Now in Crawfordsville, Indiana

Now in Crawfordsville, Indiana

We are now in Del Rio Texas

We are now in Del Rio Texas

Travel to Dallas, Second Time we Arrived

October 14 - 16, 2013  

The weather here is not so good right now with a lot of rain and the temperatures have fallen to the 50-60 degree area.  We got up Monday morning, the 14th, to rain and drizzle.  What a crappy day to reposition the rig!  The good news was that we were only traveling 140 miles to the east side of Dallas which is only a 2 hour drive, or so we thought!

Since we were only traveling 2 hours and the checkout time was noon, we were in no real hurry especially since it was lightly raining.  We got everything packed up and hit the road at 11 am.  We were headed east on I 20 to Fort Worth and then on to Dallas.  About 5 miles after we got on I 20 we saw flashing police lights ahead so I moved over to the left lane as was everyone else.  As we approached the police car we noticed that the police officer was outside the car and waving an orange flag to slow everyone down. 

We were going up a slight hill so we couldn't see anything past the police car until we had passed it.  Then WHOA!  All traffic was stopped and there were lots of flashing lights ahead and on both sides of the road.  We could then tell that the eastbound lanes (us) were being turned back on to the westbound side and there was no traffic coming from the west.  

Turning us around on I 20.

Sitting on the westbound side trying to find a way around the road closure.

It was now about 11:45 and we were now on the westbound side pulled over in the emergency lane checking our phone and paper maps to find a route around the mess. We couldn't find a good way around it. So I pulled the rig up in the emergency lane to where an officer was directing traffic on the other side so I could ask him if he knew how long this road closure would be.  He yelled back that there had been an accident ahead and that it had closed both sides of the Interstate.  He also had no idea how long it would be before they reopened.  Judging the length of the traffic backup and the number of trucks sitting on both sides in the emergency lanes we knew this would be a while. At 12:15 we decided to head back to the RV Park we just left and stay another night.  

We figured that the road was probably not going to open for at least another couple of hours and that would put us traveling through Dallas/Fort Worth at rush hour.  One of the things I remembered about the Dallas area it that there is a lot of traffic most of the day.  I didn't want to get caught driving after dark and in the rain during rush hour when we didn't need to.  It’s one of the advantages of being retired and no real firm schedule.  We would just chill out and have a relaxing afternoon and evening together in the RV.

We found out on the local news that night that the road closure was caused by a multiple tractor trailer and auto collision at the bottom of the hill we were at the top of.  Just past where we were turned around there is a 6% descending grade for about a mile with a curve at the bottom.  The news report said that the incident involved 6 semi's and 3 cars . A semi had overturned at the bottom of the hill and his trailer jack-knifed. Then there was a chain reaction and many vehicles were now involved.  The crashing vehicles pushed the jersey dividers into the westbound lane effectively closing that side too. The woman driving the car approaching the jack-knifed vehicle was killed. This all happened around 11 am, about half an hour before we got there. Yikes!!   The road was reopened at 4 pm. Good thing we went back to the RV Park!

Tuesday the 15th we are going to try for the second time to get to Dallas.  We pretty much did the same as yesterday except now it was raining even more.  So we waited as long as we could to see if the rain would stop; no luck there.  
More rain!

We headed out at noon for the 2 hour drive in light to heavy rain. By the time we got within 10 miles of the RV Park it was pouring down rain in heavy traffic with very poor visibility.  I remembered that the RV Park was just off of exit 487.  The Garmin didn't give a new direction with exit number until just .8 miles from the exit and it said to turn on exit 481.  Patty and I both knew that was wrong and now I was questioning myself as to what the correct exit was.  Patty thought it was 483 but she could not double check this until the exit was upon us so I took it.  It was the wrong exit and we were on a very small and very bumpy road going nowhere.  I found a place to pull over and we checked the map and found that it was in fact exit 487 we needed and there was no way to get there except to go back to I 20.

On the opposite side of this small road  we were on were very low hanging trees.  One of the branches must have caught the TV antenna and bent it.  More on that later.

We finally made it to the Lakeside RV Park in Forney Texas which is just outside the Dallas city limits.  It’s an OK park that has about 120 sites around 2 small ponds.  

The office wasn't open so we tried to pick a spot that was as dry as possible.  The sites are a mixture of some with grass and some with gravel lined with cement.  We picked a back in site as high up as possible with no puddles.  The site was, however, still very soft.  Our RV wheels sunk down about 8 inches on the left side.  The other side was somewhat firmer. To avoid putting down the left levelers into the soft rut I had made, I repositioned the RV in the site at an angle with one of the leveler jacks on the cement.

Now the next issue for the day, the leveling system would not turn on.  Did I mention that it is raining and cold?  I went inside the rig to see if a fuse was blown. No blown fuse.  After looking at the wiring around the hydraulic pump and not seeing anything I decided to remove the leveler controller.  It is real simple to remove with a small flat blade screwdriver to pop the unit out of the frame and then remove the small electrical connector on the back.  I noticed that the controller was wet and the screen was clouded with moisture.  I took it inside and dried it with a hair dryer on low.  After a few minutes I took it back out and it worked, for a while.  After the RV was level and I had the truck out from under it, the unit quit working again and the screen was cloudy. I’ll worry about that tomorrow as we are here for a week.

The leveler controler is behind the door with the lock.

The leveler controller.

We were invited to our new friends (Garry and Laurie) house that was very close to us for dinner and drinks.  They are in a position where they want to RV travel more, maybe full time in the near future.  Patty met Garry online with Escapees about a year ago and has stayed in touch since.  They also follow along and read our blog.   When they found out that we were traveling to Dallas they invited us to their place for dinner. Garry also found us this RV Park to stay in while we are here.  
We had a great time and met their Son and Daughter after dinner.  They have a Class A motorhome and have done a fair amount of travel so we had many “on the road” stories to share.  We also made plans to visit the State Fair together on Thursday as it is the only day that it looks to not be raining. Then, after we overstayed our welcome, we all called it a night around 11 pm.  We forget sometimes that people still need to go to work.  Sorry Garry and Laurie!

Wednesday the 16th, was another dull grey drizzle day.  The main events of the day were to get on the roof and take a look at the bent TV antenna, check the leveler controller, and get the mail.  I got up on the roof hoping not to find a big gash in the rubber roof near the antenna.  I didn't find anything except the bent antenna.  I didn't even see a strike mark or signs of a limb on the roof.  So the bent antenna remains an official mystery.   I bent it back out as best I could and It still works great so, that is that!

I checked the leveler controller and it now works and doesn't look clouded over anymore either.  This is also sort of a mystery.  We have been in rain worse than this with no issues with the controller.  Anyway, I'm going to grind off a section of the lock so it fits better when it closes and put in a gasket around the cover.  If anything, it will make me feel better.  

I set out to get the general delivery mail at the post office and pick up some gasket material and a grinder wheel for my drill in the afternoon.  I also got some celery for the chicken soup Patty was making for dinner.  My intention is to grind down the leveler lock and put on the gasket as project later in the week.  

Tomorrow we hit the Texas State fair.  It’s a good thing we had soup for dinner as we, at least me anyway, will have fair food tomorrow.  I know there is probably a corn dog in my future.  However, the Texas State fair has a lot of deep fried food to pick from so I may refrain this time from my corn dog fetish.

Stay Tuned!

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