We have completed our first week on the road and are starting to feel “at home” again. It doesn’t matter which way that we are transitioning- to, or from, the RV, it takes time to get used to the “house”. Where are the light switches, how to walk through the home, the support of the mattress, getting adequate heat in the coach – all are starting to feel “normal” again.
We set out 5 March, with a detour through Sanford for lunch and a drive-by hugging of Cheri’s mom and stepfather, and then on to our first night on the road. A short hop of less than 150 miles, an easy set-up and a relaxing evening.
We looked forward to another short day as we drove to the Freightliner Factory Service center in Gaffney, SC, for a major annual service – oil and filter / fuel filters (yes, 2 of them) / transmission fluid and filter / air filter / brake fluid replacement / axle oil changes / complete generator service with 3 filters and coolant / serpentine belt / new chassis batteries (yes, 2 of them) / and a touch of grease for the chassis! We should be good to go for the year, with fresh fluids and a substantially lighter wallet. But they do let you camp for free in their parking lot. 😉
Time for a change in plans as we altered the routing to rendezvous with friends, Kat and Bert, as they return to Raleigh after almost 2 full years on the road. In true RV fashion, they drove miles out of their way, south from Little Rock, AR, to meet us at Oak Mountain State Park near Birmingham, AL. While the RV spots were a bit quirky, the park is quite nice with a golf course, archery range, BMX tracks, and even a ski run using a pulley system.
Kat and Bert shared their full-timing RV experiences with us over good food, wine, and a game of dominoes. Our longest trip was 215 days and they had been roaming for over 700… so we really wanted to listen and learn from what they learned. We are constantly evaluating how things are working out, and making adjustments during the journey to reduce stress.
We tried to go to the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument but missed on the timing, so we walked around Kelly Ingram Park, Ground Zero for the civil rights protest movement in 1963. Across from the park is the historic 16th Street Baptist Church used as a headquarters for the protests, and the site of the bombing that killed 4 young girls. Visiting these sites, and events such as Charlottesville, remind us that racism still remains a challenge for our country.
And we had two surprises today that remind us that “things are different” now that we are back in the RV. The first was easy – we noted a 15 PSI pressure difference in the tires on our tire monitor, so we stopped in Jackson, MS, to get it checked – they replaced a leaking valve stem and we were back on the road.
The second is slightly embarrassing – the washer was making sputtering sounds in the soap tray as Hope ran from the bedroom (she doesn’t like the dishwasher at home, either). Before I could mentally work through the possible causes, Cheri said “hey, this sink faucet is sputtering, too.” The second clue solved the problem … we were out of water. We normally keep mental track of how many showers we have taken, but I didn’t adjust for the washer loads which are substantial. So we’re not quite back in the groove….yet. We do have another 12,000 miles to practice!
The upcoming week will be in my hometown, visiting family and friends. The 2018 journey will start slow but we will be in the back country before you know it! By the end of the month, we’ll be in the Mountain Time Zone. We timed this transition perfectly as we arrived in the Central Time Zone the day before DST started, so our body clocks were already set.