We were up around 8 AM. Linda took a shower after which I started the last load of laundry while she made coffee. We had our usual granola breakfast. When the washer finished I trimmed up my beard and shaved and then took my shower while Linda moved the wash to the clothes dryer. Once we were both dressed we got very busy loading the bus and preparing it for travel.
I put on my work clothes and selected my clothes for the week. Linda took care of loading the bus while I attended to preparing it for travel. The preparations went something like this. First I loaded our GLCC banner, flags, T-shirts, door prizes, tools, and our new 6 gallon pancake style Porter-Cable air compressor into our Honda Element. I turned on our TireTraker TPMS monitor and plugged in the power cord for the TPMS repeater which is installed in the passenger-side rear corner cabinet in the bedroom. I then got out our long fresh-water hose, connected it to the faucet on the front of the house, ran it under the bus, and connected it to the fresh water inlet. I got a mat to put under the fresh water tank drain and emptied about 40 gallons of water that had been in the tank since we got home on Friday, April 24. I closed the drain valve and then opened the fresh water tank fill valve.
At 3.4 gallons per minute the 120 gallon fresh water tank takes about a half hour to fill. While that was happening I got our DeWalt 15 gallon upright tank air compressor out of the garage and rolled it over to the front of the bus (it has wheels). I got our long extension cord out of the front bay and ran it from the front porch outlet to the air compressor. I then got the air hose out of the bay where it was stored along with the air chuck, and digital tire pressure gauge, and retrieved a knee pad and slip pliers from two other bays. I removed the TT TPMS sensor from each wheel in turn, checking and adjusting the pressure as I went. I always do both dual drive tires on each side at the same time to make sure they are the same.
The inside duals have valve stem extensions so I use the pliers to keep them from loosening while I unscrew the sensor. The two front tires were at 111.5 and 112.0 PSI, both above the minimum required 110.0 PSI, but I brought them up to 115.0 PSI. I like to run the tires 5 PSI over the correct pressure to allow for changes in overnight low temperatures and to provide some margin against slow leaks. The two tag axle tires were around 82.5 PSI so I reset them to 85.0 PSI. The four drive tires were around 92.5 PSI so I brought them up to 95.0 PSI.
By the time I was done with the tires the fresh water tank was full so I shut off the water and stored everything back where it came from. I then pulled the Element around behind the bus. Everything was on board by this point except the cats, the cat tree, and us. We hooked up the car for towing and checked all of the lights. I switched on (connected) the chassis batteries, opened all of the air valves, switched off the Aqua-Hot engine preheat pump and diesel burner, started the main engine, and switched the suspension to drive mode. While coach was airing up I pulled the 50 A shorepower cord and stowed it away. Back in the house we put the cats in their carriers and left them in the front hallway while we took their “tree” out to the bus. We then brought them out, locking the house behind us, and put them on board. Both cats immediately went under the front passenger seat which is their “go to” spot while the coach is moving.
All of what I have just described took place with intermittent light rain. We could not recall the last time we had to load the motorcoach, or our previous motorhome, in the rain, but we agreed that having it parked with the entrance door opposite the sidewalk to the front door of the house made it much more convenient. Still, it was reminiscent of the “age of camping,” a time in our lives when we camped frequently in a tent with our pre-teen children. While not a constant companion, rain was a frequent visitor on these outings and yet it never deterred us from going and never lessened our enjoyment. Indeed, we tried to show our children the special beauty of a hike in a Michigan woodland in the rain or the power of standing near the shore of a Great Lake during a storm. Cooking was more of challenge, to be sure, but we had a screen room in addition to our tent and made preparing and eating meals part of the adventure. Our friend Chuck said to me once that we were different from most of the other Prevost owners he and Barbara know because we were “campers.” True enough, although what we do now hardly seems like camping to us. Still, we are quite comfortable with having the furniture and flooring removed from our motorcoach, sitting on lawn chairs instead, and dining at our fold up plastic side table.
We pulled out of our driveway at 12:30 PM and made our way slowly down our muddy, pot marked dirt road to N. Hacker Road. It was nice not having to worry about scratching the side of our rig as a result of our tree trimming raid late last night. Instead of taking our usual route north to M-59 we went south on Hacker which got us on pavement a short distance later. Most of the trees on the west side of S. Hacker Road were trimmed up high enough but just before getting to Grand River Avenue we got clunked. Our front OTR TV antenna is the highest thing on the bus. It is centered side-to-side near the front and probably took the branch. I should check it for damage the next time I am on the roof.
We went south on Grand River Avenue towards Brighton and less than a mile later took the entrance ramp to I-96 west. Twenty-three miles later we took exit 122 and stopped at the Mobil Truck Stop for fuel. We were at 3/8ths of a tank and rather than fill it we only put 80 gallons on board. That was enough added fuel for approximately 480 miles and our round trip to/from the RV rally would be less than that.
We will not be using the coach for a while after this week and it is not clear what the best thing is to do relative to long term storage. Filling the tank with fuel minimizes the air in the tank and thus the opportunity for moisture to condense out. Moisture is a bad thing in diesel fuel as it enables the growth of algae. I use a biocide additive to inhibit that growth, especially at a fill up just before it is going to sit for a while, and we have a fuel polishing pump to slowly circulate the fuel and remove water and other gunk while the coach is sitting. That would seem to solve the problem, except for the fact that it is not ideal to store diesel fuel any longer than necessary before using it. I suspect that we will fill the tank at the Mobil Truck Stop just before returning home, using an extra dose of biocide, and then run the fuel polishing pump all summer.
We continued west on I-96 to the southwest corner of Lansing and then exited onto southbound I-69. It continued to be overcast with a noticeable wind out of the east. We thought we were done with the rain but continued to get an occasional sprinkle. We exited I-69 at US-12 and headed west through Coldwater and the southern tier of Michigan counties. US-12 is a good 2-lane highway with some left and right and some up and down, sometimes at the same time. It is a fun drive with nice scenery and passes through three other small towns: Bronson, Sturgis, and White Pigeon. We eventually left US-12 onto Old 205 (M-205) and a couple of miles later entered Indiana where the road became SR-19 (IN-19). A few more miles and then left (east) on CR-4 and a mile later we pulled into Elkhart campground at 4:10 PM.
Linda checked us in and then we drove to site 738, leveled the coach, and shut down the engine. We went through as much of normal arrival routine as we could, setting up the cat tree, two folding lawn chairs, and our plastic folding side table. Linda got our WiFi Ranger connected to the RV Park WiFi and got online with her iPad while I used mine to write.
We snacked on pretzels while we were traveling and by 5:30 PM we were ready for dinner. Linda made a simple salad and then cooked a couple of vegan “burgers” and served them with the remainder of the potato salad she made the other day. We went for a walk around the campground after dinner and thought we spotted Nick and Terry Russell’s Winnebago Ultimate Advantage motorhome but did not see any sign of them. The rig had Florida plates but there was a new Honda SUV parked in front. The last time we saw them they had a Ford Explorer but I have not been keeping up with Nick’s blog so they could have gotten a new car without us knowing about it.
When we finished our walk we unhooked the car. I forgot to pack my toothbrush so we drove back to the intersection of CR-4 and SR-19 where there is a CVS, a Walgreen’s, and a Martin’s supermarket. The CVS was the most convenient, and we have a discount card there, so we bought my toothbrush and picked up some pistachios and almonds on sale. Back at the coach we had small glasses of Moscato and some red grapes. It’s been a very physical week for us and by 8:30 PM Linda was ready to lie down and watch a little TV.
The TV stations here serve the area surrounding South Bend and Elkhart including the area of Michigan along the Indiana border. It took me a while to figure out where to point the antennas but I eventually remembered that there a quite a few very tall towers on the south side of US-20 about half way between Elkhart and South Bend. That was roughly southwest of our location and we were parked facing southwest so it was a simple matter to point the antennas straight forward. Bingo! (I should have remembered that the AntennaPoint.com website will give you the bearing and distance to all of the broadcast TV towers with a certain radius of a specified location, but I didn’t at the time.)
The local PBS station was in the middle of a fund raiser (they probably all were nationwide). That usually means vintage (nostalgic) musical performances and tonight was no exception with a reunion concert by the BeeGees (Brothers Gibb). Although best known (to my generation) as the “sound of disco,” personified in the movie Saturday Night Fever, the BeeGees performed actively for many years and have a very deep catalog of surprisingly familiar songs. This concert was filmed in Las Vegas in 1997 and several of the brothers have since passed away.
Good music is good music but popular music tends to take on significance for individuals based on where they were and what they were doing at the time it became popular. The BeeGees, like Ernest Hemingway, we’re so popular that it became popular to put down the music of the disco era. Thankfully that time has passed (in both cases) and we can remember fondly “the age of disco” and enjoy the art and artists for what they are, enjoyable and talented.
The BeeGees concert was followed by Motown 25. I was 12 in 1964 and although I studied and played classical music I was definitely listening to popular music on the radio and that included the new Motown sound. I was enjoying this concert as well but it was late and even I get tired and sleepy so I turned it off and went to bed.