Overall, we really enjoyed the Land Yacht and mostly I think we like the convenience of land. On the boat, when Dawn wants to go for run, she has to row the dinghy in, drag it up the beach, clean off her feet, put on her running shoes. A half-hour later the run begins. On the Land Yacht, you put your shoes on and you open the door and you run!
For me, I liked working on the RV. I liked crawling underneath it. I liked not worrying it would sink if I did something wrong. It was awesome to have my older brother (and one time mechanic) help me work on the engine. I love me a project and our crappy motor home was definitely a project.
Shopping and dining was also a treat. That had to do with land, and also with being in the US. There’s just sooo much stuff in the US. It’s truly amazing how convenient the US is. Things which will take an entire day of busing and walking to get in Mexico take 10 minutes in the US. You want something? Pull off the freeway and get it.
The only thing wrong with our gear\setup was not having a second vehicle. RV Parks are not located as close to things as you might have thought. They are frequently 20-30 miles away from the stuff you want to go to see. Our RV was small enough, we’d just drive it there and look for parking, but there were definitely times we sat tight at the RV Park because we didn’t want to unhook the RV. We had bikes, but again frequently we were too far away for our comfy beach cruiser bikes to make that kind of trip reasonable. Public transportation was also a failure in most places. A small car, motorcycle or scooter would have been great. A scooter would have been limiting though since it cannot go freeway speeds. If we RV again, we’ll have a second vehicle.
The route we went on was not ideal. We drove across the US SW in August. The A/C in the engine didn’t work. That sucked! Next US trip will be coastal or mountains for sure. I would also like to go back to the desert SW in the winter someday. From the Grand Canyon (loved!) to the Appalachians (Dollywood was fun) was mind numbing, tedious and devoid of things we found interesting. Don’t need to go back there!
It did teach us a few things about what we like and need in our personal space and our lifestyle. These will be things that we’ll use as we move forward with future adventures. As an adventure this was a good RV practice run.
Back in October, we spent two weeks putting the boat back together and getting things ready. It was still pretty hot then and I (Patrick) was a pretty uncomfortable during the days. It always takes me some time to adjust. All of our (read Dawn’s) work prepping the boat before we left paid off. We had only a tiny bit of mold on some clothes, and that had happened before as well. But the boat itself was spotless. Having Rob from sv Katrina Liana open/close the boat and keep an eye on things for worth every penny!
When we left last season, my free surfboard was on its last legs and was about to break. I gave it to one of the kid boats for them to play with. I hear it got good use and eventually did break. It was part of the plan to get a new board here in Mexico from a local shaper. I wanted to spend my money here and I wanted my first new board to be from the place I learned to surf.
Tzahui Poo is a local surfer and owner of a family run surf rental and lessons shop in Mita called Mictlan Surf. I met with Tzahui at his home and shaping loft. We went over what I wanted and I was able to pick out the colors and put my own logo on the board! All of that for 2/3rds of what I would have paid for a new mass produced board. El Chicharo is 9’1” x 23” x 2-3/4” a basic longboard shape. Such a pleasure to ride! I dinged the board on like the 3rd day and had to send it back to Tzahui for repair. He loaned me a Bruce Jones. It didn’t have the specs on the bottom, but it was a bit narrower and less buoyant. I could ride it, but it was a struggle to catch waves. That’s more a function of my skill level right now. My board is perfect for me right now and will be a good longboard for me in the future too. I will definitely want to get some other boards though as I get better.
Anyway, since I got my new board, we’ve been up in Punta de Mita. The first week the swell was awesome with some 4-5 foot waves. PERFECT! That went away though and the past week or so, there’s been a lot of reading going on. I’ve also been watching Jacqueline Gargus’ Architecture 5110 from THE Ohio State University class on iTunes (Knowlton School of Architecture). I can tell she’s the kind of professor I would have enjoyed when I was in school. When we’re not filling our minds, we’ve been laying around on our boards looking at the fish, watching the pelicanos and terns catching fish on the reef, and cleaning the bottom of the boat.
Last year we let the bottom cleaning get away from us a bit. This year I think we need to be in the water once a week to clean up Deep Playa. There are two basic things we get on the bottom. First, a ring of slime around the waterline which is scrubbed off with a scotch bright pad. Second, barnacles. The barnacles are tiny, less than ¼” around right now. They have to be scraped off with a putty knife. It’s not hard work, you just run the knife along the hull and they pop-off. The hardest part is cleaning the entire bottom with a 3” wide blade! I’ve been thinking about making something about a foot wide out of scrap metal. I think it would be perfect.
Lots of routine, lots of relaxing, a bit of boredom. Another day in paradise. More on what’s to come next…
We’ve been aboard Deep Playa for about 5hours now. We’re getting things organized, unpacking and sweating a lot! All of our boat prep and the boat sitters paid off, we have zero mold and things are going together pretty quickly. Mexico is reminding why weleft in the summer as the air and water temp are still 90F! More on everything later, just wanted the word to get out that we’re home safe and sound.
We’re trying to balance the bags and keep them under the weight limits. 15 hours till take-off!
It’s 11pm EST and in 36 hours we should be back on Deep Playa.
See you soon!
Here’s the full route of RoadTrip 2012 – 5270 Miles!
Final Route RoadTrip 2012
I am really far behind on blog posts due to the lack of good internet. So here is Flagstaff’s blog post…but we are currently in Nashville, TN.
We were happy to get the hell outta Phoenix after record 113 degree temps sent us quickly heading north to Flagstaff. We were even more excited that it gave us an opportunity to spend some time with our friend Karin. After climbing from 1,500 feet in elevation to over 7,500 feet we enjoyed the greener more lush landscape and much lower temps that Flagstaff had to offer. We decided to stay at another KOA, KOA Flagstaff, which makes our third KOA on this trip so far. It was clean and beautiful with the added feature of being just feet away from some of the best hiking in the world. Karin was very gracious and took us on a little tour of downtown Flagstaff. I have never been so I thoroughly enjoyed it. Flagstaff is my kinda town. Karin warned that it has very strong gravitational pull and I totally agree. There are tons of people out and about on bikes and walking around just enjoying the outdoors. It has some awesome paved trails that lead in and out of downtown and follow the historical Route 66! It was so great to spend some QT with Karin and meet her roommate and doggies. Karin is a huge outdoor enthusiast and she graciously gave me a list of recommended trails to try for my morning run. So the next morning, it was bright and sunny and I was rearing to hit the trails. The KOA backs right up to the Elden Lookout trail and the Fatman’s Loop Trail. The trail climbs 2,500 feet in about 3 miles and ends right on top of Mount Elden at the Peaks Ranger station. I started out running and scampering up the many many switchbacks. The views were spectacular and so breath-taking that I had to stop and take a few pictures. I ran up the trail until it got so steep that I had to climb over big rocks and up stairs. I made it up there in one hour and ten minutes! So for those friends back in Seattle, Mt. Elden is about the same elevation as Camp Muir on Mount Rainier. I took in the amazing views of downtown Flagstaff and could even see Meteor Crater in the distance. After some rest and pics I descended the trail quickly and made it back to the trail head in one hour. But man, were my quads screamin’! And I loved every minute of it! After we spent some time with Karin we decided to visit the Lowell Observatory. If you don’t know what the Lowell Observatory is, it is the place where Pluto was discovered back in 1930! Man it was so cool. Pea and I spent several hours there walking around from lecture to lecture and movie to movie. The volunteers that work there are absolutely wonderful and engaging. My favorite part of the tour was seeing the Clark Refracting telescope, built in 1896 for $20,000! Today it is still used for education purposes. We also got to see the telescope that Clyde Tombaugh used to discover Pluto in 1930. After we spent hours walking around the campus we were told that we could stick around until after dark and look through some of the telescopes! Once they set everything up we were able to look through the Clark telescope to view the M11 Wild Duck Cluster, which is an open cluster formation of over 2,900 stars which are about 220 MILLION YEARS old! Amazing…then we got to look through another telescope to see the globular cluster M13 in the Hercules constellation and Vega, the brightest star in the Lyrae cluster. But the best part was seeing Saturn’s rings and it’s moon, Titan! I can’t even describe to you how breath-taking it was to see the rings so vividly. Pea asked the volunteer if he had any newspaper for me to stand upon (insinuating that I would pee the floor from my excitement…very funny Pea). As Karin mentioned, Flagstaff has a very strong gravitational pull…and she is right. We are going to stop back in Flagstaff after we leave the Grand Canyon.
Pea and I were looking forward to going to the Grand Canyon, it wasn’t originally on our planned route but since it is only an hour’s drive outside of Flagstaff it was the perfect opportunity to visit it. Pea was very much looking forward to seeing one of the biggest holes in the ground in the world. As he so eloquently put it, “You know how I love me some huge hole!”
- You know he is wondering how long it is going to take him to fill it.
- There is nothing like the awesome size of the Grand Canyon.
Real quick background. Our RV refrigerator, the Dometic RM2612 runs on AC Power or Propane. It involves witchcraft and physics, but it makes stuff cold. Pretty much right from the get-go the self-igniter for the Propane died. Then in Phoenix when it was 115F we learned it can’t keep up with that and we lost all our food. Since then it had seemed to just not be getting cold enough. While we were in Albuquerque we took it to Camping World to get a tune-up.
After four hours, the Technician at Camping world said the igniter and the lower board were bad. I had figured this going to into it. He said they don’t make the lower boards anymore. I asked him if there were 3rd party boards. He said, there are for the Norcolds, but Dometic is a Swedish company and they keep every secret. He then said the guy in the store would give us a deal on a drop-in replacement. ($1000 or so). They did clean the flu in the unit and when lit manually it was working way better, but it still needed the new board or if it ever blew out then propane would still be flowing and it would not relight.
Here’s the deal. Bill is either ignorant or the Camping World was trying to rip me off. It took me about 2 minutes on their free wifi to see that the dometic boards are widely available and that there is even a 3rd Party board with some improvements from Dinosaur Electronics.
I explained this to Bill, the Service Rep Jeanne and the parts guy. They all seemed shocked since they couldn’t find one. They sent us on our way with a free cleaning. I then called Jack Sisemore’s Traveland in Amarillo, TX. They had the Dinosaur Electronics board and the reigniter in stock! I paid them right over the phone to hold them for me.
Today I installed both pieces, took me about 30 minutes to remove the old ones and install the new. Refrigerator is now working awesome, automatically switches back and forth from AC to Propane. We’re happy!
If you’re older Dometic RM2612 is limping along, get the flu cleaned and have the lower board tested. There is a service manual in PDF on the web if you want to do the tests yourself. Its pretty easy with a multimeter.
We bought this vent at Camping World outside of Portland and have been driving around with it sitting in its box since then. Its a drop-in replacement for the vent the bathroom which also the only manual roof vent in the motorhome. There used to be a fantastic vent with a built-in fan in our motorhome (there are manuals for it), but for some reason it had been replaced over the years with a crappy non-fan one. Because there had been one in the past though the install was super easy as the wiring was already available in the ceiling and these things just drop right in to the 14″x14″ vent hole which is standard on all motorhomes.
While I was up there I slathered some Dicor Lap Sealant on a bunch of spots we think could leak and I spent about two hours cleaning regular house caulk on top of tree-sap on top of old sealant that was all around the skylight in our shower. I was able to clean it all up back to the original, still maleable sealant, and with the fresh coating that sylight seems to be water tight. It rained a few hours later, so hopefully that didn’t mess anything up. Nothing leaked though!