Our first real trip in the RV was set to start Sunday June 20th at Smith Mountain Lake, which is one of my favorite places on Earth. My grandparents had a house there when I was a child and I spent every summer there from the age of five until I was 13 or so. I booked a campsite at the state park there the minute we found our rig. Since we didn't want a repeat of our adventures in Linden, Joseph (aka My Marine) spent several days out at his dad's going over the engine with a fine toothed comb and replacing whatever needed it. He also learned the ins and outs of the generator so that we would have electricity when needed. The generator turned out to not have any problems at all, it just hadn't been run much by the previous owner and the battery was dead. I think his dad was impressed with our purchase but he would never admit it as it is a Ford and he is a Chevy man.
By this point we had named our rig Rallye Girl and gotten our title and tags and such. She is a 1986 Fleetwood Jamboree Rallye. She is 28 feet long and can conceivably sleep 6 and seat 7. As far as we can tell from her paperwork she was originally purchased here in Virginia and we are the 4th owners. We know that she has been as far west as Colorado as there was work done on her out there back in the '90's. She is in excellent condition considering the other rigs we looked at and the price couldn't be beat.
Sunday morning we packed our clothes and our computers and lots of snacks and drinks and cleaning supplies and anything else we could think of that we might need. We set out late in the morning with first goal being a stop at my dad's house. We were only 10 miles down the interstate when problems began. First she started running hot and before we could even get to the next exit which was less than a mile away she overheated. We pulled over and Joseph got out and lifted the hood. Evidently the cap hadn't been tightened enough on the radiator when it had been checked last, and it had come off allowing all the fluids to boil off. We let things cool down a little and then we we nursed her to the exit, riding about 5 miles an hour for about 50 yards at a time on the shoulder until we got there. Four gallons of antifreeze and we were back in business. We decided to take route 11 instead of 81 so that we wouldn't have to travel as fast and so that if the rig overheated again we could stop more easily. We made it to Dad's and then on to the lake with no further issues.
We didn't end up arriving at the lake until around 9:30pm. It was dark and quiet, but the office for the campground was still open and we got our map and site assignment and set off into the woods. Joseph parked and hopped out to set up the exterior systems while I rearranged the interior from "travel" mode to "home" mode. By the time he was finished so was I. This has now become a routine for us and we both finish our duties in under five minutes and are ready to relax. We did indeed relax. It felt so good to finally be "away" in our rig. We slept late, lazed around the campsite and took our good old sweet time on any errand or project. This was our first chance to really relax together and although we had plenty to do, we didn't really have deadlines...well, except for one, but more on that later.
We spent our time on Monday and Tuesday solving rig issues, fitting her out with new rugs and dishes and things to make her homey. By Tuesday afternoon we were desperate for internet, not only because we missed being online but because Joseph had a paper due that needed to be written and uploaded. We had yet to see any signs or advertising for free wifi. One of the lucky things was that I had spent enough time at the lake that I knew my way around the local towns, so we had been shopping at Walmart and Kroger and Autozone, we had eaten at several restaurants and we had passed tons of other restaurants and businesses, but not one mentioned free wifi. One of the lovely new buildings that we had passed every day was a library. Now I am a library girl anyway so I was curious to see this new library, but I was also pretty sure that they would have wifi. We pulled the rig into the parking lot around 4pm and we weren't sure if the library would be open past 5pm. As it turned out the library was open til 8pm and we had signal out in the parking lot, so Joseph wrote his paper and I played online to my little heart's content.
After he uploaded his paper we had accomplished all of the "work" that we needed to accomplish and we could finally play! We had been at the lake for 3 days and had yet to see the water except when crossing the Hales Ford Bridge, which we had done several times a day. I know, sad right? Staying at the lake but never enjoying the water! Wednesday was the day to change this. We rented a pontoon boat from Parrot Cove, which is my favorite marina, and I took Joseph to see the dam and my grandparents former property and just to enjoy the water, the boats and the houses. We had our cooler full of drinks and snacks and they even let us take Seamus on the boat which was a pleasant surprise. We were out on the water for 4-5 hours and although I spent almost all that time under the roof of the boat, I ended up with a TERRIBLE sunburn that turned into sun poison and still bothers me weeks later!
Thursday morning we had to contemplate moving on. We had to leave the campground for good by 2pm. We really didn't want to go, we wanted to spend more time on the water, we wanted to spend more time in the rig. We simply didn't want the trip to end. We moved very slowly that morning packing things up and putting the rig back into "travel" mode. We were very happy with our new little home though. We put her through her paces and she came through with flying colors.