Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Anyway, we were off. No trip out of this area lately does not include stopping in traffic and it was almost an hour and a half to get to what should have been a forty five minute ride. Once we got on to the New Jersey Turnpike, despite the construction there, it was an open run. We were taking Interstate 95 almost all of the way. Many hate this route because of the traffic around Washington, D.C. on both sides of the city - especially if you get there between 4 and 7 for their three hour "rush hour". We were going to get into this no matter what and this was the most direct route to take.
We did have to diverge off of Route 95 when we approached Baltimore. No propane is permitted in the tunnel that travels under the city of Baltimore and that means getting off of I95. There are two ways to go - to the west of the city on I695, the Baltimore Beltway 0r around the east side of the city on the same I695. I asked on an RV travel and routes forum and everyone recommended taking the eastern route. We did and had no problems and we moved quickly through the Baltimore area taking one of the bridges to get to the south of Baltimore. If you are ever traveling this way, this is the route to take.
We approached Washington, D.C. without any traffic at all and went around the city on the Capital Beltway which is I495. It was approaching 4:00 pm. On the other side of Washington we were not so lucky and went directly into stop and go traffic. Our plan was to stop in Fredricksburg, Virginia for dinner which is about 40 miles south of D.C. and it took us more than two hours to get there. Of course, along the way between the two cities, Meryl needed to make a pit stop - and we were stuck in the middle lane with no way to move to the right lane in the bumper to bumper traffic. Let me explain, that the Roadtrek is a very long and large vehicle. It takes some planning to change lanes and the one thing that you never really want to do is make sudden changes - unless you wish to crash into the car that suddenly comes up out of nowhere in the lane next to you (and the way the mirrors work you will not always see a car along side in just the small blindspot that exists). In this case, there was just no way to get into the non-existent spaces between car bumpers along side of us. We did wind up passing the rest area, moving gradually over to the right when we could and then getting back on in the opposite direction to go back and try again.
We finally arrived in Fredricksburg and had dinner. This is where this great WaWa gas station is also. It always has the cheapest price for gas and this time I paid only $3.03 a gallon. This may not sound like a big deal to some but at home gas when we left was $3.57 and higher at most stations. And the Roadtrek takes A LOT of gas! (On the way home just a week later, the gas at this station had gone up six cents per gallon. Still good - but really, six cents in one week?!?)
Well, after dinner the road was finally clear and we headed south to the turn off that goes around Richmond and takes you to I64 which travels along the peninsula into the Tidewater that leads to Williamsburg. It was after 10 pm when we arrived at American Heritage Campground. The office closes much earlier and our space was posted on a bulletin board next to the front door. From the map I could see that the space was two down from the bathhouse. We traveled through the main road of the campground and counted rows to row 6. When we got to where the space was shown on the map we could not find a number for the space, but where we were was exactly where we should be. With a bit of maneuvering and guidance from Meryl I backed into the space.
When we were at this campground in the summer I found that the concrete pad spaces were perfectly level. I rolled back and forth on this pad to find the most level spot and found it - exactly level. This was important tonight because after we hooked up our electric and cable I wanted to install a pair of levels inside the front of the Roadtrek, one on the dash and the other on the inside of the door. Up to now we have been using a round level that we place on the only flat spot of the inside of the Roadtrek that we have found and that is between the seats and back on the enamel floor. It means leaning into the side door to see the bubble, move out again, and move the van until that bubble comes level. It has been a pain. To install levels inside, the Roadtrek must be on perfectly level ground - or made level. This spot, I knew, would be ideal for this and I came prepared with a pair of adhesive stick on levels. This would be an easier task if you are screwing the levels on and not using the adhesive, but I, at this point, was not into the idea of putting holes into my new Roadtrek. So with a great bit of maneuvering and adjusting I got the right left level on the middle of the dash (where you really cannot screw into anyway) and the other for front to back level - well, we tried a lot of spots for that and none were easily visible on the door. We wound up putting this on the cloth header above the driver's door. Perfect. I was so happy. For the rest of the trip - well, almost the rest of the trip - I could just glace up and on the dash and see that when I pulled in the Roadtrek was perfectly level. So you ask, why not the whole rest of the trip. Along the way, back north while still in Virginia, I glanced up at the level on the header and it was gone. The adhesive did not stick to the cloth very well. I figured it was lost out the door when we had opened it along somewhere that day - but when we stopped for dinner on the way, Meryl found it stuck to the back of my pants. No longer usable, but at least not lost. And, of course, I had to stop and buy another pair and get the RT level in the Pennsylvania campground, and put the front back level in some other spot where it would stick. We decided on the passenger door - where with a flashlight pointed at it, it would be visible from the driver's seat. And when we got home, I bought two stainless steel screws and screwed it place permanently.
A few tidbits about the trip. On the third day at the campground as we were about to leave in the morning, I realize why we could not find the number for the space that first night. It was on the back of the electric box. It was there because this was a pull through space. There was nothing but road in front of us or behind us. This discovery made it so easy to get into the space. No backing up - just pull straight in from the road behind. Now, we know to look for this type of thing.
About the toilet bags. First, they smell, even after use like vanilla sugar cookies - an odd, but interesting observation. They really worked well. We used the campground toilets before we settled in for the night and took care of all posterior business then. Once we closed ourselves in for the night, however, we did need to use the toilet for urination - several times (when you get older you will understand). We kept the same bag in the whole night -and I must admit that each morning it was quite full, but wearing gloves, I would remove it from the toilet and seal it up - get it outside immediately and add it to the garbage bag that we were leaving for the trash pick up. They had to wonder what was so heavy inside that garbage bag. It really was quite heavy when full - and it really never was completely full.
Before we left I had purchased - because of our unusual encounters with the weather this past season - an emergency broadcast weather radio that receives the NOAA forecasts and warnings. I had this with us and on just in case. The weather in Virginia was beautiful and just about every day went well over 60 degrees. Nights were warm enough that I did not need to turn on the heat most nights. We had been discussing whether we should stay on Tuesday in Williamsburg, as planned, and leave on Wednesday OR if we should leave on Tuesday. Before we left we learned that a commitment that we had with a local museum at home at which we do a holiday history program had changed dates and if we returned on Thursday night as planned, we would be out on Friday to do this program. We were thinking that perhaps this was pushing ourselves too much and it would be much more comfortable to be home on Wednesday night instead. When we paid for the nights at American Heritage, we told the woman at the desk that we might decide to leave on Tuesday and not Wednesday, but we wanted to keep it open. We paid for five nights instead of six and the space would be available to us if we wanted to add that sixth night. Nice! On Monday, I listened to the NOAH forecast - rain was expected on Tuesday night into Wednesday with flooding expected on the I95 corridor. That made our decision for us- we were leaving Tuesday. We would spend most of the day in Williamsburg and head off around 2 or 3 pm. This was a good decision because it was raining when we got to Pennsylvania (we had called ahead to change our reservation there). It was a better decision when I put on the NOAH radio in Pennsylvania and heard an emergency SNOW alert for Lancaster County to start on Wednesday evening at 7! Here we go again, in PA with snow on the way. OK - we were getting used to fast get away now. We spent part of the day in PA on Wednesday, had dinner for lunch at one of our favorite restaurants, and I was determined to be out of the snow zone before it started at 7:00 pm. It did snow - about four inches but we never saw a flake. We closed out our camping season true to form - with an unanticipated storm warning!
So how was Williamsburg? Come back next week to read all about Grand Illumination and Colonial Williamsburg in the Christmas Season!
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
We would be traveling without water and no water hookup when we got to the campground. This meant a different way to start thinking about traveling and we started planning for this trip back in September with what we would do - to go waterless. There are three basic needs for water. Drinking - easily taken care of with bottled water. Washing - also possible with bottled water and a basin to wash in. Toilet needs - that was the question. The campground has a bathhouse with toilets, sinks, and showers, but in the cold you don't really want to get up in the middle of the night to get dressed, walk out to the restroom, and then come back to go back to bed. Some will say that you can just use the toilet in the winter substituting anti-freeze for water to flush, but this still means dumping the tank and if the temps fall to freezing this is not an easy task with a cold macerator hose that is coiled up into a small compartment that will not move as freely as it does when it is warm. This was not a difficult puzzle to solve, because there are things made just for this purpose. The easiest is to purchase a supply of "wag bags". These are sold under various names in camping stores. Walmart sells two brands of these - one brand in the stores and a different brand online. These are intended to be used with a frame that has a toilet seat on top and you hang these bags below the seat. As it turns out these bags fit perfectly in the Roadtrek toilet.
Let me explain what these bags are, because even I did not believe there was such a thing when I first learned about them. This is a large silver color zip lock bag that has inside an even larger black plastic bag attached at the bottom. Inside that inner bag is a chemical or "bio-gell" that gells all liquid and solid waste and deodorizes it. What you do, is open the ziplock bag and carefully pull the inner bag out. You place that outer bag down into the Roadtrek toilet and then follow that with the fully open large inner bag. You gather the edges of the black bag around the edge of the toilet and put the seat down on top trapping the edges into place. You then reach in (its clean at this point! but I did use gloves as I did not know if the chemical inside would be a problem to come into contact with) and open the bag as much as possible pushing the sides against the toilet bowl. The bag is now ready for use. You can do whatever you need to do in the bag. When you are finished, you simply lift the toilet seat, gather the clean edges of the bag up and fold them over to close the inner black bag, and then let that bag go back into the attached outer bag. Zip the ziplock and dispose. The companies that make these claim that it is legal and safe to dispose of them in any garbage receptacle. There is no odor and they do not leak.
I had read that others do this with no problem and we decided that this is what we would try for this trip. As I said, Walmart does sell them in their camping department. They are not cheap - almost $11.00 for six bags. During the day we would use public restrooms or the restroom at the campground but at night after bed, if nature called, we would use the bag - pre-placed in the toilet. I began to find out as I looked in Walmarts for these bags that they are popular items and often sell out. I started buying boxes of bags in September. This trip would be for nine days and I was not certain how many we would need. Ultimately, I bought six boxes at various Walmarts - that was 36 bags all together. We could always return full boxes that were not opened and it was better to have them with us than find out that the local Williamsburg Walmart did not have them. I will talk about using these later on.
For drinking and washing we could use bottled water, but Meryl had the idea to get a Brita Water Dispenser. This is a small rectangular dispenser with a valve spout that filters water for drinking. With this we could use water just as we would from the sink faucet and we could fill the dispenser every night at the restroom of the campground (or the hose connection at our hookup). With the grey water tank winterized, we did not want to allow any water go down the sink drain, so we began looking for a plastic box with a lid that would fit perfectly in the sink. Meryl saw one that would be perfect in Lowes early on, but did not buy it for some reason. Of course, Lowes no longer carried this once we went back to purchase it. We looked all over including several stores when we where traveling in September and October for this box. On a trip to a Kmart we found the box - it is the Snapware Smart Store box that says on the label that it fits a 14" shelf. It fits inside the Roadtrek sink perfectly. The handled lid snaps tightly on. Meryl decided that by cutting a hole in one of the corners of the lid, once out of the sink the lid could be snapped on and it would be easy to carry the box without spilling so that we could empty it through the hole that we added in the lid into a sink at the bathhouse. This worked perfectly. We set up the Brita Dispenser on the side of the sink, spout pointing into the sink, with the Snapware box (no lid of course) in the sink to catch all of the water. Not only was this easy to put water into a cup (paper, of course) but it was easy to turn on the spout and wash your hands under the running water, all caught by the box without a drop over the side. Each morning, I simply lifted the box of water out of the sink, snapped the lid on and carried it out to dump. When we would leave for the morning we would place this box under the sink in the cabinet, and put the Brita Dispenser into the sink on a large towel to keep it from moving around (and catch any stray drips). Again, this all worked perfectly!
We were all set. We were heading for Williamsburg, Virginia for the first full weekend of December. I made my campground reservations early in October to be sure we had a space and I also requested a space near the restroom building. We would go for 7 nights in Virginia and one night on the way back in Lancaster just to break up the almost nine hour (longer with stops and traffic) trip. On the way down to Virginia we would do the trip on one run. My only concern was the weather. Last year had we had the Roadtrek and making this trip there was a large snow storm at home at this same time. I am not ready yet to deal with the Roadtrek in snow, so if that was the case again this year, I would cancel the reservations, forfeit the $10 to the campground in Williamsburg for canceling, and hope for better weather in 2012. And if you have been reading along on this site you know that we do not have the best of luck with weather - a ten foot blizzard would not have surprised me.
We were leaving on a Thursday. The festivities in Williamsburg take place on Sunday and we decided to extend our little winter vacation to return on the next Thursday. Happily, as we were leaving the weather was fine - and predictions were for good weather all along - and good temperatures as well. We were off to the American Heritage Campground in Williamsburg, Virginia.
END OF PART 1.
Come back next week for PART 2.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
THIS ARTICLE HAS BEEN UPDATED. DO NOT USE THIS ARTICLE TO WINTERIZE. USE THIS ARTICLE INSTEAD:
If you live in an area where the temperatures drop below freezing in the late Fall or Winter, you are going to need to winterize your Roadtrek. Essentially, this is removing all of the water from your Roadtrek's plumbing and keeping it from freezing. Most RVs have to have this done. Some of the large RVs have heating elements that will keep the plumbing warm in the coldest temperatures, but Roadtreks, for the most part are too small to install the equipment required to do this.
As the temperatures started to drop on us, here in the Northeast, in October we started to become concerned about when to do this - we had a few more trips before we planned to put the Roadtrek on the driveway for the winter. During our trip in late October we almost regretted not doing the winterizing by then as we had a few cold nights with the temps coming down near and at freezing. When we consulted the dealership and a few other RVers we were told that the temperatures would really have to be below 28 degrees F for three days and nights in a row before really needing to be concerned and as long as the days were coming back to well above freezing - in the mid to upper 40's - we should be fine. Just in case, I put a some antifreeze into our waste tanks and with our 190 Popular we have the option to shut off one of the two water tanks - the exterior water tank and we drained that, and turned the system over to just use the interior water tank - which Roadtrek claims can be used up to 14 degrees F outside. It is all a bit like shooting crap. Maybe the water in the pipes will freeze under these conditions and maybe they will not. If they freeze and the water inside of them expands and puts pressure on the interior of the pipe, the pipe bursts and then you have a very expensive repair that is not covered under warranty. We made it through that trip just fine - except for that freak snow storm that I wrote about - but made sure that we had an appointment with dealer service shortly after to winterize the Roadtrek.
Many winterize their RVs themselves, and we intend to do that in the future, but our dealer offers a "demo" winterizing during which the owners watch while the service tech winterizes the RV and you then are taught how to do it all yourself in the future. This cost just slightly more than the regular winterizing at this dealer service center, and it seemed to us to be well worth it to see it all and be taught by an "expert".
The day of the winterizing, we were having some other work done - and while we were waiting for that to be finished we walked around the dealer's RV parts and supplies store, and saw something called a Water Pump Bypass Kit. This kit is installed on the water pump and allows RV antifreeze to be pumped directly into the pipes from the bottle connected into the water lines using the RVs water pump. I had no idea if the Roadtrek had such a thing already built in so we passed it by. Later, we learned that the RT does not have such a bypass (though it does have a built in bypass for the hot water heater), and during the winterizing, we stopped and purchased this and the service tech doing the winterizing installed it for us. I will go into more detail about this as I describe the process of winterizing the Roadtrek.
The following is what we were taught. Please note that this service tech used a combination of accepted methods. He used both compressed air to clear the lines of all water and he put RV anti-freeze into the lines. Some do one or the other. Some do both. For the little additional time that it takes to do both, it is well worth the added protection. With both the whole process was less than an hour.
So - to winterize the Roadtrek - any Roadtrek - here is how it is done...
TO BEGIN YOU WILL NEED -
2-3 bottle of RV antifreeze - this is the PINK antifreeze specifically made for RVs and nothing other than that should be used. Never use engine anti-freeze! It is poison and you are putting this into your drinking water system.
Ratchet Socket Wrench with 1 -1/16" socket (For Roadtrek Water Heater)
Fitting for Air Compressor to Connect to City Water Inlet (standard garden hose faucet)
FOR FIRST TIME YOU MAY WISH TO INSTALL THE CAMCO PUMP CONVERTER WINTERIZING KIT
1 - Open all spigots & outdoor drain & drain fresh water tanks - let air out of faucets – hot and cold, shut spigots off. Make sure, if you have a 190, that the water system is set to "summer" mode and not with the exterior tank shut off in "winter" mode.
2 – Drain (dump) waste tanks (Flush Grey & Black Tanks- clean black tank with wand and dump again)
3 - Open hot water heater outside panel. First release pressure by pressing the pressure overflow release valve - STAND OUT OF THE WAY. Then using the 1-1/16" socket remove the anode tube (big nut) slowly, allow pressure to release before removing all the way - water will come out with force if there is any pressure remaining in the tank. Remove the anode bolt completely & allow water to pour out. Leave out. (Allow hot water tank to cool before draining.)
4 – Place the inside shower head on floor drain. Open all faucets, hot and cold, including sink/ toilet/shower/outside shower. Drain inside shower into floor drain. Recap all drains and close faucets.
5 - Bypass the water heater - 3 valves (in front of it) when pointing at the aisle they are open and this is “normal operation” position. Turn each of these three valves to winterize/bypass position. (After winter put back in position.) Never turn valve top left back behind big red valve. Never touch outside shower valves in cabinet.
6 - Replace anode tube(outside of water heater) get it started straight & carefully tighten by hand, once hand tight then use wrench. Close the pressure release valve. Replace hot water heater cover outside. (There is some disagreement between myself and Meryl as to if this was done before or after the next step. Some I have consulted with since, recommend doing this now.)
NOTE: I HAVE BEEN ADVISED BY ROADTREK THAT USING COMPRESSED AIR TO WINTERIZE THE WATER SYSTEM IN A ROADTREK CAN CAUSE DAMAGE IN MULTIPLE WAYS AND IT SHOULD NOT BE DONE. I AM TAKING THAT ADVICE AND I RECOMMEND THAT YOU SKIP THE COMPRESSED AIR SECTION THAT FOLLOWS AND INSTEAD RUN THE LINES DRY WITH THE WATER PUMP - IN OTHER WORDS RUN THE WATER PUMP AND OPEN AND CLOSE EACH FAUCET AND FLUSH THE TOILET UNTIL NO WATER COMES OUT AND THEN PROCEED WITH PUTTING IN THE ANTI-FREEZE.
SKIP - 7 - Set an air compressor to 25 to 40 psi (this tech used 40 psi - many use 25 psi or 30 psi at the most - NEVER GO BEYOND 40 PSI), attach compressor hose to city water intake valve using a nipple or device sold for this purpose at RV supply stores. Turn on compressor. (Faucets closed). With the air running open ALL hot & cold water faucets - ONE AT A TIME (including outside shower, inside shower, sink, and toilet flush) and let all remaining water out until only air comes out. Close each after a few seconds of just air. Let shower head drain into floor drain. SHUT OFF COMPRESSOR, REMOVE FROM ROADTREK BY DISCONNECTING FROM CITY WATER INTAKE. You are finished with the compressor.
NEW 7 - Turn on your water pump and open ALL hot and cold water faucets one at a time
(including outside shower, inside shower, sink, and toilet flush) and let all remaining water out until only the water stops. Let shower head drain into floor drain. You may find that water does not come out of all of the faucets as you have already emptied the line.
THIS IS THE POINT THAT THE WATERLINE BYPASS KIT WAS INSTALLED. YOU ONLY INSTALL THIS THE FIRST TIME AND LEAVE IT IN PLACE PERMANENTLY. WHEN THE TECH LOOKED AT THE PROXIMITY OF THE WATER LINE TO THE WATER PUMP IN THE ROADTREK HE DECIDED TO ADD A SMALL PVC ELBOW JOINT INTO THE LINE TO MOVE THE VALVE THAT HE WAS INSTALLING AWAY FROM THE PUMP TO ALLOW MORE ROOM TO USE IT. THIS IS A SMALL PIECE OF PIPE AVAILABLE AT ANY PLUMBING RETAILER.
8 - Inside - Use waterline bypass kit now to left side of opening under seat at water pump (remove the brass cap on the new brass valve just installed & screw hose in place where that cap set & turn valve). Valve pointing to pump is normal operating position. Point to intake hose to pump antifreeze. System is pressurized so open & close sink faucets to relieve pressure. Place the tank bypass kit hose into an open bottle of antifreeze as deep as it will go. Turn on water pump. Open sink faucet and when you the hear pump, shut off sink faucet. Pump stops - if doesn’t stop something is open. Turn cold sink valve on until pink antifreeze comes out of the sink faucet, shut off. Repeat with hot sink position, and shower hot & cold (into floor drain), outside shower hot & cold, and toilet flush. Watch for the pink antifreeze to come out of each. Make sure the anti-freeze is the same color of pink as in the bottle. If it is lighter there may be water mixed in at first, so just let more antifreeze flow through each faucet and the toilet until you see pure antifreeze coming through.
9 - Pull hose out of bottle. Run sink faucet into sink. Shut off pump. Turn water line bypass kit valve off. Remove hose, replace brass cap.
10- Pour antifreeze into sink drain and floor drain to fill both traps, & then some into toilet drain for macerator. Dump tank(s) until pink comes out of the macerator hose nozzle. (In this way you are protecting the macerator by getting antifreeze into it also. If you have no macerator then you don't need to dump antifreeze out of your waste tanks, but do be sure to have at least a half gallon of antifreeze in the black tank so that the tank does not dry out!
11 - Leave caps off clean ("fresh") water tanks for a couple of days to air dry them out.
12 - Pour ½ gallon antifreeze into black tank through the toilet and ½ gallon antifreeze into gray tank down the sink drain. Pour some antifreeze into the sink drain again into the trap just to be sure the antifreeze put in at Step 10 does not get pushed out when you put in the half gallon for the gray tank.
13- UPDATE - Pour some antifreeze into the toilet just enough to cover the flap, and leave it there on top of the flush flap. This will keep it moist all winter (as it would be with water on the flap when in summer use). The "cocolube" formerly recommended gets thick and pasty in the cold and is a mess. The antifreeze will keep the flap moist.
14- Leave shower drain loose.
THAT CONCLUDES THE WINTERIZING PROCESS.
What you have done is replace all of the water in the pipes and lines, first with air to dry them out and then with anti-freeze. Many have their own ways to do this process.This is how we were shown. I know that those who have done this will say, but we do it this way. That is fine. I will stick with what I was shown by a Roadtrek service technician.
Now, to start up in the Spring- (and I will get into this in more detail this coming Spring when we actually do this)
1 - Pressure in line - put hot water bypass valves to normal (open).
2 – Fill both fresh water tanks.
3 - Turn winter/summer valves to normal.
4 - Send water through system using the water pump including the hot water heater. Open each faucet and allow cleaning water to run through each – hot and cold positions. Do this twice.
5 - ½ cup Clorox in fresh water tank - fill & send through system using the water pump including the hot water heater. Open each faucet and allow cleaning water to run through each – hot and cold positions.
6 - Fill tanks and do #4 again. Make sure there is no pink in the water. If there is a chlorine taste to the water, do it again.
Again, I tell you all this to illustrate how it is done - not to recommend or instruct you to do any of this in this way - I take no responsibility if you do it and there is any problem or damage what so ever...
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
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...