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Friday, May 9, 2014

What Do I Have To Do To Get A Tailwind?

Yesterday, we spent a lot of time taking down all the items we carry to make our Journey “homey”.  We stowed and crammed everything away that we could because today it was predicted to be raining.  I don’t know about you, but I’m not a big fan of getting soaked while getting ready.

All that was left was to dump the tanks and disconnect the utilities.  I figured one more night of the comfort of full hook ups would be worth getting a little wet come morning.

Morning broke…to a beautiful, sunshine filled day.  Of course.  Just another example of why I don’t play the lottery.  I always guess wrong.  In fact, when I come to a 50-50 decision, I’m wrong 90% of the time.

Not that I’m complaining about the nice sunshine.  We took our time and departed the campground at 10:45.  Since we don’t have far to travel (450 miles) to the Winnebago factory service center, spreading it out over 3 days, we are trying this trip Sherry style.  :c)

A few miles down the road was a QT truck stop.  Diesel fuel was $3.69 a gallon!  I couldn’t pass that price up and mentally kicked myself for only needing about a quarter of a tank.

When we stop for an extended period of time, I try to keep the tank as full as possible.  The reason?  Well, keeping the tank full prevents condensation.  Sounds good, eh?  The real reason?  With my luck, the price of diesel would be more expensive when I left.  It always seems to work out that way.

You know, my luck.  The 50-50 thing.  So, seeing the $3.69 diesel price, I had to take advantage of it.

I pulled the Journey into the truck fuel lane and went inside to prepay.  I guessed (wanna’ bet how many times I’m wrong?) that I’d need $150 worth of fuel.  Unusual, the cashier said she couldn’t accept a prepay, she’d just authorize the pump and have me come back when I finished fueling.  They are very trusting in Missouri.

I went back out, wrestled the humungous pump nozzle into the fuel fill, squeezed the handle and…

Nothing.  Hmm, maybe I did something wrong.  I went through the whole process again and still nothing.  Again, one more try.  Nothing.

I schlepped back in to the fuel desk cashier, and as you might guess, now there was a line of customers ahead of me.  I reminded myself that we had plenty of time, so there were no worries.

Finally, just one customer left ahead of me.  With a whole pile of candy, snacks, drinks and other items heaped on the counter.  The cashier rang everything up and packed them into two bags, full bags.  The customer paid cash and then said he had forgotten to present his coupons.  Uh oh.

The cashier voided the sale, took everything out of the bags and rang them up again.  Now I was starting to get a little nervous, knowing there were plenty of trucks behind the Journey waiting their turn to fuel.  I would have gladly given the guy the fifty cents his coupon saved him to move things along faster.

I finally got to the cashier and explained the pump wouldn’t turn on.  She called for someone over the loudspeaker to come and help me.  I swear there were several nearby truckers snickering at me, the helpless RVer who couldn’t even turn on a fuel pump by himself.

Back out to the pump, I tried it again.  Still, nothing.  Then a nice young man came out to help.  He tried a couple of times and…

Still nothing.  I felt redeemed, it wasn’t my fault.  The young man said to wait and he scurried back inside.  A few minutes later, an older fellow with a large fountain drink in his hand, wearing a stained “Mr. Fuel” t shirt came out and tried the pump.  It didn’t work right away, but he said to give it a minute, this pump was slow to turn on.

After a minute, the pump kicked on and I started to fuel.  Phew!  Now if you’ve ever wrestled with one of those truck fuel nozzles, so big that it barely fits in the fuel tank opening and flows fuel faster than water over Niagara Falls, you know it’s best to stand to the side of the nozzle. 

Why?  Because no matter how slow you try to fill the tank, a wave of fuel will spurt out before the nozzle shuts off.  Don’t ask me how I know this, just be assured it takes several washes to get the smell of diesel fuel out of your clothes.

True to form, I watched about a bucks worth of fuel spill out and on to the ground, which already had seen quite a bit of diesel splashed on it.  No way was I going to try a squeeze a few more gallons in.

$118 later, we were on our merry way.  We carry two GPS units in the Journey, a large 7 inch one I have near me and a second, smaller unit next to Marti on the passenger side.  Usually this arrangement works well and the two units are pretty close in agreement on our route.  Except today.

Today the units were arguing with each other like spouses headed for divorce court.  A minor disagreement is one thing, but the two differed by almost 100 miles.  This called for action, serious action of the low tech variety.  A road map.

Marti looked over the map, decided both units were wrong and we proceeded on an entirely different course.  About 75 miles shorter than either GPS unit indicated.

Eventually the GPS units settled down and got with the program.  The day was, of course, windy.  And you all know my luck with wind.  Almost the whole way with a strong headwind, except for a few miles with the wind blowing from the side.  It made me glad I bought fuel at $3.69 a gallon, because with the impact the wind had on my fuel mileage, I’d have had tears in my eyes had the fuel been more expensive.

I tried, I really tried to not make it a long travel day.  We stopped at a Super Walmart for the night with 192 miles driven.  More than anticipated, but less than we usually do.  Under “normal” circumstances for me, I would have done the whole 455 miles in one day. 

Hopefully tomorrow will be as nice and sunny as today.  With no headwind.  Someday, I’ll get a tailwind and not know what to do with myself.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  If you want a tailwind when you travel in your RV, first find out which way I’m going, then go the opposite.  You’ll get a tailwind.  I guarantee it.  ;c)

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.



  1. Wow...just read Kathy and Ricks blog...their GPS was goofy too and they had to fall back on paper maps as well. Maybe something "off" with a satellite??

    Karen and Steve
    (Blog) RVing: The USA Is Our Big Backyard

  2. I think goofy is programmed into the GPS units. It's really just to test you and see if you're awake. I think you ought to just figure out what way the wind is blowing and then decide your route. You might end up with a tailwind that way.

  3. I always pre-plan our route with google maps, and then input the route into the GPS unit.

    I never trust the GPS unit to get the route right. It might, but it might not. Always better to see the route yourself first, with all your options and then use your own logic to plan it.

    I hate a headwind. Even the little blue car gets noticeably better mileage with a tailwind. :-)

  4. OMG, what a day you had. You get bonus point for not having a hissy fit when the cashier had to re-ring the items for the coupon.

    Personally, I love my GPS. I received my first one years ago when I was driving around in circles in Portland, OR trying to find my brother's condo in the Pearl District.

    I call my GPS "the idiot's guide to driving," of which I am a charter member! ;-)

    1. On second thought to get a tailwind maybe you have to do a dance and "shake your tail feather!" ;-)

  5. Like Kevin we plan our days travel on Google maps, then use the GPS on Microsoft streets and trips while travelling saves a lot of confusion.

  6. I feel your pain at the truck stop. That is my most dreaded time while RV'ing...and not just because of the fuel price. Invariably, I do something that makes me look like a dumb broad.

  7. I'm with Kevin, my GPS couldn't be trusted so I tossed it and stick with Google maps. I didn't really think you could do three 150 mile days. What you did is near my limit so I guess I'll let you call it Sherry style. :-)

  8. Maybe I need to start using Google maps too.

    We actually were happy to travel out of the Keys yesterday with a headwind. It was way better then a sidewind blowing us off the many bridges!

    After buying boat gas for $5.09 the price of diesel looks pretty good....if we could just find a station!

  9. "so far" we haven't had any problems with our GPS. The only time we have is when we second guess what she's telling us. I tell George, always listen to a woman, she's usually right! :-)

  10. Our Garmin GPS works pretty well and certainly better than what we'd ever do on our own.

    I always get behind the guy buying tons of junk food or a bunch of lottery tickets.

  11. I vaguely remember having a tail wind....once!

  12. Geez, you don't even get a bronze! Isn't it fun to smell the roses instead of blowing the petals off the bud????

  13. It's so much fun having you back on the road and rolling down the highway. Seeing travel through your eyes and hearing all the quirky stuff that comes your way just makes us laugh:o))

    Safe Travels and Happy Trails......

  14. If you cannot get a tail wind, you might have to ask yourself if you are going in the right direction?

  15. Hey that was the one good thing about our "worst travel day" got a good deal on fuel at two places and only spilled about 50 cents worth. I would not have spilled any if I had stopped when Catherine said "it is full" :)

  16. We are over $4 for diesel in California.