Day 54, Where Are You?: Interstate Tour 2018

 I always wonder what Walmart employees think about the people that camp in their parking lots. 

I always wonder what Walmart employees think about the people that camp in their parking lots. 

Marshall, Michigan is about 30 minutes south of Lansing and I had made an appointment to come in to Marshall RV and have Imua worked on.  With a full week off, I figured it would be wise to get in on Monday, just in case they needed to work through the week.

I arrived around 9:20 am, a little bit after opening, and they remembered me from bringing Rita in a few years back to fix a plumbing leak (how many customers of theirs broke out a mountain dulcimer and played a tune while paying their bill?). That water incursion was pretty serious; I had been mopping up water during the entire week at Evart that year (2014, I believe) and got the tip on Marshall RV from a local who had dealings with them. They were very cool and fixed Rita up in no time.

The plumbing issue with Imua isn’t nearly as dire.  There’s a small leak somewhere in the system, you can tell by the occasional “burp” that the water pump makes as it mistakes the water emission for you actually turning on a faucet.  I don’t have any standing water anywhere, but my fear is that it’s just somewhere that I can’t see it, possibly doing damage to an unseen part of the coach.  There were some other things too, but this, I wanted to nip in the bud.

We talked about it for a bit, poked around near the water heater, and they advised me to just keep an eye open for water, because there didn’t seem to be any evidence of a leak. They pointed out some things that I didn’t know about my own rig, so I got an education out of it in case I need to take any action in the future.  They also wouldn’t be able to epoxy the gray water tank, but that’s not a huge deal.  The leaking water could get me in trouble with campgrounds that don’t allow gray water dumping, so I’ll have to be careful about that.  

The attention was turned to the galley door and screen, which have become misaligned, making them difficult to open and also triggering the automatic steps while I’m driving down the road.  Fixed up and better now.

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I brought up the hole in the back of the coach from my backing into a telephone pole, and that I had a Fiberglas patch kit.  He said his guy would do it deluxe and probably charge $300, including a spot repaint, so if I had the kit, it wouldn’t be hard to D.I.Y.  I appreciated that he didn’t just take my money, but encouraged me to give it a go.  

The wireless backup camera that I bought was the next subject and we arranged for me to come back at 7 am on Tuesday morning.  I met Michael, the tech who would do the job, we discussed the set-up, I thanked them and said I’d be back in the morning.

My plan was to find a post office, mail some orders that I packaged up on Sunday, go to the Walmart in Battle Creek and snarf some WiFi for the day. A ridiculously attractive gas station down the road lured me in and I discovered that it was the Pit Stop for the Firekeepers Casino and Resort.

Casinos often have free camping and other amenities for RVers, so I did a quick search and found that there were a small number of power pedestals that you could pay $15 a night for, so I jumped on one, put out the slide (which has never given me problems, except for the very first day on the lot, when it slid out and didn’t slide back in. They rigged it somehow, but it sounds like the band-aid may be slipping) and prepared to get some work done.

But no WiFi.

Well, that seems like an oversight for a place like this.  With my data usage still throttled, that wasn’t worth a spit, so I opted to take care of a few things around Imua, starting with that hole in the back.  

 It’s ugly, but water won’t get in now.  

It’s ugly, but water won’t get in now.  

I’d purchased a Bondo repair kit, watched a couple of videos, then went up on the roof for access. Sanded the area, cleaned it, mixed the Fiberglas resin and hardener, cut the patches, dabbed the mixture over the area, laid the patches in one by one and saturated each one with the mix.  I’ll leave it that way for now - I just wanted to get the hole closed so that water didn’t get down inside of it and cause any chaos.

Then, I returned my attention to the slide-out awning, which I’d already patched with awning tape on one side.  Noticing that the other side had developed a tear as well, I got in there and shored it up the best I could.

 I’ve learned to be handy. 

I’ve learned to be handy. 

I then dumped everything in the trash (the coach was already smelling like a body shop) and disposed of it in one of the Pit Stop garbage cans.  Swept the floor to remove any trace pieces of fiberglass cloth and then turned around and mounted the bracket for the backup camera monitor, reorganizing the locations for the iPhone clip and power inverter.  I took the Garmin down since it seems to have bricked during the last upload.  I pretty much use Apple Maps anyway.  Siri’s not as inclined to take the sneak shortcut down dirt roads and through dark alleyways like Iris is. 

Iris, (Siri backwards), is a bit of a rebel and she always knows a shortcut. Many of those shortcuts lead to low clearances, dirt roads and goat ranches, or she'll take the exit off the highway only to have you get right back on again.  I made an attempt to update her maps and it didn't end well, apparently.  Maybe Siri had her rubbed out in a jealous rage.

I miss her.  Is that weird? She had a funny way of pronouncing common street names and a sassy rhythm.  It's a low priority now, but I need to research a fix to get Iris back up and running (with the map updates that I already paid for!)

 Firekeepers Casino and Resort - Battle Creek, Michigan. 

Firekeepers Casino and Resort - Battle Creek, Michigan. 

I shot a Mailbag Monday for Patreon as I headed into the casino for the buffet. It was pretty good - I stuck with veggies and zero points foods, but it was all super-delicious.  While eating, I noticed the Firekeepers WiFi and decided to go back out, grab my laptop, come back in and work with the WiFi inside the casino.  It’s a smoking zone, so I could vape, and I’d be at a bar, so I’d have something boaty.  I’m not a gambler.  I’ll budget $20 to play some games, usually Blackjack, and if I don’t win, then I’m done.

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After editing Mailbag Monday, I uploaded it - took 10 minutes to upload - and then did some more updating on Patreon while completing the Drop Box sync that’s been projecting a completion time of 5 days for a while now.  

That all got wrapped-up in about 20 minutes.  20 minutes is how long it’s been taking for my e-mail to open.  Right?

I then encoded and downloaded all four videos that Ken Kaiser shot during my Friday night set, giving me the material necessary to complete Dulcimerica episode 400, which will debut this coming Friday. 

After some more admin work, I bellied up to the bar and played a little Blackjack with $20 and amused myself for about ten more minutes before paying the tab and heading back to Imua.

At least the walking back and forth to the casino added some steps into my day, largely spent standing or sitting (or kneeling on Imua's roof) in one place.

 Thrilling for about ten minutes. I’d rather ride a rollercoaster. 

Thrilling for about ten minutes. I’d rather ride a rollercoaster. 

Fitbit tells me that I’ve been getting an average of 4.5 hours of sleep each night, and I’m not sure that’s completely correct, but it’s not far off.  I’ve been Whirling Dynamo since the Indiana Fiddlers Gathering in June and my energy levels are off the charts, even as my body shouts at me to lay down fer cryin’ out loud.

Tonight, I’ll listen.  Beddie-bye at 10 pm tonight.  I’d ship orders first thing in the morning, then go back to Marshall RV and have the backup camera installed, then I’ll be on the lookout for a laundromat, a bike path and a Walmart.

Ugh.  There’s an automatic car wash right next to the RV site here.  When cars drive into it, a radio announcer voice says, “PLEASE DRIVE FORWARD” about seven times with some kind of doorbell sound playing behind it.  Thank God I’m not a light sleeper.

Day 55

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