The Drive Back

12/30/14

We applied for our first work camping job ever. They called us today to offer us a position for the summer! We will have a place to stay! Woohoo! If all goes well we will be working at Desert Rose RV Park in Fernley, Nevada. Wish us luck!

 

Lesson of the day: Yippee, we are hireable!

 

12/31/14

Headed back to Las Vegas– We left at around 9AM. It was cloudy and rainy. The drive wasn’t too bad and we achieved our 300 mile goal for the day. There is a freezing storm headed this way called Frona…No, I didn’t make that up. It’s called Frona. Who names these things? We hope Frona will stay away or not be as bad as they say. Although by the time we reached our spot for the night, temperatures were well below freezing already, and there was a nice layer of ice over our tow vehicle’s windshield. Our crashing spot was Riverside RV Park in Ingram, TX. It is a cute little park that is situated right next to a river. The view is beautiful and the staff was very friendly and even checked us in after hours.

 

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We were met outside by our neighbor, a solo RVer from Canada. She had her Golden Retriever canada memein one hand and a cigarette in the other. I looked at the cigarette with misty eyes. Oh how I wanted one! I have been battling the addiction known as Nicotine for 10 years. I am currently on a great no-smoking streak and I didn’t wish to break it while I stood there talking to the polite Canadian..what am I saying, they are all polite. I was able to beat the craving once more, so to celebrate, I went into the RV to have some booze. After all, who doesn’t have any vices?

I digress. Miss Canada told us that she was waiting out the coming storm Frona at that park. She slightly hinted that we could do the same, but we are on a schedule. We have to get back to our jobs. We are like postmen: rain, snow, or Armageddon…however that saying goes.

The lady from the land of Crown Royal did give us some advice we followed.  Since it was goingy22-so-you-mean-to-tell-me-canadians-do-drink-maple-syrup to freeze, she suggested filling our fresh tank and unhooking the hose for the night. I’m not sure if that was the advice of a sage, but we did so and had no issues. Not wanting to test the validity of her claims at our expense, we will continue this practice on freezing nights hence forth.

Lesson of the day: Canadians have great advice when it comes to cold weather. They also have great syrup, but I already knew that.

 

1/1/15

Happy New Year!!!!

 

New Year’s Day was spent driving as far as we could, which was not very far.  The weather got colder and the roads icier. We saw many wrecked semi trucks on the road that day, as well.

We were very low on propane so we stopped at a truck stop before going to our RV park for the night.  It was about 20 degrees Fahrenheit outside and I waited for a good 15 minutes. Natalie decided to go in and see what was taking so long. The front counter clerk kept paging the propane guy to no avail.  After another 20 minutes, the clerk was able to get a hold of him and explained that the pipes were frozen and propane was not available. When Natalie relayed this info to me, I thought it didn’t sound right. But, we were tired and decided to head to the park and hopefully have enough propane. Once at the park I looked it up. You can pump propane all the way down to -44 degrees Fahrenheit.

We stayed at Parkview RV Park which is apart of a  campground discount program called Passport America.  We joined Passport America before this trip and the regular $22 a night at Parkview was only $11 dollars with our Passport America discount! If you haven’t joined Passport America, we highly recommend it. We saved about $60 on this trip alone which more than paid for the  annual fee of $44. You can click the banner here to join. I’m not going to lie, we get a little of the $$ if you use this banner link.  A portion of your fee is going to an important cause…our laundry tab!

 

Passport America, Save 50% on Campsites

 

Speaking of laundry costs, we decided to use the laundry facilities at the Parkview RV Park. It was then we realized that because of the rain and low temperatures, the entire ground was covered in about half an inch of solid ice. The taps at the sites were frozen solid, also.

Driving tomorrow may not be an option for us, we thought, if this kept up. We could hear the little voices inside our heads telling us to just stay put for a day. We decided to see what the morning brought.

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Lesson of the day: If the gas station you are at or close to has propane, fill up and maintain that level.  Otherwise, you may find yourself out of luck with stops that “frozen” pipes.

1/2/15

Frozen taps and no propane caused us to trek on despite our  better judgement. The weather has not let up. Apparently storm Frona is crazy. We saw no less than five wrecked big rigs. The road was just ice. We only got about 60 miles before deciding that driving on the ice was just too dangerous. We turned off the highway, onto a snow covered road and found Balmorhea State Park. It is a pricey RV park for us, but we are off the road and they have the most spectacular swimming pool.  According to the website:

A Cool Oasis in the High Desert
Dive into the crystal-clear water of the world’s largest spring-fed swimming pool. Swim, scuba dive, or just relax under the trees at this historic park in arid West Texas.

We met our neighbors right away. They were a group of women who decided to get RVs and travel the US with them. Kind of like us, except they were older…and they decided to do it as a quick decision…and they didn’t know anything at all about RVs…and they were all female as opposed to a male and female couple…so…not much like us at all, come to think of it. They did hand us a jug of hot water to unfreeze our tap right away, so they earned karma points and my smiles. They told us that they were going to stay at the park until the weather was better and it was supposed to be windy tomorrow. Everyone seems to be telling us not to go on, but we have a schedule to keep.

After settling down I decided to go take a look around and found a whole lot of awesome!

 

 

Finding the 72 degree pool with fish in it, I had to get in. Natalie insisted I didn’t because it was 22 degrees outside. So I just stood in it while Natalie took photos to prove I “went in”. If you ever find yourself in the area during better weather, we highly recommend you go for a swim.

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It is supposed to be sunny tomorrow, but a little windy. We will try again, and we are still running on fumes as far as propane goes.

 

Lesson of the day: If it’s raining ice, don’t even get out of bed. Sometimes the places you are forced to stop are the most beautiful ones. It’s always swimming weather…unless Natalie is there to remind you it is well below freezing out…then it’s time to just put your feet in.

 

1/3/15

 

The sun was out this morning and it looked like  Frona got tired of her tantrum and left. It was supposed to be a little windy but nothing we couldn’t handle. The RV park was a little way off the highway so we had to drive on the snowy road to get there. (This is a good time to mention that neither of us have a lot of snow driving experience.)

Considering the conditions, we decided to take it easy on the deserted snow-covered road. I was going about 20 MPH when a BIG gust of wind hit on the side. We lost traction and started for the side of the road. This would not be a problem if the road didn’t slope down about 8 or 9 feet…and if there wasn’t a giant bushtree in the way along with a barbed wire fence at the bottom of the slope.

I tried the wheel…no response. I let off the gas to get the same effect, tried the break, but just kept heading for the side of the road. The only thing that came out of my mouth was, “We’re going down.” Surprisingly I said it calmly. Not wanting to flip the RV, once I knew I had no choice, I turned towards the side of the road. If I had to go down the steep slope I knew I wanted to go down as straight as possible. As quickly as the ordeal started, it was over. The brakes worked after leaving the road and going down the small hill. We managed to miss the bushtree and the fence.

At this moment I realized that I had forgotten to freak out. I looked at Natalie and she must have seen my face turn from “business” to “scared”, because she stopped my delayed panic outburst by quickly saying, “We are OK. It’s OK.” and it was, until I remembered the car. Our tiny little Blueberry was on the tow dolly, maybe. I don’t remember the exact string of explicatives I spouted off as I ran to the door, but I do know that they ended with the word car.

I flung the door open, preparing myself for the possible hellish vision of pummeled Blueberry that awaited me. Without waiting for the stairs to come down, I jumped out. The sun was bright; all was white for a moment. As I squinted, I saw the car.

It was right side up, on the tow dolly, and firmly attached to the RV still. The feeling of elation was fleeting as I turned back to survey the RV. All appeared to be well. We didn’t even put a dent in it. We were, however, stuck. The wind was gusting up to 40 miles an hour now, according to our weather app and there were a few times we wondered if it could blow hard enough to tip us.

 

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Me, being a guy, decided that we were going to get out of it by our own will, force and limited resources. Natalie, being a woman, told me that I was crazy and we called Coach-Net, which is like AAA but for RVers. I must say, I am impressed with Coach-Net. They told us that due to our remote location they may have trouble getting someone to us today, but they promised to try and call us with any updates.

Since we had nothing to do but wait I spent some time looking at our tracks and discovered that the road was solid ice, and the wind was blowing so hard that if I stood still with my arms out, the wind would push me across the road even in my hiking boots. I’m surprised we made it as far as we did on that road considering the conditions.

We knew we had to unhook the car and tow dolly in order to be wrenched out. That took some time, but it was about then Coach-Net called and they found a guy to come get us out. It would take him a few hours to get to us, but help was coming. As promised, our tow guy came and we were back on the road!

It had warmed up so the snow was melting but the wind was still just too high to go on, so we pulled off the highway and I fell asleep on the bed for about an hour. When I woke up the winds hadn’t stopped. Our plan was now just to get to the next RV park. We found one in Van Horn, TX. Before going to the park we stopped at a propane place which, to our luck once more, was closed until Monday.

We got to the Oasis RV Park and we were happy to learn that they had a mechanic on staff who agreed to take a look at the alignment which appeard to be off since the incident. We drifted off to sleep hoping what little propane we had left was enough.

Lessons of the day: I can drive on ice and in wind, but not both. Stay weather vigilant. First Alert is a great, free national weather alert app. Coach-Net is awesome! It is hard to get propane in Texas.

 

1/4/2015

 

We awoke to clear skies, sunshine, and  the mechanic telling us all looked well, as far as he could tell, so we hit the road. We drove until we found a Flying J that sold propane. Unfortunately they told us that the filler person would not arrive for an “I don’t know” amount of time because he was on one of those “however long he wanted” breaks, so no propane.

We found another truck stop that offered propane, pulled into the slot, opened the propane compartment door, and saw a sign that read, ” Sorry we can’t pump propane today.” We figured we would have better luck in Arizona, so we drove and drove for about 10 hours. We got to this little gas station in the middle of nowhere that appeared to sell propane.

I walked in and asked if they sold propane, and indeed they did. The girl behind the counter said she would be right out. She met me outside and took a look at my propane tank. “I’ve never filled one of those before!” she said. My heart sank. Fortunately, working at a dive shop and filling tanks as well as blending nitrox, coupled with the fact that I have seen how this tank was filled before, I felt that I could walk her through it. I just needed to get her confident; she could do it.

I asked her how filling a BBQ tank works. She informed me that you hook the fill hose up and turn the bleed valve to open. Then you open the main valve on the tank until the bleed valve sprays a little bit. Close all valves and you’re done.

“Well here is where you hook the fill hose. Do you have an extension for it?” I said.

“Yea we have all these extensions here, but I’ve never used them.” She replied.

“Me neither. Let’s see if one fits.” I said. We found the right extension and I pointed to the bleed valve. In no time that sweet flammable gaseous gold was flowing from their tank into mine. I happily paid for the gas and we went searching for food.

We pulled into another gas station that happened to have a Wendy’s. Unfortunately as we tried to go around the back we saw a sign that read large vehicles wouldn’t fit. They conveniently placed the sign in a spot that was past the point of no return and you had to back up. In order for us to do that, we had to unhook the car and the dolly, back up and hook it all back up again. We finally got to eat and stopped in a Walmart parking lot to sleep for the night.

Lessons of the day: Propane is like gold! Fill up at every opportunity. Walmarts are good places to sleep.

 

1/5/2015

 

We made it back to Vegas! The drive was long and what an adventure! We are all settled down in our new place, The Hitchin Post RV Park. We are tired and glad we made the trip, but also glad it’s over. Back to work for us and we will add more updates as things come along.

 

Lessons of the day: It’s good to see new places, but it’s good to know you’re not going anywhere for a while too. Don’t feel invincible and “brave” questionable weather.  Wait it out, regardless of deadlines.  Better to arrive late than never!

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