Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Maiden Voyage

This weekend we finally took the plunge and broke in the motor home! We had it running pretty well and had replaced the $300 a pop. Why so expensive you ask. Well, that's because 26 years ago 16 ½ inch tires were standard. Now they are rare and almost impossible to find, so the tire guy suggested replacing them with 16 inch rims AND tires, which are much easier to find and much less likely to leave us stranded in the middle of nowhere should one go while we are, well, in the middle of nowhere. In case you were wondering what a $300 tire looks like, here you go:

Shiny! Six tires later (ouch) we were feeling pretty confident about taking our show on the road. I packed the jumper cables and purchased some essentials :

Our friends were hosting their annual downhill derby:

so we decided to build a car and rent a camp sight.  We packed up and headed out late Friday morning. I had filled a cupboard with lots of board games, we had snacks on board and the husband was ready to get on the highway and “see what this baby could do!” We had only been on the New Your State Thruway 5 minutes when 2 cars honked, waved and held up their thumbs. Clearly they were either A.) impressed by the awesome soapbox style derby car tied to the back of the motor home or B.) trying to warn us that something had come loose and was about to fly off the roof. If you've seen this thing up close you'd know that it could go either way...

We reserved a campsite at Sutter Creek campground.

This sure turned out to be a wonderful decision! Our campsite backed right up to Sterling Creek and the boys quickly grabbed their fishing poles and were off!

Our hosts, Dave and Lynn, could not have been nicer and the campground and facilities were immaculate. Around dinner time we got the teen busy building a campfire:

And the husband and I christened the beginning of our new adventure:

We made pizza pies in the pie iron for dinner. These are super easy and really tasty. All you need is a loaf of bread, pizza sauce, cheese and whatever toppings you like. And a pie iron like this one:

Heat the pie iron in the hot coals of the campfire while you assemble the pizzas. To assemble all you do is make a sandwich with sauce, cheese, and whatever toppings you like. Open the pie iron and butter both halves, place a pizza on one half, close the pie iron and place it back in the hot coals for a few minutes. I usually turn the iron once while they are cooking:

I've made these with all different types of fillings. Reubens are also really good. We sometimes bring along cans of pie filling and make pies for dessert too. The kids loved 'em:

Great day, beautiful campground with a creek to wade and fish in and playground to play on. All was going well, until it got dark and the husband and I declared it was time to clean up and go to bed. We had spent the night before at the drive in for the midnight premier of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows number 7 part 2 and had to be to the derby early the next morning. We were all waaaaaaaay overtired, it was after 9:30 and just plain time to call it a day. The newly minted teenage child did not agree. This is when I realized that while this motor home looks huge in the driveway, put 5 people in it and it becomes a small enclosed space with no privacy whatsoever. After telling him for the eleventy billionth time to bequietturnoffthelightandgotosleepallready he loudly proclaimed, “There is no way I'm spending 8 weeks in this thing with you people.” Luckily by the next morning his attitude had improved. I'm blaming the sleep deprivation and teenage hormones.

The next morning we had breakfast and packed up, ready for a day of racing. The husband got in the drivers seat turned the key and...nothing happened. Where the morning should have been filled with the sound of a revving Chevy 350 “King of the Road” there was complete silence. Instinctively, I reached for the jumper cables while the husband went to the campground office for help. He returned in a golf cart with Dave, our fabulous campground host, who attempted to give us a jump. They hooked everything up and turned the key. The “King of the Road” mocked the golf cart battery with more complete silence. Dave went back to the office and returned with the Hemi:

It took a few tries, but we did finally get it running again and headed to the derby! The boys had a fabulous time racing their car down the hill:

What a great event this was! Great friends, great fun, great sportsmanship! The kids all got along well, we got to visit with friends that we don't get to see nearly as often as we'd like to and our friends had a battery charger for the motor home. We spent the day racing and playing, had a wonderful cookout, and then it was time to head for home. It was around 6:30 and home was 3 hours away. Still not sure what exactly was causing the battery problem but suspecting trouble with the alternator, the husband decided to keep a closer eye on the voltage meter. Now, you'd think we would have tested the headlights out before we left home, but the “King of The Road” had a current and valid New York State inspection sticker on it when we bought it and well, 3 kids can keep you kind of busy and distracted. As twilight approached the husband flipped on the headlights and the voltage meter dropped like a rock to a crazy scary low level. And the lights didn't come on anyway. With some new insight into what we will be repairing this week our journey became a race for the driveway before dark. We pulled in just as the last bit of daylight evaporated on the horizon. Whew!!

The husband will be traveling for work the first part of August and we leave for Maine right after he gets back. His “to fix” list should keep him pretty busy this week...

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