Well…the rally was pretty wonderful all week; albeit very, very exhausting. Saturday Bill and Neil got under the rig and pulled the calipers and pads off of the rear wheels while capping the brake lines so that the fluid wouldn’t leak out. Then we partied with the rally folks and Howard and Linda Sunday. The highlight activity for Sunday afternoon was a walking dessert tour around the town of Black Mountain about 30 miles away. We met our tour guide and went to 5 different restaurants and ate dessert…then came home to the rally park for a late afternoon ice cream social. Talk about a sugar buzz…we were seriously bouncing off the walls by the end of the campfire Sunday night.
Monday it was back to work on the brakes…we found a place called Redneck Trailer Supply over toward Bill’s house in Belmont NC that had parts available. So…we drove over there and picked up a caliper and a set of pads then came home for…you guessed it…more installation later in the week.
We crawled underneath on Wednesday morning and replaced the bad caliper and pad on the front left wheel and the pads on the front right wheel…we thought they were damaged but it turned out after removing them that they were just slightly misaligned with the rotor and were actually fine. Reconnected the brake lines and bled the system and we had 4 working brakes. That gives us 16K of brakes on the trailer and 14K on the truck which is just about enough for our overall weight of about 30K.
Neil and Bill went out and had some training on how to tow more effectively…Neil has not been using engine braking on the rig so Bill taught him the tricks of the trade to do that and save wear and tear on both the truck and trailer brakes. Afterward Neil rejiggered our route to Elkhart for fewer long mountain downgrades albeit it with another 100 miles…so we decided to change our plans and leave Sunday instead of Monday…which would still get us to Elkhart on schedule.
Wednesday was a fun day for Connie and Linda…they went over to the Biltmore mansion for a tour and lunch. Pictures are on the file server which Neil didn’t startup today as we have to hitch and get into the service bay tomorrow so I’ll post them later on for ya.
Thursday was a work day for Connie while Neil, Bill and Linda headed about 40 miles north for a white water rafting tour on the Watauga River just over the border into Tennessee. After a nice lunch we launched and floated downstream about 8 miles with up to Class C rapids in a couple of 6 person rafts. The water was really cold…we knew because each raft was equipped with Magnum Super Soaker water cannons with which we pelted the other boat throughout the afternoon. We made it to the take out point right in front of the storm…it poured rain on the bus ride back to where we parked the cars then poured again on the way home to Marion.
Friday was a nice hike with Bill and Linda up at Linville Falls about 20 miles north. As expected in the NC mountains…it rained off and on and the hike was pretty steeply uphill then back downhill to the visitor center. We got some great photos of the Linville Falls…but again they’re on the file server so I’ll have to post them later when it’s started up.
Saturday was scheduled to be the grand finale for the rally…so mostly we rested after a continental breakfast until the luau scheduled for the evening. After a great dinner of slow cooked pig we sat around the campfire until dark then hit the sack early.
Sunday we were up for the final rally activity…another catered breakfast at which we (again) ate too much…then Howard and Linda said their goodbyes to all of us and we to them…then there was a series of “Cyas down the road” as most of the 61 rally attendees headed for their next stop.
During the week we had 3 catered dinners, 3 breakfasts, ate dinner up at the Swiss Chalet restaurant on the Blue Ridge Parkway with Bill and Linda as well as our friends James and Cindy, had pizza at a local place with Bill and Linda, and grilled burgers with Bill and Linda the other two nights. We went to about half of the official campfires and spent the remaining evenings outside our rigs talking mostly with Bill, Linda, James, and Cindy.
We finished packing and hitching and hit the road about 1000 for our 220 mile trip to Camp Creek State Park in Camp Creek WV for the evening. We had one small navigational issue on the way into the campground causing us to have to drive another 12 miles or so on narrow curvy mountain roads…but they weren’t nearly as bad as Connie thought they were (says Neil anyway). On arrival we did minimal setup…power only, ate left over pizza and went to bed. Up early the next morning…we had a quick breakfast and were on the road by 0830 for a 350 mile day through Charleston WV and Dayton OH to our overnight stop in Wapakoneta. We were pretty tired so just had bacon and frozen Eggo waffles for dinner then watched TV until bedtime. Both of these stopping spots were pretty nice…Camp Creek a nice spot on Mash Creek and a nice little KOA campground in Wapakoneta.
Tuesday morning we hit the road about 0900 for the remaining 180 miles to Elkhart and pulled into the MORryde parking lot about 1330. We filled up with water and parked in the free spot they provide for customers. Neil did a few odd jobs around the house for the afternoon then we went over to a local Chinese restaurant for dinner. Our first choice would have been Iechyd Da Brewery but it was closed today…Connie picked this place that had several rave reviews named the Mandarin Kitchen. Unfortunately…this turned out to be a take out place so we walked in the door…and then walked out the door and headed to the other Chinese place in town…Jade Garden. Soup (egg drop for Connie and hot and sour for Neil), a Kirin for her and a Tsingtao for Neil, an order of steamed pot stickers (steamed dumplings) and an order of Crispy Orange Beef quickly were ordered, delivered, and just as quickly disappeared. Truly great food and the bill came to a total of 24.30 (30.00 with the tip)…can’t gripe about that price for dinner especially as we have leftovers for lunch one day.
Tomorrow we’ll get the rig into the service bay and get things sorted out…it appears that there is a common cause for our failures…I’ll elaborate more on that tomorrow after the service guys look at things to verify. Our current plans are to head out from here Friday morning for an overnight in Madison WI then onto Minneapolis MN for 6 days.
We do have a few photos for ya today though…after our arrival and setup at Camp Creek State Park we wandered over to the Mash Creek Falls and grabbed a couple of shots of them as well as a blue and black butterfly we spotted on the way back to the rig for our leftover pizza dinner.
Cool little butterfly or moth…I have no idea which it is and no idea how to tell which is which.
Mash Creek Falls.
I’ll get the file server up in a day or so…process the Biltmore and hiking pictures…and post those as well.
And a couple of funnies we ran across this week.