16 Aug 2013

That's What that button is for. (or Adventures with Wilbur pt1)

Well, tomorrow has came and went a couple of times and I'm finally sitting down to start this.  So sorry.

Before I get into all of the details of the trip I want to start out with saying this was a hugely successful experiment.  Which is not to say that everything went smoothly because it didn't.  We had no idea what we were doing, had no idea if we would like it or not, no time to test things out on a shorter haul, and let's face it Wilbur isn't new nor has he been well cared for. But we loved it!  The freedom to plop ourselves down just about anywhere was fantastic and the people we met along the way were incredibly supportive of our first road trip.

Our original plan was to leave on Saturday.  We knew that was ambitious seeing as DH didn't get home from work until fairly late Friday night.  Sooo, we had some flex time built into the schedule.  Turns out he wasn't the hold up, I was. lol 

Wilbur's upholstery isn't in the greatest of conditions and the dinette seemed prone to even more damage.  So, I got it into my head to recover the cushions.  All was going well on Thursday and then I discovered I had made an error in measuring and was missing a yard of vinyl.  I had the two seat cushions finished and 1 back cushion cut.

Well, no biggy, I'll go buy more except that 3 stores later there was nothing like the original to be had.  I wasn't sure I wanted to commit to the heavy weight marine vinyl.  I've rebuilt my machine a couple of times due to moving damage and it still isn't working right so I bought the cheapy stuff.

Big mistake!  It was sticky, stuck to the machine, stuck to itself and wouldn't sew properly.  Yuck!  We all suffered through threads breaking, re-threading, tension that wouldn't stay adjusted and this is why there are no pictures yet.  The camera person was preoccupied with cussing.  Yep, I can get a wee bit foul when things start going south.

It was Saturday evening before I finally finished the second back cushion.  Oh well, wet bathing suits, no problem, slopped coffee, no worries, easy care all the way.  Too bad it's not pretty.  I'll fix that, later.

Mean while, DH was doing a few last minute installations.

One problem we encountered while driving to a couple of the mechanic's appointments was the cabinet doors flying open.  Living in California has taught us a couple of things.  ;)  So he installed earthquake latches for the cabinets which worked fantastically well.   They did require a little shimming in the wardrobe.  If you happen to find me from an RV mods search.  These are the ones we used.

 Safe-T-Proof Cabinet Touch Latches

My coffee maker is about 1/4 of a centimeter too big to be mounted.  Argh!  I dug out the coffee grinder and french press to bring with us. Later we'll move the offending light and put it in a more useful place too. (can you see our later list growing.  lol)

Well, it's now dusk on Saturday, Wilbur is partially loaded, the fridge is cold enough but we are still at home and, the house isn't ready for the cleaners.  Another of my grand ideas was to have the pros come in while we were gone and do the carpets, upholstery, blinds ...  Well that involved moving as much of the furniture out of the way as possible.  Tommorrow . . .

Sunday morning bright and early, we get up and managed to one more thing our way into Sunday evening.  I honestly think it was procrastinating at that point.  Starting a 5500 mile trip is intimidating to say the least.  We decided if we didn't get moving that night there was no way we would ever get started so we packed ourselves in and left.

Only there was one more place to stop at. rotfl
I took this one as I very last one thinged my way out of the drug store.

Yes the moon was rising as the sun set.  We have odd moon rises here.  Maybe it's where we are in the time zone.  I don't know but it's common to have the sun and moon in the sky at the same time.

It was at this point I realized that there was no way we were going to make it to my first planned stop, a state park in Nevada.
"Do you know where we're going tonight"
"nope. how about Walmart in Sacramento?"

At midnight we rolled into Sacramento and found a Walmart.   We've read that it was good form to ask before using their parking lot for overnight stays.  I'm so glad we did.

The response, "Not here! It's not us, it's the city and they are agressive about towing."

"Now what?"
"Well it's late we'll drive a bit further and see if we can find someplace outside of the city."

"K", and DH turns the key.

'click', turn key again, 'click', and again, 'click'

"dead battery"
"Yeah, we need a boost, I'll call Coachnet."

You probably don't know who Coachnet is but they are the AAA/CAA of the RVing world and I am amazingly grateful to have found them. I'm not sure how I found this blog but I found Cheri and Chris just as their bus broke down. So sorry about their summer but their experiences helped us decide which provider to choose. Thanks guys, if you happen to visit me.

So DH dutifully calls and we prepare to wait for some kind of assistance.

"Have you tried the Emergency Start, it draws power from your coach batteries in case your automotive battery is flat?"
"So that's what that button does!"

And we're back on the road feeling incredibly stupid and it's now even later.  All those trip planning books with nothing but hotels and restaurants suddenly seem useful.  I check out the Northern CA one and find us a hotel close by.

"Good Night"
"Wonder why the battery died?"
"We'll deal with it later."

Tomorrow I'll carry on with day 3. ( If you believe me I should start selling waterfront property in Florida. ;) 



  1. Interesting read. Looking forward to the next installment.

  2. Fun...even through struggles, you keep going. Sometimes "starting" is the hardest part.
    Can't wait to read the next installment.

  3. Love your adventures and you are a more patient woman than I!

  4. Looking forward to reading more of your adventures. My husband and I have own 6 travel trailers during 25 years of marriage. We are wanting to take a month long trip to Alaska so we are hunting for another RV, so that will be number 7!!!

  5. It is so exciting already! Memories for a lifetime. Can't wait to read more!

  6. These are the best trips...the ones where things don't go perfectly.
    Okay that's not true, but they do make some of the most interesting memories and stories :)


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