Grand Baby at Midlothian and RV-Dreams Reunion Rally

Man we’ve been busy. As of my last post we had transited to Midlothian and gotten settled in for our 6 day stay to visit the human kids, see grand baby Alex, drop off some stuff at the storage unit and drop off our Mazda 6 with the kids while we’re off to Alaska.

After our brake repairs last week things proceeded pretty normally and we got to Midlothian in short order.

We spent the week soaking in as much Alex time as we could…photos below… and working on our various other jobs. Stayed pretty busy at it too…dinner with the kids a couple of nights (Neil cooked once and we got a pizza the other time)…went out to a bar named The Hard Shell for Neil’s birthday and had raw oysters, crab dip, and Legends Brown Ale which was pretty outstanding.

We dropped off the Mazda and did laundry on Thursday before the birthday dinner, said our final CYAs to the kids, gave Alex too many hugs and then packed up the house in the afternoon for our 330 or so mile transit to Marion NC for the RV-Dreams Family Reunion Rally. RV-Dreams is run by our friends Howard and Linda Payne who went on the road as full timers at the ripe old age of 42 and have been it 10 years now. In 2006 they started doing educational rallies to essentially teach people how to become full time RVers…nothing like that was available when they were figuring it out and they wanted to pass along their lessons learned for other people to realize their dreams.

They do 2 or 3 educational rallies a year and in 2013 started an annual boondocking rally to teach folks that already have RVs how to boondock or park without hookups…learning to manage power, water, and waste water tank capacities to extend their ability to park at really beautiful but out of the way spots.

Naturally…there are a bunch of folks that have attended numerous of these educational rallies despite long experience in the RV life…they keep coming back because they like Howard and Linda who are good people as we say and because they’ve met friends at the rallies and want a chance to catch up.

This year…Howard and Linda decided to have a reunion rally…the only criteria for attending was that you had to have attended a previous educational or boon docking rally (Neil and Connie have been to 3 prior to this one…2 educational and the 2015 boon docking rally). This one is different in that it’s entirely social oriented…no seminars, no training, just Fun Stuff©, paddling, white water rafting, zip-lining, cookouts, potlucks, campfires, and various organized tours.

We arrived Friday afternoon about 1600 and parked next to our friends Bill and Linda Napier…with some planned work on our rigs. Things were going well until the folks that were checking rigs in came over and told us that we had some grinding noise coming from our wheels…and that a brake pad had fallen out on the road on the way into the rally park area here at Tom Johnson RV Park.

Neil and Bill hopped under the rig…and sure enough…more brake problems. Both of our rear trailer wheels have lost the inside brake pad and caliper as well as damaging the rotor…eerily similar to the failure we had fixed up in Fairfax 2 weeks back. One other wheel has a bad caliper and almost gone pads and one other one (for a total of 4 out of the remaining 5) has the initial signs of damage.

All appear to be the same…the calipers locked up somehow and wore away the inside brake pads. Our immediate solution was that Bill and Neil disconnected and capped the brake lines for the 3 known bad calipers and pulled the calipers off the wheel…this reduced us to 3 brakes out of 6…which while not ideal should allow us to limp up to Elkhart IN to get them fixed properly. We did modify our planned route to Elkhart to eliminate all the long downhill mountain grades and will leave Sunday after the rally instead of Monday and take 3 days to get there.

Tomorrow we’re going to order parts (or perhaps pick them up semi-locally if things work out correctly) and we’ll get up to 4 brakes working for the trip to Elkhart. Then it will be up the the MORryde folks to figure out why the inside pads are failing and fix things correctly. Bill and Neil ran down numerous ratholes this afternoon trying to figger out why but came to no definite solutions.

We’ll continue rally activities around the repairs…yesterday we went on a dessert tour around the city of Black Mountain NC about 20 miles away…ate way too much sugar over the course of 2.5 hours but it was a really good afternoon. Our reward was ice cream for dinner:-)

Connie and Linda are going over to the Biltmore House on Wednesday for a tour and lunch…Neil and Bill don’t are about it so they’re skipping. Thursday Bill, Linda, and Neil have a half day white water rafting trip scheduled and we’re going hiking on Friday if it doesn’t rain. The brake repairs will get fit in there somewhere depending on parts arrival, rain, and rally activities.

You may recall that Ozzie the Fort Myers eagle was injured back in April before we left and was at the Crow Rehabilitation Center. Neil checked today and Ozzie’s wing has healed sufficiently that he’s been moved to the large flight enclosure so that he can fly and 

Ok, on to the photos.

With mom Jen.

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Cutie Pie.

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Doesn’t quite know what to make of Neil’s Granddad beard.

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Wondering what’s goin’ on.

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He’s got a secret…it’s poop:-)

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Laughin’ at Grandma.

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I’ll go ahead and post this for now. We’ve had some interesting times at the rally and went on a white water rafting trip and hike…I’ll do another post tomorrow for those and get more Alex photos from Connie.


About Gunther

The full time RV travels and experiences of Gunther the Bear and Kara the Dog…along with their human staff neil and Connie.
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3 Responses to Grand Baby at Midlothian and RV-Dreams Reunion Rally

  1. seamus says:

    hey gang – the 3rd foto (G + Alex) is priceless, jus’ begs fer a punchline, so…

    (a) – DA WOLFMAN !!! DA WOLFMAN !!!

    (b) – Yeah, yer bigger’n me but i aint eatin’ dat green s*** and dats final…

    (c) – Hands off da blanky bub…

    sorry ta hear of yer brake troubles, hopin’ ya git ’em fixed ASAP – mite be good ta figger out why ‘cuz ya never know when it mite happen agin… could be heat, mebbe faulty engineering – anyway ya dont want it to be a recurring problem… any input from either New Horizons or other NH owners ? i’m wunderin’ if u have an auxiliary master cylinder on the trailer – dunno zackly how yer system is set up but if u do it mite be part of da problem (if its piston driven like da wheel cylinders)… one wheel, i’d buy normal wear and tear – 3, i gotta figger some type of system malfunction – ya dont need all of ’em goin’ out under heavy use in the mountains… could weight distribution in/on the trailer be a factor ? not worried here, i know u’ll deal with it – jus’ want yall safe, y’know ???

    no new tales ta tell here, life goes on… fightin a bulgin’ cervical disc fer a month now, seein my chiro and stayin’ on the ice-pack – not much else i can do, epidurals are dicey in the cervicals, surgery’s even dicier… guess i’ll live…

    keep us posted, yall be good…

    • Neil Laubenthal says:

      Yeah…we figure there’s gotta be some common factor since 4 of 6 wheels have failed on the inside pad only. Could be wear and tear I suppose…but one would think that normal would be pretty even wear on the inside and outside pads. Our friend Bill Napier who worked on it with me has 40 years of RVing and he’s stumped as well. There’s a completely separate master braking system on the trailer including the ABS controller…all it gets from the truck is a signal of how much trailer braking to apply…depending on how hard you push the brake pedal and what the sensitivity is set to…the rule of thumb is to set it so the trailer stops the trailer and the truck brakes are just stopping the truck. Weight distribution shouldn’t be a factor…although the trailer is pretty heavy the load between the wheels is relatively even.

      One thing I did learn this week from talking to Bill is that I should be downshifting the truck more in the Manual transmission mode while slowing down or stopping…the 450 has an engine brake and letting the engine compression pull some of the speed off reduces the load on the brakes. Dunno…I’ll put whatever I find out in the blog after next week. Just will end up throwing a lot of money at the problem I’m guessing.

      The third photo of Alex and I he was sort of trying to figure out the beard thing…it’s different than the beard that Bryan has and different from both his other grand dads. It was like he was wondering just who and what I was.


  2. Mj Trainor says:

    WTF whaddup with you’ns and brakes! I’d send a M*A*S*H unit but they aren’t mechanical. Shall we find a NASCAR shadetree mechanic to be your stowaway/troll???? ❤ BabySis (ps, Neil I love the pic but hope you didn't scare him!! 😉 )

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