Tuesday July 31st 2018
It rained lightly overnight and into the morning. It was just hard enough to be heard over the noise of the air conditioner. Shortly afternoon the sun started to burn through the cloud cover. The temperature made it into the mid 80s. The current forecast calls for a little more sunshine in the next few days, but the rain is still going to be around.
Rainy weather starting to breakup this afternoon with a couple of jets passing above the clouds.
My focus today was on getting ready to travel tomorrow. I’m moving north to the other side of Richmond VA for the next few days. I wanted to do a shorter hop north followed by a few days in the Charlottesville VA area, but I couldn’t find a site for the coming weekend. Instead I’ll spend more time at a familiar stop in Ashland VA. There are a number of Civil War Battlefield sites in the area that I would like to check out.
Getting ready to travel has been a little different this time around. My living pattern over the weekend was different. I got up in the morning had a quick gulp of coffee and food then departed for the day. I usually got in late after a busy day visiting with family. The result was a sink of accumulating dirty dishes and many other things not getting put away. Today I worked on the dishes and putting the clutter away in addition to all of my normal day before travel tasks. I plan to be on the road by ten, but the weather will have a lot to do with the timing.
Rose blossom of the day,
Monday July 30th 2018
After a weekend off from daily blogging, my occasionally interesting, often boring attempt to chronicle my Rambling Road Trip continues. As a reminder to new and occasional readers my goal for this blog is multifaceted. In addition to providing a history of my travels, I also want the blog to be useful for readers considering this life style. The blog also adds a little structure to my life. Having to sit down and write something every night means I have to reflect on what I’ve done each day. It seems like I end up dwelling on the weather when I don’t do anything interesting during the day.
Ugly weather moving in.
I spent this past weekend on the Pamlico River in Eastern North Carolina attending a family gathering. We’ve been getting together here most summers since 2009 according to my records, but there is some debate about the exact year. I thought it was 2008 until I dug up a list I’ve maintained since the mid 1990s of my travels. It doesn’t really matter how long we’ve been getting together, we have fun and catch up on all the goings on.
Sunset along the Pamlico River.
This year the weather got in the way some. The rain in the area was unpredictable. Lines of thunderstorms moved across the area at the beginning and end of most days. A few pop up storms also put a wrinkle in outdoor activities. The available time to be out on the water was restricted by the weather. High winds and lightening make for unsafe conditions. Perhaps the biggest annoyance was all of the standing water. After more than a week in a similar weather pattern, the water has nowhere to go. I stepped into water above my ankles a couple of times. In case you didn’t know, wet squeaky shoes are noisy and uncomfortable.
Fireworks on the dock.
Tomorrow I have to get back into planning and travel mode for my trip north into New England. I’ve got some reservations locked in, but I still have to fill in several gaps.
Blossom of the weekend.
Friday July 27th 2018
My daily blog will resume on Monday.
Thursday July 25th 2018
The weather talkers got it wrong again. It didn’t rain at all today. This morning the sky was blue, the sun was shinning and I couldn’t see any clouds in the sky. It was still humid and the temperature got up to about ninety. The heating of the air produced clouds late in the day, but it didn’t rain. It was a beautiful day. A few more like it would be nice. The weather talkers say we’re back in a “normal” summer weather pattern, so there should be more days like today to follow.
Clouds that developed late in the day blocked the sun for awhile.
Today was a day for chores around my RV home. Before it got hot outside, I finished getting set up for the week, I took the bicycle off the car and connected the motor home to the sewer. Once the sun got high in the sky I retreated inside. Climbing up on the roof to work on the satellite antenna will have to wait for a cloudy dry day. In the mean time I’m stuck watching the over the air television stations. There are plenty to offer at this location including three sets of the same North Carolina PBS stations.
This bugs are as big as a small bird. They are all around my RV home. This one paused on the fireplace grill long enough for me to take its picture.
This afternoon I made a grocery run that turned into more of a restocking trip than a simple food buying trip. I ended up buying many occasional purchase items like coffee, dish detergent, plastic bags and air freshener. Of that set of items only the coffee was on my list. The other items were the result of walking up and down the aisles. I kept having, “I need that” moments. Today I seemed to be a bit of an impulse buyer instead of my usual analyze the need to death before purchase type buyer. Luckily, I really needed all of the things I bought and had a place for them in my limited storage space.
Wednesday July 24th 2018
Today was a travel day so I couldn’t sleep in, but starting the day at 3AM was not part of the plan. Nature’s predator and prey had an encounter near my RV around that time. I don’t know exactly what it was but the screeching and banging noise was enough to wake me from a sound sleep. Looking out the windows I couldn’t see anything and there was no signs of any carnage this morning.
Site 219 at the Tranter’s Creek Resort and Campground.
After getting back to sleep I started the day around 7:30. It was cloudy and humid with the temperature in the seventies. I took my time getting ready. My plan was to depart as close to the 11AM checkout as possible. I only had one hundred and thirty miles to travel and I didn’t want to arrive until around 2PM. It was ten thirty when I left the Wade NC campground. To kill time I planned to stop at the rest area on Interstate 95, but it was closed. Instead I spent extra time at the gas station after filling the tank.
Most of my travel day was in dry conditions. I needed to run the windshield wipers intermittently once, but I was clearly moving into an area that had experienced more rain than where I’d been. I arrived a few minutes after 2PM shortly after a shower had moved through the area. It was dry but very humid in the mid eighties while I setup the RV for my weeks stay. Getting the AC on in the RV was a priority. Around five the rain started up again. It has rained off and on since then.
Yesterday the forecast called for a return to normal weather tomorrow. Today the forecast for tomorrow is rain in the morning and clearing toward the end of the day. The window of normal weather is now forecast to continue into Sunday, so I guess everything has moved out by twelve hours.
The ghost in my generator returned this afternoon. It had been gone since Sunday, but the generator started without cause while I was setting up. Traveling on wet roads seems to have allowed water to get into the connector again. The connection is exposed to the spray from the drivers side rear wheels. I’ve disconnected it until it dries out. I need to find a water tight sleeve for the cable and connector. Just wrapping it up in layers of electric tape didn’t work. Water dripped out of the connector when I disconnected it.
Tuesday July 24th 2018
The surrounding trees and the heavy cloud cover kept it dark enough that I slept late this morning. I didn’t have anything planned for the day and the forecast was for rain. It seemed like a good excuse to sleep in this morning. It was noon before I stepped out of the RV.
The forecast for today on last night’s TV news was for heavy rain with flash flood warnings. This area didn’t align with that forecast. There was heavy rain to the east and heavy rain to the west. This area was cloudy with occasional filtered sunshine. The area I spent the weekend near Charlotte got severe weather with floods and the area I’m heading for tomorrow was getting rain today according to the radar. This was a good stop for a couple of nights.
If one is to believe the forecasts, tomorrow is a transition day followed by a few days with normal weather. I think normal means hot and humid with a chance of late in the day thunderstorms. That’s the problem with some of the forecasts you get on local TV. They assume you know the area. The next days with above normal rain chances is Sunday and Monday. This pattern with a tropical flow of moisture seems to be in play for another week or so.
I spent the day reading, watching TV and walking around the campground. Most of the people that came in yesterday departed this morning. For some reason, perhaps because there wasn’t an immediate threat of rain, the park didn’t fill up near as much tonight. There are still plenty of people here. The campground also hosts people visiting the area and working at the area military bases. The focus on the military is clear by the display of the various service flags along with the American Flag.
Monday July 23rd 2018
Today started very foggy. By the time I was packed and ready to leave the Charlotte area around 10:15 it was just a cloudy day. The sun came out briefly here and there as I made my way east to the Fayetteville area. I didn’t take the most direct route. I chose to stay on better roads and went southeast to Lumberton, NC. Then I picked up Interstate 95 north through Fayetteville to Wade NC.
Site 33 at the Fayetteville NC. The rain is moving in on the right side of the picture behind my RV.
I was an easy drive lasting about four hours including one stop for gas and an attempt to stop at a rest area. The gas stop wasn’t well scouted out ahead of time. The station had easy access, but the price was about ten cents a gallon higher than other stations on my route. I only put in one credit card run of a hundred dollars to bring the tank up to about the seven eights level. I’ll do a little better research for my next fuel stop.
The rest area stop just served to get me annoyed at unthinking drivers. North Carolina rest areas have separate parking areas for trucks, RVs and cars. I followed the signs to the correct area only to find all of the long RV parking spots filled with cars. The car parking area on the other side of the building had plenty of room. I waited as long as I could for one of the car owners to come out of the building and leave without success. It’s probably a good thing no one showed. I might have yelled a few things at them that wouldn’t do any good.
I managed to get set up on my site before the thunderstorms arrived. There have been three storms pass through the area since I arrived. From the TV reports, the Charlotte area where I came from is getting hit harder. The forecast for tomorrow is more of the same and flash flood watches are out for the area. I don’t move on until Wednesday.
Sunday July 22nd 2018
The potential for severe weather continues to keep me on my toes. Yesterday had severe weather all around the area, but it never came over this area. The only storm was rain without thunder and lightening around 1:30 in the morning. This morning we were back to sunny and humid with the look of a storm at any moment. Around the dinner hour there was thunder and lightning in the distance followed by strong winds. So far tonight it has only rained for a few minutes in this area. Other locations in the area are under severe weather warnings and flash flood watches.
ZMax Drag strip at the Charlotte Motor Speedway behind the campground. Notice the clouds in the northern sky.
I continue to watch the TV coverage of the tragic sinking of the Duck boat on Table Rock Lake in Missouri. The seventeen people lost their lives on the same ride I was on last month. I wrote about my experience in the blog post Branson Duck Tour. It is easy to understand how the tragedy happened. There is very little way the boat captain can know the water conditions before the duck is in the water. The entry is down a steep narrow ramp through the trees. The view of the lake is very limited. They also approach the water at a good speed to maintain momentum while the propulsion changes from wheels to props. The area where the duck enters the water is in a fairly protected cove. The duck boat makes a loop out into the lake to reach the exit ramp area. While out in the lake the duck boat must take the full force of the wind driven waves. The ride I was on didn’t have much wind to deal with, but it did have the wakes from other boats to deal with. Those wakes tossed the boat around quite a bit. The other thought I had was on empowerment. I wonder if the boat captain was able to cut the water portion of the ride out of the tour without getting hassled by management. After all if you don’t get to drive into the water you might as well take the land tour on a minibus.
Clouds to the southeast behind the Charlotte Motor Speedway. There was lightning in these clouds a little later.
And now we return to our regular blog post. I spent the day running errands. The biggest of which was getting the oil changed in the car. I noticed a Valvoline Instant Oil change place on Friday when I was grocery shopping. This is my preferred chain to use for oil changes and transmission fluid refreshes. The last time I had the oil changed was in Las Vegas in January so it was due. The place wasn’t busy on a Sunday, so that little chore is complete.
There were more people arriving at the campground today than I’ve seen the whole time I’ve been here. A drag race event is scheduled for Tuesday night, so perhaps that is the reason for the large number of people arriving. I’ll never know, I’m moving on east tomorrow.
Wildflower (weed) blossom of the day.
Saturday July 21st 2018
It was sunny humid day with a high temperature in the mid 80s. The weather forecasters have been warning about severe thunderstorms arriving in the area during the afternoon since Thursday. As of 9:30 this evening they are still warning about the storms. At least now they actually appear on the radar. When you live in a box on wheels this type of forecast gets your attention. Unfortunately, the TV weather talkers seem to over sell the issue. I’ve watched the sky all day.
Today was a routine day in the life kind of day. There are some things you have to do even when you live in an RV. I did laundry and cleaned inside the motorhome today. There is a small laundry with 3 washers and 3 driers in this campground. It is conveniently located about a hundred yards from my RV home. It was even inexpensive at a dollar seventy five per load. If this campground were full, the laundry wouldn’t come close to satisfying the needs.
For entertainment, while I was doing all of these routine tasks, I watched the “Open Championship” golf from the British Isles on TV followed by the Rugby World Cup coverage from San Francisco. Talk about contrasts. The golf is slow and peaceful while the rugby is fast and potentially violent. Both sports programs captured my attention away from my chores from time to time.
The flowers in this bed were partially covered by thick pine needle mulch. There are not many plantings around this campground. These were near the laundry and office building.
I didn’t get a lot of exercise today. At most campgrounds it is easy to get a little exercise by walking around the campground roads. The activity in the campground, glimpses of nature or the terrain itself are enough to encourage walking around. This campground is basically a wide open gravel parking lot with a few roads and fences to separate areas and the people staying here aren’t outside. They are either staying cool inside or away from their sites. I can get interested in walking around here in the hot sun.
Friday July 20th 2018
I spent the day working on a couple of issues that came up yesterday with two of the major systems in my RV home. My generator and satellite TV system are acting up.
Most of the evil weather was off to the east today. A cold front with severe weather is forecast for tomorrow from the northwest.
Yesterday morning as I was packing up for travel the generator came on for no apparent reason. The RV was connected to shore power, so there was no need for the generator to start. Normally I start the generator from a switch on the dashboard. I have an Automatic Generator Start (AGS) system that will start the generator when the battery voltage gets low or the interior temperature is too high, but it should never run when connected to shore power. After the ghost turned the generator on I turned it off from the dashboard switch and continued to pack up. It came on again before I got on the road and again while I was on the road.
After I got setup in Charlotte I checked a few things and made sure the AGS was turned off. The generator didn’t come on during the afternoon or evening. I assumed I’d fixed the problem, although I didn’t do anything that should have fixed it. Everything was fine until around midnight. The generator came on to wake me up. I made my way to the front of the RV and turned the generator off before it woke the neighbors. Given that my last “fix” lasted for more than eight hours, I went back to bed. The generator ghost struck again just before 3AM. This time I didn’t get back to sleep the rest of the night. The generator came on again around 7AM.
While I was up during the night I had time to search for solutions on the Internet. It turns out to be a fairly common problem. People describe the same random starting behavior. Some people even described burning through three quarters of a tank of gas while the RV was in storage. The generator can’t use the last quarter of the tank. The problem seems to be associated with water getting into the wiring harness connectors or a circuit board connector. After a couple of attempts this morning, I found the main connector for the starting circuit on my generator. It did have water in the plug and socket. I dried things out and re-wrapped it with tape. The generator didn’t start on its own for seven hours after I reconnected the plug and socket. I want to get a good nights sleep tonight, so I disconnected the suspect plug and socket for the night. I’ll continue testing tomorrow.
The satellite issue is another common problem according to the internet. The satellite dish control box is reporting “No LNB Voltage”. The dish can’t lock on to a satellite and the DirecTV box can’t get a signal. The solution to this problem seems to be replacing a three foot section of cable from the LNB receiver head to the base of the antenna. I bought the cable today, but I need to get up on the roof to do the work. Today was too windy and the sun was out bright. I’ll wait for a cloudy windless day to work on the roof. In the mean time I have to survive on over the air television. This campground doesn’t have cable.
In the middle of all this fun, I went to Lowes and Walmart for supplies. The Walmart trip also served as a grocery run. I’m now provisioned for the weekend. Let’s see what other fun repairs I can undertake.