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Texas to Ohio and Back, Part 2

August 23, 2015

at rustic knolls 2

Monday and Tuesday we took two of the Ohio grandkids to Rustic Knolls Campground outside of Mount Vernon, about an hour away. We’ve stayed numerous times at Rustic Knolls, sometimes for a month at a time while visiting Nell’s family. It’s a weekend getaway for local folks, and the largest section contains permanently parked RVs, many with covered patios. But Frank and Barbara, the owners, work really hard at keeping the whole place nice. Excellent, clean bathrooms and showers, almost all pull throughs in the non-permanent area, a catch-and-release fishing pond, a swimming lake, playground and game room. It’s a good, clean place to stay.

nell making pizza at rustic knolls cropped

One night Nell made individual pizzas using the Nu-Wave oven. She first baked the dough , then everybody added their own ingredients. She baked them again, and everyone chowed down. Another evening, I cooked brats on the propane grill outside. I’m not a cook, but the kids said it was all good.

early morning at rustic knolls

The Seven Seas served us well. Since we have no barrier to keep them from falling out of the loft, we didn’t use the loft for sleeping. It did turn out to be a great storage place for bedding during the day, and backpacks and book bags. Granddaughter slept on the dinette/bed and grandson slept on the sofa. They apparently slept well, because we had to wake them up both mornings.

at rustic knolls 1
We all fished, the kids swam a couple of times, and played on the playground. It was a great time of bonding.

dales cul de sac

On Wednesday, we parked the RV on son’s cul-de-sac, with approval of neighbors. On Thursday morning, all too quickly, it was time to head for home.

We had towed the CR-V from Plain City to Rustic Knolls and back without incident, so we felt confident enough to tow it on the trip back. At any rate, we needed to know how the Seven Seas was going to handle it. So Thursday morning, we said our goodbyes, hitched the car to the back of the RV, and rolled out of Galloway.

There was one minor problem on the way home that caused a few anxious moments. At a rest stop, when we were ready to get back on the road, the engine wouldn’t start. The clicking noise when I turned the key wasn’t a nice sound, but fortunately, I was able to isolate the problem to a loose battery connection. A few turns with a pair of channel locks got things going again. Just another reminder that an older motorhome is a rolling earthquake, especially on rough highways. Things tend to loosen up along the way.

We didn’t push ourselves going home. We spent Thursday night at Nell’s sister-in-law’s house outside of Nashville, TN. Her hospitality extended to us sleeping there, with the RV parked out front.

parked at maumelle coe park

On Friday night, we stayed at Maumelle Corps of Engineers Campground in Little Rock, AR. This was our second stay at that park, and we really like it. A friendly, helpful gatekeeper, choices of back-in and pull-through sites, and very clean. We didn’t ask for a riverfront site, because we were towing, and didn’t want to unhook. As it turned out, the location of the electrical pedestal required us to unhook anyway and park the car in front. We’ll rethink that next time we pass through Little Rock. This would be a nice place to just sit and relax by the river for a few days. Once again, we had the chance to visit with one of Nell’s nieces and her son. They live nearby, and came out to the park to visit.

parked at texan rv park athens tx

Saturday night we stopped at Texan RV Park in Athens, TX. This is a nice park that is well-maintained. The grass was pretty dry, but there hadn’t been much rain for a while. The sites are gravel, with a concrete patio/picnic table. Nice clean restrooms, showers and laundry room. We had full hookups and a choice of sites. Next time, we’ll be a little more selective, because our site was in the middle of an open area with no trees. The Texas heat kept the AC working hard. There are a couple of ponds, which are a little low right now, but there’s a deck overlooking one of them that would be a nice place to relax in cooler weather.

So… how does driving the Class C compare with driving the Class A? For us, the difference is substantial. I know people who roll down the highway at 70mph in a 40 foot Class A coach, towing a car or pickup, and apparently do it with ease. Especially in a diesel. I tried it (in a 36 foot) for two years, and once off the interstate, I drove with a death grip on the steering wheel, and was totally exhausted after a few hours of driving. It just wasn’t for me.

We learned some things. We learned that, on this vehicle at least, Overdrive comes on every time we start the engine, and it needs to be OFF when driving in hills and when towing. We had done everything we could do in terms of preparation. The transmission issue could not have been anticipated. The water leak, of course, could probably have been avoided if I had gotten all the windows caulked, but the Texas heat in July and August kept a number of things from getting done.

redo4a

We had installed the dark curtains separating the cockpit from the living area, primarily to provide privacy at night. We learned that by keeping those closed while driving during the day, we kept the cockpit cooler, hopefully keeping the dash AC from working quite as hard. When we initially had several people aboard on the first day, we did run the generator, which allowed us to use the ceiling AC to keep the whole place cool while driving down the highway.

Once I learned the steering characteristics in the Seven Seas, I found myself driving with a relaxed touch on the steering wheel, and wasn’t nearly as tired at the end of the driving day. (We will have the steering and front end checked out, because it is a little loose). It’s around 8 feet shorter, making gas station stops less stressful. It’s lower than many box delivery trucks, so concerns about overhead clearance are almost nonexistent (I still check out overhead wires in residential areas).

nell driving seven seas

One of the big things is that Nell can drive this RV comfortably. She drove for a while before the transmission was fixed, and drove for several hours on the way home when everything was working well. She may not drive this RV a lot when we travel, but there is some peace of mind knowing she can gets us further down the road if I get tired, and most importantly, if I became unable to drive, she could move the RV to wherever it needs to go.

We had learned once again that life is full of little adventures, and while there are moments of frustration and fatigue, the best way through the bad ones is to roll with the punches and keep on going. We’ve gotten pretty good at that.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 23, 2015 9:40 pm

    Good to see everything is working now Ralph.

    • August 24, 2015 12:44 pm

      Thanks, Doug. We’ve still got lots of work to do, but with over 2500 miles on this trip, 2100 miles of it relatively problem-free, we’ve determined it’s a pretty good workhorse.

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