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Author Topic: Long awaited retirement trip finally here  (Read 3964 times)

Lou Schneider

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Re: Long awaited retirement trip finally here
« Reply #90 on: August 03, 2019, 01:24:04 PM »

One would think that in a city as large as Las Vegas that has so much RV traffic and sales, a drop receiver would be easy to find in stock, but no. I found one shop that had one in stock and it was a double - 2"/8" - something I don't need and didn't want to pay for, but had no choice. I have it installed and we will see how it performs tomorrow when we leave on the road again.

My favorite RV supply place in Las Vegas is Camp-Out at 3076 Fremont St.  Fremont St. is an extension of Boulder Highway, they're located two miles north of the Boulder Station Casino, where I-515 crosses Boulder Highway.

It's a large, old school family run RV parts store that's been there forever.  They either have what you need in stock or on the slight chance they don't they can get it in a couple of days.  Everything from soup to nuts, hitches to brake and axle assemblies, appliances, small parts, etc.

They're easy to miss because they're co-owned with the camper shell business next door.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2019, 01:31:29 PM by Lou Schneider »

John Stephens

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Re: Long awaited retirement trip finally here
« Reply #91 on: August 03, 2019, 01:41:55 PM »
Lou, I only checked Google when looking for places who might sell hitch supplies and they didn't show up. My wife was over there yesterday visiting her daughter who lives behind Boulder Station. I found the drop down I bought at a hitch and truck supply store on Valley View between Spring Mountain and Desert Inn. I called a half dozen other places around town who said they didn't have one in stock, or had no idea what I was talking about. I took my tow bar system with me to make sure it fit since many of these receivers are made for a specific brand and won't fit all.

Since I plan on returning to Vegas within the next couple of years, I'll remember your suggestion.
John
Cape Coral, Fl.
2005 Winnebago Adventurer 38J
2018 Chevy Equinox

John Stephens

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Re: Long awaited retirement trip finally here
« Reply #92 on: August 06, 2019, 10:07:10 PM »
We drove to Kingman and while in the mountains, the check engine light came back on and stayed on. It has since been taken care of. Our stop in Kingman was to determine if we wanted to live there or in another town in the Western Arizona area.

We stayed at Zuni Village RV Park, a listing I saw in Good Sam. It is a fairly large city style park. The sites are level with trees on both sides, something badly needed during this time of year, and are dirt/gravel. The sites have the bare basics with old wooden picnic tables, cable that doesn't work, decent FHU's, and good wi-fi for $40 per night. There is a pool, if you get too hot in the desert sun.

Kingman, as a town, did not excite either of us on our first day there. However, about 17 miles north of Kingman on Historic Route 66 is a golf community called Valle Vista in which I have seen several homes for sale over the past few months from the MLS listings that I watch, so we drove up there to take a look. It appears to be exactly what we want if we can get used to driving 17 miles to town to get groceries and gas. On our second day, we drove to Bullhead City and Ft. Mohave, a town we had shopped three years ago on our last trip to Vegas. We found a couple of houses we could live in, but we still liked Valle Vista better, so we again drove out there and spoke to an agent. I think we will probably make that our next home unless something else comes up within the next six to twelve months.

Today, we drove to Gallup, NM on our first of five days across country, stopping for two nights in Clinton, OK for a rest stop. We drove six miles out of the way to see the meteor crater, something I have wanted to see ever since the movie Starman came out in 1984. We decided that after feeling cheated by paying $32 to see an unfinished monument at Crazy Horse, we weren't interested in paying more than $10 per person to see a hole in the ground. When we were told the cost would be $18 per person, we chose to use their parking lot for our lunch break.

The CEL stayed on all day. We are parked at a Home Depot and within walking distance to a Walmart, so I bought a $19.95 diagnostic scanner, found the light was on for the same reason - the #2 knock sensor with a non-active warning - and reset the light. Hopefully, it won't come back on since we are nearly finished with the mountains, something I will dearly miss for their beauty.

Road conditions on the drive back from Canada have been mixed, some excellent and some, the worst patches I've seen in a long time. For the most part, Montana roads are good, something I didn't expect given the amount of snow that state gets. US93 and I-15 were, for the most part, good. I-15 through Idaho was a pleasant surprise. This is a state that takes their road conditions seriously. There were several new stretches of road and a couple of 30-40 mile lengths that were under construction where they had completely taken out the road and were in the process of packing and grading the first fill of dirt as though they were laying a brand new highway. I found this refreshing compared to what other states attempt with botched patch jobs that last a year if lucky. Utah was the same - sections of road missing causing a reduction in lanes with the other side of the highway now taking on both directions of traffic.  Again, the interstate in Utah was in very good shape, as was I-15 through Nevada to Las Vegas.

The roads in Vegas were much better than they were three years ago with much less construction taking place on the surface streets.

Then we come to I-40 in Arizona. This road is a mixture of surprises with patches of absolutely horrible road sneaking up on you before you can move over, and then miles of resurfaced pavement in near perfect condition. Judy and I decided that the road through Arizona was the second to worst highway we have ever traveled thus far, the worst still being I-10 through Louisiana. I have been reasonably happy until today with the road and bridge conditions we have encountered and it seems that the northern roads are in better shape than the southern, something that simply doesn't make sense to me when the weather, snow and salt are taken into consideration.

It appears the new 8" drop hitch is working out well and makes me think we should have gotten it instead of the 10" when we bought the package. I can't blame the hitch technician because he measured the difference and sold me what he thought was correct.

Tomorrow we head to Tucumcari, NM, taking a full day to cross New Mexico as well as Arizona. These western states are big.
John
Cape Coral, Fl.
2005 Winnebago Adventurer 38J
2018 Chevy Equinox

Bill N

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Re: Long awaited retirement trip finally here
« Reply #93 on: August 07, 2019, 08:35:04 PM »
John Stephens wrote:
"The CEL stayed on all day. We are parked at a Home Depot and within walking distance to a Walmart, so I bought a $19.95 diagnostic scanner, found the light was on for the same reason - the #2 knock sensor with a non-active warning - and reset the light. "

John I have a lot of experience with the #2 knock sensor.  Mine kept coming on frequently until I decided to have it replaced.  Wasn't very expensive but I happened to find an RV guy who did it for me as a favor when he was working on other stuff. That took care of the CEL light.............for a while. It still comes on from time to time but not near as often and is easily reset.  I was told that the initial problem was the tailpipe to manifold connection was loose (the doughnut was worn out) and I got that fixed just before I had the knock sensor replaced.  Evidently it was causing the knocking problem.  Nothing to worry much about unless you can't reset it.
Bill & Joan N in Missouri
USAF (Ret - 1961-1981, All SAC)
305BW, 44SMW, 321SMW, 15thAF,HqSAC
2002 Winnebago Adventurer 35U
Workhorse W22, 8.1L Chevy V8
2013 Chevy Sonic Toad
Furbearers:  Heidi-17(Forever), Cats: Grace-12 & Squeak-7, Winnie the ShihTzu - 2

John Stephens

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Re: Long awaited retirement trip finally here
« Reply #94 on: August 08, 2019, 10:37:46 PM »
Bill, the tailpipe to manifold connection is a new one on me. The mechanic in Utah that did the scan told me that some of these sensors are so sensitive, they can pick up rough road through the tires, an out of balance tire, or another signal coming from a different wire that might be too close to the one for the sensor. But his best thoughts on the matter are what I believe to be the cause of the problem: he said that if I had bought some bad gas or gas with a low octane and then hit some mountains, the sensor might have simply been doing its job and detecting a slight knock under a heavier load. The reason I give this credence is because while in Montana and Idaho, I got several tanks of 85 octane gas because that is what a lot of the stations there sell as regular unleaded and if you want 87 octane, which is usually what I get, it is considered mid grade and costs $.20-.30 per gallon more. My last tanks have been 86 and 87 octane and I haven't had the light come back on - yet.

Yesterday, we drove to Tucumcari, NM on some of the worst roads we've traveled on so far. We stayed at a Flying J last night and got little sleep. We wanted to give the generator a rest since it had been running a good part of the day and when we went to bed, the difference in temps between inside and outside was only a couple of degrees so we cut it off and opened a few windows, thinking it would cool off within another couple of hours and we would probably need the blanket we kicked off the bed. Instead, at 2:10, I woke up sweating, got up and checked the thermostat to find the temp at 84. I started the generator back up and kicked on the air. But I couldn't get back to sleep between the truck stop noise, being unable to breath well, and a growing headache, and two hours later, I was back up taking Excedrin. Got up at 6:20 knowing that 30 miles down the road, we would lose an hour due to the time change when we crossed into Texas.

Today's trip was better even though I was getting pretty tired, mainly because Texas takes good care of their roads. There was one stretch that had us in the other direction of traffic because they were repaving the east bound lanes that lasted about nine miles, but other than that, the roads were in good shape. When we crossed into Oklahoma, I remembered someone on the forum complaining about I-40 through OK being the worst road in the country. Maybe they have made improvements since that poster made his journey, but I found little to complain about. A few rough patches, to be expected anywhere, but so far, the road has been good.

We stopped in Clinton, OK for tonight and tomorrow night to give me a rest from the road. Going by Good Sam, as I have done for the entire trip, I chose the Water Zoo RV Park for our respite. I must admit that it is the first big mistake I have made when choosing the RV parks for this trip. The front office for the park is also the front desk for the water park, and is staffed with three young girls of high school age who only know what their management tells them. The manager on duty was a young man who might have been over 21.

With GS discount, the cost was $43 per night and the park is supposed to have free wi-fi and cable. It is also supposed to have all big rig pull through sites. Well, the wi-fi comes and goes and you're lucky if you can get more than two web pages to load before you're disconnected. The cable requires a cable box that they forgot to tell me about, and to get one, you have to give them a $100 deposit. I asked if they had a theft problem and the young girl at the front desk said no. I then asked why the deposit for a cable box, something not usually seen in RV parks. She said she didn't know; she has never been back to the RV park and doesn't know anything about it other than what her manager tells her. I returned the box without using it when I realized that I would have to tear into the home theater cabinet and take off its facade to get to the rear of the signal spitter in order to connect the cable box, and that was more trouble than connecting my Dish equipment. Unfortunately for us, we found out later that the trees are so dense around the coach, we can't receive a satellite signal, so we are doing without television for two nights. To make matters worse, the sites are poorly designed with electric and water too far forward and the sewer near the back of the coach. We have pulled it forward as far as we can to keep the power and water hookups as short as possible and then are having to use 30 feet of sewer drain. I think this may be an old park that has the old style European hookups on the other side of the coach. If that is the case, you would have to face the other direction. Also, the trees are so close to the concrete sites, it is impossible to navigate your way out without scratching the sides of your coach. In a word, this is the WORST RV park we have stayed in so far this trip and I cannot recommend it. Couple the above problems with a staff and manager that doesn't care about customer service or have any knowledge about the facility and well, you get the picture.

When we visited the I-80 truck stop in Iowa, I noticed they had different sized steering wheels. I have been wanting to go from the 18" in the coach to a 16" to give my fat gut a little more room. On Saturday, we will be staying in Joplin, MO overnight and I told Judy that the little sister of the I-80 truck stop is the I-44 stop in Joplin and I'm betting they have a similar selection of truck parts. I'll see if they have a wheel that will fit my W-24 chassis and find out how much they will want to install it.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2019, 11:00:42 PM by John Stephens »
John
Cape Coral, Fl.
2005 Winnebago Adventurer 38J
2018 Chevy Equinox

John Stephens

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Re: Long awaited retirement trip finally here
« Reply #95 on: August 13, 2019, 10:38:19 AM »
I found out at the I-44 truck stop that the steering wheels they sell are for big rig trucks only and won't fit on my W-24 Workhorse chassis. So I'll look elsewhere for another one. It had been seven years since I had been at this truck stop and the first time I walked inside it, I thought it was huge. This time, after being in its bigger brother in Iowa, not so much. I just wasn't that impressed this time.

We made the drive from Clinton to Joplin without a problem. I-44 is toll from OK City to the state line and for 4 axles, it cost us $24.50. The road was good in most places.

We stopped at the Cracker Barrel in Joplin for the night. When we went in to eat dinner, we were the only ones parked in the RV parking lot on the back side of the building. When we came out an hour later, we were still the only ones parked back there, but someone had hit my right rear and torn the rear cap about a foot off the side, exposing the a/c ductwork coming up from the basement a/c. The cap is cracked in the middle, so it may have to be replaced, and the side panel over the a/c unit will need replacing. Judy and I pushed the cap back together as best we could, still leaving about a 1-" gap between it and the side panel, and tied it down with tie down straps and bungee cords to keep it from blowing off when highway winds caught it. We also duct taped the gap, hoping it would keep out wind and rain.

Whoever told me that if the first accident we had with the fire hydrant was the only thing that went wrong on an 8,000 mile trip, we would be doing good, jinxed us. The damage is so close to the first damage, I wish I could say it all happened at the same time so we would only have to pay one deductible, but that isn't possible.

The patch job we did apparently was good enough because we drove from Joplin to St. Louis the next day without issue. We arrived at Sundermeier RV park in St. Charles, MO on Sunday and experienced something never before seen by us. We were assigned a back in site because all their pull thru sites were taken. We got backed in easily and began hooking up. When I connected the sewer pipe to the sewer and began draining the black tank, it backed up and out the connector, pouring stinky brown water all over the area. I thought my connector had gone bad because it was coming out every seam and thought I would have to buy another one. But when I disconnected it, I realized it was the sewer that was the problem, completely backed up, meaning the entire length of my sewer hose was full of black tank water. I told the owner about the problem and she moved us to another spot. She asked me if I would hose down the area, but I asked her where the water was supposed to go if I did. I have never had a problem like this at any RV park I have stayed in.

Judy and I will treat ourselves to our favorite restaurants and pizza places around town while we are here for a week and see old friends. Hopefully, nothing will go wrong with the coach while we are here. We have a fairly large dog park about a half mile walk from our site that we'll take the pups to and allow them to run out some of the energy they have built up during this long trip today before we meet friends for dinner.
John
Cape Coral, Fl.
2005 Winnebago Adventurer 38J
2018 Chevy Equinox

John Stephens

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Re: Long awaited retirement trip finally here
« Reply #96 on: August 18, 2019, 10:24:56 PM »
We left Sundermeier this morning and drove to Judy's mother's house in Palestine, IL and will stay with her for six days before beginning the trip back home with only one more campground to stay at in Cave City when we visit Mammoth Cave. Sundermeier says on their website that they are rated five stars but I don't know by whom. If you don't mind city parks, I guess it's all right, but we prefer more of a campground setting and will be returning to 370 Lakeside next time we visit St. Louis.

On Friday, I attempted to replace the kitchen faucet. It should have been an easy job. Taking the old faucet out took a total of three minutes and we ran it up to the local Menard's to buy one that we had picked out the day before, only to find out it wouldn't work. We found another at the same price in a different finish that would do the job and headed back to the coach. I installed the new faucet and couldn't get the cold water to not leak regardless of how tight I got the fitting, and I didn't want to overtighten the fitting since it was plastic. After working on it for two hours (it should have taken 10 minutes), I gave up and called a mechanic who told me his workers would be going home in a little over an hour. Judy and I unhooked and got the coach ready to travel in a record 10 minutes, leaving behind our sewer hose and the Dish locked to the picnic table along with our car, and drove 5 miles to the shop. The mechanic met us as we were opening the door, climbed underneath the sink, felt the connector and said he's be back in a minute. he returned with a plastic grommet and told me the old one apparently fell out of the connector and I would have never gotten the connection to stop leaking without it. He finished my job in five minutes and charged me $40, an expensive grommet, but an invaluable education.

The night before that, I replaced the hardware under the bathroom sink that controls the stopper because the old had rusted out. So now, both of our faucets are working for the first time of the entire trip.

I have a concern because when I went to leave the mechanic's shop, the living room slide that I had set out so he could get underneath the sink wouldn't retract. I couldn't get any of the slides to move; no sound came from the pump, as though we had an electrical connection problem. But when I walked back in the shop to get the mechanic to look at the problem, it worked just fine so we don't know what caused the issue or if it is going to return.

Another electrical connection that has gone bad is the center speaker of my 5 channel home theater system. I troubleshot it down to knowing it's a wire and not a connection, and since the system is located in the dining room slide, I'm not going to try to find the problem. It will be easier to simply replace the speaker with a sound bar hooked directly to the television and use the other four speakers for the cab stereo. I'll pick up an inexpensive one tomorrow and work on it.

I find it interesting just how much wind can play a role in gas mileage on a long trip. When we headed out west, we ran into a lot of head winds that robbed us of power, and we suffered through getting 5.8-7.0 mpg per the engine computer readout and a 6.8 mpg per my own calculations. I haven't done the caculations yet for the way back; I'll wait until we get home to do the final figures, but the engine readout has been running 7.8-10.2, at least a 2 mpg difference just because we now have tail winds instead.

Speaking of gas mileage, our cost for gas is going to be considerably less than what I budgeted because I figured the average cost would be $2.80/gal. While we were in Wyoming, Montana, Canada, Idaho, Utah and Nevada, the price per gallon was $2.80 or higher, but the other states we have traveled through have seen prices ranging from $2.04 in Oklahoma (the cheapest) to $2.62 in Illinois, thus far. I also miscalculated the amount the generator would take because we haven't used it as much due to the colder weather in the northern states. This has allowed us to take this trip for considerably less cost than we thought it would. Of course, we now have to add $1,000 inn insurance deductibles, so the final cost of the trip may be close to what I originally thought.

Judy and I have mixed feelings about this trip coming to an end. On one side, we'll be glad to get back into our house with six times the room and a yard the dogs can run in, but on the other side, we really have enjoyed this trip and don't want it to end. But if I decided to go full time, it would have to be in a bigger RV.
John
Cape Coral, Fl.
2005 Winnebago Adventurer 38J
2018 Chevy Equinox