October – Part I: Leaving Las Vegas…Again.

A man came by claiming to be a scout for hand models. He took one look at my short, pudgy appendages and said I am exactly what he was looking for, so instead of going to Amazon we have decided to try our luck in the modeling world. Our first shoot will be a centerfold in the Practically Perfect Pudgy Fingers Gazette of the Pacific. It is a modest magazine with a small but ever-growing readership on the west coast for those with shapely fingers like myself. Malibu, CA, here we come!

Ok, all of you have to be getting tired of reading my bizarre opening lines to these journal entries. When I say “all of you,” I mean all five of you who read these things. You know who you are…you’re reading this right now…if you are getting tired of them, it may make you feel better to know I am running out of ideas for bizarre scenarios.

If you like them, just for giggles, you should come up with a bizarre story that could befall a couple RVing around the U.S. Try to keep it to one paragraph or less and put it in a comment at the bottom of this post, through the “Contact Us” form on our site, or post it to our Facebook page. We will pick our favorite and start the next month’s journal entry with your winning wacky tale. (We will give you credit, of course.)

Until We Meet Again, Fernley, NV

With that said, I would like to talk about October, our October. I’m not trying to be selfish. I’m sure yours was great. I just wasn’t there for yours. We started off our October with an ending. It Goodbyewas time for us to leave what was our home for almost four months. We were leaving Fernley. Our first work camping experience was overall a good one. We met people we will never forget and we learned a great deal about running an RV park.

The last two days Natalie couldn’t say the word goodbye or look at anyone without crying; she doesn’t do the leaving thing really well. I suppose that goodbyes will have to become a normal part of life for this style of living. We still have Facebook and emails though, so keeping tabs won’t be too difficult.

What’s the Problem Officer?

October 3rd came, and Starbuck was ready to hit the road. Our first destination would be Las Vegas for a quick stop, and then to Livingston, Texas to become Texas residents. It appeared that nature had been planning a little going away party for us. Someone once said, “The thing that a lot of people cannot comprehend is that Mother Nature doesn’t have a bullet
with your name on it. She has millions of bullets inscribed with ‘To Whom It May Concern.’” Who said it? I don’t know. The source is unknown, but it makes a good point. As we drove away from Desert Rose RV Park, we saw a storm approaching from behind us. We knew this was going to be a fun trip.

There wasn’t much traffic, so Natalie wanted to use this time to get back into the feel of driving Starbuck, something that makes her nervous, more so after we ran the RV off the road almost a year ago. Read all about that here. Natalie likes to start things off with baby steps, by baby steps, I mean a baby could probably step along next to us while she was going her beginning comfort speed.

We knew that we should pull off to the side when possible to let cars by and we were in no hurry, so her comfort speed was fine with both of us. The problem with pulling off to the side was that there is no place to pull over on the I-95 from Reno to Vegas. There is six inches of black top after the white line on the side and then it just drops off into a ditch. So we did our best and pulled over as much as possible when one of the few cars on the road wanted to pass us.

Natalie was listening to her audio book (me reading aloud). We were nice and comfy and then we saw the flashing lights behind us. Assuming the cop was heading towards an accident down the road we headed off to the side of the ditch… err… road as safely as we could. Oddly enough the cop pulled up right behind us.

hipster copHe came up to the passenger window and said, “Are you aware you are going 45 miles per hour?”

Natalie replied, “Yes!” smiling about her safety conscious efforts to not crash the behemoth she was driving.

“The speed limit is 70 here. You know, driving too slow can be dangerous, as well? The trucker that was behind you was getting ready to pass you on a double line which could have caused an accident.” he said.

In my head, I was saying the maneuver we had to pull to get that bus size vehicle to the non-existent side of the road was more dangerous than anything we have been forced to do, or any maneuver we have “forced” someone behind us to do all day. I actually said, “I’m sorry officer; she is just taking it slow because she isn’t used to driving it yet.”

He took our license and registration and we waited, wondering if we were going to get a ticket for driving slow. Fortunately, he lectured us some more and gave us a warning and Natalie and I switched places to get far away from his jurisdiction.

Graffiti and ghost towns!

After our run in with the law, Natalie continued to drive until the weather and sleepiness made her stop. We have been known to stop on the side of the road for a few hours to sleep. Thus far it had felt safe and was a pleasant sleep. This was no different… except for the felt safe part.

It was somewhere around midnight when we pulled off to the side of the road where a town once was. I say a town was once there because the buildings were still there, but the people that once made it up had long since gone their separate ways. Walls with graffiti were the only thing that remained. There are a lot of these little towns that once were all over Nevada, so it wasn’t strange except, it gave me the creeps. There was something about this place that just didn’t sit right.

My mind started thinking about the graffiti; we were at least 30 to 50 miles from anything resembling civilization. Someone had to put the graffiti there. It wasn’t old either; the paint looked shiny and new. Someone did it recently. There were too many “empty buildings” too close to the road to be uninhabited. What type of people might live in such a dwelling? I decided to go with my gut and told Natalie that I would take over because I didn’t feel comfortable staying there.
No sooner did I say this someone knocked at the window. Keep in mind that it was around midnight and we were two miles left of nowhere. I looked out the window and saw a young guy, kind of unkempt looking. I opened the window. The man asked if he could have a bottle of water. I told him I had no problem giving him one except I only had water in the fresh water tank and no bottles. “I’ve got a bottle.” he said and pulled out a large empty water bottle. I took the bottle and went to fill it up.

Under normal circumstances, I am a rather generous person, but at midnight in the middle of nowhere I would consider it dangerous to knock on an RVers door in the middle of nowhere. Natalie started filling the water and possibly for no reason, I was scared of this strange man. Something felt off about him. The bottle of water was handed to him and without a thank you our mystery man said, “You got any food?”

Before I could respond Natalie decided he made her uncomfortable and said, “I’m sorry we are taking off, right now.”

He said, “No, problem,” as he turned to walk away. We drove off as fast as we could. As I said, perhaps he was just a guy hard up and looking for food and water, and I have no problem helping people. But, if it is midnight, on the side of the road, in a place that could be used as the set for the next Hills Have Eyes Movie, I may be more defensive than helpful.

As we drove away, a thought occurred to me, “Did you lock the car doors?” I asked Natalie.

“I think I did.” she responded. We decided to keep driving to a place to stop as I checked the rear view camera for movement in the car every couple of minutes.

We decided to stop at a rest stop that we knew about from the million trips we took that way due to my hernia surgery. There were already several RVers there waiting for the storm to pass. There was a nice spot to stop on some gravel and we put down the levelers. I hopped out to check the status of the car. It was empty and we went to sleep.

I’m a full-time RVer, Jim, not a hydraulic engineer!

The next morning we did one of the most advantageous things a motorhome will let you do. We made breakfast on the side of the road. While we ate, I set the levelers to go up. After eating, we noticed that the rear passenger leveler was still going up. We waited a little longer and it had not moved. Of course, something on the outside malfunctioned while it was raining and cold. We donned our jackets and I put pants on… What? Th2851450ere is no need to wear pants while driving a motor home…do you wear pants at home? Don’t judge me. 🙁

Sure enough, visual inspection showed that the leveler seemed to be stuck. Consulting the manual told us that we should open the bleed valve because it may be stuck. That was an excellent idea, but it didn’t help.

Eventually I used two pieces of wood like a fulcrum and a lever to help push the leveler up with the valve open. While I was struggling on the wet ground a guy and his wife pulling a trailer pulled up next to me. I assumed they were going to ask if I needed help, to which I was going to reply that I had it under control and thank them for their kind offer, and smile to myself reassured that there are still good people in the world. Unfortunately, this scenario did not play out. He and his wife just sat there… in their truck… with their widow up… staring at us. You could see that they may have believed that they were thinking about asking us, but the warm comfort of their vehicle proved to be the ultimate barrier stopping them from opening the door or window. After watching me struggle–five feet away–for a bit, I suppose they realized the door proved to be too great an obstacle and without a word, they drove off. I say this to all who may read this and find me stranded in a rest stop; If you don’t want to get out of your car and you pull up concerned that I may be having problems, at least flash me an Are you OK? sign with your hand. Don’t just sit there… It’s creepy.

The pushing the leveler up idea worked great. We could drive, but we still had a problem, one that would have to wait for Vegas later that day.

Happy Trails! Goldfield, NV

On our way to Vegas we passed through Goldfield, NV to visit with our friends, Jody and Malek. They run the Elite Trading Post in Goldfield, Nevada. If you are ever driving through, we recommend stopping and taking a look. You can read a little more about our previous adventure in Goldfield HERE. We also interviewed a fellow full-timer there by the name of John Paul.

The Magic of Lubricated Levelers 

After saying hello and goodbye to our friends in Goldfield, we headed into Vegas. Our first night was at the KOA on Boulder Highway because it was close to Johnnie Walker RV Sales, Parts, and Services, where we could have our levelers checked. I was assuming we needed new springs or something. I was also anticipating spending a bit of money getting them fixed.

We pulled up to Johnnie Walker RV with credit card in hand and after some calm breathing exercises, we went in to see what they said. After explaining the problem to the tech, we waited for the horrors of the explanation and how much it would cost. He walked us into the parts store and handed us a can of Power Lube. He said, “Sounds like the rubber gasket is sticking. You should try lubing the rod.” Could this $8 can of lubricant spray be the answer to our leveling woes?

We bought the can, sprayed the shiny metal rods, and pushed the button to raise the levelers. Angels sang as all of the levelers went up quickly and smoothly. Our hydraulic troubles were solved for around $8. I have added a link at the bottom if you want to get a can of Power Lube for yourself from Amazon.com.

We stayed one more day in Vegas and visited friends and family before hitting the road. We packed up and hit the road, headed towards Livingston, Texas. Our spirits were high, but storm clouds made us leery too as we crossed the Nevada border into Arizona.

Stay tuned for part II, coming to a blog near you… Well, I mean our blog is always near you… it’s on the internet.



Share this post!