So! On to the review of the past few days:
We left on Wednesday morning, after packing up and getting our stuff squared away the few days before. The main things we have to do when getting ready to go are:
- detach all wires/cables/hoses (this is stinky work)
- put away anything that could move or fall (especially the coffeepot!)
- attach the trailer to the RV or truck
- hit the road
Here's our rig on the way - Noel wanted to put the trailer behind the RV, for a smoother ride.
Now, some of you who are familiar in any way with camping/RVing may be familiar with the state maps that many people put on the side of their RVs. They're basically a blank map and when you go through a state, you can put a sticker on the map to track where you've been. We've seen people who had every single state in the US and each province in Canada. Impressive! So far we've been dorky and put our map on the back of the RV, even though we only had 1 state (and it was the state we were currently in!). So pathetic.
So we were finally able to put some new states on our map! We stopped at the rest stops on the state lines for the first 1 or 2, so that (even more dorkily!) we could put the state on the map right after we qualified to do so. Not that there are any state map police or anything - no one is going to pull us over to make sure we really did go through the areas that we say we did. We hope.
Our first day on the road, we planned to get past Mobile, AL before stopping for the night. We decided to go south to Jacksonville and then turn onto I-10 from there. I-10 basically goes straight to Houston with a little diversion to New orleans, which we opted not to take (no time, unfortunately!) As we got into the panhandle of Florida, Noel reported on his walkie talkie that the RV was vibrating badly. We pulled over and noticed that one of the tires (the front right) seemed to be flattened and was causing the RV to shake a lot. We decided that the tire needed to be replaced and we'd get as far toward Pensacola and stay there overnight. We called to reserve a campground there, and found a tire company (hooray for the Campers Directory!) that would come to the campground to replace that tire.
We kept driving, slower this time (to keep Noel's teeth from vibrating out of his head) and while driving down the road...
We blew a tire. A DIFFERENT tire. Noel pulled over immediately and we realized it was the interior rear left tire. We stopped at the next exit and found a campground there, called the tire guy to see if he would mind driving a little further, and tried not to throw things.
The concern was, we had no idea how old these tires were - we bought the RV used and hadn't replaced any of the tires. So! In order not to have to deal with this yet again on a different trip, we opted to replace ALL of the tires.
Say hello to Kevin, our saving angel of tire repair!
Kevin spent all evening doing this:
We spent all evening doing this (please note bottle of cider to keep me sane):
Everyone in the campground was really happy with us, I'm sure, since it was about midnight when he finally finished the last tire. Kevin taught us a lot about tires, including how to tell how old a tire is (it has a DOT number on the side of it - interesting!). Also he showed us how lucky we really were. Remember the front right tire that was flattening, the one that caused the initial concern? It was, to quote him, "a ticking timebomb." Wanna see what a tire that's about to blow looks like?
But! We survived with no scratches. The RV, however, had a small issue - namely, that when the rear tire blew, it hit the tire well so hard that it severed our water hose.
Did I mention "Sigh"?
But! From problems come solutions and learning, and learn we did! Noel taught me how to do CPVC plumbing! See? I helped! Also, we figured out where the closest Home Depot is, and visited it more than once!
Yet another Sigh.
So now we have a set of spanking new tires and new plumbing and the toilet works so I'm happy.
Please note that we were not in this optimistic a mood when we were dealing with all this. Now we can look back on it with some nostalgia and only mild anger.
We saw some neat scenery in Louisiana (along with really bumpy roads - Noel was very thankful for the new tires at that point!). One interesting spot was a long stretch of road that ran WITH a river, instead of across. It ran for probably 10 miles, and we had never seen anything like it.
We went over some neat bridges.
And went straight through Baton Rouge.
Now we're getting settled in to Texas. We're in a small suburb south of Houston. Houston, by the way, is HUGE. We drove around some yesterday and saw...traffic. And highways. And I think the Astrodome, but we couldn't really tell. We also drove to Galveston, and saw some gorgeous houses, some of which were still recovering from Hurricane Ike. Some were still boarded up, waiting for someone with money and love to come help them.
There is also a gorgeous cathedral there:
And beside it the Bishop's Palace. It's open for tours, but we didn't opt to do that (yet). Impressive house though - this guy knew how to live in style!
This is an historic home that is also open for tours, called the Moody House. Guess it's pmsing (ha). But beautiful!
We also happened upon a gorgeous cemetery in downtown Galveston, full of old stones and mausoleums. We loved that it had little walking paths that meandered through it. Some of the stones were from as early as the early 1800s, and I love cemeteries that have such personality - all of the stones are unique and truly reflect something of the person they memorialize. Some of the mausoleum doors were open, but there were no bones or anything creepy inside. Darn.
Noel starts his new job on Monday, and will be working for a power company here. There is a TON of industry - just check out this skyline south of Houston:
The scenery right around our campground though is really nice (although full of mosquitoes).
So here we are, a few days into our adventure, and have traveled about halfway across the country so far. Don't believe me? Check out our map!: