Browsing "Driving"
Apr 22, 2013 -

Oklahoma!

I had hoped to sleep in this morning, but once I was awake at 6:20, that was it. I said, “Neelix?” and one of the lumps in my bed rose and came to cuddle with me for about an hour.

Ms. Cinnamon told me to have coffee with her this morning, so I didn’t have to touch the kitchen. I just packed the office, checked my email on the iPad, and eventually went outside to fill up the water tank as well as a bunch of jugs. Just as I was finishing this, Ms. Cinnamon came to get me for coffee.

We lounged for a bit then headed out to buy me a new sewer hose. Her favourite RV supply place had just gone out of business, so we ended up back at Walmart.

I needed about 25′ of hose to get to her outlet and mine and the kits were all 20′, with no couplings to put sections together. I finally clued in that I could connect my hose to a really nice complete kit with new fittings, so I splurged (all of $30) and got that. It is going to be so much nicer to wrangle than my current setup, except that it doesn’t fit in my new sewer pipe holder! 🙁

Back home, she helped me dump and then I unplugged so I could be guided out of the driveway. It took a bit of back and forthing and grass trampling, but I finally made it onto the street. I hadn’t driven my truck since I left San Antonio, so Ms. Cinnamon was worried it wouldn’t start, but the thought never crossed my mind. Moya happily roared back to life (I am sooooo looking forward to a prairie drive with her!) and I hooked up easily.

Ms. Cinnamon and I said our goodbyes and then I headed out through Dallas one last time. She gave me good directions, so I just had to watch out for the construction, mad drivers, and traffic. I was really glad to get clear of urbania and get into some easy interstate driving.

I heard Neelix meowing very loudly as we set off, which is unusual for him as he is a cat of few words. It’s almost like he was say, “Mom, wait! WAIT! We forgot Tabitha!” 🙁

My plan was to stop at a rest area in Gainesville, just before the Oklahama border, but it was just a picnic area and out in the open sun, so it wouldn’t have been a great place to spend an afternoon (but would have been a perfect stop last night). It was early, so I decided to continue on to my planned stop for today, the Walmart in Pauls Valley.

I was running really low on fuel in Gainesville, so when I spotted a Shell station that was an obvious easy in and out, I stopped there and got $99 worth of fuel, the maximum the pump would give me (odd number, no?). In Canada, I get the pump reauthorized in those situations since $100 doesn’t go far, but I get more than half a tank for that price in the US, so I prefer to just get that, which forces me to stop more frequently.

And then, without fanfare, I said goodbye to Texas. 🙁 I literally left a piece of my soul in that state and so it will always be a part of me even if the road ends up never taking me back there.

I stopped at the Oklahoma welcome centre for lunch and went in to get some OK City info just in case I decide to play tourist. I was offered coffee, which I gladly accepted!

From there, it was exactly one hour to my stop for the day. Customer service was very welcoming, but this isn’t a great lot for big rigs. I’m not crazy about how I’m parked and I may try to find a better spot if the lot thins out a little this evening.

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Boondocking/Dry camping, Countries, Driving, Nice Folks, Oklahoma, Plumbing, Social, Technical, Texas, Towing and Toad, Travel, USA    5 Comments
Mar 18, 2013 -

Port Lavaca to Von Ormy

OMG IT’S ABOUT 100 DEGREES IN SAN ANTONIO!!!!!!!!!!!!

With that out of the way, it’s been a good day so far. I went out shortly after my last post to hook up the truck. I’m getting better at gauging the distance I need to park it from the RV, but I always manage to not be quite straight and have the passenger side at the right distance to hook up while the driver’s side is a bit short.

Once I was hooked up, I discovered I have three minor Miranda repairs to make.

The first is with the windshield wipers. The pump is working fine, but the fluid is just shooting out from under the dash. I’m hoping I’ll find the hole or bad connection in the hose easily.

The second is to check the fuses for the turn signals. I put on the four way flashers to make sure the truck blinkers were working, and nothing. I tried the turn signal, nothing. I jiggled both and eventually got the left blinker working and the four way flashers, with the right blinker coming after several more jiggle. I really hope that this is just a fuse issue!

Like when I left Campbell River, my house stairs refused to budge. All I had on hand to lubricate them was was WD-40, so I’ll make sure to get some white grease next time I’m out shopping. Or maybe I can find some of that Move-It Croft had…

First stop was gas, which was painless since I could circle around the building to get out. Even better, the pump handle had a catch that meant I could wash my windows while the gas was pumping.

It was a smooth drive into Port Lavaca, where I got propane. Another easy in and out except for the bad driveway. Surely they know someone with a grader? Propane was CHEAP, $42 to fill the on board tank!

The first part of the drive was familiar since I had to drive through Goliad (which is still under construction). Traffic got moderately heavier from Kenedy (not a typo) onward, but it was nothing too bad and most drivers were courteous.

From the 410 bypass, it was an easy drive to Von Ormy and the Hidden Valley RV Park, where I was greeted by the wonderful Teri.

Hidden Valley is the best deal in San Antonio for boondockers wanting to stay more than just a night or two since they offer dry camping for just $5 a night! I found the campground through freecampsites.net. My FHU spot tonight is costing me $30.

Even though I was 15 minutes early for check in, Teri greeted me warmly. She had a packet of information for me and spent time showing me around downtown on a map, highlighting the best places to park and where to catch public transportation. I was told by L to avoid driving into San Antonio, but with Teri’s instructions, I know I can get to cheap parking easily, so I don’t see any reason not to go in with the truck.

It is SUPER hot today, so I have the AC blasting, but it’s supposed to go right back down tomorrow. Talk about perfect planning!

I have to move around noon tomorrow. Teri showed me the two possibilities and the setup will be just fine. I’ll post pics at some point after I’ve moved.

Now, I need to start on my rather ambitious list for the day. The laundry is a trek and a half, so until that’s done (about half an hour left), I don’t want to get started on anything else. After that, the vacuum cleaner is coming out! 🙂

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Air Conditioner, Appliances, Boondocking/Dry camping, Campgrounds, Countries, Driving, Nice Folks, Personal, Propane, Social, Technical, Texas, Travel, USA, Weather    4 Comments
Jan 23, 2013 -

Rae au pays de l’or noir

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Today’s drive was tricky to plan and I spent hours yesterday with Google Maps, my Texas Shunpiker Guide, and my GPS to found the best route. Both Google Maps and my Garmin wanted to route me straight through Houston while the Shunpiker Guide wanted to send me through Galveston. I finally came up with a route that looked pretty good and planned to solidify it once I got my hands on another Texas road map (having lost mine to a cat and coffee collision).

It was foggy when I woke up at 6:30 this morning and visibility was still poor at 7:20 when I had had my coffee and toast and was packed. I decided to hang out for a bit longer until the visitor centre opened at 8:00 so I could get the map and confirm my route. I entered the coordinates for my destination into the GPS but knew I’d be mostly on my own for this drive.

That done, I set off on I-10 westbound, stopping a few miles away at a Conoco pretending to be a Flying J. I missed the first entrance, which wound up being good as entering through the next entrance allowed me an easy exit out of the first and a much easier return to I-10.

From I-10, I took exit 798 and meandered my way down to route 35 by way of route 146. I checked the GPS a couple of times and it finally came up with a route that resembled mine, but with a few more twists.

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The Fred Hartman Bridge was very impressive!

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The first part of my day was in a world of oil refineries, hence the title of this post.

When I started to run out of road, I finally listened to my GPS and turned into… Pasadena.

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I was on Nasa Road and everything was space themed, so I figured I was near the space centre. Yup, I drove right past it! Note to self: you haven’t seen Apollo 13 in a long while.

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At some point, I passed a relic of olden days:

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Entering Bay City, I was overdue for a break, but I had been holding out for a real grocery store, passing only little food stores. So I was quite glad to pass a Walmart, where I was able to stock up on fresh fruits, veggies, meat, and beer before landing at my somewhat remote destination, saving me from having to go out tomorrow.

Port Lavaca was soon upon me:

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Today’s drive was difficult. The roads were in poor shape and I was mostly passing through towns so there was a lot of stopping and going. I really felt the toad today, my gas mileage was the pits, and I could feel both the engine and brakes working hard. It would have probably been easy to just bite the bullet and go through Houston on I-10, but I don’t regret my choice.

Just one damper on the day: I have a nice big crack in my brand new windshield. 🙁 I don’t think a glass place will be willing to fill it. Since it’s well out of my view range, I’m going to get a DIY kit and try to fill it myself before it gets worse.

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Driving, Technical, Texas, Travel, USA    5 Comments
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