Saturday, April 12, 2014

4/11 Why It Takes Me So Long to Get Somewhere

Some of my friends wonder why I try to drive no more than 225 miles per day.  The biggest reason is that it is tiring to drive a large motorhome because you have to keep both hands on the wheel and continually adjust for things like wind and passing trucks that cause you to sway and move. 

The other is that I do a LOT of stopping.  I’ll use today’s drive as an example:

-         9:00 a.m.   Unhooked and left camp site after being swarmed by hundreds of tiny insects.  Some people around here call them gnats and others call them no-see-ums.  Don’t know what they really are, but they are tiny and they bite!  Need to drive 228 miles today to arrive at Lake Sherling Campground, just southwest of Montgomery, AL. 

-       9:20 a.m.   Left campground after dumping both tanks, while swatting.  Should have worn long sleeves but bugs were not bad yesterday.  Walked over to ask for directions to get propane refill. (15 minute stop)

-        9:35 a.m.   Made it a mile down the road to a nearby gas station to get my propane tank filled.  It is under the side of the rig, just behind the passenger door.  Attendant had trouble getting the hose screwed onto the fitting, so he had to get help.  Took the third guy to correctly screw it on and fill tank. Luckily bugs were not too bad here. Did not buy gas here because their prices were too high.  (15 minute stop)

-         10:30 a.m.   Made it 40 miles to a Home Depot parking lot where I could use my bathroom.  Also, turned on generator and heated up a breakfast sandwich in the microwave and got a Dr. Pepper for the road.  (7 minute stop)

-       11:30 p.m.   Had to pull off again to use the bathroom.  (I know, I know.)  Have driven 105 miles so far.  (4 minute stop)

-       Noon   Stopped at an Alabama Welcome Center because I did not have an Alabama map.  Picked up a new one and had a long chat with the lady at the desk about Dauphin Island, along the coast, and the Audubon Society Sanctuary there.  She had noticed my t-shirt from the Corkscrew Sanctuary in Florida so she thought I might be interested in the hummingbird banding that was going on that day.  She gave me several brochures on that part of Alabama because I told her I would be driving through again in early November and that looked like an interesting place.  Got a bottle of water from my refrigerator and headed back onto the freeway.  (25 minute stop)

-         2:05 p.m.   So far have driven 180 miles.  Pulled into a rest area to use my bathroom, grab some leftover chicken and another bottle of water for a late lunch.  Got my laptop out to decide if I should stay one night or two at the next stop.  Decided that since there were a lot of walk-in sites at West Point Lake, which is where I have reservations for Sunday and Monday, I would stay only one night at Lake Sherling.  (Eating lunch and going online took 50 minutes)

-        3:10 p.m.  Low on gas, so I got off the expressway again and put in as much gas as my debit card would allow, which was $97.  Visa and debit cards all have limits on a single gas transaction, so I can never quite fill up my 55 gallon tank.  It is irritating because it means I have to stop more often.  Have 40 miles to go.  (10 minute stop)

-       4:00 p.m.  Made it to Lake Sherling Campground.  Whew! 
Another point is that even on expressways, I only drive 60-65 MPH, sometimes less if heavy winds.  In addition, I often stop for groceries between campgrounds, because it is too much trouble to run out for something once I am there.  It IS nice, however, to pull over to use the bathroom, get something to drink and eat without having to find a restaurant.  I could even take a nap in a rest area if I wanted to.  Most people who are retired like me are really not in a hurry to get somewhere and a lot of people have pets to walk and feed on the road. 

Also, both today and yesterday, I drove through a lot of swamps on I-10 and then today on I-65.  Here is what they do to raise the expressway. Looks like you could fish off the highway. 

One section in Louisiana was 15 miles long!  I think there was one exit, but you can see how narrow the shoulders are.  Don't know what they do in case of an accident.


  1. We have found that if you go into the gas attendant and ask them to give you $200 in gas, you can avoid the transaction issue. Or, we just swipe our card twice back to back. Hope this helps you fill your tank!

  2. I've tried swiping the card twice, but that often does not work, at least with mine. What usually does work is using two different cards, but I am too lazy most of the time to do this.