Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Day 8 - Epcot

At 6:59:59AM, I tried joining the virtual queue for Remy’s Ratatouille’s Adventure ride in Epcot. I believe it just opened last month. It was a 3D ride with trackless cars. In other words, you didn’t follow the car in front of you through the ride. It was cool but I don’t think I need to ride it again. 

We then had lunch in the Canada section. I had, what else, the poutine. It was a special version with turkey and cranberry sauce w/turkey gravy. It was tasty. We waited in a slow line for some maple popcorn in a souvenir bucket that we can refill inexpensively. Or at least the Disney version of inexpensive. 

We spent the after walking through the different countries with street performers such as this in tbe Italy section. The offerings really varied by country. We watched a movie in the Canadian section and Japan had an exhibit of “cute culture”.

We rode Test Track, Space Ship Earth, and Imagination and I had poké at a Hawaiian food booth. Delicious. We were back at the RV by around 8:15 or so. A full day with ~16k steps.  

Monday, November 29, 2021

Day 6, 7 - Enroute to Orlando - HH

Sunday (6) - This sign was at the Florida Welcome Center, which was closed. Does that mean that we aren’t welcome? This was definitely the most challenging travel day to date. About 300 miles almost all of it on a very crowded I-95. Traveling at the end of a holiday weekend was probably not the best idea. Most of the cars had Florida plates so they were probably returning home after their long weekend. Lots of congestion, slow downs, broken down vehicles but mostly too many people!

We stopped at a Blue Beacon truck wash and had the RV washed. It was $48 including RainX for the windows. A very reasonable price and we waited in line for around an hour.

We are in a church parking lot in DeLand, FL, which is part of Harvest Host. They ask for a donation to their food program which we did online. Tomorrow, we have another 51 miles to the Orlando TT park where we will be for a couple of weeks. We left at around 9:30 and arrived here at around 5:15 or just before sunset. A long day…

Monday (7)
 - Went for a walk into town about ¾ of a mile each way. It was only 61°F but it feels hot. We timed it pretty well. Check-in at the TT park is at noon (and not even 1 minute before!) and we arrived at 12:02pm and got in line. 

We were set up by 12:45 and it’s 68°F and sunny. I’m not going to complain about that. One minor maintenance item, the positive battery terminal for the house batteries warms up when a lot of current is put through it. Not a lot but ~115°F. It looks like the terminal needs cleaning. While here, I have a couple of other tasks on the roof. It’s supposed to be in the high 70s by the end of the week. That may be a good time. 

We then ventured into Disney Springs to pick up our passes. We had dinner at The Chicken Guy, one of Guy Fieri’s restaurants (actually fast food). The chicken was good though the teriyaki dipping sauce was only okay. 

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Day 4, 5 - Yemassee, SC - TT

Friday (4) - A relaxing day today. Two test sessions and finished up the TV install up front and moved the other TV back to the bedroom. The front TV is an NEC and I wasn’t able to get the universal remote to control it. All that’s left is re-installing the bottom of the cabinet and moving the passenger side cabinet door about ¼" towards the door. The cabinet door touches the TV when opened. I also need to wrap the upper bar with vinyl tape to keep the mount from sliding while we are traveling. 

Saturday (5) - Right now, I'm waiting for the morning test session to start. I did get both cabinet doors moved towards the outside. One of the catches appears to be broken but I do have spares. Other than that, we just started to get things packed up for a travel day tomorrow. There were a lot of leaves on the roof after two weeks in the same location. I believe that this is the longest we've stayed in one place since this road trip started again in September. The break from traveling has been a nice change of pace. Tomorrow is a modest travel day followed by a very short day on Monday.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Day 3 - Happy Thanksgiving

Besides cooking and visiting, we did get the new-to-us TV mounted in the front of the RV. It feels really solid though we are waiting for the power cord to test it out. 

Thanksgiving dinner went ok though the wild rice dressing messed up. The wild rice wasn’t cooked. Instead of following the recipe, I should’ve cooked the rice separately then mixed it all together. Oh well, next time…

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Day 1, 2 - Yemassee, SC - TT

Tuesday (1) - 6am and sitting in the Seattle airport waiting for my next flight. The Asian fast food place in the C concourse is now Hachi-ko. They had spam, eggs, and rice on the breakfast menu. Delicious! I remember almost nothing from the red-eye flight from Fairbanks which must mean that I got some sleep. I don’t even remember the plane taking off. 

We arrived back at the RV around 8pm. It feels cold here at 37°F. I went ahead and disconnected our water hose as the forecast is for below freezing tomorrow morning. I guess I did bring the Alaska cold back with me…

The Jeep hasn’t made it very far. According to the salesman, it’s in Proviso, IL, as of this morning. With an arrival window of 12/3 - 12/13. 

Wednesday (2) - Slept a long time to recuperate from that trip. Today will be a relaxing day. I started the turkey in the sous vide as it takes around 24hours. With the remaining turkey trimmings, I’m making turkey noodle soup for dinner. I also made the cranberry sauce with orange and pecans. Tomorrow, I’ll do the wild rice dressing, brussels sprouts, and mashed potatoes. Plus a few other things…

Getting ready for another test session while cooking. It did drop below freezing last night so I'm glad that I disconnected the water hose and regulator. I don't want to freeze and crack another regulator.

Monday, November 22, 2021

I'm Told That I Brought the Cold to Fairbanks

Sunday - My first thought was why would anyone choose to live here. I was thinking that mid-40s (°F) was feeling cold. It was quite the shock when I stepped outside the airport. I had to dig out a warmer coat, hat, and gloves and it still felt cold. In addition to my appointments on Monday, I have a couple of errands to run. Plus, I'm meeting a friend for lunch. All before heading back to the east coast. 

Monday - Lots of errands taken care of today. I even managed to get the Moderna booster. It seemed odd that Walgreens, Fred Meyer, Safeway, and Costco were not doing walk-up. Only appointments. The pharmacy tech at Fred Meyer suggested that I try Walmart since he heard that they were doing walk-ups. They were. Filled out paperwork, showed them the vaccination card from Arizona, they filled it in for the booster and gave me the shot. So far, no reaction to the shot at all except for a slightly sore arm. The temperature today was a relatively balmy 1°F and, after Sunday’s temperature, it really did feel nice. 

Now to try and fit everything into my backpack carry-on for the trip to SC tonight. And, given the forecast of near freezing temperatures at night, I’ll probably get blamed for bringing the Fairbanks temperatures with me.

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Day 61 - Back to AK

Saturday (61) - Even though it’s only been 61 days since we arrived in the lower 48 I’m headed up early in order to get appointments. Around 90 days I would be running into the holiday rush. A very poor itinerary. Charleston, SC, to Charlotte, (NC) to Newark, NJ, to Seattle, WA, to Fairbanks. With an hour or so at each stop. Oh well. Right now, I’m on the first leg in Charleston, SC.

Some Jeep news. According to a Jeep Customer Service email, the delivery window is somewhere between Dec 8 and Dec 13. This was reinforced by an email from the salesman who included a screenshot of what they see on their system. We are still left with the challenge of getting the Jeep from the Pacific Northwest to the Southeast. 

Later - Now waiting at the Charlotte, NC, airport for the next leg of the trip. This airport seems crowded or maybe not as many places to sit and wait. Lots of restaurants. And, completely unexpected, I’m in 1st class on an American flight!

Even Later - Now, I’m in the Newark, NJ, boarding area. The view out the window is, I’m pretty sure, New York City. The green of the Statue of Liberty is barely visible around the center of the picture. I think Alaska Air only has one gate at this airport and this airport is crowded. No complaints at all on the American Airlines flights. We left sort of on time and arrived early on both flights. On this next leg, I’ve been upgraded to “Premium Class”. Which in Alaska Air-speak means a little more leg room. Only two more flights…

Much Later - The third leg done. Newark to Seattle is a long flight. Less than an hour before the last leg back to Alaska. We arrived on time but sat on the ramp for twenty minutes waiting for a ramp crew. Fail for Alaska Airlines. After all, Seattle is their “home” airport. I ended up walking off one gate and immediately boarding at the next gate over. 

Friday, November 19, 2021

Day 59, 60 - Yemassee, SC - TT

Thursday (59) - The current project is redoing the front cabinet to hold a larger TV. This RV originally came with a TV with a picture tube so I’m pretty sure the cabinet itself can handle the weight. The weight of the previous flat screens was hanging on the wood surround. Not particularly sturdy. I’m redoing it so that the weight will be primarily on the metal plates which are welded to the roof beams.

We went to Beaufort, SC, and walked around the historic district and the waterfront. A very quiet and relaxing stop especially when compared to Hilton Head. 

We had also stopped at a cidery north of here. No pies or cookies but they did have their own brand of pasta sauce. That sounded interesting to me. Next stop, the hardware store for TV mounting hardware. 

Friday (60) - It took most of my day to get this installed. The 3/4” AC plywood is supported from the ceiling aluminum beams and not by the wood cabinet. To cut the plywood and 1”x4” board, I picked up a rechargeable circular saw. For the cost of a bare tool (no battery or charger) there was a combo which included the saw, a 1/2” drill, two batteries, and the battery charger. Why does this sound off…

Oh well. The project is mostly done. I just need a hole for the cables and re-install the bottom of cabinet.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Day 56, 57, 58 - Yemassee, SC - TT

Monday (56) - Participated in another ham exam today. Since they are all scheduled for Alaska time, the morning exam occurs around 1pm. That’s fine as I was able to sit outside enjoying the warmer temps. Note the emphasis on “warmer” not warm. The campground has analog cable TV but the picture is much better on the over-the-air channels. The roof-mounted antenna needs to be replaced and I have the new one but I was going to wait for some 70°F weather since I need to remove the old Dicor. 

While we are on televisions, my son offered us an older 42” TV including a much sturdier VESA mount. Based on my measurements, it should just fit in the space. I may modify the mounting to recess it into the cabinet a bit.

Tuesday (57) - Doing another test session outside today. It's 70°F today after an overnight low of around  40°F. I think that the days are only going to get warmer for a while. I think there are plans to go to Hilton Head waterfront/beach areas tomorrow or Thursday. 

Jeep update. Basically, no new information. This is from the dealer screen that the salesman sent me today. As you can see, the last update was over a week ago.

Wednesday (58)
 - This morning, we drove to Hilton Head. A crowded, tourist-y location. We had lunch at the Big Bamboo Cafe after walking to the beach. It was cool-ish due to a light breeze and a few clouds. 

I had the “Kiss of Death Vindaloo Curry”. I was expecting an extremely hot curry but it was sweet and spicy with chicken. Very tasty.

We then headed to the lighthouse but there were a lot of people inside a very small space. We then headed for a nature preserve to walk off lunch (and my bourbon pecan ice cream!). Very peaceful though the mosquitoes were out as the area was very wet. 

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Day 54, 55 - Yemassee, SC - TT

Saturday (54) - Another travel day today. 255 miles to a TT park between Savannah, GA, and Charleston, SC. We had dinner with my son, his fiancé, and her mom at a southern barbecue place. Since we were still close to Southern Carolina, I felt obligated to have the local vinegar based barbecue sauce on pulled pork. It was delicious but very different from what I’m used to. 

Sunday (55) - A nice site. Lots of trees, not too many acorns hitting the roof, and sunny in the morning. Thank you to our son and his fiancé for generously lending us their Prius C for a couple of weeks. It’ll really simplify my trip to Fairbanks at the end of the week. Plus, we needed groceries after semi-purging our refrigerator and freezer while the coach was in the shop. We will be here for a couple of weeks. 

The “project of the day” was changing one of the ends on this heavy 50amp power cable. I had ordered a 50amp RV extension cable but that’s not what I received. The label on the bag was what I ordered. I simply ordered the correct end and cut off the wrong connector. The challenge was that the individual wires in the cable were 6AWG so very large and difficult to work with. But it’s now done and I have a 14’ extension. Two times in the last month I couldn’t park the RV at the desired location since the power cord didn’t reach the power pedestal. Now, I have a little more flexibility. 

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Day 53 - Fair Play, SC - TT

Friday (53) - We arrived at the TT park just across the South Carolina border around 3:30. They found us a site with water and 50amp power, so we can run the heat pump. We are here for only a short time but it is a very well kept up campground. 

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Day 51, 52 - Georgia to South Carolina - TT

Wednesday (51) - A quiet day here at the house. I participated in a test session since we have great Internet. I also took advantage of the opportunity to do apply software updates to my devices. I heard back from the mechanic at the shop, NGT Truck Center. The steering is fixed, oil and filters changed, generator service completed, and a complete check of the chassis. There is an oil leak on the hydraulic motor for the fan so the hydraulic fluid was low. Brakes good, air bags good, air lines good, air drier good. These are all things that haven't really been checked since we purchased the RV. I had assumed that it was done by the dealer. Not done at all. The mechanic was a Freightliner mechanic and said that we are in great shape. That's good to hear.

We had a fabulous southern dinner at Mary Mac’s Tea House. Corn bread w/pot likker appetizer, Brunswick stew, Chicken fried chicken, fried green tomatoes, collard greens, and peach cobbler for dessert. Wonderful flavors. Others in our group had tomato pie and fried okra. I’d go back to that restaurant any time…

Thursday (52) - We picked up the coach this morning around 11. I would recommend this shop if you need chassis work on your diesel pusher. Thank you Chris and Lori for your wonderful hospitality and for driving us back to the shop. The steering feels much better all around and the hydraulic fluid was low which affects the power steering and the cooling fan.

Our next stop was just across the South Carolina border and the Garmin routed us towards Atlanta, the onto the beltway before heading northeast towards Fair Play, SC. We are staying at a TT park so 50amp and water but no sewer. Since we are only here for a couple of days it really isn’t an issue. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Day 50 - Finally!

This may not mean that they actually started to assemble the Jeep but at least the process has started. I’ll log into Jeep Chat later today to see where it is in the process. 

Here is a snippet from the Jeep Chat this afternoon:

The Jeep has been built and it's in the ship stage but there is not a current ETA for arrival at the dealer. The Jeep's are shipped out in lots, so more then likely it is waiting for a full load of vehicles to ship before that ETA is finalized. 

 So I guess it actually has been assembled. Now we get to wait some more.

Monday, November 8, 2021

Day 49 - RV to the Shop

Monday (49) - A three hour and a half hour drive to a front-end shop just across the Georgia border. There are four tie rod ends and two more on the drag link and all are worn out. Three of them are missing the rubber covers that hold in the grease. It was a challenge to find a shop that would repair the RV. I am also having them do a lube service on the RV and service the diesel generator. 

Wonderful friends Chris and Lori picked us up from the shop, including the animals, and brought us to their home outside of Atlanta. 

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Day 46, 47, 48 - Natchez Trace, TN - TT

Friday (46)
 - We are back at the Natchez Trace TT park as the Henry Horton state park was booked for the weekend. We are fortunate to snag a sewer site so we can do laundry. We actually did do a couple of loads at the state park without sewer but it does tend to fill our grey tank to the tune of ~18% per load. The temperature was supposed to get below freezing last night so we used propane heat. Tonight, it’s supposed to be in the 30s (°F) again tonight so more propane. The site only has 30amp power so we will need to be more conservative with our power consumption.  

When we arrived here last time, we noticed that our tailpipe had fallen off somewhere. I know that it was on there pretty solidly as I tried to rotate it slightly last year. Anyway, it’s now double clamped in case the welded on nuts break off. I’m assuming that’s why the old one came off. $300 at a truck stop or $60 on Amazon. Which would you choose? With it missing, we were getting diesel exhaust fumes inside while driving down the highway. 

Saturday (47) - Cool but sunny day with near-freezing temperatures at night. Wonderful friends (Diary of a Family on YouTube) are here across the street in the RV park. Garrett has an RV tech business and I had just picked up a replacement water pump on Amazon. He installed it in the very awkward location under the refrigerator. I appreciate his willingness to work on older RVs such as this one. I think I would've gotten pretty frustrated with the cramped location.

We finished off the day with a Nomad Church service on Zoom led by Canadian full-time RVers (Living Light RV). The Internet dropped off a couple of times 

Sunday (48)
 - The dog kennel is assembled again as we will be dropping off the RV at a front end shop tomorrow to get the tie rod ends replaced. And we can’t leave the animals in the RV. The portable freezer/refrigerator will be used so we can turn off the propane while it’s in the shop. I have been using up the food for the last week or so getting ready for this going into the shop. 

While I was up on the roof sweeping off the acorns and leaves, I noticed that the TV antenna was practically falling off. The plastic is almost like powder it’s so dried out. Rather than try glueing the pieces together I’ll just replace it. For now, I drilled a few holes and used screws to keep antenna from blowing off the roof. I just thought all of the branches pointing straight up was a bit unusual. 

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Day 44, 45 - Chapel Hill, TN - SP

Wednesday (44)
 - We are still at the state park campground. This is an owl as part of a display near the campground office. Bridget’s brother will be picking us up later to visit her niece at their farm a short distance northwest of here. It’s only 45°F right now and I should probably disconnect our water hose tonight in case it drops below freezing. I’ll wait until the washer is done. Even though we don’t have a sewer connection at the site, we can still run the washing machine as it’s water consumption is modest. Something like 8-10 gallons per load. The heat pump is still doing a reasonable job of keeping us warm though I did switch to the furnaces around 5 this morning as the heat pump was running in defrost mode quite often. 

Today’s Jeep update:
I am showing all of the materials needed to start the build process have been received. The vehicle should be entering the build process shortly.

Pretty similar to last week’s update except for two words.  “Gathered” is now “received” and “very soon” is now “shortly”. Still no build sheet so not a lot of faith in the 11-8-2021 ship date.

Thursday (45) - Yesterday afternoon was spent with some of Bridget’s family on their farm not too far from here. They have a beautiful home with a lot of handmade features and furniture. This is the barn/garage that they built. 

Tomorrow, we are heading back to the TT park where we were last week

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Day 42, 43 - Henry Horton SP - SP

Monday (42) - Today was a short travel day if measured by distance. Only xyz miles. But if measured by time, it was about average. We stopped at a Walgreens to get a prescription refill and we went down the street to a Krogers. But due to construction and people parking randomly in the lot, there wasn’t anywhere we fit. We didn’t need groceries at this time.

We also filled up at a Love’s truck stop. Not the cheapest but we still were able to use the TSD Logistics fuel card. The state campground was only about 12 miles from the Love’s. We arrived several hours early but our site was empty so they let us in. Nice place though the site is tail end low. Not optimal as we don’t have enough blocks to drive the rear tires on and place under the jacks. So we are slightly low in the back but level side to side. 

Tuesday (43) - I just made an appointment at a truck shop to get the tie rod ends replaced. The rubber boots on three of them are missing and the fourth one is torn. I haven’t looked at the drag link yet but they are probably in similar poor condition. The hint of a problem came last week when we left Sullivan, MO, and there would be an occasional vibration when light steering input was needed to counter a crosswind from the right. The shop ordered the parts and they should arrive on Friday. We scheduled the repair for next Tuesday.