Wednesday, July 24, 2013

If you ever plan to travel East...

It has been a while, so time for a quick recap.

Day 1

We got going late as one would imagine after delaying to make sure Martha's car was detailed.  As a sneak preview into the future (always a benefit of hindsight), it does not get terribly dusty.  Or at least not dusty enough that a few huge rainstorms couldn't clean off in about 1.2 seconds.  The 5+ hours on the road were fine.  Kids were wired into electronics, James was Martha's copilot.  We settled into Tehachapi w/o too much drama.  Items learned:  both cars need their radios charged and on.  95 degrees fahrenheit is apparently a heat wave in Tehachapi.  Just our luck.  The local BBQ place has the hottest black-pepper wise ribs I have ever tasted.  Thus, I ate most of them.

Day 2

Our big crossing into Arizona.  Kingman.  Skipping Barstow & San Bernadino, oh yeah.  Nice little park there.  Items learned:  closing the slides too tight sucks - we popped another shear pin.  Bummer.  OK, get out the tool kit, roll under to replace the pin.  Crap.  ARRGH!  The 6 batteries that we put there so we could go off the grid are completely blocking access to that slide's shear pin.  Thus, the big slide no longer extends.  Well, I was never attached to watching the TV, but it would be nice to get at the books that I so carefully put in that cabinet.  And it could be worse, the slide could have been extended when we lost the pin, or it could have opened when driving.  Lesson 2:  Laundry isn't so bad when there are plenty of machines open.  Yes, we've only been on the road 2 days, but we have been living in the rig for 4.

Day 3

Time to go to New Mexico.  I'm determined to ignore the Route 66 theme inexplicably going through my head and plan to go to Grants, NM (30 miles past Gallup).  Unfortunately, we got hit by multiple storms in the crossing.  The first one that passed us by was buffetting us so hard that it seemed that I was seeing the broken slide starting to move out.  Yeah, that sucked.  After getting through that storm, transferred the kids to Martha's car and drove very carefully.  The rest of the storms weren't so bad wind-wise, though the rain was the worst I've ever been through.  At least the wipers are working (foreshadowing).  We made it to Gallup (darn you Rt-66!) as that was the closest Home Depot and I had an idea on how to anchor the slide.  The camp site was great.  Pool, mini golf, giant chessboard, chatty neighbors, flat.  And the proprietor gave free lodging to all active duty service members.  Been doing it for 30 years apparently.  Pretty cool of him.

Day 4

Woke early to go to home depot.  Kudos to my brother in law for recommending that I buy a full set of wrenches before leaving the country.  With one I was able to crank that slide in the 1 inch it had managed to slip. It was vastly superior to the vicegrip solution I came up with.  After getting it in, Paul and I rigged up some slide locks/supports with plastic conduit and rubber feet.  I'm now really confident that slide isn't going to slide out on me.  We mounted up determined not to stop in Albuquerque and make it to Amarillo.  90 miles after Albuquerque, our faithful dingy lost all power and more or less died.  5+ warning lights and all sorts of dangerous buzzers going.  Time for AAA.  1.5 hours of sitting on the side of the road (which in an RV is the nicest way one would ever want to sit on the side of a road where big rigs are going by at 75), we were back on the move and getting a 170 mile tow to Amarillo.  Time to go with the flow of the Route-66 theme.  We rolled in at 9.30p, parked the now towed car outside the dealer and got to our reserved campground space by 10.30p.  I hate driving the RV at night.

Day 5

Up early to get the car in at the dealer and then back to the campground early enough to get free donuts.  Not bad, for free donuts.  But they cannot compete with Maple Leaf Donuts at home.  They were home made, though.  Anyway, the kids were happy.  3 hours later the call from the dealer is that Martha ran out of gas.


All ribbing aside, she didn't really run out of gas.  It's just that her car thought it ran out of gas.  The gas sensor is broken.  Apparently a new tank will fix that problem in a jiffy.  Two days to get a new tank, of course.  Or we can just make sure not to let it go under 1/4 of a tank.  In a prius that'll keep us to only 300 miles/fillup.  No biggie.  We pay the guy and are on the road again.  Strangely, the reverse camera screen doesn't power up when I go to change to the left lane.  Doesn't power up when I change to the right lane to get on the highway.  Doesn't power up when I press the power switch.  I look at the dash a little more and start working my way across the switches.  Power mirrors.  Nothing.  Wipers.  Nothing.  I pull over at the next stop.  Paul, are my lights working?  Yes!  Sky is really clear (& hot!), we're going for it.  I'm so glad I found numerous people who said running the generator while driving is fine.  Because I need the generator to run the two AC units to keep the inside temperature to 94 degrees.  As they say, it could be worse.  It could be 100+ and humid (ie, outside).  We make it to Oklahoma City to the nicest RV park we have ever been in. On a rolling hillside with every spot concrete and flat separated by the most beautiful green grass I have seen outside of a private golf course.  We're in RV heaven.

Day 6

I wake to tremendous rain, hail and thunder.  No worries.  It's the midwest, it'll blow over.  And then I remember the non-functional wipers.  Time to write the blog.


A little mention on the wipers.  Yeah, that is a weird one.  The techs in Red Bay said it's a problem with water in the wiring and bagged up a special spot of wiring with dessicant.  It happened a few more times on the trip and is super unpredictable.  But I've found that stopping, turning off the engine and starting again usually gets it going.  And when it happens, I lose control over the cameras, mirrors and wipers.  And similarly, when I stop and restart the engine, I usually get it all back on the next try.  Just a weird gremlin that affects me every 1/20 times I try to drive.

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