October 7, 2019 Stow to Lyndon, Vermont

A Bad Day at Blackrock ( actually at Stowe)

Image above is certainly a sight one would never wish to see. I had no troubles driving from Canaan, NH to Stowe, Vermont last Saturday, the RV ran just fine. I did top off my gas tank in Enfield, NH on the way over to Vermont. On Sunday, when I started the motorhome up to move from one space in the campground to across the way to another, it started sputtering and all but stalled out. After just limping across the road to the other site, the RV slowly died out.

Hoping it was just water in the gas I added in Enfield, I put in some dry gas and waited, hoping for the best. Unfortunately, that did not do the trick, so on Tuesday, after talking to some mechanics in Stowe, none of whom could help me out anyhow, since they were all booked solid, I called Good Sam Roadside Assistance and explained the situation to them. They decided having me towed to a truck mechanic in Lyndon, Vermont was the way to go.

So Tuesday morning the wrecker arrived and we did the journey to Lyndon, 70 miles away. Fortunately, the trip went without any real problems and I had them park me just outside the garage’s security fence so I could stay in the motorhome until they got ready to work on it Thursday.

So, late Tuesday afternoon, I loaded the camera gear and drove north to hopefully find some color in the last few hours of daylight.

As always, right click on any image to see a larger version of the photo in a new tab or window.

And so I did at Lake Willoughby, actually some rather brilliant color.

There were several isolated patches of nice color along the road north as I raced against the retreating light of day.

Not sure what kind of tree this is, but I love the deep purples you find occasionally mixed in with the maples.

It was starting to get a little dark by the time I got to these last two shots.

This is a splice of 3 separate shots showing what happens in these fields at dusk. The fading light brings the deer and turkeys out to feed.

I got a good night’s sleep in the RV back at the garage and am going to head north and west on Wednesday along Vermont Route 105 to see what the color looks like up there while I wait for the work to commence on the motorhome Thursday.

Stay tuned!

 

September 8 – 10, 2019 Escape From Little Rock

Plenty of corn in Indiana
Plenty of corn in Indiana

Day One Little Rock to Columbus, Ohio

Day one of my first trip in the RV in five months and the initial journey with a new 4 wheels down toad, turned out much better than expected! I pulled the motorhome out of it’s spot and positioned it away from other campers at the Downtown Riverside RV Park, my home for the past two months. Then I pulled my new 2019 Chevy Equinox out and positioned it behind the motorhome and started my first attempt to hook it up … in the dark at 1:30 in the morning.

Of course I was nervous trying to be sure to get everything hitched up just as the manuals stated and then set up the car for being towed. If anyone was watching, I’m sure they would have gotten a kick out of watching some old fool fumbling around in the dark trying to read manuals while hooking up the the towbar. I wasn’t terribly confident as I exited the campground and headed up onto the interstate, but everything seemed to be as it should be, and 666 miles later when I finally stopped for the night, I was very happy with my decision to trade the old reliable Prius and be finished with my days with a tow dolly. The new car towed easily being about the same weight as the tow dolly and Prius combined and after a few hundred miles of towing, when I first stopped for gas and went back and started up the Equinox for a few minutes, as called for in the manual, and everything seemed fine, I was relieved for sure and on my way to preferring this new to me, way of moving the toad.

Did I mention that my motorhome cab’s AC does not work, despite being “fixed” by three separate Workhorse approved mechanics, in thee different states over the past two years? All three claimed to have it working after recharging the system and, with combined repair charges of over $1,000, yet in every case the AC would be blowing hot air after 24 hours. While in Little Rock, I tried unsuccessfully to get it into Whitey’s Truck Repair , he came highly recommended, but he could never get me in, always had more business than he could handle. Thus, the reason for me leaving Little Rock at 1:30 in the morning, when it was already a very muggy 81 degrees. The forecast called for temps in the 90’s, as it has been every day for about three months, and I wanted to get started and north of there ASAP.

Turned out I never had to suffer from the heat after all as I made it 400 miles and 10 degrees cooler, before the sun rose on Sunday. By then I was under cloud cover and then rain and more clouds and the temps never rose above 80 as I proceeded north and east. Instead of taking what would have been my normal route, which would be east on I-40 to I-81, then north, I opted to head directly north out of Little Rock in an attempt to quickly get out from under the heat that has been broiling the southeast for weeks.I took I-40 just a couple of miles then headed north on Route 67 to I-55 in Saint Louis, Missouri, where I picked up I-70 East to Indianapolis, Indiana, and Columbus, Ohio, where I finally stopped for  the night around 6 PM, when I just happened to be at the entrance to a rest area, stuck in the first traffic jam of the trip. After advancing just a quarter mile in 45 minutes and seeing no sign of moving any faster for the next TWO miles of construction delays, lane closures, I pulled into the rest area and set up to watch the Patriots first game of the season, hoping I could get a little sleep, and escape the traffic backup if I left in the middle of the night. At 3 AM Monday there was no traffic delay through the next 30 miles of work (DESPERATELY needed on I-40), but easy to see what was causing the horrendous backup of traffic. 

Day Two Columbus to Elmira, New York

Enjoyed watching the Patriots game last night, then got a good nights sleep at the rest area. As I suspected, when I set out at 4 AM, the traffic backup on the Interstate was gone and it was clear sailing to the Ohio border. Not hard to see why the backup yesterday was so bad. Three separate lane closure stretches, each going on for 6 miles or more with a couple side highways coming in during the same stretch .. I would bet, during the day, it probably would take 3 or 4 hours to get through here, if not longer. Avoid at all costs unless traveling after midnight.

Just a gorgeous 70 degree day with blue skies, what a change from Little Rock! A summer down south makes me appreciate the weather up north a bit more (not including winter). Continued on I-70 into PA. where I took I-79 North towards Erie, PA, then got on I-86, the Southern Tier Expressway, and made it to Elmira, NY before giving up for the day. Not quite as many miles today, had to stop and nap a few times to recover from yesterday’s long haul.

No more Tow Dolly or Prius

Day Three Elmira to Charlemont, MA

Up at 3:30 so I could be on the road by 4 AM in order to miss the morning rush hour traffic around Albany and Troy, New York. From I-86, I took the slow way on Route 7 through Albany and on through Troy.  From Route 7 I took Route 278 to Route 2 east to MA. That last stretch, especially on what passes as a road in New York, I don’t think I will ever try again. The roads from Arkansas to Massachusetts are an embarrassment to all who have to attempt to survive them, but this short stretch of Route 2 in NY took the cake as far as conditions go, paved ( sort of) and all but impassable. The road surfacing on Route 2 in MA was in much better condition but this stretch has some serious curves and long, steep grades. I won’t do this route again in the motorhome!

Pulled into the Country Aire CG in Charlemont, MA around 2 PM and signed up for a week. Nice little campground, all but deserted today but I was told they fill up on weekends, so I will have a few peaceful nights here while I explore how much this area has changed, an area where I grew up, so very long ago.

I can’t believe I actually covered 1592 miles in just three days, but my fear of getting caught in the heat down south without AC, kept me moving on, moving on more rapidly than I realized. The new toad behaved as it should, actually easier to pull than the tow dolly and Prius, barely knew it was there, until the final few miles through that rough stretch of Route 2. Took the Equinox out immediately after setting up camp to go get some farm fresh sweet corn (Boy, was it GOOD) just up the road, and it seems to be none the worse for wear after being towed almost 1600 miles on it’s first road trip.

Sorry about the lack of photos but in the coming month up here, I hope to get some nice foliage shots and perhaps find some interesting subjects down along the seacoast. Stay tuned!

December 8, 2017 Imperial Dam LTVA Winterhaven, CA

ShadePro Awning Replacement
ShadePro Awning Replacement

Patio Awning Fabric Replacement

ShadePro Awning Replacement
ShadePro Awning Replacement

As these two images clearly show, after 14 years of use and abuse, I believe I got my money’s worth out of this original awning fabric.

ShadePro Awning Replacement
ShadePro Awning Replacement

For the last two years the awning has been held together with a hope and a prayer, plus a bit of wire and a lot of Gorilla Tape. Since I had a good experience with ShadePro last winter when I added two new window awnings, I figured I would wait until I returned here to the LTVA and have them do the patio awning fabric replacement. I called them Tuesday to set up an appointment and they scheduled me in for Friday of the same week. Remember that the largest influx of RV’ers here isn’t until after Christmas, so I imagine the wait time would be a little more after the holidays.

ShadePro Awning Replacement
ShadePro Awning Replacement

The ShadePro tech showed up on time, actually a little earlier than expected ( he did call me to let me know he was coming a little early, and to confirm directions ). He was very professional and personable and immediately set to work, extending the awning and began removing the aluminum rollup tube from the arms.

ShadePro Awning Replacement
ShadePro Awning Replacement

After removing the aluminum tube that the fabric rolls up on, he began cutting away my wire reinforcement attach points on the old torn fabric.

ShadePro Awning Replacement
ShadePro Awning Replacement

Next, he attached a rope and pulley that would allow him to slide the new fabric along the length of the track while standing at the front end feeding the fabric into the track ( thus turning a two man job into a one man job ).

ShadePro Awning Replacement
ShadePro Awning Replacement

All this while being diligently supervised by the motorhome’s resident expert.

ShadePro Awning Replacement
ShadePro Awning Replacement

Pulling the old fabric out of the track.

ShadePro Awning Replacement
ShadePro Awning Replacement

Attaching the rope and pulley system to the new fabric.

ShadePro Awning Replacement
ShadePro Awning Replacement

Sliding the new fabric down the track.

ShadePro Awning Replacement
ShadePro Awning Replacement

He then prepares the aluminum rollup tube to be inserted into the new fabric.

ShadePro Awning Replacement
ShadePro Awning Replacement

Inserts the aluminum tube …

ShadePro Awning Replacement
ShadePro Awning Replacement

… again under Sam’s supervision. Actually this is my gratuitous  wildlife shot for the day. The hummingbirds were a little disturbed with the interference this project caused.

ShadePro Awning Replacement
ShadePro Awning Replacement

He reattaches the front arm to the awning.

ShadePro Awning Replacement
ShadePro Awning Replacement

Then the rear arm.

ShadePro Awning Replacement
ShadePro Awning Replacement

Rolls the awning up to test.

ShadePro Awning Replacement
ShadePro Awning Replacement

Rolls it back down. Finished! Done in less than an hour, old fabric boxed up and taken away, all the ground policed for job litter, tools loaded into the truck, paperwork completed ( I paid by credit card ), and he was on his way.

ShadePro Awning Replacement
ShadePro Awning Replacement

This was my second experience with ShadePro and I would not hesitate to recommend them. fast, courteous, professional, and very reasonably priced. I had a different tech for each job and both were obviously well trained and very professional, as well as being personable fellows.

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July 28, 2016 Delta, Colorado

Colorado National Monument
Colorado National Monument

Refrigerator Replacement while Battling the Heat

Last week, on the drive from the Ridgeway State Park to my new location at the Black Canyon RV Park east of Montrose, I smelled a strong ammonia odor coming from somewhere, and I guess the only possibilities were my refrigerator or the motorhome AC. Turns out it came from the refrigerator, as it is now officially dead, somewhere in the cooling unit, something has failed or rusted through, bringing an end to my 13 year old RV refrigerator. I suppose that 13 years is actually a pretty good run, as far as RV frigs are concerned, but now I had to turn my attention to getting it replaced, since living full time in a motorhome with no refrigeration is really not a lot of fun.

So, I started with an internet search for a nearby Camping World, finding one just outside Colorado Springs, not too far from my next stop in Lake George. Well, for $2600, they can replace my frig with the same model Dometic refrigerator as I now have. A little pricey, but at least I know it will be a good unit. Oops, a little problem with their scheduling the work however. They say they can squeeze me into the shop on SEPTEMBER 10th. And they can’t budge on that date, regardless of my difficult situation of having to full time without refrigeration. So much for Camping World.

Next I tried Humphrey’s RV in Montrose, where they could do the work as soon as August 10th, better than Camping World for sure, but still just not going to work for me. Oh, and they came in a few dollars less than Camping World also. But I need a new refrigerator today, or tomorrow, not weeks down the road.

A Pleasant Surprise, Jim’s Outback RV in Delta, Colorado

The owner of the Black Canyon RV Park suggested I try Jim’s Outback RV in Delta, which is about 50 miles west of where I am staying, and in the complete opposite direction of where I am headed next, but, I was getting desperate, so off I went to Delta, back west and downhill in elevation and up in temperature, Delta being about 15 degrees warmer than where I am staying at an elevation of 7500’, and this in the middle of an extended heat wave all across the west ( and east also I have read ) .

Driving into Jim’s lot on Route 50, a few miles west of Delta, I felt a little apprehension, a small worn out looking store and a one bay repair facility with a lot of battered looking used RV’s parked all around the dusty, gravel lot. Being desperate, I proceeded on in and explained my situation to the owner. He asked if I had considered just replacing the cooling unit, not the entire refrigerator, and I replied that I was unaware that was an option. He explained that his brother-in-law, who worked out of a trailer body right behind the store, did this all the time and most likely had the replacement unit in stock, AND could do the work TOMORROW! Plus, it would be at least $1000 less than a new refrigerator. Uncertain this was the right thing to do, but very certain that getting a working refrigerator in just a day or two was something I desperately needed, I gave them the go-ahead and was told to show up the next day to have the work done.

So, next day, I loaded up the Prius and left the Black Canyon RV Park and drove west to Jim’s Outback RV to have the work done. I also had arranged for Jim’s to clean out my water heater where I have been having issues with the gas end of the unit misfiring upon ignition, and also to replace my 13 year old water pump with a new 55 PSI water pump. When I arrived at 9 AM, the temperature had already reached the mid 80’s and was predicted to exceed 100 degrees by afternoon, not exactly my kind of temperatures. I was told the refrigerator repair would take most of the day and they would like to be sure it was working properly before I left so I was told I could plug in behind their shop for the night to be sure the frig reached the appropriate temps before I pulled out in the morning. I told them that would be great and so I unloaded the Prius and headed west to Grand Junction and the Colorado National Monument, not a place I had originally intended to visit this summer, but now would have the opportunity to do so.

Colorado National Monument
Colorado National Monument

Colorado National Monument

Not that a 100 degree day with white hazy skies is the ideal time to visit this unique red rock spectacle, but I had eight hours to kill and touring in the air conditioned car was without a doubt the best way to do just that. So forgive the lack of quantity or quality of these images, but today was simply not the type of day to visit this impressive place. On a nice cool blue sky fall day, I hope to revisit this National Monument.

Colorado National Monument
Colorado National Monument
Colorado National Monument
Colorado National Monument

After leaving the Monument, I drove south and west on Route 141 ( Unaweep/Tabeguache Scenic Byway ) to check out the Red Rock country along that highway. Quite impressive in many places, just way too hot to have any real desire to stop and take images along the way. Another trip best done in the fall or early spring.

I returned to Jim’s just after 5 PM with the temperature reaching an all day high of 104 degrees. They were just about to put the refrigerator back in the RV when I arrived, and after they got it back inside, I closed the windows, plugged in and fired up the AC, knowing it was going to take hours to get the inside temperature back to bearable. After a fitful night’s sleep, I awoke to find the water in the ice cube trays in the freezer solidified and the frig temps approaching a safe level after just 10 hours of working the new cooling unit, so I figured everything was working as it should, so I hooked up the Prius while morning temps were still reasonably cool, and headed back east towards my next stop in Lake George.

My final bill for the cooling unit replacement was $958 and I was charged another $145 to fix my gas water heater and install the new water pump. So, I would have to say that Jim’s Outback RV did quite well by me, and I should learn to never judge a book by it’s cover.

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