Two months prior to the conference, I debate about booking a room at the conference's host, The Gaylord Palms. There's a promotional deal for $150 a night, which could be minimized to 2 nights, and we're attending the conference for seventy dollars each. I think to myself, what a steal and to stay at one of the fanciest hotels in all of Orlando, I'm in! Chip reasons that we could stay a lot cheaper with the RV and we can bring Bandit. Being price sensitive, I'm easily swayed and book at the nearest RV resort. For the following weeks we both unknowingly start to look forward to the conference, it seems less like homework and more like a 4-day, 3-night getaway (which we could really use after all the delays and time needed to get the RV fixed).
It's July 25th and departure is less than 24 hours away - let the debacle begin. The truck's AC goes out, it was out a week prior but Chip thought it was fixed, however, this time it really goes. The good news, Chip knew the problem and was able to fix it, costing us $200, and delays our departure by 5 hours. I'm exasperated, I should be in a resort pool by now, but okay, it is what it is. I remind Chip that he wanted to look at the brakes on the RV and he's throws caution to the wind and we haul out of Gainesville. On the interstate, we're smooth sailing - it's 5pm and by the time we arrive around 7pm we'll have a late dinner. All is good, and we are actually, occasionally, moving to the middle lane to pass other vehicles. Then, a semi truck pulls along side us and rolls down his window (on the interstate? we're confused.), so I roll down mine and he says: "You've got a blown tire." Shocked, we didn't feel anything happen, we pull to the shoulder. Sure enough we not only have a blown tire but it is entirely gone! The wheel remains with flapping tire bits around it like Medusa's hair. The RV is swaying from side to side by the force of oncoming vehicles zooming past us. Throwing caution to the wind is no flippant idea any longer; safety is our first priority. There's an exit about 3 mile away, with relief that we're not going to have to work on the side of the interstate, we take our time to the exit. Pulling into a vacant lot we focus on the task at hand pulling out tools and removing the wheel, while staying optimistic. "Oh honey, let me document this for my blog." and "Is that why you wanted me to a buy a lug wrench?" come spewing out of my mouth, I'm resolved that the issue will be promptly fixed and am therefore curious and eager to help.
Arrival to the Grand Palms RV & Resort - we're tired, completely and utterly over with the day but glad to have finally arrived. We hope our arrival signifies a new start, with no more issues, and gratefully head to bed. The morning brings back our vigor and we attend day 1 of the conference happy and read to learn. We divide and conquer going to different breakout sessions before the expo opens. Chip learns about new plumbing options and attic insulation concepts. I attend sessions on money/tax saving tips and best ways to avoid leaks.
P.S. The conference was poorly documented because of all of the above.
P.S.S. I did win a Yeti Cooler! Chip said that at least something good came of the conference. On the other hand, I was elated that I actually won something.