Day one of our journey south is complete and we are in a campground at Dixie Caverns just outside of Salem, Virginia. The early part wasn't easy, however.
The cats tried to wake us up at 1 AM when the moon was up and shining brightly but we weren't having any of that. The alarm was set for 5 AM and, although we tossed and turned to the protestations of the cats on the far side of the door, we were determined to stay in bed until 5 AM. We eventually did manage to doze off and were awakened by the alarm. The moon was no longer shining and there was snow falling.
We quickly did our early morning tasks and loaded the with the last minute foodstuffs for the refrigerator. And we were on the road by 5:45 AM. Stopping for coffee and gas in Mansfield took some time but by 6:10 AM we were on a snowy Route 15 heading south.
There was enough snow (and lack of plows) that determining where the lanes were was difficult if not impossible. However, many Pennsylvania roads have rumble strips on the sides separating the driving lanes from the shoulder. Some have a similar set of grooves where the dotted white lines that separate lanes runs. When the snow covers the road like it did this morning--or like it did the day after Christmas--you sometimes drive by the braille method. Drift too far left or right and you get a harsh growl from the road surface. Fun!
As we got further along, the snow deepened. Through Williamsport, and south to Lewisburg, it reached its maximum. Then it was brown slush until we got to Maryland and West Virginia. At the very first stop in Virginia, there was very little snow on the ground, but any untrodden or driven upon paved surface was covered in ice. Ten miles further south, even that was gone and the sun hung in the blue sky as a burning orb. And south of Roanoke, the roads were pretty well dry.
We traveled a little over 430 miles today. We made three fuel stops (at the start, middle and end of the day's travel). We made two rest stops and a third for lunch. We stopped and did some shopping at Wally World in Haggerstown, MD. We were on the road from 5:45 AM until 4:30 PM. It was a long, long day.
Some positive notes:
1) The Winnie's engine started right up this morning.
2) The generator which had not wanted to start in the driveway, started
easily after we got our second tank of gas and reached some warmer
3) The propane run refrigerator is working fine.
4) I figured out how to get the water system working again after having winterized the bloody thing last Fall. It only took three tries before I got the three valves under the sink turned the right way.
5) The hot water heater (propane run) is working very well, thank you.
6) I didn't hit anything or any one. (Although there were a few drivers I would have loved to get behind the woodshed for a few *ahem* instructions on a) the proper way to merge from an entrance ramp, b) how much space one should allow before pulling back in front of a 32' Winnebago you have just passed, c)how to keep your foot off the break peddle every single time you come to a down hill slope in the snow even when it's about 3 degrees of angle, d) why, if you insist upon traveling at a ridiculously low speed, you should stay to the right so others going ever so slightly faster may pass you, and e) why it is not necessary (nor even advisable) to try to travel 5 miles ABOVE the speed limit when you can't even see the lanes. And, oh yeah: Gripping the steering wheel so tightly that your knuckles turn white and the steering wheel begins to bleed while peering at the road through the wheel, not over it, does not make it any safer Granny. Maybe you should have stayed home.
Tomorrow promises to be another exciting day. The morning will be fine, but possible thunderstorms may appear late in the day as we approach Chattanooga, Tennessee. (This morning they were even talking about tornadoes! But that's been hushed up a bit.)
Until tomorrow, then.