Home Away from Home - Winter 2020 travel blog

new tires

sandhill cranes

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listen to them chat


Since we have been here the weather has been the kind you hope for when you travel to Florida. On the days that were cool enough to wear a light jacket, the sky was bright blue and the humidity low. Every so often the temperature and humidity would rise and it would feel good to go the pool. The animals here are enjoying the weather, too. Every so often a family of four sandhill cranes stroll by. We hear their loud, mechanical sounding call long before we see them. These huge birds are almost as tall as I am and stroll around here like they own the place, which I guess they do. At dusk the deer come out and mow the lawn around our site.

Many of our fellow campers are here for the nature. The volunteer-run Nature Center sponsors interesting speakers every few weeks in addition to leading hikes and visits to places offsite for communing with the critters. We heard a speaker talk about his drive up the Dempster Highway, the Canadian version of the road in Alaska that oil workers use to head up to Prudhoe Bay. After taking a tour on the Prudhoe road and seeing how well maintained it was, we wondered if we could drive the Dempster on our own the next time we are in the Yukon. We're glad we saw this presentation; there is no way we are taking that dirt road drive in the RV on our own.

Despite the good weather we haven't done much recreating, because we are still plugging away at the repair list. Yesterday we drove to the on site repair facility to have the dashboard A/C repaired. It's so convenient to get repairs done right here. We walked back to the little building on our site and had breakfast, watched TV and read email - the way we normally start the day wherever we are. Every so often Ken walked back to check on our repair. As always it took longer than I expect it to; diagnosis can take time. While they were working, we took the car to the Jeep dealer. We kept getting error messages from the GPS/radio/climate control system that it couldn't update itself. We could tell that it was slowly losing its mind. All the software we needed was on the dealer's pen drive and our car is smarter than we are once again.

Then we had the opportunity to verify that the A/C was working properly, when we traveled to Orlando to replace our tires. The first time we bought motor home tires, I couldn't believe how expensive they are. This time I was far better prepared. Our tires are massive. We do not carry a spare. There would be nowhere to put it and even the two of us could not lift one up. They are the same sort of tires that 18-wheelers use. They drive thousands of miles and wear them out, just as you do on a car. Since RV'ers do not usually drive five days a week, we have to keep an eye on how old our tires are. Even though the tread is still deep, rubber ages and eventually the tires dry rot. Sometimes RV manufacturers cheap out and put old tires on a rig, because you can't tell just by looking at them unless you can decipher the secret code indicating the date of manufacture stamped on the sidewall. Our A/C technician noticed the fine spidery lines on our tires and was glad to hear that we were replacing them soon. We belong to the Family Motor Coach Association, which arranges deals for its members for services and products we need. We were ready to purchase the tires through them when we heard that there is someone in our campground who works as a fleet manager for Michelin. He got us a price that saved us over $100/tire in Orlando. Ken spent the entire four hour installation time supervising the men who were doing the work. I wondered if they minded that he was hanging around, but he said they appreciated having someone interested in what they were doing. Each of our eight tires cost over $800 out the door. You do the math.

Our golf cart is still not repaired. It is old and the part that broke is no longer being made. They had to send away to Timbuktu for something that will do the job that will take 2 - 3 weeks to come. Next week we will go to Tampa for the RV Super Show and might get some of our remaining problems solved there such as the headlights and the house batteries that also need to be replaced. More ka-ching, ka-ching.

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