Well, after four years of preparation we finally took the plunge and relocated to someplace warm. After one week at Hunt’s Motorcycle Campground in Tellico Plains, Tennessee, we drove the final 300 odd miles to tiny remote Ailey, Georgia.
But first Hunt’s! Jack and Lori Hunt have a great place with the added bonus is that they were o-kay with our renewing the disk brakes on our motorhome.
The SabMag group was great, although a biker from Ohio demonstrated his displeasure at the eclectic mix of personalities present id est me and Lynn, by leaving a large yogurt container full of human waste at the rear of our motorhome.
I rode the Cherohala. Three times. Then I rode the Tail of the Dragon a.k.a. route 129 through Deal’s Gap. Once. One-way only. Maybe I’ll ride it again on a weekday but the weekend is just too busy for me. I like to manage my risk(s) and betting on some unknown person operating at an unknown skill level with a who knows what state of mine is just too risky. We ate good food. Had enjoyable conversations with on-line friends and pretty much stayed out of trouble.
Our home on wheels on the other hand gave us fits, which were mostly my fault. My original plan was to work on the brakes after we arrived at our winter home in Ailey, Georgia. Since I always plan for the worst and count anything less than the worst a success I carried a set of used but still good brake pads just in case one of the dragging brake calipers wore through the lining material. Somewhere in Pennsylvania I felt one of the brake pads disintegrate and we heard the sound of steel backing plate rubbing on cast iron as the brake pad’s backing plate rubbed against the brake rotor.No problem! After a good night’s sleep at a Love’s service area, there were spaces available to pick and choose from and after one turn around the parking lot I found a level, out of site spot, next to a trailer that wasn’t going to move anytime soon and went to work. Life would have been good if I had taken more time determining which side had worn through, and to properly block the wheels, and to install safety cribbing under the axle. As it was I had a pine landing pad under the brake rotor that prevented the rotor from striking the pavement and if I had stopped trying to hurry at that time and properly blocked the front wheels everything would have turned out fine. But I didn’t and the ending was further away because of my bullheadedness. The second drop was much closer to the ground and only the sheer mass and stiffness of our antique home on wheels prevented the brake rotor from hitting the ground. I managed to use my two bottle jacks to get the axle back up in the air and to install the tires but it wasn’t fun.
All told, we traveled 1,456 miles from Deering, NH to Ailey, GA with a detour to Tellico Plains, TN, burning 216 gallons of gasoline for an average fuel burn of 6.7 miles per gallon. The best we saw was 7.5 mpg, and the worst 5 mpg. The secret to our successful mileage run was keeping our foot out of the throttle and turning off the cruise control when necessary to prevent the cruise control from opening the throttle completely to try and maintain speed. We found that the amount of fuel used when the “power valve” was open, while climbing hills or accelerating from a stop was enough to reduce our mileage figure to 5 miles per gallon. We also used a maximum cruise speed under power of 55 miles per hour. This ! was partly for aerodynamic drag, part for fear of the body flying apart and part tire worry. After the first 500 or so miles I started letting the house run free down hill with speeds approaching 70 mph, still hyper-mileing.