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judatt

Getting Ready to Hit the Road Again

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Greetings, everyone. We've had a very enjoyable 2 months (with about 3 weeks taken out for a trip to Oklahoma in our car) here in Brownsville, TX. We are getting ready to leave next Monday to start making our way back to Virginia. First we are headed back to Oklahoma to see my folks and then will head to Virginia.

A couple of questions:

1. What do I need to do to make sure that we are ready to go in a few days? Let me tell you what all I've done and see if there are other suggestions. I've posted a couple of times asking various questions a few weeks ago and everyone was very helpful. I have cleaned all the air filters and they are good. I checked the batteries and they were dry but I filled them with distilled water, cleaned all the connections and even had a local guy check them out and he said both the 4 house batteries and the 2 coach batteries were good. The volt meter on the panel above the drivers seat consistently says 13.4 for the volts. I washed and waxed the entire motor coach and treated the tires.

We have a retired heat and air and general handyman guy in our church that we have been attending here in Brownsville. Yesterday he came out and climbed on top of the motor coach and looked everything over. Said the roof was good. Used silicone to seal a couple of places around machinery. He checked the air coming out of the ac and said all 3 units were working fine. Said on one of the heat pumps on top the cover had a little damage but he wouldn't mess with it unless there were other problems so we didn't do anything.

We checked all the fluid levels and they were good. He said the oil looked good and we'd be fine to go back to Virginia to get it serviced with oil and filter changes. He looked at the generator and said it looked fine. We pulled in the slideouts and then put them back out and they are working well. We've had a lot of wind so wanted to make sure they were still OK.

So, what else do we need to do to prepare to pull out on Monday after our motor home has been sitting here for 2 months?

2. What can the temperature get down to and everything in the motor home be okay? I've been checking the temps pretty closely and it looks like while we are in Oklahoma to check on my folks the overnight low one night will be 25. That day it will have been 50 and the next day about 50 again. For the 2 or 3 nights we will be there the motor home will be parked. We'll be staying in the house with my parents. Should I do anything the night it will get down to 25? I suppose I could run the furnace that night if needed? If I run the furnace do I need to turn anything else on?

Thanks again to everyone for the good advice along the way. So far I think our first trip has been successful. We intend to come back to Brownsville next year anyway so I guess that means we had a good time and enjoyed ourselves.

Look forward to seeing many of you at the big event in Perry, GA.

David and Judy

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David,

While parked at the folks house, assuming you will be parked at their home, you might get a heavy extension card an plug the coach in. It will give you enough power to keep the batteries charged while you leave the furnace on. At my mother-in-laws house before she passed I had wired a 30 amp plug for the coach in her garage. I did the same for our sons home in Cheyenne but did a 50 amp there.

See you in Perry.

Herman

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It sounds like you are good to go. I would check your propane level and top up if you are below 50%. I think you will be ok in Oklahoma if you leave the furnace on. Like Herman said run a extension cord to keep your battery's up. With the furnace running you don't have to winterize as it heats the basement to. Don't forget you can run the furnace while driving to keep it nice and warm in the coach if the dash heat isn't enough.

Bill

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Thanks for the good info Herman and Bill. My propane is at 100% - or should I say on the scale on the panel all 5 of the 5 lights are lit. So it's at least almost full.

A dumb question (or two or three) about plugging into my folks house. Their house was built in the 40s or 50s and is small. Will plugging into their house potentially blow a circuit? Also, I assume I would need to get an adaptor that would take me from 50 amp plug to 110 plug. Could I run the generator instead to keep the batteries charged? I just don't want to do anything that might potentially harm their house. Thanks again. David

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David,

Couple of points about plugging into a house:

Verify that it is 3 wire (i.e. has a ground-- the little round hole in a house-style 120 VAC 15 amp outlet). Between the short straight (hot) and long straight (neutral) AND between short straight and round should both show 120 VAC. long straight to round should be 0 VAC.

If it is wire like this, what you will need is a male 30 to female 50 amp adapter and a male 15 to female 30 amp adapter. Easy to find.

Next, you will need to make sure that you do not draw more than 12 or so amps. Easy to forget and leave high amp loads on which WILL trip their breaker-- things like A/C, electric water heater element, etc.

Most modern inverter/chargers have a "power save" or "power share" setting which limits how much 120 VAC can be used. Set it to its lowest setting-- even 5 amps of 120 VAC will keep the batteries charged.

But, if the house is not properly wired and you have to run your generator to charge batteries, use the highest setting on your power save or power share to shorten recharge time.

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David, I'm not an electrician, but I would run the generator. House from 40's or 50's probably don't have copper wiring (unless your parents had it re wired) so to be on the safe side, run your power at night.

Every other coach is heading south, Snow Birds! Your heading North...OK. Have a safe trip and be aware off Blake Ice! When you know it's going to be cold or stormy weather, don't run your fuel tank below 1/2 full and you might want to add some anti-gel to fuel.

Carl

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Be sure to load several bags of the Texas navel oranges and red grapefruit to take along, they are better this year than I can remember in the past. Good luck traveling.

Kay

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My folks live in Granite in sw OK - just above Vernon TX. So we are going from here in Brownsville to an hour or so north of San Antonio and spending the night. Well then go on in to Granite on Tuesday and will leave Friday headed to Virginia but going the southern route and taking a few days. David

P.S. In December we went to OKC because that is where my father was in the hospital. We were in the car so traveled a little faster.

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David and Judy,

Glad you enjoyed your stay in Brownsville. My how time does fly. You hit a really nice year this year, great weather most of the time. Our first few years here in the Rio Grande Valley we had limited stays and had to return north in late February. The first year we did this we left with roadsides brimming with brightly colored flowers. After a couple of days driving, Louise asked what happened to these trees? She thought they were all dead. I reassured her that they were alive, it was still winter where we were. We both had a laugh about that - until the reality of March in Pennsylvania hit!

Regarding the furnace, I would certainly run it to stay warm. I stayed at my mothers home many years using only an extension cord (rated at 20a) from a 15 amp plug on the garage light. We never had a problem. Keep the extension cord as short as possible as long cords will affect the voltage and can increase amperage draw in the process. The batteries power the furnace and the inverter/charger will replace the charge used by the furnace but it isn't a direct replacement. As the batteries are drained while the furnace is running, the charger will increase the charge but it replaces the battery charge over a longer period of time. You can watch it as it runs sometime to see what the draw is and how much it increases while the furnace is running. The charge stays up after the furnace stops running and will slowly decrease until the furnace kicks in again. I wouldn't run the generator in a residential area unless there was some kind of emergency. Your parents won't appreciate the noise and the neighbors certainly won't like it. Yes, even the quiet generators can be an irritation to those trying to sleep nearby.

When temperatures get below freezing I like to open the cabinet doors under the sinks to allow heated air to circulate into those cabinets more easily. If temperatures get into the low 20's you should probably use some additional heat in the water pump/waste tank drains area just to be certain nothing freezes. A small heater or trouble light will provide enough heat but be careful that nothing flammable is near any source of heat.

Black ice is a genuine concern once the temperature nears freezing. Bridges and overpasses freeze first, sometimes even before the air temperature drops below freezing. They may look wet but it could be ice. We had a couple that put their rig, a van pulling an Airstream trailer, wheels up in a field when they hit black ice. Yep, both vehicles were on their roof when the excitement stopped. Fortunately only a few bruises for the occupants but both vehicles were trashed. Take your time. It is a long trip from Brownsville to Oklahoma and there is no good way to get there without experiencing some traffic delays. It is a fact that Amarillo is closer to Bismark, North Dakota than it is to Brownsville!

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Unless I missed it somewhere...be sure to check the tire pressure. I saw where you "treated" the tires, but did not see checking the TP.

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Checking the TP made me think. When a coach is parked for an extended period of time shouldn't you monitor the TP often? Will sitting on tires with low pressure be harmful to the side walls?

Herman

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Correct, Herman.

In fact, in writing, Michelin recommends inflating tires to the max PSI for the tire/rim when storing for extended periods of time.

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My folks live in Granite in sw OK - just above Vernon TX. So we are going from here in Brownsville to an hour or so north of San Antonio and spending the night. Well then go on in to Granite on Tuesday and will leave Friday headed to Virginia but going the southern route and taking a few days. David

P.S. In December we went to OKC because that is where my father was in the hospital. We were in the car so traveled a little faster.

What are you calling the Southern route?

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What are you calling the Southern route?

I'm thinking sw Oklahoma to Dallas and get on I20 to Atlanta and I85 up to Richmond. We could go straight down I 40 to knoxville And then I81 to Virginia and may yet do that. The most recent weather forecasts have warmed up a little and it looks like we may not need to do the southern route to stay above freezing.

By the way it looks like the lowest temp in ok will be 30 one night. I'm thinking I probably don't need to be too concerned about that because it will only be below freezing for a couple of hours. David

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I'm thinking sw Oklahoma to Dallas and get on I20 to Atlanta and I85 up to Richmond. We could go straight down I 40 to knoxville And then I81 to Virginia and may yet do that. The most recent weather forecasts have warmed up a little and it looks like we may not need to do the southern route to stay above freezing.

By the way it looks like the lowest temp in ok will be 30 one night. I'm thinking I probably don't need to be too concerned about that because it will only be below freezing for a couple of hours. David

Looks like you are good I don't think it will freeze ether. Granite OK is kind of out in the middle. I would recommend going up 287 from just north of Fort Worth to Vernon and taking 283 north to Granite. You are in a good position to go north and pick up 40 East if the weather looks good. Just a BIG HEADS UP if you go back down to pick up 20 to go East. DO NOT go on 183 or 30 through the Metroplex instead go south and pick up 20 around the South side of Fort Worth. Follow this around till it takes you to 20 East. This looks longer but you will be much much happier.

Good luck and have a safe trip.

Bill

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Looks like you are good I don't think it will freeze ether. Granite OK is kind of out in the middle. I would recommend going up 287 from just north of Fort Worth to Vernon and taking 283 north to Granite. You are in a good position to go north and pick up 40 East if the weather looks good. Just a BIG HEADS UP if you go back down to pick up 20 to go East. DO NOT go on 183 or 30 through the Metroplex instead go south and pick up 20 around the South side of Fort Worth. Follow this around till it takes you to 20 East. This looks longer but you will be much much happier.

Good luck and have a safe trip.

Bill

Before I retired I flew into DFW quite often, rented a car and drove up to Granite. I think 183 in Ft Worth has been under construction for decades!

I think we are going to take 77 out of Brownsville to I 37 into San Antonio and then 281 North out of SA, spend the night in Lampass and then take 183 to Vernon. Then straight north to Granite. Also, think we have decided to just take the straight route home on I-40 since it looks like the temps will stay above freezing all the way.

Are you going to be at the FMCA event in Perry? Look forward to meeting you sometime. David

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Before I retired I flew into DFW quite often, rented a car and drove up to Granite. I think 183 in Ft Worth has been under construction for decades!

I think we are going to take 77 out of Brownsville to I 37 into San Antonio and then 281 North out of SA, spend the night in Lampass and then take 183 to Vernon. Then straight north to Granite. Also, think we have decided to just take the straight route home on I-40 since it looks like the temps will stay above freezing all the way.

Are you going to be at the FMCA event in Perry? Look forward to meeting you sometime. David

Hear is an idea for a rout to bypass the whole Fort Worth area going north. Stay on 281 till you get to 287. I think it is in Wichita Falls. You should be able to find your way home from there. I think 281 may be a better road than 183. I haven't ben out that way in a little over a year. We spent some time in Seymour.

Just south of Lampasas where 290 from Austin runs into 281 there is a nice place to stay I have stayed there before. Miller Creek RV Park, US-281, Johnson City, TX 78636, millercreekrvpark.com, (830) 868-2655.

183/121 and North 820 are almost complete where they have added 4 toll lanes in the middle. The only rough spot is where 820 crosses 35W . Well 35 from just before the 121 cut off to north of town is slow because of the construction. If you come up that way stay in the LEFT lane or center lane. The left lane keeps moving mostly. the ones to the right not so much.

Unfortunately I will probably miss Perry this time. Yes one of these days our paths will cross.

Bill

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Before I retired I flew into DFW quite often, rented a car and drove up to Granite. I think 183 in Ft Worth has been under construction for decades!

I think we are going to take 77 out of Brownsville to I 37 into San Antonio and then 281 North out of SA, spend the night in Lampass and then take 183 to Vernon. Then straight north to Granite. Also, think we have decided to just take the straight route home on I-40 since it looks like the temps will stay above freezing all the way.

Are you going to be at the FMCA event in Perry? Look forward to meeting you sometime. David

We have traveled 281 many times from San Antonio to Lampasas. It was good all the way but lots of red lights coming out of San Antonio until

get out of the metropolitan area. 183 from Lampasas to Brownwood is good but we have not gone further north on it.

I assume you plan on staying either at Boone RV Park or Bent Tree RV Ranch in Lampasas. If you are at Boone, request a site away from the highway - you will sleep better further from the noise of trucks slowing down for the red light. If you will be at Bent Tree, the sign is easy to miss - start watching for it on the left when you are about 9 miles north of Burnet.

Bill is right about Miller Creek RV Park at Johnson City south of Lampasas - very easy to get into their pull throughs. A very nice park.

We are usually in Lampasas during April and May of each year for our annual doctor visits and to visit with our son and daughter-in-law.

Have a good trip.

Leary

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I just got home yesterday, spent a week at Sunrise Point RV Park, Marble Falls. Great place!

My suggestion is take the I-10 West exit out of S.A. to Comfort, then go to Frederiksberg and pick up 287N, good roads all the way and fuel stops! I have been to Granite and it's a nice little town, had less than 2000 real friendly folks!

Carl

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I just got home yesterday, spent a week at Sunrise Point RV Park, Marble Falls. Great place!

My suggestion is take the I-10 West exit out of S.A. to Comfort, then go to Frederiksberg and pick up 287N, good roads all the way and fuel stops! I have been to Granite and it's a nice little town, had less than 2000 real friendly folks!

Carl

Hi Carl. That's the way we would normally go. However, we were in Granite in December and that's the way we came back to Texas. There was a stretch of road that was under construction and was in really bad shape. The road surface was completely gone - they were working on it so it may be finished by now but it's only a month later so just assumed it was still under construction. That's why we chose a similar but alternate route.

I grew up in Granite. The sign at the edge of town says population 1,714. What they don't tell you is that about 700 of those are inmates in the local prison. They don't have much choice about being included in the population! David

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