Taking a vacation can be stressful. All the planning, all the packing, finding a petsitter, but there are some things you just can't plan for. While the hubby finished a few transmission jobs, I loaded the 30 foot camper with supplies. The husband comes in and tells me to look up the directions to so-and-so campground. "I thought you already got the instructions from Bill?" I queried with my hair in disarray from stuffing too many clothes in a tiny suitcase. "Here's the address." I scrambled to map quest the directions and learned our trip would was 181 miles and would take over two hours to get there. So hubby backed the truck to the camper, connected the ball to the hitch, and off we went to spend a few days at a Tennessee campground. I'm always the navigator and usually I do a good job. But we did not have the Garmin-fried it when I tried to update it-so I gave verbal directions. "Exit right on exit number 443," I said several times as a reminder. The next thing I know I see the sign that reveals we are passing exit 435. "You missed the exit," I said. "What? Where?" he wanted to know. I flung my thumb over my shoulder. "My guess would be back there somewhere." So the hubby exited at the next exit, and fumed over the lack of space for a 30 foot camper and 3500 Dodge Quad Cab Short bed. As he fumed the light turned green. He was still seeing red and grumbled under his breath. "Light's green," I informed. He started forward only to have the light turn red. The hubby flared his nostrils and backed the rig behind the white line. He was ready for the next green light only to have some idiot in a Smart Car run the light. We were forced to wait yet another cycle. The next green light we made it through and maneuvered our way back to exit 443. Once we exited we found ourselves on the Freedom Parkway. The road narrowed into two lanes and developed hairpin turns that made my fine hair curl. The turbo thundered into action when we began to climb an impressive grade. I noticed my husband's eyes darting to the instrument panel. I leaned over and raised an eyebrow in surprise. "What's that red light?" "Engine's warm," muttered the hubby. I raised the other eyebrow when I saw the temperature gauge. "Mighty warm," I agreed. We were forced to pull over at a viewing area. The hubby added water and we waited moment before driving onward. I could see the hubby getting tense. We pulled over at another scenic stop to give the Dodge a rest. This is the truck that normally sits in the yard because it's too light to pull our heavy equipment, and lacks 4-wheel drive to get out of the deep stuff. Of all the trucks we own we had to bring the wimpy one. The hubby opens the hood and piddles around. I didn't say word but I was wishing we used the dually. That dang truck will pull anything up a mountain and never complain. The monologue going on in my head is not printable on this forum so I'll skip that part. The hubby drops the hood in place and we are on our way again. "Okay," I said. "According to our directions go 20 miles, turn right and stay on 321 for 10.7 miles." We managed to get over the mountain and started down. We hit a straight shot and the hubby let it fly. "Wait! Turn right!" I pointed as we passed the road sign. "I'll turn around," said the hubby. But turning around a 30 foot camper takes space. And there was no space on a tiny two lane road with hairpin turns that curled one's hair. We were forced to go forward. The road gets more narrow, more uphill, and more curvy. I had no idea asphalt could curl a road so well. The truck's engine runs hot. Real hot. We are forced to pull over with camper hanging out into the road. Needless to say, the hubby was fuming, the truck was fuming, and I had to pee. Like all females of the human race, when I get worried I have to pee. Thank God nobody was on the road so I was able to take care of business. After a short wait we start again. We go a mile and stop. The hubby opens the hood and begins to tinker. He's so angry he has to take a walk along the road. Nobody comes to rescue us. The cell phone had no service and the GPS on the phone could not connect with a satellite. The hubby slams the hood this time and off we go again. I hear the diesel rumble and finally the cooling fan decides to do what it should have been doing 30 miles ago. "Loose connection," mutters the hubby. He was so mad I think his nose hairs would have ignited. I relax then suddenly the paved road turns into gravel. I spouted forth obscenities too nasty for any forum so I won't type that. Incredibly, a hiker in his 80's wandered down the trail. His ancient face wrinkled in a smile. "Missed your turn didn't ya?" he asked. "Sure did," I admitted. "Where does this road go?" "A paved road," he grinned. "Can we navigate this road with this camper?" I wanted to know. "Sure! You'll have no problem. Go slow and turn left on the paved road and take the first right. You'll be on the interstate in two miles." I thanked him and the hubby steered the truck onward. The road was passable but I felt like I was on a slow moving roller coaster. We tipped one way then the other. Branches grabbed the camper like fingers from a demented demon intent on throwing us off the side of the mountain. The bumper dragged in the dirt. We finally made it to the paved road and were soon back on track. Then we blew a tire. Grumbling, we climb out to take care of it only to discover the lug wrench did not fit. "Dag nab it!" cursed the hubby. (Yes, he actually said that). Something told me to look under the seat, and I found another lug wrench which actually worked. The hubby and I worked as a team and of course it began to rain. Thoroughly soaked we started again. This time we didn't miss the turn, and the cooling fan worked perfectly. The truck labored up the mountain and coasted down like a truck should. Finally, we arrived at the campground to meet the in-laws. We ate and talked and that night I discovered the camper had rats. Yes, rats. Mice, really, but that first one was a doozy. The thing came from a nook under the couch. It staggered across the carpet and I stomped my foot to scare it. The creature turned slowly to look at me. I stared in horror as the poor thing stared at me with left eye bulging grotesquely from it's misshapen head. "Zombie Rat!" I shouted so loud I'm sure everybody in the campground heard me. The hubby snatched a cup and disposed of the poor creature. We settle down to watch TV. A few minutes later another mouse shoots across the hubby's feet. We chase the terrified creature out the door and block the mouse hole with a giant bolt my hubby has a tendency to collect in the bed of all his trucks. We were not bothered by mice again that night. Later on that night, I attempt to take a bath only to note the water was foamy and smelled funny. Apparently nobody drained the lines of the antifreeze used to protect the pipes from freezing weather. So I let the water run only to have the hot water tank go empty. Disgusted, I used the shower house provided by the campground. And the bad luck continued. We went to Dollywood where the roller coaster ride suffered a computer malfunction and stopped the cars on the track in mid-ride. Let me tell you the weather was hot. Even hotter when you are hanging in mid air with a full bladder next to a stranger who is trying his best not to puke. After that I went on the kiddy rides with the niece and two of those rides had a break down. I did enjoy Adventure Mountain but the harness smelled so bad (they don't wash them between guests) I nearly gagged by the time I exited. The sister-in-law was very vocal about the odor and was nearly escorted out of the park. Wait, the bad luck does not end! That night a storm rages across the area, and our camper was pushed around by the wind and rattled by the lightning. The niece shrieked in horror when the bolt fell from the mouse hole and mice ran about in terror near her bunk bed. Eventually things settled down and the sun rose. Once we clamored out for breakfast we discovered a huge branch had shattered a window in the truck. We spent that morning getting two tires and a window for the truck. That afternoon The hubby and I went on a hike. Thankfully nobody fell off the mountain or down a waterfall. We left the next day as all the money we wanted to spend on doing fun things was spent on truck repairs. The only bright spot in my vacation were the ducks who came for breakfast and supper. However, they didn't stay long. Probably not a bad idea with the bad luck we had!