Thursday July 23, 2015 Previous Link:
Loft Mountain Campground We Move and It’s Eye Surgery Day
Shenandoah National Park
Today David wants to change the oil in Winnona, give her a grease job and fix our front slide tape. There really isn’t much I can do to help him other than take pictures which I do before I leave and after I return from my hike. I’m going from Loft Mountain Campground south on the AT. So we’ve written a two author post to show you our day. David goes first.
It is Thursday, July 23, a day we call a dex day for me. That is the day after I take dexamethasone for treatment of my myeloma. It gives me a sustained energy boost that can last 2-3 days & nights. Good time for cleaning, cooking or repairs. So today I start out by doing the chassis grease job or lubrication and a simple oil and filter change on Winnona.
I was shocked to hear that Winnebago charges $270 for this service if they do it in Forrest City, and that is with conventional oil no less. I use synthetic oil in Winnona. Not much to tell about how to do that since the oil changing is pretty simple and the grease job depends on your RV. Winnona has 6 on the drive shaft and 8 up front for steering and front wheels. There is nothing hard about it, it’s just a dirty job and easier if you have a lot of space underneath the coach.
That done, it was on to bigger things. On returning to Big Meadows and putting our front slide out we had discovered a piece of dirty Velcro tape had been wrapped up in the slide topper. The tape now hung down and flapped in the breeze when the slide was out. What? A quick look under the slide topper using my telescoping ladder revealed that this tape runs the entire length of the slide providing a smooth surface for the awning material to slide over the metal edge of the slide frame as the slide goes in and out. Apparently the front edge of the tape had lost its sticky due to constant exposure to wind, rain and dirt on our travels and so decided to tuck under and get rolled in and out with the awning until it was loosened more than half the way back, leaving its sticky tape residue on the slide topper wherever it happened to be wrapped each time.
Thanks to Winnebago’s Customer Service line, it was easy to learn the details of the tape, its purpose and how to replace it. All easier said than done of course. A quick call to Lichtsinn Motors in Forrest City, IA and the repair part (14 ft. of Velcro Tape) was on its way. If you ever need to do this, here are a few tips I learned along the way.
First, position the slide about a foot out from the closed position. This will reduce the spring tension within the slide topper roller tube and make the next step less dangerous. Next, place a piece of wire or a nail in the opening at each end of the slide roller. This will keep the roller from making a dramatic winding up once you remove the slide roller brackets from the side of the slide. With both ends removed, place the ladder in the middle of the slide and set the roller assembly on top of the slide revealing the edge top of the slide frame with any remaining Velcro tape or the sticky residue left behind when it came loose.
I carry a good number of cleaning and other solvents with me, but apparently not the one needed for this job. Can you guess which one actually worked best? Sherry will reveal the answer tomorrow. If you have another great suggestion of something to add to my collection, let me know.
The ones you might not be able to read are the paint thinner on the left, the 70% isopropyl alcohol in the front center and the mineral spirits on the front front left.
This was the most tedious and time consuming part of the entire process.
Now for the new velcro. Put a little bit of slide tape on the back and roll it over the front. Keeping it straight for the entire 12 feet is tedious at best.
Reattaching the left end slide roller to the slide face is the last step. Once the slide edge is cleaned, the new tape applied, brackets remounted and spring stops removed, we are back in business with the slide topper awning sliding nicely over the soft Velcro edge. It is a relief to have that done!
In between taking pictures of all this work, I walk out through the campground and down to the AT which nearly circles the Loft Mountain Campground. I head South on the AT in another small part of my quest to walk all 105 miles through the park this summer. I’m not doing so well with less than 10 miles each time I’m out but I’m having a good time none the less.
Today on this official Appalachian Trail Map of the Southern Section of Shenandoah National Park, I’ll be walking from the far corner of the campground at the bottom of the red square, north to the Ivy Creek Overlook. The AT is colored Yellow. The Skyline Drive is Red. The Loft Mountain Campground is really on Big Flat Mountain. I will walk up and part of Loft Mountain on my way today.
The Loft Mountain campground has numerous pull through sites and isn’t very busy at all during the week.
At the end of our loop E is the trail to two sweet tent walk in sites. Just the kind I loved as a tenter. Beyond them is the connection to the AT. Nice and close to home. It’s a rocky trail down.
Almost immediately after joining the AT the views begin to abound. The trail goes over rock faces and requires pretty complete attention so you can’t be always watching the views. There are of course always interesting things at your feet too.
Once I’m out of the cliff walk and so many fabulous views I can pay more attention to what’s around me on the trail.
The trail changes frequently which makes it very interesting especially when there are berries along the sides. Wild blackberries YUM!
I know this trail has to go down at some point since it crosses Ivy Creek. But I find more views first. I can see the Skyline Drive snaking away far below.
This time I’m sure I must be heading down over the rocks to Ivy Creek
I love that the park his mileage posts just when I’m beginning to wonder. I find I have a mile to go to reach the bottom.
I’m headed down when off to the right is one last view point.
Things become less rocky and more overgrown. The AT is such a diverse trail.
So diverse in fact that I find an apple tree. Was this once someone’s orchard or home place?
It’s not difficult to notice these orange things in the midst of all the verdant green.
It brings a huge smile to my face when I reach Ivy Creek. I’ve been so looking forward to seeing it. This creek flows from a spring near the top of Loft Mountain down down down into the Charlottesville Area where it meets the Rivanna River at a spot now known as the Ivy Creek Natural Area. I’ve written about Ivy Creek, the former farm the county’s first African American agricultural agent, Hugh Carr. I was a a guide at the Natural Area for some years. It’s just such fun to see it way up here.
I have to laugh at the AT’s double white hash marks right before walking over the creek. Double hash means pay attention, something is coming up. HA, pretty short notice!
I spend quite a bit of time enjoying the creek all by myself. I love the little cairns on the large rock. Others have enjoyed this spot before me and left their blessings.
It’s just a delightful spot. Does it look like a horse has come here to have a drink? Or is it just my vivid imagination again?
I try to take a selfie of me in my sweet sitting spot but don’t seem to manage to get myself in the picture. I have to hop back and forth across the creek where I have the camera set up. So I finally settle for shooting up on me standing up. Well at least I will know what I looked like on this very day in this marvelous spot.
Ultimately I have to make myself say goodbye but not without leaving my standing stone for those who come after me.
One final look down stream in the direction of the many miles the creek will flow before reaching the Natural Area
Back up I go on my way to my destination at Ivy Creek Overlook. Where I cannot imagine you can actually see Ivy Creek.
My melancholy at having to move along is mitigated very nicely by the blueberries along the trail.
I also find the berries of the True Solomon’s Seal. I’ve never seen them before, only the bell flowers. SWEET!
This trail really is wonderful. It not only has the pretty creek but no end of overlooks. I’m back up again.
I pass the biggest trail cairn I’ve ever seen but don’t add anything to it.
I’m back down to the rocky paths I started out on so I wonder if I’m getting near my destination.
Sure enough, I see Ruby has gotten here before me. Hope David hasn’t had to wait too long. He graciously agreed to take a break from “his fun” and meet me here so that I don’t have to shorten my hike to make it an out and back which I have done with several previous ones. That cuts my miles per hike by more than half.
We take time to read the information sign coincidentally all about the building of the Appalachian Trail. The sign tells us that in its 2180+ miles the AT crosses 14 states, five National Parks, seven national forests, and numerous state parks and towns between Georgia and Maine. Volunteers built the AT using handsaws, shovels and axes. They finished in 1937. The trail is still maintained by volunteers. Over 30 hiking clubs and 6,000 individual volunteers donate more than 200,000 hours of trail work each year using the same hand tools as the first crew of volunteers. Really? No chain saws?
I was correct about the view. It’s beautiful but I sure can’t see little Ivy Creek down there. Guess this is its watershed though.
The wildflowers are prolific at the overlook. The milkweed has particular attention from three butterflies.
And then it’s back to Winnona for some delicious home made pizza for dinner.
It’s been a very productive day for each of us. We got to check some things off of our lists.