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Old 10-01-2007, 03:24 PM   #1
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Driving Miss Daisy – The First Journey

We are finally on the road. I’ve had poor if any Internet connections so far, but yesterday we arrived in Jackson Center, which has free wi-fi in the lobby, so allow me to catch-up on my postings.
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Old 10-01-2007, 03:26 PM   #2
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Day 1 – Home to Richmond Hill, GA

We pulled out around 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, September 27. Our first leg was only a couple of hundred miles to our daughter’s house in Richmond Hill, GA. Not much to see on this leg. Picture one is us stopped at a rest area south of Jacksonville, FL. Picture two is the new suspension bridge on FL 9A which is an eastern bypass of Jacksonville. If you’re traveling I-95 through Jacksonville, 9A is the preferred route to keep you out of the traffic. Hoke didn’t have any trouble pulling Daisy up the bridge. We’ll see how it goes in our mountain crossings this weekend. Saw two Airstreams on the road with us: what looked like a 23 footer like Daisy heading south on I-95, and a larger one at the dump station in a Georgia rest area on the southbound side. We went by too quickly to get any pictures, but no WBCCI numbers on either.
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Old 10-01-2007, 03:32 PM   #3
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How We Packed

The load up and final preparations took more time than I thought. Lot’s to be done to leave a house for 30 days, and lots to remember to pack. Thanks to everyone here on the forums for providing checklists, tool lists, If only I had brought lists, and ideas on how to pack your set-up items on the other threads here on the forum.

After getting some comments on another thread I started, I now have all my fresh water items packed in a bin in the truck bed. The bumper storage compartment only contains grey/black water items. The rear compartment contains Links leveling blocks, the black and gray tank chemicals, and bins for our electrical equipment, chocks, and other miscellaneous set-up items. The truck bed is packed in layers, with the just in case items to the front, and the more frequent use items to the tailgate. The bikes go on top and we’re ready to hitch up.
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Randy and Pat Godfrey
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Old 10-01-2007, 03:36 PM   #4
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Day 2 – Richmond Hill, GA to Hickory, NC

Today we drove from Richmond Hill, GA to near Hickory, NC. We drove I-95 from Richmond Hill to just inside South Carolina where we got off on US-321. We stayed on 321 all day. This turned out to be a pretty good drive. The first 10 - 20 miles from I-95 the road was a little bumpy and a lot of logging trucks. After that, it was a nice ride through cotton fields being harvested, and many little towns, some of them quite nice: Estill, Denmark, York. We pulled off the road and parked under a tree for lunch in Denmark, SC. When you travel the back roads with your Airstream, you always have your rest area and lunch counter with you.

As we approached Columbia, SC, we left the costal plains and the terrain lost its flatness. We switched off Hoke’s overdrive to prevent downshifting on the hills, and switched off cruise control so we could have better control of when the transmission shifts. This allowed us to emulate the truckers: pick up speed on the down hills and burn it off on the up hills. Our average mileage dropped from 12 mpg to 11.5 mpg.

We camped at Lake Hickory RV Resort, near Hickory, NC. This is mostly a lakeside parking lot for SOB travel trailers that haven’t moved in years. Full hook-ups and a pretty nice lake view for $25.00, so not a bad deal for a night.

Tomorrow, we cross the Appalachian Mountains. The Mountain Guide says we have two good grades to pull, and Google Earth showed our route to be a little twisty.
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Old 10-01-2007, 03:39 PM   #5
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Day 3 – Hickory, NC to Pestonberg, KY

The drive through the mountains was uneventful, but longer and slower than we thought. The first climb was on US-321 going north into Blowing Rock, NC. The road is under construction and very rough in parts, which made for slow going, but Hoke performed well and had no trouble with the grades. Blowing Rock is a town worth a repeat trip; very pretty at 4,000 ft elevation, with lots of shops to visit. Pat was disappointed we couldn’t stay longer, but we have our only appointment of this trip coming up (Jackson Center) in two days, so we had to keep rolling.

After Blowing Rock, 312 winds along rivers and manmade lakes. It was scenic but slow when you have to keep dropping speed to take the curves ahead. We did another roadside stop along 312 next to a lake for lunch. At Elizabethton, TN we got on to US-19 and followed it north to Richlands, VA where we turned west on US-460. There was one more long climb on 19, but not as steep as the climb on 312. US-460 turned out to be a good smooth road, but very twisty so we couldn’t go too fast, but that’s he point of this trip. We’re retired now and we’re self-contained, so we don’t have to be in a hurry.

US-460 travels through some of the coal mining towns in western VA, and eastern KY. Somewhat depressing, but different than what we normally see. Which is another point: If you don’t want to see what’s out there stay home. At Pikeville, KY we joined up with US-23, which will take us north to Ohio, but not today. Near Prestonberg, KY we pulled into Jenny Wiley State Resort Park. There is one other Airstream here tonight; a 19’ Bambi with no numbers, but we haven’t seen the owners yet. When we registered, they said there was a group of 25 Airstreams coming here on Sunday. Sounds like it might be a caravan coming through, but we will need to be out of here before they arrive.

Jenny Wiley State Resort Park is very clean with mostly level paved parking pads. Thirty amp electric at each site, and water between every two sites (requires at least a 50’ hose), for $18.00 a night.
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Old 10-01-2007, 03:45 PM   #6
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Day 4 – Prestonberg, KY to Jackson Center, OH

We got back on US-23 and continued our travels north. From Pikeville, KY to Columbus, OH 23 is a very good road, four lanes all the way. We saw about a dozen Airstreams on this leg of the trip, all heading south. Maybe they were part of the group heading for Jenny Wiley State Park.

US-23 eventually comes along side and follows the Ohio River. Lots of coal industries line the river. We crossed the river at Portsmouth, OH and stopped at the fountain on the campus of Shawnee State University for lunch. This was one of the prettiest lunch stops we have made. Since it was Sunday, we seemed to have the campus to ourselves.

Between Portsmouth and Columbus, I finally convinced Pat she needed to take the wheel. It was her first towing experience and she did just fine. We changed drivers before Columbus, and pulled Daisy right through downtown and out on US-33. Again, it was Sunday and there was little traffic in town, so we got to see Columbus. We were impressed with how clean and cared for everything seemed. There are probably parts of the city that aren’t as nice, but they weren’t on our route.

We noticed something interesting today. With the overdrive off at 55 mph we are getting better gas mileage than we do when we are cruising on the flat lands at 63 mph with overdrive on. The average mileage started going up when we got out of the mountains, and when I reset the computer it was reading 14 mpg.

The Terraport at JC is packed. We were lucky to find a place to park. Only about four sites left. A WBCCI rally in Ohio just ended and it seems like everyone came here to take the factory tour. We eventually found a good site that gave us a nice view of the sunset through the front windows.
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Randy and Pat Godfrey
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2014 27FB Flying Cloud - SilverCabin II
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Old 10-01-2007, 03:50 PM   #7
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Day 5 - Jackson Center Part 1

Okay, now I'm caught up, but they are closing the lobby here at the Airsream Service Center in 10 minutes. I can't get connected to their wi-fi in the Terraport, even thought they say it's working, so I'll post again tomorrow morning with the days activities and a report on the first day of maintenance.

Randy
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Old 10-01-2007, 04:05 PM   #8
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What a great trip, and thanks so much for the travelogue! Your pictures are great! I am living vicariously through you - it's a long while until we retire nd are able to make such a fun trip.

I hope the rest of your trip goes just as well and you enjoy the heck out of yourselves!

Susan
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Old 10-01-2007, 06:10 PM   #9
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Very nice trip. That truck seems to have something attached to it though
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Old 10-01-2007, 06:11 PM   #10
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Hi there !!

Great to have you out on the road...

Couple of tidbits I will toss in that I learned in my last month on the road. I find that after day after day after day of getting ready to pull out in the morning that I can be forgetful - so a "last minute" checklist on a little yellow sticky on the dash next to the gear shift lever helps. I even read it out loud to myself before putting the truck into Drive...

- Main Jack
- 4 Stabalizer Jacks
- Doors locked
- Fans shut
- Elec/Water Hose
- Refer Vent
- TV Antenna
- Stairs Up

Then, I always leave my drivers side window down until I am out on the highway or wherever. This already saved me once because I had forgotten to lift the main jack up and as I just started to pull out I heard a scrape/boink that was not normal so stopped and there was the main jack still down. Didn't seem to have hurt anything, but then again I always have the main jack on a piece of 2x6 cause somebody once told me that was a good thing to do (in case you ever pull out leaving it down it will slide off and have a little ground clearance).

Anyway, I think it works good to leave the window down for a while and keep the radio off until you get out on the main roads.

Best Regards, Dave
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Old 10-02-2007, 01:24 AM   #11
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Congratulations, Randy, on your retirement!

And the 35-day trip to celebrate the occasion.

Thank you for sharing this event with photos and commentary.

A number of us eagerly await your detailed report re:Airstream’s response to issues that we’ve discussed here that also concern you.
Items such as…

The skin corrosion issue (BTW, I’m seeing some of this on my aluminum wheels by the hub).

Equalizer hitch setup, possible warranty issues, etc.

Frame rails open-ended in front… Why doesn’t the factory close them?
What do they suggest we do to prevent water, salt, and mice from entering?

And any other issue that you can remember that we discussed that still seems unresolved.

Thanks and will follow your thread with great interest.

SilverGate
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Old 10-02-2007, 07:05 AM   #12
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Day 5 – Jackson Center Part 2

I went back to the Terraport and talked to a few people, who reported they were not having any difficulty getting connected to the Internet there. I powered up my laptop again and discovered that when I was about 20 feet away from the trailer I could get a strong signal. So, our spot appears to be a dead zone. It’s raining again tonight, so this post will wait until morning.

This was our first of two service days here. The check-in process starts at 7:00 a.m. Appointments are pretty much a necessity. An Airstream Service Writer sat with us and recorded all our warranty issues and maintenance needs. We then had to return to our trailer and get it ready to move. About 30 minutes later, the tractor picked up the trailer and towed it into the shop. The Airstream Technician responsible for our maintenance then meets us in the lobby. We walk back to the trailer and go over all the items.

I’m happy to report that they have addressed all of our warranty issues, and maintenance items. They even found a problem we didn’t know we had. They found a leak at the bottom of our curbside front window. We had noticed a water stain on the curtain, but never noticed any dampness. They sealed the window and replaced the curtain. At the end of the day, they were still working on the beltline corrosion issue, but that should be completed tomorrow. They are removing the corrosion, sealing the edge, and installing the Classic trim. It should look nice, and I’ll post pictures of the finished work. Tomorrow, however, we will have to be ready to roll at 7:00 a.m. as that is when the tractor will be making the rounds to move the trailers into the shop.

Today was our first lousy weather day, cool, rainy, and windy, so while the work was in progress, we did our chores: laundry, grocery shopping, and car care. After lunch, we decided to climb Ohio’s highest peak. There is a picture of us on the summit. We worked hard to bag that peak: drove 22 miles from Jackson Center, and walked about 50 feet from the truck.

On our way back into town, we snapped a few pictures in Jackson Center. A few minutes after we got back (3:30 p.m.), the tractor brought Daisy back to her parking place. I wish I could maneuver trailers like that guy.

This is the first day we have been set-up before 5:00 p.m. - time for a dry martini.
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Old 10-02-2007, 07:17 AM   #13
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Thanks Susan and Michelle. We hope to have a good time on this 35 day trip. So far all systems are operating flawlessly, even if there is something attached to the truck
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Region 3 2nd VP, Newsletter Editor, Florida Unit
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Old 10-02-2007, 07:23 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wagnerda
Great to have you out on the road...

Couple of tidbits I will toss in that I learned in my last month on the road. I find that after day after day after day of getting ready to pull out in the morning that I can be forgetful - so a "last minute" checklist on a little yellow sticky on the dash next to the gear shift lever helps. I even read it out loud to myself before putting the truck into Drive...

- Main Jack
- 4 Stabalizer Jacks
- Doors locked
- Fans shut
- Elec/Water Hose
- Refer Vent
- TV Antenna
- Stairs Up

Then, I always leave my drivers side window down until I am out on the highway or wherever. This already saved me once because I had forgotten to lift the main jack up and as I just started to pull out I heard a scrape/boink that was not normal so stopped and there was the main jack still down. Didn't seem to have hurt anything, but then again I always have the main jack on a piece of 2x6 cause somebody once told me that was a good thing to do (in case you ever pull out leaving it down it will slide off and have a little ground clearance).

Anyway, I think it works good to leave the window down for a while and keep the radio off until you get out on the main roads.

Best Regards, Dave
Hi Dave,

I have a checklist started, but not finished yet. It's a good idea. We have already started to pull out with the antenna up and steps down on two different occasions. Leaving the window down at the start is also a good idea. We had it down one morning and heard the chains drag at a dip in the road as we pulled out. I got out and checked everything, so it was a good alert.

Randy
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