I had a last-minute medical test Monday morning that should’ve taken about 45 minutes but it end up being about 2 hours due to some miscommunication between my doctor and the hospital. But in any case it led to a delayed departure from the Roost.
The rig was all ready except to pull the plug at the pedestal because we had worked much of the day Sunday getting organized both in the rig and the shed.
When I got back Kathy had everything inside tucked safely away in it’s appropriate”travel” location so all I had to do was turn the key, pull the rig out to the street so we could hook up the car, and then head east out of Arizona and into New Mexico.
Our plan is to drive about 300 miles a day to get us to Bushnell Florida by Saturday night. We realize that’s a perfect world .. there may be delays and we may not be able to do 300 mes every day. But that’s our goal.
We pulled in to the Escapee Dream Catcher RV Park at Deming, NM about 6:00 p.m. Park Manager Kyle greeted us and got us checked in to a nice dry camping site for $8.50 for the nite.
The clubhouse has an honor system canteen with candy bars and ice cream which we will refrain from visiting because we already had our ice cream today when we visited the Dairy Queen counter at “The Thing” roadside attraction and convenience store on I-10.
Here’s some pix of the store inside. Talk about tourist stuff – Wow! They have it all
While we were parked at “The Thing” and we took the opportunity to stretch our legs going in to get our (small) Mint Oreo Blizzards, we also ate our “healthy” lunch back in the coach.
I know it doesn’t look like a “healthy” lunch but it’s a lot better than a big bacon cheeseburger and fries. Yes, we have the blizzard and some Veggie Stix, but we’ve also got celery, string cheese, pickles, tuna (in the pink bowl), and cottage cheese.
Dinner tonight will be tossed green salad and Kathy’s homemade Cabbage/tomato/onion/celery/carrot/potato soup.
We enjoy staying at Dream Catcher RV Park. It’s an Escapee park (discounted stays), you can walk next door to the motel to get a drink at the bar or dinner at their restaurant, and it’s a very E-Z on and off to/from the interstate.
The sun is setting, it’ll be an early night tonight. Since we are dry camping, we’ll have no hook-ups to disconnect in the am.
So I know I’ll be up before sunrise. I’ll make our coffee and watch the early morning news while Kathy’s still asleep. Once she’s up and out of the shower well turn the key and keep heading east.
Our plan for tomorrow night is to stay at an eastbound Rest Area just west of Fort Stockton, Texas.
Till then … Be safe out there. Thanks so much for riding along.
Oh by the way … Have you ever been to see “The Thing”? Let us know in the comments section below.
NOTE: This post was started about a week earlier but I ran out of data on my Mexican (Telcel) phone and so I no longer had a hot spot for wifi to my computer, so I’m finishing up this post while we are back at Rover’s Roost in Casa Grande Arizona where my Visible phone service and hot spot (with no data cap) is working great.
Now, back to the story …
Yes, we’re really enjoying our visit to the Baja with our new Escapee friends. Although we’ve been members of the club about 5 years now, there’s no way you can get to know everybody as there are currently (I think) over 50,000 members nationwide.
And although Chapter 8 has been coming to Mexico for 37 years, the people that travel with them change from year to year. Some have been coming for years while others (like us) have made this their first trip with the chapter and very likely the first trip to Mexico. They don’t always travel to this side of the Baja. Sometimes it’s San Felipe, Rocky Pointe, or even Mexico City.
We’ve been given the opportunity to give back to the communities in which we stay. At our stay at the zoo in Guadalupe Valley we were offered reduced camping fees and free admittance to the zoo (even when they were closed to the public) and in return we helped the keepers in the care and feeding of the animals and their habitats.
We learned that the zoo was founded by Mr. Jiminez and his wife Perla as a service to the forgotten and abandoned animals and the children of the community. They wanted a place that all families could come and enjoy wholesome family time together not only to learn a little about the wildlife kingdom but also to enjoy some recreation together.
The Jiminez family also owned the Jersey Dairy and for many years the dairy supported the zoo financially. Recently the dairy was sold to another corporation and the zoo is now a stand-alone non-profit zoo. It still has Perla (Mrs.) Jiminez as Director and the family is still involved in the management and operation, but the funding is FAR below where it was just a few years ago.
As a result they are struggling to feed and care for the animals. A lot of their “residents” are brought to the zoo by the government that has confiscated these illegally owned animals at ports of entry. Although the government delivers the animals to the zoo to be cared for, they provide NO financial assistance for their care and can come and remove these same animals at any time. That’s a real frustration for the keepers.
We (Chapter 8) members will also help the zoo by ordering items from their Amazon Wish List and some of us brought items down and hand delivered these things to the keepers while we were there. The keepers here are much like our teachers back in the states in that they buy a lot of their own supplies to care for their “flock”. Many of the 13 employees at the zoo are single and are so attached that they think of the animals in their care as their “family”.
In case you are interested in seeing what sorts of things the keepers need – and maybe you’re even moved to help as well, you can check out the Amazon Wish List link here.
When we arrived here at La Jolla Beach Camp, our hosts the Pabloff Family introduced us to the need at a local “Grandparents House” about 10 miles away from our camp. Our Wagon-master and Charity Committee had previously arranged to have us form a work party and provide them with about 200 man hours work to insulate one of their new living units.
When we arrived on site we were introduced to the husband and wife team, Angelica and Nicholas (both pastors) who started this mission along with the help of Justin who’s family is doing mission work both at this home and another one a few miles down the road.
It’s really a pretty remarkable story. Mrs. Pastor fourteen years ago found an old woman sitting on her front lawn. The lady looked to be alone and unfortunate so Angelica invited her into her home for lunch. They chatted and got to know each other. At the end of the lunch, Angelica told the lady she was welcome to return for lunch again the next day. The lady thanked her and asked if she could possibly bring a friend …. and so the beginning.
One friend led to another and another and another. Pretty soon Angelica was feeding 20 homeless old people on buckets and tree stumps in her front yard.
In Mexico there is very little money for programs like we have in the states and further these people that Angelica was meeting were mostly forgotten. They have no family that will admit to being related to them, they have little or no education, they have no way to travel, and they have not the knowledge or experience of how to ask for help. They are typically migrant farm workers who historically have lived the nomadic lifestyle traveling from farm to farm working in the fields and living on what little meager existence they can eek out with the wages their farmer pays.
Angelica knew there must be some public assistance available for these poor souls. She took one of them into a government office and introduced her as her grandmother. The agreed that Grandma qualified for a pension of $25 every other month. She then took another and introduced him as Grandfather. Then another and then another. You know what happened next … by the 5th time they knew something was up. She told the government agents the truth. They told Angelica that they were going to make a surprise visit to see for themselves.
When they arrived and saw what she was doing – unfortunately they couldn’t help financially with anything more than the $25 per person every other month. But the COULD provide her with a building close by where she could prepare and serve the meals. Soon after and still today, she and her volunteer helpers are serving meals to about 200 forgotten souls on a daily basis.
But she knew there was still more to be done. These people needed homes. They were living under sheets of cardboard under trees. The more fortunate ones had acquired plastic tarps to live under and were begging on the streets. These are sick and aged people in their 70’s and 80’s who could no longer do manual labor.
That’s where our new friend Miguel Pabloff comes in. Mike helped them obtain the land on which to start a small community of nice clean stick-built homes for these people. All the work and all the materials have been donated. Angelica and her husband Nickolas receive no government funding except the $25 previously mentioned.
Currently there are 15 residents and the Pastors do all the cooking, cleaning, bathing, activities and more. The do get volunteer help as well. The day we were there two student nurses came to check on all the residents and will be coming weekly for the next six months while they are still in school. Other volunteers come (unsolicited) from churches and neighborhoods in the area to help because they’ve heard of the unselfish work that Nicholas and Angelica are doing and want to help.
Although the resident rooms are very plain, we were told that to these folks, it’s a castle. Most of them had been living on the streets.
The rooms are spartan and very clean. There is one very large shower (to accommodate a wheelchair) in each building. When the residents want community or meals, they need to get over to the community dining room. Some are ambulatory with the help of canes or walkers while others need to be pushed along in wheelchairs.
Remember, clicking on any of the thumbnail photo will open a larger picture so you can see more detail.
The pictures in the gallery below show tables filled with donation items (food and clothing) for the Grandparents home and also to distribute to some of the less fortunate out in the country.
We collected (from ourselves) the donations and then on Saturday night we had an auction where we got lubed up with $2 Margaritas beforehand and then bid on items given by ourselves to our “other” selves. We raised about $4000 in the auction. This is just part of the monies that Chapter 8 will be giving back to four different Service Projects (charities) here in Baja California before we leave.
Thanks for riding along … More to come in our next post.
We drove yesterday from the SKP Park in Yuma (where we spent Sunday night) on over West to Potrero County Park.
It was mostly a great drive, with a little rain and a LOT of wind .. it was definitely a two-handed drive! The scenery was fantastic, along westbound I-8 (I wish I had pulled over to take a picture) there were miles and miles of huge, smooth boulders as far as the eye could see. It’s so fascinating to see all the different types of landscape we see as we travel.
These were large hills (or small mountains) made of millions of huge (larger than a truck / some larger than a commercial building) smooth-surfaced stones mounded on top of one another.
The colors ranged from white to sand to deep browns and reds. No jagged edges here like so many other geologic formations we’ve seen, just big rocks smoothed over millions of years by what force? Did they all actually used to be in a huge ancient riverbed whose cool running water smoothed them?
Once we got off I-8, we traveled about 25 miles west to Potrero County Park where we met up with about 20 or so of our fellow Escapees who are going to be our travel partners to Mexico over the next couple weeks.
Last night we had a Happy Hour at the park shelter where those of us that are here early could get together and share some munchies and get to know one another. Seems about half the group so far are returning travelers while the others like us are “Newbies” to the Mexican Connection trip.
Today the group leaders and some of the board members are headed across the border to Tecate just to make sure all is in order for our excursion there tomorrow. While we are in Tecate tomorrow we’ll get our Mexico FMM card, exchange some U.S. dollars for pesos, and visit a local bakery and brewery.
It’s Saturday Feb 8th and we left Rovers Roost this morning and made our way 3 hours West to Quartzsite (AZ). We came over here because our new lithium batteries weren’t acting the way I thought they should.
Brian Boone installed our solar panels, controllers and inverter. We could have bought the batteries through him when he installed all the other, but it just wasn’t in the budget at the time.
But when we went to the Big Tent RV Show last month, the sale price on these batteries was just too good to pass up, so we bought 2 and I installed them myself. They market them as “Drop in replacements” … We’ll, not exactly the case.
When we spent 10 days in the desert at the big show, we were still using our Trojan T-105 Deep Cycle Lead Acid batteries. The solar and the batteries played well together and we never once had to fire up the generator.
But once we got back to the Roost and I swapped in the new lithiums, things always seemed a little screwy. I was constantly watching the volts, the amps, the capacity (in percent) and the amp hours from full. And the math just wasn’t adding up!
Time for some professional help. I called Brian for help. He and Sue are still dry camping in Q, so we drove out here to have him take a look. What Battle Born doesn’t tell you is that there are more than a couple settings that need to be changed when converting from lead acid to lithium batteries.
Brian made the changes and all seems to be working well now. I’ll monitor things tonight and in the morning and let him know before we head outta town.
We’ve got the windows open, no fans on and a nice breeze moving through the coach. Kathy’s taking a little siesta on the couch right now as I write this. We’ve decided we’re going in to Silly Al’s for pizza tonight.
Tomorrow (Sunday) we’ll head on down SR 95 to Yuma where we will spend the night at the Escapees KOFA Co-Op park for the night, then Monday morning head West through El Centro CA to Potrero County Park
Potrero is where we will meet all the others going on the caravan to Mexico. There will be 27 rigs total. Kathy and I are on the parking team so we need to get into Potrero a day early so as to be able to be ready bright and early to greet and park the folks coming in.
We’ll spend a night or two at Potrero before we caravan into Mexico.
Much more on that later. I know our Visible phones won’t work in Mexico, so I’m going to try to buy a SIM card in Mexico. Not sure how pricey it’ll be, so it’s not clear on how many pictures I’ll be able to post.
But rest assured you’ll hear from us again. If not sooner, then later!
As members of the Escapees RV Club, Kathy and I attended our 2nd “Escapade” this past week. The first one we attended was in Essex Junction (Burlington area), Vermont back in summer of 2016. This year’s Escapade was in Tucson at the Pima County Fairgrounds.
The annual Escapade is held in different locations around the country. 2018 was in Sedalia, Missouri while next year’s event will be held in Rock Springs, Wyoming. Holding the rally in different locations allows club members in different areas of the country to attend without having to travel extreme distances.
The rally is an opportunity to; renew friendships with other travelers you haven’t seen in a long while, enjoy some great regional food, attend as many as 10 or 15 informational seminars scheduled over a 4 day period, visit the Marketplace where vendors of RV equipment and supplies display and sell their products, take a tour of nearly 100 new and used RV’s on the lot, and attendees can even volunteer as shuttle cart drivers, hospitality hosts, parking attendants, morning coffee crew members, and lots of other opportunities.
Here are some pictures of various parts of the event. We took over the Pima County Fairgrounds with 830 recreational vehicles (RV’s) and just about 2500 attendees.
As usual, if you click on any of the individual pictures below, it will open into a larger image so you can see more detail.
Here’s a couple videos of the evening entertainment. This evening’s video features “The American Rogues” (Sorry the audio is not nearly as impressive as it was at the live presentation). You could feel the drums beating and the rafters shaking.
Here’s a video of the “Redhead Express” – and 5 of these 6 band members are siblings!
Thanks for coming along. We are blessed to be able to live the full-time RV lifestyle and we hope you enjoy riding along with us on our adventures.
During one of our days off duty at The Big Tent RV Show, we took a road trip up to (and across) Parker Dam, Lake Havasu, and Bullhead City.
We started the trip taking State Route 95 straight north out of Quartzsite and crossing the state line at the town of Parker. On up 95 a few miles we crossed the Parker Dam back into Arizona. Thank goodness as gasoline in California is about $2 per gallon higher than in Arizona!
Our friends and co-workers Paul & Chris went with us and we enjoyed the day together. Driving as far as we did gave us a lot of time to talk and catch up on each others travels.
Parker Dam crosses the Colorado River and was built in 1942. You can see some of the Art Deco architecture in the design of the dam.
(taken from Nat Park Service web site) ” What you see is not what you get at Parker Dam, known as “the deepest dam in the world.” Engineers, digging for bedrock on which to build, had to excavate so far beneath the bed of the Colorado River that 73 percent of Parker Dam’s 320-foot structural height is not visible. Its reservoir, Lake Havasu, is a different matter. Its deep blue water stretches for 45 miles behind the dam, creating an oasis in the Arizona desert. Gracing the shore at Lake Havasu City is the historic London Bridge, reconstructed brick by brick in 1971 and adding to the city’s claim as “Arizona’s playground.”
Click on any of the images below to open a larger view
We continued on up (the Arizona side) State Route 95 and made a quick stop at the Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge. Kathy and I had stopped here a couple years ago and wanted to give Paul & Chris a chance to see it as well. The Refuge is huge, but the part that’s easiest to see is a small peninsula into the river. The peninsula has shade shelters with benches so you can use your binoculars to see all the water fowl that lives in the habitat. The nightfall pictures below are from our stop on the way back home from Lake Havasu and Bullhead City.
Click on any of the images below to open a larger view.
Our next stop was Lake Havasu City. We kept this portion of the trip short, we just visited the London Bridge, grabbed a bite to eat at a local cafe and then back on the road. (Thanks Paul & Chris for buying our lunch!)
This is THE original London Bridge, moved to Lake Havasu City from London back in 1968 by Robert McCulloch. Find out all the details of the moving of the bridge at this link. It doesn’t cost anything to park in the lot and walk along the water’s edge. It must cost the store operators an arm and a leg in rent to have a storefront at the foot of the bridge. There is a small island on the far side of the bridge where there are residential units, restaurants, and more shopping.
Next stop on the trip … Bullhead City. We purposely made the drive on up the road to Bullhead City to have a brief visit with Rob & Michelle. Kathy and I met Rob & Michelle when we were workamping at Pere Marquette Oaks RV Park in Michigan in summer of ’18. We spent the day with them in the Tucson area a month or so ago and wanted to stop in and say “Hi” and introduced them to Paul & Chris — you never know when they might have the opportunity to cross paths again.
Unfortunately, I FORGOT to get ANY pictures of Rob & Michelle or their beautiful RV site looking toward Spirit Mountain on this trip! So here’s one I stole off Michelle’s Facebook page..
Thanks for riding along … we look forward to spending time with you again soon!
Many of you have been following this blog and/or our You Tube channel at herbnkathyrv and for that we say “Thank You“. It’s gratifying for us to know that you care enough to “c’mon along” for the ride and even better when you leave a comment either here at the bottom of any of our blog posts or in the comments area on You Tube (just below the video).
So many of you are curious as to where we’re going next and what we’ll be up to, so here’s the scoop;
Here is the link to Google Maps showing our route with overnight stops along the way from Baldwin, Michigan to Balloon Fiesta grounds at Albuquerque, NM. (We’ll be there from Sept 17th through Oct 14th when the Fiesta ends.)
We’ll be leaving here (Michigan) on Wed Sept 12th, staying in the driveways of friends we haven’t met yet on 3 nights (thanks to BoondockersWelcome.com), one night in a Cracker Barrel parking lot, and the final night at a “regular” campground at Amarillo, TX. By staying in a “regular” campground the final night, we’ll be able to dump our waste tanks and take on 70 gallons of fresh water before we move on the next day to the Fiesta grounds.
If you care to, you can track our progress on the road real-time by following this link at any time. This web page is linked to our GPS and tracks our location every 5 minutes or so. You can plug in a recent start date and end date if you like so you don’t see everything that’s been recorded over the past few months.
Here’s our ITINERARY
Sept 17th to Oct 14th – Working at ABQ Balloon Fiesta
Oct 18th to Oct 22nd – EPIC Nomads Movie Premiere Rally – Wellington, TX
Oct 25th to Oct 28th – Airstream “Texas Air” Rally – Brownwood, TX
Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb – We’ll have Rover’s Roost RV Park at Casa Grande, AZ as our home base, but we’ll be traveling;
Nov 18th to Nov 24th – Escapees Club Boomers Group Thanksgiving Rally at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, CA.
Jan 13th to Jan 18th – Boomerville Rally at Quartzite, AZ
We’ll also take other excursion trips from Rover’s Roost as time and weather permits to see points of interest, museums, parks, hilltops and valleys.
Follow us on Facebook or www.herbnkathyrv.com and please subscribe to our You Tube channel herbnkathyrv. By subscribing, you’ll be notified any time we publish a new blog post or upload a new video to You Tube.
Not sure if there’s an official definition of Driveway Surfing, but my definition is; When an RV’er spends the night on someone’s (often a fellow RV’er) property rather than in a commercial campground or RV park.
This is not only a less expensive alternative to commercial facilities, but much safer than the often-used boon-docking (dry camping) at Wal-Marts, Cracker Barrels, Truck Stops, highway Rest Areas and the like.
The term “Boon-docking” by the way, also known as “dry camping” in the RV’er’s world is stopping/staying at a location that does not offer any utilities or other amenities. Most RV’er’s are traveling in self-contained units meaning they carry their own water (and waste) tanks and have a means to provide limited electricity to the unit for lighting, water pumping, and sometimes more.
We’ve found that the big added benefit of these overnight stays are the wonderful welcomes we get from our gracious hosts. We often spend the afternoon and into the evenings together sitting around the bonfire trading stories of our RV’ing and life experiences. Sometimes we even have dinner together.
Although Kathy and I first became aware of this wonderful benefit of full-time RV life through our membership in Boondockers Welcome, we soon found out that there are other opportunities out there as well. We’ve found that the Airstreamers (Wally Byam Caravan Club International) along with FMCA (Family Motor Coach Association), and Escapees RV Club members have programs similar to the Boondockers Welcome program. Another program mentioned to us by many other RV’ers is Harvest Hosts. Although some of these programs require a nominal annual membership fee in order to access the database and reservation software, others are free to club members.
Here are some pictures we’ve taken as we’ve traveled and met other RV’ers using our “Driveway Surfing” privileges utilizing BoondockersWelcome.com.
Roger and Jan – Randall, Kansas
We were warmly welcomed by our first BoondockersWelcome hosts Roger and Jan to their farm near Randall, Kansas in spring of 2016. Roger and Jan have a beautiful “earth” home that they custom built on the family farm that Roger was born on. While Jan prepared dinner for us (a very welcome surprise!), Roger took us on a tour of the 1000+ acre farm that their son now manages and farms (along with Dad’s occasional help). Roger and Jan have traveled all fifty states, 6 of the 10 Canadian provinces, and down into Mexico.
Click on any of the pictures to see an enlarged view
Herb, Jan, Roger, & Kathy
Our parking spot in front of their home
The original farm house that Roger was born and grew up in
Coyote & Angel – Ocala, Florida
Our next fantastic visit was to Coyote and Angel’s log cabin retreat near Ocala, Florida. And what a treat it was! They’re both retired now, but both have a colorful past and have enjoyed rebuilding over 30 classic and antique cars and trucks in their retirement. They’re also very creative and have built a wonder-filled outdoor experience that the pictures below can only begin to explain. Utilizing BoondockersWelcome, they invite RV’er’s to come and spend the night and they offer their retreat to host car shows, weddings, and other private events. Since our visit Coyote and Angel have sold their motorhome and bought a vintage Airstream travel trailer and are planning on taking a trip up to Michigan this summer and we’re looking forward to seeing them again up there while we are at our Workamping job at Baldwin, MI.
Click on any of the individual pictures to see an enlarged view
The Relaxation Pool
Outside the Barber Shop
The “strip” downtown
Tiki Bar on the (fake) lake
Kathy enjoying her stay
All the necessary amenities
Our spot nestled in the pines
Another view of the downtown business district
Cadillac & ???
Our hostess Myrtle
Our gracious hosts Coyote & Angel
Perry, Ginny, and Georgia – New Boston, TX
Now Perry and Ginny (along with Memaw Georgia) eagerly welcomed us to their home near New Boston, Texas and they showed off their southern hospitality by treating us to a great BBQ rib dinner.
We also enjoyed meeting another Boondocker couple there (Brad & Elaine) who had just returned from a month long trip to New Zealand to visit their daughter. We all had a great evening together talking and laughing.
Be sure to check out the video below of Ginny and Perry’s “Alpine Village” that they’ve put together over the years. Ginny told us that after we leave they were going to take it all apart to dust and clean and then put it ALL BACK TOGETHER AGAIN! Glad it’s not MY job!
Click on any of the individual pictures to see an enlarged view
Germantown, OH – Lynn & Jackie
On our way back to “the old home place” in Ohio this spring, we took advantage of the invite by Lynn and Jackie at Germantown, Ohio (near Dayton). They had us in for a wonderful home-cooked spaghetti dinner and the next day (we stayed two nights) Kathy and I toured the U.S. Air Force Museum adjacent to the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. We also toured the Wright Brothers Museum and the original Bicycle Shop, then spent the late afternoon at Carillon Historical Park where they have nearly 35 buildings there originally built anywhere from the 1870’s to the 1930’s. The second evening we went out to a local Mexican restaurant and then Jackie and Lynn treated us to a wonderful farewell waffle breakfast just before our departure!
Click on any of the individual pictures to see an enlarged view
Jason – Fairhope, Alabama
This stop was different in that we were not in the driveway of someone’s home, but rather their business. Jason, a former school teacher turned restaurant owner is a RV’er wanna-be. Having some restaurant experience in his past life, Jason opened this restaurant about 11 years ago and now is ready to sell and hit the road.
He’s joined all the RV clubs out there, is constantly reading RV’ers blogs and watching YouTube videos about the RV lifestyle and invites RV’ers to his restaurant so that he can have the opportunity to meet and learn from others.
RV’er friends of ours (that we had met in Arizona in 2016) were staying at an Escapees RV park just a few miles away, and so they came on over and we had a great night together enjoying shrimp PoBoys and fried clams.
In the morning, I went on over to the kitchen early while Jason was prepping for the lunch crowd. I followed him around enjoying the fresh hot coffee and talking about our life histories and RV’ing.
Click on any of the individual pictures to see an enlarged view
Our Boondocking site at the parking lot
The boat ramp down to the marina on the river
Yes, this is a lifeboat!
Herb & Kathy on the patio
Herb, Jason, and Kathy
Outside the restaurant
Another outside view
As we’ve said before, “although seeing the sites as we travel around the country is great … the really wonderful experiences are the new friends we make along the way”, and we thank Boondockers Welcome for helping us to that end.
Driveway surfing is just one more way to experience the good life … maybe you’ll try it someday yourself!
One of the benefits of belonging to the Escapee’s RV Club is the opportunity to have your rig (and tow vehicle) weighed. They call it their SmartWeigh service.
Although you can get weighed at many of the truck stops around the country, the Escapees service includes weighing of not only the rig as a whole or weighing of each axle, but also the weight of the rig (or vehicle) on EACH CORNER. This helps the RV’er to know how their load is distributed within the RV and where you might need to move (or remove) weight to get your rig within specs for a safe ride.
The manufacturers weight rating label is typically (not always) located inside the rig either on a wall or inside one of the cabinets. I’ve seen travel trailers that have them on the outside of the rig as well. In any event they should be located either inside or made of a material such that they will not easily get worn or be destroyed by weather or people.
Note that the weight rating label I reference above DOES NOT indicate the individual Axle Weight Ratings (GAWR), only the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). This label shows the math using some known (& unknown) standards.
Our rig when filled with fuel, water, and 770 pounds of humans, still allows for a Cargo Carrying Capacity (CCC) of 1770 pounds. But how is that weight actually distributed?
For a more complete and accurate assessment of your rig’s weight, it is important to know the individual Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR) and the tire manufacturers recommended inflation pressure for given loads. If you bought your rig new you should have it with your Owners Manual papers. If you bought yours used like we did, you should be able to find this information online at your rig manufacturer’s (or chassis) web site.
From the chart that shows in the link above, you can see that our Freightliner chassis has a Front Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR) of 9,350 pounds, a Rear GAWR of 17,000 for a total Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 26,350 pounds. This is the TOTAL that includes the RV, fuel, water, passengers, and cargo. I can’t explain why the sticker inside the cabinet states 26,850 while the Freightliner chassis data calls out 26,350 pounds … a 500 pound difference.
If the weight was evenly distributed, this would allow for 4,675 pounds on EACH front tire and 4,250 on each of the four rear tires. Remember that these weight ratings are for the AXLES, not the tires. That’s a separate issue we’ll cover further down the page.
Enter the SmartWeigh system.
The pad is a long and level concrete pad that the customer can drive their motorhome and toad (or truck and trailer) onto at the direction of the weighmaster.
The driver stops as directed by the weighmaster, where then the individual scales are placed into depressions or cavities in the concrete so the driver can then safely and smoothly roll forward onto the scale when directed by the weighmaster.
The weighmaster moves the scales from axle to axle (1 scale on each side) and records each individual wheel weight. Again, it’s important to know not only HOW MUCH weight you are carrying as compared to the manufacturers specification, but WHERE you are carrying the weight so as to provide the safest possible loading.
SmartWeigh also provides the owner with a detailed data sheet of how your rig compares to the manufacturer’s weight rating. Here’s the data sheet with our numbers.
You can see that our front corner weights are under the Front GAWR by 1250 pounds but we’re a little heavier on the passenger side, so we need to move some of our cargo in the basement from the curb side to the road side.
The rear axle weighs in at 17,550 pounds, 550 pounds OVER the GAWR for the rear axle so we need to lighten the load by removing some items and/or moving what we are carrying more toward the front of the coach.
SO NOW LET’S TALK TIRES …
We ride on Goodyear tires designed for motorhome use. The model # is G670 and the size is 275/70R/22.5. The manufacturers data chart shows the maximum load per various cold inflation pressures.
I generally run the coach tires at 100 p.s.i. cold inflation pressure. You can see on the chart above that at 100 p.s.i. the front TIRES are capable of carrying 5,850 pounds. You’ll remember that the SmartWeigh chart shows we’re carrying 3,900 and 4,200 so we’re well under the limit on the front. We could run 85 p.s.i. and still be well within the safety margin.
Since we have “duallys” on the rear axle (two tires on each side), we therefore split the total corner weight between the tires. The chart shows that at 100 p.s.i. we can carry 5,390 on each tire or 10,780 pounds on each rear corner. SmartWeigh tells us we are running 8,900 pounds on the curb side and 8,650 on the road side, again well within the manufacturers load limit for 100 p.s.i. inflation pressure. And again, we could run 85 p.s.i. on the rear as well.
Are you a current RV’er? Do you travel pulling a travel trailer or 5th wheel trailer? Or do you drive a motorhome and pull a car or truck behind?
We’ve had a fifth wheel trailer in the past and this is our 2nd motorhome. We enjoy the freedom that the motorhome gives us, along with the ease of parking when it comes to our evening camping spot.
We’ve owned this Airstream motorhome for about two years now and although we’ve looked at other rigs out there – both newer and older along with bigger and smaller … we think this 2002 36′ coach is just right for the two of us and our full-time RV travels.
I made this video of the exterior of our coach to give others who might not be aware of some of the features of many class A motorhomes an idea of what to expect. For those of you who might currently own a motorhome, it might be interesting for you to see some of the differences between ours and what you currently own.
Although there are a lot of similarites from manufacturer to manufacturer and model to model, there are also a lot of differences and this video just points out some of the features of our 2002 Airstream 365 XC Diesel Pusher motorhome.
I hope you enjoy seeing our coach and what it has to offer. I’ll be publishing a companion video that will feature the interior and further explain some of the inside systems.
In the meantime, we just completed our interior remodel (paint, light & bath fixtures, etc) and you can see that video by following this link