Friday, January 16, 2004

The 2004 Adventure, January 16 2004, Load it up and head er out

The weather is frightful, 3 degrees above zero. No wind, for which we are thankful, sunny, for which we are also thankful.

As usual the trip actually begins several weeks before the moment of departure. Actually began stacking required items before Christmas. The parlor is our “staging” area. The piles of required items grew day by day.

The weather can make or break ya. We had several snow storms in the weeks before we hoped to leave. We wanted as much snow as possible moved as far as possible away from the rig and truck. Makes trailer loading easier, as well as hooking up. And, who wants ice all over the drive, ice skating is fine for limber youngsters with ice skates; it is not so wonderful for loading heavy items into the rig. So, every time it snowed we scraped, blew it, swept it, shoveled it. Kept the drive pretty clean and dry.

For several months we had been getting doctor visits, and vet visits for the 4 yorks out of the way. We have all 4 yorks on special diets, so we purchased a LOT of dog food to take with us, thankfully yorkshire terriers are small dogs. We figure we have loaded about 75 pounds or more dog food for the trip. We have been unable to purchase prescription dog food before during our travels, so take what we need with us.

On Monday the 12th, we put the slides out on the rig, turn the heat on and start loading. Al installs the new door to cover his Autoformer installation. He also works on installing the new clothes dryer he purchased which mounts on the ladder on the rear of the rig. We start loading, dog food, people food, clothes, my research books and files, CD’s, DVD’s, books, craft projects, and so forth. We have 4 boxes of gear/freezables from the rig that we take to the basement each fall; these are brought back up; taken to the rig and loaded.

The loading and organizing continue through Tuesday and Wednesday. No, it does not take us that many days to load the rig, we had other commitments to fulfill several of those days. Thursday, we finish loading, and start cleaning the house. Thursday evening late we winterize the house, drain the water, turn off the water heater. We leave one toilet to use and winterize that early Friday AM before we leave. Dishes are done, house is sorta cleaned, plants watered, cats fed and watered. We are as ready as we can get.

Friday AM we have breakfast; empty the few food items still left in the frig, turn it off, stuff it with newspaper; and get ready to hook up the trailer.

Now, comes the moment of truth, will those slides REALLY go in at 3 degrees above zero?? There was a little snow on them, we have been told it will roll right off as the slides go in. We have had the heat on in the rig for several days now, and turn it up to about 70 degrees to try and warm up the slide mechanisms (heated basement) as much as possible. Still the slides run very slowly. The bedroom slide goes in without a burp, a little slow, but it goes in. The kitchen and front room slides start coming in at the same time (usually the kitchen moves first, when it is in, the front room comes in). When both rooms are about half way in, they basically stop moving. So as to not damage anything, I stop the process. Go out to talk to Al, who watches from outside while I am inside pushing the “button”. He tells me to go back and push that button again. So, I do, and much to our delight both slides start moving again and after a few more tense moments they are in and we are sighing!! OK, we are doing little happy dances!

We hook up the rig, it is so cold the electrical plug from trailer to truck is frozen, barely will straighten out. Al has trouble even getting it to “plug” in. After a lot of fussing, pushing and pulling, he accomplishes that. Load the computer gear, camera gear and dogs in the truck and before 9:30 AM we are ready to pull out.

The trip out was as could be expected, we drive slow on the snow and ice covered gravel roads we live on, take the path of least hills, and off we go.

The rest of the day was rather uneventful, we hit a few snow squalls around Coldwater Michigan, but the roads were not slippery. By the end of the day we have seen the temperature climb to 44 degrees. It took a while for the snow to melt off the trailer and truck, it was well after Indianapolis before we lost it all.

We drove 380 miles by the time we pulled into the KOA south of Louisville and we are beat. We have a pull through site, so we have little set up to do, we turn on the heat, have a drink, have some dinner and collapse. No water on board yet, so we do picnic style camping.

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