February 25 through December 31, 2000
Having closed on the house, we left Wendover Drive in Charlottesville, Virginia, and headed for Misty Mountain Campground so we could have full hookups, not be under pressure to leave in the morning, and perhaps get ourselves organized. Since it was a hurry-up-and-get-out-of-the-house day we left with stuff piled up on the dinette seats, couch, chair, bed, and in the bathtub. Stuff was also piled into closets and cabinets. On the way to Misty Mountain a cabinet door opened allowing Sharyn’s jewelry to get strewn all across the bedroom floor, all the stuff on one of the dinette seats fell onto the floor, etc. The entire place looked like a collage dorm room. Sharyn said that this might not even last to Alabama. I assured her it would get better. Before we went to bed we sorted through several boxes of papers and assorted junk, throwing away a good bit of stuff.
Miles for the day = 11.
The birds woke me up at 7:am. We got up and sat around drinking coffee and talking. Took Sabrina for a walk. Found some better places to put more stuff away. Made it to Charlottesville in time to turn in 3 sets of license plates to DMV. Went to Phil’s house planning to just visit for a short while but ended up spending the night. It’s now 9:45pm and we just finished making up the fold out couch for Katlin who came out in her pajamas and said she is sleeping in the motorhome because it’s too cold in her room. We’ll see if she stays.
Miles for the day = 25.
Katlin did spend the night with us. After we all got up we spent some time with Phil, Kim, Katlin, and Philip. We said good-bye to them and started off for Alabama. Stopped at Woodworth Animal Hospital to refill Rx for prednesone, then headed south on I-81. Stopped at Dixie Caverns and Pottery (campground) just south of Salem VA. It was wet and rainy. They were doing renovations and construction in the campground so there is only one perimeter row available and the place is covered with mud. They did have cable but we couldn’t get it to work until Sharyn figured out how to program the TV’s. Not a good first day out.
Miles for day = 140
The morning was sunny and bright. Didn’t leave until almost 11:am. Drove through to Escapees campground, Raccoon Valley RV Park, at Knoxville arriving at 5:30. We may stay here tomorrow to do laundry, get organized, and relax for a day.
Miles for day = 252.
Spent the day at Raccoon Valley RV Park. Sharyn did the laundry and met several interesting ladies in the laundry room. We did further organizing, reducing the volume of stuff in two basement compartments by about 30%. Also got some clothing from the closet into the basement under the slideout – more space made available inside. We are actually making significant progress with respect to organization and more efficient use of space. Sharyn read the literature that came with the convection/microwave oven and cooked two Cornish hens for dinner (with broccoli); very good.
Miles for day = 0
Left Raccoon Valley about 10:am and drove to Scottsboro, Alabama. On the way we stopped at a big shopping center at Cleveland TN where we did some grocery shopping, bought some household (motorhome) items, including a frame for Philip's picture, and had lunch. We are now in Goose Pond campground, a City owned park on a lake at Scottsboro AL. It’s quite nice. Took a few pictures (picture #1 picture #2) to e-mail to the kids. As we passed through the northwest corner of Georgia we filled up the gas tank (15 cents cheaper in GA). It took 55.16 gallons, yielding 8.9 mpg from Waynesboro VA. We feel pretty good about the mileage as the Travel Master never quite reached 7 mpg.
Miles for day = 194.
Since the office at Goose Pond Campground was closed when we got there last night, we stopped at the office to pay this morning on the way out. It was a pretty good deal, $14 for full hook-ups at a site right on the edge of the water. We got to the Allegro factory in Red Bay AL about 3:30. They gave us a number (50) and said they might get to us tomorrow, but that we might also be here until Monday. We are in a site with full hook-ups at the edge of one of their parking lots, backed up against a railroad siding. There are about 20 motorhomes here either being serviced or waiting to be serviced. An interesting group of people – perhaps ½ are full-timers. The couple two units down have been full-time for 14 years. Tomorrow we’ll see where we stand on the list and then we’ll walk into town to see about getting a receiver and signing up for someone’s satellite TV service. Tonight Sharyn missed ER. The people in the rig next to us (also full-time) gave us a demo of how the satellite works.
Miles for day = 141.
They took us into the repair building just before lunch and went over the 24 item "punch list" we had prepared. Danny was the guy who worked on our rig. He’s a nice guy and is doing a good job. The two major things he did today was to fix the entry door latch and re-caulk the tops on both slides. He also did a bunch of the smaller repairs but did not finish before quitting time, so we’ll be back in the shop on Monday morning. Late this afternoon we bought a satellite receiver but after spending several hours we still can’t get it to work. We don’t seem to be getting any signal from the dish. The place where we bought it said if we couldn’t get it to work the son would come by tomorrow and get it working for us. Also I went to Campers Choice and got online for my e-mail and to download Crestar transactions. Tried to call Phil and Jordan but got their answering machines instead.
Miles for day = ½.
We have the weekend to spend in the parking lot. Not too much to do, but I went to town (1 block away) and checked and sent e-mail. We couldn’t get any signal on the satellite so we went back to the store and the guy called his son on the phone. The son showed up just after lunch. It turned out that there was no continuity in the cable coming from the dish. He ran a temporary cable in through the window and got it working. He also called Dish Network and had our service turned on. All for $25. Sharyn walked along the railroad tracks to the Big Star grocery store. All in all, a slow day in Red Bay.
Miles for day = 0.
Sunday was even slower than Saturday. We walked about a half mile to a laundromat and did the wash. Could not buy a newspaper because we didn’t have enough quarters. Talked a lot with the people "next door" and went to dinner with them at what appears to be the only restaurant in town. My kind of place – the servings were large, the food was good, and the prices were cheap! I had filleted catfish, blackened Cajun cooked, with hush puppies. If we go there again I’ll have the same thing.
Miles for day = 0.
They finished up with all the repairs and corrections before lunch. It turned out that the reason we had no signal from the dish was that the cable from the dish did not come through the wall. It was behind the cabinet panel and didn’t even have a connector attached to it. Anyway, our level of satisfaction with Allegro, and the way our concerns and problems were addressed at the factory, is 110%! I made another trip to Camper’s Choice to upload and download e-mail, then we left Red Bay heading for a Wal-Mart Super Center in Fulton MS. We bought a pair of 2-way radios so that we can reach each other when I’m walking the dog in the woods, Sharyn’s in a laundromat, etc. It’s a good amount of security for a small price. The lady in Wal-Mart told us about this campground run by the Army Corps or Engineers and said it was very nice. We are there now, on a paved pad with water and 50 amp electric service, right on the water. (Picture). We also have our own picnic area in the wooded site overlooking the water. All of this for $14, but our Golden Access pass gets us half-price ($7). Not bad. Now if we could get a satellite signal, all would be fine. Since we had a signal when we first set up I don’t know what the problem is. Sharyn’s still messing with it.
Miles for day = 34.
I mentioned that the "bacon and egg" smell in the campground smelled good. Within the hour Sharyn had bacon, eggs, and grits on the table for breakfast. She actually treats me quite well. What was supposed to be an easy relaxed day turned out to have been somewhat frustrating as we tried to get the video system to work properly. Color coded cables don’t help much when there is nothing to tell what the colors mean. We finally got hold of "Jim" at Allegro who (via phone) gave us a rundown of the color coding and where the various cables came from and went to (in reality they all disappear behind the cabinet wall). It seems as if something is not right with the system and we have arranged to go to Belmont tomorrow and have Greg (the guy who discovered the problem with the cable from the dish) set up, test, and explain our entire system. We’re also going to buy a VCR from him so we won’t have to do anything to the system once we leave him – also, he deserves our retail business. We are to be at his store at 10:am tomorrow. Sharyn cooked some of the frozen fish in the microwave – just pushed the "Sensor Reheat" button and said it was fish. A rather amazing microwave.
Miles for day = 0.
I was up at 5:45am, made coffee and watched as daylight gradually came. After our usual, and always enjoyable, coffee and conversation, we left without breakfast so that we could go back to Red Bay and get on their list before going to Belmont at 10:am. Since our directions to the TV place were coming from Fulton, we decided to go by the TV place first, then go on to Red Bay – that way we’d know how to get there from Red Bay. After getting our number assignment at Allegro we went back to Belmont. Greg sold us a VCR (the model was "Allegro") and installed the VCR and got all the wiring straightened out. He also gave us some basic lessons in finding and locking on to the satellite each time we stop. While he was getting the system all straightened out Sharyn had walked several blocks to the post office and has passed a small diner that really smelled good. We were going to go there for breakfast, but it turned out that they only served lunch and weren’t going to open for another half hour. Greg called and spoke to the owner who said to walk on up and she’d let us in. I had pork chops with mashed potatoes, gravy, fried yellow squash, and banana pudding. Sharyn had pork chops, winter cabbage "just picked this morning," and a large salad. After that we returned to Allegro and began our wait.
Miles for day = 52.
As the coffee was brewing this morning it started to rain so I ran out and got our chairs and table put away.. We got into the shop before lunch and were out by 3:pm. The screen door still doesn’t work right, but until I get to spend some time with it that’s the way it’s going to be. It’s really not that much of a big deal, but the magnets that are supposed to pull the screen door open with the main door just don’t do the job. While they were working on our unit Sharyn got the master key to all the new Allegros in the lot. After checking out all the new diesel pushers, the Zephyr, etc., she concluded that none of them were as nice as ours. That was good news. I didn’t look at them because I’m just about 100% satisfied with what we have so I figure there’s no purpose is seeking discontent. We’re now back in the parking area and will stay here for the night. We’ll leave in the morning, presumably heading south.
Miles for day = 0.
Once again we left Red Bay with all our problems fixed. We headed for Montgomery AL and the Gunter Hill Campground on the Alabama River, another Corps of Engineers campground for $7/day with water and 50 amp electric. It really looks like a neat place but it was getting dark as we went in so we didn’t get to see much of our site except that it’s draped with Spanish moss, is right on the water with a view up a small inlet. We’ll check it out closer tomorrow. As we checked in we were told that severe weather was a possibility and that if it came we should seek shelter in the bath house. We were given a similar warning in Knoxville, but now we know that "severe weather" is a euphemism for tornadoes. On the way here we needed gas, but with the price running around $1.50 a gallon I kept waiting for a cheaper station. Finally, in Montgomery, and with only about 1/8th of a tank left I pulled into a Racetrac at $1.439 and took 69.5 gallons (in a 75 gallon tank). We’ve covered just over 1,000 miles since leaving C’Ville. At this point we’ve done 8.2 mpg.
Miles for day = 245.
It was still raining intermittently when we got up but during a lull we checked out our campsite (Pictures 1, 2, 3, 4). It’s not bad, but it would really nice in nice weather. Since it was supposed to continue raining all day we decided to leave. We made it to Arrowhead Campground in Mariana FL after driving through one thunderstorm that must have lasted for ½ an hour and 25 miles. At one point we, and a good portion of the other vehicles, pulled off the road to wait it out. When we started out again the rain was considerably less, but there was a large black (really black) cloud that was over us and extending several miles ahead of us and to the black horizon to our left (east). Once we cleared the black cloud it was much better, but the cloud and the storm both got to the campground about 15 minutes after we did. I had just finished getting set up when the rain came. This place is functional, but without any esthetic niceness. We’ll leave again in the morning.
Miles for day = 163.
It’s amazing what a little sunshine and a really nice day can do for a campground. It was a beautiful day today and Arrowhead Campground was really quite nice. After our morning coffee/discussion we met and talked with our neighbors, a young couple from Louisiana with three daughters and a new trailer on their way home from Disney World. Sharyn then went and did the laundry while I cleaned and vacuumed. We didn’t leave until 1:30 East coast time. At about 3:pm we reached Port St Joe on the Gulf. We parked on the beach and had lunch before continuing on to Apalachicola Campground in Eastpoint FL. They offer a modem connection in the office, but every time I dialed up with IPass the ISP didn’t answer the phone. Finally I called direct to ESI in C’Ville and got the same "not answering" message. It seems as if something must be down on the system.
Miles for day = 104.
3/13/00 & 3/14/00
We left Apalachicola and headed East on Route 98 along the Gulf coast. At one point there was a Town picnic area right on the beach so we stopped and walked quite a ways down the beach along the water’s edge. The water was calm and crystal clear while the sand was pure white. The highway was back 200 yards or so from the water and the area was all in it’s natural state. Sharyn sat down against a old Cedar stump to get some suntan and enjoy the serinity. I walked back to the motorhome to eat. We ended up at Suwannee River KOA at Old Town FL. We decide to stay for two nights and take a day off from driving. Once we finish our obligatory visits we’ll head West and get into a much more relaxed pace that may involve moving only once or twice a week (not that we are really pushing it now). Today is the 14th and we’ve just come back from a walk along the river. There is a footpath through the woods that follows the river, plus the river’s edge is lined with a narrow, but sandy, white beach. We think that this may be the prettiest campgrounds we’ve ever stayed in. Of course 73 degrees, sunny, and a gentle breeze do lend a certain degree of enhancement to the picture. This is the kind of place where we’d spend a week once we are into our more permanent mode. The lady in the camp store says they have "none serious" Bingo tonight and it looks as if we will go. As we talk about staying in places like this for longer periods of time the need to be towing a vehicle becomes more clear.
Miles for 3/13/00 = 156.
Miles for 3/14/00 = 0.
Well, last night we went to Bingo. It’s sort of like going to a polo game – everyone should go tat least one time. We left Suwannee River and headed south on Route 19 and then Route 41. We decided to stay on 41 through Tampa. There was a lot of construction going on with the Tampa area highways. Route 41 merged in with Route 92 for a while and the road was marked with both signs. Eventually there were only signs for Route 92. An hour later we picked up Route 41 again south of Tampa – next time we’ll take the Interstate around big cities. We ended up at Hide-A-Way RV Resort in Ruskin FL (on Route 41). We’ll be at Grandma’s early afternoon tomorrow.
Miles for day = 196.
We had an uneventful ride to Grandma’s house. We stopped about 25 miles north of Fort Myers and had lunch at a rest stop just off the exit from I-75. When we arrived we visited for awhile and then arranged with the guy who was apparently in charge to park the motorhome next to a particular building where we could plug into electric and pay the office $5 per night for the electric. Later we visited some more, had dinner, and then the dog and I returned to the motorhome while Sharyn continued her visit.
Miles for day = 124.
For some reason our being parked where we were, and being plugged into electric had some of the management people all upset. We moved the motorhome into Cypress Woods RV Park in Fort Myers. It’s a new, higher end, park with most of it yet to be built. It’s all clean, new, and manicured, with full hookups at every site, including cable and available telephone. When the newly planted palm trees grow up it’ll be very nice. In my view, a park without trees is kind of sterile. Actually, I moved to Cypress Woods while Sharyn, Susan, and Grandma went shopping. Later, Sharyn and Susan came by with Grandma’s car to pick me up. We went back to Grandma’s house for corned beef and cabbage. That’s the trouble with St Patrick’s day – everyone thinks you have to eat corned beef and cabbage and share the pain. I’d rather go to Burger King! Anyway, after dinner we all sat around and talked for quite a while. After everyone else had left, Sharyn and I took Grandma’s car and came back home (remember, home is wherever we park it).
Miles for day (on motorhome) = 12.
After getting up and having our morning coffee and conversation we drove in to Grandma’s house where we spent several hours talking. They were then going to go shopping so I had them bring me back to the motorhome first. While they shopped I messed with the computer, cleaned out the utility compartment in the basement, and watched the History channel. Later on I made two egg McMuffins and had a cheese danish for dessert. Just as I was finishing Sharyn called to tell me to watch for her as she was on her way home, but wasn’t sure she knew where it was. A half hour later she arrived. We watched some TV, talked, and went to bed. Miles for day = 0.
Again, after morning coffee and conversation we went to Grandma’s house where she had sausage and eggs waiting – they were good. After several hours of talking Sharyn and I went to the laundry room and did the laundry. When we returned it was almost time for dinner (or late lunch). Shortly after that we returned to the RV park even though it was still a little early. We walked over to the office to pay for another night but the guy told us we were already paid for tonight. He was wrong, but we bought a newspaper and returned to the motorhome. We called the Stevenots and are going to visit them on Tuesday. Tomorrow we’re going to Carol and Roger’s in Palm Bay.
Miles for day = 0.
Figuring that there would again be breakfast waiting for us at Grandma’s, we left the RV park in Fort Myers, and with Sharyn driving her mother’s car and me and the dog in the motorhome, we headed for Grandma’s house one last time, this time without having eaten anything. This time there was no breakfast – oh well. After coffee and a muffin we said goodbye and headed for Palm Bay (while having coffee and saying goodbye I had left the generator running to keep the air conditioners running since it was already well into the 80’s and I didn’t want the motorhome to get so hot – Florida is definitely not my kind of place!). After a non-eventful trip of some 200 miles we arrived at Carol and Roger’s. While backing into their driveway the telephone wire to the house did not clear the top of the motorhome so Roger got a lond pole that he used to push the wire up while the motorhome passed under it. After talking for quite a while we ate and talked some more. Then, in an effort to save our water and holding tank capacity – since we don’t know when we’ll be able to dump again – I showered in their house. In Florida one could reasonably shower 3 times a day! Sharyn is still in the house talking. As soon as I finish this I’m going to bed.
Miles for day = 204.
Before we headed out for Ron and Peg’s we took Carol and Roger for a ride in the motorhome. After dropping them back off at their house we headed north and arrived at Ron and Pegs in Umatilla a little after 3:pm.
Miles for day = 125.
We thoroughly enjoyed our visit and stayed with them until about noon on the 25th. Their granddaughter, D’Ann, must be the world’s happiest kid. Umatilla is probably the nicest area we’ve ever seen in Florida.
left around noon – went to KOA I Orange City. Received a phone call tonight – Grandma’s in the hospital; have to go back to Ft Myers tomorrow.
Miles for day = 70.
Back at Ft Myers – Shady Acres campground
Moved to Cypress Woods
We almost bought a 2000 Honda CRV 4WDEX. As he began to write it up salesman said there was also a $349 preparation fee. That killed it. Too bad because we liked the car!
This was a time period when I was clearly lax in keeping this Travel Log current. Since 3/29/00 we have traveled back up the East Coast through Virginia and out to the Eastern end of Long Island. From there we headed west through Jersey and on out to Gillette, Wyoming , where we attended the "Great North American RV Rally" in mid-July. We then proceeded through Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon to Northern California where we now sit parked on the beach . Over the next few weeks I’ll will try to focus on these missing five months and reconstruct them as best I can (with Sharyn’s help the reconstruction effort will be much more sucessful). In the meanwhile . . .
Last night we stayed at Riverwoods Campground at Klamath, CA. Woodall’s said it was $15-16 but it turned out to be $20 (they gave me a Sr Citizen price ($18) when I raised the question about the price difference. Turns out they did raise the price this year, but only from $18 last year, not the $15-16 described in Woodall’s. Anyway, these are new owners having bought the place in April, 1999. It’s not what they had expected it to be (running a campground) and they would like to get out of it. Sharyn gave them our name and contact address and told the wife that if they were really serious to let us know. Sharyn’s been wanting a campground since the days in our 19’ travel trailer (full of babies) in 1970. This place has a great deal of deferred maintenance, but could be quite nice (with a quarter mile of river frontage). Ten years ago Sharyn might have sold me on the idea, but at this point in our lives I don’t think either one of us is up to the challenge and, as for me, I’m not looking for any challenges. I’m thoroughly enjoying retirement and doing what we’re doing. This morning we walked the campground and spoke with the wife about it. We didn,t get underway until about 2:pm. We had not gone very far until we came upon a section of Route 101 the ran right alongside the beach with parking along side the road for about a mile. This one mile stretch was filled with boondocking RVs, so we pulled up along the edge of the beach and it’s here we’ll spend the night. In over 10,000 miles this is our first night boondocking – I guess we’ve been living a sheltered RV life-style.
Miles for day = 25.
This morning we traveled south on US-101 along the coast for about 25 miles until we picked up California Route-299 heading east. We had not gone too far from the coast (sealevel) whenwe came to a sign "Elevation 2630 feet." Route-299 is a curving, mostly 2 lane road that goes up, down, and around the mountains. All of our travel on 299 was either up hill or down hill; 6% grade or 7% grade; in second gear or in third gear. Ford's V-10 Vortec engine does fine pulling us up the hills, but a diesel with compression braking would be appreciated on the downside. A long downgrade (say ten miles or so) on an 8% grade or better would be tough. I assume that we'll discover such downgrades, and I assume Ford engineers put that capacity into the braking system. Anyway, we are now in Del Loma RV Park and Camp on the Trinity River in Big Bar, CA. [Picture of Trinity River about 20 miles west of campground. We just passed over the section of roadway shown above the river.] We're only 50 miles from the coast (as the condor flies), and we have gone from daytime highs in the 60's to daytime highs in the 90's. I'm glad this campground has 50 amp service because we're running both AC's. For the last month we've been using heat at night. Right now Sharyn is at the laundry room doing wash. We are reconsidering a washer-dryer for the motorhome. While as a practical matter you need full hookups to use it, the last time she did laundry she used three machines and it took $8 worth of quarters.
Miles for day = 96.
It was a beautiful sunny morning as I took my coffee and sat on the bench at the edge of the river bank (the river is about 75 feet below the bank), enjoying the sound of the river and watching the sun on the mountain tops on the other side of the river. The bench is next to the white rail fence, but hidden by the motorhome, in the photo. It was peaceful, crisp, and clear. I looked over the slopes across the river to see if I could spot anything moving around. I didn't, but I suspect that it would be very difficult for any animals to climb or remain on those slopes as they are probably more than 60 degrees. Later on Sharyn scoured the slopes with binoculars, but she didn't see anything either. We have seen numerous bear and mountain lion warnings, but have yet to see any. The other day I cut short my blackberry picking because we were in the southern Oregon coastal area where the Oregon Fish & Wildlife "Cougar Density" map showed solid black, indicating the greatest density. It was that, plus the fact the the newspaper had an article about about a woman who had two mountain lions run across the road in front of her car. One made it, but she hit the second one, a 110 pound male that had to be shot by the Highway Patrol when they arrived on the scene. Besides, I had enough blackberries. Anyway, this morning we left not too much before noon and continued for about another 75 miles along Rt-299 to Redding, OR. This part of Rt-299 did not seem to have slopes as bad as what we traveled yesterday, but many more curves. Also, since we were now running along the side of the river it was quite a drop to the river (there are basically no shoulders) and Sharyn didn't like it at all. We had one place with a three mile 8% climb followed by a three mile 8% downgrade. Sharyn was much relieved to get to Redding where we were out of the mountains, picked up I-5, and started down the Sacramento Valley. We are at the Sacramento River Campground about 5 miles south of Redding. We are only about 90 miles from Oroville and should get to Sandy's, Sharyn's sister's, tomorrow.
Miles for day = 84.
We left Redding and got to Kelly's house in Oroville early afternoon. Using Microsoft's "USA Streets and Destinations" on CD we were able to pinpoint her house by the street address and drove right to the front.. The only error would be that the map showed her house to be in the middle of the block when, in fact, she is the second house from the corner. There was no place to park at her house so we went to a campground that sounded nice from the description in Woodall's, but in reality wasn't nice at all - almost all permanent residents and no RVers. After we got a site we went driving around with the car and found a nice campground that is brand new and not yet in Woodalls. We moved to the new campground. To backtrack a bit, after leaving Kelly's work we went back to her house as she was about to go home for lunch. Shortly after getting there her 9 year old daughter, Ashley, got home from school. When Kelly went back to work we took Ashley with us in the motorhome, so she was with us when we went to both campgrounds. She didn't like the first one either and told us "it's not a very nice place." She liked the second one , River Reflections RV Park, much better. We paid the weekly rate and will probably be here for a number of weeks. As an aside, before leaving Redding since the RV park apparently allowed the washing of vehicles, I washed the Honda. It had only been washed once since we we left Long Island. Ten miles out of Redding it started to rain - the first rain we've seen in a month.
Miles for day = 108.
This is our first of a number of days in Oroville CA. We visited with Kelly and her family and Scott. We went to Shakey's for pizza. If my father was still alive he'd be 98 years old today!
Miles for day = 0.
Hung out and continued our visiting. I told Ashley that she and Katlin should be pen pals; then I sent Kalin an email telling her about Ashley and my pen pal idea. Sandy got home from Florida so we got to visit with her also.
Miles for day = 0.
This morning we bought The Sacramento Bee. The page one story was entitled "Battle of the Beach" and was about the cotoversy in Orick CA where, on August 28, we spent the night on the beach just off of US-101. It seems that while people have been camping their for free for the last 50 years, the land is part of the Redwood National Park and the National Park Service is about to prohibit the camping saying that all those RVs spoil the view for others. The Orick community depends on those RVs for a good portion of its rather meger business activity and it seems as if civil war is about to break out. Threats have been made against the lives of some of the Park Rangers, pipe bombs have been discoverd within the park grounds, and the Feds recently brought in a SWAT team - officials called it "a special events team." Wow, and we thought is was a quiet, peaceful scene!
Miles for day = 0.
9/4/00 & 9/5/00
When we are staying in one place, like we are now, there isn't too much to write about. It's like to can't write a travel log if you're not traveling. Bottom line is not too much is new. Today Sharyn did laundry/visited at Kelly's house while I did a basic website for River Reflections RV Park and Campground, the campground we're staying in. In exchange for the website we are getting a free week - that's a good deal for everyone. Early this evening Kelly and Sandy drove us up to the Oroville dam. By the time we got there the sun was just disappearing behind the hills. Anyway, we walked across the dam and back while Ashley, on roller blades, got pulled across by Zoe.
This morning, as we were having our daily "coffee and conversation" Sharyn noticed that there was a spider web on the steering wheel - a sure sign that we've been in one place too long. That's probably okay because we're leaving in the morning anyway and heading south towards Sacramento. Sharyn has some relatives in that area that she hasn't seen in 40 years. From there we'll head east towards Denver via Lake Tahoe. Yesterday, for the second time this week (and the second time in this lifetime) we went panning for gold. In terms of the number of tiny flakes, or "specks" we got, you could say we got quite a bit. However, in real terms I estimate we probably made somewhere between 50 and 75 cents per hour (combined) for our effort. In addition, my back now hurts and it takes a few minutes for me to get to be standing up straight. Maybe I'll use my gold to pay for a chiropractor. Two days ago I washed the rubber roof on the motorhome. Yesterday Sharyn opened the refrigerator door and it fell off. The bottom hinge (pin) screw had come out and that allowed the bottom of the door to move away from the hinge base which otherwise supports the weight. The top hinge held the top of the door frame, but the door (with the weight of everything stored on the inside of the door) pulled out of the top frame. It's been put back together but there really isn't anything to hold the door to the top frame. We'll have to do a better temporary fix to hold it until we get back to the Allegro factory. We have several things that need to be attended to under warranty, and we should get to the factory in Red Bay, Alabama late October or early November.
We've moved! Kelly and Sandy came by this morning to share in our "coffee and conversation." They arrived a little after 9:am while I was having my coffee and listening to Morning Edition on Public Radio. They both had some coffee and it soon became apparent that Sharyn, who was still sleeping, was sleeping too soundly to know that we had company. Anyway, we woke her up and then we all sat around talking, drinking two pots of coffee, and I had breakfast. A little before noon I began getting the rig ready to go - dumped the holding tanks, disconnected the water line, put up the awnings, and even brought in the bedroom slideout. At 12:45 we finally pulled out of the campground and went to a gas station just down the road. Gas was $199.9 per gallon so I only bought ten gallons, the most I ever paid for gas in my life, and just enough to get us to the Sacramento area where hopefully gas will be cheaper. When we got to Oroville on August 31 gas at the Beacon station in town was $1.71. Three days and three price increases later it was $1.79. As of this morning the cheapest gas in Oroville was $1.95. Had I filled the tank when we left today we would have taken on about 70 gallons. We didn't know what a bargain that $1.71 would turn out to be! We are now at the FamCamp at Travis AFB between Sacramento and San Francisco. Ten dollars for the first night and, with our FamCamp coupons, our second night is free (with full hookups).
Miles for day = 117.
9/13/00 to 9/16/00
One day we visited Sharyn's Aunt Thelma and Uncle Harley. She hadn't seen them since she was a high school student at Mt Diablo High School over 40 years ago. It was an enjoyable visit, lots of reminiscing, the culminated with Uncle Harley announcing that he was taking the four of us to lunch at a local place he's been eating at for half a century. I went with his recommendation of calamari steak with the soup of the day. He and I were the only two that had the soup. We each received a soup bowl and a large stainless steel salad bowl of soup was put on the table with a soup ladle for an "all you want" soup appetizer with unlimited hot bread and butter. Lunch was terrific and at only $6 a head.
Another day we went to Camping World and engaged in $45 worth of impulse buying. We also scheduled a service appointment for next Friday to have the refrigerator door and the rear air conditioner repaired under warranty. We only got that appointment due to a cancellation. Otherwise their next available appointment was not until October 14!
On Saturday, the day before we left, we went to San Francisco and Fisherman's Wharf.. It certainly has changed since we were there with the trailer in 1970. At that time we drove the Travelall along the wharf right at the waters edge. While we weren't the only people there, it certainly wasn't crowded. Today that area is a pedestrian walk crowded with people and off limits to vehicles. (In 1970 I took a picture of Alcatraz Island after setting up the camera tripod on the roof of the Travelall. By the time time camera said I was up to exposure #41 I realized that the film had not threaded onto the spool - we had no pictures of the week preceding San Francisco or of San Francisco itself. This time I at least took a replacement picture of Alcatraz.) We had lunch on the second floor at Fisherman's Grotto overlooking the boats below, with the condos on Nob Hill above and beyond the waterfront. After lunch we wandered around the waterfront and the shops along the main drag. As we were approaching the Oakland Bay Bridge (on the way to downtown SF) the merging highways resulted in 17 lanes of traffic going through the toll booths and then merging into 5 lanes crossing the bridge. A giant bottleneck with each of the 17 lanes having its own traffic light that gives a one second green before reverting back to red; each lane getting the flash of green in rotating sequence. Sharyn thought it was cool - I thought it caused more delay the an uncontrolled merge would have (perhaps they should speed up the rotating green sequence).
Check out time at the FamCamp was 10:am, but we didn't get out until 10:30 - all things considered that's not bad.
Being Escapees ourselves, the other night we visited with another couple who told us about an Escapees Park near Fresno that he says is the Crown Jewel of the Escapees park system. We decided to check it out. It is actually just off of Highway 41 about 30 miles south of Yosemite and we got here late afternoon. We were met with a very pleasant fellow on a golf cart who set us up on a really nice site and told us we could register tomorrow (the office closes early on Sundays). After getting everything set up we drove down to the clubhouse to see what was there. We met Frank Lieberman who was relaxing with a magazine while his wife was in the laundry room. They've been full-time since April (the first people we've met who have been full-time for a shorter time than we have) and have two kayaks on the top of their truck. He's going to introduce me to kayaking tomorrow. We've been running across information the might indicate kayaks do better than canoes for what we have in mind, but don't know anything about kayaks - yet!
Miles for day = 190.
This morning we went to the clubhouse where Sharyn did the laundry. While she was doing that I used the computer station to put my computer online to download my e-mail and to update this travel log. The clubhouse is very large and very nice. This afternoon one of the club members gave us a complete tour of the 161 acres comprising "Park of the Sierra" Escapee Park. The origin of this park is quite a story. In 1984 a group of members of the Golden Gate Chapter of Escapees decided to create a cooperative RV park in this area. In 1987 the purchased the 161 acre parcel and commenced construction - doing everything themselves - clearing underbrush (leaving trees), leveling sites, trenching utilities, constructing a "municipal" water system, building roads, buildings, etc. (they paid to have the cement slab poured for the clubhouse and to have the main support timbers lifted into place). Suppliers delivering materials were astounded to see what was being accomplished by "all these old people with picks and shovels." They also bought old construction equipment as needed and then sold most of it as that phase of the job was completed. One of the pieces they bought was an old water truck (known as the "Watermelon") that had been used by Gen. Patton's army in Europe during WWII - that water truck is still here. The only other thing that was contracted out was when the stone and oil roads they had constructed throughout the park (over four miles) proved unsatisfactory they had the roads redone with asphalt. This would be an impressive facility if it had been done by Donald Trump - never mind that it was done by the members themselves!
Our plan for today was to drive up to Yosemite National Park, but we started the day, as always, with coffee and conversation. The campsite we are in is particularly nice in that there is not another one in front of us so when we sit outside we have a large private area. We also enjoy the quail that scoot all around the place, the squirrels that have tails almost as big as foxtails, and innumerable woodpeckers. There are also warnings about mountain lions, bears, rattlesnakes, scorpions, and tarantulas, but we have yet to see any of them. The notice from the Department of Forestry describes how to make a mountain lion run away from you, but then says if you are attacked anyway "fight back."
Anyway we eventually headed up Route 41 towards Yosemite 30 miles north of the campground. We didn't realize it when we started out but it's another 35 miles from the South Entrance to the Park to Yosemite Village area which was our actual destination. The drive up is quite beautiful. Route 41 is a two lane winding road that works its way up, over, through, and around various peaks and valleys, climbing from 1800' at the campground to over 6,000 in several places. I think it's quite impressive that the Honda CRV, a 4-wheel drive vehicle, takes those curves and hills better than the finest sports car of the 50's or 60's could ever have done (less power of course, but beautiful handling).
We tried to find the spot where we had camped on the river below Half Dome in 1970. It was there that 15 month old Philip III first learned that he could "travel" on his own, and the only place he wanted to travel "to" was the river some 30 feet behind the trailer. The campground is layed out all differently than it was in 1970 and we couldn't be certain exactly where our campsite had been, but it was pretty close to the spot where Sharyn is standing!
We were supposed to join a group of Escapees (SKP's) for dinner at the Old Kettle Restaurant in Oakhurst, about 7 miles down the road, at 5:pm, but because of our late start and need to get back to let the dog out, we didn't make it in time. That was too bad because we had been looking forward to that get together.
It turned out that the day was enhanced considerably when Frank Lieberman came by at 8:am to bring me a bottle of Robaxacet to relieve my back pain, and to see if Sharyn and I wanted to go to Yosemite with them. Sharyn was still sleeping so I declined that part, but the Robaxacet (Rx needed in U.S. but over-the-counter in Canada) was magic. An hour after taking it I told Sharyn that the pain - that I'd been dealing with for about a month - was going away. It was basically pain-free day and I walked in an upright position! Anyone with recurring back pain should look into this medication. The active ingredient is methocarbamol, a muscle relaxant.
Today must have been Sharyn's day. Getting ready to do this entry I asked, "what did we do today?" She replied: "I did ironing, washed the floor; cleaned the bathroom; put stuff away; cleaned out the closets; polished; dusted; scrubbed (on my hands and knees); . . .", etc. Actually she rattled it off faster than I could get it down. The fact of the matter is she did do all that stuff, but this does not represent a typical day.
I cut the dog's claws and uploaded the latest entries to this website. It didn't take me nearly as long as it took Sharyn.
I beg to differ, this is even more of a typical day, do not believe that this is all fun and games. (Sharyn)
We went to the "potato bake" at the clubhouse for $2/head. We also bought a Trivial Pursuit game from a "pay whatever it's worth to you" table in the back of the clubhouse. I thought it was worth $5 but Sharyn said "no way," that it would only be a dollar at a yard sale. I don't think we paid enough but Sharyn had the money. This is the same version we had originally. When we lost it we bought what we thought was the same version, but it wasn't. The questions were a lot harder so we didn't play it anymore. Now we're back in business.
Before it got dark I hooked up the Honda, put down all the awnings, drained the holdings tanks, disconnected the water line, and put away the barbecue, chairs, etc. to help us get a quick and quiet start early tomorrow morning.
Our planning worked! We both got right out of bed at 6:am and while Sharyn made the coffee* (coffee and a preheated cup is always ready for Sharyn when she gets up) I fed and walked the dog and disconnected the electric line. We then had coffee and brief conversation, put away what needed to be put away, (Sharyn never fails to make the bed) brought in the slides, and pulled out of the site at 6:50am. To fully appreciate the accomplishment this represents you have to realize that our usual departure time from a campsite is around 11:am.
We had to be at Camping World in Cordelia CA (200 miles back north by Travis AFB) for a 1:pm appointment to have the rear air conditioner and the refrigerator door repaired under warranty. Taking our time on the road, we got to CW an hour early. I don't think the AC repair is going to work. The factory told the technician to remove the freeze sensor, that that should not have been installed in a unit with a heat pump. My question is then how come the front unit has been working fine with the freeze sensor? he technician wrote on the repair report that if the problem (AC suddenly going into heat mode) reoccurred that both units would have to have the newer circuit boards installs together with the upgraded control unit that contains the front thermostat and operates both units.
While I was a Camping World Sharyn went ahead to Travis to get the back pain medicine that Greg had sent next day air - we were afraid the base post office would be closed by the time we got there and that it might not be open on Saturday (the post office at Wright-Patterson was closed on Saturday). Not only did she get the medicine, but she also signed us up for the last campsite. When I got to the base several hours later there was another motorhome that pulled in just ahead of me - he would have gotten that last spot!
At this point in time making the coffee starts with putting four scoops of Starbucks coffee beans into the coffee grinder, dumping the resulting grinds into the bottom of the French press, boiling the water, etc . . .
Miles for day = 205.
Today, for the most part, we just hung out and relaxed around the motorhome. At one point Sharyn went to the commissary for some groceries while I brought this travelog up to date. This afternoon I rigged up the telescoping flagpole we bought at the RV show in Gillette. It is unquestionably the coolest flagpole in the campground. It's not mounted to the motorhome, as I would like it to be, but this system may work - with some slight improvement for easy put-up and take-down.
This morning, Sunday, I drove all over the base trying to find a "real" newspaper -- Washington Post or NY Times type of paper -- figuring I would at least be able to get a major San Francisco paper. No such paper was to be had. The only thing available was the Sunday edition of the local town paper for $1.25. I didn't buy it. I did, however, discover a bakery near the BX where I bought some fresh donuts and a big blueberry muffin.
We had planned to go back to San Francisco today to visit the Japanese Tea Garden and to ride the trolley car. However, Sharyn didn't think it was worth going back just for that, and I wasn't too excited about it either, so we stayed at the campground until early afternoon when we decided to go to a mall about 7 miles from here just off of I-80. It turned out to be a rather large mall with two levels and a nice selection of stores. It is interesting to see how different a cross section of the local population looks in different parts of the country. Probably 50% of the people in the mall were of Hispanic ancestry.
There being no newspapers at the mall, on the way back to the base Sharyn suggested we try to get a paper at a 7-11 type store just outside the main gate. That proved a good idea as that store did have a selection of papers -- we bought the San Francisco Chronicle.
We left Travis by 9:30 this morning -- a half hour before checkout time. We took I-80 east to Sacramento where we picked up US-50 to South Lake Tahoe. Where US-50 begins, at the point where it branches off from I-80, there was a regular highway department sign that read;
OCEAN CITY MD
Ocean City, Md is the easterly terminous of US-50 at the Atlantic Ocean. I didn't think there was any official humor in California!
South Lake Tahoe is a small tourist town on the south end of Lake Tahoe and the state line runs right through the center of town. Right at the point where Nevada begins Harrah's has a big casino with a sign much bigger than the one that tells you that you have entered Nevada.
Anyway, as we came out of town we took a right onto Rt-207 that would cut across to US-365 where, pursuant to a change of plans, we were heading for a casino RV park about 40 miles beyond Lake Tahoe. Almost immediately the road became 2 lanes and began to climb. It was quite steep and curvy and we ended up doing a good part of the climb in first gear -- the transmission had never before dropped back to first. We climbed that hill at 2500 rpm and 15 mph! When we got to the crest several miles later ( 7300' elevation) we began our descent on the other side. The warning sign said we were beginning an 8 mile descent with a 9% grade. We tried it in second but within less than 1/4 mile had to brake it way down and drop into first. In first we were able to keep it at about 25 mph with moderately hard intermittent braking to keep from exceeding 4,000 rpm.
We have a book that lists all significant mountain grades in the west and after we had stopped for the day I checked those grades on Rt-207. It turns out that the hill we we had to climb in first gear was also 9%. Based on today I'd say we could readily handle 10 or 11% climbing, but not do too well descending such a slope -- particularly if it was very long. By the way, the idea behind the book of mountain grades is that you check you planned route before traveling it. Not look later to see how steep that grade was. I'll try to do better with that in the future!
We didn't take any pictures while going down the 9% grade, but this is what it looked like as we approached Lake Tahoe from the west -- again descending from over 7,000' (that we first had to climb) while still about ten miles from the lake. You can see that lake at the foot of the mountains in the distance.
We are now at Topaz Lodge and RV Park in Gardnerville, Nevada.
Miles for day = 184
We didn't get out until 12:15 today but that's okay. We had lots of coffee and conversation, and besides that we only figured on doing 75 miles today. Along the way (heading south on US-395) we were parallel to a river for a considerable distance. From the looks of the rivers edge and the nature of the slopes on the other side of the river we decided that this was a good candidate for gold panning -- so we pulled off and gave it an hour. Not too much in the form of results, but we liked it anyway. Besides it looked like a river that Gabby Hayes and his burro would have thought worthwhile.
Shortly after our gold panning attempt we passed the turn-off for State Route-108 to Sonora Pass (elevation 9626'). Sharyn said the sign indicated there was a 26% grade on that road. I told her that couldn't be, that a 26% grade would not be climeable. Well she looked in the mountain grade book, and sure enough, the sign was right. A 26% grade means that when you've gone 100' horozontally, you will also have travelled 26' vertically!!
We are now at Mono Vista RV Park at Lee Vining, California, just east of the Tiogo Pass entrance to Yosemite.
Miles for day = 69.
Today we went to the abandoned "Ghost Town" of Bodie. It was a booming gold rush town from the 1860's until the early 1880's, and in 1880, boasting a population of 10,000, it was the second largest city in California, second only to San Francisco! Today, only about 5% of the buildings remain, but they are substantially as they were when they were left behind. In 1921 only 30 people remained and many of the buildings were being torn down by local ranchers for their lumber. Some limited gold mining did continue in Bodie, somewhat off and on, until a fire in 1947 brought even that to an end. In 1962 the town became a California State Historic Park and is now being maintained in a state of "arrested decay." We took a number of photographs which, together with the "Introduction to Bodie" from the self guiding tour guide is a separate web page.
We left the RV park, via Honda, about 10:30am and did not get back until 4:pm. We would have been back sooner except that we took a shortcut back to the RV park. It was shorter, 26 miles instead of 31 miles, but the washboard surface limited us to 10-15 mph.
Another "first" that we experienced today was when we put $10 worth of gas in the Honda and it cost us $18. Regular gas, at the discount station, was $2.299/gal.
(Lone Pine CA)
We left Lee Vining and drove south on US-395 to Bishop CA where we pulled into the parking lot for a small shopping center to get milk and a newspaper, have lunch, and leave again. We then continued on to Lone Pine CA where we pulled into Boulder Creek RV Park. This place is pretty nice so we think we may stay another day and check out the area.
Miles for day = 126.
(Lone Pine CA)
This morning, after coffee and fresh baked muffins in the clubhouse, we went to the Manzanar War Relocation Camp where over 10,000 Japanese, most of them American Citizens, were relocated from their homes along the West Coast. Only three buildings remain on the 550 acre detention area which was enclosed by barbed wire fences and secured by guard towers (the entire facility was 6,000 acres); two stone guard houses and an auditorium. There are also the remains of several of the seven major Japanese rock gardens which, as part of the planned long range preservation and interpretive reconstruction program, will be restored to their original condition. The two largest emotional impacts came from the barrenness of the location and from the cemetery. People are continuous leaving small items at the large monument and and on a number of individual graves. There are also the the weathered remains of floral wreaths where the heart shaped wire frame is of barbed wire.
After the Manzanar we came back to town (lone Pine) where we ate at a place that offered ostrich, buffalo, and venison burgers. I had the ostrich burger (to expand my "repertoire of experience"). I told Sharyn that she missed her opportunity when she had a regular beef burger, but the truth is that with the lettuce, cooked onions, tomato, etc., I can't say that the ostrich tasted any different than beef would have.
After lunch we "did" main street, up one side and down the other, checking out antique shops and other places. Since town is only about five blocks long this didn't take too long. Since we still want to drive up towards Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in the US outside of Alaska, and still have to do laundry and general housekeeping, we've decided to stay here for another day.
(Lone Pine CA)
After coffee and muffins at the clubhouse we drove up towards Mt Whitney for a distance of 13 miles to where the road ends at 8,300' elevation. ( This picture was taken from a point ten miles from, and some 10,000' below the sumit -- the sumit is almost two miles above the camera). There is a small National Park and campground there from which you can begin the hiking trail to the summit at 14,450' elevation, the highest point in the US, outside of Alaska. In spite of the rather cool temperature (as I recall temperature decreases 4 degrees F for every 1,000' of altitude), we walked around the area for a short period and than began our descent back down the road. Just before getting to the bottom we took a left that led us into an area where hundreds of old movies had been filmed, including High Sierra, Maverick, Rawhide, Charge of the Light Brigade, etc. There is an entire area where Roy Rogers and Gene Autry made dozens of old cowboy movies. All the bars and restaurants in town have the walls covered with autographed photos from all these movie stars.
We then went about 20 miles north to Independence for a 2:pm lecture at the American Legion Hall about the history of Manzanar. At the lecture we learned that the County Museum, about four blocks away, had a Manzanar display so we went there to check it out.
By the time we got back to the motorhome it was later in the day than we had expected and we once again decided to stay another day to relax, do laundry, housecleaning, etc.
(Lone Pine CA)
Today we finally got to do the "housekeeping" chores. We started out by not setting the alarm clock last night, so this morning we slept until 8:15 instead of 7:am. Of course that meant we missed coffee and muffins at the clubhouse, so we reverted to our usual "coffee and conversation" to begin the day. While Sharyn did the laundry I cleaned and vacuumed the motorhome. Those are not all day activities so we had a good bit of time to sit around, relax, read, talk, and visit with some of our neighbors.
We have enjoyed our stay here and may well come back at some time in the future. The 10th annual film festival begins this weekend and Sharyn says she'd like to come back for next years festival if we're in the area.
(Death Valley NV)
When we left the campground this morning (after coffee and muffins at the clubhouse) we put 20 gallons of gas in the motorhome @ $2.199/gal before heading east on Rt-135 towards Death Valley. We had plenty of gas already and suspect it'll be fifty cents cheaper in Las Vegas, but that only means we paid ten dollars too much for that 20 gallons -- peace of mind and insurance do not always come that cheap.
For several days Sharyn has been interviewing people who have brought their RV's through Death Valley via Rt-135. What they had to say, plus the curves and grades described in our mountain grade book, left Sharyn thinking that there had to be a better way. Well several hours and 85 miles after turning onto Rt-135 we arrived in Stovepipe Wells CA. Sharyn said "that wasn't so bad, we've been on worse roads than that." There was about a ten mile climb at 7-9%, then a 13 mile descent at 6-8%, with the final descent into Stovepipe Wells dropping 5,000 feet. When we got here neither of us could hear.
It was only 12:45 we we got into town (it's hardly a town) but we checked into the only business establishment* there is and got a campsite for one night. (*This establishment consists of a motel, campground, restaurant, general store and gift shop -- there are no other businesses.) We then took the Honda for a 40 mile drive up Death Valley to see "Scotty's Castle." This is an elaborate residential mansion built by Death Valley Scotty in the late 1920's and 1930's. It appears that Scotty never had a dime, but was a great con man who got people to invest in his "gold mine." There never was a gold mine but he spent the invested money in such a flamboyant and public manner (including building his Castle) while saying all the money was coming from this now famous gold mine, that more investors were always anxious to buy into the deal. It's like Mark Twain said; "A gold mine is a hole in the ground with a liar at the top."
Anyway, by 3 o'clock we had both seen enough of Death Valley and were good and ready to leave tomorrow morning. We put a thermometer outside in the shadow of the motorhome and it immediately went to 103 degrees -- yesterday they said it was officially 107.
Here's our view. Death Valley is magnificent to see; it's a very memorable and impressive place, but it's not beautiful in the way that the Grand Canyon or Yosemite Valley are beautiful. It's quite inhospitable. Almost no one lives here. We think that if toxic waste disposal and storage of spent uranium rods from nuclear power plants are the problem that we are told they are, then not only would Death Valley be a good place to dispose of such items, but we can't think of a better, more beneficial, use for this place.
As I finish up this entry Sharyn is outside looking at the stars with the coyotes.
We left Stovepipe Wells heading towards Pahrump NV and the Escapees park located there. We had only gone a few miles when Sharyn said that she would drive. I've been after her for a long time to drive once a week, even if only for ten miles. She drove fifteen miles or so to the edge of Furnace Creek. She did terrific!
It was an otherwise uneventful trip to Pahrump where we checked into the Escapees Co-op Park for two days. After getting all setup we went back into town with the Honda to get some groceries -- we went to Jones' Supermarket. The lobby of the supermarket was lined with slot machines. That's okay, but a big sign says that there is no smoking allowed in the building, except fot those playing the slot machines! I guess that's an indication of who has the political clout in Nevada.
Miles for day = 90.
About the only thing we did today was to take the dog to the vet. I also put a 4" lip on the compartment that holds the electric cord so that it would be easier to coil it into the compartment.
Miles for day = 0.
We left Pahrump this morning heading for Nellis AFB at Las Vegas. I Vegas we filled the motorhome with gas at $1.719 per gallon. It took 58.2 gallons but could have taken as much as 5 gallons more. When you run your credit (debit) card through the pump the card is not approved for an unlimited amount of gas. The pump will shut off after $50, $75, or $100 dollars worth, whatever amount the system is set for. This pump was set for $50, so I got 29.087 gallons before it shut off. I then hung up the hose and repeated the entire process, getting another 29.087 gallons. Because I wanted to check the mileage I wanted to top off the tank, but when I tried to do the card a third time the message read; " Use another card or pay inside." Since I wasn't going to take but a few more gallons, and I was blocking an entire row of pumps with cars backed up at all fuel islands, I decided not to bother and we left. In Lone Pine, on 10/2/00, we only bought 20 gallons to insure we'd have enough gas to get to Vegas, figuring we could save maybe 50 cents per gallon in Vegas. Well we saved 48 cents per gallon -- on 58 gallons it's a worthwhile savings.
When we checked in at the FamCamp at the air base we were told they were full and we'd have to stay in the overflow area. That means no hookups, which means no air conditioning (although it's only $4). We did run the generator for almost 2 hours so we could watch the Vice-presidential debates, and during that time we ran the a/c's full blast and cooled of the motorhome for the evening -- by daylight it's plain cold.
Miles for day = 73.
Correction from yesterdays entry. It was not cold by daylight, and in fact it was uncomfortably warm all during the night. One must understand, however, that we sleep with the thermostat at 69 degrees, whether that requires heating or air conditioning.
In any event, first thing this morning I checked with the office and we had lucked out. A space was available with full hookups, including 50 amp service. Once we were set up in the new space, with both air conditioners running I felt much better -- like we weren't "camping." Living in this motorhome certainly isn't "camping," unless we don't have air conditioning -- I guess no air conditioning is my definition of "camping." Anyway, after getting set up we continued with our coffee and conversation -- "coffee and conversation" may very well be my favorite time/activity of the day. It is very relaxed and pleasant.
After a while we went to check out the BX, and then to the commissary to buy groceries. Actually we spent several hours doing that stuff so that when we returned to the motorhome we pretty much just hung out for the rest of the day. We were both kind of tired and were in bed shortly after ten.
One thing I like about this base is that it must be home to one or more fighter squadrons as there are super cool fighter aircraft taking off and landing all the time. I believe some are F-15's. The others look like black, dart shaped arrow heads. The takeoffs at night, with the planes heading away from us, look like blow torches in the night sky. The ground rumbles and I get goose bumps -- I could live on the end of the runway. Forty-two years ago I worked on F-86's. The difference is that between a 1948 Studebaker and full blown Ferrari! Maybe you had to have been there.
This morning we were both well rested and out of bed at 7:30. We definitely sleep better when it's cooler.
After coffee and conversation I hooked up our water and sewer lines and dumped the holding tanks before showering. The laundry room is in the FamCamp office building only 100' from the motorhome so Sharyn did the laundry. There was even a copy of today's Las Vegas paper that had been left there.
Early this afternoon we drove into Las Vegas by driving south on Las Vegas Blvd right from the main gate of the base. The Las Vegas "Strip" is the downtown portion of Las Vegas Blvd so it was pretty convenient. We drove the "Strip" in a southerly direction, then made a U-turn and came back up on the other side. We stopped at a few gift shop type places and then we went to Caesar's Palace where I put a quarter in a slot machine and lost. Sharyn was more optimistic but did not do any better -- only lost more money ($10). While at Caesar's Palace we also walked around and watched what other people were doing at the roulette wheels and card tables. At the 5 and 25 cent slot machines people looked like they were just having some none-serious fun. At the bigger number slots, and at the tables, they had a "this is serious business" look about them. All the slots will take $100 bills! Before we left Caesar's we each had a Ruben and a diet Coke.
On the way back to the motorhome I mentioned to Sharyn that Nellis AFB must be a pretty good duty station for 20-30 year old guys.
We were on the road by 10:am and on our way towards the Grand Canyon. At the Nevada/Arizona line US-93 crosses the Hoover Dam which holds back the Colorado River resulting in the formation of Lake Mead. (Sharyn's grandfather, an Australian immigrant and an engineer, worked on the Hoover Dam as well as the Panama Canal while those projects were under construction). As we approached the area of the dam the surrounding terrain was extremely rough, tough, and uninviting.
By 2:pm we were in the KOA in Kingman AZ. When I inquired about a phone jack where I could plug in to download my e-mail I was told that the phone jack was part of the KOA computer kiosk and that it would cost me a dollar for five minutes use of that line (plus I have to pay the phone company for my on-line time). When I told the lady that I thought they would get a lot of negative feedback from that kind of extortion (I didn't say extortion) she told me that all KOA were going to have that system. They got my dollar, but they've lost our business. Most RV places will allow you to plug in to their own phone line if they don't have a separate line for those seeking to download e-mail.
We also discovered that the refrigerator was no longer working. Both the refrigerator and freezer were in a state of advanced defrost.
Miles for day = 115.
First thing we did this morning was to call Jack's RV Service in Flagstaff AZ. He was the closest factory authorized repair facility for warranty work, plus Flagstaff was only about 30 miles out of our way on the way to the Grand Canyon. Jack said he thought he knew what the problem was and that Norcold had a lot of problems with the new refrigerators. We arrived at Jacks a little after noon. Within two minutes he had removed an inspection plate on the cooling unit and showed us where all the ammonia had leaked out of the system. He called Norcold who will overnight a replacement cooling unit. He also told us how to get to Black Bart's RV Park, Saloon, Restaurant, and Antique Shop.
We drove the mile or so to Black Bart's where we checked in for two days. We then went to Sam's and bought two styrofoam coolers. Bart's sold us two bags of ice for the food in the coolers and told us we could put our freezer stuff in the store freezer. Bart's is a nice place, although we have yet to check out the saloon or restaurant.
Driving from Kingman to Flagstaff it seemed that we were going uphill all the way. We basically were, as Flagstaff is over 7,000 in elevation and considerably cooler then were we've been in recent days - it's downright comfortable. On the way to Flagstaff we could see the changing scenery as we went from pure desert to scattered shrubs , grasses, and eventually real trees. We also saw a creek that actually had water in it (as opposed to a dried up creekbed).
Miles for day = 151.
Today was a rather inactive day as basically we're just waiting for the refrigerator repair. Jack called us late this morning to tell us that FedEx had arrived with the new cooling unit and he could install it (a four hour process) first thing tomorrow morning.
It was quite cool this morning with the temperature only in the 40's. Sharyn made a big breakfast with eggs, potatoes, onions, steak, English muffins, etc. With the heat turned on, plus the smell of all that good food cooking, when I came back in from walking the dog I told Sharyn that it sure was "homey" feeling in the motorhome.
Later in the day we took a ride through the "historic" part of the old town of Flagstaff along US-66 where I bought a US-66 T-shirt.
This morning we were at Jack's RV Repair before 9:am. The "cooling unit" that he replaced consisted of the entire working mechanism that is removed from the back of the refrigerator as a complete assembly (after the refrigerator has been pulled out of the wall) and replaced with with the new one from the factory. While loosing our refrigerator was a pain in the neck, we were fortunate that Jack was only a day away and only 30 miles off of our planned route. We ended the day watching the 2nd Bush-Gore debate and we were both pleased and relieved that Bush did is well as he did and the Gore came across so poorly -- hopefully the rest of the Country saw it the same way we did.
(Grand Canyon AZ)
We woke up this morning when the guy next to us with the big diesel rig started it up at 7:am and just let it run. It was only 30 degrees outside but it was 68 in the motorhome. That's pretty impressive since we had only one heat pump running with the thermostat set on 70. Heat pumps are not supposed to work when the temperature goes below 40.
By the time the temperature had climbed to 35 we left Flagstaff and headed for the Grand Canyon. The weather was terrific; sunny, bright, and cool. We arrived at Grand Canyon National Park early in the afternoon, got a campsite with full hookups. After spending some time looking over the information and brochures we we had picked up when we registered at the campground we took a ride to the little "village" down the road, checked out the store, and returned to the motorhome. The campground is crawling with deer. Tomorrow we'll check out the canyon.
(Grand Canyon AZ)
The Grand Canyon is just as awe inspiring today as it was in 1970. While the campground is no longer right at the rim of the canyon, the foot trail that follows the edge of the rim is a better plan. We started at the Visitors Center (where of course we bought a few books) and then we walked along the rim trail in a westerly direction for 1.6 miles to some gift and souvenir shops. After perusing these shops we walked back along the trail to where we had left the car at the visitors center parking lot. We were delayed a few minutes while I waited for Sharyn to climb down out of her tree. Then she took one of me. Obviously we took a number a photographs along the way, but the photos don't begin to do to you what standing there and looking across the canyon does. The scale is beyond comprehension -- note that we are on the south rim of the canyon, the north rim across the canyon is ten miles away -- the Colorado River is more than a mile below the rim. Photo #1 Photo #2 Photo #3
(Mesa Verde, CO)
This morning we headed for Mesa Verde (cliff dwellings) in Colorado. Driving easterly along the Grand Canyon we came upon two views that we had to photograph (in spite of the numerous photos taken yesterday). Photo #1 Photo #2.
We had planned to drive only as far as Tuba City AZ, check out the Trading Post there, and spend the afternoon and night at the RV Park there. However, Sharyn is getting concerned about our running late for Thanksgiving at Jordan's, so we decided to drive through to Mesa Verde even though we don't usually drive that far in one day. We did stop at the Trading Post in Tuba City but found that while the stuff they had was really nice, their prices were disproportionately so. We did get Jordan a pair of silver "dreamcatcher" earrings. A Navajo rug that we both like we decided to pass up based on the $11,000 price tag.
We enjoyed the drive to Mesa Verde; particularly from the Painted Desert to Four Corners, it is much prettier country than that which we were seeing between Death Valley and Flagstaff. Somewhat east of this area, but in keeping with the beauty we saw, was Chimney Rock.
It was getting late enough in the day that I had turned on the lights. A few miles later we stopped to let the dog out and I walked around back to verify that the tail lights on the Honda were also on. Well, we had no tail lights or running lights at all -- not on the Honda or the motorhome. Several weeks ago I realized that the panel lights were out, but since we never drive at night I made a note to check the fuse, but never followed through. Now I suspect that all these lights are on the same fuse which I will check tomorrow.
We arrived at A&A Mesa Verde RV Park shortly after dark. Miles for day = 268.
(Mesa Verde, CO)
At 11:am, after coffee and coffee and conversation, we set out for Mesa Verde National Park. The entrance is just across the highway from the campground, but the dwellings and other points of interest are 20 miles beyond the entrance. We did the ranger guided tour of the Cliff Palace which is one of the larger sites. Before we started the ranger told us that they have a different saying; "Everything that goes down must come up." Some of the people did not go down, and some that did had trouble coming back up. To give a better idea as to the exit route, the guy circled in this photo is just completing his climb out. Sharyn thought she would have trouble but she always underestimates herself -- she had no trouble at all. We talked about going to the Spruce Tree House, another cliff dwelling, but by the time we got there we had already done the first one, seen an introductory film, done the museum and gift store, and we were pretty tired -- actually I thought a nap was in order (which is what I did when we got back to the motorhome.
We were on the road by 10:am and headed for Gallup NM and/or the Zuni Indian Reservation 30 miles south of Gallup. When we stooped for lunch we were joined by a couple of starving mongrel dogs. At first Sharyn said we wouldn't even go out of the motorhome. After we ate, however, she went out and gave them each a can of dogfood.
Since it appears that there are no campgrounds on the reservation, when we got to Gallup we decide to stay at Red Rock State Park.
Miles for day = 154.
Today we went to Zuni, the "Town Center" on the Zuni Reservation. After stopping at the Visitor Center/Museum we had lunch at the Route 53 Cafe. From there we checked out a number of the many trading posts for the silver and turquoise necklace that Sharyn's been looking for. While she found it at the first place we went to, we continued looking in other places to look at other necklaces and to compare value. What we found was that there was not a comparable set to be had anywhere, and we could have paid more for lesser necklaces. Also, while she had wanted Zuni, and we looked at lots of Zuni, the beautiful set (necklace, bracelet, earrings) she bought was Navajo.
After coffee and conversation we took of for Albuquerque NM where we checked into the FamCamp at Kirkland AFB. We picked up some milk and dog food at the commissary before dinner. After dinner we did laundry -- the laundry room is just across the road from our campsite.
Miles for day = 139.
More laundry and more groceries. Not too much else.
(Fort Sumner NM)
This morning , after dumping the holding tanks and filling up with water, we headed for Texas. We did the first hundred + miles eastbound on I-40. At exit 277 we took US-84 which heads in a generally southeasterly direction into Texas. We are headed for Livingston, Texas to visit and check out Escapees headquarters. We've enjoyed a number of escapee parks but have yet to see Livingston. While we are there we will change our mailing address to Livingston and just let our year run out with our mail forwarding service in Oregon.
We are moving much more rapidly then we would like to in order to get to our daughters on Long Island for Thanksgiving. We ended up in Ft. Sumner NM at Valley View RV Park. It's $15 for full hookups with 50 amp service, but the reason we selected to stay here is that the campsites are 45 feet wide. That's quite nice.
Miles for day = 159.
It was drizzling rain this morning as we got an early start. As the morning progressed it developed that we were driving in the rain most of the time -- on several occasions the rain was so hard that we had to slow down due to limited visibility. This is the first rain we have seen in months.
We passed a large Ford dealer just a few miles before the Texas border and made a U-turn and went back to see if we could get him to address some of our electrical problems (no running/tail lights; windshield washer will blow wiper fuse; wire harness rubbing against front left shock). Since it was Saturday (we were unaware) the shop was closed. A number of technicians were there, however, doing work on the used car inventory. They did take enough time to get our tail/running lights operational.
We then continued on our way to our destination that we had decided would be Post Valley View RV Park in Post, Texas. The park read very nicely in Woodall's, but the reality didn't meet our expectations. These RV parks and the descriptions in Woodall's, as well as the other campground directories, frequently don't fit too well with what we find on the ground. Sometimes we find them to be much nicer than what we expected, but probably more often it is as it was today.
Miles for day = 198
Odometer reading = 13,193
This was a pretty uneventful day. We are trying to get to visit our granddaughter in Magnolia, Texas, then go on to spend a few days at Escapees headquarters in Livingston, Texas, and then try to catch other grandchildren appearing in school plays in Earlysville, Virginia, and Southold, NY -- all before Thanksgiving. The result of all of this is that we are pushing further and faster than we would like to, but sometimes you just have to do this stuff. Next year we'll go slower, stop earlier, and stay places longer.
We were going to continue on to Brownwood TX but it started to rain as we approached Coleman so we decided to cut it a little shorter than planned. We are at a Corps of Engineers campground that cost $7 with water and 30 amps ($14 if you don't have a Golden Access Pass). We have found that the Corps of Engineers (COE) campgrounds do not have too many amenities, but are almost always some of the nicer campgrounds in easy to enjoy natural surroundings. In these pictures, having frightened this great blue heron from his resting place, Sharyn and Sabrina return to the motorhome where Sharyn takes a nap.
Miles for day = 186
Odometer reading = 13,379
It's been raining most of the day and it's still raining tonight. As we came through Austin TX we stopped and bought gas at $1.399 per gallon. That's the cheapest price we've seen on gas since Myrtle Beach SC in April. It's also one dollar a gallon cheaper than the $2.399 we saw in Lee Vinning CA a month ago.
One thing that we took note of as we drive through Texas is the large number of American flags that we see flying -- most of them are accompanied by the Texas state flag as well. We think that's pretty neat.
Miles for day = 202
Odometer reading = 13,582
( Livingston TX)
It was still overcast today, but no more rain. We got to Magnolia TX where we visited with Tammey and Mary. There is no question but that Mary has Shane's eyes (Photo #2, Photo #3).After a short but pleasant visit we headed on to Livingston, and Escapees main base of operations. We didn't arrive until after dark -- this may be the first time we've been on the road after dark since we got the Allegro. Since we got in so late we were directed to a dry camping area in a grove of large trees with 3 or four other late arrivals. Hopefully they'll have sites available for all of us tomorrow.
Miles for day = 233
Odometer reading = 13,815
We lucked out in that by mid afternoon they had a site (with full hookups) open up and we moved into it. We were #22 on the list and only 24 sites opened up.
During the first part of the day we went to DMV, actually in Texas it's the County Tax Commissioner, to see about getting plates for Jordan's car. There were some minor complications, but hopefully we'll be able to get the plates before we leave here.
We also got a new mailing address through Escapees here in Livingston which we will make our permanent address. We'll just let our Oregon address run out which I think will happen in January.
Sharyn describes the day as she did the laundry while I read the newspapers. This afternoon we went to the "social hour" at the activity center where we and other new arrivals introduced ourselves to everyone else.
I can't access the Internet (or e-mail) as the phone line does not seem to recognize a toll free "888" number -- keeps saying "please check the number and try again."
I checked with DMV and was told that Jordan's plates were mailed earlier in the day so we've decided not to leave in the morning, but to wait for the afternoon mail.
I washed the car about two hours before it rained.
Sharyn helped decorate the activity center for the Halloween party coming up next week.
Jordan's license plates came in the mail -- we'll leave here tomorrow.
With the end of daylight savings time we didn't get on the road until just after noon. We had planned to go only as far as Louisiana, but,partly because we missed several campgrounds, we drove most of the way through Louisiana to within about 40 miles of the Mississippi line.
While in Livingston we joined Passport America for $39. That supposed to get us 50% off at about 1000 campgrounds. So far so good, tonight we stopped at Old River Campground, a Passport America member, and paid $7.50 for a $15 campsite. This could work out pretty well for full-time, RV'ers.
Miles for day = 207
Odometer reading = 14,022
We started out this morning planning to drive straight through to Red Bay AL (Tiffin's Allegro manufacturing plant) which we estimated to be 350 miles. However, with our usual late start we didn't make it.
When we hit Mississippi at Natchez we picked up the Natchez-Trace Parkway heading north. Several weeks ago we were planning to go straight to Long Island via Charlottesville VA, but a few days ago when we realized that when traveling the Natchez-Trace we would pass within 14 miles of Red Bay we decided it didn't make sense not to stop (since we were going to go to Red Bay in January to have the factory attend to some things we wanted done).
About 50 miles from Tupelo (having traveled about 250 miles, some of which was driven by Sharyn) we looked in the Passport America guide book and decided to stop at Natchez Trace Campground in Tupelo MS. (Another Passport America savings -- we paid $8 instead of $16). It was dark when we arrived at the campground at 5:30pm. Now that Sharyn has driven again her comfort level is vastly improved -- if need be, in an emergency, she could get us to where we had to go .
The Natchez-Trace Parkway is a two lane roadway that basically follows the original Natchez trace, or Indian trail, that goes back to the 1730's and winds its way for almost 450 miles from Natchez MS to just south of Nashville TN. A beautiful drive and, we think, another tribute to the National Park Service!
Miles for day = 303
Odometer reading = 14,325
(Red Bay AL)
Since we didn't have that far to go, we arrived at the Allegro Campground in Red Bay just before lunch. When we were here in March this campground was under construction. While it is probably two miles two miles from the plant, it is a major improvement over the holding area along the railroad siding in the parking lot.
Anyway, when we checked in at the campground we were also put on the waiting list to have work performed on the motorhome. We were told that the current wait was approximately 7-10 days.
After getting set up we checked out the Camper's Choice store which is now located next to the office in the campground. They have a desk set up for plugging in your laptop to a phone line so for the first time in almost a week we were able to get e-mail, download from the bank, update this Travelog, etc.
Miles for day = 61
Odometer reading = 14,386
Talking to other people in the campground we discovered several who had been there 13 and 14 days and have yet to have have units worked on. We didn't think we were willing to wait a week and two weeks would preclude us from meeting our timeframes so we decided we'd come back in January (as we had originally planned).
We drove as far as the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville AL where we checked in at the military campground located on post by the Tennessee River. No discounts here -- we paid the full $5 fee for water and 50 amp service. After getting set up we took the Honda and drove to the commissary for some groceries. This is some big facility, from the campground to the commissary was 12 miles.
Miles for day = 108
Odometer reading = 14,494
We started off this morning with the aim of driving to Knoxville and staying at the Escapees Racoon Valley Campground where we stayed for two nights back in February. As we approched Knoxville it was 4:pm so we thought we had beaten the 5 0'clock traffic. Unfortunately we forgot that we had crossed into the Eastern Time Zone and it was really 5:pm -- something that was borne out by the traffic.
Anyway, we arrived at Racoon Valley, checked in, and had barbequed steak and fresh brocolli for dinner.
It's only 7:pm but I'm doing this early so that I can get it uploaded, check my e-mail, etc., then come back to the motorhome, take a shower and read the newspaper.
Miles for day = 235
Odometer reading = 14,729
From Knoxville to Charlottesville is all direct route via Interstate so we've decided to do it in two days. Accordingly we got to Salem VA tonight, getting in just before dark.
Miles for day = 252
Odometer reading = 14,981
We arrived at Phil and Kim's shortly after noon. Katlin and Phil IV certainly have grown since the last time we saw them.
Miles for day = 137
Odometer reading = 15,118
11/5/00 to 11/11/00
We spent the week with Phil, Kim, Katlin, and Philip (parked in their driveway). The closing on their new house is scheduled for November 30, but in the interum they have access to the house for painting, moving in furnature, etc. We helped a little bit, but youth certainly moves faster than we do.
Having left Phil and Kim's early this morning we arrived at Harry and Irene's this afternoon. As always we enjoy them, their company, and their sons. The highlight of the trip was the dump station at the Maryland rest stop where we dumped eight days worth of black water. We now know that we can count on at least a weeks black water holding capacity. At Phil's we had left the gray water valve open and ran a 50' garden hose into the woods.
Miles for day = 360
Odometer reading = 15,478
Spent the day with Irene and Harry (whom I've known for almost 50 years), and their three boys.
Brian, their middle son, is a sign painter and commercial artist, and as a special request he put lettering on the back of the motorhome. Sharyn was afraid it would look "tacky," but Brian assured her that it didn't have to.
We arrived at Jordan's house mid-afternoon and called her at work to let her know we had arrived. Since Greg only lives a mile away we called and then went over to see him.
It's kind of strange that Sharyn had been wanting split pea soup and had just bought some to make for dinner - Greg had just finished making a big pot of split pea soup with the left over ham bone from the night before, so we all had big bowls of fresh made soup.
Mechanically it was not a good day. It sounds as if we have a bad wheel bearing, but at 15,000 miles that doesn't seem too likely. In the last thousand miles or so the sound has come and gone on a few occasions but it never persisted and was never as loud as it was for the last several miles. Next, as I got out of the motorhome at Jordan's I saw that the basement storage compartments under the slideout were cantered out at the bottom. The two bolts that the rear of the basement unit hangs from were both broken. Finally, we don't get any TV satellite signal. We didn't get any signal at Harry's either, but the dish was not too far above a nearby tree line so I had attributed the lack of signal to the trees.
Since we'll be here through Thanksgiving there will not be daily entries to this travelog during our stay.
Miles for day = 127
Odometer reading = 15,605
It was three weeks ago yesterday that we arrived here and we plan to leave the day after tomorrow. With respect to the mechanical problems described on 11/14/00 we have done or determined the following:
The wheel bearing noise was checked out by Otis Ford in Quogue NY who was unable to duplicate the noise or find anything wrong with the bearings. The technician told me, however, that they are aware of several instances of such noises having been trace to the full wheel covers working against the wheel rim as the wheel flexes ever so slightly as the wheel rotates. That could be the source of the noise - it sounded too "dry" for a bearing with only 15,000 miles on it. In addition, while I can't be certain that it always was, on at least occassions when the noise appeared it was or had been raining, perhaps providing the necessary degree of "lubbrication" to enable the wheel cover to "work" against the steel rim. The next time the noise appears I'll pop the cover and see if that stops the noise.
As to the broken bolts from which the basement compartments are suspended, the broken end on one was rusted indicating that it was broken for some time. The other bolt was clean at the break and probably broke as a result of carrying the entire load. Also, traveling through New York City and the Cross Bronx Expressway, I suspect, pushes everything to the limit. In any event, North Fork Welding, a local welding shop did a fine repair for a very reasonable $38. I'm sure that Allegro (Tiffin Manufacturing) will reimburse us for the $38.
As for the lack of a satellite signal, we have not been able to address that problem but we have an 8:am appointment at Camping World in Manassas, Virginia, this Friday. They are an authorized warranty repair facility for Winegard.
Lack of a satellite signal has not been a problem since while we have been here (at our daughter's house) I have run a 50 amp service line, telephone, and cable lines from her house to where we park the motorhome. She only has 100 amp service coming into the house through an old and very limited fise box installed in the wall of her bedroom. In order to do the job properly (if not by code?) I put a sub-panel in the crawl space beneath the house from which I took off lines to both her dryer and the motorhome. I kind of messed up with the outside connection as I had intended to have all connections in the same box. When I had to mount a seperate box for the telephone and cable I didn't have enough room on the post to mount it as high off the ground as I would have liked. Coupled with the sewer line we had put in last spring we are now in pretty good shape when we come here.
Miles since 11/14/00 = 65
Odometer reading = 15,670
This morning we were up at 6:30am and on the road at 8:05. That's not too terribly quick, but after 25 days in your daughter's back yard there is a degree of "intermingling" of stuff, which needs to be straightened out.
The problem I've always had with traveling to or from Eastern Long Island is that you must go through New York City to get to or from the North American continent -- it's a royal pain in the butt. On top of that our tolls, leaving NY, came to $43 not counting the Baltimore tunnel which was another $3.
The trip was uneventful except that between Baltimore and Washington we ran for perhaps ten miles in fairly serious snowfall. Luckily the temperature must have been on our side and there was no accumulation. If you don't know Sharyn you can't appreciate the significance snow when we're driving.
Right now we're plugged into 30 amp service in Camping World's parking lot waiting for tomorrow morning and our 8:am appointment to have them find out why we aren't receiving any signal from our satellite dish.
Miles for day = 352
Odometer reading = 16,022
12/11/00 to 12/29/00
During this time we were set up in Phil and Kim's backyard, originally with a long extension cord running to the house, but we subsequently installed an underground 50 amp service to the motorhome that we (Phil and I) continued out to Phil's workshed located 200' behind the house. Phil's access to a backhoe made this installation possible.
We got to enjoy Phil's family and see them in their new home (they bought this house only a few weeks before we arrived). We also got to have Christmas with them. Jordan flew down from Long Island for a few days at Christmas, and since Shane also lives in the Charlottesville area, we saw three of our four kids this Christmas. We also helped celebrate Phil IV's first birthday on December 21.
The weather sure was cold! For the first time ever we had our water lines freeze up and it took until mid-afternoon to get the lines thawed out. That day it was 12 degrees by mid-morning. Whenever the temperature went below 25 degrees the heat pumps switched over to auxiliary (LP gas) heat. Since this happened every night I was having to take the motorhome into town every 8-10 days to get the LP gas refilled.
"Miles for day" and "Odometer reading" upon our arrival in Earlysville on December 11 were not timely noted and will never be known.
(South of the Border, SC)
With the entire Northeast and much of the East Coast awaiting a major snow storm, we were not sure that we'd be able to leave this morning, but we awoke to a cloudy day with no snow so we took off, headed south. Sharyn's mother isn't doing well so we are headed for Fort Myers, Florida. During the day we experienced some sunshine and some moderately heavy snow fall, but never any accumulation.
After being in one place for almost three weeks it felt great to be back on the road again. I told Sharyn today that if I could have any multi-million dollar house of my choice but would have to give up our motorhome and present lifestyle in exchange, I would decline the offer. She said she'd take the house.
Miles for day = 340
Odometer reading = 16,509
We didn't get out of the campground until almost 10:30am. We had talked to Aunt Virginia, in Columbia, last night and had arranged to meet her in the Woodhill Shopping Center parking lot in Columbia around 11:am. Since we got a late start we didn't arrive until shortly after noon, but she arrived a few minutes after we called. We had planned to have a brief lunch for the three of us in the motorhome and then be on our way within an hour -- we wanted to get to Florida today.
However, when Aunt Virginia arrived she told us she had lunch all prepared at her house and we left our rig in the parking lot while she drove us to her house. While it clearly set us back in our planned mileage for the day, it was a very enjoyable visit and well worth the delay. We have always said that Aunt Virginia is the epitome of "a fine Southern lady" and we thoroughly her company.
After being driven back to the motorhome we took I-26 in a southeasterly direction back towards I-95 to continue our trek towards Ft Myers. We stopped at Santee State Park right on Lake Marion. We stopped here once before and I thought we thought it was very nice. I found out tonight, however, that Sharyn thinks it's a little "scary" after dark. When she goes out for her cigarette (I know, but she's just about ready to quit) she's back inside in less than two minutes. The campsite is right at the edge of the lake, set back among the pine trees and bare oaks with Spanish Moss waving in the cold winds that are coming from across the dark water. There are only a handful of RVs here so everyone is quite spread out, and it is very dark. I'm glad I don't smoke!
Miles for day = 180
Odometer reading = 16,690