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!