Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

His and Hers Days

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.


  1. I'd be out of my depth trying to do the maintenance! The hike's a beautiful temptation!

  2. Thank God for David!! But..., I think I enjoyed your day and all that beauty more :)

  3. It always feels good to whittle down the do-to list. That pizza looks delicious!

  4. Glad that David still has energy to tackle repairs on Winnona. More lovely wildflowers on the AT.

  5. Love the AT!!! We managed to walk a short distance into the 100 mile wilderness, the final leg on the AT heading north:o)) It is such an amazing thing to actually hike the entire trail...we saw a thru-hiker entering that last 100 mile section...AMAZING!!!

  6. Back in the mid-1990's a huge hurricane hit the east coast and the damage was so acute in the Shenandoah they closed the entire Skyline Drive. I volunteered to join a group one Saturday to go and clear some of the trail. The wildlife out on the Drive was astounding, including big bucks. But back to the trail clearing, a lot of large trees fell across the trail and the crew DID use chain saws. My job (as the only woman in the crew) was to carry the maintenance kit for the chain saws! I was glad no one through I would actually hold the saw!

  7. David sure has a lot of energy and motivation, great job!

  8. Looks like you both had a good day! Thanks for the tips, David:) Sherry, as usual, you found beautiful fungi and sweet wildflowers:)

  9. Good job David. You made removing the slide topper look easy. Al changes the oil in the generator and always says he wants to do the engine oil and lube but we're never in a good place where we can. If you think your oil change is expensive, try it with a diesel pusher. We use gallons of oil, not quarts. :)

    Sherry, I think you got the better end of the day. I love that you can see so many overlooks on your portion of the AT. Although we haven't been on it much around here, what we see is mostly wooded areas with limited overlooks.

    I like your id of the flowers. I see a lot of them, but never know their names. That one looks like a daisy to me and you named it Robins Plantain. Maybe I'll remember that the next time I see one. Great hike.

  10. Another gorgeous day on the trail! Love all those berries! Here in WY the milkweed is done blooming by about two weeks and most of the berries (raspberry types) are far from being ripe as they are at pretty high elevations. All those fungi are amazing!

  11. Amazing that David has the know-how... and even more... the energy.. to tackle these jobs. Impressive! Saves so much money and you know the job is done right. Hope the temperatures were not too oppressive. Guess you were both ready for dinner after your long hike, Sherry, and David's Mr. Fix-It day. Meant to comment on your previous post, Sherry, about your eye surgery. Hope by now you are back to normal and the bruising is gone. I didn't realize there would be bruising...but your photo said it all!

  12. I'm thinking it was the mineral spirits that did the trick? That is quite the project to accomplish, including all the up and down the ladder. I love that Winnebago customer service is so available! The shelf fungi are wonderful, and the coral so different. The views are so amazing from the trail - both the macro and the micro. And to have it all to yourself is such a gift. There is a huge volunteer effort here working on the restoration of the area around the recently removed dams on the Elwha River - they anticipate up to 40 years for full reclaiming of the area.

  13. Great step-by-step photos of the Velcro replacement that David did. Just think of what a dealer would have charged to do that job! :cO

    I think you got great pictures of your hiking boots, Sherry, in those selfies. :c)

  14. Sure do respect how David tackles these kinds of projects. I just put them off until there really is no choice.

    Have you considered buying a wireless remote for your selfies? Mine only cost $10.

    I like how you work this out so you can both do your own thing. Such a pretty hike. The AT really is gorgeous.

  15. David could teach how to fix things for sure (as well as fix them). He has incredible patience. I am surprised that the Goo Gone didn't get the sticky off Winnona. I'll wait to find out what worked. Vegetable oil? Fingernail polish remover? Sherry, I love the shelf and coral mushrooms. The ironweed is really pretty. Glad you had such a nice peaceful time by the creek. xxxooo

  16. Two great days! Well done, Dad! Wonderful views on a lovely hike - beautiful spot you found to relax out there with the water, rocks, mushrooms and blueberries.

  17. I have to say I much prefer your day of beautiful hiking, Sherry -- but I'm so impressed with what David accomplished, and I know it feels good to get those tasks done. More beautiful photos of fungi and wildflowers. We don't seem to find anywhere near as many varieties of fungi here in the Pacific Northwest on any of our hikes.


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