Photo taken near Monument Valley, Utah

Monday, September 30, 2013

Back at Home Base

At home in Fort Worth...

The final leg home down I-20 from Shreveport was uneventful after a quiet night at Tall Pines RV Park. This facility, judging from the telltale A-frame shape of the office, was obviously an ancient KOA campground earlier in its life.  And I do mean ancient, as the site pads were short and narrow, the concrete having been poured way before big rigs and RV slideouts came on the scene. I was able to get all of Phannie's wheels on the pad, but she looked something like a big gray elephant perched on a post card. Mae had to be content with parking on the gravel that led up to the pad. It was a quiet park, but there was no working wi-fi available. Incomprehensible in today's connected world. 

Cruising along on the Interstate, I was able to fiddle at length with my new GPS, a Rand McNally Tripmaker designed especially for RVers. I've been relatively impressed with it so far, but it is not very user-friendly. It has taken a lot of trial and error to figure out how it works. I've even had to resort to looking a the manual a time or two.  (This is anathema to a guy, as it is generally considered a sign of weakness.) The unit seems very accurate and, with the exception of Clarksdale, has been perfect in finding some very tricky destinations. I don't know what happened there; the GPS took us within about a half-mile of the Clarksdale campground but no farther. It was as though it was trying to tell us not to try to go there. As it turned out, the GPS knew best; we should have listened.

Although you can change it, the Tripmaker defaults to displaying the map with north always at the top, unlike other GPS units that show the direction of travel always at the top. In the latter, the map turns while the RV icon always points north. In the Tripmaker, the appearance is that of a stationary map upon which the RV icon moves around. When I was flying airliners, I was accustomed to this kind of display on my navigation instruments, so it seems more natural to me. It also warned me when it had planned a route (I have it set to "fastest") whose weight restrictions did not allow a vehicle of Phannie's 32,000 lb. gross weight. It has also given fairly accurate warnings about road construction in progress. (I can't figure out how it knows that.) It's also supposed to warn me of height obstructions on a planned route that might cause something expensive and embarrassing to happen to Phannie. So far, I haven't observed that warning yet. I also appreciate the big 7" display, needed as my eyes get older.

Arriving home, I left Phannie in her driveway while we unloaded. This allowed the slides to be fully extended so as to have clear access to all the storage spaces. Well, that's not the whole story; it was mainly for Sandy to have access to her clothes in the bedroom closet, all of which had to be transported back into the house (by guess who?) for reassessment, she announced. Bless her heart, although she is much improved in her choice and quantity of clothing for RV trips, she still struggles in dealing with changing seasons. I, on the other hand, left my skimpy supply of clothes largely intact in Phannie except for exchanging a couple of pairs of shorts for long pants, now that autumn has arrived.  And yes, Sandy knows, intellectually that, in consideration of RV clothing, less is more. It's just that little demon whispering in her ear, "What if?" She's a planner and organizer and doesn't like to be caught unprepared by the vagaries of weather, hence her reliance on "what if" outfits. I have learned over time that her deliberations in this area do not need any input from me. 

We also empty the refrigerator and clean it after each trip. We found this eliminates odors and the likelihood that something will be left in there that will scare us when we open it again.  Then I dump the tanks, including the fresh water, which I will refill just before the next trip.

The next trip, by the way, is coming up Friday, to Houston. We'll keep you posted. 


  1. I had to laugh at the clothing part. John brought a suit, of all things! He insists that I "might" need it. I eliminated all winter coats and jackets. John has 3. BUT since I have a traveling spinning wheel and Antique circular sock machine, I have bags and bads of wool to be spun into yarn to make into socks. I guess it balances out.

  2. I think Jim and I have both finally figured out the clothes situation after almost five years on the road. But I'm a lot like your Sandy. I always want to be prepared for the what ifs.

  3. Probably very wise to be silent about the clothes thing. :)

  4. I don't have very many clothes to start with. I refuse to take anything that had paint on it, so that left me with what I have bought for RVing. :~)

    Craig has lots of stuff in his house closet that needs to be tossed. But that will b easy when the house sells.


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