The Journey Begins with Dirty Laundry!

Why do you go out for so long? Because when you live in Arizona, it takes forever to get to the other side of the country!

Our summer plan for 2024 is to spend most of that time on the East Coast. But to maximize our time there, we need to get there as quickly as possible. So we made the call to break the cardinal RV travel rule and go for longer drive days! 

For those dear readers who are not RVers, the golden rule of 3s is to drive no more than 300 miles, arrive by no later than 3pm, and stay for a minimum of 3 nights. This practice was designed to help reduce travel fatigue, overwhelm, and hangry spouses. 

Three hundred miles might not sound like much. But at an average of 65 miles an hour, plus lunch and potty stops and potential delays, 300 miles can take 6+ hours. And towing a rig or driving a big motorcoach is far more taxing than driving a regular car. 

And yet, we thought we could be the exception. We knew it would be tough having 8 or 9 hour drive days back to back but we thought, “It’s only for a few days…”

Since I can share driving responsibilities with Jeff, the drive itself wasn’t horrible. Even the set up was tolerable. But then came the rain. And the things breaking. And the frustration increasing.

I generally don’t share the bad news bears stories here. I mean, getting to travel around the country while working remotely is a pretty sweet gig. Why should I be complaining? But, the truth is, it’s not all Instagram photos. Things aren’t always perfect.

Most of this, I don’t have photos for. Who really wants to be taking pictures when things aren’t going well and tempers are a little heated? So you’ll have to picture it with your mind…

First up was the e-track for the motorcycle tie downs. Apparently, the tracks were secured using far too few sheet metal screws instead of ample wood screws. So the track ripped up from the floor leaning one of the bikes into the other. 

Fortunately, Dixon, MO had a great small town True Value Hardware store. Complete with a super helpful old guy wanting to know all the details of the project you’d be working on. Plenty of wood screws later and we are back in business.

Not so fast. Next came the rain. Lots of it. More rain than we see all year in Phoenix (not that that is so hard to accomplish).

And when it rains, the leak shows up. Despite Jeff’s best efforts to seal all the edges of the new-to-us rig, he missed the one above his head where the oven vents to the outside. And this Sherlock (me, I mean me) just happened to spot the water dripping down at 9pm as we were getting ready for bed. Time to patch the leak, in the pouring rain, at night, in the dark, with some fancy schmancy Gorilla tape. Sporting the high class look now!

Two problems down…

Upon coming to our next overnight stay, Sherlock Nicole happened to notice the lid for the Televator was not where I had set it when we left the last location. Televators are a really stupid idea for an RV, IMO. I mean, what could go wrong with a tv mounted down inside a cabinet and having it on a motorized elevator that raises it up when needed? And then traveling across some really atrociously maintained, extremely bumpy roads? Well, maybe having the lift switch triggered by bouncing plastic containers so it gets stuck in the on position and burns out the motor… Nope, can’t think of anything that could go wrong.

And then, when attempting to fix that by removing the fireplace insert, having the insert face come unglued and the screws snap. Are these things really designed to take the kind of abuse caused by traveling around the country?

Those two things will have to wait as they aren’t easy fixes while on the road.

And finally, at least, hopefully this will be the last of it. There’s no real wood in the RV except under the floor so I can’t knock on anything for luck. Jeff discovered the springs he had just installed before we left Phoenix have failed. One of them has flattened so that’s pretty bad. A long morning later and the company is sending upgraded replacements but now we will need to coordinate where and when and how much it’s safe to drive the rig until we can get it replaced.

Ya, hopefully that’s the end of the challenges for a while. We are both exhausted. Handling the long drive days would be fine if it weren’t combined with the unforeseen challenges that can arise. You might have just enough for the planned scenario but it’s better to have plenty left in the proverbial tanks for what you can’t account for.

It hasn’t all been horrid. We did get our very first stop at a Buc-ee’s. If you aren’t familiar, these are VERY LARGE gas/convenience stores located primarily in the midwest. You are pretty much guaranteed to find an open gas pump and an open (and clean) toilet stall! Plus the selection of food, souvenirs and gifts is just AMAZING! Now we understand the appeal of this place. And two thumbs up for the fudge, beef jerky, three cheese sausage and Bucc-ee Nuggets! Nope, we didn’t buy anything while we were there…

We also got to enjoy a beautiful day at Summit Lake State Park and take our e-bikes out for their inaugural ride. The video is a bit choppy but quite funny if you turn up the volume.

I’m always touched seeing these kinds of memorials. This one at Fox Den Acres in New Scranton, PA. Thank you!

That’s it for week 1. Lots of challenges but hopefully that’s all behind us now.