Sunday, June 19, 2016

2016-16 Burnsville West Virginia and into Pensylvania


Burnsville West Virginia
Pittsburg Pennsylvania 

West Virginia

Campground:  Riffle Run Campground.  See previous report for additional info.  Great little park if you are interested in Work-camping.  There are 6 campsites designated for Camp Hosts.  56 campsites.  The work campers are in charge of cleaning the bathrooms, cutting grass, cleaning campsites/firepits and selling wood.  Easy work if you’re looking for a camp host job.

Riffle Run Campground COE

Campground:  Cranberry Township: Field and Stream parking lot.  Free, one night.  Dry camping.  Asked mgr of store if I could park overnight, he said, ok.

my parking lot site for the night, at Field and Stream store

West Virginia is truly an under-developed region of the country.  The ancient Appalachian Mountain range that runs through this area is one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world.  It’s mountains are weathered over millions of years to rounded mountain tops with heights of around 3,200 ft.  Covered in heavy forests with deep hollows and closed in valleys.   It’s primitive, untouched landscape a feast for the eye.  With late afternoon shadows or fog that often rolls in, one can easily get lost by just stepping a short distance into the surrounding forests.  I’ve already heard a dozen stories to that effect.

Flatwood WV

Flatwood WV

Flatwood WV

The Army Corp has developed a number of dams throughout this area to lessen the effects of rapid water runoff from the numerous rivers and streams.  Burnsville Lake is one of those lakes created to hold back waters and then release it as soon as it no longer posed a threat downstream.  The dam looks much larger than one would expect or think is needed, but it is designed for any of those catastrophic events that seem to occur more often these days.  The campground I’m in could be flooded if heavy rains filled the lake, with time of course to get all the campers out of the area.  It hasn’t happened yet, but has come close a time or two.

Burnsville Lake

Camper Repairs, the saga continues:  

the broken flexible shaft
basically a $2 part

Roger’s Mobile Rv service came out Monday morning to check on my slide out unit that won’t close.  I had already determined the motor and gearbox had become disconnected.  The smallest part of course being a flexible shaft that connects the two had broken.  You know the saying, “your only as strong as the weakest link” and the flexible shaft is that weakest link.

motor and gearbox connect by that tiny flex shaft
If you look closely, you'll notice the gear box and motor
are not properly aligned and are bolted to a face plate

I thought, since the company makes a motor and gearbox that are attached to each other that that would eliminate the need for a flex shaft configuration.  Norco Accu-slide company tells me that all their units have a flexible shaft.  Doesn’t sound like a good configuration to me since it is a weak link for sure.

Of course I was not able to order the part directly from Norco.  Even Rodger the repair man had to go through a distributor to order the part who will have the flex shaft shipped “over-night”.  Cost around $45 to ship a $2 part.  That’s life on the road folks.  I had Roger order a spare, just in case I needed one down the road.

The good news of course is that Roger has been doing mobile repairs on Rv’s for 30 years and is capable of doing the job right here in the middle of nowhere West Virginia.  And I get to enjoy this beautiful part of the country for a couple more days.

overpriced "primitive doll"

Fiesta Ware at the Outlet Mall

Fiesta Ware including 2nd's available for much less

I drove over to Flatwoods West Virginia (12 miles) for lunch today and decided to stop into their visitor center.  A very large sparsely furnished room in a factory outlet shopping center.  I saw a display mentioning the Braxton County Monster.  Now what could that be all about.  Come to find out, back in 1952 a group of local folks, Eddie and Freddy May and their mother Kathleen along with four of their friends went into the woods after a fireball streaked across the sky and appeared to land nearby.  Neil Nunley one of the young boys ran ahead and up the hill and recounts how he saw a pulsing red light.  Then another person in the group saw a pair of shining eyes, flashing a light in that direction revealed a man like figure with a round red face surrounded by a pointed hood like shape.  Later some said the figure was green.  It started to glide towards the onlookers and made a hissing sound.  Needless to say the onlookers quickly ran away screaming in terror.

No other sightings of the alien being have been seen since then, but the legend of the event is still told to this day.  And oddly, large wooded chairs have been created in the shape of the phantom of the woods, or green monster and are displayed around Braxton county West Virginia. Why a chair you ask.  You’ll have to ask the locals the next time you travel in this area.

Back to the repairs….

Roger, the Mobile repair man
Monday goes by, Tuesday, Wednesday, …. I get a message from Roger.  The parts haven’t shown up
and he has no tracking info.  Of course I’m sitting deep in that “holler” where I have little to no cell-phone coverage.  So much for paying for over-night service.

Thursday morning, I drive up to the highway, where there’s a small restaurant and good cell-phone coverage.  I call Roger to find out the status.  He has received confirmation that the supply house he’s ordered from has placed the order.  But since the parts are not in-house, they’ve sent the order to another supply house.

We now wait word from the second supply house on whether the order has been filled or not.  I sit in the restaurant, having breakfast, waiting for Roger to call me back with info on the status.   I’ve asked that he provide me with the tracking number so I can see where the parts are located along the way.

Thursday afternoon, Received a text message, parts are on their way today.  Should be installed tomorrow!
Next message later Thursday, no parts received.  Called distributor, still don’t have a tracking number.
Multiple messages later Thursday,  pkg finally found sitting in Charleston West Virginia for two days.

Holler:  also pronounced “hollow” in the Appalachian mountains.  A small valley, term refers to a small closed in valley with steep sides, small enough that one could “holler” to another person at the other end of the valley and be heard.

looking into the far end of
Riffle Run Campground Holler

Friday.  Roger arrived with the parts and began repairs around 1:30 and was completed three hours later.  Lots of tight spots to get into to complete the job, including getting the cable system back on-track.  But the work is done and I can open and close the slide.  $518 total in labor, service call, and parts.

It may need a bit more adjustment, as the bottom of the slide has not retracted all the way out, but it does close nicely, so I’m good to go for now.  The slide out saga is pretty much at an end for now.  I do plan on contacting Open Range to see if a better motor/gear box combination is available.

Sorry this report isn’t more interesting as far as adventures and travel goes, but believe me, it’s been more than enough excitement for me this past week!

Burnsville WV, heading out on hwy 79

leaving the town of Burnsville WV

Distance Traveled:  164 miles

With all the slides closed and the camper hookup up to the truck I was off again on my journey north.  A note to self:  Check the fluids when traveling through hill country.  As it turned out I had a warning from my truck that the coolant fluid was low.  Checking, I was able to determine the coolant and oil were low about a quart each.  Those constant mountainous terrains do a number on the fluids.  After topping both off I was on my way.  The drive was pleasant as I traversed the Appalachian mountains heading into southern Pennsylvania.   My goal being a shorter drive today, with an overnight stop at a Walmarts outside of Pittsburg.  .  After checking it out, the parking lot wasn’t huge and was completely full of cars.  So I drove next door to a nicely laid out  shopping center containing a Field and Stream, Best Buy and Barns and Nobles.  Lots more vacant parking spots and I was able to confirm an overnight stay would be ok.

Since I’m in town, I was able to have lunch, get prescriptions filled at Walgreens, get an oil change and restock my supply of backup anti-freeze coolant and oil for the truck.  So even though the campsite/parking lot is free, I’m still spending money in the area.

My overnight stay in a parking lot was an interesting test for this time of year as the temperature got up to 89 with a low of 61, well after midnight.  Needless to say, the camper was very warm and did not cool off until late into the night.  My solar panels worked fine and I even watched a little tv.  Since it was cooler outside in the shade, I sat behind my camper away from all the cars coming and going in the parking lot.  Still, a  young man saw me sitting out and came over the asked me a couple questions as to dry camping on his way to Florida. I tried to give him as much info as I could on the spot and hope it was of some help.

my rather warm stay-over in a parking lot

Distance Traveled:  78 miles

Franklin Pennsylvania.  I didn’t realize it would be such a short drive today, but I’m on my last leg of my journey before I reach Upstate New York to visit with my good friend Ann Gehman.  Her birthday is coming up on July 1st and it looks like I’ll make it with time to spare.

I’ll close this report for now and tell you all about this part of Pennsylvania in next weeks report.

Flatwood and Burnsville West Virginia, Pictures

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