December 29, 2016

Alpine, Texas

We are presently in Alpine, which is a town located in the Big Bend region of west Texas. The area is known as the Big Bend because it is located along the Mexican border, roughly inside a northward bend of the Rio Grande river.

December 26, 2016

We're in West Texas

We are now in West Texas, near a small town called Loraine, on I-20.

December 18, 2016

Westbound trip 2016

We stayed at Milton Heights Campground for five weeks, and finally made preparations for departure on December 14.

December 11, 2016

Almost ready to leave

Our site at Milton Heights on a snowy December 11
In another three days we will be embarking on our sixth cross-country trip to Southern California. Weather permitting, we will leave on Wednesday morning.

October 27, 2016

Colder weather

We are still on our original site in Cedarwood. Everyone else has gone, most have departed for warmer places. My teaching contract runs until mid-December, so we have to wait until then.

Snowy, blustery day. Saturday will be 19C (67F)

View from our living room. Lots of empty sites, the remaining rigs are stored here on-site for the winter.
Tomorrow, we will move our rig to a site near the Community Hall in Cedarwood, so that staff can winterize the water system, which is done in stages. It will be a very short trip of about 300 yards. A week later we will leave for Milton Heights Campground west of Toronto, where we will stay until December 14. Milton Heights is one of the very few campgrounds in Ontario which is open year-round.

Next Spring we will be moving to a brand-new site in Cedarwood, which is presently under construction, directly across from our site for the last 5 years. Concrete should be poured within the next few days, and the new sites will be ready for Spring.

Our new site under construction
It will certainly feel good to get on the road again in December after 6 months in one place. This year, we plan on entering the USA at Sarnia-Port Huron, and driving south through Indianapolis, Louisville, Nashville and the Natchez Trace Parkway to Jackson MS. We will take I-20 westbound, with a 3 day stopover for the holiday in Jefferson TX, then on to Alpine TX for a 4 day stay in the Big Bend region of southwest Texas. New Years Day we will resume our westbound trip, arriving at Rancho California Resort on January 6.

Our truck and fifthwheel is serviced, inspected and ready to go, with 6 new tires on the truck. I did all the maintenance work myself, before the weather became cold.

September 29, 2016

Traveling time is approaching

Red sky in the morning at Cedarwood. It rained later that day.
Canada Geese have returned to the Cedarwood pond. They return every year in the Fall.
The weather is getting cooler, and darkness falls much earlier now, around 7:00pm. The season at Cedarwood is drawing to a close, and I have been attending to some maintenance tasks before it gets uncomfortably cold.

Wheel bearing maintenance
In the last two weeks, I have performed the annual wheel bearing maintenance, which includes inspection and repacking of the wheel bearings, and brake adjustment. The grease seals were replaced with new ones.

While the wheels were off, I used metal polish and a buffing attachment to polish the aluminum wheels, making them look like new.

I inspected the suspension components, including the springs and shackles, and lubricated the wet spring bolts.

I did a thorough inspection of the roof, caulking any suspicious-looking areas with Dicor rubber roof sealant. I replaced batteries and o-rings on the tire pressure transmitters, and topped off the tires to 120 psi.

Next on the list is our truck. I will be changing the oil, and replacing air, fuel and transmission filters. I will do this work myself, using genuine AC Delco filters ordered online. In two weeks the truck will go for its mandatory annual safety inspection, and I will have the four rear tires replaced to match the front tires which were installed last spring in Florida.

I will be replacing our two house batteries in a few weeks, with two 6 volt golf cart batteries. The original 12 volt RV batteries are almost six years old, and have reached the end of their useful life.

We will be staying at Cedarwood until November 5, then moving to Milton Heights Campground west of Toronto until December 14, when we will begin our sixth cross-country journey. Our rig has been in this spot since May 5, which is the longest time it has remained in one place. Cedarwood will be almost empty by the time we leave. Most people will be leaving on the official end-of-season date of October 16.

It will be great to get on the road again. We are eagerly anticipating the westbound trip this year. We will take the Natchez Trace Parkway from Nashville to Jackson, Mississippi, as we have done the last three years. We will be stopping for a few days at the end of December in Alpine, Texas, which is in the Big Bend area of southwestern Texas. We will be visiting with new fulltiming friends, who stayed next door to us in Cedarwood for a week this summer. Their Texas home base is in Lost Alaskan RV Resort near Alpine. We look forward to exploring this part of Texas, which we have driven through, but never visited, before. The Southwest Texas region is appealing to us because of its lonely spaciousness and vast desert areas interspersed with mountain ranges. Sounds like a great place to spend a few days leading up to New Year's.

May 06, 2016

Almost in Canada

It is Friday evening, May 6, and we are 45 minutes drive from the US - Canada border. We are wallydocking at a Walmart in Fredonia NY, as we did last night at Anmoor WV. This far north on our route, there are few campgrounds open at this time of the year, and no Passport America parks. Walmart is a great alternative for an overnight stop. We hate paying $40+ for the privilege of parking in a muddy camping resort for a few hours. We use the Allstays Walmart ONP Android app, which lists the stores which may allow overnight RV parking, and also has user reviews of the location.

May 01, 2016

South Carolina

It is May 1, and we are well on our way northbound. We decided to eschew Interstate 75, because of the insane traffic and widespread construction in Florida. Instead, we took I-75 30 miles from Naples to Fort Myers, then turned inland across the peninsula on state highways. We passed just to the north of Lake Okeechobee, then through miles of citrus groves stretching as far as one could see. This is a part of Florida we have never seen; it is off the beaten track.

April 28, 2016

Tire Pressure Monitoring

One of the TPMS sensors on the fifthwheel. It will generate an alarm if the pressure drops below 110 psi.
For the last five years, since beginning our fulltiming adventure, we have used a Tireminder TPMS to monitor the pressure in the fifthwheel tires. It actually saved the rig from extensive damage 3 1/2 years ago, when one of the original equipment GoodYear Marathon tires started to disintegrate (we replaced the Marathons with heavy-duty commercial tires).


View from our site in Silver Lakes Resort

April 19, 2016

Update on the tire situation

The punctured inner dually, before removal from the truck

I had intended to repair the damaged tire, and use it as a spare until I replaced all six tires later in the year. I removed the offending self-drilling screw (see picture) and plugged the hole using a tire repair kit. I wanted to see if the tire was okay after inflating, and if it was, I intended to have a tire shop install an internal patch.

Close to Florida

We are making great progress on our relentless eastbound journey. So far it has been really enjoyable. The secret is to limit the daily distance, and make two-day stops some of the time
We had a nice two-day stop near Hammond LA, which is near the north shore of Lake Ponchartrain, across the lake from New Orleans.

April 16, 2016

Wildflowers, Schnitzel and a tire puncture

Almost across Texas!
Three days were spent in the Texas Hill Country. We stayed at Cowboy Capital RV Park in Pipe Creek, about 15 miles from Boerne. The cost of our stay was $44, and it was a positive experience. Gerhard, the owner, greeted us warmly upon our arrival, and escorted us to a large pullthrough site. The park is very rural and has that "back to nature" look, but the utilities were good, and it was quiet and peaceful.

April 13, 2016

The Hill Country

The distance east-to-west across Texas, along Interstate 10, is about 880 miles (1400km). We are now at the 540 mile point, in the Hill Country northwest of San Antonio.

April 12, 2016

Into Texas

We have done about 1000 miles since leaving Rancho
After a one-night stop at Las Cruces, we got on the road and headed east through the city of El Paso. I usually get fuel when the truck is uncoupled from the fifthwheel, but today I made an exception, pulled into a Flying J and topped off with diesel at 1.69 per gallon. I had sufficient fuel to get to our next stop, but not enough to get to the Hill Country, where we will stay for at least 2 days. Flying J are easy in and out, with lots of room to maneuver the rig.

April 11, 2016

Benson to Las Cruces

Another 228 miles eastbound
We stayed in Benson for an additional day, making three days total. Thunderstorms and heavy rain passed through the area on Sunday, so we decided to take the extra day, rather than drive in the heavy rain. Also, I had some online business stuff to take care of (Ontario Automation Services).

April 09, 2016

Tombstone, Arizona

We left the rig at Benson I-10 RV Park, and drove 22 miles to Tombstone, which was a silver mining boom town in the 19th century. Those were the days of the Wild West, with outlaws on one side and sheriff's deputies on the other. The famous Earp brothers (Wyatt Earp) were on the law enforcement side in Tombstone during that era. The town of Tombstone is now on the National Register of Historic Places, and it has been preserved much as it was 150 years ago.

April 08, 2016

Day 2 Benson AZ

We are making visible progress across the map
We stayed one night in Yuma, which is known for its dry, desert climate, and amazingly, it rained for most of the night! Until about 9:00pm, there was the deafening sound of military jets taking off from the Marine Air Corps base just down the road. A plane took off every couple of minutes, probably doing night-flying training. The RV park was directly under the departure flight path.

April 07, 2016

On the road again!

After three wonderful months at The Ranch, we are finally rolling again. We left Aguanga CA, and traveled to Yuma AZ, a distance of 175 miles.

April 02, 2016

Preparing for the eastbound trip

We have been in Southern California for almost three months, and it has been another wonderful winter. We have enjoyed our rented lot in Rancho California Resort, and the weather has been warm and sunny almost the entire time.

It is time to prepare for our journey back. This year we will be staying in Naples, Florida for a week. It involves a 400 mile detour down the Florida peninsula, and it was a favorite annual destination before we became fulltimers. With diesel prices this low, it is quite inexpensive to cover the extra miles.

January 23, 2016

Rancho California Resort

Here are some pictures of our resort, which is our home for three months in the winter, as it has been for the last four years. We keep returning here every year, and it has become a "second home" for us. We have become familiar with the surrounding area, and when we return each year, we actually feel like we are coming home. We meet people who remember us from the previous winter, and meet our good friends from British Columbia, who also return here every winter.

January 16, 2016

Washing and waxing

Our Pinnacle was very dirty when we arrived at Rancho. Usually, we take the rig through a Blue Beacon Truck Wash on route, but this year the weather was so wet that we didn't do that. As a result, we pulled into Rancho with the truck and fifthwheel in a sorry state, which is somewhat embarrassing because the resort is full of gleaming RVs.

January 09, 2016

Home for the winter

We are settled in for three months until April 7, and this year we have a different lot in Rancho California Resort. Rancho is an ownership RV resort with about 600 lots, located in the high desert in Aguanga (pronounced "Awanga"), 20 minutes east of the city of Temecula. The scenery surrounding the resort is spectacular, with views of the mountains from everywhere in the resort. Each lot is individually owned, and many of the lots have been improved with "buildouts", making each lot somewhat unique.

January 07, 2016

Reaching our destination

We left Benson AZ after a hearty breakfast at Denny's next to the campground, and soon we passed through the city of Tucson, then Casa Grande, and had a nice easy drive across the Sonoran Desert to Yuma AZ, which is on the Arizona - California state line. Interstate 8 across the desert was almost deserted, and I took advantage of the arrow-straight highway, sparse traffic and a 75 mph (120 kph) speed limit to increase our cruise speed to 74 mph. There was a moderate tailwind, we achieved 11.5 mpg at this speed, and covered the distance quickly.

January 02, 2016

West Texas to New Mexico

We left Boerne on New Year's Day after a great five-day stay at Top of the Hill RV Resort. Our destination that day was Van Horn, TX, a distance of just under 400 miles. This is further than we usually drive in a day, but because the drive was westbound on I-10 through mostly plains and desert, the distance was easy to cover. We arrived at Van Horn around 4:00pm, and checked into Southern Star RV Park for the night. This is a typical southwestern desert park, with lots of room to maneuver and good utility hookups, and no grass in sight.