Well our trip started off with a bang when the engine started overheating very early into the drive. We stopped several times so Paul could top off fluid levels and check a few potential causes but nothing resolved the issue. So we found ourselves, three hours into the trip, at a gas station in an unfamiliar town. At that point we realized we were only 45 miles from Audrey’s moms house so we decided to head back and figure out what was going on.
We weren’t sure what to expect and since it was the Friday of July 4th weekend, knew it would be the following week before we could get the bus to a shop. The first thing to check was the thermostat on the engine to make sure it was opening. Paul was able to do that by putting the engine thermostat in water on the stove and brought it to a boil; watching to see at what temperature it would open. Turns out the thermostat we had wasn’t working properly and fortunately for us a shop was open Saturday that had the part we needed.
After that, Paul started looking at the radiator. He pulled it apart and gave it a very thorough clean. That process definitely took longer than we anticipated as it looked like it hadn’t been cleaned out in years. Once the radiator was cleaned up and put back together, we took the bus out for a test drive in the TN hills. The area we drove it was really the perfect opportunity to see how the engine would respond to being pushed. And it did great! The engine was maintaining a normal temperature and to say we were relieved is an understatement!!
When we finally did get on the road a few days later, we headed west into North Carolina for our first stop at a winery. We had been gifted a membership to Harvest Hosts; which is sort of like AirBnb for RV’s. They have a network of hosts that include wineries, breweries, farms, golf courses and various attractions. All you do is call ahead and if the host has availability for the night you can park at their property.
So our first night was at Calaboose Cellars in Andrews, NC which was fun because that’s the same town we got married in! The next day we got on the road and headed south into GA stopping for the night at Engelheim Winery in Elijay, GA. This winery was a little bit bigger than the first we stayed at and we were actually parked back in the vineyard.
After our stay in Elijay, the next stop was Smyrna, GA. We were in the metro Atl area for 7 days visiting friends and family. It was so much fun to share the bus with everyone after talking about the project for so long! I’m not sure who was more excited about the bus- our friends or their kids!
After our time in GA we headed to NC but stopped on the way to stay at a sheep farm in SC. This place was one we found through Harvest Host. The owners were very nice and gave us a tour of the farm and their animals; they even let us pick vegetables from their garden. We were the only people staying at the farm that night which was nice. It was pretty hot there even in the evening. For the majority of the trip we have managed the temperature in the bus with our ceiling fans, the windows and curtains. To really get the most out of the air conditioner we need to be plugged in and on a level ground which hasn’t been the case most of the trip.
Once we left the farm we made our way to Fayetteville, NC to visit some of Paul’s USMC friends for the night before heading on to the NC coast. We stayed on the coast for 4 nights; parked at the homes of two friends. We spent time at the beach, picking blueberries at a local farm and playing board games.
When we left the coast, we headed inland to a mushroom farm outside of Charlotte, NC. Because of the heat, the farm didn’t have much in the way of mushrooms growing but it was situated on beautiful pastures with lots of cows around our parking spot. It was the first time we were at a Harvest Host location with other RV’s.
Next stop- Illinois by way of Kentucky and Indiana. Stay tuned!