Go Fetch It Chapter 2

 image0014The Bill and Kit Go Fetch It Trip (Maine to Minnesota and Back)-Chapter Two

Monday, September 29, 2008:

Took the Arctic Fox back to the dealer for some minor warranty work and to readjust the hitch for safe towing which is a BIG deal to me. Ended up spending 3 hours there as the mechanic realized that our truck was capable of towing 10,500 pounds and the hitch system he normally installs for this model trailer is a 6000 pound version. After checking the weight bias and learning “we” will be bringing some very “necessary” equipment on our travels he upgraded us to the 12,000 pound model. No extra charge…..very nice and competent sales and service staff. Following a final stop at Culvers Restaurant (our third this week) we were off to cousin Billy’s. If you are ever in this area of the country you must stop at Culvers. The best burgers I’ve tasted…..even beats out “In and Out Burger” out west!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008:

Kit’s turn…Spent a couple of days with my cousin Billy and his wife Char. They were kind enough to allow us to park the camper alongside their garage on a concrete pad and provide us with electricity and water. Works great!

Billy and his wife Char

Billy and his wife Char's Residence

Billy took us down to Pepin, Wisconsin to see my mom’s cousin Wilma who is 87 and still going strong. She has lived in the same house she was born in so had many stories and antics to share with us. We were very happy to see one another and she wanted us to stay longer. Billy and Char check on her periodically and take care of things for her when needed.

Afterwards, Billy took us on a tour of Hudson where he and my mom grew up. We got to see his childhood home as well as my mom’s childhood home. I had lived there for a few months when I was 10 years old so it was nice to see my Grandma’s house again. We also went to the cemetery to visit our family gravesites.

Hudson is the home of the world famous “Crutch Fence”:

Hudson - Home of the world famous Crutch Fence

Hudson - Home of the world famous Crutch Fence

There sure are a lot of folks in Hudson, Wisconsin hobbling about!?

We all went to Applebee’s for dinner afterwards, then spent a couple of hours going through family pictures. We brought some home to scan and put on a CD to share with family. Overall had a nice 9 days in the Twin Cities.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008:

On the road south, it’s getting cold in Minnesota! We were on our way to Davenport, Iowa but we would have arrived late and didn’t want to sleep on a couch…..sorry. Much to our chagrin, we missed seeing the “Worlds Largest Frying Pan” in LaPorte, IA. Oh well, one has to leave something for the next time through.

The roads are good, the traffic light and the weather was clear and getting warmer. Gas is still relatively cheap with 10% to 20% of corn based bio-fuel in the mix. The truck seems to tolerate the stuff just fine but the MPG appears to be suffering. However that could be due to its tugging our 22 foot home along. Filled up today at $3.28/Gal. We stayed at a nice new campground in Urbana, Iowa where Kit found the perfect road to set up for the night.

Campground in Urbana, Iowa

Campground in Urbana, Iowa

The RV Park was carved out of a corn field so “since they built it….we came”….sorry.

Field of Dreams?

Field of Dreams?

Only made 220 miles due to a late start out of Blaine, MN. For some reason we are not in a big hurry then we travel anymore. Um……lets see…..we have no particular place to be and no particular time to be there. Gotta love the retired life.

Thursday, October 2, 2008:

Headed East through Illinois and thought about stopping at Normal, IL but they wouldn’t let us in the town for some reason…..sorry. So we pushed on into Crawfordsville, Indiana staying in another KOA. Once again mentioning Don’s name gave NO DISCOUNT! A nice heavily wooded campground with very nice facilities however.

I should mention that the trailer is a dream to tow. I hardly notice it is there. I guess the decision to haul a small trailer with a big truck is bearing fruit. Haven’t formally checked the fuel economy yet but it appears to be in the 12 MPG range. The proportional brake controller brings the rig to a smooth and confident stop. And the sway control, a BIG deal to me, is working perfectly. Many large trucks zoomed past us and nary was a bobble felt. Now if I can keep the shiny side up everything will be bliss in Trailer Towing Ville.

Stay tuned for tales of further adventures,

Bill/Dad/Poppy and Kit/Mom/Guma

Go Fetch It Chapter 1

 image0013The Bill and Kit Go Fetch It Trip (Maine to Minnesota and back)-Chapter one

Friday, September 19, 2008:

Left Maine at 0900 stopping in Falmouth for some grooming and continued on by taking the Mass Pike to the NY Thruway stopping for the night at a Hampton Inn in Utica NY. Received a super good military discount of 50% off and the desk clerk set us up in a deluxe room with a large hot tub next to the king sized bed. Mileage for the day was only 396 due to the late start. Weather has been great (70’s and clear) and the traffic and road conditions have been very good.

Saturday, September 20, 2008:

Made it through NY, PA, OH and into Indiana where we stopped for the night at another Hampton Inn in Freemont. Again received a pretty decent military discount. So far the military discount has been better than AARP. In addition the various desk clerks ask questions about ones service and this guy even said “thanks for serving”. Pretty cool; a lot different than during the Viet Nam era. Another great day, weather wise, however as soon as we passed from Pennsylvania into Ohio the roads turned to crap. We did make 576 miles today.

Sunday, September 21, 2008:

Big Day for lifelong RV fans; we decided to make a pilgrimage to the National RV Museum and Hall of Fame. We wanted to see the history of our recently renewed activity and pay homage to those who have gone before us. But wait…..its closed on Sundays…..bummer! Oh well, we will catch it on the return trip. Weather good, roads good, traffic good…..until we neared Chicago. Pretty congested and everyone is going 70+ MPH, even on Sunday!? We finally escaped into Wisconsin and stopped for lunch in Madison in honor of Frank Slinger. Ate at a neat place called Erin’s Snug Irish Pub. Arrived at our destination of Maple Grove, Minn-e-so-ta in the early evening and stayed at a Holiday Inn. Discount OK but not as good as the two previous nights. Another high mileage day-592.

Note: While in Indiana we performed a mileage check of the truck since the roads were flat, there was very little traffic with no wind and there is a nifty AVG MPG readout in the dash which has proven pretty accurate. Below are the results:

Speed Duration MPG

55 MPH 10 Min. 19.4

60 MPH 10 Min. 17.7

65 MPH 10 Min. 16.4

70 MPH 10 Min. 15.6

Pretty neat, huh? I guess it is true that for large profile vehicles the frontal area wind resistance plays a huge factor in fuel economy.

Monday, September 22, 2008:

Picked up our RV. See the “Happy Campers”:

Happy Camper

Happy Campers

And moved to the local KOA in honor of Don Fellows. Don, I told the proprietors that I personally knew you but….no discount!? They did give us a military discount however! Man it’s great to be a veteran in this day and age!! So far the trailer is working out great and all the systems and equipment are checking out ok. We will stay here for a few days to insure there are not any warranty work needs and to visit family that live in the area. There are a bunch of huge trailers and motorhomes near us making for a David vs Goliath feeling. However we were moved up the food chain a bit by a couple traveling with their dog that pulled in with this:

image0053

Now we don’t feel so tiny!image0073

Tuesday, September 23, 2008:

Off to Wal*Mart, Target, Rainbow Foods, and Menards to outfit “Kit’s Doll House”. We proceeded to get “way lost” when our GPS and Navigator let the map fly out the open truck window and it took a while to find our way back to the KOA. In the afternoon we visited with my dad and his friend Henrietta:

Bill's Dad and his friend Henrietta

Kathy and Bill with Bill's Dad

He is doing well, we had a nice visit and he loaded us up with some family stuff which I gladly took. And……on the way there…..we got lost…..AGAIN! This time the GPS and Navigation system got into a bit of an argument with the driver so it was time to upgrade. Off to Best Buy for an electronic GPS and Navigator system (Garmin Nuvi 260W). Life is good in Bill & Kit Ville again.

Sept. 28th, 2008:

My turn….

Just for the record, I knew instantly, when we discovered that Grandpa Tucker had just bought a GPS the day before we arrived, that Pop would NEED one!! Actually, Mr. Gadgetfreak is having lots of fun with his new toy. And, now I can view the scenery without having to wrestle with the paper map!

At this very moment, Mr. Gadgetfreak is monitoring the big motorhome with a truck full of “toys” get hitched up to leave the campground.

We have been to visit Grandpa Tucker and Henrietta twice now, both times very enjoyable. Grandpa gave Pop a lot of family things and Henrietta shared her beautiful quilting treasures with me.

We have also visited Uncle Howard and Aunt Vi and their two sons, Dave and Mark. We also met Michael, Mark’s son who will be 9 years old on Oct. 8th. A very delightful little boy. He enjoys playing with his Legos while visiting with the old folks. The first time we were there, we were invited to dinner in the dining room at the Eagle Crest Home, where they live. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and are very happy Uncle Howard and Aunt Vi live in such a lovely place with many nice residents and activities. The second time we visited, they took us to a local restaurant for lunch which was very nice.

Uncle Howard and Aunt Vi

Uncle Howard and Aunt Vi and their two sons, Dave and Mark.

This is a great area; we would love to spend a couple of months here to explore. Since we just picked up the trailer, we have needed to purchase a few things to operate a mini household. Many things were brought from home but little by little, we discover things we need. A few trips to Walmart and Target have sufficed.

Today, we plan to hang out around the campground, get some laundry done and begin to pack things up. We’re heading back to the camper dealership tomorrow morning for a minor tune-up, and will then head over to Cousin Billy and Char’s place in Blaine, MN which is just north of the Twin Cities.

I’m back-guess what? We haven’t gotten lost once since Tuesday. This gadget is really cool. However what one puts in is what one gets. I entered the address for Aunt Vi and the gadget spoke with a soft female voice guiding us the proper address. However upon arrival the female voice announced that we had arrived at “Virgin Islands”. Good thing we weren’t going to visit Uncle Hugh Jass…..OK, say it out loud…..sorry.

Oh, yea…..filled the gas tank in the truck today…..$3.39 per gallon. Not bad, eh?

Stay tuned for Chapter #2  . . .

Love, Bill-Dad-Poppy and Kit-Mom-Guma (retired navigator)