As we pulled out of Tuckahoe State Park campground Wednesday afternoon, I spotted a huge praying mantis on the windshield wiper in front of me. The mantis and I had “a moment” where I took pictures and videos as it rubbed its “hands” together and tilted it’s head from side to side. It also showed me how it climbed up the glass, sort of like a free climber on a sheer rock wall.
Thursday morning, 150 miles west of Tuckahoe, I stepped out of the motorhome at Candy Hill campground in Winchester, Virginia and was greeted by this gal …
I don’t know if seeing a praying mantis is supposed to be good luck or bad luck. I looked it up, and different cultures have different ideas on that.
What I can tell you for sure is that about 90 minutes after leaving Tuckahoe, while driving on the Capitol Beltway around Washington, D.C., the warning alarm on our electronic leveling system started to beep. The yellow light was flashing indicating that a level was down.
Anyone familiar with motorhomes can skip this paragraph. Most RV’s have some sort of leveling system so that when you set up on a site that is less than level you’re able to straighten out the RV so doors aren’t swinging shut on you inside, you’re not walking uphill into the bedroom, etc. Some are manual, ours happens to be electronic. We press a button and four metal “legs” descend from the rig to touch ground and allow for leveling of the coach. It’s a hydraulic system.
This alarm situation was not a good thing. If one of the levelers dropped from the bottom and hit the pavement as we’re driving at 60 mph … I don’t need to paint that picture for you. But, we were on a major metropolitan interstate with few places to pull over and the closest rest area was 16 miles away.
When the shoulder opened up wide enough, Bob pulled over. All levelers were in their retracted positions, thank goodness. But we couldn’t continue driving an hour to our destination like this. So, we continued to an exit that led to an industrial park, pulled into a business parking lot and took a better look. There was fluid all over the bottom of the rig, so hydraulic fluid had either leaked or a line had busted. Bob used ratchet straps to hold up the levelers. We spent a while looking for answers on line, making phone calls and ultimately made our way back onto the road and to the campground.
The next morning, Bob went out to start working on an actual diagnosis and repair. It was then that I found the second mantis sitting on our picnic table praying for us.
We had been full-time RVers for five days. We know things like this will happen on the road, just as furnaces kick the bucket and basements flood in sticks-and-bricks homes. We just didn’t expect it to happen five days into this!
Depending on your culture, a praying mantis can be either good luck or bad luck. I’m concluding that the praying mantis is bad luck for the RV!!
After spending a day trying to find the source of the leak, Bob gave up and called a local RV service shop … Naked Bear RV Service in Woodstock, Virginia. For other RVers who are following us, keep this place on your radar if you’re ever in this area and need service, they took real good care of us the next day and we were on the road again by 4pm Friday.
While we had hoped to spend a couple of days exploring the historic town of Winchester, it wasn’t meant to be. The repair shop was about 40 minutes south of Winchester, so once the repair was done we headed to a nearby Walmart for the night. C’est la vie! Winchester will be there when we return.