Flying Saucer Launcher
We had great plans to spend some time in Newfoundland on our latest walkabout, but was not to be. In addition, motor home quality bit us again.
The first few days were marvelous, running north to Sicamous BC and then east to Bow Valley Campground with great weather and beautiful scenery. Our next segments were planned to take us across Canada through Saskatchewan and Manitoba, then across the top of Lake Superior. Those two provinces were as flat as advertised and the fields of rapeseed were gorgeous. What was not gorgeous was a railroad crossing on Trans-Canada 1 that took out both dually tires on one side, the wheel cover and damaged the fairing. Our Good Sam coverage found us a tire shop to come out and make things right.
Then things got goofy. Waking up in Ashland WI after a night of thunder and lightning, we discovered the roads to the east were closed due to flooding and that there was no way to get to the UP in Michigan. We backtracked back almost to Duluth and headed south.
We had not planned to be in the Midwest under a heat dome. The air conditioning while driving is great, but the roof-mounted Coleman on the Navion was not up to the task. Ten degrees cooler than outside was the best it did, even in the shade. When it’s 90 degrees outside it’s uncomfortable inside for humans and dogs.
We also discovered that the generator was completely dead when Sherry tried to start it in Beloit, WI. Dead, dead, no clicks to red numbers, nada. I have an appointment in two weeks with Cummins (a two-hour drive twice) to get it repaired under warranty.
New Cabinet Latches
More cabinet latches broke while on the trip for a total of seven. I have begun replacing the Winnebago latches with standard roller latches. While not having the positive catch the OEM latches have, they will hold the doors closed while driving. We use baskets in the cabinets, so things falling out is not an issue. I’m still working on an elegant way to secure the TV, which uses the same poorly designed latch as the cabinets.
While getting things repaired we’re now planning a trip to Northern California in October and hopefully we can make another run at Newfoundland in 2017.
One of challenging yet fun things about a motor home is deciding where to put all the Stuff. Our Navion is smaller than a “small house” and we lived in our former View for six months, so arranging things is an important task in order to maintain space and sanity.
We try to follow some guidelines when arranging things. It might appear that these are self-evident, but some gear is too fragile or too large, so creativity is a must.
- Items we use frequently should be close at hand. Everything coffee and tea is kept together by the kitchen sink, for example.
- Items used together should be stored together. We keep all the canine items in the storage areas over the driver.
- Things should be organized to minimize set-up and take-down routines. We no longer carry with us the bed extension cushion as it’s been used so little and is unstable when in place.
- Items that are used outside should be stored outside. An exception is the slow cooker (above), which has its own box in the rear external storage area. After many trips we found an outside place for the X-pen, which is heavy and had been riding between the twin beds. A hitch mounted cargo carrier has its advantages!
It’s about 37 days until we take the ferry from Port Townsend, headed for Newfoundland and Labrador and we’re busy planning the trip. This will be our fourth long trip in our motor home and each journey impresses upon us the need for planning. Not that we aren’t spontaneous on the road, but this time we want to be more careful about each day.
We began planning this trip with the goal of seeing more of the Maritime Provinces of Canada than we did in 2012. Our first consideration was to not repeat the mistake we made last year by showing up before any campgrounds were open for the season!
This trip we’re going to try a daily planning form so that we can pay attention to the day and have a record for reviewing campgrounds and future trips.
Often we’ll start the day’s drive with only a hazy idea of where lunch will be or where we’ll fill up the tank. Hopefully this will help us organize our thoughts more clearly. The form is in Word and we’ll print it two to a page on both sides of the paper and place them in a binder.
Next: Organizing outside storage.