Saturday, June 25, 2005

Big update today, since I have not posted since Tuesday morning.

Which brings me to my first point: frequency of updates. I have to mention here that, actually, I have surprised myself with how frequently I have been posting updates here. Part of my motivation is that I want to write things down while they are still fresh in my mind, and all the positive feedback we have gotten on the blog has reinforced the behavior. Also, we are using the blog ourselves as a sort of tracking mechanism, where we can go back to the appropriate blog entry and click on the "map" link to remember where we were on any given date (you would be surprised how jumbled-up it all gets in one's mind after a month or so, especially when changing locale on a daily basis). That means keeping current with the map links, and those need to be either posted or otherwise saved in near-real-time or I have no way to retrieve them.

All that being said, I want to remind all our readers that my original goal for this blog was to post perhaps every week or so, or maybe just when we changed venue in some significant way. At the outset, neither of us thought we would feel motivated to chronicle our journey on anything close to a daily basis. I bring this up because we have gotten some feedback of the "where are you and why haven't you posted" kind lately. And, of course, while now is not really one of those times, I am anticipating some days when we just will not feel like being found, or informing the entire world of our travails. So it's best to get this out on the table now: we enjoy keeping everyone informed, and we are pleased so many people are following along, but please, folks, relax and just enjoy it as it comes -- if it starts to feel like a burden to post here on some kind of deadline, I'm certain that I will lose interest in doing it at all.

There. I said it, and I feel better already.

Moving on, and in keeping with my trend here thus far, let me pick up where I left off Tuesday morning. You may recall that we spent Monday night at Mineral Wells State Park, which was one of our nicest stops in recent memory. Tuesday brought us all the way to Fort Worth, and our first order of business was to check out the small commercial RV park we had booked for Wednesday, since our experience with urban locations leads us to be cautious. The park was small but well kept, and the neighborhood appeared to be fine. While there are few amenities, the sites have 50 amp service and several are large and unobstructed. We decided it would be fine for our purposes, but no need to check in a full day earlier than necessary.

We opted instead to check out the Arlington Elks lodge, since the directory said it had a pool. Unfortunately, the one location where the lodge had power was inaccessible to us, and we had to fall back to plan B. That brought us to Grapevine Lake and the Silver Lake Park (map). Louise posted a photo of our site there on Tuesday. The folks at the gate took one look at Odyssey and put us in the group pavilion site, since it was unoccupied. We could easily have fit in one of the regular sites, but I didn't argue because (a) the group pavilion was quiet and isolated on its own little peninsula and (b) it had not one but four 30-amp pedestals, thus I was able to use my "cheater" cord to double up the power so we could run two A/C's and still get hot water.

Grapevine lake is a Corps of Engineers project, and the CoE built this campground along with several others around the lake. At some point, this one was turned over to operation by the city of Grapevine, which is doing a great job with it.

We even swam in the lake, which was quite warm, though a bit muddy on the bottom. At some point, I noticed that the pilings for the marina across our little arm of the lake rose quite a bit higher than our camp site, which I thought was odd. Turns out, a good bit of the campground, power outlets and all, is inundated when the lake is full. Have a look at this Google aerial view. That thing that looks like a roof right in the center of the photo is our camp site, and specifically it is the roof of the pavilion ramada.

Wednesday morning we drove over to Buddy Gregg Motorhomes to see if we could get an appraisal on Odyssey for our insurance. Pretty much the entire sales staff came out to see it, but no one would commit to a reasonable appraisal on it. Harumph. Interesting to note, though, that even surrounded by dozens of brand new, million-dollar-plus bus conversions, Odyssey attracted attention from most of the staff and all of the customers on the lot. Our experience at Buddy Gregg is just another chapter in the ongoing insurance saga -- one of the serious shortcomings of owning a one-of-a-kind vehicle.

We finally checked in to the Fort Worth Midtown RV Park (map) Wednesday afternoon, and settled in for our conference.

We are attending the 2005 General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association, just a few blocks from here at the Fort Worth Convention Center. This is essentially the annual meeting of the church, with delegates from all the congregations nationwide. We have been to one General Assembly previously, when Louise was a delegate for our congregation in Palo Alto, California. Now that we live full time on the road, we no longer belong to a bricks-and-mortar congregation (and isn't that such an internet-era expression?) and instead belong to the Church of the Larger Fellowship (CLF), which is a kind of cyber-congregation (even though it pre-dates that concept). CLF really exists to serve those UU's who are isolated from a regular congregation, usually by distance, and most have fixed residences. It is a perfect fit for us, of course, though we are still a bit unusual even by CLF standards.

I mention all of this because Louise is once again a delegate to the assembly, and, as an official representative of CLF, is journaling her conference activities. This also means that she has to attend all the plenary sessions at oh-dark-early or whenever (she's at one now, even as I type), whereas I get to sleep in, and just go to the sessions that I find interesting. And the cocktail parties, of course. Her other blog is the one getting all of the update attention while we are here, and that will continue until the conference is over Monday night.

As it stands right now, we are planning on packing up and heading out sometime on Tuesday. We will have just about a week to make it to Rickreall, Oregon for Bus'n'USA, so we will be taking the more-or-less most direct route, which will take us into the Texas panhandle and through Amarillo.

I will end this post with another problem-du-jour Odyssey anecdote. The last thing we did at Mineral Wells was dump our tanks, in case we ended up spending a week in Fort Worth in some parking lot. I pulled up to the dump station and opened the large pantograph bay door enclosing the tanks, and the door came right off in my hand. Sort of. Actually, one side of the pantograph hinge was intact, and the other side disengaged, and the door fell off to the point where the wiring for the turn signal and marker light, which just happen to be mounted to the door, caught most of the weight on that side. Of course, I couldn't let go of the door or the wires would snap and the weight of the door would pretzel the other side of the pantograph. So I screamed. It took several screams before Louise understood I was in trouble and came out to help, and between the two of us we managed to get the door precariously balanced back in the pantograph. We found a way to temporarily secure the whole mess with a C-clamp.

It turns out that the nylon socket for the ball-and-socket joint on the end of the pantograph simply disintegrated from age. Likely the other three similar items are close to doing the same. Wednesday morning I called Infinity Coach to see if, perhaps, they still had the other two pantographs, which had been removed from what are now the drop-down ramp doors for the motorcycle bay. Thursday morning they called to say they had found the pantographs, all of which have similarly deteriorated nylon inserts, and they overnighted the ball-and-socket ends to us. Sometime before we leave here I will replace the broken end with one of the spares, and Infinity will replace the whole lot of them with new items when we are there next month.

1 comment:

  1. Pantograph? That one required the Webster's. Just part of what makes your blog so interesting to read. Your exasperation with your reader's "demands" for daily updates is understandable. But, it's like any good soap: the audience "needs" its daily fix. You're a victim of your own popularity! I hope you don't tire of it. -- Jon Calhoun


Share your comments on this post! We currently allow anyone to comment without registering. If you choose to use the "anonymous" option, please add your name or nickname to the bottom of your comment, within the main comment box. Getting feedback signed simply "anonymous" is kind of like having strangers shout things at us on the street: a bit disconcerting. Thanks!