Category Archives: RV Adventure

Canada here we come !

Commitments Made

Plans are firmed up.  Reservations are made.  Motor home is fueled up.  All we lack now is the date to get here so we can head out for our 5 week trip to Nova Scotia and back.   We have reservations with friends and historic and scenic places all setup on the calendar so we don’t forget anything.

Past Trip Memories

We uploaded another video to our Youtube channel that you might enjoy from some of our past trips.  Please check it out here.  If you like the channel subscribe, like, and turn on the notification button.   We also have several other channels that we really enjoy and would recommend you subscribe to those channels as well.  They are inspiring and thought provoking, entertaining as well as educational.

Recommended YouTube channels

“You Me and the RV”,  “Changing Lanes”,  “Less Junk < More Journey”,  “Keep Your Daydream” are the ones we have watched the most.  Trust me, with TV being what it is today,  this is much safer, and more entertaining, especially if you enjoy the RV lifestyle (part time or full time).   I feel like we know them and we haven’t met, but have commented back and forth on their videos.

Comment below

Let us know what your favorite RV destination is, and why.   Also let us know if you have other RV related youtube channels that you enjoy so we can watch them as well.   If you have any favorite state or national parks we would like to know that as well.

Question of the day

What software, web sites, books, phone aps, etc do you use when planning your cross country, multi-stop RV trips.  It is important to us to keep in touch with what others are doing so we don’t use obsolete or less that current tools for planning a safe journey across this great nation of ours.

Thanks
Coming to a campground near you soon.

Wayne and Norma

Big Trip Coming Up – 2019 stay tuned

Well, it is time to get the dirt daubers and spiders out of the motor home and start packing her up for our Summer RV Trip cross country tour. We seem to operate a little differently than the average “weekend warrior” or full-timers. We don’t do very many weekend quick trips, and I work part time from anywhere I can get good Wi-Fi signal. Norma works for the school system here so she is off every summer. This tends to give us a good way to travel during the summers to take long get-a-way trips to see many places that we would otherwise never have an opportunity to visit.

Plan Outline

With all that said, we are planning a “re-visit” tour up through Gettysburg, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Newburgh NYC, Boston/Plymouth, Kennebunkport, Portland, Bar-Harbor, Bangor, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia. I know that is a lot of stops, but we will setup base camp in the RV and drive the Honda Civic to the specific points of interest. We plan to be gone a month +/- the drive there and back may slow us down a day or two. We Can’t Wait !!!

New You-tube Channel to compliment the blog

Check out our RVacationer you-tube channel to find out a little more about us and our setup. Please help us out by subscribing and hitting the “thumbs-up” and “notification bell”. This is a good way for us to share our experiences both good and bad with you, and get your comments back on how to improve, and find out from you things that will help us do better in the future.

Online Planning Tools

The online tools we us for planning are of course maps.google.com, then rvparky.com, www.rvtripwizard.com, which is a member based tool good for pin-pointing common points of interest like Walmart, Pilot, Flying J, etc, and displays warnings to avoid low bridges, toll roads, and other hazards that would be a problem for a big rig. Then we use the street view to do a virtual drive on any roads that are suspect for being narrow or tight neighborhoods getting into the campground.

Talk Soon. Hang in there Spring is nearly here !

First RV Trip of the 2018 season

Waiting patiently
As many of you, we have been waiting since our  RV Thanksgiving trip last year to get out into the world again.   After winterizing the motorhome last November my wife and I sat by the window waiting for the first chance to get outside without frost bite.  We are finally going on our first RV trip for 2018 to a local campground about 20 miles away.

Lake Guntersville State Park view from our site.
View from our campsite

We unplugged from house shore power, cleaned the drains, and removed the cob webs and drove about 20 miles away to Lake Guntersville State Park RV campground.   This is our favorite local campground as well as a good place to de-bug anything that may have happened over the winter.

As expected, we had a few issues but nothing to diminish the thrill of being back outdoors.  Our site had a great look at the lake on one side and the mountain up to the Lodge and golf course out the other side.  What we didn’t plan on was this being the states “Spring Break” for schools and there were lots of others who had the same idea.

What went wrong

Our only incident that caught us by surprise was a small water leak coming from our ice maker.  My wife noticed the carpet was wet in front of the cabinet that had the ice maker and I immediately unloaded the cabinets and turned off the feed valve.   It turns out that it just needed a refresh of the silicon plumbing tape around the inlet.  I just happen to keep enough plumbing tools and spare parts with me for this very reason.  While I was at it I replaced the water pressure regulator at the faucet as well.

After we fixed the leak

We tested for other issues that may have been caused by winter’s cold temperatures.  We checked the toilet, washing machine, and all the sinks, toilet, and shower.  Then, our Ubiquiti wi-fi amplifier system  pulled in seemingly unlimited internet bandwidth for streaming our favorite news and sports channels on directvnow.com.   Our site was  .4 miles from the wireless access point and it got enough signal to browse and stream TV.   Something we do when RVing is to play games like scrabble or cards.  Those things are a lot of fun, but we don’t seem to find time when we are at home.

The wife and I went on several nature walks and saw one huge buck at the golf course late in the evening, and as much as we could in the low light we think we counted 18 deer in and around the lake area.

We didn’t do much cooking or lounging outside because it was still a little windy and cool to be comfortable.   However, we sure did enjoy our first adventure for the year.    Our wonderful experiences have made us look forward to doing this at least a couple of times per month.  The RVing season in our area is usually from late March through late November.   Until the temperatures turn back to  freezing and force us back to our homestead we are “On the Road Again”.

See you out there somewhere soon!

2017 Thanksgiving RV Trip to Gulf Shores State Park, Alabama

beachSunsetAfter having spent time earlier doing a traditional Thanksgiving with our family, this is our second year to relax at our annual Thanksgiving RV trip and enjoy white sandy beaches this season at the beach in Gulf Shores State RV Park in Alabama.   This RV park is spacious with very large, level, asphalt sites.   There is a large space between sites for parking, playing, storage, etc.  My wife and I enjoy this park because of its close proximity to the beach and short drive to many wonderful seafood restaurants.   Gulf Shores is only about 6 hours drive time away from home for us, so it makes for a good one-day drive without having to dry dock overnight to get there like we did earlier this year getting to Yellowstone NP.  This year the temps were between 40’s at night, and up to 70 and sunny during the day.

Our experience “so far” is the Fish River restaurant and the Shrimp Basket in Orange Beach are our personal favorites.   We haven’t tried all the options, but of the ones we have tried these made the top of the list.  They are ranked highly based on affordable and delicious food, not the atmosphere or ambiance.  We like to relax and enjoy a nice meal without having to mortgage the farm.

We travel with a 40 foot Dutch Star diesel pusher and tow a Honda Civic.   Our traveling friends who we have shared many miles in this wonderful country, went with us this year and last year.  They pull a 36 foot 5th wheel with a dually Dodge Ram with all the bells and whistles.  If you read some of my last few blog posts you will see photos and read about our travel adventures.

The rates we paid are $43 per night.  This includes access to the beach and other park amenities.   There was plenty of moderate to lengthy walking trails.  One of which we measured as a little over 4 miles.  They are all level and well taken care of, including wooden elevated walkways over the swampy areas.   The walkway also branched off to go over to the beach, but the cross-walk over the highway wasn’t yet complete.

There were quite a few out of state residents that were obviously setup for lengthy stays which speaks highly of the park ( in my opinion ).  We met some full timers that were there with a new Dutch Star and two motorcycles and their tow vehicle.  Very nice folks that sold everything and were just traveling the country with their black lab.

This year we ventured out in the toad to visit the Navy Flight Museum in Pensacola Florida about 45 minutes away.   It was fascinating and had a wonderful tour guide that had actually piloted several of the planes in the museum.  The display of the Blue Angels was hanging from the building structure and the pilot said they were actually further apart in the display than they actually fly.   You will find this to be well worth spending a day there.   There were also movies, and “4-D” theater to show a 3D movie with seating that will make you feel as if you are flying along side of the Blue Angels.

Enjoy these photos.

http://www.alapark.com/gulf-state-park

http://www.navalaviationmuseum.org/

2017 Breakdown in St. Louis I-70

UPDATE: We got our $59.04 back from Good Sams Roadside Service after they told me there was a 15 mile tow limit and made me pay for the extra 9 miles to the mechanic.   I called later to speak with management because other folks on forums, and facebook were telling me there was no 15 mile limit.   Good Sams Roadside Assistance agreed that there was no such limit.   They asked me to fill out a reimbursement form and mail it in with the receipt and a letter of explanation.  2 weeks later we got a check.   Still not too happy about the confusion and having to fill out forms and use snail mail to get my money back, but it is better than NOT getting my money back.   They never explained why they left me stranded for 2 days with no offers other than wait until Monday.

towingWell,  in 4 years of traveling literally all over the country, we experienced our first breakdown on the side of I-70 in Wentzville  Missouri, just outside of St. Louis.  I will share our exciting experience in hopes that it will help prepare others.  Looking back on how everything worked out for good in spite of a bad situation, I am very thankful for the lessons learned and there are a million ways it could have been much worse.

My wife and I, along with our friends following with their fifth wheel behind us, were on our long journey back to Alabama from a wonderful 7 days at West Yellowstone Montana and this was our final day of the 5 day return trip.  We expected to be home on Saturday evening when suddenly a light came on indicating a serious voltage overload from the engine alternator putting 18 volts into our 12 volt engine batteries.   I immediately glanced in the mirrors and pulled over to the side of I-70 at exit 188.2 which happened to be at the bottom of the on-ramp to the interstate.   Traffic was heavy at 9:30 on that Saturday morning ( key-point is “Saturday Morning” ).

I always have tried to double and triple prepare for everything.  We have Good Sam Roadside assistance, and FMCA has a roadside help line, and our regular vehicle insurance has a towing option.   In the heat of the panic, with us and our friends both sitting on the side of the road, I immediately called the first number in my list of support options.   FMCA answered and assisted for about an hour and a half of mostly being on hold while they made calls.

FMCA told me a price to have it towed to the place of their choice would be 368 dollars, and I really had no options so I gave them my card number.   In about an hour, the tow company called to confirm the need for service, and asked what type vehicle it was.  It is a 27,000 pound diesel pusher 40 feet in length.    The towing company said that the address that FMCA had given them to tow it to was a neighborhood, not a business.   The tow company called the FMCA specified point of delivery to find that it was an individual that worked on trailer repair only and not motor homes.

WELL!   This started things all over, and FMCA finally said they had no other options, and no one would be able to help me on a Saturday / weekend.  It would have to wait until Monday.  I complained and said I can’t sit on the side of the interstate for 2 days waiting on support and moved on to my second option.

Good Sam’s RV Roadside assistance was my next option.   To make a long story shorter, after another couple of hours, they ended up telling me the same thing.  No one was willing to help me on a weekend.   By this time it is about 11:30 in the morning.

I took it on my own to try to idle the motor home to the next exit which was about 6 miles down which was fortunate enough to have a PILOT/Flying J.    After Idling down the interstate with flashers on and traffic blowing by, we made it safely without blowing anything up.   I parked immediately inside the parking lot, but didn’t notice that I was blocking the CAT Scales that the semi trucks were using to weigh.  The store announced that I needed to move and this turned out to be a blessing after all.   I went to the lady that was the day shift manager, and she was very understanding and helpful.   She let me know that there was a HUGE Camping World just down the road at exit 212.

So to keep from rambling, let me summarize that this was the saving grace that got me to the repair shop next to the Wentzville Camping World.   I called Camping World originally, and they could not work me in until Mid July  and this was June 24th.   They recommended Clarke Power Service right next door to them who they normally refer for overflow work.   Clarke Power Service had a 24 hour emergency number and they sent a tow truck, and repaired my motor home, and life is now back in balance with motor home fixed, and home.

In Summary:

*Clark Power Service, and their recommended Tow Truck service is number one in my book.  Very Professional office front end support and excellent technicians that went above and beyond to double check everything including fluids, and crank shaft reconnect ( had to be removed to tow ).

* Weekend day shift manager at Flying J on exit 188 on I-70 is a super-star that was friendly, helpful, and had a way of calming things down when she could see I was about to have a nervous breakdown.   She recommended the place that ultimately saved the day for me.

* Good Sam’s PLATINUM SERVICE reluctantly and begrudgingly paid for the first 15 miles of towing after I had found the tow service, and the repair shop that was willing to work on my motor home.  Their reluctance was based on the fact that it was “outside their network” of companies they were willing to work with.    I had to ask to speak to the CEO or whatever level of manager would be able to rectify my dissatisfaction with insurance that tells me I am not covered on weekends and holidays ( I am not happy with them ).   They don’t mention in their coverage that they only help on weekdays, and only for the first 15 miles.    KEEP IN MIND, We just left Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota where there is nothing for hundreds of miles,   15 miles wouldn’t have been very much help!!!!

* FMCA was going to send me to a back yard trailer repair in a neighborhood,  only thing that saved that disaster was the diligence of the tow truck company to call and check the delivery location before sending the truck to my breakdown spot.

* Last but not least is our friends who stayed with us to help through this entire ordeal when they could have and I even recommended that they drive on home.   I thank God we have friends that help calm us down, help us think through how to work this out, and the stayed around to make sure we all got home safely.