Well, Nothing it seems, is ever easy! Half way through Indiana, we were slowed quite a bit by a horrendous accident. A semi on the eastbound side apparently had run abruptly into a large road contruction vehicle. The cab of the semi was in pretty much a total state of destruction! Said a prayer for that guy!
Then, when we made a pit stop at the first rest stop in Michigan, I noticed the trailer had lost the passenger side wheel bearing cover, resulting is something resembling one of those spatter paint projects from years ago. Knowing we couldn't go much farther without risk of a bearing meltdown, we set about finding a store that sold Wheel bearing caps (and maybe also wheel bearings themselves). We finally found a store called Tractor Supply, kind of like a Farm and Fleet type place that had both. I bought 2 sets of bearings, a can of grease, a dozen or so cotter pins, and some cleaning supplies . I then pulled the wheel in the parking lot, repacked the bearings (an inspection showed they were still ok although there were traces of some of the grease overheating) and we were on our way again, finally making it into Lowell at about 7:30, about 3-4 hours later than we'd hoped. But at least now we have spare parts!
It was hot, muggy, and buggy, but we got set up and got the AC going ...and blew a fuse! Oh well, a trip to the nearest Meijer store for lots of replacement fuses, and some badly needed water.
Today was much better. We finished setting up, and I began working on prepping our meat. As of 9:15, all but chicken is prepped, the butts are in and holding at 220 degrees nicely, and we're about to go on the rounds of the "shot fairy". At our first contest, 2 years ago, my wife Diane began taking shots of an apple pie flavored beverage we make, as a way to introduce herself to folks. At the time, I was too intensely into what I was doing, and too new at it, to join her, but now, I go when I'm able.
This is always the interesting night. Jitters about how things will go, and worries about what might go wrong often combine with the fun of meeting old freinds, making new ones, and, as the night goes on, that sweet smell of food cooking over sweet blue smoke.
Nothing like it!