Wandering through life’s wonders
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March 10, 2021, It’s all becoming real:
The new Magnitude RV arrived last Wednesday. Precisely one week ago this dream of becoming an adventuresome, road warrior became real. I truly, truly feel at peace with the world when I am exploring nature. Ergo, I must embrace this new RV lifestyle, because, at most other times, I am an anxiety-ridden wreck.
Yes, I am looking forward to the open road! I am also a tad nervous about driving a 36-foot-long truck, while towing a full sized pick-up truck that is brimming with supplies and carrying a loaded bike rack. What could go wrong? That’s a lot of linear footage to be dragging into a gas station. And, well, crap, I have never pumped diesel fuel before. After 44 years of grabbing the handle for regular gas, what if I have a senior moment and forget that I need diesel fuel? What if I cannot make a wide enough turn to clear the gas pumps? Will I have to begin life anew living in a Flying J Travel Plaza?
If I manage to eek by the fuel pumps and escape to the highway, will I forget that I am the lengthiest vehicle on the road, and begin to pass cars, trucks and busses? Yes, I have a lead foot. What if I inadvertently use it? What if I a pulled over by a ‘full grown bear’ with a ticket pad and a gun?
If I make it to our 1st campsite, will I be able to get properly situated? Will I figure out the hook ups? Will the slide work? Will the awning work?
March 11, 2021
It is nearly time. Nervous anticipation consumes me.
In 24 hours we will be pulling into our first campsite of the maiden journey, provided, of course, that I am not hopelessly stuck in a travel plaza, unable to maneuver past the gas pumps.
The refrigerator is loaded. Packed full. Clearly, I am in fear of starving somewhere along the way.
There is plenty of septic-safe, single-ply toilet paper onboard. Always adhere to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Hiking boots, poles and backpacks are ready to roll.
The bike rack is installed and the tires are inflated. Kind of weird to spend so much on bike ‘stuff’ and so little on the bikes themselves.
A March voyage has its challenges. Do I bring gloves or a bathing suit? Boots or flip-flops? It appears that, along with my fear of starvation, I am also concerned that I will freeze to death while getting a sunburn.
Winter Coat. Check.
Bathing Suit. Check.
Ski Hat. Check.
There is some possibility that I am overpacked.
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We made it!! We made it to Hungry Mother State Park in SW Virginia. No, we are not stranded on a Flying J Fuel Island. I downed a pack of Tums, and pulled through with my eyes at half mast.
One would get the impression that we are new to this experience. We, are in fact on our fourth RV. But this is the big one, the behemoth, the bad bus that will carry us through the retirement years.
Our last RV was a hybrid trailer. Her name was Parker. Why? Because we would haul her around and ‘Park Her’… Parker, get it? So, when we went a little nuts and purchase the Magnitude, we named her Big Bertha. Why? Because you ‘Driver Her’… DRIVER, get it? Probably not, but some golf enthusiasts will chuckle a bit…
Anyway…. we are not new to this lifestyle, but we are new to this vehicle and are trying to get acquainted with all of the new gadgets, sounds and quirks.
It’s March. The weather is fickle and I wanted to get the Mason-Dixon line as far back in my rearview mirror as possible. So, I headed South, even if it meant seven straight hours of white-knuckle driving.
There was an awful lot of “settling” going on as we piloted Big Bertha down the highway. With all of the unidentified “squeaking” it sounded like a chipmunk convention behind the driver’s seat. These chipmunks were loud, relentless and probably a little drunk.
When we arrived and attempted to disconnect the truck, in a chilly drizzle, we heard a troublesome “hissing”, kind of like a Reticulated Python was under the motorhome. Turns out that it was a valve problem on the propane tank. Oh, well, who needs heat?
The RV door has become misaligned and won’t shut, which will make it even colder… but that is something we will worry about tomorrow.
The site is fabulous. The sound of the stream running by provides a much needed tranquility.
No gas stops today. Life is good.
But there were a few 5-lane highways through major cities, a bit of rain and some twisting, climbing roads on the way to our destination. Call me silly, but I get a trifle unnerved on those crazy, 15 MPH mountain roads with no guide rails. Big Bertha is not a Porsche Boxter.
In spite of precipitation and precipices, we arrived at destination #2.
I disengaged the tow vehicle from the rig, and a big, orange, symbol of a wrench displayed itself on the dashboard. I’m no genius, but my intuition told me that this was not good.
We consulted the experts: Youtube.
We MIGHT be okay.
March 14, 2021
Let me begin by saying that this is the strangest campsite that we have ever pulled into, and we have had LOTS of campsites over the years. We are parked on a wooden deck. Every site in this park is situated on a mini-bridge.
We speculate that this is an Army Corp of Engineers marvel. I am dumbstruck at the construction of these ‘parking porches’ and am praying that the structural integrity outweighs Big Bertha’s tonnage.
The sites may be unusual but the hiking is excellent.
We managed a 10 mile morning hike this morning that had several elevation changes but took us to amazing vistas, replete with both lake and mountain views. There were some narrow ridges, slippery leaves and rock strewn areas. All Trails rated the hike as difficult, but only certain areas were a bit tricky. Still, I was grateful for good hiking boots and would recommend hiking poles.
The Spring wildflowers are winning the war with the Autumn leaves, as they peek through to welcome longer, warmer days.
We have not had ideal weather thus far on the journey. It’s been chilly and damp. We had previously done most of our camping in the warmer months. Now that we are “glamping” throughout the year, we have to make adjustments to the notion that camping = good weather.
It’s all about having the right clothes. Invest in a good rain suit and wicking layers and mentally put yourself in survival mode.
Budding, waiting to bloom…
A day without looking through the windshield has been good for my sanity.
No highways. Only trails.
No white knuckles. Only minor (?) inconveniences like no hot water in the shower.
We consulted the YouTube experts again. Could be a water valve problem… too much cold water flow, creating a problem with the on-demand water heater, or a propane flow issue.
I’m clean but cold.