March 8, 2017
The first trip of the year started with a few glitches, mostly because I didn’t winterize adequately. There was first a crack in the plastic toilet valve, which quickly leaked all over the floor. Trying to fix it, I removed the toilet and all the fittings before finding the crack. My great neighbor, Danis, after a hard day at work, got down on the floor under the toilet with his flashlight and found it. This is not a part you could find locally, so Martha looked up Airstream dealers along our route.
Trying to remove the TireTracker sensors to check air pressure, I broke a valve stem. I couldn’t believe how easily it broke! I had to take the tire off, put it in Martha’s car and took it to Settle Tire for a valve stem. $110! Are you kidding me? They have pressure sensors in them that relay to your car’s computer. The service man said 80% or automobile accidents are due to improperly inflated tires. (I thought it was texting.) TireTracker tells you to put anti-seize on the connection so they won’t corrode and get stuck. The service man said be careful when you take it to the car wash where the tire scrubbers frequently break these valve stems. Obviously it is a very weak metal.
Finally, we set off to North Carolina, stopping in Greensboro at a very nice Airstream place, Out of Doors Mart. Might get awnings put on when we come back through. They very efficiently replaced the toilet valve. We also got some brackets to replace the broken plastic ones that hold a base speaker on the floor, got a shower door seal and he repositioned the refrigerator sensor.
Arriving at Morrow Mountain State Park, we were ready for a drink. This was just a nice stoping place for us, but it looks like a very nice park and a nice campground, one of the few places where the campground host came to greet us. Now we discovered another glitch since we didn’t have water hookups. The water pump was working, but there was obviously a hole in the line somewhere as we were getting more air than water. Finally I discovered a broken filter laying on the floor in front of the pump – likely having been filled with water and frozen in the winter. Strike two for my winterizing technique. I hate putting that antifreeze through all the lines, preferring to blow the lines out with air, but obviously I found two places that don’t blow out.
Now on to Charlotte and the next Airstream dealer, Tom Johnson Camping Center for our broken filter. They didn’t have one, but directed us to the competition down the road, even calling ahead to make sure they had it. Once I screwed it on, the pump worked fine:} That night we discovered another problem. The refrigerator wasn’t working when on gas. I examined everything, but could not find a problem. The igniter wasn’t igniting and there wasn’t any gas flow to the igniter. I started to take it apart, but the nice thing about being on the road most traveled is there will be another dealer down the road.
Meanwhile we enjoyed four days at Amicalola Falls State Park, home of the tallest cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi. We hiked up to Hike Inn, a five-mile hike to a nice inn on top of a mountain where you can stay the night, or more. They serve breakfast and dinner. We didn’t stay, but ate our lunch in Adirondack chairs overlooking the mountains and then hiked back down. Martha got a taste of what it is like to hike the Appalachian Trail, only we didn’t have 35 pound packs on. This is a great concept. My favorite is still the Hike to the Tea House at Lake Louise, but this was cool too.
The lodge and campground were totally booked up, which was a surprise for early March. It turns out this is the beginning of the Appalachian Trail season, so there were all sorts of events and lectures on the topic. We listened to a couple of lectures in the morning, including one gentleman who had hiked the whole trail in 1977 with his wife and 10-year old daughter!
We drove close to the beginning of the Appalachian Trail at Springer Mountain and walked the mile to the start. There is an access trail from Amicalola Lodge that is 8 miles long with some difficulty. We had a nice talk with a young man, Lawrence, from England who had just hiked up from the lodge. He plans to walk the entire trail and blog it in connection with schools along the way. Another 8 people came up as we talked. All were nice, so they would enjoy the first night on the trail together.
Back on the road, we drove to the north of Atlanta to Southland RV to see about our refrigerator issue. Again, very nice people at Southland, right off I75. They were very busy, but took the time to check our problem. First checking the outside where the back of the refrigerator can be accessed through a door, he confirmed there was no gas or ignition. Then we went inside and turned the refrigerator off and then back on. Going back outside, he stuck his head in the door saying, “Now she’s lit”. Are you kidding me? All I had to do was turn it off and back on? Yep, just reboot. “Everything’s a computer now days”. No charge. The hardest thing was now to turn the trailer around in a very tight place, but they helped us and sent us on our way. Three Airstream places and all very nice. Surely now everything would be working fine.
It was late in the day when we arrived at Reed Bingham State Park for the night. It was just a stopping place for us, just the right distance off I75 to be peaceful. It is a very nice park with a 375 acre lake. We took the time to do laundry in the morning, put the new anchors on the base speaker and took a nice hike.