Not all who wander are lost.

Posts by Jason

RVing in Winter Weather

So we are officially rving in winter or at least winter temps. We have been staying at Boyd Lake State Park since we been in Colorado. Weather has been VERY nice upper 60’s to lower 70’s. Woke up Monday morning to 64 degrees outside by Monday afternoon temperature  had dropped over 40 degrees. Monday evening we were in the teens. We have been using a radiant heater with furnace set to about 60 so not to use so much propane (this may not have been a good idea). IMG_2048Sunday we knew colder weather was coming so we put window plastic on 90% of the windows and weather stripping around door. By 6pm Monday night we decide to go to Walmart and purchase another small heater. Our rv runs on a 30 amp connection. This sucks when trying to run two small space heater. We were constantly popping breakers. Late Monday night half of our water lines are frozen (the bathroom half). First thing that happens when your lines freeze is panic. Second thing is search Google to find out what to do. We turned the furnace up to about 72 degrees and opened all cabinet doors to get warm air to water lines. We finally decide there was not much more we could do at this hour so grabbed our blankets and went to bed and figured we would deal with it in the morning.

Woke up this morning to about 15 degrees outside. Kitchen water lines still work bathroom lines still frozen. Ran an extension cord from the power pole and set the new small space heat in the bottom compartment of rv to try and thaw the frozen waterlines. IMG_2054The power pole has a separate breaker so I could run both heaters without popping breakers in the rv. So far lines are still frozen but hoping that after heater runs for awhile they will thaw out. At this point we wait it out and use the campsite facilities and hope the weather warms up sooner rather than later but I think the cold weather is here for at least the next few days. I guess this is part of living the rv dream if your living it in northern parts.

Not feeling well and figuring out insurance.

Not feeling well sucks to begin with but not feeling well in an RV is a new experience all together. For the last few day I have not felt well at all. So finally I decide it was time to go see a doctor because I was feeling worse everyday. The problem is, I have not seen another doctor in almost 15 yrs. I would normally call up McFarland Clinic and ask if I could be seen. Now I am out of my home town and even out of my home state. We got a new insurance company at work and haven’t had to use it any where but at the same clinic I have been going to for years. The insurance is called CoOpportunity Health. I created a web account before we left home so I could look up medical centers in our network. Once logged-in to the site I went to find a network provider, set the location, and clicked on search and a list of doctors came up. One thing I noticed out here in Colorado is the medical clinics are open a lot later and a lot of them are open 7 days week. I called to make sure they would take my insurance and then tried to make an appointment. Since it was a Saturday all appointment were walk-ins. We arrived at the clinic mid morning filled, out all the paper work for new patient, and gave them a copy of my insurance card and drivers license and in about 5 to 10 min I got in to see the doctor (Nurse Practitioner). I am glad I went! I found out I had an ear infection with bronchitis. Hoping for a speed recovery, it’s no fun feeling sick. At least I know how my insurance works and how to find a doctor now that we are traveling. We also got to test our dental insurance as well. Our youngest son, Sam, has also just moved out here to Colorado. A few weeks before we left to come out here, Sam had all 4 of his wisdom teeth pulled. About 4 or 5 days after he got them pulled he was still having pain so he went back and found out he had dry socket. They gave him something for that and everything seemed to be good. The 3rd day we are here he tells us his mouth is sore and his cheek is all swollen. We found a dentist office and made him an appointment for the next day. He got something in one to the holes where the tooth was pulled and it had gotten infected. They had to get some of the infection out and then sent him home with antibiotics. They took our insurance but didn’t know what would be covered so we had to pay for the service and they will reimburse us a check when they find out how much our insurance covers. Needless to say, this as been a new experience…just not the one I was hoping for when first starting out. Also Sam is doing well.

Our first cross country haul.

Well, we have finally started living in our RV. We have arrived at our first extend stay location. We will be staying in Colorado for at least the next few months. We started our cross country haul late Saturday afternoon. I had to back up the RV (5th wheel) for the first time and it really was not as bad as I thought it would be. Tip: Tow mirrors makes a hug difference. Ok, I will admit the thought of pulling a 10K pound RV 700 mile was making me very nervous. I have never pulled anything this big or heavy.  It’s not only pulling the RV, but I am pulling it with a used GMC with almost a 150k miles on it. At this point the only thing to do was to feel the fear and do it anyway. We stopped by JJ’s to say bye to Sadie and then jumped on Hwy. 30 to start our journey west. The plan was to travel as far as we could Saturday and then stop for the night somewhere in Nebraska. We traveled Hwy. 30 all the way to Grand Island, NE. and stopped and stayed at a pet friendly Roadway Inn.  I will have to stay I am glad we decide to take the the hwy. rather than Interstate 80. We drove around 55 – 60 which was fast enough, at least until I got used to pulling the RV and how it would feel behind the truck. When first getting started down the hwy. the ride was very bouncy. I was thinking to myself “I hope this is normal” then I thought “I don’t know if I am going to be able to stand 700 miles of bouncing in this truck” It Felt like my insides where being bounced all over the place. I think my co-pilot (Jude) was feeling the same as me but all and all he did very well traveling. JudeFinally everything smoothed out and I could hardly feel the RV behind me. So after the first 100 miles I figured out that all of the bouncing was due to the road surface. New blacktop very smooth, old blacktop very bouncy! My nerves had finally started to settle after I knew the bouncing was from the road and not something wrong with the RV or truck. The other thing that took awhile to get used to was breaking. When going down the hwy. you don’t think much about stopping. But when traveling hwys instead of interstates you have to slow your speed through towns and in the bigger towns you will be stopping at the stop lights. I have learned to start slowing down way before the lights because it takes awhile to get that much weight stopped. We woke up Sunday and had some hotel breakfast and got back on the hwy. This time we decided to jump on to the interstate. Even through the speed limit through NE is 75 I think the fastest I ever got up to was 70. I tried to stay around 65 as I felt pretty comfortable cruising at that speed. The last thing about the 700 mile journey I learned about hauling the RV and driving this truck was the poor poor gas milage we got. I would say we averaged between 8-10 mile per gallon. The truck had plenty of power with a 8.1 liter motor but it also consumes the gas.

RV Inspection & Repairs

After only staying one night in the RV and before going on our Florida bike trip we decide to store the RV at Webster City RV which is right off Hwy. 20 which was also right on the way home. We planned on storing it there until after our Florida trip. We figured while it was there it would also be a good time to have it inspected to make sure everything was going to be ok before heading to Colorado at the end of October. Inspection cost would be around $200 but we figured for $200 better safe than sorry. We knew everything worked because we used everything the night before so wasn’t expecting to have to many things wrong but didn’t know the last time it had been in for just a routine maintenance. About two days in to our bike trip I get an email from Kenny at Webster City RV sending me an estimate for all the things they had found that should be repaired. Repairs totaled just over $4500. We were like WHAT. At this point we were feeling like maybe the good price we got the RV at might not have been that great of a price after all. I got a hold of Kenny and told him we need to prioritize the repairs and what repairs could either be done myself or at a later date. After going through the list several time and talking it over we decide the most important was the bedroom slide. The bedroom slide floor was rotten and I knew this would be a job I did not want to tackle on my own.Photo Oct 12, 8 40 07 AMPhoto Oct 12, 8 40 57 AM

The slide repair was estimated to cost around $1800. We decide we would also do the wash and roof condition, and get the fresh water fill hose fixed. When everything was all said and done we were looking at around $2500 including the inspection cost. Called Kenny and said go ahead with these repairs. After a couple of days got another call from Kenny letting me know that the slide repair was finished and that the labor hours where about twice what he had quoted. The labor for the slide estimate was 12 hrs. Actual hours of labor was around 22. He told me he would stick to the labor estimate and not charge for the extra hours worked and said he would chalk it up to a learning experience. Next thing that he need to discuss was the fresh water fill host. He had estimate only an hour to fix. The service tech informed him the underbelly of the RV needed to be dropped to get to the fill hose and this added another 3 hours of labor. We decided this was more important to fix then the wash and condition so we removed that part and told them to go ahead with fresh water hose fix with the extra labor hours. Final email from Kenny, RV was done and total cost ended up at just below $2800. Even though I was not expecting $2800 in repairs when asking for an inspection I am glad all of this was found and repaired before we left. Most of everything else on the list we can do ourselves. The people at Webster City RV where very good to work with and did a great job on fixing the slide. It worked and looked great. Also since the RV was serviced and repair they did not charge us for storing.

Day 8 & 9 (Changing Direction 180˚)

Day 8 was a short ride down to Islamorada about 10 miles south of Key Largo. There is a bike path on the east side of US 1 from Key Largo that goes all the way to Islamorada. Once we got to Islamorada we where both a little disappointed not much to see or do. As we sat in our hotel room we decide that the Key’s or southern Florida was not what we were expecting. There is not much of a view of the ocean if any, there is no access to the ocean unless you find a state park and when you do find a beach there are no waves. If your into fishing, snorkeling, or diving you would love the Key’s.IMG_1750

The nice thing about traveling with no real plans but the ones you make on the way can be changed at any time. So after talking we decide we are going back to the placed we enjoyed being at.

Day 9 we rode back to Key Largo rented a car (Mini Cooper Countryman) and drove back to Melbourne Beach. We are staying in the same hotel that we brought the kids six years ago. Our journey has been about enjoying life and seeing Florida from our bikes. Life is good. IMG_1751

Day 7: Key Largo (Great Day of Riding)

“It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best.”

Ernest Hemingway

We dropped our car rental off this morning and hopped on the M bike path that runs adjacent to the bus only road (Busway). Path goes all the way through Homestead and Florida City where is ends and connects with US 1. From here we decided to take Card Sound Rd instead of staying on US 1. From what we have read is has way less traffic. I will say traffic was not bad but one thing to note is there is no shoulder at all. It also will add about an extra 5 miles to your ride. It was a great day to ride sun was out with a few clouds and best of all NO RAIN. Also should mention that before we left this morning since we decided not to camp because of all the rain we shipped about 30 lbs. of our stuff back home. We crossed our first toll on our bikes. When she saw us coming she just smiled and lifted the arm and wave us through. After the toll is a very large bridge with an  amazing view. This bridge did not have a bike lane or shoulder but the traffic was very low. IMG_1731

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We finally reached Key Largo around 2pm. We decide to grab some ice cream since we couldn’t check in to our hotel until 3pm. We checked in to the Key West Inn which is right on a canal. Rooms are very nice and price was even better. After checking in we learned Key Largo in not really much of a beach town. It is more know for diving, snorkeling, and fishing. The gal at the front desk said the only place close that had beach access was the John Pennekamp State Park. After getting settled in our room we wandered down the road to eat dinner. We ate at a local place called Mrs Mac’s. Food was good and prices were not bad. Tomorrow will be a short ride to the next town only about 10 miles and then to two days of 30 – 40 mile days before we get to our final destination Key West. We are only 100 miles away.

Day 4: Sunny Florida not so Sunny

And on Day 3 we rested. We left our hotel in Cocoa Beach this morning and started riding around 8am. It was already warm and very humid. Our destination for the day was Sebastian Inlet State Park about a 36 mile ride were we would setup camp for the night. The ride was pretty good once we got pass Melbourne we actually rode on a bike path. At least I think it was a bike path or a really wide side walk. Either way it was nice. We met a young guy riding his bike to the Key’s also but he started riding from Pennsylvania. He was riding alone and put a lot more miles in a day then we are. It was very cool to meet him and super awesome the ride he has doing. Sebastian Inlet is a pretty good sized park. The inlet is where the Indian river meets the Atlantic ocean. Park is very nice, there is a small gift shop and the only place to get something to eat for miles, which sucks when you just rode 36 miles. We crossed the bridge to get to our campsite (which by the way there is no bike path on bridge but very little traffic).
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Once we found our site we were a little disappointed in the fact that the site is for rv/tent but 90% of site was gravel.Not even enough glass for our tent. After about 10 min of trying to figure out where we are going to setup our tent it started to rain. So we waited it out up by the rest rooms under the awning. Rain stops and sun returns. Then about 20 mins later the rain starts again this time it is rain hard. So once again we go hang out under the rest rooms awning. We look at weather radar and it is going to keep on raining. We wait for about 30 min and it lets up a little and we decide to ride another 15 miles and stay in a hotel.[KGVID width=”640″ height=”480″]http://outwandering.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/IMG_17131.mp4[/KGVID]

We finally arrived at the Surf Club Hotel just north of Vero Beach. Lets hope for dry weather tomorrow. I will be adding photos to the gallery as we travel south.