Now begins the next chapter in our adventures, Florida to Arizona, 2019!!!

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Comment by Kevin F Smith on Sunday

Today is a short trip, from Orange, TX to Brookshire, TX, just 148 miles. The goal is to get to the other side of Houston and put some distance from that city on a Sunday...because driving through Houston is scary! Even on a Sunday the traffic is insane...I can't imagine driving though Houston on a week day, especially during rush hour.

The inverter worked quite well running the little 24" flat screen TV in the bedroom last night, so that is a plus. We did take our big pure sine inverter and the Morningstar solar charge controller and breakers out of the Holiday Rambler, but I won't be hooking them up until we are back to work in Arizona...and then I have to decide on what kind of solar panels I want, and how many watts we'll need. I'm even going to do some research into those flexible solar panels that you can glue down to the roof and even walk on...not sure how much they cost per watt, how efficient they are, or how long lived they are. More than likely I'll just get a folding setup of traditional panels that can be stored in the under compartments if I can find a relatively lightweight setup that puts out around 250 watts or so. I'm also going to have to do some more battery research. The battery compartment (under the entry steps) will only hold the starting battery, and 2 golf cart batteries. So I'm going to do some research to find out which batteries currently being made, in golf cart dimensions, hold the most amount of amp hours.

We are making slow progress out west, back to Arizona...but we are not nearly as fatigued as we usually are after each leg of the trip. This coach handles so well and the ride is so smooth that it is night and day from our last 3 RVs.

After coffee and breakfast, I'll do my routine fluid and pressure checks (it is SO nice being able to check the brake fluid at a glance!...lol!), take the pups out again (they woke me at 6am this morning), start up the Itasca and let it warm up...and then it is off to the other side of Houston. I'll reset the trip meter before we leave and do another mileage check when we touch down in Brookshire.

Tomorrow's journey will be from the Brookshire, TX Flying J, to the San Antonio, TX Flying J...about 161 miles. And the next day is a longer pull, from San Antonio to Fort Stockton, about 313 miles...so more than likely, we'll fuel up in San Antonio, and then drive on another 50 miles or so and stay the night in a rest stop or truck stop. Then the next leg of the journey is from Fort Stockton, to Anthony, TX, 261 miles. Then from Anthony, TX to Lordsburg, NM, 143 miles...and then from Lordsburg, NM to Safford, AZ to stay in the nice RV park we usually stay at, but this time for only a week. That leg of the trip is only 75 miles. When we leave Safford to our final destination in Gold Canyon, AZ, we'll be backtracking to I-10 and taking the longer way around, instead of taking Hwy 70 and Hwy 60 in through Globe and Surprise. The downhills are scary going that way, extremely steep...and I don't think the D-Celerator exhaust brake is currently working on the Itasca (tried it going down the big bridge in Lake Charles, LA, and while the power light came on, the brake indicator light on the device did not, and it didn't seem to make an impact on the braking (I felt and heard no difference at all). So instead of the scary 121 miles through the mountains down 70/60, we'll backtrack down Route 191 back to I-10, which is 230 miles total, but SO worth it not having to deal with those steep inclines and declines. Once I fix the engine brake, I'll feel more comfortable with mountains, since this RV certainly has no problems climbing them!

Stay tuned for more adventures and more pictures!

Kev

Comment by Kevin F Smith on Sunday

Will do Postman!

Comment by postman on Sunday

Kevin wave as you go by exit 620.

Comment by Kevin F Smith on Sunday

Another trouble free leg of the journey, and we are in Orange, TX!!!

The trip was 286.6 miles, and when I topped off the diesel at the Flying J, it took 27.41 gallons. Which means we are getting 10.45 mpg!!! Woohoo! We aren't going to save a ton of money since diesel is so much more expensive than gasoline...but we'll save a little, have a TON of horsepower, and the ride from this rig is so quiet and smooth! Each leg of this journey I'm going to keep track of the MPG, and then average it out at the end.

Transmission fluid level was perfect again when we pulled in, but I do have a slow leak in the power steering. It was down about 1/3 quart when I checked it this morning. I suspect it is leaking at the pump, either from the pump itself, or one of the lines (hopefully the low pressure return line...lol!). I say that because we haven't lost a drop of transmission fluid from what the dip stick indicates, but there is some red drops of transmission fluid on the bottom of the Allison transmission. So my guess, since the power steering takes the same fluid, is that it leaked from on top in the engine compartment, and then dripped down to the bottom of the transmission pan. I can't find any indication of a leak anywhere else. I'll have to fix that when I get to Arizona and have time and money to do so.

I also picked up a cheap 400 watt inverter at the last Flying J to run the small flat screen TV and satellite receiver dish...I tested it and it can handle the power. Not sure how much battery life the two Interstate golf cart batteries will give me, but I'm guessing it will make it so we can watch TV at night without running the generator. The cost of propane is pretty high right now, and we just filled the tank. I'm not sure how efficient the Onan is, but running the TV off the inverter will no doubt save us a lot of money by not having to burn through so much propane.

And that was today's adventure folks! The Flying J in Orange's RV parking spots were full of trucks and cars (even though there were tons of open car parking spots)...so we parked among the semis in the back. I really want to start carrying a can of washable blaze orange spray paint...and every time I see a vehicle that isn't an RV (or isn't pulling a trailer, boat, etc), I want to spray paint the 2 letters "RV" on the side of the vehicle in big capital letters...lol! Think they would get the hint?

Tomorrow we have a much shorter leg of the trip, from Orange, TX to Brookshire, TX, so we can make it to the other side of Houston on a Sunday. Only 148 miles tomorrow.

Kev

Comment by Kevin F Smith on January 12, 2019 at 8:45am

I tried that Rich, but thanks!  Apparently there is no electric fuel pump on this thing, just a vacuum pump that pumps the fuel when you turn over the engine.  From what I gather so far, I'm supposed to start the engine right after draining the separator, and then give it some throttle to keep it from stalling until that air bubble is gone.  Plus, I might have drained too much fuel, creating a large air pocket...I'm still getting used to this diesel thing, and I emptied the fuel/water separator completely...from what I read, you are just supposed to open it long enough for the diesel to run clean.

So after coffee this morning, I'll be fixing the 12 volt plug for the Brake Buddy in the Jeep, doing all my fluid and tire checks, and then we'll be hitting the road west again.  295 miles on our next leg of the journey, from where we are now in Gulfport, Mississippi, to the Flying J in Orange, TX.

Kev

Comment by Rich Thomas on January 11, 2019 at 8:00pm

Hi Kevin, you might try turning the key to the run position next time so the fuel pump is filling the separator while you are draining it. that's how I do my diesel tractors. Granted they aren't  RV's so it maybe totally different for you. 

Comment by Kevin F Smith on January 11, 2019 at 7:30pm

I'll be setting my trip meter before we leave tomorrow, and top off the diesel when we get to the Anthony, TX Flying J.  I'm really curious what kind of fuel economy we are getting, since it runs at such low RPMs and seems to be sipping fuel so far.

Kev

Comment by Kevin F Smith on January 11, 2019 at 7:27pm

So far so good! We arrived safely and with no mechanical problems at the Flying J in Gulfport, Mississippi, about a 250 mile drive.

When we arrived, we filled the propane tank, the diesel tank, and while the Itasca was still warm and running in idle, I checked the transmission fluid, and it was at the perfect level. Then we parked it, took the pups out, had dinner, and then fired up the generator.

WOW what a different experience driving this Suncruiser is! The wind barely made an impact, we could barely feel the push from passing semi trucks...and instead of flooring it to make it up hills, I had to keep glancing down at the speedo to make sure I wasn't going over 60! This thing wants to boogie!

Before we leave tomorrow, I'll check the rest of the fluids, the tire pressures, and I have to do a quick project on the Jeep (which I laid out in a compartment already, easy to reach)...the 12 volt source that works with the key off for the Brake Buddy keeps blowing a 25 amp fuse...but if I plug the Brake Buddy into the other 2 12 volt receptacles, it works fine and no fuses blow. So it is the power plug, not the Brake Buddy. Which means I am going to run some new 10 gauge wires right to the battery with an inline fuse, and hook it up to a 12 volt female receptacle that is in my electrical box, and put it under the dash board (that is the easy solution...to troubleshoot or replace the one IN the dash, I would have to take half the dash apart...no thanks!).

Also, anyone know the correct procedure for draining the water/diesel separator? Is there a bleeding procedure I didn't know about? When I started the Itasca this morning, it started right up...and then stalled...and then it look a while before it would start again. It was turning over, just not getting any fuel, so air must have gotten into the system when I drained the separator. Starts and runs just fine now, but gave me a bit of a scare this morning.

Tomorrow, we drive another 200 or so miles to Anthony, TX to stay at that Flying J, and then on Sunday, we drive about the same distance, which will put us through Houston on a Sunday, and we'll land at the Flying J in Brookshire, TX on the other side of Houston.

Kev

Comment by Kevin F Smith on January 11, 2019 at 7:27pm

Thanks Rich...and LMAO Postman!!!

Comment by postman on January 11, 2019 at 7:12pm

I have developed a "Where's Kevo?" smart phone app. It's FREE for the first mile, then $0.99 a mile thereafter. I accept crypto monopoly money ONLY as all US currency has been shutdown. 

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