Wednesday, December 7, 2011

FINALLY...Part 2

In my last article, you read about the start of a trip and what was a pleasantly boring day. In a way, vacations should be boring in the sense of no unwanted excitement, and we have had more than our share of unwanted excitement on trips in our Roadtrek. I should say, and those who have been reading from the beginning, not all of the excitement was because of the Roadtrek - though it did contribute to a little of it.

Anyway, we are in Lancaster, PA. We went to bed last night with the heat pump on and the temperatures outside in the forties. The overnight forecast called for temperatures to pretty much remain there. Early in the morning, I awoke to cold air being blown down on me from the vents in the ceiling above the bed. I knew right away that this meant that the temperatures had dropped below forty degrees and at when that happens the heat pump does not able to put out heat. This happened on our last trip, but then, I had anticipated the cold night and had turned on the propane before coming into the Roadtrek for the night so that the furnace could be run if necessary. Again, the weatherman lied. The temps were to remain above 40 through the night and into the morning. I turned off the heat pump, bundled under the blanket, and went back to sleep.

When the alarm clock went off, I turned the heat pump back on and raised the thermostat. The heat started to fill the RV in a few minutes. It was time to get up and enjoy another boring day.

It was Tuesday. Tuesday in Lancaster County is the day the Roots Market if open. I wrote in July about our visit to Green Dragon Farmers Market. Roots is very similar. It is a little smaller than Green Dragon but a lot of fun. The plan was to spend the day at Roots!

Roots Market (pronounced by the locals as "Ruts") is located in the town of Mannheim, Pennsylvania, right off of Route 72. We have been going here for years - when we are in Pennsylvania on a Tuesday (which has not been often). Many years ago there used to be Christmas Sales Auctions at Roots on Saturday nights and we would make that an annual special trip just to attend the auction. That was always fun and I have a lot of great memories of those nights. Sadly, the auctions ended. I have never really been able to find out why, but the gentleman who ran the business that ran the auction was suddenly gone one year. Well, you won't find a Christmas auction at Roots any longer but there are still animal auctions and produce auctions. If you need a goat or five cases of potatoes, this is the place to go for a bargain.

I have written about Roots before and I will not bore you more telling you about our delightfully boring trip by repeating what you may have read before. We arrived at Roots and the parking lots were jammed. I was surprised as it was more crowded than it had been in July! There were parking spaces that a car could have parked in easily, but with a 20 foot long Roadtrek with a spacer tire sticking out the back bumper some spaces that a car can get into and not block the road are not always a good choice for the Roadtrek. We headed out of one parking lot - and let me also say that these are grass parking lots - no pavement - and we headed over to one of the several others. One lot looked like there were wide open spaces, but as we approached I could see that they were full of deep, wet mud. No way was I going to put the Roadtrek into one of those to sink. We kept driving and looking. The lot that I had found on that last trip here with the Roadtrek was full as well. We went back to the first lot and drove around. There was a spot open on the grass that we could fit in and the ground looked solid. We parked and it was fine. See - no excitement...

We spent the entire day at Roots. If you are waiting for me to say that we came back to find the Roadtrek tire deep in the mud... well, you are going to be disappointed. We got into the Roadtrek and drove right out.

The next day was our appointment at the service center for our demo winterizing and the repair of our black tank sensor monitor. I wanted to call the service center to let them know that we were actually in Pennsylvania already and that we could be there earlier than anticipated as they thought that we were driving down for just the day from New York. Meryl called and got the great woman that has been helping us all along. Meryl told her that we could be there earlier - great. And then when Meryl hung up she told me that she was just told that the part that was needed to repair the black tank had not come in. The little hairs on my neck stood and I said to myself - we made this trip mostly for this reason - and while we are having a great time I do not want to drive back to PA for another service visit. I made some nasty noises and asked Meryl to call back and say that we would be there but if the tank repair was not to be done we would not be there early. Why rush if all we will be doing is the winterize session? Meryl reluctantly called back. I saw her smile - good news. The part was there. It was a mistake that it had not come in and had been held aside. All was good again - we were back on track!

We finished the day with a not so great dinner at a restaurant that we had not been to for awhile. Of course, a stop at a different Walmart ended the night out and we headed back to the campground.

The pop up trailer was still there. It appeared that an older couple were in it. At one point Meryl met him outside and said hello. He ignored her. She came back to say, "So much for all those friendly people you told me about that we would encounter at RV parks..."

Before we closed up for the night and we inside, we had to fill the waste tanks with water so that we could dump the tanks the next morning before the service appointment. It is not nice to have service technicians work on your tank full of pooh. Tanks should be at least 2/3 full when you dump and we had a lot of water to add to get them to that point. And we did not have that much water in our fresh water tank. We carry an empty gallon water bottle with us. We would fill that as many times as necessary to dump into the toilet and then down the sink drain. We would fill it from the water spigot in our space and the temperatures were dropping into the forties again.

A hose faucet is not like a sink faucet. There is nothing to keep the water from just splashing as it comes out. It is not easy to hit a whole in a jug the size of a quarter. It got wet and it got cold. We needed about 20 gallons all together and like a bucket brigade, we filled the tanks. We finally went in to dry off and settle in. I noticed a light outside our rear windows as I was closing the curtains. I asked Meryl if she had brought in the lantern that she had placed on top of the electric box outside to give us light while we filled the jug. I guess not, she replied. She went back out to get it.

Another delightful and yet boring day! We had what we had been hoping for. This was what all of our trips in the Roadtrek so far should have been like!

When we got up the next morning we dumped the tanks and headed to the dealer service center to first have the tank repaired and then do the demo winterizing. We are getting to know the stores that are walking distance from the service center all too well. After about three hours at the stores, we got a call that the tank was repaired and we should come back to do the winterizing.

It turns out that the part that was to be replaced on the tank - the resistor that measures the resistance between sensors covered by water in the tank, did not fix the problem when replaced. The tank still read 2/3 full when empty. The service tech decided to replace the sensors on the tank - and do you know what? For the first time, ever, I saw the black tank monitor read empty and stay that way!

I am sorry if this all has been a dreary read - but for me it was a delight, because the trip was an uneventful wonder. Next article, I will write about the winterizing - and if you have never winterized an RV or you are someone thinking about an RV - especially a Roadtrek - I will give you the whole process start to finish.

Oh yes, we saw the result of the snow storm - remember the "historic storm" in October - in several places along the way in Pennsylvania. Here is a photo of the snow left almost two weeks after in a parking lot near the Roadtrek dealer. At least, we know that we may the right decision to leave...

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