Wow, what a way to start a cold day. Because of our early morning yesterday and our fatigue we crashed early last night and I slept quite well in the Hickory Walmart parking lot. We both woke up early and decided to quickly get on the road. I had planned to put stew beef in the crock pot to cook while we were traveling so Jerry was pealing the potatoes while I was getting all the ingredients together and suddenly – it appeared we had flipped a breaker. Nope, the house battery was down meaning we had no power. Because we were parked on the hill beside grass we were able to put the two passenger slides out last night but because we had no power we were unable to pull them in this morning. So, we started the motor home and waited while the house battery charged enough to close the slides – and waited – and waited. Knowing the heating system was drawing amps we turned that off and so there we sat in the dark, in the cold hoping that nothing underneath froze before we could get the slides in and get on the road. Wow – bad starts for two mornings. I’ve always heard that things happen in threes. Certainly hope that is not our case.
Jerry finally decided that perhaps the fuses had blown although he doubted two of them would blow at the same time. He walked over to Walmart to see if they had any and of course they did not. He called to tell me and I started searching the Internet for a nearby AutoZone. As Jerry opened the door his words were “Stupid, stupid, stupid”. Because we were trying to recharge the house battery we had the motor home started and guess what? The slides will not operate when the RV is running. That was a NEWBIE mistake but in defense I can say that we were dealing with things we had never encountered before. Temperatures in the teens with winds of 18 miles an hour, a dead house battery, little water in the holding tank – the bitter temperatures and no house battery were the icing on the cake. We immediately turned off the RV, pulled in the slides, raised the jacks (yes, we had put them down lightly to stop the sway on the hill. We were still very slanted front to back) and finally pulled out a bit after 8:30. Not the start we had planned but all was finally good. Suffice it to say that RVing in the bitter cold creates problems that we don’t usually run into the warmer months.
We decided to take advantage of our Harvest Hosts membership and stop in Portland, Tennessee at the local winery so off to Portland we headed. As we neared Asheville we began to see light snow flurries but I kept checking the weather and there was no indication of snow ahead plus there were blue skies and sun ahead. By the time we had passed Maggie Valley and headed into Hayward County the light snow flurries had turned into heavy snow flurries and the roads were becoming treacherous. In fact, only one lane, the right one was open and the left was covered in snow. As we crossed into Haywood County we stopped at the Rest Station. We talked to the attendant and he said that we could stay as long as we wanted so we just sat for a few minutes. When it appeared that the snow was letting up and the roads appeared clear we headed about again.
We stopped around 12:45 in Farragut, Tennessee just west of Knoxville at a Flying J for gas. We like the Flying J’s because they have two dedicated RV lanes for gas coaches. Wouldn’t you know they were both out of order but it was easy to pull into a regular lane. They also had propane so Jerry wanted to fill up the tank not knowing what was ahead for the evening but we couldn’t get water to add to the fresh tank because all of theirs was frozen. While having lunch we discussed where we would spend the night. Should we try a Walmart again or Harvest Hosts? We decided to try the Harvest Hosts winery since they offered electricity. I called and unfortunately someone had called yesterday and reserved the one electric site but we were welcome to come and dry camp. We decided against going there since it was a bit out of the way plus we’d be using the generator so why not Walmart. As we rode along though we realized that we really wanted a hot shower and we wanted to extend our slides so I began looking for a campground that we could get to within a reasonable amount of time. By searching the Good Sam site and confirming with RVPark Reviews I discovered Piney River Estates in Bon Aqua not far off of our route. When I called, the gentleman said they had a site and to come on. He gave me very explicit directions insisting I not follow the GPS and also instructed me to call him when we got nearby. After we arrived I knew why!
What a beautiful little campground in the middle of absolutely nowhere! We took the directed exit and drove 4 ½ miles down a two lane, curvy, hilly, sometimes narrow loopy loop road. With laughter especially after Jerry commented that we might have to drive to Florida if we needed to turn around we continued on knowing that it was not the first road we’d been on like that and most likely would not be the last. When we got to the turn off for the address I became a bit skeptical hoping that we were going the right way because the road was even more narrow and although there were scattered houses there was absolutely nowhere to turn around. I called the campground manager and he said we were about a ¼ mile away. Well, that must have been as the crow flies because trust me, it was a lot further. We continued down the narrow path hoping desperately that we weren’t on a wild goose chase and then voila – we saw campers and the gentleman was waiting for us.
In the cold – about 21 degrees, the host and Jerry got the water hooked up and we had power and water! Yea! Before he came in Jerry put more water in the fresh water tank so I think (and hope) we are good to go now.
As we were riding along the road at a little after 5:00 I commented to Jerry that it certainly was lighter here at 5 than at home. His reply was that we were further west. Well, we are further west but we realized a little later that we crossed over from EST to Central meaning it was an hour earlier. No wonder it was lighter. Then the question arose as to which time zone we wanted to keep our clocks in. Since we’ll be in central time while we are in Morrilton for the week-end I suggested we change the clocks. There’s no telling what time we’ll wake up in the morning!
After we got settled I put some butter beans on to have with our deliciously smelling stew beef. It was a new recipe so I was banking on it being as good as it smelled and it was. What a treat to have dinner already prepared after a long day of travel.