Saturday, April 9, 2011

We Made It, but OUCH!

Well, good news and bad news.  First the good news.

We took off around 5:30 Thursday evening.  Went up the 5, then headed over to 101 and took that until the 680/580, etc. on to Vacaville.

 Katie all set in her bed in the passenger seat

It was a fabulous trip - I LOVE the way she rides.  Very easy, actually more comfortable than my car for a long trip.  We stopped at the first rest stop to re-adjust some things, then took off again.  The next rest stop was a potty stop for me and Katie.  So nice to have my own bathroom!

The plan was to drive until I was tired, then stop and sleep until I was ready to go again.  The third stop was a couple of towns south of San Luis Obispo. I saw a Walmart from the freeway and pulled onto the off ramp and drove into their parking lot.  It was around midnight, and unfortunately they were closed. There weren't any RVs there, so I wasn't sure if I could park there, but there was a "Park and Ride" lot adjoining Walmart's lot, so I pulled in there.  I went back into the RV and there was the dreaded knock on the door.
A very nice security guard said there is no parking at all in that town, nor in the next two up the road, but said the Madonna turnoff  had a K-Mart lot where he always saw RVs parked.

Well, I had been up since 5 am that morning, and it was now midnight, I had a sore throat and had lost my voice, and I was a bit tired.  But having the window open and talking to him revived me somewhat, and I didn't have a choice, so we got back on the road.  We took the Madonna turnoff, but I couldn't find the K-Mart, so we got back on the freeway again.

About an hour later there was another rest stop, and we pulled off there.  It was now 1:00 am. Besides being "under the weather" I was really tired by then.  I think the Adrenalin was keeping me going, but it was starting to fade.  This rest stop was very well lit, clean, about half full of cars and a couple of RVs who were obviously stopped to sleep, so it was perfect.

Katie and I got comfortable up in the bunk in our sleeping bag with a down blanket over that, and we were out in seconds.  I slept like a log, and woke up - wide awake - at 5:00 am.  So, with only four hours of sleep, we were on the road again. I can't tell you how much fun I was having.  It really sounds awful, but it wasn't!  I turned on the truck heater, and it worked great.  We were toasty in minutes.  I had a big thermos of coffee, and the little bit left was still a little warm, so I finished it off.

We stopped for gas a couple of times.  Before I left home I put around $75 in the tank to top it off.  I stopped twice and put in $100 each time.  I'm not exactly sure how big my tank is, either 45 or 55 gallons I think.  But I figured out I get exactly 100 miles per 1/4 tank, so I can go 400 miles on a full tank.  I haven't figured out my mileage yet, but I will.  I think it's around 10 mpg.

I arrived about 10:40 am.  Just in time to go with Kristy and Lauren to Lauren's gymnastic class, where she was now doing "flips."  That was the big thing, she didn't want to try them before, but now that she can do them, she gets to go to the  next class.  (It's not a real flip, kind of modified.  Using the bars.) I was really glad I got there in time for Lauren's gymnastics class.

We hit a little weather on the trip, but not much, and a little traffic, but not much.  That extra HOUR (supposedly) added on to my usual (taking the 5 over the Grapevine) trip of less than 8 hours, was actually 17 hours!  Take out the four hours we slept in the rest stop, and I was driving for 13 hours.  I have no idea why it took so long. I can usually go 70 to 75 mph on parts of the 5, and I was consistently driving 60, a little 65 mph, so I WAS going slower.  But it took an extra 5 hours.

I'm praying for no snow on the Grapevine on the return trip.  I know it will probably take me 10 hours minimum in the RV because of the reduced speed, and with a couple of stops for fuel I'll be home Monday in the afternoon.  If I leave at 5:00 am on Monday morning, I should be home between 3 and 4.

Katie and I are having a wonderful time. Kristy and Matt and the kids have a new dog, Cody, a little dog that's part Chihuahua like Katie and they are getting along fine.  Both dogs love to run, and this is the first friend Katie has had.   I got to see Lauren's gymnastic class and Andrew had two back-to-back T-Ball games this afternoon, and he did really well. 

Now for the OUCH!:
 Can you see it?


You know,  this is just one of those things that happens.  My son told me I was driving the RV really well, the only thing he could see is I was making circular turns like you do in a car, and I needed to make square turns in an RV - drive forward more, then right turn, no rounded turns.  

I needed gas, so I drove into a gas station that looked kind of small.  I parked by the pump, then got out to fill up, and the nozzle didn't reach the gas intake opening.  I should have known then, and driven to the next gas station that had wider gassing-up lanes.  But I got back in and drove closer to the pump and further forward, which was not comfortable because I was too close to parked cars and wouldn't be able to drive out forward. But I filled up, got back in, and carefully drove forward, turned the wheel, backed up, and did that a few times until I was sure I could clear the parked cars.  Then I turned in a circular motion to drive out and "Crunch."  I backed up, another "Crunch" but I was free. I got out to see what the damage was, and I could clearly drive okay, so I went onto the street and pulled over to see what I had done.  I had just cut the corner too close, because there was a upside-down U shaped barrier at the corner of the gas tank and I hadn't seen it.

I thought to myself, "That's why they say to get out, walk around the RV and see what's possibly in your way."  So, now I can't open the compartment with my batteries in it, but I'll have my son look at it and see what needs to be done. I'll have to order another compartment door, maybe some new decals, and the fiberglass will need repair.
I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I work for my son, he owns the bathtub refinishing company I work for, and we also do fiberglass repair work to fiberglass bathtubs.  I'm thinking maybe one of our technicians can do the repair work and it won't cost me too much.  We'll see.

At least it wasnt' too bad - or I don't think it will be.

Andrew and Lauren have been sleeping in The Palms, too. Katie and me in the upper bunk and the two kids on the pull-out couch.  It's all very comfortable, and I'm finding I have plenty of room with the four of us, and sometimes my daughter Kristy visits us.  The rest of the time, of course, we are in their house, but this has encouraged me that with me and Katie alone, we will have plenty of room.

Tomorrow will be fun. We have lots of things to do, and Kristy and Matt are hosting a dinner tomorrow night.  Then early Monday morning I'll wake up and go home.  Hope fully over the Grapevine.

From me and Katie, have a great Sunday, everyone!  : )


  1. We crunched the side of the RV we rentd in New Zealand in a similiar way. It happens. Hope you can get it repaired as you mentioned.

  2. congrats on making it to your destination unscathed..basically is all a learning curve..I guess you just have turn wider when pulling out of small spaces! ..or find bigger gas stations...have a great time with your grandkids!!

  3. Those DARN gas stations! That is the 1st thing i did too, on the way home from getting the RV. The biggest angst i still have, getting in & out of gas stations.... Always have to be able to SEE them and how to get in & out b4 i head in.
    Take Care, drive careful!! It IS fun isn't it??

  4. It's not just the gas stations, but maneuvering around a parking lot with all of their insane concrete barriers is a nightmare. I love my truck, but that is the biggest difficulty with it - pulling in and out of just about anywhere.

    I know it's difficult when you want to make a trip over a long weekend and you drive too many miles, but for goodness sake, don't ever leave that early in the morning and drive until after dark, much less midnight. Your reflexes by then aren't worth what you think they are, and then when you run into a situation where you can't stop at the place you intended, you have to drive on - really a bad thing to do and 100 times worse when you are driving ANY kind of RV. No more preaching from me, but please do take care of yourself and try to take it easy. That's what separates the full-timers from the weekenders and wannabes, and you might as well get into full-time mode from the beginning. Glad you made it ok and are enjoying yourself.

  5. Thanks for sharing your shake-down cruise. I still have to live life on the road vicariously, and having you share the adventure from dream on has been fun. Glad your shake-down was fun, too. And yes, take your time. Don't rush. Leave that for the tourists.

  6. Glad that despite the 'ouch' and lack of sleep, you had a good time. You've gotten that first ding outta the way.

  7. What an adventure! You can fix that nick but the most important thing is it sounds like you got the right RV for you. Katie looks adorable, as usual, in the co-pilot seat.

  8. I have a van class B but I found I go considerably slower in the RV than in the car. My first day was pathetic as I got used to driving it. I think the extra time comes from knowing you have everything you need right there so you are more relaxed and also, it does take extra time to make stops as you go slower to check your clearances. Plus, in a car, all I think about is getting to my destination whereas in the RV, the trip itself is more fun.

    Check your mirrors and get whatever it takes to see all the way to the end of each side from the driver's seat and get a backup camera if you don't have it. My van allows me to see all the way around it and it helps a lot.

    I hadn't thought about it but my diesel means I use the truck pumps where the clearances are always good.

  9. Looks like you had a good maiden trip, even with the ding, it sounds like you had a great time. It's good to know the RV is the right size for you.

  10. Congratulations! You got that first ding out of the way!

    Hey! maybe this will open a whole new venue for your son's business!

  11. Sounds like a long driving day but it also sounds like you are loving it!! :-) Congrats!!

    Sorry about the "ouch" but those things do happen and it can be fixed.

  12. I'm happy for you and just a little wistful as I will be living this part of life thru you for awhile yet. Can't wait to see what our, I mine your next adventure is! LG61820 ;->

  13. Sounds like a true learning curve. How do you feel about the gas costs? Does it equal out (hotel and car)? Will definitely keep up with your excursions.

  14. Ouch is right, but the good thing is it's minor and is fixable.

    It's wonderful to have the grandkids sleeping in The Palms with you and Katie; have a safe trip back!

  15. Enjoyed reading your post but was saying "ouch" everytime you mentioned the time of departure and the hours on end of driving. I agree with Gypsy when she said, "take care of yourself and try to take it easy." Stay rested and alert.

    I too damaged my coach on my first trip. I scratched my finish and also tore holes in my awning when driving under a low tree limb. I got up on the roof and taped up the holes and said, "Oh well."

    I'm a lot more careful now.

    Take Care and please don't drive tired.

  16. I think most everyone has an "Ouch" on their first RV trip, but from then on, it's smooth sailing! So welcome to the club.

  17. Yup, Been there - done that. I'll likely have to have my entire fender replaced PLUS having to fix the hole in the trailer. Big OUCH ! But we learn...


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