Forever and Ever Amen” by Randy Travis

Well we had planned this trip for a good month if not longer.  We had arranged for the kids to go to grandma’s house.  Shawn, Josh, & Molly (the dog) were going with my Mom and the twins (Maddy & Cody) were going with Arnie’s Mom & Dad.

I took the day before off “work” and the day after off also.  As I knew the day before would be crazy and the day after I knew I would need to recoop.  Which this did hold true.  The day before was crazy as I was trying to get all remaining orders out for the Zoo, get things (both arnie & I and the kids) ready to go.

The day, August 15th got here.  Everyone came to get the kids.  Arnie finished loading up the Subaru since the Subarban was not working right the stearing column out of whack.  Arnie and left McDonald and was heading to Marionsville, PA!   Yippee!

Arnie stopped at the rest stop right inside the PA line.  Gathered up some maps so he knew where we were going.  Had to be the man!  The road king!  We headed back down I-80 to our destination!

About 3 or 4 miles just out of Clintonville, we were in the left hand lane.  The car in front of us decides to make a lane change over to the right side.  However there was a car coming up from behind us in the right hand lane.  The car in front of us slowed down.  Arnie down shifted the car.  It lowered the gear but would not go back up in gear.  He then got it lowered again and then again it would still not get into a higher gear.

We managed to work our way over to the right hand side and pulled over.  Arnie then looked under the hood of the car to see what was wrong.  He was stumped.  We then drove along in second gear all the way to the Clintonville exit.  We managed to find a gas station to pull into only to find out it was an abandoned gas station which was closed down.

After Arnie looked at everything and said a few choice words I ended up calling his Dad so that he would calm down and see about getting an action plan.  At this point, the vacation was over.  Over before it began.   I called and cancelled the reservation for the motel and for the canoe trip.  I was devistated but what else were we going to do?

Arnie and his Dad talked and the game plan was to see if Arnie’s Dad’s AAA would cover for the vehicle to be towed home.  As it ended up we were 60 miles from home and stranded.  AAA would cover it but Arnie’s Dad has to be there.  Russ (Arnie’s Dad) gathered the twins and put them in their car seats and down the road thy went to where we were at.

They arrived about an hour or so later.  Russ called AAA and they said it would be about 90 minutes as we needed a flat bed to haul the car home. 

So we made the best of a bad situation.  We feed the twins a picnic lunch and let them run around the grass on the hill by the abandoned gas station.  Cody was not sure of the grass and so he was kinda touchy of the grass between his toes.  Maddy as her usual self, took advantage of having a bit of freedom and went on to explore.

During this time Arnie and his Dad were talking and Russ offered for us to use the car to go and salvage what we can of the weekend.  Arnie had me call the Eagle Rock Canoe Rentals to see if we can get the reservation back.  We were in luck!  We still could get the canoe trip back!  The lady was really nice throughout the whole process!

Shortly before the 90 minutes were up the tow truck arrived.  They put the car on the back of the truck while Russ & I got the twins back in to the car seats.  We were homeward bound.

We arrived home and they got the car off the truck and into the drive way.  Russ made arrangements after many phone calls to my brother in law to get the car back from him and Arnie and Russ were heading to Lakewood to get the car off of Jeff.

The next morning Arnie & I were off on the road about 7:30 AM and stopped to get breakfast at McDonalds.  We left there about 8 AM and were on the road.

We arrived at the Eagle Rock Canoe Rentals right on time, we had to wait out a parade they had going on during that time, but the vacation was on again without a hitch!

We got the canoe in the water and we were off!  It had been years since I had been in a canoe so once I got in and we got going it all came back.  The sites were beautiful to say the least.

After about an hour or so we stopped on an island that was in the middle of the river and had lunch.  The spot was not the greatest but one we came across.  We ate and back out into the water we went. 

Again the sites were beautiful!  While we were looking and Arnie trying to do a bit of fishing, we were looking for a spot for camp as we did not want to wait to long as night would fall early up in the mountains.  Arnie spoted a camp site and we checked it out.  It was perfect!  You couldn’t have asked for a better spot.

We got out of the canoe (I immediately fell on my face as I got out, mud was slippery but I was alright) and proceeded to set up camp.

While Arnie was cutting the fire wood in front of the tent, a fawn came down the path that was right behind the tent.  It was jumping around like a fool and my first thought was that it was going to jump right on Arnie!  It stopped.  I whispered to Arnie that there is a deer behind the tent.  It then went back down the trail.  Stopped.  Turned and jumped back towards us.  It then stopped again (by this time I’m wishing I had the camera with me but it was in the tent).  Turned.  Went back and stopped.  By this time momma had shown up and was checking us out.  She just starred.  No one moved. Man!  I so wish I had the camera!  Then they both turned and went off on their way.  By this point in time I ran to get the camera just in case they came back.  Or anything else for that matter.

Arnie continued to work on the fire.  He is man!  He make fire!

We then settled in and had dinner.  Nothing like a steak dinner by the fire side.

The next morning we woke and made coffee.  While the coffee was cooling off we laid back down (this was about 7:30 AM) and both fell back to sleep until about 9:30 AM.

We then had breakfast and broke camp.  I managed to get a view of the river from our “front door”.  It was beautiful!  The fog had lifted off the river and the sun was shining down!

We left and proceeded down river.  We both were sun burnt by this time and even though we were having a good time.  We had planned on stopping for lunch but lost track of time and where we were at.

Arnie was doing some fishing.  He seemed to only cath “fish sticks” or they would get away from him.  He also caugh a tree, stick, a few rocks, and some sea weed too!  All in all he had a good time and couldn’t complain.

We came upon West Hickory and I managed to snap a couple pictures before the battery died in the camera.

We continued on.  Arnie still trying to fish and I’m just taking in the sites and occassionaly splashing Arnie.  Before we realized it we had come upon our end point.  We then made shore and unloaded.

We got loaded up and proceeded on our way home.  Both of us badly sun burnt but not really complaining as the vacation we thought was going to be a vacation from hell since it started out so bad was one of the best vacations we have had in a long time.

Now we are taking care of our sun burns and unpacking.  All while knowing we will return for another trip but with sun screen by the gallons!

Ok, so your asking what’s with the song?  Well it was funny.  Arnie asked me something on the canoe and I told him I will always love him forever.  I ended up singing it on the trip!  Just a little something I guess!

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