So I'm definitely feeling a little behind on the blog. Hopefully since it looks like we're in for some rainy weather the next couple of weeks, I'll have downtime to get caught up, but here’s the next installment about our time in Duluth Minnesota.
The drive to Duluth was uneventful and familiar having made that same ride many times when I lived in Ashland. We had an appointment that same day at the RV service center, so we drove straight there. We felt uneasy just leaving our house at essentially a car dealership but we didn't have much choice since we couldn't find a mobile tech on short notice. After dropping it off, we drove to our RV Park and got checked in and hung out at our site without the camper and met our neighbors, a nice older couple from Kentucky. It was getting pretty close to closing time so I called the dealership to see what was going on. They explained that they hadn't been able to find any leaks and that we should probably just come and have a look, so we drove over to the dealership and the technician showed us that despite hooking it up to varying water sources and pressures, they were unable to find any leaks. He thought maybe it was our water filtration system I’d installed, but I had a drip tray set up underneath it for exactly this situation and there was no water there. So they dried out the interior for us and called it a day. He thought that we had picked up water in the underbelly driving during a rainstorm and that water was slowly leaking out. At it turns out, between De Pere and Lac du Flambeau it had been raining pretty heavily and we first noticed the water dripping in Lac Du Flambeau, so his theory made some sense. He explained that we should put water in our tank and pretend to be dry camping. If we hear the pump run when we’re not actually running the water, then there’s a good chance we have a leak, otherwise, it’s unlikely since the places it would leak while only when connected to city water were easily accessible and he would have seen it. So that’s what we did for the week and did not hear the pump. I can say, now, a month later that we’ve not have any leaking issues, so I think the tech was right. Just what that means about our ability to drive in the rain is concerning, but at least the plumbing is OK. IN working on the issue, the service tech sliced open our underbelly and then taped it shut again instead of removing the entire belly. It made for less labor, but I'm unhappy that there's now a taped-up slice in the belly. Time will tell if that will cause us any trouble.
We met another full-time family a couple of sites over from us. They had a boy about 8 or 9 who loved playing with Crayton. That made it an easy week for him as he had plenty to do. They were also fellow Reflection owners, so it was nice to see how they’d set up their rig for full-time use. They even winter in Minnesota and Wisconsin! It made use feel better about our choice of RV :) .
On Wednesday, I decided to go get a new phone and headset to make work calls easier and headed over to a Verizon store to see what they had. On the way into town, there was some construction and the right lane was closed. Being up high in the truck, I could see and so I moved over well before getting to the lane closure. Traffic was slowing to a stop in my lane, but the right lane was pretty open. Two women in a small Honda sedan behind me saw that as an opening as I was slowing, and sped up to go around me (not knowing that that lane was closed ahead and apparently not having noticed that I was stopping). Mis-judging their speed, they rear-ended me. It took me a second to even realize that I’d been hit. We both pulled onto the shoulder and I hopped out to see what sort of damage there was. They’d hit the bumper-tow ball hitch I’d left on the truck even though we have a 5th wheel. It had punched a hole in their front-end but there didn’t appear to be any damage to the truck. We exchanged info and I went on, leaving them on the side of the road and calling friends or family. I kinda felt bad, but they’d hit me and no one was hurt. Bought a new Galaxy S7 edge and a Plantronics bluetooth headset and went back to the RV park. The new phone setup is MUCH better than my old phone. Everyone I talked to at work commented on how much clearer I sounded and the headset is a godsend from a fatigue standpoint.
The next day I took the truck into a local Ford dealer to get the oil changed and have the truck inspected to be sure there was no damage. There wasn’t any damage to the truck, but my wallet has been better. Turns out that full synthetic oil changes in a truck that takes 13 ½ quarts of oil are expensive!! I need to see about doing oil changes myself….
The work week was tough as we were dealing with really bad cell signals, both AT&T and Verizon and I was struggling to get our booster to work properly. I was continually losing my connection to my virtual desktop at work and dropping calls. Really frustrating and cemented my resolve to get this booster working properly.
The weekend finally arrived and it was time for sightseeing and visiting! We went down to canal park on Saturday to see the maritime museum, the waterfront, and just enjoy the day. It was beautiful out. Our good friend Katie came out for a little while with her daughters to say hi on their way to a birthday party. W’d been trying to connect with them all week, but they had some sort of bug running through the household we didn’t want to catch. Got to see the lift bridge go up, watch sailboat races, enjoy a meal at a brewpub and Crayton got to throw rocks into the water (his #1 favorite activity, except maybe for swinging…). The maritime museum was nice, and free!
Sunday came and we took the day to visit the Duluth Train Museum and take a ride on the North Shore Scenic Railroad. Choo Choo Bob did the same in one of his episodes and it was a real thrill for Crayton to go somewhere he’d seen his hero go on TV! We’ll make a point of visiting railroads Choo Choo Bob has been to as we travel. The museum was awesome and the train ride was OK, but Pam was starting to feel under the weather such that by the time the train ride was done, she was full-on sick. We had plans that night to go visit with Greg and Katie and their daughters now that they were all feeling better, but now Pam was sick! Since Crayton and I were still feeling OK, we let Pam rest that evening and went over to visit with them anyhow. Had a great night playing games, talking, drinking wine I’d made that they’d saved from our wedding and identifying caterpillars. A great night with great old friends.
Finally, Monday, Memorial Day, came, and it was time to move on. Now on to Itasca State Park, the headwaters of the Mighty Mississippi!