Day 38: Interstate Tour 2018
Those that have chosen the path of the recreational vehicle know that most problems can be fixed with duct tape and WD-40. If it doesn't move and should, use WD-40. If it moves and it shouldn't, use duct tape. But even that's not good enough for some fixes, which is why I've acquired a wide range of tools and a fair amount of experience doing my own repairs over the years.
It's usually drawers, doors and cabinets that require the most attention, amirite, RVers? The little clasps break or the drawer tracks warp and sometimes you fix it and other times, you tie it down with duct tape and deal with the inconvenience for a while.
Normal houses have their share of, shall we say, alterations that happen over the course of time. Foundations settle, soil shifts, weather creates changes and they all cause the house to slant and sink and swell and shrink after a while. Imagine tooling your house down the road every day at 70 mph. Just the stress of driving down a steep driveway is enough to get things torquing on a motorhome frame. It's like experiencing earthquakes every day that you're on the road, for hours on end. It's actually pretty impressive that these things don't just shake themselves to pieces as they go.
Well, occasionally, they do, and that's why the duct tape and the tool sets come in handy.
I'm gonna need to step up my game a bit and broaden my knowledge base because I backed into a power pole (gently) Friday and something protruded from it, punching a small hole in the rear of the coach. Nothing major, and I know it's happened back there before because I can see the patches and paint touch-ups. This was a rental vehicle for 8 years. It's seen things.
I've been driving large vehicles since receiving my license. My first car was a 1973 Pontiac Grand Ville (and if that doesn't qualify you to drive big rigs, I don't know what does) and I drove the parking lot tram at Knott's Berry Farm. I've driven airport and rent-a-car shuttles, Mitsubishi box trucks and tractors (John Deere and New Holland!) and have driven a motorhome now for seven years, 21' and, now, 26'.
Without a rear-facing camera, I'm totally depending on mirrors and hopping out occasionally to see what's behind me. Sometimes I bump something that was in one of Imua's many blind spots and it's bent my bike frame or pushed in my bumper. But this was the first time that I've nailed something hard enough to poke a hole in the fiberglass, so I'm pricing systems now and it will be installed probably before the month is up. A backup camera system would also help with navigating in traffic, so it's a no-brainer and it's getting bumped up in the priority list.
In the meantime, I picked up some 80 grit sandpaper, a palm sander, masks, gloves and a Bondo fiberglass repair kit. Gonna watch some videos and patch that sucker myself - then match the paint and do a cover-up job. I'll have it painted and re-decaled before I sell it in four years, plus I'm working on modernizing the inside and adding a few things (like an automatic awning.)
Even the most solidly-built motorhomes weren't meant to be on the road every day. The manufacturers are kinda thinking you may want to get somewhere and stay a while. This 40,000 miles a year pace that I keep will shake any vehicle down, which is why I work so hard to stay on top of the maintenance and try to understand more about how RVs are built, powered, wired and stuck together. I'll save a lot more coin this way!
Aside from doing small repairs, you've also got to be mindful of propane and wastewater. Knowing that I'd be fairly planted for the next couple of weeks, I needed to top off the propane while still in an area where I could find service. My grey water tank has a leak in it, so I never have to worry about dumping water. The black water tank was just dumped at my last long stay, so I'll be good through Evart next week, which has a dump station (and boy, will it be needed by then!)
I got propane and filled up with water at Drummer Boy Campground in Gettysburg and then drove to Hanover, had dinner and then went to see "Ant-Man and The Wasp", which was very entertaining. With Movie Pass, I no longer worry about wasting money on crappy movies. $10 per month gets me a movie a day, so I can be risky in my choices. This was a good bet.
Got to McDaniel College and set up camp next to David and Annette Lindsey, whom I last saw in Coshocton, Ohio and will also be teaching classes this week at Common Ground On The Hill. After discovering that the college has awesome wi-fi that extends out to our parking area by the stadium, I set some downloads running and then went for a walk to downtown where some of the CGOTH musicians were performing in various venues along the main drag. Temperatures have cooled considerably and the sky was darkening to cobalt as I headed back up the hill to the camp, got inside and craved some air-fried sweet potatoes, then realized that the cutting board had fallen out of the drawer and was laying behind it underneath the counter somewhere.
Freeing the board meant another fix-it session on the long-broken drawer. But I got the cutting board back and the drawer is fixed, for now. Better still, sweet potatoes are cooking and I got some jalapeno ketchup to slather all over them.
It's the little things.