Jan 032010

We wanted to be on the road by about 9 a.m. yesterday, but that didn’t happen. We were up early, and Miss Terry got the inside of our Winnebago ready for the road, while I made a stop at the dumpster, and then went up to the office at the Thousand Trails campground to tell them we were checking out a couple of days early. Our case of hitch itch just needed scratched.

Back at our RV site, I unhooked the utilities, and then Terry ran in our slides. The bedroom slide went fine, but when the living room slide started coming in, big chunks of ice started falling down from the top, along with cold water. The slide suddenly came to a stop about eight inches away from being all the way in.

I was outside, and had Terry run it back out, and then try to bring it back in again. It came another inch or so more than the first time, then stopped again. The problem was that the rain we had a few days ago had frozen and formed thick chunks of ice on the slide topper, which were jamming the slide. Terry went up the ladder on the back of our motorhome, I handed her up a broom, and she swept the top of the slide topper clean, dislodging chunks of ice about ¾ of an inch thick and up to six inches across.

With that chore done and Miss Terry safely back on terra firma, we retracted our leveling jacks, and then Terry noticed that our automatic Carefree patio awning was out about four inches. We had not used the awning since we arrived at the Thousand Trails, and I suspected that water had also accumulated inside and frozen, pushing the awning out. Sure enough, we extended the awning and more water and ice fell out. Did I ever mention that cold weather RVing sucks?

With everything finally buttoned up, I scrolled through the display on our PressurePro tire monitoring system, and then pulled out of our RV site and made a stop at the propane station to fill our tank, then Terry drove the van back up to the office to pay for the propane, came back, and we hooked the van to our tow bar. With all of the delays, it was 10:30 by the time we finally got on the road.

I really don’t like driving through San Antonio, so this trip we tried the Loop 1604 around the east side of the city. The first five miles or so were regular two lane road, with a couple of traffic signals, then the loop became a divided highway two to three lanes wide. There was still a lot of traffic, but we rolled along fine, and eventually rejoined Interstate 10 on the north side of San Antonio. I think the loop was better than driving through town on I-10, but I’d still rather avoid the city altogether.

Once we were out of the metropolitan area, the rest of our day was just a lot of long, boring miles counting the road kill. We pulled into a couple of rest areas for potty stops and to do a walk around the motorhome and van, checking our tow bar connection, tires, etc. Late in the afternoon, with the sun sinking slowly into the western sky (sorry, I couldn’t resist that one), we pulled into the WalMart in Fort Stockton, hoping to dry camp for the night.

Terry had called ahead and asked permission, and the lady she spoke to said we were welcome to park overnight, and to please park at the western end of the parking lot. This is a small WalMart, not a SuperCenter, and when we arrived, there were a half dozen or so motorhomes and fifth wheels, and there was no way we could park without the rear end of the van sticking out into a lane of the parking lot. We decided they had enough RVs at Camp WalMart that evening, so we got back onto the highway and drove another 45 miles to Saddleback Mountain RV Park, a Passport America park a few miles west of Balmorhea. We had covered 485 miles in a little over eight hours of driving, which is a long day on the road.

This is a small campground with nothing much to recommend it, except for price and convenience. It is just off the highway, and has long pull through full hookup sites with 30/50 amp electric, for $10 a night with the Passport America discount. It’s not a place we’d spend any time, but for a safe overnight stay, it was a good deal.

Today we’ll go on to Salt Flat, where we’ll spend a day or two visiting our friends Mike and Pam Steffen, before we continue our westward trek.

Thought For The Day – I started out with nothing, and I still have most of it.

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Nick Russell

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

  9 Responses to “A Late Start To A Long Day”

  1. we’re just leaving Van Horn shorty,so i guess you won’t catch us today,cya in yuma then.

  2. lol shortly*, shorty’s one of our dogs

  3. We always appreciate the information on your blog as to what highways you take and the campgrounds you like, especially since we are still new to fulltiming.

    I appreciate your reference as to stopping at the dumpster. At our RV campground, we also bring garbage to the dumpster, i.e., except for the million dollar coaches that were in our area over the holiday weekend. Although they had been told that the garbage had to be dropped off at the dumpster, it was too big an inconvenience for them and they left it on a picnic table at another site. Too rich to do the right thing? How do we know they were million dollar coaches – because they made sure to mention it to everyone.

    Us – we’d just glad we belong to Escapees where the folks are so warm and friendly.

  4. I thought you were the “Outside” man. How come Miss Terry had to climb on the roof ??

  5. Because Miss Terry is the Fix-it woman! From the stories Nick tells he is only allowed to touch complicated mechanical thing-ies under direct supervision.

  6. Keep heading west, young man — and young lady! We need you in sunny Arizona. No ice on the slide outs here!

  7. Bob,
    Because Miss Terry CAN crawl up on the roof. And because she CAN’T carry my large, broken body inside the coach when I fall off the roof!

  8. I think it’s great that the two of you work together so well. There shouldn’t be jobs that are strctly his or hers. Keep up the good teamwork !

  9. Sounds like you had a morning full of Murphy’s Law happenings. That sure was a lot of driving for one day…AND…hey, what’s wrong with San Antonio? Yeah, it’s a little “metro,” but we have a lot of pretty country and even some quiet boon-docking spots. And lots to see and do. Come see us next time you’re runnin’ through…we’ll roll out the red carpet for you and Terry.

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