithereens on the highway. I was able to pull over onto the right shoulder immediately and call AAA to the rescue.

In the time it took AAA towing to get there — which was pretty speedy — the force of the big rigs whizzing by started to peel the aluminum siding from the back of Taco! Tom, an absolute dreamboat savior, arrived to the scene only to point in horror at the back of the camper, wondering if I had been hit. I had my head between my knees in the highway brush and was too stunned to have even noticed Taco’s strip-tease. Tom wrangled Taco up the ramp, secured her, and led the way to the nearest garage. The first garage basically pointed and laughed and said that they wouldn’t even know where to start looking for a replacement wheel. Tom led me to the next garage in Wilkes-Barre.

McCarthy Tire and Automotive Center took the challenge and called around until they located two old Chevy wheels to fit my camper. They spent all day tracking them down, switched the old ones out and gave everything a once-over. They even checked out my truck at no cost — everything was fine. I spent the entire day there. Mike Flynn, the manager of Tire Services, and an aficionado of campers and RVs, treated me like a daughter and wouldn’t let me leave until everything was running smoothly.

While I waited, I took a trip up the road to Wide World RV Center and shopped around for hitching needs. They were super helpful and pointed out the Walmarts and a casino I could park at overnight.

The casino was tempting, but I decided against it when I imagined sleeping in the parking lot. Walmart it is! I got a bunch of items in the “superstore” to tune-up my ride and had a burger and a beer at the Red Robin across the lot. Starbucks in the morning and all systems go!

Akron, OH — take two…

Stay tuned for more exciting adventures from Marla and Taco on Offbeat Home! Coming soon!

Comments on The continuing adventures of Marla and Taco: stormy in PA and broke down outside Akron

  1. OH! Hey! You’re right near me! I’m in Youngstown, about an hour away. DEFINITELY stop at Cedar Point– I dunno how you feel about amusement parks, but it’s the roller coaster capital of the world and it’s AWESOME. Also, I don’t know how far you’re going, but if you end up in California, definitely check out Galco’s Soda Shop– http://www.sodapopstop.com

    • Yes! I’m a Michiganian and I try to go to Cedar Point at least once a year! I highly recommend it!

  2. I grew up right in that area and was visiting this past week! I saw lightning bugs and lightning simultaneously 😉 So glad you had a chance to see the Calicoon farmer’s market, it’s a great one! I just had the lettuce I brought back to LA from there, mm..
    Was curious: what was that tiny little treehouse-on-the-ground chicken coop cabiny thing pictured? Good luck in Ohio, I love reading your adventures!

    • I loved it out there – That little shack is a tiny guest house on a private property. The grounds were amazing, complete with chicken coop!

  3. If you’re still in Akron, stop by Aladdin’s Eatery in Highland Square (W. Market Street). The dawali and hummos are unexpectedly good for a city like ours.

  4. I would love to be on your facebook fan page (if you have one) easiest to keep up with people…
    I have traveled in my van around the country and also do handyman remodeling!
    I’m currently in Vegas working on a tile project.

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