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On to Pittsburgh (Day 5)

I woke up around 7:30 this morning, and luckily the weather had cooled off and dried out at some point in the night. Neither of us slept very well, but setting the fan up did help. Yesterday at dinner my sister told me that her car battery was dead and that she hadn’t been able to drive it for a couple of weeks. She said if she left it parked for more than a day, it didn’t have enough juice to start the car. I figured it had a parasitic drain, so I went and picked up a new battery and a quick disconnect switch. An hour later, her car was back on the road, and I have a spare battery.

My plan for the battery out of her car is to use it to power the house while we travel. We will charge it during the day while we are driving, and at night will hook the inverter to it and power the fan and a light or two. We’ll see how well it works.

I got back to the house at around 9am, we fueled up the vehicles, and were on our way. The drive was uneventful for me, but we did have an exciting moment in front of us. As we were going down a fairly large hill, a Dodge pickup passed us going probably 70 or 75 mph. Just after he passed me, he went over a bridge and the small bump created by the bridge caused his trailer to start to sway. It started small, but quickly got worse, and before long he was swaying across both lanes trying to get it back under control. I was going slow enough that I had plenty of time to brake and give him room, but it was still scary. He eventually got his rig back under control, but I’m sure he needed a change of pants after that one. That’s why we have been cruising at a nice steady 55 mph. It’s much easier to correct any issues at a lower speed.

To get to Pittsburgh, we got off I-80 onto the back roads. The road was hilly and narrow, and I immediately knew we should have stayed on the interstate and gone the long way. We were crawling up the hills in second gear, and then going back down in third gear with the engine at redline. I tried to use the brakes sparingly, but in many spots, there was no choice but to use them. I pulled over at one point to let the cars behind us pass, and found that the trailer brakes were smoking. Closer inspection revealed that at least one of the trailer tires had locked up at one point. That tire had a flat spot that was down to the metal reinforcing. Good thing we brought 4 spares.

After letting the brakes cool, we continued, and luckily got back on a better road a few miles later. We stopped about 15 miles outside of Pittsburgh at a Walmart and found a suitable place to park. I took about 30 minutes and changed out the bad tire, and then we went into Pittsburgh. We stopped at two breweries, and then decided to go up Mt. Washington to get a view of the city. Pittsburgh must have 20 different bridges that cross the rivers in the downtown area, and we wouldn’t for the life of us, figure out how to get on the bridges. We drove in a big circle around the two times, before we finally figured it out. I swear driving in Pittsburgh is worse than Boston!

On tomorrows agenda, see my buddy Ty, and explore the city with someone who can navigate the city better than us!

Daily Stats:

Mileage: 266 miles

Travel Time: 8 hours

Fuel Cost: $115

Toll Cost: $0

Truck MPG: 7.91

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