"if you are not living on the edge, you are taking up too much room"

Saturday, January 4, 2014

and they're off!

There is no nice way to say it .... living in an RV in the northern states in the winter SUCKS! This was the temperature that we woke to Friday morning.

Our hope was to hit the road by 9 am but there was no way I was going to risk traveling in that bitter cold weather. Instead I took Rudee out for breakfast where we met our good friend Jany at Flapjack's Restaurant in Brownsburg. Very slowly the temps started to rise and by 10:30 it was a virtual heatwave at 5 degrees so we decided to start packing up once we got back to the rig. I had turned the motor home's engine heater on the night before but was still nervous when I turned that key to the "on" position. I was relieved when that big Caterpillar fired up. Next step was to build up enough air pressure so we could operate safely. We have had an occasional issue building air in the past but it is very intermittent, unfortunately today was one of those days and our air gauges wouldn't move. I crawled under the motorhome and laid in the snow and messed with the air dryers some. This has worked in the past but I couldn't help but think something had to be frozen. I'm not sure what I did, or maybe it was the prayer Rudee said, but once I got back into the motorhome to check the gauges they were slowly starting to rise. :-)
The next hurdle was to get the jacks up so I turned the controls on and hit the store button. I went outside to make sure they were storing properly as well as pick up the boards they were sitting on. The front jacks were doing fine but the back ones hadn't budged .... hmmmmm. I thought they might be frozen to the ground because they had snow around the base so I got out a pry bar and mallet. I was able to break the bases free of the cold ground and they started rising. Whoo Hoo! Another hurdle conquered. The next test was to get the slides in. I was a little concerned that the temps might be too much for the new motor I had just installed but, with Rudee hitting the retract button inside the motorhome and me watching from the outside they closed just like they are supposed to.
I thought we were home free now, all I had to do was back off the boards the front wheels were sitting on. I got in the drivers seat, released the emergency brake, put her in gear and ...... nothing. I pressed the accelerator pedal a little more ..... nothing. Oh Oh, looks like the brakes are frozen to the hubs. Back out into the cold, get the mallet back out, crawl through the snow under the rig! I beat on the hubs a few times hoping to break them loose, of course there is no way to know if you are doing any good until you get back inside and try to move again so after smacking them a few times (as well as my finger once!) I crawled back out, brushed myself off (again!) and got back behind the wheel. This time I tried going forward, then back, then forward and finally tried backwards once more and with a loud "pop" they broke loose and we were free! With a final wave to the grand kids :-( we pulled out onto the highway for our trip south.
My plan was to stop for fuel once we were south of Indy, easier said then done. I heard on the radio that there had been a serious accident on the south side of Indianapolis and traffic in the area was at a stand still. We were able to detour around the wreck but this delayed us over an hour as well as gave me the opportunity to practice driving on snow packed side roads. :-o
We ended up getting back on the interstate about 30 miles further south and we both breathed a sigh of relief, "we're home free now". We actually made pretty good time and were soon seeing Louisville in our mirrors. With the delay getting started as well as the traffic tie up in Indy we didn't get as far south as we had hoped and ended up pulling in for the night at Singing Hills Campground in Cave City Kentucky. The park is about 2 miles off I-65 and decent enough for an overnight stay. We paid $18 for a full hook up site using our Passport America discount. One thing I needed to get done fairly quickly was to empty the black tank. The last time I had emptied it was just before leaving Campbellsville, Kentucky two weeks ago, needless to say it was time for a dump!

I got everything hooked up and gave the valve for the tank a good tug and ....... nothing. The valve was frozen shut! OK, get out an extension cord and borrow Rudee's hair dryer ( I didn't tell her what I needed it for, shhhhhhh) and start thawing out the valve. Well I got the rod that you pull to open the valve to move a little and figured with one more good pull I would get a nice big gush of "stuff" down the sewer hose. Wrong! I guess I gave it a little too much of a pull and the dadgum handle broke off the end of the rod slicing my hand along with it. See, told ya winter sucks! I gave up trying to use the hair dryer and got out the space heater. I put it inside the compartment and closed the door to let it "cook" for awhile. Rudee had supper ready by this time so I snuck her hair dryer back inside, wiped all the blood off it and sat down to eat. Once our meal was done I tried the  valve once again and it opened all the way this time! Yay! Wait a minute though, nothing is coming out the pipe! Oh no, it's blocked by frozen .... (well you can insert your favorite term here since my grand kids may read this). I shut everything back up and went back inside hoping the heater would thaw out the blockage soon. Another hour goes by and I'm back out there again, this time I was able to finally empty the tanks. Hooray! We can use our own bathroom again! :-)
On a side note, I don't think I will be able to eat another one of those frozen fudge bars again. Just doesn't bring up good images in my mind. :-)

On a happier note we have confirmed a site for the next month in Florida. We will be staying at Grove Ridge RV Park in Dade City for at least the first month. This is close to our rental property as well as being a central location to follow up on some of our job prospects. We hope to arrive there and get set up late Sunday afternoon, we are both ready for a break. I'll keep you posted.


  1. Note to self - Summer up North, Winter down South!! I was reminded the other day that "no one retires and goes up North". May be something to that.

  2. Wow, you guys had some trip! I agree with you, I do not like extreme winter weather in an rv either. NO fun. On the positive side, Florida is sure going to feel nice after all that. We had mid-50s here yesterday and it felt heavenly!! :)

  3. Don't give up your longjohns just yet as we are at Rock Crusher RV Park at Crystal River and are expecting Monday and Tuesday below freezing at night.
    Patients is something we all have to practice when working on mechanical items. It also saves on the healing time. Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

  4. Wow! Being the snow virgin that I am: I can't imagine having to deal with all those issues in the cold. I guess growing up in Florida wasn't all that bad.I sure love your attitude. You always seem so positive even when it looks pretty sh**ty! glad you're finally in Florida and sunnier skies!

  5. Sounds BRUTAL. I had a mild but poinient reminder of why I am 'planted' in the south this time of year. Went back to MO mid Dec, sleet and snow, thought I would have delays at KCI. BURRRRRR. Good thing you got gone before the DEEP DEEP freeze coming Sun & Mon. Happy New Year

  6. Brings new meaning to "the shitter's full", doesn't it? We're in the deep freeze zone, looking forward to everyone else's warmer adventures to help get us through.

  7. Yes, it does suck up North being a full-timer! We've traveled in Winter and now we're sitting put . . . either way, it's a LOT of extra work and there are inconveniences like temporarily frozen pipes and frozen tank valves. Blah. I'm ready for April. Safe travels! Hope you enjoy Florida!

  8. Yikes! Im so glad we got out of the North when we did.