Home Away From Home, Missouri, Nebraska, Tennessee

Heading Home

August 22

Jerry had said he wanted to be on the road by 7:00 this morning so we scrambled out of bed at 5:30. Soon we were dressed and ready to leave – only one problem. It was still dark! We finally got slides in, jacks up, etc and pulled out of the campsite at 6:45. Then we had to stop at the entrance to attach the car, dump the tanks and fill up the freshwater tank. That took a long time as the water was running so slowly.

We finally left the campground at 7:40 and had our last view of the lovely Grand Tetons. Jerry had planned to get in a lot of miles today but when traveling in the mountains that is hard. From Gros Ventre to Dubois we climbed up to over 9500 feet above sea level. It’s difficult to make time when you’re going 35 or less!

After that, the ride was pretty uneventful. We stopped twice, once in Dubois, Wyoming for gas. We were able to easily pull in and fill up. Our next stop was a quick lunch at a rest stop in Sinclair, Wyoming. I had hoped we could make it to the Summit Rest Stop where the Lincoln statue is located but we were late having lunch so we just passed by it. It is quite large and very visible from the highway. Our only other stop was for gas at a Pilot in Cheyenne. Yes, a Pilot. Despite what I said earlier we have used Pilot stations again. There don’t seem to be many Flying J’s in the west but the Pilots have had a dedicated gas RV lane so for now, we’ll use Pilot. In the east, they do not have those dedicated lanes and are difficult to access.

When we left Cheyenne the weather ahead looked a little forbidding but we went on and ran into a pretty bad storm with heavy rain and hail. That will get your attention. There was a rest stop ahead so we talked about stopping there but just as we got there the storm seemed to pass so on we went to a Cabela’s in Sidney, Nebraska. I had called earlier to see if they permitted overnights and was told we could park with the Semi’s and boy were there a lot. By the end of the day, the lot was full.

There was a Pizza Hut across the street so we trotted over there – yep, trotted, we had to pass a semi-busy street. As we were waiting for our pizza I kept thinking we needed a to-go box as the sky looked a bit threatening. By the time we had finished eating it had started to rain so we “trotted” back to the RV. The wind was blowing pretty hard and the RV was rocking so since we were on concrete Jerry put down the jacks to help stabilize us.

August 23

Whew, what a day! We left Spencer, Nebraska at 7:10 for who knows where. For the most part, it was a very easy drive, easier than yesterday because of less road construction. The only somewhat difficult part was going through Lincoln, capital of Nebraska. Jerry’s Clarion was leading him right downtown and although my Garmin took us through Lincoln we were not in the downtown area. We stopped for lunch at a rest stop and then for gas. Jerry was feeling good, not tired and the driving was easy so we kept going. Our aim was Kansas City for the night and therein the trouble began. Traffic was pretty heavy at 6:00 on a Friday afternoon. We headed to the Flying J where we were hoping for an RV gas lane plus we hoped to spend the night there. There was no gas lane but we were able to get gas with no difficulty. It was a busy, busy station though. As I was pumping the gas Jerry walked around to see if there was room for us to park. Nope. The only space was a back-in and without unhitching the car we couldn’t do that. Onward we went. By this time I had called Walmart who said no and Cabela’s who told me it was fine but I needed to get permission from the city of Independence. Since it was after 5:00 that wasn’t possible. I tried to find a nearby Sam’s but no luck. I was out of options so I started looking for truck stops and there were two in Oak Grove, Missouri. We went to the first one, Pedro and it was full to the max. We headed over to Travel Center of America and it too was full but we did find a pull in site between some big semis. Jerry just didn’t feel good about it though so I started looking again and lo and behold there was a Walmart one mile away. I called and got permission and in just a few minutes we were parked on their perimeter. 7:30, 12 hours after we started and 569.2 miles later. Not our usual day. Thank you, Jesus, for getting us safely there.

We walked over to the store, made a few purchases and then returned to the coach. It was a little warm so we opened all of the windows and the door to get some air circulated. Jerry turned on the generator and the air conditioner in the back. I heated up our leftovers for dinner. Afterward, we both took showers, got ready for bed, turned the generator off and read in the dark. We were hopeful that the coach battery wouldn’t be dead when we woke up!

August 24

Sleeping with the windows open when next to a very busy highway didn’t give me a good night’s sleep plus when I woke up at 5:30 this morning the bedroom was dark meaning that the coach battery was dead. Drat. Nothing I could do so I closed the window and cut the noise and fell back to sleep for about 30 minutes. When I got up Jerry had the generator running. Before we left Jerry went out to check the battery on the car. It needs to be started a couple of times a day when it’s being towed. Well, it was dead. Not our day for batteries.

We pulled out of Walmart in Oak Grove, a very nice, quiet place to overnight – if you use your generator and don’t have your windows open! Our plan for the day was to stay somewhere around the Nashville area. Again we had difficulty locating a place to stay so after 600+ miles we finally turned into a Walmart in Murfreesboro, Tennessee along with several other semis and RV’s. It was a long day of driving. We surely have not adhered to our 330 rule these last three days (either drive 330 miles or stop by 3:30). Of course, we did drive longer today out of necessity since we couldn’t find a stopover and sometimes you just do what you have to do. At least we’re closer to Lawrenceville.

August 25

On Sunday we only had 200 miles to go to get to Lawrenceville but we had to go through Atlanta. Not fun at all as we were stuck in multi-lanes of traffic due to road construction. Let me tell you there are some crazy drivers out there for sure! We arrived at National Indoor RV around 2:00 and fortunately, there was an available space. After a quick set up Jerry suggested we go get something to eat. I think he’s beginning to be as tired to processed meat sandwiches as I am. We got lunch at a Panera Bread, hot soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. Delicious. We returned to NIRV for a restful afternoon.

August 28

We stayed in Lawrenceville through Tuesday and realized that our coach was not going to be ready by the end of the week so we loaded up the car with as much as we could and headed for home. We stopped at the North Carolina border and when I got out of the car I realized my keys were in the motor home – in Georgia! Wonder what else I forgot!

We arrived in Kinston around 6:00 glad to be home. It was an absolutely grand trip, a once in a lifetime trip and we saw indescribable beauty but eight weeks is a long time to be gone. It was past time to see our loved ones.

Home Away From Home, Ohio, West Virginia

Just Adding Miles

What a quiet and restful night. I fought sleep until 9:00 and then just gave up, turned the lights off, put up the book and was sound asleep within minutes. We had been told that it was quiet at night and they were right. I never heard a sound. Jerry slept well too. But then …

If it’s not one thing it’s another! We realized yesterday that our TPSM was not reading the pressure in our tires and Jerry felt that the batteries in the sensors were dead. According to the powers that be they are supposed to last from 10-12 months. Ours have not been changed since we bought the system so it was definitely time for replacements. Jerry had decided to wait until this morning to work on them hoping that the temperature would be lower plus we were on hot asphalt. I had gotten a youtube how-to video produced by TechnoRV where we had purchased from so we knew what we needed and how to do it – kind of! Jerry had gone to Home Depot last night and bought all of the batteries they had – four and we needed six – but he didn’t buy the tiny necessary screwdriver so off to Home Depot he went again this morning. Parking between Cabela’s and Home Depot has certainly been advantageous!
Jerry decided to get started immediately on replacing the batteries before it got too hot. Afterward, we got permission from Cabela’s to empty our black tanks. It’s free if done during working hours. It’s a bad job but someone has to do it.

For the most part, Ohio roads seem to be better than West Virginia but it’s like Jerry said, “Every state has good roads and bad roads and every state has construction!” So true and some construction crews think we have a skinny van rather than a motor home.

We had to try two Pilot stations before we could access one to get gas. Pilot says they are RV friendly and perhaps they are for the Diesel RV’s but not so much for gas coaches. We later stopped in Washington Court House, Ohio at a Walmart and had lunch plus were able to pick up two more batteries for the TPMS.

We arrived in New Paris, Ohio around 4:00 with plans to stay at a Harvest Host site. Although we knew we would not actually be staying at Wesler Orchard, when I had called earlier they told us to go there first and possibly buy some produce. We would be actually be staying at their winter business, Valley’s Edge. We got to the Orchard, bought some produce and quickly assessed that we couldn’t possibly turn around without detaching the car. That done and with directions to Valley’s Edge we proceeded on. Located on the edge of town we had the large parking lot to ourselves.
As soon as we were settled Jerry wanted to ride around the town – like we hadn’t been riding all day! Sorry to say there is not much to see in New Paris. In fact, we never even saw a grocery store so we came on back to the coach and read for a while.

I had prepared some spaghetti sauce and also had, upon a recommendation from someone’s blog, frozen some leftover vermicelli. Believe it or not the noodles were fine. I would never have thought of preparing and freezing them but knowing we would be boondocking for a couple of nights I tried to use every trick I could think of and surprisingly it worked.

After dinner we hooked the car up and Jerry finished putting all of the sensors on the tires only to discover that we had two tires that were low. Bummer but at least we knew so Jerry drug out the air compressor and began that hot job.

But that was not the end of the day. After resolving the TPMS problem we realized that the coach was getting warmer. Ah, the breaker on the generator had tripped. Jerry went outside, flipped it and it tripped again indicating to Jerry that the oil was probably low. Where to find oil in New Paris at 9:00? We unhitched the car and headed out. Fortunately, the Dollar Store was opened and had the oil. Back to the RV only to discover the bright yellow dip stick was missing. We walked all around the coach, the car and the parking lot but could not find it. Jerry even went back to the Dollar Store to see if perhaps he had left it there. We looked a little like CSI walking around with our flashlights pointed to the ground. Finally, after probably 30-40 minutes Jerry opened a bin next to the generator and there it was, just where he’d left it.

All in all, not a very exciting day but we’ll take it. We’re just making miles headed to Springfield, Il tomorrow for a few days. It was a good travel day with just a few hiccups at the end.

Home Away From Home, West Virginia

Cabela’s

As always getting prepared for a long trip is exhausting and I must admit this preparation was even more so. Because the motor home had been “vacant” for six months, I wanted everything in it washed and cleaned, i.e. glasses, plates, silverware, pots, pans, towels, sheets – well, you get it – everything. We did not hook up to water at home so Monday was spent going back and forth between the house and the coach since I did all of the washing in the house. Thank goodness for a dishwasher but … who knew we had a child lock on it. After using it a couple of times I couldn’t get it to come on again. After trying every button on there I finally got out the manual only to be used when all else fails! Voila! It was in child lock. In addition, I vacuumed, swept, mopped and dusted every space I could including the drawers but I can safely say that the RV is most likely as clean as it’s ever been.

Tuesday was a day of appointments, haircuts for both of us, a doctor’s appointment for Jerry so a busy day. In between appointments we carried things out to the RV and slowly loaded everything. We met Trent for a quick dinner and then home to complete the preparation.

For some reason I didn’t sleep well Tuesday night and I’m not sure why. Jerry and I had both noticed that neither of us seemed to be very excited about this trip. He thought he was because of spending so much of our time at our happy place on the river and hating to leave there. Perhaps. I know I have been a bit nervous about traveling since our accident so maybe that’s why. Also, we are going to be gone for a LONG time!

As soon as I knew the coffee was ready I got up. All was quiet as Jerry continued to sleep. I didn’t want to awaken him as I knew he had some long driving days ahead. I took care of paying some bills, etc., took a shower and was already dressed before he got up. Our plan had been to leave by 8:00 but we were running just a bit late. We always begin our journeys with a prayer for safe travel and this time I added accident-free travel and then we were off by 8:30 so that was pretty good for us.

We stopped briefly at a rest stop in Alamance, NC and then were back on the road trying to decide where we would spend the night. Walmart in Princeton, Beckley or Cabela’s in Charleston, WV? Other than a stop for gas and a quick sandwich we spent the day on the road. As we were entering West Virginia I commented on how good the highway was. I really shouldn’t have said that because as soon as I did the road conditions deteriorated drastically. I thought tolls were used to make improvements in the highways but apparently not! It was a bumpy ride but we soldiered on.

Having decided on Cabela’s in Charleston, WV we continued on past the 330 rule. As we were twisting, turning and bumping suddenly the refrigerator and freezer doors started opening. Finally, in desperation I went back and sat across from the fridge holding the doors closed with my feet. Not only was it not comfortable but it began to get a little warm plus I wasn’t able to have a seatbelt on. I’ve always worn my seatbelt but since our accident I’ve become almost neurotic about it. Yikes!

I had called Cabela’s earlier to verify that we could spend the night there but was pleasantly surprised when upon arrival we realized that instead of parking out front in the big parking lot they had a designated parking area just for RV’s. No one else arrived so we had the space to ourselves

Jerry felt that he could temporarily solve the fridge door problem by using some extension rods and we were able to purchase them at Cabela’s. When we are able to stay somewhere free we always make a purchase in the stores so that worked out well for us. In addition, there was a Home Depot next door so he could find an additional tie for the upper doors. Hopefully, that will solve our problem until we can get home and get a more permanent fix.

I had put a chuck roast with potatoes and onions in the crockpot before we left this morning and with a package of steamable broccoli cooked in the microwave we had a nice dinner. As we were cleaning up Jerry noticed that one of our shelves was coming apart so back to Home Depot he went to buy some glue to fix that. It is so reassuring to have a husband who can and will fix almost anything!

Hopefully, we can both get a good night’s sleep and take it easy in the morning as we only have a little over 230 miles to go to reach our destination, New Paris, Ohio at a Harvest Host location.