The View From The Rear Bedroom On The KOA KampgroundCold
11/15/2008, About 60 miles south of Omaha
This is one of the most bare bones KOAs I've seen, but I've got a nice spot with a great view, plenty of farmland for the dogs to run free, a 30 amp electric hookup to run the electric heater, the electric hot water heater, and anything else electric on the Rebounder. I could boon dock another night but it's going to be in the 20s overnight and windy and it gets pretty remote south of Omaha and, well, I'm kind of splurging on my last night before going from lone traveling to being with family for awhile. With gas prices as low as $1.69 today, I could run the generator all night for less than this space costs, but that's a lot of wear and tear and noise and I don't want to be in a shopping center another night. Tonight I live large at the KOA. I could have made it to Omaha today but I wanted to clean the motorhome, give the dogs a bath, clean myself up, and enjoy one more night on my own. This is as good a place as there is in these parts. I stopped in Kansas City for BBQ... Well, more accurately I got off downtown and drove the motorhome around until I came upon Gates BBQ. Some places are so genuine you just know when you see them. Turns out this place is considered by many to be one of the best, if not the best, traditional KC BBQ. I got the combination platter containing ribs, sliced beef, sliced turkey (I substituted for the sliced ham), fries, plain white bread, and some pickles. Those of you who have been reading the blog and those who know me know that I've had a lot of BBQ in my day. Gates BBQ is the first BBQ I've ever had that is so authentic it needs no sauce. In fact Gates' sauce detracts from the flavor of their BBQ. I've got plenty of leftovers for dinner later tonight. Last night was so cold my propane heater had trouble keeping up with it and it ran most of the night. Used about 1/5 of my propane, which I just filled yesterday at $2.99 a gallon. Oh, that notice on the right, I printed it along with the proof of insurance form with a laser printer I brought for just this sort of thing. I couldn't get the motorhome in for emissions testing so, dare I say, my registration expired. I obtained a 30 day permit online. It lasts until December 10, 2008. I guess that becomes the official end to this adventure, unless I arrive home sooner, which I probably will.
Driving Through St. LouisRainy and cold
I used to live in St. Louis. University City. Lived there while working as a Midwest Regional Youth Director. That was part of what made me what I am today, whatever that is. The heat is pumping out of the ducted propane system on this cold, wet night. And I thought cold fronts in the Bahamas were significant. Try a mid-west cold front for a serious weather experience. I wouldn't want to sail through this sort of thing, that's for sure. It would suck. Driving a motorhome through it, now that's another thing altogether. Quite Doable.
At Least The Price Of Gas Is LowKeith, plains cold front coming through, meaning very cold and windy
11/14/2008, Someplace in the mid-west
I'm in Columbia, Missouri tonight. It's a cold, windy, rainy night. Rained most of today as well. Doesn't matter. The Rebounder is an all-weather machine. It's supposed to get colder and windier tonight. I'm parked between two buildings and there's little likelihood that anything will happen to make us move from this spot no matter how bad it gets tonight. I filled propane this afternoon at one of the truck stops so I have enough energy in my tank to keep me warm for a week or two even in these cold temperatures. It's only another day or two to Omaha and then we will be warm and cozy in my sister's house. Also emptied the holding tanks today for the first time since leaving North Carolina. I've been having a battery-related starting problem but I'm trying to solve it myself rather than getting a tow to a repair shop through the AAA insurance. I think I've isolated the problem to a bad electrical connection at the battery and I think I've got it fixed, but we'll see. It seems I've brought bad weather with me most everywhere I've gone on this trip. I'm now hard weather trained. That's the breaks. At least I'm in travel machines that are designed to handle these conditions. At this point I've sailed from Little Harbor, Abaco Bahamas to Florida and then driven from Florida to North Carolina and then driven through a number of southeast and midwestern states to arrive here. Not particularly exciting adventures at present, at least those I can report, but I've covered about 2000 miles from Florida. About 2,500 miles to go to Tucson. A lot of traveling behind and ahead, both on this trip and generally. It took weeks to sail from Little Harbor to Florida with all the weather stops, but that part is pretty much memory and pictures.
Pinnacle Rock, VirginiasOvercast and drizzling from time to time
I'm parked in a shopping center in Charleston, West Virginia. Beautiful day driving the motorhome through the Blue Ridge Mountains. Almost 500 miles from Oriental. Less than 1000 miles to Omaha. There is no place good to park the RV tonight so I hope they don't kick me out of here. Dogs are content. I'm going to start preparing dinner soon. I've been eating more healthfully now that I'm back on dry land. It doesn't seem quite as cold here as Oriental, but I've still got the gen on to power the computer and the electric heater, which is pouring out heat and making me sweat a little. There is a taco bell across the street. Don't hold it against me if I feed there at some point this evening.
Last Inner Banks Southern FoodNice, not too cold
What you're seeing there are southern sides. I stopped at Kings again on the way back home. Those familiar with southern food will distinguish the various dishes. The rest of you, get ye to a southern buffet, preferably one in the actual south or southeast. I couldn't find it on the way in because we came a different way and because the Piggly Wiggly pig was on top of the Kings sign and that messed me up, coming from Tucson as I do. The food was even better this time, having accepted that North Carolina BBQ contains no red sauce and uses instead a vinegary concoction that is almost clear but is still tasty. I only made it about 190 miles west today because I stopped so many times for various supplies. We're presently in Mebane, North Carolina camped out at a Walmart. It's nice. Quiet. except I'm using the generator to heat the place and power the computer just like I did in the summer with the air conditioners. Aside from that I'm about to feed the dogs and then make foray into the SuperWalmart for something fun to eat for dessert. Wish me luck.
Back On The Original Magic CarpetCold and clear
11/11/2008, Oriental, NC
I'm enjoying a cup of hot coffee made on board as the morning light comes up on this chilly morning. Slept somewhat fitfully from 10:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. At least it was warm and cozy and I didn't have to worry about the anchor dragging or the weather changing in the middle of the night. After walking the dogs this morning I'll fill up with water and fuel (and propane at some point since I'm using a lot of it to heat the place at night), do the final checks on the motorhome, and head off towards Omaha, where my sister and her family live. I mapped out the voyage from Oriental to Omaha to Tucson and it's almost 3000 miles without detours. Fortunately the price of gas is 1/2 what it was when I came this way early last summer. The engine oil looks good so I think I will forgo changing it at this time. The place in Bayboro can't get me in until later this afternoon and I don't really want to hang around waiting. The existing oil has 3000 miles on it but its all highway miles and I did some research on the net that indicates 6000 miles or more between oil changes in a traveling motorhome is fine. I'll keep my eye on it but it's not black at all right now - looks almost as amber as new oil. Other fluids look fine too. I've got the AAA RV coverage still active so if it breaks down on me or if I blow a tire or something, I've got some coverage to get it fixed or towed. Imagine what it costs to tow a 34 foot motorhome without AAA... Lets hope I never find out. For those of you who are looking for sailing adventures, I'm afraid I've got nothing more to share in that regard for a while. Having not received a single offer on my Catalina 25 for sale in Phoenix, I will likely retrieve it upon my return to Tucson for more sailing adventures in the Sea of Cortez or elsewhere since it sits on a trailer, which, thanks to Matt, is in better condition than when I bought it (Matt, we'll have work out compensating you for all your quality work). My effort to sell my GMC 2500 truck while I was gone was also a complete failure (thanks to the gas prices and the economy I guess) so I unexpectedly have a great truck when I return (as well as the two motorbikes I kept, one of which is on a versahaul on the back of the motorhome. I bought the truck mainly so I would have a vehicle big enough to tow the Catalina 25 (and transport the dogs, of course). So, as it turns out, I have a great trailerable sailboat and a great vehicle that will take it anywhere... maybe things have worked out for the best in terms of future sailing adventures. There are places I can go with the small sailboat that would be impractical to bring the big boat to right now (like the Sea of Cortez, Catalina Island off the southern, California coast, the lakes in far northern Arizona like Powel and Mead and Rosevelt, maybe Tahoe... anywhere near a road).Until then, its just RV adventuring for several more weeks at least. I'll try and take some nice pictures. Frankly, I'm happy to be off the boat and back in the motorhome. It's a nice change. The dogs appear quite contented too. Looking forward to seeing family, friends, and maybe even looking into working upon my return to Tucson. With this economy, I don't know yet how I'll be received in the working world, or vice versa.
Packing The Unused And Undonated Boat Food Into The RebounderPerfect
11/10/2008, Oriental, NC
I'm spending today getting the motorhome ready to travel tomorrow. Ed hooked me up with a place to get the oil changed along the way to New Bern so I'm going to try and coordinate that for tomorrow just as I get on my way. It's a beautiful day in Oriental and probably the last day I will be here in a long, long time. Back to unpacking, or packing, or whatever its called at this point. It's definitely weird to be back on the motorhome. Not bad, just odd. I'm so used to the responsibility of managing the boat, this thing doesn't require much attention while it is standing still, which is a lot of the time even while traveling. But I've got things to do to keep me busy and will be traveling again before long. After all this traveling, I still need to stay busy to be content. Just sitting around doing nothing... haven't mastered that. Back to getting ready for overland travel.
Oriental HarborCold and clear
It was a cold night but I had a down comforter, propane heat, and Anne in bed with me, so I slept well. I also put the blue comforter from the boat on top. It smells like sailboat - a marine, light musty smell. It was very comforting somehow - familiar, like a small part of the sailboat lingering with us. When I was here last it was all about the air conditioning. When I plugged in the electricity last night the air conditioner came on, which means I kept the air on until the very last moment before I departed for a summer and fall of pure elements. This morning I drove the dogs to the Bean to get coffee as it was too cold that early to walk. I'm heading out in a few minutes for New Bern to return the rental car. Ed is picking me up at 10:30 a.m. I've got all my stuff in the Bounder and I'm about 2/3 of the way done packing it away. Making some oat meal before I go - fast food binge is over.
Going On The HardNice but cold
11/09/2008, Ft. Pierce (I'm presently in Oriental)
It's 48 degrees here in Oriental. Supposed to get down to 40 tonight. Fortunately the Rebounder has a great propane ducted heating system so we are nice and cozy. It's surrealistic to be back on the motor home, yet it feels almost like being back at home. It's been a decent couple of days since putting the boat on the hard. As usual it was a lot of work getting the boat ready to store. They did a great job spraying and scraping the growth off the hull. That cheap West Marine bottom paint did just fine for the 4 months I was in the water. My main zink wore completely off. Still need to check the engine zink - I bet its gone too. No blisters that I could see. I could be cruising again on Tropical Dreamer in less than a week when and if that happens. I went as far in 13 total hours of driving as I went in a month or two cruising down the ICW. Different trip altogether on the way back. Stayed at a hotel with the dogs last night. Tried to listen to the radio while driving north but most everything sucked. Rental car broke down on me 92 miles from Oriental and I had to get a tow to the New Bern airport to get a replacement and then unload and re-load all my stuff into the new car. Jake and Anne had to stay in the old rental for over on hour during the tow while I had to stay in the cab with the chatty driver. We all did fine. After what we've been through, we can handle most anything at this point. More unpacking to do tomorrow morning, then off to return the rental car to New Bern. I'm planning on departing Oriental the next day, but you know how Oriental can be when it comes to departures. I'd like to find someplace to get the oil changed on the Rebounder before I drive it another 2500 miles but Oriental probably isn't the place for that. I'll ask around. I managed to obtain a ride back from New Bern tomorrow so I won't have to take an expensive taxi. I have to say it's mighty nice to be on dry land for a change. Less exciting... less damp too. I imagined the motor home to be much roomier than than the Catalina 36, but it's really not so much roomier. The sailboat has the deck space that really makes a difference and the boat appears wider or at least uses that space better. Regardless, it's nice to be back "home." Even the dogs are resting comfortably. Jake is sleeping on my bed, which he hardly ever does. He must be ok. Goodnight.
Packing OutNice, getting warm
11/08/2008, Riverside Marina
There simply isn't enough room in the car. I took so much stuff with me sailing because I didn't know how long I would be gone. A lot of the stuff I'm leaving will be useful for continued cruising, whether long or short. But things go bad on a stored boat pretty quickly so who knows how much of it will last since it will be at least 3-6 months before I'm back on the boat... maybe more. I managed to get plenty of sleep last night except for waking up at midnight to drag the dogs inside the cabin because they wouldn't stop barking at something that got too close to the boat. Awoke at first light, put the dogs in the car (they are already getting the back seat sandy and nasty), and headed to Dunkin Donuts for a well-toasted everything bagel and creme cheese and a coffee with creme and sugar. Yum. Jake hasn't left the car since we got back. Anne is hanging on the boat with me while I work to get the all the final details tied up. There is another boat in the travel lift space so I gather my 9:00 a.m. haul-out is in jeopardy. Oh well, I could use some more time to get the boat ready. Means I will be driving at night some to make it to Oriental within the 3 day window. In the meantime, there are several BBQ places in this town that I've been eying. I tried one yesterday for lunch. It was good, but I think there's better. Seems like I'll be here until least lunch. Well, gotta keep on the packing. It's not hard, it just takes continual effort until there's nothing more to do but put on the locks.
Singer Family Adventures
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