Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A Week of Stress

Well, it's been a long and exhausting 9 days since my last post. Despite our hopes, Mo was not out of the shop by the end of last week. What we did hear on Tuesday was that some part(s) in the cruise control had basically died, and they were going to get replacements to fix it. We'd heard nothing about any progress by the end of the week, and while we tried to remain optimistic, it was definitely worrisome. So Joe called again on Monday, and was told that the parts were still not in, that it would take at least 3 days to get them! This is apparently due to Mo's age-- little parts for 1988-model cruise controls are hard to find.

We decided not to wait, and we went to collect Mo and bring her home. We figured that we had driven plenty without cruise control, and we can do it again. Unfortunately, though, when Debbie went to pick up Mo, we had another episode of the fuse blowing and the electrical system dying. This happened right in front of the repair shop, so two technicians were there to see what was going on. It was their opinion that there is a wire loose somewhere connected to the camera (the RV shut down when Debbie turned the lights and rear-view camera on to leave). Joe said he would "take a look", and when Deb drove home without the camera on (and with a new fuse), Mo ran fine. Today we moved her over to Joe's office again, so he could see if he can find the suspected loose wire. Of course, if he can't find it, then we have to ask, what IS causing this, and should we be delaying our trip until it can be diagnosed and fixed? At this point, a big box of replacement fuses seems to be a critical necessity!

So... with this uncertainty added to all the stuff we have to do to get out of here, our anxiety levels are going off the charts. We've started to put together the things that we need to get packed into Mo before we leave--the packing is greatly complicated by the fact that we have no front steps! The front porch is in mid-construction, and although the deck is complete, there is no way to get up and down without a ladder. Hence, we will have to haul everything out the back door and down the driveway to load the rig. And all the time we are worrying, will we really get out of here?

Stay tuned for the next installment. Only two more days to go!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Another Crisis Averted

Ann commented on my last blog that with 12 days to go, I need to come up with twelve things my true love gives to me before we leave. Well, today my true love solved the latest almost-crisis, which threatened to literally leave us stuck in our own driveway!

At 8:15 a.m. today I called Joe to say, "Ready to take Mo to the repair shop?" He says, in a rather frantic voice, "Forget it!! The batteries are both dead. Everything is dead. There's no electric power at all!!!!" I replied with the Understatement Alert comment of the week: "THAT isn't good!" He told me he'd call me later, that he was going to see if he could figure out what was wrong.

For anyone who wonders, this was majorly strange and Not Good. An RV has two full-size batteries, one to start the engine, and one to power the "house", i.e. all the lights, electric appliances, and anything plugged into the outlets. If either battery dies, it can be jumped from the other one, or from our portable battery jumper. For both to die is bizarre. Plus, the RV was plugged into "shore power"-- getting electricity from Joe's office via a long extension cord. How could the entire electrical system stop working overnight?

I went out to walk the dog with two conflicting thoughts: 1) We are buying a new RV this week; 2) we'll have to cancel the trip and stay home-- and there aren't any seats left at the "late" Rosh Hashanah services anymore!! BUT, when I got home, I got a call from my True Love, who said, "It's all fixed-- it was a blown fuse! I replaced it and everything is working again." We're still not sure how-- we had rain last night, and maybe there was some kind of power surge or lightning nearby? But a large fuse which affected the entire system was "totally melted", Joe said. Lucky we make sure to have lots of replacements for that sort of thing, and luckily, he is thoroughly familiar with how electric systems work.

Well, that's my hero! He fixes electrical systems, water systems, generators, valances, running lights, and installs back-up cameras. There is NO WAY I would ever do this trip with anyone else. So..."On the twelfth day 'til vacation, my True Love gave to me... a new fuse in our RV." Mo is now at the repair shop, and we await the verdict on the cruise control.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Small Steps

Joe rescheduled Mo's appointment with the repair shop for tomorrow morning, so we had the weekend to get a few small things taken care of. Item one: new privacy curtain to go around the front of the truck cab to cover up the windows. I measured out the fabric, and discovered when I did so that the adhesive on the velcro I was going to use to hold them up actually becomes permanent if you apply heat with a steam iron. So I tried it, and it really worked! I had thought I would need to sew the velcro on, and had scheduled an afternoon this week to go up to use Betsy's sewing machine. But I finished the curtains completely last night. They look great. One job down. Item two: I spent some time collecting a lot of "highway songs" for my new "Movin' Right Along" mix. Songs like Goin' Mobile, Running on Empty, Life is a Highway, Thunder Road, Life in the Fast Lane, Call Me the Breeze, Holiday Road, and Vacation. Lots of iTunes downloads... gotta have the appropriate background music, right?

Meanwhile, Joe finished fixing the valance in the cab-over window. That is another thing off the list--that valance has been bugging me for a while now (it was falling off.) Neither of these things is big, and we could have managed our trip without them, but it's nice to know that they are handled.

Meanwhile, more items keep being added to our packing list, and I keep reading More info on various routes: take the southern loop around Indianapolis; 10 hours drive from Rapid City SD to Cody, WY; the east entrance to Yellowstone is closed today due to fires. I'm constantly collecting factoids which I hope will come in handy on the trip. Other people ask questions I didn't think to ask, but I learn stuff all the time. 12 more days to go!! Gotta get that cruise control fixed. I'm giving them until the end of the week, then I want my RV back.

Monday, August 13, 2007


Grrrrr. Our usual RV repair shop has no room in their parking lot, so they can't take Mo in for repairs on the cruise control until this Friday. This is VERY annoying, since they aren't always that fast in getting around to doing our jobs, and I want Mo back asap so I can start planning my packing. I also have to measure the front cab window to make a new privacy curtain. I thought I would do it during the beginning of next week. This may not all work out if there is a delay with the repairs. Nothing we can do about that now-- we are off at 3 a.m. tomorrow (4 hours from now) for a 5 a.m. flight to Wilmington, NC and 3 days at the beach. So everything will now be on hold until the end of the week--at the earliest. I was hoping they could do the repairs while we were gone. Disappointed!! Not "Movin' Right Along" too quickly at the moment....

Saturday, August 11, 2007

All Systems Go? Not So Fast.....

Last month Mo spent a few days in the shop, having all kinds of preventive maintenance in preparation for our trip. However, I wanted to take her out to make sure that everything felt right, and that no new problems had cropped up (why is it that when you leave a vehicle at the mechanic, you get it back with a new problem?) So today we headed out for a "joy ride" up to the Delaware Water Gap and Old Mine Road, formerly the site of Harry's Farm. Harry was Joe's grandfather, who made the property into an idyllic resort on the Delaware River during the 1940's. The land there is still very special to our family, and despite the fact that the buildings were all destroyed by the US Government when it had plans to build the Tocks Island Dam, we love to visit the property and see the farm in our imaginations from time to time.

So off we went on a glorious day, and it turns out we were smart to make this little day trip. Mo's cruise control, which we used with no problem during our last excursion, now doesn't seem to be working. So now we need to get that fixed before we leave-- I am NOT driving across the country on interstates without being able to set the cruise control and relax. It is all too easy to find ourselves going 65 mph, and although that sounds fine in general, we think we will get significantly better mileage if we can stay at 55. For that, we need the cruise control to guard against an overly heavy foot on the gas pedal!
We stopped on the way to the farm to pick up Joe's sister Betsy. Betsy lives down a very narrow lane--we wanted to see if Mo could make it through the trees. Success!

A view of Betsy's lane from the front seat.

When we got to Old Mine Road, we found a place to pull off and park just past the site of Grandpa's farm. There were some old buildings still standing on this adjacent property, and we explored them a little bit. What a run-down mess, but all four of us (including Roxy) couldn't help imagining what it would be like to have a vacation home there. Joe says that the government would rent that part of the land to us for $1/year, if we would renovate it! I want to know, what constitutes renovation? If we rehabilitate the old dirt road we hiked down, so we can park Mo down there and spend the weekend, does that count? $1 seems like a great price for a permanent campsite on the shores of the Delaware River, doesn't it??

Betsy taking a photo of an abandoned building on Old Mine Road.

We hiked back up to Mo, and returned to Betsy's house via Route 46. Such a pretty road--right along the river, and so picturesque. Plus, we got to stop at a famous bit of Jerseyana-- Hot Dog Johnny's, in Buttzville, NJ (who could make this up?) All in all, a really delightful day, and useful. Looks like Mo will be in the shop again this week--our departure is only 20 days away! Mo parked at Hot Dog Johnny's.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Introducing our cast of characters

Here's a photo of the star of our show: Mo, our 27' 1988 Fleetwood Tioga Arrow motorhome. We purchased Mo in October of 2004, and we've been nurturing her ever since. In fact, Joe's main hobby these days is RV repair and maintenance! But that's okay; we love Mo, and everyone needs a hobby, right?
Mo has about 45,000 miles on the odometer. She now has new tires, a new water heater (installed by Joe), and some cool gadgets, including a rear-view camera and fancy tire-pressure gauges (also installed by Joe.) We've had some issues with the electrical system, particularly the alternator, but all in all, we think Mo is ready to travel to California.
That's Roxy on the left. She thinks RV-ing is wonderful, and she will be travelling with us in September. Roxy is crate-trained at home, and from her perspective, Mo is just a great big crate that we all live in together. As far as Roxy is concerned, any day spent with us is a perfect day. And as far as we are concerned, any day spent with Mo is a perfect day. Can you blame us? Just look at the woods behind our campsite, and there's a stream directly behind where we are camping. What's not to love?

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

A Journey of a Thousand Miles

A journey of a thousand miles.... begins with a single step. Or, in this case, with the first blog entry. So here we go.

Just like a certain frog and bear, Debbie and Joe are taking a road trip to California. We know we'll have many adventures.... we know we'll have lots of fun. Click the arrow in the screen below to hear our theme song! It's only 23 days before our scheduled departure.....

"A Frog and a Bear, seeing America!!!!"