Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Erie Pennsylvania to Wytheville Virginia

The truck next to us idled all night before firing up and rolling out about 6:00 AM. Someone told me on Facebook that Pennsylvania DOES have an anti-idling law but that no one enforces it. And I found a poster that confirms it.

 I guess no one told the trucker

 We were up at 6:00 AM checking Email, watching some TV news and having cereal and coffee. The water pump started acting a little strange, almost like it isn't pumping full volume. And the TV antenna clunks when it comes down. Great, more things to worry about. But it is all working now so I won't worry too much.

We were on the road at 6:55 heading south on I-79. It seemed as if we were going steady uphill but the GPS elevation reading said we really hadn't gained much. The motorhome sure feels the uphill grades more than the motorcycle did. The cigarette lighter fuse was blown and I have to wonder if it was due to the inverter, which was plugged into it last night. Oh well, I have fuses.

Mist an uphill grades on I-79

We stopped at the rest area near Mercer and I changed the 20 amp mini-fuse. I found I had inadvertently deleted the fuel gauge benchmarks I recorded yesterday. After the music fiasco, Sandy says maybe I shouldn't delete anything for a while. I am inclined to agree.

Mercer rest area

Austin Healey Sprite body headed for Florida

This looks like fun - NOT!!

Approaching Pittsburgh, there was a construction zone where the traffic was reduced to walking speed. Word was that the left lane was closed ahead. Cars kept whipping by in the left lane until a trucker shut it down by running a rolling road block. He did this by moving into the left lane and keeping pace with the right. That put an end to the line jumpers and we eventually got by a short stretch where they were patching some potholes.

I was dehydrated this morning and it showed in poor glucose readings. I drank several bottles of water along with my coffee and, as we were going around Pittsburgh, I felt the need for a bathroom break. We have our own bathroom but I need a place to pull over to use it and this is a notoriously bad stretch for that. Got off at Exit 60 where they said there was an Exxon station. There WAS one but it was boarded up. Still, they had a flat area to stop and use the facilities.

We continued south, crossing the Ohio River and following the familiar road to West Virginia. The hills got steeper and it became impossible to use the cruise control except for the downhills. Downhill, the cruise will use the transmission to control the speed, saving the brakes. On the uphills, I used the throttle and we ran anywhere from 60 MPH down to 45. It started raining near Waynesburg. We stopped at the rest area before the US 19 junction for lunch. Noodles and salad. I better lose some weight this trip.

Bridge over the Ohio River

Construction on I-79

Sipping some 5 Hour Energy grape

Rest area on I-79

The green hills of West (By God) Virginia

We traversed US 19 through Summersville and Fayetteville with no problem. I had been having problems with fatigue off and on all day and, when we got to Beckley, we stopped at the Tamarack Service Center for a break. I got a Starbucks coffee. Just a plain black coffee. Medium. None of the snobby barista talk for me. The stretch of I-77 through Beckley, once a hideous jarring mess, was nicely resurfaced. unfortunately, south of town near the toll booth, that disintegrated.

We stopped for fuel in Princeton. The BP pump cut me off as usual at $100. Unfortunately, this one wouldn't let me use the card again at the pump. the nice young lady inside didn't make me prepay. She just held my card while I pumped and then I settled up. As predicted, mileage was down but not too bad at 9.0 MP(US)G.

South of Princeton, a billboard said I could have gotten gas for $3.51 per gallon in Wytheville instead of the $3.79 I just paid. Looks like Virginia is a bit easier on the gas taxes. Something to remember for the future. We entered Virginia through East River Mountain Tunnel and the passed through Big Walker Mountain tunnel just before Wytheville (pronounced Withville).

East River Mountain Tunnel

There is light at the end of the tunnel

Welcome to Virginia

Big Walker Mountain Tunnel

We found the Wytheville Walmart easily enough but the lot sure was busy. We found a back corner near a Class A from South Dakota and went inside for a few supplies. There were No Overnight Parking signs so I checked at the courtesy desk and the lady said no problem. After we got the Walmart supplies, we went to the Lowes next door looking for some door latches. We found them but they were the wrong size. Tomorrow we will visit a Camping World and see what we can find.

Supper was a turkey and cheese ciabatta. Blood sugar before I ate was 4.9 (88 in US talk), much better than this morning. I worked on the blog and bills while we watched American Idol. All in all, it was the end of an OK day on the road.

One thing we did talk about today was the current style of travel. I suggested that one reason I wasn't enthusiastic about getting going was that the motorhome is not as much fun this year. I love driving it but it is big and that limits us and it takes a lot of looking after. Plus, if we are having to consider towing a car and leaving the bike at home, it may not be the right choice. I am starting to like the idea of towing an enclosed two-bike trailer behind a truck with whatever they call the full double cab. Crew? Club? Whatever. That way, we could travel and someone could go with us. The trailer could be set up to sleep in like some guys in the club are doing for camping events like Interlochen. Otherwise, hotels and restaurants. Then we could go anywhere, anytime. But we won't jump to conclusions yet. We still have a summer of travel to see if these impressions are valid.

Today's Route (429 motorhome miles):

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