Wednesday, April 9, 2014


April 5th, 6th

 Even though it was wet, we decided to lay over a day in Arkansas at Lake Dardanelle State Park. The host was very nice, the rangers super friendly, and the facilities are awesome. Jenna and I each had a chance to run. After we all showered, we hit the ranger station, which has an incredible aquarium. We were all entertained with the fish, turtles, snakes, and honey bees. 

 On the caravan front, I discovered the heater wouldn't ignite. The piezo wasn't working. Again, I resorted to Google. To my surprise, this exact heater is still in production. I found the manual online, and realized the electric piezo runs on two AA batteries. After finding the compartment, and replacing the batteries, the heater runs again!  

We realized that the options ahead would be either state parks or RV parks. While RV parks offer full hookups, laundry, showers, etc. We love state parks! They're inexpensive, typically facilities with showers, and great options for recreation. So, decided to do a few 300+ mile days in a row, versus 500 mile followed with a layover day.

April 7th 

We found Foss State Park, OK, on a very windy evening. The ranger thought it was chilly, but we let her know that we left our house with 2' of snow in the yard - no complaints about the cold. 

Jenna got a run in. The kids were very entertained with the tumbleweed. So much they gathered tumbleweed from all over and built a monster tumbleweed. I took photo and wrestled with the fridge. The wind kept blowing it out. 

We woke up to a beautiful sunrise over the lake, then packed for New Mexico. 

Monday, April 7, 2014


April 2nd - 5th 

We're finally in a groove. Took a couple nights to get the caravan systems fully operational. Reminds me off opening up the AMC Huts after the long NH Winter.  Basically we left home with 2' of snow in the yard, and our first pitch was Lake Erie. Geneva State Park was open, but all facilities were closed. The lake still had ice, and temps were just above freezing. I fired up the propane heater in the morning to take off the chill. 

Our second night at Mammoth Cave NP, we were able to fire up the fridge and add water to the tank. Both took some work. The water pump draws under an amp. After flushing we had an air bubble in the line which took work (gravity) to remove. The fridge took hours to get going. 

I made a few mods to the 3-way fridge, adding a new fan, with a switch, and an automatic piezo for igniting propane. I did this over the winter, and was able to fire it up in the yard before leaving. However, this is the test. And I thought I had failed. I couldn't get it to start. After searching Google I discovered these Dometic refers are temperamental in damp conditions. Apparently the monsoon we drove through drenched the firebox. I resorted to 12v, in hopes that would dry things out. It did! Food is cold. Now we can hike!

Mammoth Cave was a blast. Although very crowded with school kids and guided groups.  We hiked one of the exterior loop trails and didn't see a soul. Kentucky woods are cool. Tall cedar, little undergrowth, and very open. Nice to be able to see through the woods. 

Returning to the caravan I could hear the trip alarm on the inverter screaming. When I opened the door there was smoke, and I found the coffee bean grinder smoking! I tore into it and discovered a chip on the timing board burst and had melted a hole in the back. No idea how that happened. 

The following morning we packed up and drove 500 miles, crossing the Mississippi, and pitched at Lake Dardanelle State Park, Arkansas.