Monthly Archives: April 2013

It’s about being seen, not seeing

thx to caltransd7info.blogspot.com

photo thx to caltransd7info.blogspot.com

An interesting day today on Interstate 40 in pouring rain. Although there was partial daylight today, visibility was between awful and poor at times. We encountered dozens of cars, jeeps, and pickups with either no lights on at all, or driving lights and no tail lights. Have you ever looked behind your car when your key is on to see if the driving lights also turn on the tail lights? It could matter a lot. It is sometimes more about being seen than seeing.

Weather radar today for us

Weather radar today for us

When do we hitch up and tow in the rain? We can’t remember the last time this happened. Until today, that is. Jim was soaked through after hitching us up this morning. Yesterday we spent an entire rainy day in Asheville. Jim’s children met us for lunch at Tacos Jalisco — five stars for great service and food. We ate the tacos al pastor. The food and salsas were excellent and we enjoyed talking a little with the owner.

Last evening, we went to a very nice wedding of the elder daughter of Jim’s best friend. Intended to be an outdoor wedding, instead one hundred revelers were in a 4,000 sf tent. The wedding went perfectly. We were glad to see friends again from as much as a decade ago. And the buffet was so good — Charles, Jim’s son, said it best — “I love food at southern weddings.” We had cornbread, bbq, collards, beans, and potato salad. Some dancing, a lot of visiting, a little roasting and toasting the bride and groom. A great wedding.

picture of gas jet

Dometic gas jet

This morning Jim hitched up our trailer, dumped tanks, put away cords, and was thoroughly rained through. He changed into dry clothes and we drove from Asheville to the Camping World in Statesville, 100 miles east. We had ordered a spare gas jet for our trailer’s refrigerator. It’s handy to have a spare for when the fridge won’t run on gas.

We don’t know for sure whether the jet is the problem. But every time we take it out, soak it overnight, blow it dry, and re-install it, the fridge switches to gas perfectly. Now we’ll have a spare gas jet to replace immediately and can take our time cleaning the dirty one. Odd thing, though, is we didn’t have this problem for the first four years. Recently we have this problem every couple of weeks. We’re wondering if we have dirty gas piping between the bottles and the fridge.

Camping World’s parts department ordered the jet in for us and called us a few days ago to confirm it arrived. They held it ready for our pickup today, and picking it up was a breeze. Of course, we always find something we didn’t plan on when shopping at Camping World. Today was no exception, but that’s a story for another day.

Jim and Debbie
locate us here
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©2013 Dreamstreamr

dreamstreamrs back in NC

The Escapees Club campground in Bushnell was a nice stay. We walked some, visited a nice nearby battlefield from the 1830s, wrote a blog, and did some maintenance on the trailer.

30a circuit breaker attached to lower battery box

30a circuit breaker attached to lower battery box

Jim removed the trailer’s upper bank of batteries to install 30 amp circuit breaker protection on a dedicated circuit to the hitch jack. But when he got into the lower battery box where the connection is made, he found he had already installed the circuit breaker. It’s better than forgetting to install this safety device, right?

Lug for #4 wire

Lug for #4 wire

While he was in there he found the second loose connection on our trailer batteries’ primary wires. There are six #4 wires connecting the batteries to each other and to the trailer’s electrical system. Each wire has two ends capped with 5/16″ X #4 copper lugs, crimped on for us by Interstate Battery. The past two times Jim has done maintenance involving the batteries, another of the crimped copper lugs has pulled loose.

Jim drove to the Ace Hardware store in Bushnell to buy new copper lugs. He couldn’t find enough to do the ten remaining ones, so repaired only this one loose one. He soldered it using a small butane torch. We’ll find nine more lugs down the road and replace them all with soldered ones.

entrance to Dade Battlefield Historic SP

entrance to Dade Battlefield Historic SP

Dade Battlefield Historic State Park was interesting. We had read about the three Seminole Wars, (1817 1st Seminole War; 1835 2nd Seminole War; 1855 3rd Seminole War), when we traveled the Tamiami Trail across the Everglades earlier this winter. This small state park in Bushnell is a fun short history lesson on the beginning of the second Seminole War — the devastating ambush of Major Dade’s combined Army troops by Seminoles.

High Falls SP

High Falls SP

We drove from Bushnell FL 361 miles to High Falls State Park GA, straight up I-75. It was a super easy trip although the longest we’d had in several months. High Falls is a gorgeous state park just far enough off the highway for peace and quiet. We were parked amongst at least a half-dozen other Airstreamers also on their way to Stone Mountain Park family campground for the club’s Region 3 rally.

Small group of Carolinas Unit members

Small group of Carolinas Unit members

Stone Mountain Park hosted 140 airstream travel trailers and motorhomes for the region rally. Our organizers said this rally was 1/3 again larger than last year’s region rally at Myrtle Beach. Their were only five rigs representing our North Carolina airstream club, but we are a great looking bunch!

We presented a fun seminar this morning on Smart Storage, Organizing Your RV. This was our second time with this seminar topic, we also did it one year ago. It went really well, probably because the audience was so nice. This year’s crowd was very pleasant, a nice size for this event. We had a great time, fabulous weather, and would have enjoyed a longer stay but we had a prior commitment in Asheville on our way to Charlotte and Kannapolis.

We’re in east Asheville Friday and Saturday night in a nice little RV park we’ve enjoyed before.

Jim and Debbie
locate us here
visit our website

©2013 Dreamstreamr

Lost and found: dreamstreamrs

We’ve been in south Florida almost two months. Why two months? South Florida was fantastic for us. We had never spent time in Naples or Miami or the Keys. Reservations in state parks in the Keys are difficult to get and we didn’t know about other campgrounds yet. A group in the airstream owners club arranged reasonably priced camping at a commercial campground for early April and we were fortunate to get to join them.

IMG_0571It put us in striking distance of Key West for sightseeing, visiting friends, and dining. We followed Stern’s Road Food recommendations for dining at Blue Heaven, El Siboney, and Pepés Cafe & Steakhouse. GREAT recommendations! All three were absolutely fab food, fun service, and three really interesting decors. We would easily return to all these when next we are in Key West.  We also enjoyed Hogfish on Stock Island, the best scallops we’ve ever tasted.

nice place for a draft

nice place for a draft

And we almost did the three bars we felt obligatory, Green Parrot, Captain Tony’s, and Sloppy Joe’s. Green Parrot was nice — we stopped in for awhile, enjoyed a nice draft beer and had a fun conversation with a young couple on vacation from Fargo ND. Why would anyone want to leave Fargo in the middle of winter? Go figure.  Captain Tony’s was not so nice.  And we decided not even to go into Sloppy Joe’s, enough smoke at the sidewalk distance.

our 1st kayak trip

our 1st kayak trip

Everglades National Park has a lot for us to do. We dry-camped in Long Pine Key Campground, visited and kayaked at nearby in Flamingo. We also kayaked at  Islamorada (with friends) and at Bahia Honda State Park.  Islamorada was great — this was our first kayaking experience, we did it with six good friends, and there was a lot to paddle around and see.

We won’t likely kayak from Bahia Honda again unless we rent privately — their concession only provides for open water kayaking on the ocean side.  It was windy, current was strong, the kayak’s seats were very crummy, and bobbing around with nowhere to go was no fun.

We camped in two different state parks in the Everglades, Collier-Seminole and John Pennekamp.  Pennekamp has many great kayaking trails, an aquarium, and a neat small campground with full hookups.  We enjoyed kayaking from Pennekamp the best.

Our only dining failure was because the Cracked Conch in Key Largo closed down. It turned out a win for us because we instead dined at Buzzard’s Roost nearby and had a wonderful dinner on Garden Cove.

You might remember our post about giving our big red truck some loving? (it was the prior post to this one) Turns out, Sunset Chevrolet (in Sarasota) didn’t love our truck as much as we might have hoped. Down the road a bit going perfectly straight on the road we realized our steering wheel wasn’t top dead center, it was off 10 degrees. Then the oil change warning triggered every time we started the truck.

Heading north from Key Largo we arrived in Oscar Scherer State Park between Venice and Sarasota. No reservation needed by mid-April, the snow birds have already taken wing. The campground was quiet, despite being close to so many people. We enjoyed this quiet retreat and were glad to have full hookups for the RV since daily high temperatures still were nearly 90 degrees.

Sunset cheerfully took the truck into their service bay. An hour later they let us know there is no charge, the oil change reminder is now corrected, alignment checks out great, and road test showed all is good. We drove south to Oscar Scherer and realized the steering wheel is little, if any, better. And we just gave up on Sunset Chevrolet. Nice enough, but just not worth the time and gasoline to drive back up there and mess with this.

Now in Bushnell at Escapees Sumter Oaks RV Park. Suddenly we’ve found cooler weather (high in 60s Saturday), and are in a great place to catch up on reading and preventive maintenance. The swimming pool is indoors, they have an extensive library and a nice dvd selection. We’ve enjoyed catching up with a few amateur radio operators here including Leo K9GDI and Russ K8JLP, and are sorry we missed seeing the Lopes, N1HRS and N1OEV, who left only days before we arrived.

viewed from Hogfish Grille and Saloon

viewed from Hogfish Grille and Saloon

The sun has set on our Keys adventure, for now. Key West joins Albuquerque and Charleston SC as one of our favorite food towns. We did so much more than browse great dining places, and had a really good time touring on foot, by truck, and by conch train. The paragraphs above cover just the past three weeks, since we left our campground in south Miami where we had stayed all of March.

Dana Point, So Cal

Dana Point, So Cal

We’ve had an amazing winter. The first two months we spent in Mesa AZ playing tennis and hiking, taking dancing lessons and spanish lessons. We spent January traveling from Mesa through Maricopa and Yuma to Doheny State Park on Dana Point (near San Juan de Capistrano) to visit friends, then to south San Diego for sightseeing and finally dry-camping in Quartzsite with friends for two weeks.

Our first Key West visit togetherFebruary started with traveling from Quartzsite to Spicewood TX to spend a few days with friends touring the area and enjoying some fantastic food spots. Then onward to Florida in time for the southeast’s finest hamfest, Hamcation Orlando, put on by the Orlando Amateur Radio Club. Directly afterward we spent a week in Sarasota for the airstream club’s Florida State Rally. Then down toward southwest Miami for our March stay. We think you’ll enjoy hearing a little about our first visit to Miami — but not today.

Bloggers block is a terrible thing — there’s just no good place to jump back in and start the story. So much to share. One more good reason to do it now, and not procrastinate.

See you down the road!

Jim and Debbie
locate us here
visit our website

©2013 Dreamstreamr