Even though we were pulling out this morning we did not set an alarm to get up at some particular time. We were up by 7:30 AM anyway. I did not make coffee or have breakfast and started preparing for departure. We packed up our computers and put them on the bed, put away remote controls, and turned off the laser printer and NAS. While Linda cleared off counters and secured drawers I took care of some outside things.
I pulled the tow bar parts bags out, set them aside, got out the tow bar adapters for the car, and inserted them. I folded up the two bag chairs and put them in the car and folded up the plastic table and stowed it in the front bay. I checked the pressure in the two front/steer tires on the bus and they were fine so I did not have to get the air compressor and hose out. I put up all of the awnings and opened the air valve for the engine accessories and toad braking system.
When everything else was ready Linda pulled the car out while I turned on the bus chassis batteries and started the bus engine. I let the chassis air up, pulled up the tag axle, pulled out of our site, and then backed up until I was parallel with, and close to, the edge of the road on the passenger side and not blocking anyone’s driveway. Linda pulled the car up behind the bus and we connected it for towing. The breakaway cable finally broke so I got the spare cable out of the glove box but I could not get the key out of the disconnect. Rather than risk breaking it and thereby disabling the car, we decided to travel without it.
We had a final, quick chat with our neighbor’s, Danny and Dorothy, and with Ken on the other side, and pulled away around 9:10 AM. We were out of the resort and headed southeast on US-27 at 9:26. At Ocala we headed south on I-75 as far as exit 301 (Cortez Blvd) at Brooksville, and headed east on FL-700 as far as US-98 and headed south. Most of this segment was also co-terminus with US-35. The drive was mostly rural and very pretty. It was warm outside but patchy clouds kept the temperature inside the coach from getting too warm, at least for a while. Eventually I turned on the OTR HVAC system and it worked well.
We passed through several smaller towns but eventually got to Lakeland which was much larger, with lots of stop lights and traffic, so it took longer to get through. Still, it was an attractive community and something to see besides an Interstate highway. The Detroit Tigers spring training camp is in Lakeland and we will likely drive up for some games while we are in this part of Florida.
US-17 joined up with US-98 as we were leaving Lakeland. Somewhere south of Lakeland (Fort Meade?) US-98 turned east towards Sebring and we continued south on US-17 to Arcadia. A few miles before reaching US-70 west of Arcadia we turned onto NE Turner Road which ran due south towards the Turner Agri-Civic Center and bypassed downtown Arcadia. We pulled into the Civic Center, which was the rally venue, at 1:15 PM.
Linda checked in with rally organizers/hosts Bill and Brenda Phelan. Linda stayed with the coach while Bill drove me over to check out sites. I selected site #9 which would have us facing west with our passenger side facing north. Although this orientation put the afternoon sun on our windshields, it also provided shade in conjunction with the patio awning. Dan (?) led us over to the site and then left us to unhook the car and back the bus in. We leveled the coach (we thought) and I shut it down and went through our arrival preparations.
The inside of the coach was cool from the OTR HVAC and I wanted to keep it that way, so we left the windows and roof vents closed and put the insulated foil panels in the three large skylights. We also found the snap covers for the side windows next to the driver seat and installed those. We were able to position the coach which generous space to our passenger side and far enough back that the 25 foot shorepower cord just reached the outlet box. After plugging in we turned on all three of the residential air-conditioners. We deployed all of the awnings, including the patio awning, to shade the windows and provide a shady place to sit outdoors. We also have a fresh water and sewer connection but may not use them while we are here. We are only here until Friday or Saturday and came in with a mostly full fresh water tank and mostly empty waste tanks.
Although it was very warm (86 degrees F) and humid the clouds had thickened and filled in during the second half of our drive and there was a good, steady breeze. The bus ran well today including the OTR HVAC. The low pressure light only came on briefly one time while I was idling at a stop light. Apparently it works a lot better when it is relatively warm outside.
Once we were set up we had a light lunch of roasted red pepper hummus and sourdough pretzel nibblers with fresh apple slices and orange segments. We then drove to Walmart to pick up some anti-itch cream and bought a few grocery items while we were there. We checked out the filling station on the property and decided it was not a good choice for our bus. We also found the entrance to Big Tree RV Resort which was, literally, across the street from the Walmart. We drove back towards downtown and stopped at the Winn-Dixie to see if they had a better selection of boxed wines than the Walmart. They did, and we bought a Franzia Crisp White. We drove the rest of the way into downtown in search of a filling station with diesel fuel, and access for large vehicles, before returning to the rally site.
Linda wanted to go for a walk so we strolled past the buses and other RVs that were already here. We ran into Scott Crosby working on Dan’s windshield. We met Dan, Kathy, and their son James at the FMCA GLCC Surplus and Salvage Rally back in September. Apparently the windshield on their GM PD4106 started coming out of its gasket along the top and caving into the cockpit on their trip to Arcadia. Scott was up on a ladder getting the gasket reseated around the frame and glass.
We continued our walk and discovered that Paul and Claudine Elbisser, also from our FMCA GLCC chapter, were here. We visited with them for quite a while before finishing our stroll around the rally and returning to our rig for dinner. Linda microwaved a sweet potato and served the last of the Gardein stuffed mock turkey roll and broccoli that we had for dinner on Christmas day.
After dinner I tried tuning in OTA TV stations, orienting the antenna both WNW towards Tampa St. Petersburg, and due south towards Port Charlotte, Punta Gorda, and Ft. Meyers. When I scanned for stations I found about 60 in each direction although many of them were the same stations. So much for digital TV signals bring highly directional. We watched reruns of our Monday evening TV shows on CBS. We also turned on the Verizon Mi-Fi so we could get online long enough to check TV tower locations and network affiliations, check our e-mail, and change our location in RVillage.
I got an e-mail from Gary at BCM with the draft of the February 2016 issue and a request that I proofread Part 1 of my 2-part article on our Habitat For Humanity RV Care-A-Vanner build in July 2013. I was a little tired from our day’s activities and was not in the humor to review articles, edit old blog posts, or write new ones so I just watched TV and fiddled with the thermostats and fan speeds on our air-conditioners. I was puzzled by the fact that it felt humid in the rig in spite of the air-conditioners having been on all day. The front and rear ones seem to be cooling better than the middle one, but the front one was the only one that we seaw water dripping from the drain line outside the bus. I admit to having some level of concern about where the condensed water from the evaporators is going, assuming they are condensing any moisture.
The overnight low was forecast to be about 70 with morning fog, i.e., 100% relative humidity so in spite of the fan noise we left the bus closed up and the A-Cs running. I adjusted the thermostats down to make sure the condensers would run, and lowered the fan speed in the bedroom to reduce the noise level. I plugged the power in for the rear OTA TV antenna, but it was not functioning correctly and was clearly not going to fix itself. It needs to be replaced but I am reluctant to buy another one of the same model as the failure rate so far has been 50%. Linda read, and I played a few games, on our iPads and then went to sleep.