Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Another Repair Delay and Then Home

Monday 3/28

Short drive to Charlottesville today, arrived just before lunchtime. Stayed at Charlottesville KOA. We usually do not do KOA as they tend to have a lot of amities that we don’t use and prices to match, but this one is close to Monticello (this has kind of turned into a Thomas Jefferson tour!) and there are not many good campgrounds in the area. Went over to Monticello in the afternoon, they have a very nice new visitors center since we were last here, with a large gift shop. We walked up to the mansion from the visitors center, only 3/4 of a mile but it was mostly uphill! Toured the house and walked around the grounds, a bit cool, but a pleasant afternoon. A little early for spring flowers here, but the fruit trees are starting to blossom. We found out they have a new “behind the scenes” tour that is usually booked up in advance. We may do that when we are back in the area in August. Dinner back home and watched the Blackhawks beat Detroit, but they are still barely squeaking into the playoffs.

Tuesday 3/29

We were in the mountains last night and it was 22 degrees here this morning! Used the trick we learned in Tucson of keeping a trickle of water flowing in the kitchen sink to keep our water hose from freezing, worked like a charm. Up early and on the road by 8:30, fairly long drive today across most of West Virginia headed for Lexington, KY. Lunch at Cracker Barrel again, and made it to FoxFire KOA near Huntington late in the afternoon. Getting ready to set up I discovered that the back axle has shifted again! Got ahold of a local RV tech who came and took a look. Turns out that the left rear spring eye is actually broken (something I suspected when we had the bushing failure in Virginia!) So we need a new spring - which actually means replacing all four in order to maintain a level ride and for safeties sake. So we are sitting again waiting for parts! At least we are in a nice, full hook-up campground again. We had thought about stopping in a small town about 20 miles back to the east that offers free camping in a small park - that would have been a bad place to be stuck with the broken spring! Plus we once again avoided a breakdown on the road, so I guess we are lucky even though we will be delayed again, no place we really need to be anyway and no one waiting for us.

Headed for a local burger joint, Fat Patties, for dinner but it was jammed - at least an hour’s wait! (We found out latter it was due to “Two for Tuesdays”) Ended up having a less than satisfactory dinner at Pannera Bread.

Too much trouble this trip!

Sleeting here in WV tonight!

And the Blackhawks lost!

Things have to look up tomorrow!

Wednesday 3/30

Puttered around in the AM, Nancy did laundry, I unloaded the car since we will be sitting here a few days. I did some research on things to see and do around here, but it turns out most of them are closed on Wednesdays! Went to a health food store nearby called the Drug Emporium to look for a specific cream Nancy wanted. What we found was the the strangest store we have ever seen - it is a cross between a health food store, an organic market, a Dollar Store, and I don’t know what else. They had a wide variety of organic and regular groceries, hardware items, health food type items, pharmaceuticals, wine, clothing, greeting cards, decorative items, garden furniture, and a surprisingly good collection of imported beer!

After a quick stop at Walmart we went into Barboursville to West Virginia Quilt. Nancy had spotted a brochure at the WV Visitors Center on the way into the state and it turned out to be a really nice quilt shop.

Then we stopped back at Fat Patties for a late lunch/early supper, pretty good burgers. Still raining this afternoon, fortunately our campground is substantially above the nearby river! Back home and relaxed, reading and watching TV. They do have WiFI here in the RV park, but it is not working! At least we have our Verizon hot spot to check our e-mail. No word on our parts, so we are here for a few more days I guess - bummer.

Thursday 3/31

Went into the village of Milton this morning and visited the Blenko Glass Factory, which is only a few miles from our campground. Very interesting watching them hand blowing glass vases and they had a small museum of their collectible glass. Interesting place to stop if you are in the area.

Also spent some time browsing through a fairly large antique mall in downtown Milton. The WiFi at the campground is back up and working very well.

Friday 4/1

The fellow working on our spring issue was finally able to get a correct ID on the springs from Dexter Axle and they are on the way, scheduled for Saturday delivery.

Crummy weather today, rain and sleet. In the morning we checked out a flea market in Milton, only about half the booths were open, but there was a good used book booth and we spent the better part of an hour browsing and picked up a few books. Decided to go to the movies in the afternoon. After looking around we found a theatre in Huntington the was showing an interesting animated feature called “The Illusionist”. They had a 3:30 PM show, so we located a few possibilities for dinner and headed into Huntington. Got there early enough to check out the restaurants and picked one out. Went to the movie theatre and it was closed! Great! Turns out the matinĂ©e is only on Tuesday, Saturday, and Sunday! Oh well, back home and relaxed and watched the hockey game - Blackhawks won!

Saturday 4/2

New springs arrived at 10:30 AM!! Yeah! Jason arrived about noon and got to work installing them, finished about 2:30. Weather is holding but it looks threatening Sunday evening and into Monday so we want to get home before then.

Loaded the car, packed up the trailer and left the campground around 3 PM and headed for home, I-64 to Lexington, KY; then North on I-75 to Cincinnati, with a stop at the Flying J in Walton, KY ( 187 gallons @ $3.939 per gallon!); then a stop for lunch at the Cracker Barrel just west of Cincinnati, I-74 to Indianapolis and I-65 towards Chicago. Spent the night at the Cracker Barrel in Lafayette, IN.

Sunday 4/3

Finally home! Stopped briefly in Tinley Park for a quick visit with Nancy’s sister Joan, and got home just after noon.

Overall a great winter trip, but we could have done without the spring problems at the end, kind of soured things when we had to sit and wait for parts. Actually it was a lot of fun and we saw and did a lot of interesting things. Travel was pretty good as well, over the last four months, from Chicago to Tucson, to Yuma, back across the country to Bristol, TN and on to Virginia, then back home to Geneva (just over 6,000 miles) and we never hit any bad weather on the road! Not only no snow, but we never even drove in the rain, the truck and trailer are still pretty clean.

Good to be home though. We will be heading for upstate New York in late June, spending the 4th of July with my cousins and then we will take a train from Syracuse, NY to Boston for the Prairie Home Companion week long cruise to Montreal. After the cruise we will spend a couple of days in Montreal and then take the train back down to Plattsburgh, NY. Not sure where we will be going after that, but we’ll be in Bristol, TN for the NASCAR race in late August and we have reservations back at Desert Trails in Tucson for December through March next winter.

Have a good summer, I’ll start posting again when we hit the road in June.