Trip Report: Memorial Day 2019
It has been quite awhile since I last posted in this blog. Needless to say, there has been a lot of change and it would take many lengthy posts to fill the gap from the previous post to Memorial Day 2019. Rather than spending time on all of those details, I am just going to capture this trip and future events as they happen.
These are seemingly stressful times with a lot of health related issues happening all around us. Mom is currently at The Terrace of Jacksonville recovering from hip surgery, Jeannie has been working through vein surgery in both legs, Sailor is recuperating from another episode with his back and I tweaked my back replacing the water pump on the Airstream (another story for another time). Whew!
As a great escape from all of that, we have been really looking forward to sharing a weekend with Logan, Gavin and Tyler, to celebrate Gavin’s 8th birthday. Their energy and excitement always provides a boost to our outlook and perspective.
This was a first visit to LazyDays in Tampa, at exit 10 on I-4. With it being more difficult to book campgrounds for holiday weekends, we thought we would give LazyDays a try. Overall, I think I would give it a B+ and it proved to be a great choice for our weekend. It turns out that LazyDays in Tampa is the largest RV dealership in the world. Wow! Lucky for us they have a large inventory of parts available, but more on that later.
The weather was beyond hot! During the peak of the day our thermometer would go off of the scale hot. Above 104 degrees it registers “-H-“ and it did that each day Friday through Monday. Even with the A/C going full blast it could not keep up and generally the inside temperature would peak around 82 degrees. The refrigerator struggled as well, but stayed within a safe range for food.
This trip was a bit of a test of our ability to tolerate long drive days in anticipation of our summer trip to Jackson Center in Ohio. This trip is a little over 200 miles and it took us a little over 4 hours total drive time. With both of us switching off driving and taking breaks every 2 hours we average about 50 miles per hour. Considering this experience, it seems reasonable that we could have traveled another 2 hours if needed. It seems that a 300-mile maximum miles per day is a good plan and limit for us.
This was one of our best weekends with our Florida Grandkids. They are growing up and are able to engage in more activities than just having to be entertained with toys. It is great to see them grow in stature and character as they mature.
This being Gavin’s 8thbirthday is a special birthday as around this age I try to introduce our Florida grandkids to an interest that we may have in common. For Logan it was photography, for Gavin I introduced him to Ham Radio. As part of this birthday, I built a simple FM radio that I named the Gavintronic. The core of the radio was a small integrated circuit board based radio run by a cell phone auxiliary battery and over-the-ears headphones. In addition we gave him 4 FRS walkie talkies that he can share with others as he chooses. Overall, it was a big hit. I don’t know if it will produce a growing interest, but at least a seed was planted that he will reflect upon over the years as he thinks back on our camping trips.
While in the area we ventured a few miles up the highway to visit the new Airstream facility at the RV One dealership where we purchased our Airstream. The new facility is very impressive. The Airstream and the other brand buildings have been completely rebuilt and represent a strong commitment to the Airstream brand. We really enjoyed taking the virtual factory tour in the 360-degree theater. The movie puts you right in the middle of the building of an Airstream trailer. We were also impressed with the service bays and the amount of investment in facilities and training RV One has made to become a premier service provider. Should we not be able to go to the factory in July, we may consider having the work done there.
This trip brought about the usual need for minor ongoing repairs and maintenance on our Airstream. Keeping in mind that over the past 18 months we have not really had the opportunity to use ChILL to the extent that we would discover the inherent weak points of this unit. The weak points seem to resolve around the latching system on the medicine cabinet door and the water heater, both of which needed attention this trip.
Once again the igniter board on the water heater quit working. I tried to replace the Atwood 91365 board with the Dinosaur board that I carry as a spare, but the board was difficult to get mounted and working since it was dark and we had sweaty kids that needed a shower. I was able to get the water heater working on shore power for the evening. The next day I went in search of a replacement board. Fortunately, LazyDays has a huge parts department and was able to provide a newly revised Atwood board for around $175. The new board is redesigned and is supposed to have better quality control. I hope they finally fixed the problem.
The medicine cabinet door managed to strip the screws on the primary latch. I used the toothpick method to help fill the void and replaced the screws. I will use some Gorilla Glue on the screws when I get home. Clearly, there is a lot of strain on the latches during travel. We will have to figure out how to reinforce those latches over time.
A new item needing repair is the Zamp solar connector on the A-frame. It has corroded to the point that the positive prong on the plug came off. I plan to replace the plug with an identical one when we get back.
Overall, we had a great trip. We traveled a few miles, made new memories, tested a few extremes, fixed a few minor items and survived the heat. We are already looking forward to the next adventure.
Date: 5/24/19 – 5/28/19
Location: LazyDays RV Resort
Average MPH: 50