Dec 022009

The title of today’s blog pretty much sums up how I have felt for the last two days. All the while we were driving north toward Indiana, we were passing RVs going in the other direction. In the past, when we have been the southbound RV and we have spotted rigs going north late in the year, I always told Miss Terry “That dummy’s got it all wrong. He should be headed south like us.” Well, this year I am that dummy!

After spending the night at the Tennessean Truck Stop, we woke up early yesterday morning and were back on Interstate 65 a little after 8 a.m. I never like driving through Nashville, and this trip was no exception. The traffic was terrible, and on the north side of town we saw a UPS tractor trailer rig towing tandem that had rolled onto the drivers’ side. I sure hope nobody got hurt in the accident.

As we passed Bowling Green, Kentucky, where we taught for Life on Wheels so many times at Western Kentucky University, we reminisced about all of the good times we had there. The schedule was a real grind, but we miss all of our other instructor friends, and interacting with the students.

About 50 miles north of Bowling Green we hit a rough spot in the road, and suddenly a loud beeping noise startled us. Terry grabbed the PressurePro tire monitor control, sure we had blown a tire. But she quickly realized what we were hearing was our “Jacks Down” alert, and the red light was flashing on the dashboard. I pulled off the road and into a truck stop and turned on the HWH system. It showed our left rear jack was down. I checked to be sure that all of our automatic leveling jacks were in the travel position, then hit the Store button and the alarm went off. I guess when we hit the rough pavement, it jolted the system enough to give a false signal.

Back on the road, we continued north through Louisville, where traffic wasn’t as bad as I expected, then crossed the Ohio River into Indiana. We stopped for fuel at the Flying J in Whiteland, a few miles south of Indianapolis, and I was disappointed that the sign on the highway said diesel was $2.69 a gallon, but a sign at the pump said it was $2.83. What’s that about?

We circled Indianapolis on the Interstate 465 bypass, and got on U.S. Highway 31 northbound. We have driven this route so many times that I could do it blindfolded.

Blindfolded maybe, but not in the dark. My night vision sucks, so about 100 miles out of Elkhart, the sun was getting low in the sky, and Miss Terry took the wheel and drove the rest of the way. She test drove our Winnebago before we bought it, but this was her first time to drive it on the highway, and she did just fine, as I knew she would. I have been putting off letting her drive, because I was afraid that once she got a feel for the big Cummins diesel engine, she might never let me behind the wheel again! And I think I was right!

We are big believers in both people in an RV knowing how to drive it. While I do the great majority of the driving in our coach, it is an extra measure of safety knowing that Terry can take the wheel whenever necessary if I get sick, tired, run out of daylight, or just need a break.

We arrived at Duncan RV Repair in Elkhart about 6:30 p.m. local time, with just over 500 miles behind us this driving day, and 900 miles total in two days. That’s a lot of driving!

Duncan RV has several 30 amp RV hookups available, and can do any type of RV service or repair, from simple tune-ups to body work and refurbishing. Our regular hangout here, Elkhart Campground, is closed for the season, so we’ll be staying here while we wrap up our business with the bus buyer. We also have an appointment to have Duncan do some work on our motorhome while we’re here, killing two birds with one stone. Or at least in one trip.              

Thought For The Day – Was learning cursive really necessary?

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Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  15 Responses to “Driving North In A Southbound World”

  1. Hey Nick, our jacks do that sometimes too, all we do is turn them on and hit the store button. I don’t even slow down anymore, but the first times sends you into almost a panic.

    When you head back south, please leave the cold up there. Someone didn’t and brought us some cold weather down here in the RGV.

  2. Ya, it’s 45 deg down here in Mission, TX this morning,,,,,damp and COLD!!!!!!!!!!! But then I looked and up at Custer, SD it is 12*, so that warmed me up a little!

    Travel Safe

  3. Hey, Nick —

    I think the price discrepancy is that you get the lower price for paying CASH.
    With our 194 gallon tank that can add up to some serious coin and since we are not a rolling branch of Bank of America, we plasticize the payment. ,

    Cummins makes a great engine. Our M11 purrs — even when going up steep inclines.

  4. You are right about Terry probably not letting you drive any more! Suzy does all the driving of our Itasca Suncruiser. I’m the navigator and flight attendant. I tell her where to go, and she goes where she wants. So I bring coffee and snacks.

  5. Indiana posts the truck price just as AZ does. Only in IN the truckers get the discount – in AZ the RVs get the discount. We discovered that a few years ago traveling I-80 thru IN.

    Beautiful sunrise coming up over the mountains – it will be another glorious day of sunshine here near Q.

    See you in Yuma for the Rally.

  6. Hey Nick from a long-time lurker. I have found that you can prevent that jack alarm if you let the HWH system “time-out” when you store the jacks. In other words – when you store the jacks before you take off – leave the system on after the red lights go out – the system will stay on for about 2 minutes and will then turn itself off. This allows more fluid to drain back to the resevoir from the jacks and they go a little further up. If you turn off the system as soon as the last red light goes off you end up with one or more jacks in a position very close to where the “down” alarm is actuated. As you found out – a bumpy road can then cause a small movement of the jack and set off the alarm – which as you know – can really wake you up!

  7. Comment of the day: Yes, cursive was and is necessary!!!!!!
    Some states have different prices for semi trucks compared to others than semi trucks. The semi trucks pay a tax to the state upfront for fuel. This enables them to have lower costs at the pump. Or as we are seeing, cash is lower than credit but that is usually only a few cents (up to 5 cents). 14 cents a gallon is a pretty steep price to pay for using your credit credit. We use Flying J where ever possible because their prices are usually very good and with our Flying J card we can use our credit card for the cash price.
    Good luck on the sale of the bus. Connie B.

  8. Nick, Be sure to let Terry drive often enough to keep her skills sharp. Don and I take turns driving our Phaeton motorhome. If we’ve been parked in one spot for a couple of weeks or longer, and then we take a short trip to a nearby location when it’s his turn, it might be 3-4 weeks before it’s my turn to drive. I have to go through a mental checklist to refresh my feeble brain about the routines of getting on the road, watching the mirrors, side and rear view cameras, etc. But I love driving this big rig!

    And, by the way, it’s 39 degrees in Benson this morning! Hope all goes well with finalizing the sale of your bus.

  9. The price difference could be something very simple. I work at a local gas station. Those signs are changed electronically. The hang up sometimes. When ours has hung before, it sometimes take a day to get it fixed.

  10. On this date a year ago we also traveled north to Elkhart, the first day of our fulltiming adventures. We were parked at Brad and Hall (also with electric hookups) to have our TVs changed out. It was FREEZING (18 degrees) when we were there. Your blog brought back alot of memories of our first days on the road. We certainly felt like you did by traveling north in December. After a few days we made a bee-line to Edisto Island, SC and Savannah, Georgia where the weather was perfect.

  11. Nick, we tired of traveling through Nashville. The last two times we took RT 155 around the east side of Nashville and found this to be much nicer and easier on the nerves. Next time give it a try, I think you’ll be happier.

  12. Connie has it right, Indiana posts the fuel price before road and sales taxes. If you have an Indiana tax permit you pay the posted price, otherwise they add the tax.

    And, as she said, the Flying J credit card gets the cash price, use your Flying J RV card as well and get an additional penny per gallon. When I fill the Volvo it is usually 200 to 250 gallons, so the discounts are substantial!

  13. Nick,

    We always travel with the store button on and then the system will pull the jack up automaticly. Stay warm and safe travels.

  14. Nick on some jack systems the alarm means that the oil reservoir is low. You might check your manual to see how to measure it. Ron

  15. You need a DOT number to get truck price, Fed fuel tax, gas , diesel and propane, powered highway vehicles.

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