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Monday, February 17, 2020

A Day In Michigan

Hey, I was up and running early. All Seasons RV is located real close to the Highway 31 running into Muskegon. I was surprised to see the amount of snow heaped up around the parking lots everywhere. And the yard of the RV dealer was sheer ice. Ooops... how would I get off from here again?
My trailer was sitting inside ready to be cleared out, Well not so fast young man...first we gotta add a battery to it and then there was the issue of the weight distribution hitch. These hitches are very expensive and since 2 hook brackets were still sitting on the frame, the sales lady had offered to find used bars and a used hitch assembly. So the mechanic and I went searching in a pile of used hitch equipment. Found the part which goes onto the van, and then we found one bar but was still looking for a brother. Finally he picked one new bar, so we were all set.
This saved me around 350 bucks.

Circling the trailer, I noticed that not only was there an electric tongue jack, but all jacks on this trailer baby are electric. That is just great, as I never enjoyed the gymnastics which are necessary to twiddle down scissor jacks manually.
Other little extras are the solar readiness plug-in and the vent hood on the roof.

The previous owner also left a 400-Dollar chair in the rig. I am pretty sure that AL from the Bayfield Bunch would enjoy this one. And I have to say that it is very comfy, but unfortunately it is way too big, so we will probably take it out of here, that is if we manage to get the monster out the door.

Then I had to back up to the trailer. Hm... I used to be pretty good at stuff like that but over the past 4 years I kinda fell out of training.

Finally I was ready to go. With the extra weight of the trailer on the rear wheels I got off of the ice easy.

First stop was the Walmart down the street. I spent ample time here as I needed food and kitchen supplies. 

I like fried eggs and they are so easy to make. So I picked a small pan. It's a bachelor pan. No room for more than 2 eggs in it. A small pot to heat a meal, a lighter, silverware, some toiletries, a towel. That was about it.

Next stop was again down the road in the other direction, at Harbor Freight. I needed an inverter generator to survive along the road. And H.F has a 2000W genny which has very good reviews. Looks like a Honda one, but costs just the half.

Bea was worried about me being too cold in the trailer, especially at night. But I have warm covers and I am sure I won't be frozen in the morning. The beauty with a trailer is that it warms up quickly once the furnace kicks in.
So I found a parking space along the road for the night. Looking forward to breakfast.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

From Spring To Winter

Without a droplet of coffee I left Bowling Green behind. A heavy cloud cover was hiding the sun, but it was dry and being a sunday, there was not much traffic on the highway. Not yet - anyway. It was still very early. 35 miles later I stopped at a gas station for coffee. Call me an addict, but I can't function without a cup of coffee. And it wasn't to be the last one for today. 

Today's goal was Grand Rapids, MI, a 495 mile stretch and the longest so far. Right north of Louisville, KY, I crossed into Indiana. Magically, gas prices rose from around 2.09/gal to 2.55/gal. I wonder whether that is all additional taxes by the state. 

Stopping again for more coffee before I reached Louisville, I noticed the warm air. "Springtime", I thought and got rolling again. But then I reached Indianapolis and suddenly the fields aside of the road were snow covered. I first noticed the change in temperature as I got out again - well yes, for another coffee. But the sky had changed as well. The dark clouds were long gone and finally I had a blue sky with bright sun. Wasn't I a lucky traveler? So far so good. 

I had reached the northern edge of Indiana at South Bend where Mayor Buttigieg is from. Nice guy by the way.
And then I rolled north into Michigan. The land looked very frosty and I had to crank up the heater a tad.

My AirBnB is in an old townhouse. Owner is absent, but keys were accessible. I believe 2 other dwellers are coming, at least I saw their luggage. I worried about parking in the street but there was no driveway to the house.

Tomorrow morning I will be heading into Muskegon to pick up our trailer. Getting the trailer ready for travel will probably take some time. Will likely stay in town before taking off for the home run.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

100 Miles To Memphis

It was 9:30am and a sign had just told me that I had 100 miles to Memphis. We have been through Memphis before and what I remember is the huge wide Mississippi crossing.
    The Big Cypress Lodge

Of course, I should have taken the time for an Elvis property visit but my wheels wouldn't turn off the I-40, so I let her run. keeping 65 - 70mph the van was just purring like a cat. Next big city was Nashville. By that time people had woken up and seems like they have places to go right away. Lots of traffic around the city.

However, I was heading north onto I-65. Weather was great, though there had been some frost on the windows this morning. A slight overcast sky but sun was peeking through, now and then. Overall it was warmer than the day before. Having passed Nashville, it wasn't too far to the city of Bowling Green where my next Air BnB was waiting for me. This time the GPS led me into a nice residential area. Here I have a nice clean room with bathroom just steps away across the hallway. Nice folks here and the best is, they have 2 super lovable cream-colored retrievers. They want to play all the time. Dixie would get very jealous about me petting those 2 guys.

So this has been the least exciting day of my journey. May it continue this way.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Tale Of A Journey II

Leaving Texas
If you are now expecting similar crazy experiences as in my recent posting, I have to disappoint you. Like I mentioned, I stayed in an AirBnB in Houston. The place was run by a Chinese couple with the strange habit of being active at least until after 2:30am. I know that as I made my way to the shared bathroom. 

I had a great sleep, bed was comfy and the space heater in my room was running on full blast. The rest of the house was cold. Don't know how these owners can live in such an icebox. Maybe because Houston summers are so merciless hot and humid that people relish a cold house.

Got up bright and early made myself a coffee in the kitchen and got my stuff back into the van. Had to program the GPS for my next abode in Little Rock, AR. The highway north is mostly HWY 59 and then the I-30 from Texarkana east to Little Rock.
The weather couldn't have been any better as I never saw a single cloud. 

  Leaving Houston in the morning rush

Morning traffic in Houston was what it supposedly is on any given day - chaotic, but once I left that behind the highway was mine. 
  Yahoo!!! The highway is mine

Some trucks, but not bad. Used a total of 7hrs for 443 miles, breaks included. The van runs like a charm. The new 6-speed tranny GM had put into it gives so much more power and accelleration speed. Should tow a whole lot better than our old 2006 van.
  Taking a break at the Arkansas Welcome Center

Now, the day didn't end quite so uneventful as it started. Following some winding roads I finally reached the address of my next AirBnB abode. The first look wasn't too encouraging as it was a mobile home. I knocked at the entry door, but despite that 2 vehicles were parked out front, nobody came to the door. First after I used my fist in a concerted effort which eventually might have ended in breaking down the door, I hear a faint voice from a window. A little brown lady was there saying something to me, like "nobody home".  I waved with my reservation print-out and finally she appeared in the door. As it turned out, she was another guest and the owners had left in a hurry for the hospital as their mother/mother-in-law had an emergency. They had not left any instructions and they were not answering the phone. So I finally left a text message and left in search of a motel/hotel.

The first one I tried to find was an Econo Lodge. Despite my GPS pointing that out to me the hotel was not where it was supposed to be.
Next  choice was an "Economy Inn", a place which obviously had seen much, much better days. Yet, I went in, asking for a room and a price. The obese young girl had a room but she wanted 100 Bucks. Why? "Because it was Valentine". I told her she was nuts and left. The next place turned out to meet my expectations - a Red Roof Inn, not far away asking $68 for the room. And turned out to be terrific. Have used Red Roofs several times, but never had seen such a great place. This was all new and up-to-date. Free breakfast as well. What more could I ask for?

Good Night folks! Tomorrow there will be more.