2012 - 2017 Travel Map

Travel to the RV-Dreams Reunion Rally in Marion North Carolina

May 19 – 22, 2015   

Truck washed, check, RV windows washed, check, and a 5 mile walk/run, check!  Tuesday the 19th was a great day!  Now, on to western Tennessee tomorrow morning.

On the 20th, Wednesday we traveled the next 220 miles to Dandridge TN  from Georgetown KY. Dandridge is less than 100 miles from the RV-Dreams Reunion Rally site in Marion NC.  We arrived at the Sherman Oaks RV Park around 4pm.  This is a small but OK place.  They have good Wi-Fi and full hook ups for only $18 a night with Passport America.  We are going to stay here for our usual 2 nights and then move on.



Our site at Sherman Oaks RV Park in Dandridge TN.


The only thing real negative about this park is that the way out is very tight.  It looked to us like I would need to first pull way forward and then jockey around a tree to be able to back-up across the entrance road and then turn back on to it to leave.  That didn’t happen because the 2 closest RVs next to us left so I could pull forward and then turn around on to the entrance/exit road.  Just some minor stuff for an RVer.


This parked next to us on Thursday.  The owner said he was 68 feet long.  The 40' MH is pulling a 26 ft toy hauler travel trailer with a VW bug in it. He stays in the TT and his parents are in the MH to sleep.  They also have 2 dogs and 2 kids.

Decoration in front of Sherman Oaks RV Park.
  The 21st was my son Tony's 38th birthday!  I got him a card but just didn't get around to mailing it.  I took a picture and put it on facebook so he could see it.  I also bought my daughter Jennifer a card and left it at the store so no picture there.  Tony is doing good, looking for a house to buy and has 3 girls, one daughter and 2 step daughters.  I am very proud of him.



It's the thought that counts. :-) 
Friday the 22nd after the big turnaround in the RV Park we were on our way to the rally.   We had roughly 100 miles to go with most of the road being in the mountains.  We had not driven in mountains for over a year so this was going to be fun.  

I was a little worried about the truck as this will be the first real pull since we got it fixed back in Texas.  The truck did fine, no problems at all.  We had a couple of 3-4% grades up and down with the last uphill pull at 5% for a couple of miles. The assent finally made the loud viscous fan come on to cool the truck engine after the second or third assent.  The last descent was a long (6 miles) 6% continuous curvy grade.  I just put the cruise on in drive and just let the engine computer brake do its thing.  I only had to put the brakes on once to help slow down a bit.  I now believe the truck is fixed!


Pictures are on US 40 traveling between TN and NC.

We are 12 foot 10" so we are good to go here!

Howard and Linda Payne (Rally coordinators and  owners of RV-Dreams) had previously given all of us the GPS coordinates via e-mail so we could get right to the park gate.  Well, as we approached the entrance, which was on our left, we were looking to our right as this is where we saw loads of RVs parked.   We didn't see the entrance at all on the left so we went past the rally all together. Now we will need to turn around someplace.  Turning around is just not that easy when you are 55 feet long and you don’t know the area.   We are also on small country roads that can get even smaller if you don’t know where you are headed.  

Very shortly after the RV Park we came to a tee intersection and had to guess the correct way that may offer a place to turn around and wasn't the way to nowhere! I am still not sure we picked the right way, but about a mile up the road it looked like a residential street might be a circle that would allow me to turn around.  I turned on to the street and it turned out to be a narrow dead end with a small cul-de-sac at the end. It looked to me like I could make the turn without needing to do any maneuvering.  The turn was just too tight though.  I had to turn, back-up, turn, back-up, and then we could make the turn.  It still amazes me when I make an extremely tight turn like this that our trailer tires are not even rotating; they are sliding sideways as the RV pivots around with the truck on this very sharp angle. We actually pulled up a little of the road with the tires!

When we came back down the road where the entrance to the park was, this time we saw Howard and a few others waving us in.  OK, now we are finally here!  The rally park holds about 100 rigs and we are taking up 61 spaces.  We are one day early so we took a place a little over halfway back in the middle so we could have a space on each side of us, at least for now.  We will be here for the next 10 days.  Now to set up and see what's going on!



A long shot of the rally RVs.  We are center back.  You can just barely see our American flag.

Our site at the rally.

We are one of two Sanibels here!  Both of us are 2013 3500 models.

Stay tuned!

Marks 40th HS Reunion and heading to North Carolina

May 16- 18, 2015   

It’s hard to believe that I have been out of high school for 40 years!  I graduated from Southmont High School located near New Market Indiana in 1975. 

Entrance to my high school.

We were a graduating class of 159.  Our class’s claim to fame is the fact that we were the first high school class to graduate that started there as freshmen.  Southmont was opened in 1971 as a consolidation of all of the town schools in southern Montgomery County in Indiana.  The school also has junior high (grades 7-8) as well.  I suppose that the class of 1977 has the honor of being the first class to go all the way through the new school.

Saturday the 16th we started the day looking at a house Tony and Tracy had looked at before to purchase.  We all decided that is was a wise idea to keep looking after looking at the house.  Tony’s mom Brenda was also with us to look at the house.  After house viewing, Patty and I headed to Walmart to pick up some miscellaneous stuff.  Isn’t that what you always seem to get at Walmart besides the one or two things you went for?  After all of that, we took a nap before heading out the couple of miles to the reunion.

The reunion was held at the Creekside Restaurant on the south edge of Crawfordsville IN.  It kicked off at 6:30pm and we arrived a little before 7pm.  I have only been to the 10 year reunion 30 years ago and I didn’t recognize many people then.  I have been away from the area for most of the 40 years since we graduated so it was expected that people would be difficult to recognize.  We were there until the end at 10:30pm.  I had a great time; Patty may not have had the same experience as I though.  

I met a lot of my classmates and got caught up a little.  I also made some new facebook friends.  It is nice to know that some things don’t change, like we are bound by a bond that will always be with us.  The other good thing is that we all look real good!  I’m serious; we look our age to maybe a bit younger.  The bad thing is that we have lost about 10% of our class to death.  That seems a lot to me.  It was probably due to us following too close to those mosquito spraying trucks when followed them on our bicycles when were kids. 

Creekside.  It is built on the banks of Sugar Creek.

There we are.  I am in the back on my toes so you can see me.

Sunday the 17th we just sort of chilled after the reunion from the night before.  Tracy, Tony, Bailey, and Savannah came over for a while in the afternoon.  Then we all got together later at there house, minus Tony who had to work, to play a board game until bedtime at 8:30.  We said our goodbyes and headed back to the RV.  We will be back in less than a month and will then stay a month.

Monday the 18th Patty had an appointment with a diabetes educator to train her on her new insulin pump.  Patty can get a new pump from insurance when the warranty runs out on the old pump.  In this case she has had this pump for 4 years.  

We are also planning to leave today and head southeast with our first stop in Georgetown Kentucky.  Her appointment was at 10am so we wanted to be mostly ready to back up to the pin and take off when we got back.  That didn’t happen as Patty experienced a real bad low blood sugar while still in bed.  Long story short, I had to inject her with glucagon to get her responsive.  That was the first time I have ever had to do that, scary!  I gave her the injection at 9:15am and we were at the appointment at 10am!

The pump training took almost 2 hours; we were thinking it would be just an hour, boy were we wrong!  We got back to the RV to close up and leave and we were basically starting from scratch.  

I dropped Patty off at the RV and then I went and topped off the fuel tank.  I also got breaded pork tenderloin sandwich for lunch at the fuel station.  Tony recommended this place for their pork tenderloin sandwiches and it was great!  This is primarily an Indiana thing, the pork tenderloin sandwich.  So if you are ever traveling on interstate 74 west of Indianapolis Indiana and you want to try a local favorite, turn off on exit 34 and head south to the Sunoco gas station.  Tell them that Tracy Hooley sent you!

With all of the slowdowns we had we were still able to leave the campground at 1:30pm.  We had 245 miles to travel to our first stop in Georgetown Kentucky.  We arrived at the Whispering Hills RV Park around 5:30pm which is much later than what we like. We were still very much in daylight this time of year so all was good.  We will be here for 2 nights.



Our site at Whispering Pines.

The plan is to get the truck washed and wash the RV windows.  We went through many heavy rain showers on the way to Georgetown and the truck showed it.  The weather is supposed to be great for the next week where we are going in North Carolina so this is the time for a wash!

That’s it for this installment. 

Stay Tuned!

Arrived Indiana and a 180 on the Satellite System

May 10 - 14, 2015   

Note:  This post I removed all of our past travel from the map on the top.  The program I use for the map shows all of our travel history but the link to this blog has stopped showing the older places.  When I add a new town the link eliminates the oldest traveled city.  So now the map just shows our travel for the current year.  I sort of like this anyway.

Sunday the 10th was my daughter’s 40th birthday (sorry Jenn for giving away your age, “I don’t think she will mind”).  Before I could give her a call I got a text message that my ex-wife Nancy was in the hospital with pancreatic cancer.  Nancy was a real step-mother to my 2 kids during most of their teen years.  Jennifer has, for the most part kept in touch with Nancy over the past 18 years since our divorce.  To say the least, this was a real downer.

Jennifer and I are much alike when it comes to our emotions, we tear up real easy.  I knew when I called her that we would feed each other’s tears and that is exactly what happened.  We both got over it but it was probably needed for both of us.  I truly am hoping the best for Nancy. OK, tearing up now!

I decided that I would wrap the 3 pieces of the satellite system in bubble wrap and then into a cardboard box.  The largest box I could get from Walmart was an 18”x24”x24”.  I first bubble wrapped the parts and then tried to arrange them together as close as I could to see if they would fit the box before I purchased it.  It looked to me like the parts just might fit so I went ahead and bought the box for a whole $1.97.  


This was hanging inside the Walmart in Forrest City AR.

I walked over to Walmart to get the box which was just 1/2 mile from our site.  OK, now I have the box, just how am I going to get this stuff in it?  I got the feed arm to sort of fit around the turret and I then bubble wrapped the 2 together.  Then I lifted the 2 into the box.  They sort of fit, but the box will need to be doubled up (a box inside of a box).  The reflector is just too large for the box no matter how I tried to position it.  Back to the drawing board!


These are the satellite parts I need to package.  The flat part is just the bottom cover to the turret.

Finished product of my wrapping skills.

I am thinking that I will need to add another box to the top of the main box to hold and cover the reflector.  I will also need to double up on the main box.  So I will need to get a couple more boxes at the least.  I went back to Walmart and bought a couple more boxes but I am going to wait until the next stop before trying to put this together again.

We saw that the weather was not going to be very nice on Monday the 12th when we were going to leave so we decided to stay another day and leave on Tuesday the 13th. 

Our extra day here was mostly raining so I didn’t get anything done much outside.  We decided to try a local restaurant up the road about 8 miles called Mike's Family Restaurant for dinner.  I like catfish and we were told by Gary that they have really good catfish there.  



Interesting old time store across the street from Mike's.

Got to Mikes and wouldn't you know it, they don’t have Catfish on Mondays!  We both settled for the pork BBQ.  That was a good move!  The pork was good and moist with just the right amount of smoke flavor.  The sauce worked well with the pork; however, for us it was a little too mild.  

With the meal we had a baked sweet potato. The potato came with brown sugar (nice touch) and a butter spread.  We don’t do fake butter!  I was surprised that they served that with what was otherwise a nice meal.  Here we are getting local home cooking and we get fake butter to put on it!  Small stuff like that bothers me very much.  The bill was only $24 for the 2 of us.  We liked the food but we wouldn’t go out of our way to eat here again.  Next time we bring our own butter!

We headed out of Forrest City AR around 11am on Tuesday the 12th traveling toward our next stop in Johnston City IL, 255 miles away.  This was our longest pull yet on this leg of our trip.  We can go about 270 miles on a tank of fuel but rarely do we ever go that far without fueling along the way.  250 miles is the longest we like to travel in a day anyway unless we are trying to make a destination deadline and we don’t like deadlines!


Crossing the Mississippi River from Missouri into Illinois.

We arrived at the Arrowhead Lake Campground around 4pm. Arrowhead is owned by the town of Johnston City.  We got a pull through site with 30 amp service and water for $12 a night, perfect for us!  The site overlooked a mowed field that had loads of deer running around, very nice.  Arrowhead is just 2 easy miles from the interstate so this was a nice stop for us just passing through.


Entrance to Arrowhead Lake Campground in Johnston City IL.  This is one of the rare times I didn't get a picture of our site here.

On Wednesday the 13th we were lazy and just messed around most of the morning.  It was cold at 47 when we got up at 7am so we were in no hurry to get outside.  By noon the temperature was up to 70 with blue skies and low humidity, perfect for a bike ride into town.  We needed a rear brake/turn signal light for the truck so that was our goal riding the bikes.

We have not had the bikes out for a while so it took me some time to get them ready.  Both bikes needed air in the tires and the chains needed to be lubed up.  Patty’s folding bike needed the front wheel tightened too.  Anyway, after half an hour we were ready to bike into town.

Not much to write about the bike ride except that it was more strenuous than I would have thought.  I work out quite a bit but this short bike trip whipped my butt!  The trip was through a lot of steep hills but still it should not have been that hard.  I think the reason it hard was that the wheel bearing need lubed.  Both of our bikes seemed to just drag even down hills.  Another reason was that we are just not used to riding bikes right now.  I got my part at the auto parts store with a couple of other stuff and we called it a day as far as biking.

Back at our site I installed the new bulb and tried to find where the water came from that filled the rear light housing.  The reason the bulb failed was that the housing was filled half way up with water. I rolled the housing around to try to make the water come out where it went in with no luck.  When in town I bought some sealant to run around the housing to make sure no more water got in. While I was putting the bulb in I noticed that the plastic holder would not stay straight in the back of the housing.  I am now thinking that this may have been where the water got in, around the bulb socket.  I put a little sealant around the base of the housing where the bulb enters and then held it down with duct tape.  Now we just need a rain to check to see if my sealing job worked.


Water is half way up inside the tailight.

The water cracked the bulb.

Now, on to packaging up the satellite parts for shipment.  I bought a couple more boxes so I could put one inside the other to double up the strength.  I also got a lot more packaging tape to reinforce the finished box.   After a little struggle I got the one box inside the other box and then I put tape all around the new box.  It is very strong now, more than enough for the satellite parts.

I loaded the turret and the feed arm into the box.  They fit better than expected, but the reflector will not fit.  I have now decided that the shipment will have to be 2 boxes with the reflector being one of the boxes.

That was the end to a very nice day!

Next morning, Thursday the 14th, we packed up and headed to Indiana by 11:30am.  However, first we needed to dump the tanks at the dump station.  After dumping the tanks, we were on the road by noon.  We have 245 miles to travel and we lose an hour at the Indiana border.  So we won’t get to our site there until 5:30pm, late for us.

We arrived at our site at the KOA in Crawfordsville around 5:30pm.  We got set up in site 20 with 30 amp full hook ups.  After setting up we went to our favorite pizza place, Arni’s, and got 2 large pizzas to take to the grandkids house.  This pizza is not traditional like NY pizza but it is very unique and very tasty.  I think there was only one piece of pizza left when we finally left to go to bed.


Our site number 20 at the Crawfordsville IN KOA.

Friday the 15th I began to have some second thoughts about the roof mounted satellite system.  I was having these thoughts all along, but in order to keep moving I kept going on the plan to ship the parts back.  Now that I was almost ready to send them back I did a little more thinking and discussing with Patty about what we should do.  It's hard to get over the fact that we spent a little over $3k to put this system on our RV.  That included the receivers 
which we can reuse, so the cost is a little less.  None the less, we are now thinking of just abandoning the system for something else.  I look at stuff like this as money already spent, nothing you can do about it, move on if need be.  In other words, don't put more money on the table just because you lost money. 

So, for under $300 we can set up ourselves with a top of the line mobile tripod system.  Sending back the roof mounted system will cost me a minimum of $120 just to ship and for Winegard to diagnose the system.  We have some insurance on the system but only if one of the motors is defective.  The fault I got from the system was a motor fault (AZ Motor stalled), but Winegard told me over the phone that they believe it most likely was an electronic issue.  Looking into the bottom of the turret I can see the electronic box which I bet they just replace it if there is an issue.  My bet is a few hundred bucks for that box.

With all of that going through my head, Patty and I discussed it and we are in agreement to cut our losses with this roof  mounted system and go for the tripod system.  I am not going to throw away the roof system just yet until I confer with some more experts at our Full Timers RV rally next week in North Carolina.  Some of the parts may be useful for the tripod system and or may be useful to someone else there.  So, until we talk to people there, we are just going to just do nothing at this time.  I also need to figure out what to do with the cables and the trash bag covered hole on the roof.  I have several options but I will wait on that too.  

For dinner, Tony and Tracy brought over some really nice pork chops and some fresh sugar snap peas to our RV site.  We supplied the spatzle and the cooking equipment.  We cooked the chops on the grille and we brought our new NuWave cooktops outside for the first time to cook the other stuff.  This is one of the reasons we purchased the induction cooktops was for us to use them outside instead of the propane one we have.  The portable propane camp stove is just a pain to use.  It also doesn’t get real hot quickly either. Anyway, it all worked out very well and we even got in some smores roasting and eating in at the end of the day just ahead of the rain storm.


Our dinner cooking set up.

Cooking for the first time outside with the NuWave induction cooktops.  Worked out great!

Granddaughter Alivia with her dad Tony in the back ground.



Patty cooking marshmallows for both of us.

Tomorrow is my 1975 High school Class reunion, 40 years!  I have only attended the 10 year reunion so it will be 30-40 years since I have seen most of these classmates.

Our class was relatively small at just 175 students.  The class was also not as close as some as we were one of the first to graduate from the consolidated school system, Southmont Jr. Sr. High School.  We were all from very small schools from around the county.  I think my original class from the old school in New Market would have been the largest at 80- 90 kids.  The rest making up our consolidated school were from 4-5 other small towns around the south of the county.  I am not expecting very many people to attend the reunion.  I am hoping that a few that I hung out with will attend though.  Anyway, my expectations are now very high.

OK, that’s it for now!

Stay Tuned!

Missing the bad weather and Removing and Packaging the Satellite Antenna

May 7th - 9th, 2015  

On Thursday morning, the 7th, we are in no real hurry to leave as our next stop is only a little over 200 miles north.  We are up at our usual time between 7 and 7:30am to start our usual routine of coffee and internet.  

I start with MSN to get the news and then to FB to see what is happening with friends and such.  After that I switch to reading some of the other blogs I follow.  During this I have 2 cups of coffee and a bowl of cereal for breakfast.  Then I either do one of my two resistance training exercise routines or I do a walk/run routine of 5 miles.  

Today I did one of my resistance routines because it was time and there wasn’t any place to walk outside anyway. Most days Patty will walk with me for the first 2 miles of my 5 mile routine.  On the days I am doing my resistance routine she usually plays games on the internet.  

We were packed up and ready to leave this “dump” right at 11am.  Before we left I went into the town of Livingston and filled up with diesel for $2.49 a gallon, still not bad!  The trip was very uneventful up to Texarkana and the Texarkana RV Park.  The truck was still performing beautifully!

On our way up to Texarkana we heard from other RV friends who were are still in TX but traveling through Oklahoma to get to their home in Colorado.  They were wondering about us as we were going to go to Oklahoma City and they just got hit with tornados last night.  We would just have arrived in Oklahoma City on the south side on the same day the tornados struck if it were not for the truck having the problem it did!  Oh, and the tornado struck on the same side as we were going to stay, the south side! We are not believers, but yet, we are still safe! Seems pretty random to me. That is the end of my stump speech on that!

The Texarkana RV Park is only a couple of years old and is a real bargain at $21/day with Passport America.  The park has 95 sites that are gravel with concrete patios.  All of the sites are pull throughs with 50 amp full hook ups.  They also have a pool but it was not yet open for the season.  This park is very convenient to several highways and is very close to the city.


Cool sign!

That's us in the middle of the picture.

We are not really on a sightseeing mission yet so we are just staying the usual 2 nights and just taking care of normal live stuff while stopped.  This stop was no different; we had a few things we needed to get at Walmart so we made a run there on Saturday.  

I also spent some time with Winegard about how to get the satellite system back to them for service.  As it is not under warranty any longer they sent me via e-mail an RMA number to put on the box when I ship it.  The RMA is good for 30 days.  They were telling me that I need to ship the entire unit back to them.  The system consists of a roof mounted antenna, 2 sets of cables that are fixed to the roof, a controller, and a power supply.  

What I was mostly concerned with was the stuff permanently fixed to the roof like the cables and the base plate for the antenna.  I wasn’t even sure how the antenna was mounted to the roof yet.  Finally Winegard sent me an instruction sheet on how to remove the stuff they needed. They wanted just the roof antenna and I could leave the permanently mounted base plate in place.  That was great except that was still a lot of stuff to remove and ship back.

I set up a ladder onto the large living room slide so I had better access to the roof to remove the satellite dish.  The only tools I needed were a socket wrench and sockets.  The first thing to do was to manually raise the dish so I could get access to the various nuts I would need to take off.


Ladder in place for the surgical removal of the satellite dish from the roof.

The first to come off was the dish reflector.  That just involved removing 4 nuts and off it came.  Next was the feed arm that has the 3 LMBs on the end.  This was done with the removal of 4 bolts that were threaded into the head of the turret.  Now, for the hardest part, removal of the turret from the base plate.  That required me to remove 13 small 3/8” bolts from the base of the turret that held it to the base plate.  


Dish in the stowed position and my tools ready for the operation.
I have a can of root beer ready also.  It was about 90 when I did this!

Reflector (foreground) and the feed arm removed.  The turret is remaining.

Another picture for perspective.  The 2 cables run on the roof from the dish go to our 2 receivers in the rig. The long one goes to the bedroom and also contains the control cable for the dish.  The short cable goes to the receiver in the living room.

I didn’t know how heavy the turret was until I tried to remove it after the bolts were removed.  It is the heaviest part of the roof mounted items which I am guessing to be about 25lbs.  After removal of the turret it exposed the rubber roof that had been covered since the RV was new.  Wow, what a difference the new roof looks compard to the color it is now!  The cover roof looks solid white and soft.  Now the roof has black specks all over it and not as white.  I first thought that the rubber roof now exposed from under the turret was some sort of padding, but not, it was in fact the original roof.

The removal of the satellite system from the roof was all that I wanted to accomplish for this stop.  The next stop I will attempt to box the 3 parts up to ship to Winegard in Iowa.  

After putting away the satellite parts, I needed to patch the roof where the turret sat.  The base plate that is remaining is beveled upward about ¼” above the rubber roof.  It is also sealed around the outside edges so water doesn’t get in and sit on the mounting screws.  Now that the turret is gone the middle of the base place forms a small bowl for water to sit against the screws from the inside.


Everything removed.  Note the different color of the rubber roof inside the ring of the base plate.  That is what the roof looked like when new!

To patch the roof, I used a plastic trash bag and duct tape.  I used the whole bag so it was 2 layers thick.  I folded the bag to fit the hole and then duck taped the edges.  I’m not sure that this will hold traveling down the road so I will check when we stop at our next site.  I will probably check at every stop until I either replace the dish or permanently replace the system.


This is my patch job.  I'm not real happy with it but it's the best I can do without a lot of work.  I cannot seal the inside of the ring with roof sealant as it needs to come off when I replace the dish.  Just need to check on the patch at every stop and before we leave.

On Saturday the 9th we started our trip northeast up to Forrest City Arkansas just west of Memphis TN.  This trip was a little longer at about 241 miles but it was all on interstate 40.  We are keenly aware that we are traveling in and during tornado season so we watch the weather and the radar on our phones.  A new bad weather cell was moving across the plains toward our north and west.  We were just about 50 miles south of the storm by the time we arrived in Forrest City.  Looks like we missed the storm again!

Our site for the next 2 nights is called Delta Ridge RV Park.  This park is owned and was built by a retired RVer.  It currently has 19 sites with full hook-ups.  He is doing very well so he is adding 6 more sites.  He charges $25 a night which we are good with as this park by far has the best WiFi we have had for some time.  The sites are gravel and pull through.  The sites are not very level so it required a little finesse to get the RV level even with our auto system.  We are used to it though so no big deal. 

Thats our site at Delta Ridge RV Park.  We put our flag up in honor of the RVers challenge to show solidarity with protecting the flag.  We usually don't put it up for just a couple of days.

The big job here is going to be getting the satellite system boxed and ready for shipment.  I am not real sure just how I am going to do this yet.

Stay tuned!

Moving North with a fixed truck and now a bad Satellite Antenna

May 04 –6th, 2015   

Finally Monday, I am up at 6am to get the truck to the Ford dealer about 10 minutes from here due to the check engine light. I got the truck to Mac Haik Ford at 7 am. Had no problems and was checked in within just a few minutes.  Ford got me back to the RV at around 9 am.  Now I just need to wait and see what the issue(s) will be.

I am also having them fix the tow/haul switch.  It seems to not want to turn on until I play around with the push button for a while.  If I wasn’t going to be pulling in the mountains like we are in a couple of weeks I probably would let that go and see if some contact cleaner would work.  Since this is the 3rd time we have taken the truck in for this damn light, I am more than just a little nervous about it.

At 4pm Ford called and said that the oil cooler is again clogged!  Ford looked up my vehicle and found where Ford had replaced the last one at their cost.  Now they want to try and figure out why this is happening.  One would have thought that they would have done that the last two times!  After a lot of back and forth with Ford it was decided that they would drain the coolant and check the block for sediment.  That concluded Monday, day one at Ford.

On Tuesday morning Ford calls to tell me that after draining the coolant they didn’t find any sediment and the block was clean.  They did find the degas tank to have sediment and it was also leaking.  They now feel that the thermostat is sticking and needs to be replaced.  Seems that this thermostat failure may have been the problem from day one! 

This is not a cheap fix either but much cheaper than the oil cooler ($400 vs. $2500).  My extended warranty will not cover the thermostat or the tow/haul switch; however they will cover the degas tank.  So far, the expensive stuff on the truck the warranty has not covered.  Ford believes the truck will be ready either tonight or for sure the next morning, Wednesday.  That concludes day 2 at Ford.

OK, Wednesday morning and we are ready to leave and head further north.  We are now off our schedule a bit, so I rerouted us in a more direct route to Indiana.  Our next stop will now be Livingston TX, 207 miles northeast of where we are instead of traveling to Waco TX and then up to Oklahoma City (we don’t yet know how lucky we were not going there). 

We are hoping that the call from Ford will come in soon.  We need to be on the road by noon at the latest so we need the truck by 11am to have that happen. Right at 11am Ford called to say the truck was done and they would be there in half an hour to pick me up.  Looks like we will leave a little late but we are still OK. 

Got the truck picked up and back at the RV to hook up and leave by around 12:30.  By a little before 1pm we were hooked up and ready to leave when I noticed that the roof mounted satellite antenna was still up.  I had put it down before I left to get the truck but I didn’t look up on the roof to make sure. I usually do this just before leaving as I did this time.  I tried again from the controller to make the antenna go down and got an error saying the AZ motor had stalled.  I got this error message once before a week ago but after trying the second time I was able to get it down and back up.  
Well, "this is a fine kettle of fish", we are ready to leave, we are already 2 hours late and we can’t get the antenna down!
I figure that there is a manual way to get the antenna down but I don’t know how to do it.  I called Winegard, the manufacturer of the antenna, to get some help.  Winegard is a well known and very reputable company in our RV circles so I was hopeful that we could get this resolved quickly.  I was on hold for a few minutes, longer than I wanted since I was in a hurry.  The person I got was very helpful and told me how to get the antenna down manually and also sent me the instructions via an e-mail.  She also said that the issue I was describing was one that would require the antenna be sent back to them for repair and that it was out of warranty.  We have had the antenna now for almost 3 years and have not had any issue with it until now.

The manual method required that I power off the controller and then get on the roof with a ratchet, an extension, and a 3/8 socket.  I had the antenna down in about 10 minutes including getting the tools and getting off the roof. However, now we are 3 hours late leaving!  We decided to move on anyway as we were all ready to move and we would still get to our destination before dark.


This is the satellite antenna on the roof.  It is also pointed in a weird position, straight up.

In the middle of the picture on the antenna base is a black plastic nut
that I will remove to get at the manual lowering nut.

The ratchet with an extension and the 3/8 socket is ready for me to turn to lower the antenna.  This only lowers the antenna, there are 2 other joints with motors to that need to be moved to get the antenna to the right position to stow it.  These 2 other joints can be moved by hand without the need for tools.

We arrived at our next site in Livingston TX around 6pm. The truck pulled just like new with no engine lights this time.  We are now in a site at the Gray’s Landing RV Park just off of US59.  This is just the right place to overnight. 

Gray's Landing RV Park.  We passed by the first time because we didn't even see the place.

Our site at Grays Landing.  It looks much better in this picture than it is!

We were going to stay 2 nights but this place was just not for us at all.  The park is basically just a small area right off of the highway with no permanent management on site and a lot of permanent residents in shabby RVs.  

We waited about 15 minutes for the owner to show up who walked right by me without saying a word.  He went directly to the office and sat behind the desk.  The office was just a room with a desk sitting in it.  It made me feel like I was in some cheap bail bond place!  

The owner asked me if I wanted to use the showers/rest rooms because I would need a key.  Also, I needed a key just to use the trash bin!  Right there I figure this was just a one night place and we would leave in the morning.  There wasn’t anywhere to walk around there either; we are so much out of here in the morning.

We had love bugs again on the truck and on the RV, just not as many this time.  After setting up I got right to removing the bugs before it got dark.  I also set up the grille so we could have burgers for dinner.  It was pretty late after dinner, around 9pm so we decided to watch some TV.  We don’t watch much TV but we do watch a couple of hours on most nights.  We now don’t have the satellite system so we need to rely on the bat wing over the air antenna and what we have recorded on the DVR.  We almost always just watch the recorded stuff on the DVR anyway, so not having the satellite is no big deal for a while.  We have something like 100 hours of recorded TV to watch right now.  Also, when we are closer to major cities we have all of the networks from over the air to watch.  So, I believe we will be just fine for a while without the satellite.

Our next stop will be Texarkana,TX, about 200 miles north of here.

Stay Tuned!