The much anticipated day had finally arrived. Diana and I flew to Fort Wayne Indiana and drove our rental car to Auburn for a restful night’s stay in our familiar Hampton Inn. We had stayed at this Hampton in Auburn on previous trips to NRC in Middlebury.
Monday morning was checkout and grab a quick breakfast at the great little Greek diner across the street, and then on to NRC Conversions about 80 miles away. We arrived at NRC about 10 am, and there was our completed coach sitting out front, ready for delivery. It looked great in the sunlight of this crystal clear morning. What Luck to have such a great day in early April in northern Indiana, just a mile from the Michigan State Line.
Mike and the guys at NRC were finishing up a few details on the Onan generator panel, and we began the inspection of our new rig. Having seen their work, our expectations were pretty high. The guys and gals at NRC Modifications exceeded our expectations with attention to detail. Once we took the obligatory pictures, handed over a check and did some paperwork, it was off to Fort Wayne International Airport to return the rental car.
I had not driven this truck very much before the conversion, and now I was faced with driving a conversion coach that was 47 ½ feet long bumper to bumper. I didn’t even know what all the switches operated! A quick fuel stop, and off we went East on the I-80 / I-90 toll road to intersect with Interstate 469 south towards Fort Wayne.
Things went fine, even driving through the airport terminal area
Diana handled all the paperwork and payment as I waited in a no parking zone with out 13 foot tall white monster. As she climbed up into the cab of the KW and settled into the new leather appointed air ride passenger’s seat, she smiled and said,” Let’s go to Ohio and visit Art and Denise. Art & Deni were our inspiration to take on this project. They also have a KW T2000 converted by the same fine folks at NRC.
We turned out onto highway 32 and drove southeast towards Lima, Ohio and Interstate 75. Once on I-75 south, we drove until our hunger pangs reminded us that we had not eaten much that day. A quick exit and a stop at some sports bar / café yielded a quick meal, and then it was on to the little town of Piqua, Ohio.
“Travel south on I-75 until you see the Piqua exit and highway 36”, said Art as I called him for directions. Shortly after 11 pm we got off at the correct exit, turned left over the interstate, and headed for Art & Denise’s house and our first overnight in our new coach.
To protect my reputation, go easy on my ego, and not have to receive email from Jim Anderson and John Holmes, I’ll skip the part regarding my off-road excursion and blocking the entire two lanes of highway 36 in Piqua. I will thank the guys who finally arrived with a big enough wrecker to pull me out and get me going again. No damage except a little trim on the lower left side, and a totally bruised ego.
Note: Do not back up long rigs that don’t pivot onto state highways in the dark!
We had a great night parking next to the Millet’s rig, and then sharing some great conversation with our friends. We slept in the next morning, had a late breakfast with Art & Deni at the local Cracker Barrel. Then we turned out onto I-75 and headed home to Georgia.
Down through Dayton, Cincinnati, and onto Lexington, Kentucky we drove, having a great ride in our rig. Then things came to a screeching halt, as we discovered that the southbound lanes of I-75 at Jellico Mountain had washed down into the valley. A nice little yellow flashing sign read: Expect up to 4 hour delays!
We kept on and finally got over the mountain, drove down though Knoxville, and then split off of I-40 to again travel south on I-75 towards Chattanooga.
We stopped for fuel and coffee, and decided to spend another night in the new coach so we could arrive home in the daylight. It would be no fun trying to put this monster I our driveway for the first time in total darkness. Good move!
We arrived home the next morning, and I slowly maneuvered the KW into our curvy driveway. I’m glad we decided to wait until daylight.
I have also made friends with the local KW dealer, and have been over to visit them for a clutch adjustment, and some needed parts.
Dave McBride came over with his Insight program from Cummins, and we upgraded the power to 460 HP, and 1550 pounds feet of torque. I’ll need it, as our new baby weighed in at 39,760 pounds on a Cat scale in Kentucky. And that was empty except for yours truly in the front seat.
Kenworth Motorhome Part 2