Baltas Vilkas’ Maiden Voyage, Part 2
The Final Delivery During the Maiden Voyage Weekend
(Note: This is Part 2 of a two-part series. Click Here to read Part 1)
Saturday and Sunday November 10 & 11th, 2018
We spent the weekend boon-docking in my Brother in Law’s driveway due to snow and cold weather. During the entire weekend we did not have access to shore power and we used House batteries only. The temperatures remained below freezing dropping to lows around 19 degrees both nights. During the day we would drive to nearby Hinkley Park to hike and recharge the house batteries. Hinkley Park is part of The Cleveland Metropark System which is about 600 acres with trails, lakes and beaches. The short drives of about 16 miles round trip each day was enough to bring the batteries back up by the amount used the night before. The Shepherdess and I probably would not have considered winter camping, but this Maiden Voyage weekend taught us that it could be done. We did not winterize the plumbing since we had the heat on the entire weekend running solely off the house batteries at a 68-degree setting.
Monday Nov. 12, 2018 Advanced RV final training.
We returned to Advanced RV on Monday after lunch, using the morning to visit friends in Cleveland. Frank completed the training by reviewing the inside systems and showing the manuals and how they could be referenced. We had listed some questions, but everything was answered in the manuals once we reviewed with Frank. By 4:00pm we had completed our training and had only one task left to do…. empty the dreaded black and gray tanks. Latex gloves on, hose in the drain and macerator button pushed, both tanks were drained and now we were ready to pack all the hoses back and we were hitting the road for home.
We left the parking lot of Advanced RV and turned on to the streets where 650 miles separated us from our final destination of home.
Driving at the start of commuter traffic we headed south knowing a winter storm was threatening if we stayed another day. Once on the Interstate we drove about two hours before deciding that dinner and rest would be a good idea and we had unlimited options. Having followed numerous YouTube blogs on RV’ing I felt we needed to live the life and stay our first night in a parking lot. We chose Cracker Barrel near Cambridge, Ohio as our first on the road camp site.
Following protocol, we spoke with the restaurant staff and asked about overnight parking and received an affirmative answer as long as we parked in lanes set aside for RVs. We had just spent a quarter of a million dollars only to sleep for free in the parking lot of Cracker Barrel. Yes, we were living the life! It is hard to describe the comfort and security of locking the doors, putting up the privacy curtains and settling down for a long winters’ night, DVD included and under an RV Superbag.
Watching a DVD under the speakers is as good as having surround sound in my opinion. Once we could not keep our eyes open and follow the movie plot it was only a matter of pushing a few buttons and rolling over for the night. A quick peak outside and I realized we had company for the night with a fifth wheel parked near us. Safety in numbers I say and if necessary, we could always circle the wagons. This night it was not necessary.
Tuesday morning Nov.13 waking up in the parking lot of Cracker Barrel.
Again, I cannot describe how cozy it is to wake up in our safe cocoon of Baltas Vilkas. Coffee from the Kurig machine and a bit of chill is a very nice combination. No need to worry about packing up a suitcase in a hotel room used for the night, checking out of the hotel and dragging suitcases though the lobby. We sipped our coffee and decided it was too early to eat breakfast, so we secured the lose items, rolled up the RV Superbag and stowed it away. With the bed made up, another coffee for the road we started the engine and pulled out of the lot. No need to make a final check for items left behind because all was going to be in the RV somewhere.
Pulling back onto the Interstate we were ahead of the winter storm and south enough that the temperature was above freezing. We then made the decision to drive through the West Virginia. mountains. We were no longer driving to just reach a destination but were determined to enjoy the journey. Driving on West Virginia Route 250 from Cambridge, Ohio towards Waynesboro, Virginia. We traveled through The Momogahala National Forest and George Washington and Jefferson National Forest. This was a good test of driving up and down mountains with many switchbacks. There are about 7 crossings of the mountain and after the 4th crossing we stopped in Monterey, West Virginia to stretch a bit and window-shop. Exiting Baltas Vilkas I noticed a smell from the brakes and realized I should have been using the different gears to manage the speed instead of riding the brakes. The next 3 mountain crossing I was more involved as a driver as I practiced shifting up and down and there was no smell of the brakes after the last mountain. I had to keep in mind that with the RV, 40 gallons of water and a full tank of diesel there was a lot of weight working the brakes.
Realizing we were headed for Waynesboro, Virginia en-route home, I called a Fraternity Brother from college who lived near Waynesboro, surprising him with a dinner offer. We had just seen him the month before and had threatened to show up in his driveway unexpectedly, so I was keeping my promise or threat. He and his wife wanted us to stay the night in their guest room but we really preferred staying in Baltas Vilkas. Reminding ourselves that our vacation time was limited and there were a number of things we needed to get done on Wednesday we said good bye and decided to drive until we got tired. Normally I would have stayed the night and gotten up early to get home but now we just drove a little bit more getting closer to home and we knew we had many options for the night.
The option we chose was a two-hour drive away from Waynesboro or two hours closer to home. Needing to sample the full experience of RV’ing we pulled into a Wal-Mart in Glenn Allen, Virginia. outside of Richmond, Virginia. The Shepherdess had check out this Wal-Mart on her iPhone reading different reviews about it being a safe place and in a good neighborhood, so we chose this location. Going inside the Wal-Mart we spoke with the manager who welcomed us and instructed us where to park. We bought a few items and returned to the safety and comfort of our cocoon. In record time we had the bed down and made up with the Superbag and we were washed up for the night. That night there was no movie because the full day of travel had started to affect our eye lids. After closing all the shades and putting up the privacy curtain I noticed we had 5 other RV’s as neighbors. Safety in numbers again but too tired to worry anyway. With lights out and under the covers it started to rain and the sound of the rain hitting the roof was a lullaby for our tired souls.
Wednesday morning Nov. 14th Wal-Mart parking lot Glenn Allen, Virginia.
Another great night of sleep and we woke the next morning anxious to get home but first we had scrambled eggs testing the induction cook top, European heavy rye bread from our favorite bakery in Cleveland and our favorite brand of coffee all without changing into street legal clothes. Can life get any better? We were now becoming used to the small quarters having spent 5 nights together in Baltas Vilkas and still no spilled blood. Yes!! we can do this.
After breakfast we drove the last few hours home but before parking we tried what might become our new routine. Stop near home and fill with diesel for the next trip. Wash Baltas Vilkas at the self-car wash which had a bay for trucks and lastly stop at the camp ground near home and empty the black and gray tanks for $10.00. When we pulled into home all we had to do was grab all items and bring them in. No packing to only unpack once inside the house.
We drove almost 650 miles, tried winter camping with temperatures around 19 degrees, stealth camped in parking lots, learned to use the gear shift, cooked in the unit and finally felt comfortable driving a Class B extended.
We look forward to our next journey but have none planned yet. Work still calls for a little longer but owning Baltas Vilkas is part of our retirement plan. When people ask me if I am retired, I always answer affirmative yes. However, my definition of retirement is, If I was tired yesterday and tired today then I am retired.
The Sheepdog and the Shepherdess,
Owners of Baltas Vilkas (White Wolf in Lithuanian)