Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The saga continues...

We arrived in Bar Harbor, Maine late today around 4:30. Using our app on my iphone, I had typed the address of Smuggler's Den Campground as 20 Main St., Bar Harbor. Unfortunately, the actual campground is in SOUTHWEST HARBOR. As we came into Bar Harbor, the GPS system on the phone told us to take a left into downtown Bar Harbor. The street was VERY on both sides, and we are driving a 38 ft. RV with my Honda CRV towing behind. Eldy kept saying, "This isn't right, this isn't right, this can't be the way to the campground."Me, having to be right 99% of the time, said, "Well, that's what the phone says...we'll be there soon..hang in there, people will get out of our way." He had his hands clenched tightly on the wheel. If you can picture a small harbor town, with cutesy stores every which way, bars and restaurants and outdoor cafes and little narrow streets with people and cars spilling out everywhere and looking at us like we were NUTS, then you get the picture. Eldy was going crazy trying to navigate the streets or I would have taken the photo to show how we were inches away from sideswiping cars on either side of the RV. BUT, I was doing my job as navigator (HA!) and insisting we were going the right way to the campground. A few minutes later, we managed to get ourselves extricated from the downtown area and back in a relatively quiet part of town while I called for directions..." are in Southwest Harbor? We need to turn around and go back through Bar Harbor? only this time not the downtown?...ok...we can do that.." I had to promise Eldy a couple of beers and proof that the manager of the campground gave me the right directions and twenty min. later, we arrived at Smuggler's Den...whew! So-o-o-o-o-o, if anybody tries to tell you you can't navigate a 38 ft. motor home through the downtown streets of Bar Harbor, Maine, THEY ARE WRONG! and we have no scratches, either! photos coming tomorrow of various things...we are going to Acadia National Park tomorrow to get a special pass that gets senior citizens into parks for a great discount. (that's Eldy, not me, lol) PS. that's a "watch out for moose" sign..I saw as many of these as we did deer signs!

Never a dull moment...

We didn't have time this morning for Sturbridge Village, but that may be on the way back through in a couple of weeks. We woke up around 7:00 this morning with the carbon monoxide detector going off! I bounded out of bed to check the batteries. We were so nervous about it going off, we couldn't decide whether it was the batteries chirping for replacement or a genuine CO warning. I checked the batteries and we were fine. Here's what we think happened. After the low voltage problems of last night at the campground, we ran our generator all night long so we could use our motor home appliances. We think there could have been an updraft of exhaust due to wind conditions and temporarily got an elevated CO reading inside the motor home. After checking the batteries which were good, we put them back in the detector and the alarm did not go off any further. I got the literature out on the detector, and there were several instances where the CO alarm could go off temporarily. Some conditions would also be blocked vent pipe, wind conditions, etc. There can be cross currents of exhaust from fans, vents, etc.We think everything is fine. No further alarms went off. After calming down from the alarm, and eating a quick snack breakfast, we got on the Massachusetts Turnpike and at the first toll booth, we got into the wrong lane..there were three lanes that said "FAST PASS" and we thought said "cash" at the top at one of them, so Eldy picked it. Well, it was a electronic pass lane ONLY...we were three lanes too far over. Fast pass lanes on both sides of us. Somehow we had to cross over two lanes, reverse our direction and head back. Eldy decided he was going to have to turn around. I thought he meant pull around and head back the other direction, get off the highway, then come back on in the correct direction. WRONG! He did a complete U turn with the car in tow behind the motor home! It was a tense few moments as we had to wait for cars to come by us, and to let us turn the whole two units around.. We did a "U-ee" with a cop looking on in the toll plaza lane! Yikes! And RVing is suppposed to be relaxing! We are currently driving through New Hampshire briefly..we crossed the Merrimac River's HUGE! We're headed to Smuggler's Den Campground in Acadia National Park today, we will be two days early, but we can get in....

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

On the road again....

We covered over 400 miles today. Eldy was on a roll, he sure likes to drive! We had a close call today, in a construction zone, with concrete barriers on both sides and NARROW lanes..A semi came very close to sideswiping us with nowhere for us to go..Eldy dropped way off on the gas to avoid getting can be very stressful to have those things happen! I'm glad he is driving, I'd be a nervous wreck! We saw some interesting things...a runaway truck ramp uphill filled with sand to stop trucks who lose their brakes. There were many steep inclines and steep grades uphill and down. We passed under a bridge that was part of the Appalachian Trail. We passed the Erie Canal, and some interesting rivers and bridges spanning them. We stopped at a beautiful campground in Sturbridge, MA. Unfortunately, despite all our references online and apps and books, we weren't aware there were electrical problems at this campground. We use a major surge protector of 30 or 50 amps, depending on the connection at the campground. This one was 30 amp service. We plugged in, turned on one air conditioner and the breaker popped, shutting everything down in the coach. OK, we thought, we won't run the air, we'll just run a little fan. POP! Circuit breaker cut the power again to the coach, meaning the voltage was under powered at the site. We decided to bargain our way to a further away site, where no one was around, and we would just run the generator and on our own power. So we are at the Quinbaug Cove Camground in Sturbridge, Massachusetts this evening. There is a large lake nearby and tomorrow morning we will go see Sturbridge Village, a reenactment of the 1700's in a little village nearby.

Monday, June 28, 2010

High Tech Travel

Remember the good old days when we'd get out a map, and trace a route along the paper maps? Here's how Eldy and I are doing it today...we're in New York, and ready to end today's travel of about 300 miles. We have a directory called "Exit Now"...we simply look up interstate 90 in New York, and it tells you what's available at each exit as far as truck stops, fast food, gas, etc. Next we look at a couple of apps for our is called State Line, and it tells you whether you can sleep overnight in rest stops, what towing laws are for that state, right turn on red allowed or not, liquor laws for that state, and many other rules and regulations. We know that we can't spend the night overnight in a rest stop, so the next app we checked on our phone was called All Stays Camp and RV. It takes your GPS location, and then tells you what's available in campgrounds for each exit and where the nearest WalMart is...most WalMarts allow RVers to park overnight for free...voila! We decide the freebie way is best for tonight since it's getting late. The app has the phone number for the Walmart right there. I call them to check to see if it's ok for us to park overnight, and they say sure! Can't beat that! We'll put our bedroom slide out only and get back on the road early tomorrow. Maybe I can talk Eldy into a decent restaurant meal since our overnight stay is FREE!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Organized Chaos

Today we worked on organizing and reorganizing jammed cupboards. It's funny how you think just because you are going on a long trip, you think you have to stock up on everything before you leave! it's not like we are going to the other side of the world. There's probably a WalMart or Meijer within just a few miles of where we will be staying in Maine, but we tend to think we'd better get stocked up on kindling, groceries and other miscellaneous things we can't do without (HA!) so today, I had to make room for additional "stuff"! Here's what our cupboards look like..I should have done a "before" and "after" photo. We now have camping chairs for beside the fire (ones you don't mind if a few sparks land on them and burn holes in the seat), two rockers for us baby boomers who still need to rock, and then the lounger chairs (zero gravity chairs) that most RVers have..I think we have plenty of chairs for company if anybody stops by. We had to postpone leaving for a day because our computer is not working with the router network set up in the motor home, so off we go to Angola Monday morning to get that ironed out before we leave. We plan on traveling about 300 miles each day to our destination Friday, in Bar Harbor, Maine. we've heard wonderful wonderful stories about the hiking, restaurants, lobsters on the side of the road eateries, etc. can't wait to get there!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Where's Eldo today?

We traveled from weather worn Elkhart County yesterday to Jellystone Campground in Fremont, IN. We'll be here until Sunday...a great place for families...multiple pools, splash playground, water slide, restaurant/snack bar..this place is BUSY! There are so many people on bikes during the day time, it's a little hard to get around! We are in the quiet part, where the trees are newer and not as numerous, but we like it. There's another part of the campground which is popular for multiple families and regulars that I call "Yogi's Las Vegas"...tons of tiki lights, row after rows of them, lots of cornhole games going on and grilling, and lots and lots of's great that young families are introducing their children to camping and keeping healthy by exercising outdoors...we've got our site with ample concrete patio, multiple chairs--rocking or those zero gravity chairs, take your pick, c'mon out and see us! We're my Tastefully Simple bucket mix of Sangria slush ready for anybody to stop by...after a busy day of installing cupholders and various other organizing activities, time to get the campfire going and our rainbow flame sticks out...happy campin' everyone!

Scary Weather! Are you prepared?

On Wednesday, we traveled to Milford, IN, to drop off Eldy's car. On the way there, we heard of really nasty storms coming in off Lake Michigan and heading east. They were talking tornado type weather and rotational cloud patterns with severe winds. It was rapidly approaching South Bend, IN which was about a half hour from us. We thought, well, we can make it back home to the Elkhart Campground if we hurry....not a good we got within about 15 min. of the campground, the skies turned pitch black and we were barely ahead of the storm. The winds picked up rapidly to hurricane force winds according to the radio. The car was being buffeted by the wind. We searched for shelter and didn't have any where to go except for a lone structure in the distance, the RV museum...we headed straight for the back of the building under a portico..there was an RV under the roof of the portico, having sought shelter from the storm as well. We faced our car into the wind, alongside the RV, somewhat protected by the overhang and the building itself. There was a fountain in a small pond off to our left. The fountain was being blown straight sideways, horizontally. The radio reported winds gusting 70-90 miles per hour. As we sat and waited for the storm to pass through, we heard on the radio that there were several tornadoes in the area, the news later confirmed that there were four tornadoes in Elkhart County. One of the tornadoes touched down in Four Corners, a little hamlet outside of Elkhart just minutes after we had passed through it on the county road headed towards our campground. Finally, after what seemed an eternity, (about 15 min.) the storm had moved on and we headed for the campground. We dodged quite a few large branches on the road and saw a few power lines down. The motor home was fine, having lost power briefly (here comes a plug for surge protectors--if you don't have one, get one!) and there was very little wind damage around our campground itself. I guess the most important thing we learned from all of this is plan, plan, plan where to go in case of really bad weather. We always think we can avoid bad weather in the car, but we barely made it ahead of the severe wind shears and tornado that was behind us. We were too confident about the ability of the motor home to sustain severe winds,. Luckily, we didn't have to worry about that, but we didn't plan ahead to where we should get out of the motor home if the tornado came straight to the campground. We will always check for emergency locations in the future. Today, we saw first hand the many trees that were uprooted and many that just barely missed houses...there are thousands of people without power again this week, having just had power restored fromm last Friday's storm...good luck to those people and hope they get back to normal soon! We count our blessings that we are safe and sound...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Preparing to go on the road full time

We've been busy trying to cram two households into one, putting a lot into a storage rental for when we come off the road. We've added lots of clothes and miscellaneous stuff to our Damon Challenger motor home..looking for all the possible ways to store and use the available space in the motor home, which is not generous in this particular model! Sterlite storage containers with locking handles on the lids have become my favorite container of choice. A seagrass basket holds vitamins, and miscellaneous things, another lined basket holds fruit, and still another basket holds chips and snacks in the kitchen. Our bays are full, we've stocked our cupboards, and we are getting ready to make last minute preparations for heading north to Maine this coming Sunday...we're doing little things like adding a shoe holder at the foot of the bed to contain my several pairs of shoes because they won't all fit in the little closet! (We won't say how many pairs) The bays on the outside are taken up with electrical and water and sewer supplies all along one side, and on the other side, camping chairs, campfire supplies, outdoor rug, tables, etc. are on the other side. We need to get our coach weighed soon to see how much weight is on each axle before heading out to Maine.