Browsing "USA"
Apr 26, 2013 -

Shawnee OK to Wichita KS

I awoke with a start at about 3:00 this morning with a premonition: I was about to have the day from hell. I tried to calm myself down and get more sleep, but I only got in a little fitful dozing. I gave up around 7:00 and got up to pack. I had coffee, but my stomach was too much in knots to even think about breakfast.

I took the time to analyse this premonition. Was it one that would allow me to change my fate or one that doomed me? I decided not to go to Wichita today and try to wrangle another free night out of the casino. The bad feeling didn’t appease itself at all. In fact, it got worse. I would just be delaying the inevitable.

So I packed, returned my parking pass, got gas, checked my tire pressure (perfect), hooked up, and headed on down I-40 eastbound. About a mile from the exit for Midwest City, BOOM.

I pulled over and walked around the rig to discover that my interior dually on the passenger side had disintegrated. I went back in the cab and asked my GPS where the nearest tire place was, which was fewer than 3 miles. I knew I could get there on my own power, so I put the four-way flashers on and motored over there slowly.

The place was Cramer Tires, a small mom & pop type of outfit. I was able to pull in straight enough to unhook. A lady came out and asked what I needed and then went out back to check her inventory of used tires. I’m getting new tires shortly, so a good used tired for $56 (all inclusive price) sounded pretty good to me.

Once they got the tire off, the reason for the failure became evident: a bad valve stem. The tire condition was good and so was the pressure. They replaced the valve stem, mounted the new tire, and I was on my way in about 1.75 hours. I thought everything was good till I got about 40 miles down the road, which was too far.

I pulled into a turnout on I-35 to use the bathroom and the toilet room was so hot that the toilet seal had melted and the toilet was loose. I ran outside and discovered to my horror that when the tire blew, it flew back and knocked the exhaust pipe up into the sidewall! I was very close to a fire (see the picture below). Moreover, the heat was enough that it disintegrated the pipe that goes from my grey water tank to the valve so my grey water was dripping onto the highway.

Thankfully, I was able to bring the tailpipe down after sitting at the rest area for enough time to cool the area down.

I stopped at every opportunity I could all along I-35 and everything seemed okay up until I got onto the turnpike, where there were few exits. The rig just didn’t feel like it was handling correctly. By this point, I was almost at L’s, so I slacked on the speed and drove cautiously.

My toll was $4.25, as I’d estimated, and then it was just a few minutes to get to L’s. I got lined up straight, unhooked, and then backed onto some blocks. L even had an extension cord ready for me.

It was at about this point that he informed me that my ‘new’ rear time was flat as a pancake.

L said that he’s going to have a look at my plumbing over the weekend. Am I glad I’m landed here!

He’s convinced that the neighbours won’t care that I’m here, so at this point, I’m looking at being in Wichita till Wednesday or Thursday. We’ll see.

Once I was settled in, we headed out to the Anchor pub in old town Wichita for a couple of pints and dinner so that I could meet his sweetheart. I hadn’t eaten all day, so when he told me not to be shy and order an appy, I gladly did and got some really nice chips and salsa. For a beer, he recommended a really dark brew called 1545, which was perfect for the cold and damp weather. Dinner was one of the best grilled chicken burgers I have ever had.

Downtown Wichita is beautiful! It’s one gorgeous building after another. I especially like all the bronze statues along the main drag. They are likenesses of ordinary folks doing ordinary things on a busy city street. I’ll try to get back out there and snap a few pictures before I leave.

Share on Facebook
Countries, Kansas, Maintenance & Repair, Nice Folks, Restaurants, Social, Technical, Travel, USA, Weather    16 Comments
Apr 25, 2013 -

Touching Base

I just got off the phone with L in Wichita to confirm that I will be arriving tomorrow. He would like me to arrive mid-afternoon so that I can join him for his dinner plans, so that means I’ll pull out of here around 9:00 or 10:00.

The gas here is super cheap ($3.19) so I’m going to fill up before I leave. The gas station is awkward to get around, so I’ll do that before hooking up. Then, it’s off to a Flying J north of OK City that has propane. I checked it out with Google Streetview (what did we ever do before that?) and it looks like a good in and out even with a long rig. I’d also like to find a place to have air added to my tires. I checked the pressure in Dallas and it was on the low side of okay. I’m hoping that adding a little will help with the gas mileage a bit.

The big question mark tomorrow is the Kansas Turnpike. I checked out their toll calculator and as long as Miranda is a class 2 vehicle (ie. two-axle vehicle) despite her size and that combined with Moya the rig is class 4, I’m all set and will have my $4.25 in cash ready. That amount is not worth trying to detour around the turnpike!

I’ll be parked on the street in Wichita, hence why I want to arrive on a Friday as I’m less likely to be disturbed by The Law over a weekend. L says that there is at least one more rig parked on the street and that he gets along with his neighbors, so I should be fine. I am going to go into more of a stealth mode than I did in Dallas, leaving the curtains down to hopefully mask the fact that I am residing in the RV. I checked the Wichita ordinances and it looks like street parking an RV is okay, but living in one on the street is not okay, so stealth mode is definitely in order.

There are a number of good overnighting options north of Wichita, so I should be able do the ‘spend the day at a rest area, drive a short distance to an overnighting place’ routine for the rest of April until my budget resets itself. I’ve already borrowed way too much into May’s budget, so I really don’t want to put any more gas in the rig until the calendar changes. And with the weather being what it is, it’s good to have a reason to take it slow. May 7th is when I’ll put the pedal to the metal and drive decisively to the border.

Share on Facebook
Boondocking/Dry camping, Countries, Finances, Kansas, Law and Government, Preparations for Departure, Travel, USA    No Comments
Apr 24, 2013 -

I Have Failed Once Again…

… to pay a casino for its hospitality. Not as dramatically as in Alabama, but definitely humourously.

I went in around 6:00 to play my free game of Keno. That won me $1. I then put that $1 in a slot machine and that won me $10. I played that $10 down to absolutely $0, and that won me $10 in match play for signing up for the player’s club, plus another bonus $10 (please don’t ask me to explain why, these machines mystify me).

To be able to cash out, I had to play the free $20 completely and by the time I did, I was $8.63 up. I cashed that out, went to the buffet, and discovered that the price on the website was wrong and the real price, less the Wednesday night female discount was… $8.63.

Not being a cheapskate, I left a $1 tip to the lady who brought my lemonade and cleared my plates. 😀 So that was my grand expense for the night, a whole dollar!

The buffet was meh. I over estimated how busy it would be on a Wednesday night, so when I got there, a lot of the food had been sitting for a while. I grabbed what looked fresh, which did not involve many vegetables. 🙁

Everything was quite tasty, though. I liked their pork sticky buns and BBQ pork ribs the best. The mashed potatoes were tasty and so was the white gravy to put on them. Yes, white gravy. I had no idea what it was the first time I tried it, so on the next round, I asked a man pouring it all over his plate what it was. I even tried their sushi and it was surprisingly palatable. Oh, and I can’t forget their potato soup. Now that was really yummy!

There was a bunch of other tasty goodies, too, but nothing that totaled up to the $15 they were asking full price (my discount was definitely more than the $5 state on the website!) since the steak and baked potatoes didn’t appeal to me. But I’m not going to complain about a free meal!

The desserts were good; high quality ice cream and assorted pastries. I got one bite each of two kinds of ice cream and one bite of a surprisingly fabulous caramel cheesecake. There was also a guy impressively setting rum-soaked bananas on fire (bananas Foster, I imagine).

I’m off to Google white gravy. My mine is blown by the deliciousness of it. I can just imagine crumbled sausage swimming in it and soaking into my fabulous biscuits.

Post edited to add: white gravy is just a really thick béchamel sauce using pan drippings instead of butter!

Blog Widget by LinkWithinShare on Facebook
Campgrounds, Oklahoma, Travel, USA    7 Comments
Pages:«12345678...95»