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Under The Awning Here is where you can carry on a conversation, just like............well, like you were sitting under your awning at the campsite.

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  #1  
Old 04-08-2018
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SNOWBIRD SNOWBIRD is offline
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Default 10 days, 2600 miles-- Observations

I've been away from here for a while living the real Bird lifestyle instead of just working on one (I guess that's part of the lifestyle as well).

So we left a week ago Friday to take my 18YO daughter and her friend to Disney World for their senior spring break. This is the first trip since all of my work this winter so it was time to try all of the new stuff out.

Day 1: We left Lansing, Michigan for Nashville, TN. The bus ran great and I was very happy to finally try out my new Silverleaf. I had been concerned about engine temps since I bought the Bird last year and now I know why. Throughout the trip I had water temps of 183-189 in the cold climate and 185-192 in the 80 degree Florida weather. This is fine, but my dash gauges read 15 degrees higher. No wonder I was concerned. Anyway, the new windows were great with no leaks; wind or water. We stayed at the downtown KOA which is a nice park and took the shuttle downtown for the festivities. The girls had fun listening to the bands and we had some decent BBQ down there as well. I tried out the new Travler Dish which worked well as did the Winegard Rayzer.

Day 2: We took I-65 to Montgomery and picked up 231 to I-10. With Easter and Spring Break, the traffic was heavy with several backups along I-65. I stopped at exit 308 at Smith Farms for a hot, ready-to-eat, smoked Boston Butt. Wow are those good!!! We couldn't wait to shred it. We just ripped off hunk of meat and stuffed our faces. We spent the night at the Quincy, Florida Walmart and it was cool enough that I didn't need to run the generator all night.

Day 3: This the day we spotted the one and only Bird on the whole trip. It was an LXi headed north on I-75 just north of Ocala. We checked into Fort Wilderness and ended up in the 700 loop which is a nice central spot to be. The girls were excited and immediately picked up the golf cart we rented and began to run around and check everything out. That night I fired up the grill and cooked out under the awning and was finally able to relax. But alas, Lynne was concerned about the temps in the upper 80's was worried that our 13YO golden retriever would stay cool while we were at the parks the next day. So, I downloaded an app that turns your phone into a spy camera. I then pointed my phone at a thermometer and she could log into it at any time to see what was going on.

Day 4: We hit the parks early and quickly learned that the two 18YO's had little interest in hanging around with us. We left them around noon and came back to walk the dog and have some lunch. Its just so nice to have your own place there and not deal with the crowds when you've had enough. The temps in the coach were good but I found that the middle A/C was not working. After a couple of flips of the switch at the helm, it came on. It was a bad switch so I changed that out and all was well. In fact, later that day it was 64 in there while it was 88 outside. I think you could have hung a side of beef in there.

Day 5: Another day at the parks. The girls were having a blast and once again did most of everything on their own.

Day 6: Lynne and I took the day off while the girls went back to the crowds. We did make a lunch reservation and took the boat to one of the hotels for a nice lunch on our own. Again, all systems seemed to be working well so I was happy. The girls went back to the Magic Kingdom at night until 2am.

Day 7: We are glutens for punishment and went over to Epcot to taste the beers and wines from around the world. We finally wore the girls out and they stayed back that night to watch movies on the new DVD player.

Day 8: Departure at 11am. I wooed the bystanders on the way out by playing "its a small world" on the musical horn. It was well received with many thumbs up and waves. But by this time the roads were packed. I-75 was at a stand still and I wasn't going to sit there all day so I cut over to 19 and had a nice run up to I-10. I had planned on taking I-75 all the way home but now the plans had changed. We ended up heading back the same way we came down. That night I could see storms ahead so we pulled into a KOA in Ozark, Alabama. It was nice old park that had been updated. The owners there were really trying hard to make the place look nice. It had a pool and fenced in dog park, as well as a fishing pond. The roads were narrow but navigable and all-in-all a good spot to stop with new power pedestals and many pull through sites.

Day 9: I woke up early with thoughts of possibly running all of the way home but it was still raining and it looked like it would break in about another hour so I went back to bed. We finally hit the road around 9 and made pretty good time until we got to Nashville. It was locked up with traffic and we ended up taking a couple of detours to get around the worst of it. Lynne was using Waze and some other app to warn me of the tie ups. At one point my Jake brake quit working. It was strange because the transmission would downshift but valves weren't closing(braking) as they should. When I stopped at a truck stop so Lynne could cook some dinner, I checked the breakers in the front passengers kick but didn't notice any that needed to be reset. I pushed them all just for good measure. When I started back up the Jake was working again. I don't know if I did reset a breaker or if just turning off the engine reset the computer. Either way, it worked and we had no other issue with it all the way home. I drove late so I got to try out the new LED headlights which were awesome compared to the old halogens behind the plastic. We stopped at a new Love's for the night just north of Indianapolis. It was cold that night, 22 degrees. But, wow, that Aquahot will roast you out. I was in the mountains in West Virginia in a snow storm with our Prevost/Angola and we about froze to death one night. I don't know if this Bird just has better insulation or if the Aquahot is that much better than those Espar heaters or both, but it sure worked great. And the engine fired right up with 110 degree water after leaving the AH on engine preheat all night.

Day 10: We made it back home around noon today. The Pro Driver says we averaged 6.8 mpg for the 2650 miles we ran. And that was running mostly around 68-72mph, with no toad. I figured it was a quick trip and we really had no need for a car. It was nice not having it when I wanted to back into a spot at the truck stop.

All and all, I rate this trip a success. The bus ran great. The girls had a good time and I got to enjoy the fruits of the winter labor.
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  #2  
Old 04-08-2018
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Good report, thanks for taking us along!
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Old 04-08-2018
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Thank you for sharing the details of your trip Snowbird. I appreciate you keeping the dream alive for folks like me that are not "there" yet . I am glad your trip was largely uneventful with regards to mechanical challenges, and that your travels were safe. Take care

Timothy
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Old 04-08-2018
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There's slow folks and there are old folks and the older I get I think I'm becoming one of the slow old folk.
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Old 04-08-2018
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Quote:
Originally Posted by birds_first View Post
There's slow folks and there are old folks and the older I get I think I'm becoming one of the slow old folk.

Ha! I'm becoming slower and older as well. I just wish I could have stayed south a while longer. If I didn't have to get the girls back to school, I would have. But, hey, this is the last trip with a such a schedule as she is the youngest and graduating.

The way the weather is up here, I should have at least stayed another week.
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Old 04-09-2018
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thanks for the write up and inspiration
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Old 04-09-2018
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SNOWBIRD View Post

The way the weather is up here, I should have at least stayed another week.
Been hanging out in Georgia, waiting for warming temps looks like there will not be a Spring this year.
Great trip, these are the trips the Kids do not forget.
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Old 04-09-2018
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Great trip, thanks for bringing us along!
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Old 04-09-2018
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Sounds like an awesome trip! Glad the trip was fairly uneventful in regards to the bus! We live 1.5 hours from Disney. Ft. Wilderness is the bomb!
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Old 04-09-2018
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Thanks for the write up Sky! We love going to Ft Wilderness, and always ask for the 700 loop. So far they have been able to accommodate. Good times!
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