Travel PT: Headin’ back down South. But first, Jamai— repairs, then Jamaica!

-By Whitney-

Delayed post to update our Travel PT Chronicles… I’m perpetually several months behind on this! I blame staying busy all the time (which doesn’t stop Jared from writing, but I digress…)

Timeline: September 2016

So when I last updated, we were finishing our contracts in Massachusetts in September 2016 and planning to go on vacation to Jamaica!

We had it all planned out…

We had our next contracts set up in North Carolina for 2 weeks after our end date in Massachusetts, leaving about a week to go home to Virginia to visit family, a week for the vacation, and a couple days for the move. We had so far always done back to back to back contracts with only a weekend between (including the time we left VA on Friday and started work in MA on Monday). So this was the first time we actually took any time off between contracts, but we still were on somewhat of a time constraint. We planned during this time to drop our camper off in Concord, NC where we bought it at Camping World to have some repairs done. When we originally bought the camper, it was used (2009) and we noticed some wood damage under the slide-outs. We were told this was “cosmetic,” but it turned out to be potentially hazardous when we noticed the floor was basically rotting and could have fallen out beneath us. Therefore we were able to work out with Camping World to get this wood replaced at no cost to us. So we just had to get the camper there, and we arranged our flight to Jamaica out of Charlotte after we dropped it off.

In transit

So we were all set to leave Massachusetts and make the 13 hour drive back to Virginia. Things were going great… for about 30 minutes. Jared was driving the truck and camper and I was following in my SUV. Jared called me to say he was pulling over and something was wrong. So there we were on the side of the highway with a truck, a camper and an SUV. Jared climbed up in the hood and was able to visibly see the problem (thank goodness, because we were already wondering how the heck do you get a truck towed with a camper attached?? not to mention worrying what we would do about getting the camper home and make our repair appointment and flights on time). Now we really aren’t that mechanically savvy, but he was able to see that a hose that was supposed to be connected was not (turned out to be a Turbo hose). So fortunately with the second vehicle, we went to a nearby garage, got some advice, went to NAPA Auto Parts, got a new hose clamp, and Jared was able to fix it on the side of the road. Luckily the truck made it the rest of the way without any more problems. We planned to stop a couple hours short of home to sleep overnight at a Walmart parking lot in the camper (“boondocking”) and also visit friends. It had rained during the drive, and when we got to the Walmart to sleep, we discovered that the skylight in our bedroom had cracked and broken, letting water pour inside onto our bed! So it was late… we were in a Walmart parking lot… 3/4 of our bed was soaked. It was great, ha. So Jared slept on the sliver of dry bed, I slept on the couch. I just remember waking up being so hot and miserable because it was summer and we didn’t have any AC (no generator/electricity). (But I guess at least the couch was dry!) So we met up with our friends and had a good laugh about our luck and headed home safely the next day.

Back home

We enjoyed our time at home with family and friends, as we had not been back in almost 6 months. This was also the first time that we had the truck and camper without being at a campground, so we had to figure out where to put it while we were home for a week. Unfortunately we didn’t really know anyone with enough space to park it. So we rented a space at a storage unit for a week. We also wanted to take the truck in to have it looked at to make sure everything was okay. So we took it to the Ford dealership, and they ended up replacing the Turbo hose which was an unexpected cost, but we were glad to have it fixed and ready for the next adventure.

In transit again

We left Roanoke the night before our flights, planning to sleep in another Walmart parking lot, so we could drop the camper off first thing in the morning in NC for repairs and head to the airport. We got about 20 minutes down the road… this sounds familiar… and the truck started to mess up again. The hose/clamp had come undone again. This time Jared’s dad was able to come meet us and help out, again on the side of the road, this time in the dark. They got the clamp fixed and we were back on the road again.

Vacation time!

Luckily, things went smoothly for the rest of that trip. We dropped off the camper, made it to the airport, and were in vacation mode! We (…Jared) did some serious planning to make this trip one for the books! It was completely paid for with credit card reward points, from the flights to the all inclusive hotels. We took advantage of my American Express Platinum membership rewards perks and specifically planned our flights with a long layover in Miami, where they have an exclusive Centurion Lounge with free food and alcohol. So we got our All-Inclusive started early. We had fun being fancy and gluttonous at the lounge, and then enjoyed a nice snooze on our final flight to Montego Bay, Jamaica! Our trip was amazing. We split our stay between two all inclusive resorts based on points allocation. Our favorite was The Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall, which was Adult Only and was the fancier of the two resorts, and we were able to spend 4 nights there. We then moved down the road to the Holiday Inn Resort – Montego Bay All Inclusive, which wasn’t quite as fancy but was still great! We spent most of this vacation just relaxing and enjoying what was offered at the resorts. Unfortunately we did not take any excursions to really explore the area. I think after working continuously for over a year we were just ready for some R&R! The beaches were so beautiful and the people very hospitable! We made some vacation friends, and we got to experience the island life for a week!

Back to reality

We were of course sad to leave, but I don’t think our waistlines could’ve handled much more free food and drinks after 7 days! (But seriously, finding work clothes that fit the next week, a struggle…) So we headed back to the states. This time we stayed at an Airbnb overnight upon returning to Charlotte, because the camper was still at Camping World. We picked up our camper the next day, and they stayed true to their word and covered the wood repairs at 100%. We did have some additional cost to repair the broken skylight, and we left with some suggestions on how to help upkeep our camper to help prevent future water damage (more on this later…)

So we just had a short drive from Charlotte, NC to our next job assignments in Fayetteville, NC. Stay tuned and I’ll update on our adventures in Fayetteville (someday 😉 ha)!

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