Friday, May 21, 2021

The Cracker Barrel Queen...

Common among full-time RVer's is a basic travel plan of about 300 miles per day. This lets you get checked in and set up before dark. Diesel pushers and towables tend to travel at higher speeds and therefore travel farther in a day. But I stick to about 55 MPH and plan around the 300 mile limit. I also try not to do more than two back-to-back travel days in order to avoid driving exhaustion. So our original plan for returning to New Hampshire was to stay in an RV park in Petersburg, Virginia for three nights and the final travel day was only about 100 miles. Apparently, someone was not reading the plan

As we approached Spartanburg, South Carolina, the Ford Triton v10 engine in the motor home started running rough. It seemed like it was running on nine cylinders instead of ten. And of course, it was a Friday afternoon. So the likelihood of getting a Ford commercial truck dealer to fix it was slim before Monday. We entertained the thought of staying the weekend, and having it looked at on Monday. But since it was running well at highway speeds, we decided to try to limp directly home and skip the three day stopover. After a fuel stop in Savage, Virginia it started getting worse. I tried putting some high test fuel in hoping that it was just some bad fuel at the Wawa, but no such luck. So we did five back-to-back driving days in a row. It got us home but it is very stressful, especially on the relationship.

And as if engine issues were not enough, we had an issue with our flat tow arrangement. The baseplate, brake controller and wiring were installed in the Jeep just the day before we left Silver Springs. We coupled up the coach and the Jeep and everything worked well. However, somewhere in South Carolina the connector dislodged from the motor home and dragged on the ground causing significant road rash and broken and exposed wires. Without it we had no turn signals or brake lights on the Jeep and those are required in 49 out of 50 states. I found a General RV dealer open on Sunday in Ashland, Virginia. We stopped and picked up a new cord, but that did not give us the tail lights. So either the connector in the RV is bad or we toasted the new brake controller wiring. Surprisingly, we drove from South Carolina to New Hampshire and were never stopped for lack of turn signals and brake lights. But that said, I loved flat towing vs towing with a dolly. It will take a little practice to trust just how much room I need to maneuver around fuel stations.

There are a number of corporations that appreciate RVers as customers and allow them to stay over night in their parking lot for free. Companies like Walmart, Camping World, Bass Pro Shop, and Cracker Barrel to name a few.  Some of the Cabela stores even have a dumping station and potable water available. So on our way home, we stayed at a Cracker Barrel in both North and South Carolina. And to show our appreciation we ordered online and picked up our dinner and our breakfast.  The funny thing is that Pam was very turned off towards Cracker Barrel due shells in her scrambled eggs a number of years ago. But now she is getting to be a Cracker Barrel Queen. There is actually a couple from Indiana that is on a quest to eat at all 645 Cracker Barrel stores. Maybe we'll run into them.
I mentioned that back-to-back driving days are very stressful. Many of these overnights are near the highway and the constant traffic noise can make it difficult to get a good nights sleep. In addition, being cooped up all day long in the big box makes you a little stir crazy. While we were in Silver Springs, I would take a walk about five times a day just to get out and get some air. We do stop at rest areas along the way to get some food or take a nap. But five driving days in a row is just too much. But we are home safe for now. We'll be back on the road in mid-July and don't plan to be back in New Hampshire for about eight months.
And for those that like the data... we were in Silver Springs from October 28th through May 5th, a total of 189 days. The trip north took a total of 14 days, of which we were camped in Stone Mountain, Georgia for 8 days. So the 7 travel days traversed 1581 miles, or about 226 miles per day. The longest travel day was 326 miles. While we have not filled up the tank on New Hampshire, we did purchase $517 worth of fuel totaling 180 gallons, averaging 8.78 miles per gallon. The average price for fuel was $2.87 per gallon. Not bad for an eight ton vehicle towing a two ton vehicle. While we were traveling during the Colonial Pipeline crisis, we did not have trouble finding fuel along the Interstates.
Sorry, no travel pictures. Although I may get a dash cam just so I can record some of the flaming idiot drivers that we encounter. Stay safe out there. And if you are in New Hampshire any time in the next six weeks, feel free to drop in on us.
Sorry, no travel pictures. Although I may get a dash cam just so I can record some of the flaming idiot drivers that we encounter. Stay safe out there. And if you are in New Hampshire any time in the next six weeks, feel free to drop in on us.

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