A Long, tough day on the road

It was a dreadful drive today with horrendous traffic, torrential cloudbursts, construction detours and missed meals.

But the good news is that annoying leak at the anode rod near the hot water heater that dripped all the way down I-75 yesterday, somehow healed itself today. And the Roadtrek handled just fine, despite all that the weather and traffic threw against us.
I drove all 452 miles today. Jennifer is not yet comfortable enough with it to get behind the wheel  But for me, today was a great confidence builder. I’m now used to the vehicle and how to drive it, using the extra wide angle side mirrors to check my blind spots. I think I’d like those mirrors on my regular vehicle back home.
I also learned not to get too close to big trucks, which create a slipstream effect that can really buffet the extra high profile of the RT and startle you if you are not expecting it.
The radio in the RT is a disappointment. Very poor sound quality. There is no way to plug my iPhone or iPod in, for music or, in our case, audio books, which we love to listen to as we drive. I plan to replace it when we get home.
We made the northern Alabama town of Gadsden tonight and are staying at a very nice campground that backs up the the Black Creek and the awesome 90-foot Noccalula Falls.
The falls drop itself has been run successfully in whitewater kayaks at least once in late November 2011 by three expert kayakers. The water level was unusually high permitting a deep enough pool to form at the base of the falls. Ordinary water levels would not form enough of a pool to consider an attempt to run the drop. Here’s a very cool YouTube video of them doing it.
Noccalula Falls,is marked with a bronze statueof Cherokee princess Noccalula who, according to local legends, plunged to her death after being ordered by her father to marry a man she didn’t love. The bronze statue of Noccalula was, at the time of its creation, the first statue of a person jumping off a cliff. The bronze used in the statue was made from pennies collected from local school children in the mid-1960s.
We pulled in right at sunset. I made the hookups to water and electricity quickly and Jennifer and I walked around the campground, looked at the falls in the dark (they illuminate it with a colored spotlight) and made our way to a nearby Subway for a late dinner.
We’re not cooking anything yet. In our haste to leave we forgot plates and cooking utensils.
It’s very humid tonight, although the rain has stopped. I have the fan running but we may need the AC.
Time for bed and hopefully a better drive tomorrow to meet up with family.

Mike Wendland

Mike is a veteran journalist who, with his wife, Jennifer, travels North America in a small motorhome, blogging about the people, places, joys and adventure of RV life on the road. He enjoys camping (obviously), hiking, biking, fitness, photography, kayaking, video editing, and all things dealing with technology and the outdoors. See and subscribe to his RV Lifestyle Channel on YouTube, where he has hundreds of RV and travel related videos. His PC MIke TV reports, on personal technology are distributed weekly to all 215 NBC-TV stations.


  • Sounds like things are going well, Mike! You’ve now learned, safely, that the tall profile is a pretty good sail and the first few times you drive it in the wind or behind a big rig at highway speeds, it’s a “two hands on the wheel” experience. That said, it’s a very steady platform all the same.

    The anode/drain plug leak didn’t repair itself, so best to pay some attention to that when you have the time, teflon tape and the tool you need to get it tight. Depending on the quality of the water you fill your system with, you could find a pretty ugly and tough to remove stain down the side of your rig under the hot water heater cover.

    Hope the rest of your drive today is enjoyable. I was looking at the map yesterday and discovered your destination is only 1/2 hour from where I was in FL with a bunch of buddies a couple of years ago in the RT, Destin.

    Safe travels!


  • What a journey. Remember, a rough day in the RV is better than a good day in March in Michigan.

    Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body. But rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in hand, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming “WOO-HOO what a ride!” Author Unknown

  • Are you sure the leak is from the anode rod?

    There is a pressure relief valve near the top of the water heater. An occasional drip from there is normal. That means the part is doing its job releasing built up pressure.

  • Mike, If you feel that your are being buffeted by truck slipstream, check your tire pressure. They take (i believe I am correct but check the tag on the drivers door) 55 front and 80 rear. In our unit that makes a tremendous difference in dealing with cross winds. One of the first things that I did was replace the OEM stereo with a Kenwood. I also replaced the in dash speakers with two way. I had this completed where we live (Kansas City) by a local car stereo shop Santa Fe Audio. I can hook up the IPOD directl and control it from the Kenwood. I can also hook up my Android phone via an Aux cable and listen to Pandora going down the road. You appear to have my email, feel free to email me with questions.

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