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Not So Good Coach Moment: Road Rage?

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This past weekend we traveled to Shawboro, North Carolina for a camp out with our Good Sam's Chapter. Four coaches were there and our small group had a great time. Friday night it was a quick group dinner of steamed shrimp, potato and bacon soup, cornbread, tossed salad with blue cheese crumbles and plenty of good cookies for dessert. Then the ladies played Mexican Train while us men shot the breeze for awhile and then we played a number of hands of King's Corner. Saturday morning it was scrambled eggs, biscuits with sausage gravy, yogurt with tropical fruit and some huge muffins.

During the afternoon Diane and I worked on the coach. After three months of sitting it needed some work.

Saturday night it was corned beef and cabbage, in honor of St Paddy's day of course. We played a bunch of rounds of bingo for prizes, finished up our game of King's Corner and then played a rousing few rounds of Sequence (my new favorite game).

It was good to get out again. We had a lot of simple fun. The only mishap was the almost loss of a wiper arm on the way down. That would not have been the first time. It seems my coach suffers from a too curved windshield and if the wipers are set to high while driving (in the rain of course) above fifty five, the wind may lift the driver side blade off the windshield and then it wraps itself around the rear view mirror. I am glad that there is a lot of Rain-X on my windshield or I would not have been able to see at all. Not a fun moment when it happens. On my list of bad moments I would put it down around twelve, which brings me back to the real purpose of this blog entry:

Another Not So Good Coach Moment:

Road Rage?

This not-so-good moment happened on the same day my coach was stuck in the mud. Not long after the Bounder was pulled from its trap, Joel, Diane and I said our goodbyes to my parents and we were on the road again. For miles we could hear mud coming off the sides and the undercarriage of the coach, but other than my normally shiny coach now looking rather shabby, we were not bad off. My nerves were a bit shot, but I expected them to settle down while driving home. We had one stop to make first. We had planned on visiting Diane's cousin Elaine in Raleigh, North Carolina, spend some time with her including dinner together, continue on home and arrive around dark. Due to our muddy misadventure we were now running late. We would have to shorten our time with Elaine, but dinner was still on the agenda. We had plans to meet at the Cracker Barrel not far from the Raleigh Durham airport just off I-40.

After about an hour on the road we found ourselves near the busy intersection of Interstate 85 and 40. We made it through the intersection. Diane and I were chatting about the confusing directions coming from our GPS when this small dark car zoomed from directly behind and came up next to my window. I looked down at the driver. He was leaning over to the passenger side of his car, yelling at me. I had no idea what he was saying. He started waving his right arm around, then both arms, yelling even louder, but with no clarity at all.

"Diane what does that guy want?"

"I don't know, but he sure is acting strange." She got up and leaned over my seat.

Suddenly he speed up. As soon as he was way out in front of me he headed over to the shoulder of the road. I glanced over to my right so I could keep an eye on him as we passed. Then I watched him in the rear view mirror. I figured that was the end of it, but it wasn't. A couple of seconds after we passed him, he took off. He crossed the right lane, coming up on my left again. This time he was practically hanging out of the passenger window yelling like a mad man, arms going like a windmill. I still had no idea what he was doing or trying to tell me.

"What does he want? Do we have a flat? Are we on fire, I don't get it?" I said.

"I don't know" Diane replied as she opened my window in an attempt to understand what he was yelling. "I can't understand him at all."

Joel, one to never miss life's little comparisons made an observation.

"He would make a good trunk monkey."

That could have been funny except for the fact this guy was weaving in his lane. I was beginning to think he might swerve over and hit us.

I found myself edging to the far right of my lane. I hit the zipper. I moved over. This was getting scarier by the moment, then the guy zoomed off in front and moved over to the shoulder again. Something told me he wasn't going to stay there. I was right.

The third time was not charming. He zoomed up even faster this time, with a new tactic. He hit his horn, adding the noise to his arsenal of gestures. We could see that he was still yelling but we couldn't hear him over his horn. I resisted the urge to push my horn in return.

"Why is he so mad? Did we cut him off or something?" I yelled.

"Maybe we threw mud at him and he suffers from road rage" Joel responded.

I almost believed that was possible, but I figured we lost the last of the mud off the coach fifty miles behind us.

He was swerving and most likely swearing a lot now. It was getting harder to keep my eyes on the road in front, and keep my eye on him at the same time.

Diane saw an exit sign.

"Pull off there" she pointed to the distant off ramp just to the right of an overpass. "Maybe he won't follow us."

"MAYBE he won't follow us? What if he does?" I asked.

"Well, we will be safer off the interstate that is for sure."

I had to agree with that, so I was going to signal a turn, but something told me don't. I decided that I didn't want this person to see my side blinker. He would then know what I was going to do. If we exited at the last moment, hopefully it would leave him no time to get over, follow us, then shoot us all, or whatever it was he wanted to do.

He made it easier to get away because for the third time he zoomed ahead. He passed the exit. Now was our chance to get away. At the last possible second I moved to the right, punched the gas and headed up the ramp. The light at the top was green so I took a right turn. We headed for a shopping center.

"Did he follow us?" I asked no one in particular.

Joel, from his position on the couch, responded first.

"I think we lost him."

I parked the coach. I sat there for a moment. Then I opened a console drawer and pulled out my tire gauge.

"I'm going to check outside."

I left the coach for a quick walk around. All the basement doors were closed. The awing wasn't open, the antennae was down. My Crossfires showed proper rear tire pressure. The fronts looked normal, but I checked them anyway, just to be sure. They were fine but I wasn't. That diver had really scared me. The reason for his behavior was a mystery that would not be solved, which may have been a good thing. I really didn't care for my family to be part of a headline.

I went back in the coach, used the bathroom, threw some water on my face. We were back on the interstate again in about ten minutes.

We didn't talk much for the rest of our trip. I put on a Frank Sinatra CD and tried to calm down. It had been a rough day so far.

Diane was trying to call Elaine to tell her we were still on our way, but would be arriving a bit late.

We would arrive later than any of us realized because we missed a turn and ended up at the Airport.

I was not happy with trying to drive a large vehicle past all the gates with their confusing traffic of taxis, cars, buses, and people with suitcases but we managed it. We got back on the right path to the Cracker Barrel.

A good coach moment: Having a place to sleep after a good meal at the end of a very rough day.

Elaine was waiting in the parking lot. She visited our coach for awhile. We retold the story of our stay in the mud, and gave her our account of the mad driver.

"Well, it seems you have had a rough day today."

My whole family practices the art of understatement.

Joel summed the day up best.

"We are here now, lets eat!"

We did. We walked in to the restaurant, had a good meal, told some funny stories. Elaine told us about the things going on in her life.

It was good moment but it was also late. I was exhausted so I told Diane that I was not up to the drive home.

We already knew that the area had no campgrounds close by so she made a great suggestion.

"I bet they will let us stay here."

We asked the manager if we could spend the night. He agreed. So we left, said good bye to Elaine, and went back to the coach. We moved it to the far end of the parking lot. I put out the slides over the curb side. I started the genny so we could unwind with a movie. It was not long after it ended that we were all in bed.

I hoped I wouldn't have crazy dreams about mud holes and trunk monkeys.

I was so beat that even the planes flying directly over head couldn't keep me awake.

I didn't dream at all.

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