Friday, November 27, 2009


We hitched up and headed out mid-morning on Wednesday for Thanksgiving in Massachusetts. We're bringing the Airstream as part of the continued shakedown cruise before our Southwest trip.

I tend to forget how steep the hills are on the interstates in Vermont until I start hauling the trailer out of Montpelier and start the long climb to Berlin. The Ford truck chugs away but our speed drops and I can almost see the gas tank gauge drop. There are several climbs that have to be at the maximum grade allowed -- and it is very tempting to then let it fly down the hills but troopers (and trailer tires) don't work off average speed.

The trip down was foggy and had more traffic than normal, but the early start avoided the heavy load on Wednesday night. We had one close call in the right lane in New Hampshire with a stream of merging traffic which refused to yield -- and a truck on my tail -- and the left lane filled. It was just one of those ten seconds of either an accident or a close call. Horn and brake and accelleration and a few curse words got it done.

Arriving in Merrimack, we geed and hawed backing the trailer into the driveway and to a cleared out area we had previously prepared. It was nearing dark at 4:00 as we set up -- the plan being for the dog and I to stay in the camper and Mary to sleep in the house.

To make a long story short, I soon found out that the Atwood 8500 furnace is not working. We have used it several times before without problems but this time, the blower starts, it ignites as it should and heat flows for about 7 seconds, then the heat stops. It does that three times and then just refuses to try to light.

So, it's been a camping experience for the last three days. I've managed to take the edge off heat-wise by running a stove burner but at night, it's strictly sleeping bags and the dog for warmth. Thanksgiving weekend is not the best time to get answers and the cold rain has made working on things unpleasant. It could be a gas valve issue, a sensor, a mud wasp nest -- who knows? I'm glad to encounter it now rather than mid-trip on a cold night out west.

On the plus side, we have a nice woodsy setup here at Jennifer's and it will be a good way to visit and keep the impact low. We ran a 5K yesterday, a family tradition, and our grandson ran a kid's fun run. Thanksgiving was wonderful and we have much to be thankful for. A cold Airstream is really not that big a deal in the scheme of things.

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