RV Road Trip: Moving from Minnesota to Tennessee | Part 1

So we moved a couple weekends ago, and now I’m finally going to tell you all about it!

 

Our deadline for moving down to Tennessee was January 8th. There weren’t any commitments keeping us to that date, but we needed a goal to shoot for, and sooner was definitely better than later.

 

Well, the 8th rolled around, and we weren’t ready! The plan was to have new plywood down on the RV floors before we left, but Chad kept running into things that needed to be fixed or removed before we could do that. To be honest, this RV demo/remodel has taken longer than we thought it would. Go figure.

 

The 14th became our new goal for leaving Minnesota, and it looked like we were actually going to make it. We hustled all week on packing, and cutting and installing the RV floor. When the morning of January 14th dawned, we only had to load up the building materials, our tools and household goods, run a few errands, then hit the road, Jack!

 

Given the way the whole “moving down to Tennessee and living in an RV” thing had gone so far, we should have known that getting out of dodge wouldn’t be that easy.

 

That morning, both of us got out of bed without pressing the snooze on our alarms—a major accomplishment. Bright-eyed and filled with joy at the thought of an epic road trip to our new home state, we were a picture of blissful, ignorant innocence.

 

On the way to the shop where we’d been working on our dear RV, Gloria, that rosy-colored reality began to crack a little. Our Honda alerted us that one of its tires was low, so Chad pulled over to check it, but didn’t find anything out of the ordinary. Huh.

 

At the shop, we swept out the RV and loaded it up with all of our building materials, and tools that we’re using during the Tennessee edition of our remodel (stay tuned for that!). After backing Gloria out of the bay, we pulled the car in to take another look at the tires.

 

Sure enough, Chad found a screw in the back passenger tire. Our optimism wasn’t phased, though, because we had recently bought a tire fix-it kit for such emergencies. Patching the hole would be a snap!

 

More than half an hour later, patch finally completed, I expect that Chad did want to snap. Is anything ever as easy as the directions make it out to be?

 

Anywho.

 

After fixing the tire, we spent the rest of the morning and the afternoon trudging the snowy path between our apartment and the RV, lugging all of our worldly possessions to our new nomadic home. That evening, after some running around and a few last-minute good-bye’s, we drove over to Chad’s parents’ for our final farewell—I in the car and Chad in the RV.

 

As Chad rounded the corner to park in front of his parents’ house, Gloria got a little glitchy. The lights dimmed in and out every few seconds, and the vehicle’s power seemed to be draining as they did . Chad was able to park, but once he shut the RV off it wouldn’t start again.

 

We were grounded--a frustrating end to an exhausting day. (I haven’t exercised as much in the last year as I have packing all of our stuff away in the RV!)

 

Wondering what Gloria’s problem was, and how much it would cost to fix, we spent the night at Chad’s parents’, and called a mechanic to have the RV towed the next morning.

 

Do ya’ll know what a starter solenoid is? Me neither, but that’s what we needed to replace. So we did!

 

Around 3:00pm on Friday, January 15th, our little caravan was finally on I-35 headed south.

 

We communicated by walkie talkie, a fun throwback to childhood that made time pass a little faster, and the ensuing journey a little easier.

 

Driving toward Iowa, the wind blew Gloria all over the road, playing with the RV like it was a toy. As Chad drove along, he discovered that the cab’s heat didn’t work very well, and had to stop to bundle up in a sweater and blanket. (I was toasty warm in the Honda ;)

 

At our first gas stop, Gloria really began to show her age. Apparently, our model of RV has a chronic gas tank problem. It’s constructed in such a way that it’s unable to vent properly, making it more difficult for fuel to move into the tank.

 

As a result, Chad was stuck outside for 10-15 minutes at a time, pumping a little fuel in, waiting for it to go down, then jumping on the back bumper when it wouldn’t. All in 20 degree weather.

 

Oh, and did I mention that the gas gage in the RV doesn’t work?

 

Every 50 miles or so, we stopped at a gas station so Chad could try to get a little fuel into the tank, then pull away from the pump wondering just how much was actually in there. We bought leveling blocks to prop the RV up on one side, and let some air escape from the tank. It helped, but only a little.

 

Sometime after 8:30, we put our road trip adventure on hold, stopping in Cedar Rapids, Iowa for supper.

 

If any of you foodies are ever in Cedar Rapids, stop at Bata’s Restaurant downtown and order the blueberry chicken breast sandwich with caramelized sweet potatoes. You’re welcome.


Bonus if you get Chad, the singing server! (He sang almost everything he said…and no, I don’t mean my RV-driving Chad. Singing Chad is a completely different Chad.)

 

The two of us left Bata’s satisfied and ready for more driving, but it didn’t take long for drowsiness to set in. Must have been all that heavy food—so good!

 

We stopped at a Pilot truck stop in Mount Pleasant, IA to spend our very first night in the RV. It wasn’t our most comfortable night ever, as we both froze and Chad couldn’t sleep because of a weird noise coming from one of the nearby semis. But it didn’t put us off RVing!

 

That's all for now! Check out the video below for some footage from our road trip south, then continue with Part 2 of our journey to Tennessee.