1st RV and 1st RV Trip (2700 miles)

Discussion in 'General RVing' started by cougarkid, Aug 1, 2007.

  1. cougarkid

    cougarkid Senior Member

    LONG post - hope you enjoy the story!

    The Trip:
    Leave 7/12/2007 and return around 7/20/2007
    Columbia, Missouri to Buffalo, NY (camp in Canada) for Youth Bowling Tournament
    Buffalo, NY to New York City, NY to visit Ground Zero and the Statue of Liberty
    New York City, NY to Jackson, NJ to Six Flags Great Adventure
    Jackson, NJ to Columbia, Missouri (back home)

    The Vehicle:
    1989 Georgie Boy Cruise Master 32’ Class A Motor Home
    454 Chevy 4-barrel/auto with 76,000 miles (purchased used)

    The Travelers:
    Mike and Carla – husband and wife
    John and Ryan – 19 and 18 year old sons

    July 12, 2007:
    I got home from work at 6:00 pm. Plates for the RV are finally here, so I put them on. Kris, a friend from work, gave me his Garmin Nuvi 660 GPS to use for the trip (this thing is a life-saver in big cities – easy to find anything and get un-lost). We finished packing up the RV and hit the road about 9:00 pm. First run on the timing/carb adjust. Seems to be running good. We were doing between 60-65 mph running down I-70 towards St Louis (turns out I was doing 65-70). Fired up the generator, turned on the rear A/C and the boys plugged in the X-Box to play games. Took I-70 through St Louis and used the express lane. Ended up missing our exit to cross the river into Illinois. Took a later exit and the GPS walked us through a turn around and put us back on course. Drove on, stopped to fill up with gas and figured out we got 6.6 mpg. Carla took over driving slowed down to 60 mph and we didn’t run the generator. The next time we stopped for gas we figured out we got 8.7 mpg. Guess we will drive at 60 mph without the generator for the rest of the trip. I napped in the passenger seat as she drove on through the night until the sun started to come up. I took over driving again and pushed on.

    July 13, 2007:
    A long day going through Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York – night to day, sun, rain, sun, rain and construction scattered in along the way (20 mile stretches with narrow lanes and concrete barriers on both sides – single lane bridges – 2-way traffic). Discovered that the speedometer is off by 5 mph using the GPS and several speed detection signs. RV handles pretty good. Get blown around by the semis blowing by. Some of the really big bumps in the road (construction and just bad roads) really make it thump down hard and will throw you around if you are in the back end of the RV. Drove all day long covering a lot of territory. Decided to stop late in the evening a sleep a while before heading into Buffalo. We want to pick up the rental car in mid-afternoon, so we can return it in mid-afternoon. Found a rest area to park in and crashed out for a while.

    July 14, 2007:
    Slept in a bit and then hit the road for Buffalo. Managed to get into Buffalo mid-afternoon as planned. Drove down town to get the rental car. Missed a turn and ended up driving around on side streets (using the GPS) to get back on track. Got to the rental agency about 5:00 and picked up a Chevy Impala. Headed for Canada to park the RV. Crossed over on the Peace Bridge in HEAVY traffic. Had to force our way in line, since the other drivers kept blocking the intersection after their light turned red. Only needed driver’s licenses to cross the border. Drove to Fort Erie and the Knights RV Park. Set up the RV. I grabbed the hot water faucet in the bathroom and it fell apart in my hand. Headed to the American side of Niagara Falls and walked around. Took the Maid in the Mist boat ride, which was really cool. Took lots of pictures. Headed back to the Canadian side over the Freedom Bridge. They wanted driver’s licenses and birth certificates. Stopped at the duty free store on the way in. Ryan bought 2 Cuban cigars. We stopped and ate at Kelsey's Restaurant. Tried to stop at Wal-Mart for supplies, but realized that the Canadian side shuts down at 9:00 pm. Went back to the RV. Ryan smoked some of one of the cigars - "wow, that is STRONG tobacco" was his comment. Everyone showered and we settled in for the night.

    July 15, 2007:
    Up in the morning and off to the alley for the boys to bowl. Drove to the alley and went in to get them checked in. All the team members showed up and the games began. Sport shot was rough on the kids, but they battled through. Went to a country buffet for lunch as a group. Directions were a bit sketchy, but we found it. Went to Georgia's (mom of three of the youth bowlers) motel to use the internet and pay some bills. Decided to take Shaunte' (Georgia’s daughter) back to Canada with us to go to the falls. Drove up to the border station and handed the crossing guard all 5 drivers licenses, he looked at them, looked at Shaunte' and said "you are the only one with a different last name. Is everything okay?" She told him yes and we were on our way. Headed back to Fort Erie, stopped at Wal-Mart and picked up a water pressure regulator for the RV and bought a rear camera setup to put on the RV. Went to the Canadian Falls and found a spot to park. Walked down a steep hill to the falls and walked along taking pictures. Stopped in at one of the shops. Went back out and got set for the night lights on the falls. Great looking with the falls all lit up. Took pictures and decided to walk down to the "strip" and go to Planet Hollywood. Watched the fire works going off over the falls before we went in. Went into Planet Hollywood and ate dinner. All 3 kids got served drinks. Walked back up along the strip and back to the car. Drove back to the campground and settled in for the night.

    July 16, 2007:
    Up in the morning for the last day in Canada. Carla, the boys and Shaunte' and headed off to bowling and I stayed to close things up, unhook the RV and check out. They crossed over with no trouble. Dumped the tanks, closed things up and headed for the border. Went through with no problems and headed for the alley. Met up with Carla, watched the kids bowl and we were ready to head off to New Jersey to go to New York and Six Flags. Got boxed in at the parking lot, but backed it out with help from Carla and Ryan. Took the rental car back and dropped it off. Made our way back to the interstate and headed eastward on the turnpike. Went part way across the state and then got off the turnpike to head southeasterly and go down through New Jersey. Skirted along the edges of the Pocono’s on a 2-lane road. It had truck lanes at the steep grades. Climbed some pretty good grades. First time on the trip I had to drop into 2nd gear to climb a hill. Had some issues with it wanting to cut out - fuel delivery problems again. Stopped at an overlook point and took some pictures. Drove on and got back on the interstate. Drove until about 12:30 and pulled into a rest area for sleep. Backed into a spot and turned on the generator to cool the RV down. Shut it down after about 30 minutes down and went to sleep.

    July 17, 2007:
    Up about 8:00. Cleaned up, took a picture of New Jersey outline in rocks at the rest area and hit the road for the New Jersey side of the river to catch the ferry to NY City. About 65 miles to the ferry from where we are. Drove through some pretty heavy traffic, running 65-70 mph at times, but made it down the ferry area without incident. Made a wrong turn and ended up going around in a circle through residential streets. Close quarters, but made it through. Got back on course and made it to the ferry parking lot. Pulled up to the lot to pull in and an attendant told us to back out and go to the office. Pulled out and went to the office. They decided to charge us $50 to park the RV for the day. What could we do? Paid the $50, bought tickets for the ferry and off we went. 10 minute boat ride to NY City, on to one of the free ferry busses and off to the financial district.
    Got off in the financial district and walked down to Ground Zero. We spent about an hour walking around the site and taking pictures. Hard to believe that the towers were there – nothing left but a BIG hole. We ended up in the World Financial Center No. 2. Walked south to Battery Park, bought tickets for Liberty and Ellis Islands and got in line. The line went pretty quick and we road out to Liberty Island. Landed and went to the Liberty Diner for Lunch. After lunch, we walked around the Statue of Liberty and took pictures. Couldn’t go up in it – they had run out of passes before we got to the ferry. Stopped at the gift store before leaving and got on the ferry to Ellis Island. Was late afternoon, so we stayed on the ferry at Ellis Island and road on back to Battery Park.
    Got off the ferry and stopped to watch a street group doing acrobatics. They pulled Ryan and 4 other kids in to help with a stunt and one guy cart wheeled over them. We gave them $10 for their collection. Walked up towards where we thought the buss stop was. Spent an hour or two trying to find a bus, but no luck. (Guess we should have grought the GPS along). Saw the Bull in the middle of the financial district. Caught two girls at a bank and asked for help. They said go over one block and take the subway uptown to 34th Street ("It will be an Adventure" was the quote. We went down, got tickets and got on the uptown subway towards 34th Street. John, Ryan and I were standing and Carla was sitting. She started talking the guy next to her about our dilemma and a lady across from her, would has lived there all her life, offered to walk us to the bus stop we needed. We went to 42nd Street and went up, three levels, through what looked like three different shopping malls, to get to ground level.
    Once on the street, we walked about two blocks to a bus stop. We thanked her and as she left she said, "by the way, you are at Times Square." At Ryan's insistence, we walked up and over a couple of blocks to Times Square. It was now dark and all the jumbo-trons were going. Walked around a bit, took pictures and headed back to the bus stop. Stopped at a pizza shop and had "New York Style Pizza." Went back to the bus stop, caught the bus (on the other side of the street) and road it back to the ferry. Road the ferry back to the Jersey side, got the RV and headed out for Jackson (Six Flags).
    Had to merge onto the turnpike (50 mph) from a stop sign ramp. Saw a gap, rolled out and floored it. 4-barrel kicked in and it took off surprisingly quick and we were on our way flowing with traffic. Drove to Jackson, found Six Flags, but couldn't find a place to stay. Went both ways up the interstate to the next exits with no luck. Tried to find the Tourist Info place but it was hidden in a strip mall with a small parking lot. It was getting late, so we decided to pull into the Premium Outlet Mall for the night. Shut everything down, opened up some windows and settled in for the night.

    July 18, 2007:
    Woke up at 4:00 am by load thunder, crack of lightning and rain on the roof. Checked the windows for rain coming in and went back to sleep in until about 8:00 am. Rain had stopped, but it was still overcast. Got up, cleaned up and headed for Six Flags. 10 minutes later we are there. Showed John's pass with parking on it and drove right in. Parked on the far side, next to some busses and headed for the front gate. Went in and started riding. Superman Flight, Parachute Drop, Kingdaca, Batman and Robin. It started to rain and thunder, so they shut the rides down. We stopped in a place and ate subs for lunch. Rain wasn't letting up, cloud cover went on forever, so we decided to leave. Walked back to the RV in the rain. Barbara (Carla’s mom) called and said that Precious and Bob (our dogs) had run off the night before and that Bob came back, but Precious didn't. We changed into dry clothes and headed out. Got on the interstate headed west and set our sites for Indianapolis, IN. We stopped at a Wal-Mart along the way for some supplies. The boys got on the Garmin and started finding AutoZone parts stores near us on our route. Stopped at a decent sized town looking for a fuel filter for the RV. Went to 3 places and called 4 more with no luck. Got back on the road for a while and stopped at Flying J for gas, dump and find a campground. Carla asked inside about the campground and they told her it closed 2 years ago Now everyone just camps at Flying J on their way through. Sure enough, next to the RV pumps were 10 parking spaces, 40' long, set up for RVs. They were full, including a half-million dollar RV and their $30,000 truck/tow vehicle. It was getting late, so we filled the water tank and backed over into a spot away from everyone. Leveled up the best we could, fired up the generator and everyone took a shower. Settled in for the night and everyone crashed.

    July 19, 2007:
    Woke up about 8:00 am. Pulled out of the spot, re-filled the gas tank (6 gallons to run the generator for 8 hours) and dumped the grey and black tanks. Headed west on the interstate again. Barbara called around noon, while we were gassing up, and told Carla that she thought she had found Precious on the side of I-70 near the house. Carla told us all and our hearts dropped. We moved on and kept heading west. Ryan took over driving for a while. I took back over and drove most of the day until we got to Huber Heights, Ohio. Stopped at TGI Fridays for dinner and then went across the parking lot to the theater and watched Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. After the movie we went across the street to the gas station and filled up ($2.52/gal). Backed around to the Goodyear store next door, got out the tools and the creeper and pulled the in-line fuel filter off. Blew some junk out of it, put it back on and we were on our way. Running better, but still not up to par. Drove to just outside Indy and decided to stop for the night. Parked in a Gas Station/Burger King lot for the night. About 3:30 am a semi with a refrigerated trailer parked next to us and fired up the refer generator. I ended up pulling over to the side of the lot to get away from the noise.

    July 20, 2007:
    Up about 8:00 a.m. Went to the gas station and got cappuccino. Got set and we were on our way to Indianapolis. Stopped at Camping World just south of Indy and got some things for the RV. Ordered the latch for the fridge. Took off for Rick and Kathy Hightower’s house. Got there in about 15 minutes and Kathy was just pulling up. We parked down the street and walked up to the house. Surprised her and went in for a while. Visited for a while and then headed over to Grandma’s house in old Indy. Narrow streets and sharp corners. Got to the corner of her street and back it into a spot to park. Went down and surprised her. Stayed for a little while and hit the road for home. Got just outside of Indy stopped at White Castle Indy and got 2 boxes of Sliders. Stopped at a gas station and there was an O'Reilly's across the street. Carla gassed and I went over and got an in-line filter and a carb filter. Took off and stopped about 2 miles later at a rest stop and changed the in-line filter. John took over the driving. He drove through St Louis and to the rest area at Wright City (80 miles from home). Carla took over from there and brought us home. Parked in the driveway at 10:30 pm. 2479 mile trip according to the odometer. That’s 2704 miles with the odometer correction figured.
    We decided to leave everything in the RV and just go in and crash for the night.

    All-in-all, it was a great trip. No major problems, no break-downs.

    We are already trying to decide where to go next – guess we are hooked!
  2. rjann

    rjann New Member

    Re: 1st RV and 1st RV Trip (2700 miles)

    You are soooooo lucky. We have owned about 15 different rv's, including one truck camper that was new, and we have never had a first trip without finding several things wrong.
  3. Shorty

    Shorty Senior Member

    Re: 1st RV and 1st RV Trip (2700 miles)

    Wonderful story. Brings back memories of our 1st (of many) trips, it was 94 in a 94 Georgia Boy Swinger, Florida to Minnesota and back. Back then there were 3 of us, now 4 and 2 dogs. and we still have the same RV. 112,000 miles on it and it's ready to go at any time.
    You're gonna have a blast!!!

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