We brought along Finnegan's dog crate, toys, dishes and of course his and Duke's doggie bed mats. They curled up inside in the sunshine and waited for the trip to begin. Duke's presence reassured little Finney that all would be okay.
On thing we noticed on the Tracker was that our blinkers were working, but not the tail lights. Steve fiddled with the plug a bit, but we think it's gunked up and needs to have the contacts cleaned. The rear taillights of the motorhome are easily viewable around each side of the narrow Tracker, so we decided to drive till it's warm enough to stop and clean the plug ends again for better contact.
One last check with the neighbors, then a good final trip through the house... and we pulled out of the yard! We were on our way!!!!
This is a VERY happy Motorhoming Man
As we headed south, the roads were still a bit slick. Last night they were glazed and icy... but the sun was out and by 10 a.m. they were pretty much melted. Once we got past Milwaukee, the roads were dry pavement and we were just fine as we drove along in the sunny winter wonderland.
Let's hope there isn't any of this to greet us when we return in mid-March?
We made it around Chicago in record time, with no slow downs or traffic problems. Five toll booth stops, the first was $4.25 and the other four were $2.25 each for a total of $13.25.
At 2:30 we crossed in to Indiana... and the sun was disappearing. We were now driving into cloudy skies and saw there was snow ahead about 2 hours down the road to the south. We figured we would drive until we couldn't, and then pull over somewhere for the night. We had hoped to get on the other side of Indianapolis around Columbus area to stop at Chris Gustin's weaving shop http://homesteadweaver.com/
Driving along on I-65 the traffic started slowing down about 3 or 4 miles north of Lafayette. The roads were getting slick and we saw three vehicles in the ditch. Of course all the gawkers had to slow down to see, and soon the interstate is backed up to a 10 mph crawl--- it was like this for miles!
We looked ahead on the GPS and saw a Cracker Barrel coming up on the next exit... so we took off that ramp and got ourselves safe. They had just gotten 3-4 inches of fresh snowfall before we arrived, even the parking lot had not been plowed.
We parked in the far back corner of the lot,
away from the regular parking area.
The place was filling up with Valentines Day Diners, but we got a table and had a nice evening meal.
We asked the manager for permission to spend the night in the lot... (of course they said yes, because that is a bonus that Cracker Barrel extends to it's RVing patrons) I slip these little reusable signs I had made into the front windshield and side window between the closed shade and the glass surface. I put one by the window next to the door too. This can notify anyone who thinks they need to knock and tell us to move on our way. I keep them in plastic page protectors with cardboard inside to keep them firm to stand up.
While I was waiting for the dogs to do their "thing" I snapped a few pics of the Tracker and the motorhome. They will both need a bath when we reach some warmer weather. Ya think?
When we stay overnight in a parking lot, (called "boondocking") we are without any hookups for electric or water. At this time of year, it's pretty hard to find a campground anyhow, and why should we bother paying $20-30 to plug in? Here are three reasons why we don't need to plug in:
1. We have five 100-watt solar panels on the roof that charge up our bank of four deep cycle 6 volt batteries. There is plenty of power to run lights, tvs, computers, charge cell phones etc. from those batteries all night long. We have an onboard "inverter" that changes the 12 volt DC power to 110 AC power. Tonight we have the tv on, I ran the coffee bean grinder to get the coffee pot ready for the morning, we have our cell phone charging and I am working on my blog on the laptop. Comforts of home while on the road.
2. When we drive, the four 6V batteries are charged up by the engine's alternator. By the time we pull off for the evening, the batteries are back up to 100% charge.
3. And a third source of power is our generator, which we could run to provide more electrical usage. It provides a larger amount enough to run the microwave, vacuum cleaner, air conditioner or our air compressor if need be.
One of the biggest drains of power from the batteries is the onboard propane furnace that comes in most RV's of any size or type. The propane furnace heats up by propane, but is pretty inefficient. It wastes a lot of BTU's right out the vent to the outside. Also this type of furnace distributes the interior heat by the use of a 12volt blower fan that runs the heat through a series of ductwork in the floors. By the time the air reaches the back bedroom in our rig, it's pretty cool and not too forceful in the circulation. This fan wears down the batteries awfully quick and draws a lot of DC power.
Soooooo instead of using that furnace, we have an Olympian Wave 8 catalytic heater. It runs on propane but does not have a blower motor, so uses no electricity. It's very efficient and uses little propane compared to that onboard furnace that came with the rig. We installed this unit and it's well worth the cost. This size runs about $300-350.
Here is a link for when we installed it:
Here is the link for when we had to have it repaired:
We did not fill the water tank before leaving home, so our water pump or water lines are not being used yet either. Otherwise we would have to keep the big furnace going to heat the basement compartments where the lines and tanks are located. Sometimes, if the temps are dipping below freezing and if we do have water in the lines, Steve will put a small box ceramic heater in the basement. But that is only if we are running the generator or have electrical hookups.
I just took little Finney and Duke out for their nightly duties, and the little stinker pup hopped up with Steveio on the loveseat and got under the covers! Duke is laying on the floor over to the right by the dog crate on his bed mat. These two dogs own the motorhome, and we are here to drive them to new places to sniff. Ahhhhh what a dog's life, eh?
I robbed this from the Facebook page of the Sheltie Support Group-Wisconsin
295 MILES TRAVELED TODAY