Whew

What a day. I did a few things here in the morning and filled up my car with another load. I drove to the storage facility and pulled out Ecovision and put my Honda in her place. I unloaded my car, but didn’t put anything away. Then it was a quick half-hour drive to Camping World in Belleville. Before I left I turned on my 3-way refrigerator (on DC) so it would start to cool down for my trip.

Things went really smoothly and (amazingly) inexpensively at Camping World. The mechanic assigned to my dewinterization was ready and even waiting when I got there and he handled everything easily. He made sure my tire pressure was correct (65 pounds in front tires, 80 in rear tires–if you don’t know why the differential then you need to get your motorhome weighed!) and that the propane was on. Last time I had Ecovision serviced I had the suggested propane drop test done so I know it’s good to go.

I drove back to the storage facility switching around the vehicles. I put everything away and made my bed. Sure is feeling cozy and welcoming in there. I switched the refrigerator onto “gas” (propane) so it will continue to get cold. Hopefully by morning I can load in my food with no worries.

As I was driving home I saw a Verizon store. I needed to get my 4G Samsung mifi going for a just one month via prepaid at Verizon so I stopped in. That took some time because it’s so “old” (2 years, 1 month!) and they didn’t know how much to charge. After two phone calls it turns out it’s only $40 for 4GB. Should take care of all my wireless needs for the two to three weeks I’ll be on the road. Sweet. Then I stop service and put the mifi away until next year.

It is a glorious day. Just finished walking Henry and didn’t even want to come home. Hopefully most of our days circling will be nice although frankly a rainy day forces me to read, write and maybe play a little solitaire. This evening I’ll finish the laundry and packing. I also plan to cook and freeze some pork chops in a red currant sauce so they are ready to load tomorrow. Henry’s all packed. He will be so excited when he see Ecovision. Henry Boy loves to RV!

Closer

Yesterday was my last day of work so today I focused on getting ready for my trip. I drove to the storage place and ran the generator while throughly cleaning Ecovision. I was able to accomplish more than I planned getting all the windows sparkling on the inside plus cleaning the dining area, bathroom and kitchen. I put some of the bedding inside and put the quilted aluminum panels from the windows under my couch/bed. I opened all the curtains and will leave them up–except at night when I close them for privacy–until I return in a couple of weeks.

Back home this afternoon and evening I’ve been going through every single item that I want to put back in Ecovision. I had this all done in the Spring and now have to do all over again. I’m washing, discarding, reorganizing and repacking items into large containers for transport. Much of this is in the trunk and back seat of my car to put in Ecovision tomorrow morning. Then I will drive to Camping World for a noon appointment to get ready to travel around the big lake. Fingers crossed nothing is found that will delay my weekend departure.

Below is my new neighbor at the storage lot, a gianormous Winnebago, giving clear evidence of Ecovision’s modest size. With Ecovision getting 13-15 mpg, I wonder what this monstrosity gets. I have a hard time swallowing the mileage I get especially when compared to my Honda Civic hybrid that has averaged 40 mpg over the ten years I have owned it. I remember one FMCA member discussing the mileage he got in his large motorhome in terms of tenths of a mile per gallon. If I remember correctly, he said he got 6.8 mpg with his diesel pusher. Interesting.

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New battery and up-to-date GPS

Yesterday morning my son and daughter-in-law replaced my van battery while my grandchildren helped me do a little cleaning and put a few things into Ecovision. The engine is superb so it was a pleasure to hear it roar as soon as I turned the ignition key after the new battery was installed! So grateful to have such a wonderful family who been exceptionally supportive of my circling the lakes.

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My battery-replacement team and cleaning/loading team :)

Today I have been doing miscellaneous things to get ready including updating my Garmin GPS. I added memory so that I can have a full set of maps that include Canada. I keep this GPS in my car then move it to my motorhome as needed. Works great. Of course I still have way too many maps and atlases in my RV. I swear I am going to get down to one atlas for this trip. Each time I load up less stuff and continue to cull my travel belongings.

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I also got out and put on my bed the four plastic containers that hold my clothes in the RV. So far I have filled the “tops” container with long-sleeved tshirts and will add a few short-sleeved ones. The other containers are “bottoms,” “extremes” (long underwear, wool hat, etc) and “underwear, socks & nighties.” I stack these on top of one another in the one closet. The “extremes” container goes in first then I stack on (in this order) “bottoms, “tops” and “underwear etc.” In this way the heaviest and least-used items are on the bottom and the lightest and most used are on top. Works great. I’ll post a photograph when I have them in place.

Meanwhile later today I’m going to tackle laundry, fill up the other clothes containers and wash all the pots and pans, utensils and plates. Traveling in a RV is hard work requiring lots of planning, money and labor, but the rewards are immense. Henry Boy would definitely agree with that!

Battery and books

My August circling of Lake Michigan maybe become October. Feeling disappointed yet this may be necessary.

Battery

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I went to the storage place where I keep Ecovision to start and run her. Last year when I did this she made no noise and wouldn’t start. Even the AAA mechanic couldn’t get her started and she had to be towed to the Dodge dealer about 6 miles away. The culprit was mice had chewed the engine wiring and to repair it took my entire travel budget for a planned weekend caravaning to a Petoskey Township park with my friend Rachel.

This time my battery made some clicking noises, but wouldn’t turn over. My own fault for only starting it once or twice since last fall and we had this specially brutal winter. The AAA mechanic got it started although it took some doing and kept stalling.

The mechanic was very helpful and I asked him to stay while I drove it around the storage facility a couple of times and it purred like a kitten. The battery is only three or four years old and a very high-quality Interstate so under normal daily-driving situations would be just fine.

After the mechanic left I took Ecovision out on the street and drove about 4 or 5 miles to get the battery charged. I returned to the storage facility, parked, turned off the engine and then decided to start again just to make sure. It wouldn’t start. Darn. My mistake was I didn’t turn it off and try to start again while the mechanic was still there because if I had we would’ve seen that it was not going to start.

I had to get back home for an appointment so I left Ecovision there with a dead battery. I haven’t been back yet because I know it’s going to be a half-day adventure waiting for AAA, getting it to the dealership, having them drive me back to my car at the storage facility and then returning home. So Ecovision sits for now.

Books

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The other impediments to an August circling is my study. I hired a wonderful college student to help me sort and reorganize my nearly 2,000 books that got disheveled when I had hardwood floors put in throughout my home last year. I have not been able to face this onerous task hence I hired Brad to help me.

We’re also going through my decades of research, notes, papers and articles on key topics of interest like the Great Lakes, their islands, elite-research methods and real-estate development. With this momentum going and having Brad to help makes me very reluctant to stop for two weeks to circle the lake with this important project unfinished.

Oh and did I mention money? Chances are I may need a new battery and I’ve had significant unexpected expenses in the last month or two like repair of my refrigerator. Plus I’ve been organizing a major family reunion up north in Frankfort over Labor Day weekend and I have a cousin coming to stay with me from Norway. More impetus to get my study fully settled.

So It looks like I will just keeping going in my study, get the battery situation settled, enjoy my cousin and the family reunion and resign myself to a late September or early October start date. Darn. Cannot go in September because we are super busy that month at the People’s Food Co-op.

Promise
As I start sorting the Great Lakes and island papers I’ll start posting what I come across and learn. I do have extensive information and will be compiling it in a better way. I have at least three file drawers full of materials and with Brad’s help will make them more accessible by creating a better filing system. I will share interesting tidbits here as I go along. So again do stay tuned. I promise this will get better.

Dreams of Summer

20120806-120428.jpgEven before the first tulip has appeared, my thoughts wander to the lakes and my August circling of Lake Michigan. I have much to do to get ready starting with my motorhome, Ecovision.  She needs to be dewinterized and cleaned inside and out.

Last year a family of mice moved into her engine compartment making a nest and eating wiring.  $500 later she was rewired and drivable. Hopefully the natural, strong-smelling balsam I put in the engine compartment will defray the little creatures this year.

When the via point becomes the destination

Yes, it’s true.  Today’s via point of Duluth became the destination.  So Henry Boy and I are in the waiting mode.

Good news is we think we know the source of the water on my floor.  Bad news is Ecovision needs a new freshwater tank.  And that might not be the entire cause.

Good news is the tank was locally available.  Bad news it probably will come tomorrow afternoon necessitating not just one, but two nights in Duluth.

Good news is the mechanic used his shop vac to suck alot of moisture out of the carpet.  Bad news is that is the entire length of the carpeting is still is sopping wet.

I did have a few fun things happen today that I’ll write up tomorrow with a few photos.  Lots of kindnesses took place.  And expenses. But I’m beat and we are heading to bed right now.

Via points and destinations

When I have my GPS set for a location then decide to go someplace else, it asks me if I want the someplace else  (in this case Duluth) set as a new destination or added as a via point.  Tomorrow Grand Marais, MN, is my destination and I had planned to stop at Whole Food Co-op and a pet store in Duluth.  But in the world of RVing, stuff happens and in my case a small wet area between my refrigerator and heat pump grew today.  By capillary action, the moisture spread down the entire length of carpeting.  Fortunately, I have a plastic runner much of the way, but when I picked up my purse next to the driver’s seat and it was wet, I said “oh no!”

I went straight to the Internet to see about RV repair shops in Duluth. So Duluth is now an official via point so that O’Brien’s Mobile RV can figure out what is wrong.  I had this looked at in Ispheming and they didn’t find anything.  They thought Henry’s water dish must have spilled.  I’ve looked and none of the pipes under the sink are leaking.  I think it has something to do with condensation from the refrigerator, but why it appears in the middle of the aisle and not next to the refrigerator is a mystery.  O’Brien said he would find out exactly what the problem was unlike the folks in Ispheming.  I like that attitude.

Whether or not this means I won’t make it to my destination tomorrow, only time will tell.  I think every single RVing friend I have has changed or aborted plans more than once due to get something repaired.

Here was the rest of my morning (plus a RV chore that will remain unmentionable);

I saw this on drive back from the laundromat in Washburn.  I learned that Arlo Guthrie is performing tonight–all sold out:

And here are a few images from a late afternoon walk with Henry around Bayfield (all images taken with my iPhone):

Seems like most vehicles are carrying kayaks on racks

View not quite as nice without the sparkly sun and blue skies

View of Bayfield from the marina

I love the lines of boats. This one looks like a Viking ship.

The city hall, boat museum, and coast guard were right next to each other across from the marina.

Was glad to see this on large display in front of city hall.

Henry and I went back to the campground.  We had dinner, walked, and I had a shower so we can get an early start.  Then I groomed him and checked out the water along the carpet.  Still there; darn.  A storm system is on its way so may be a little noisy tonight.  Since I started RVing, I keep three or four weather apps on my iPhone. This way I can travel before and after storms.  The winds are the big problem with RVs.  Winds=staying put.

So I’ll end with this photo of Ecovision at our campsite.  She’s up on a couple blocks on one corner to get her level.  This is essential for an RV refrigerator, which is completely different than our household variety.  The blocks will be a bit of a mess to clean up in the morning if we do get rain.  Ah, the RV lifestyle!