It has been COLD up here in the northeast!  It wasn’t too bad while we were staying with Ken & Nancy, wasn’t too bad for our overnight at friend Tony’s, but we left to head to cousin Cindys up in the Poconos and the weather got crazy cold – below freezing! Single digits even!  Below 0 (yes ZERO!) with the wind chill!  What are we thinking?

Well, we are thinking we wanted to see family after being away so long!  We had been invited to Thanksgiving at Michelle’s in-laws-to-be almost a year ago!  This is Billy’s first Christmas after his break-up so it is a priority to us to spend the holiday with him.

Our first stop after 2 weeks in Lancaster was our good friends, the Infosino’s.  We stayed with them last year for Labor Day weekend, and they said we were welcome any time.  I sure do wish we had more time, but we stayed one night on their driveway and agreed our next visit would be longer!

We had hoped to hang out til around lunch time, but snow was expected so we headed for the Pocono Mountains by 10:30, our ETA with time to spare before snow and frigid temps were expected to start.

We arrived after an uneventful drive and got parked and set-up with ease.  As the temps started to plummet I was concerned how well we would be able to stay warm in the rig.  Cindy said we were more than welcome to stay in the house if we wanted, but as usual, we politely declined, as we prefer to be in our own space.  We are very grateful for driveway space and an outlet, but don’t want to impose more than that!

Cindy had made yummy spaghetti with homemade sauce, and a carrot cake (my fav!) for dessert!  I may or may not have mentioned this before, but Cindy made me promise when we left that I would send her a postcard from everywhere we went.  I have kept that promise and she has a huge Manila envelope full of them!  She adds the new ones to the envelope, but they’ve gotten out of order, so I sat and spent some time putting them in the order they were sent.  It was fun to look at them all and see all the places we’ve been like that.  After I had them all in order, I got a marker and numbered them 1 – 74 (yes – 74!).

We spent one afternoon going out and seeing some local places that Cindy likes to visit.  One shop had a bunch of collectibles that at one time would have had me tempted, but I was good and only purchased a garden flag, which I put out in rotation with the others!

Our lunch stop for the day was Paulie’s Hot Dogs – word had it they had the best hot dogs and cheesesteaks around.  We were not disappointed!  Delish!  Bill and Cindy opted for the traditional cheesesteak while I decided on a cheesesteak wrap – less bread that way but equally as good!

We purchased some locally made German foods at another stop.  Bill and Tommy already put a serious dent in the liverwurst Bill picked out and I can hardly wait to try the homemade pierogies.

One of Tommy’s fav dinners is bratwurst or hot dogs. so Bill had brought him back some buffalo bratwurst and reindeer hot dogs to share.  They thoroughly enjoyed dinner that night!

Since we were so close (miles wise), Bill and I made one more trip to see my BFF, Linda.  Thankfully Jimmy was also off work so we got to spend some time with him as well!

We arrived back at Cindys fairly late, about 11.  It was COLD – like 15 degrees or something.   As soon as we opened the door, we knew something was wrong – no heat!  Also, the frig was off.  The microwave had 00:00 instead of the actual time.  Now what?

Bill quickly reset the inverter for the frig (we generally run the frig off the smaller of our 2 inverters, so it runs off solar all the time).  Thankfully the frig came right back on.

Next thing – why is the furnace off? Bills initial thought was the tank ran out of propane and didn’t switch over, but the stove/oven came on and was fine, so that option was eliminated.  He also checked the breaker/fuses and all was ok there.    We reached out to a couple of our friends to ask for their advice.  I also posted on a forum and a couple of FaceBook pages I read to see if anyone had experienced a similar issue and how did they resolve it.  Bill talked with Lee, who is a certified RV Tech and after discussing all the symptoms (basically it wasn’t doing anything – it wasn’t even attempting to turn on) and considering all we knew,  there was a consensus that the mother board on the furnace had died.  Sadly, they can’t be fixed, just replaced, so we were in for a long night.

It was late and dark and bitter cold, so there really wasn’t any thing we could do at that point except use space heaters and the stove/oven to keep the inside as warm as possible.  Considering the deep freeze happening outside, that was a challenge, especially since we were only plugged into a 15amp outlet.  We could have definitely gone inside to sleep, but that wouldn’t have done Callie (Cindy has a dog that doesn’t appreciate cats or any other animals in his house) any good, nor our pipes.  Bill stayed up most of the night, watching the stove/oven and running the water every once in a while.  It was not a fun night.

In the morning, Bill called the Camping World near his brothers house, which is where we were scheduled to travel to that day.  Thankfully, they had the part we needed in stock.

The next issue was that the water in our fresh water tank was 36 degrees.  With a three hour trip Bill was certain the tanks would freeze and possibly damage the plumbing.  So Bill did an emergency winterization by dumping the fresh and gray tanks, draining the water heater and blowing out all the lines.  Tommy had a gallon of pink antifreeze that Bill dumped down the toilet and all the P-trays.  He also added a pound of salt to the black tank so it wouldn’t freeze hard.  After he was satisfied our home was protected he hit the road!  We went through our “ready the cabin for departure” chores and after hugs and “see ya soon”‘s we were on our way to Lakewood, NJ.

It was an easy ride, and we knew right where the CW is.  Parking our big rig was a bit of a challenge since they don’t have an RV parking area, but Bill managed just fine.  While he was back in the parts department, I took the time to look around a bit and also renew our membership.  We were soon back on the road, anxious to get to Johns and get the heat back on!

I wish you all could have seen Bill back our home up into Johns driveway!  I mean, like an expert!  The driveway is lined with trees and is pretty long.  It is plenty wide enough, at about 14 feet, but long – and our spot further back past the house, maybe 300’!

Sunset was imminent by the time we got parked, less than an hour of daylight left. It was VERY cold out and also inside the rig.  While we were confident that replacing the mother board would resolve the issue, Bill had never taken the furnace out before and wasn’t sure how it would go.

Thankfully the job was pretty straightforward and he got it done with only a small amount of help from me.  I went out and held the flashlight for a short while but I was so cold I was shaking so I wasn’t being much help.  I was sent back to wait in the truck.

our furnace
as big a pain in the butt this was for Bill to get out/back in, we’ve heard stories of others that are completely underneath their rigs, like climb under on your belly to get to it! Thankfully he didn’t have to do that!
the old broken mother board

Once he got the furnace put back together and back in place he went in and fired it up – and we had HEAT!  Thank goodness as the inside of the rig was 35 degrees!  It would have been colder if the sun was not shining on it.  It was 12 degrees outside with a windchill of negative 8 degrees!

Susan had made dinner for us and we enjoyed a cozy warm evening with her and John.

While visiting we with them, we hung out, catching up on news.  We had a couple of meals at some yummy places – a local diner for breakfast, pizza for dinner and one night we fried up some of Bills AK halibut.  We looked around in a local antique shop, where we saw items reminding us of our childhoods.  Does that mean we are antique too?

we actually saw these still on retired phone polls in Alaska this past summer!
$800 Baccarat Signed Crystal Harcourt Decanter – Bill’s fathers middle name (as well as the 4 William Murray’s before him!) was Harcourt
did any of you ever own any of these toys?
loved seeing all the old lunch boxes, thermoses and Hess trucks! I used to have a bunch of those – back in the day!
Grist Mill Antiques Center

While in NJ, we also took a couple of day trips – the first one to see my brother, Jay, and his family.  Jaime came by for awhile, but sadly her BF, Matt had to work.  Caroline, my sister-in-law, was still at work when we arrived, but joined us later.  There is a newly opened restaurant that Jay & Caroline had been wanting to try, Old Glory.  It was a short walk, and we were seated quickly.  A few appys and drinks later, we walked back and said our “see ya later’s”.

sibling time!
Jay and Jaime

Temps had gone up a bit, so our newly fixed furnace didn’t have to work so hard, but just as temps were expected to plummet again – you’ll never guess what happened!  Furnace went out again!  We went out after watching some TV with John & Susan, so it was after dark and getting COLD.  Thankfully Bill was able to easily set us up with 30amp so we could run another space heater overnight.   We were scheduled to leave to see my cousin Jane the following day, and I was concerned we wouldn’t be able to go.

My super amazing hubby got up early and went out to see if he could figure out what was going on.  It didn’t take very long for him to see the problem – a wire was pinched and causing a short.  He fixed the wire and plans to write to Heartland and explain, hopefully they will step up and reimburse us for the mother board.  The wire was pinched between the frame and sleeve of the furnace from the factory.  The other wires were properly run.  Bill believes the intermitant short in the wire caused the board to fry.  Either way – furnace was up and running again!  And – in plenty of time for us to go see Jane!

this is where the wire burned through and was shorting out, causing the fuse to blow and likely cause of the failure of the mother board he replaced
see where it was being pinched?

The drive to Mamaroneck NY wasn’t as bad as it could have been.  We slowed down a lot at the GWB, but that was expected.  We met Jane at her place of work, Larchmont Temple, where she is the Executive Director.  After Jane showed us around, we met her hubby, Doron, for lunch.

oh no! that doesn’t look good!
black smoke!
there was barely anything left of the truck!
NYC skyline
almost to the GWB
can hardly read it but it says 13’9″ – very tight for 18 wheelers!
George Washington Bridge
they don’t leave much wiggle room!

We took a look around the town a bit.  Larchmont and Mamaroneck are right on the Long Island Sound and the views are beautiful!

my beautiful cousin, Jane
Long Island Sound
more views of the sound

We picked up some take-out and headed to their apartment.   They live in a really nice building with all the amenities.  We enjoyed our visit very much, getting in some quality cousin time!

We waited until way after rush hour to head back to NJ.   The trip back was quicker, we made good time!  Best part – when we got back the furnace was still pumping out heat!

The following day we were supposed to leave to head back to PA, where we would be spending the holiday with Billy, but we decided to stay another day at John’s.  We had been doing a lot of running around and I felt like we could use another day to relax.

We took care of some chores and took a ride to see the CG that would be our summer home.  The GPS found it for us and we pulled up to the closed gate, which was locked.  As we backed out – a tow truck pulled behind us.  He asked us if we needed to get in.  We explained that we just wanted to see the place and possibly meet the owners since we would be working there for the summer.  He said the owner was there and he unlocked the gate.  The owner showed up and after he took care of business with the tow truck guy, he gave us a short tour.  He seems like a great guy and we are looking forward to our time at Country Oaks!  If anyone will be spending any time on the Jersey Shore – let me know – we’d love to get together!


8 thoughts on “Brrrr…

  1. My goodness, Kelly. Sharp metal and wiring don’t mix….and it was up under the top where it was hard to see. Bill probably remembers my FB post of our main power line draped across a sharp metal frame crossmember. The manufacturers need to step it up when wiring these rigs. And the scary thing with your furnace is the proximity to that gas valve connection. There is a definite lesson to be learned here: we all should be getting our flashlights out and peer behind our access panels for situations like this. I’m so glad this didn’t end up causing a fire in your rig.

    1. You and me both Jim! Bill says the only reason he didn’t see it during the first fix was b/c it was cold and he was trying to just get it done – he actually had to bend down and look up with the flashlight to see it. Scared me for sure! And yes – we both remember the pics you posted of your wiring! Thankfully yours didn’t end badly either!

  2. Bill can do anything! YAY, Bill! at first I thought you were driving with Queenie on the GWB, but realized not. That would have been tense! Can’t wait to visit the place you will call home for the summer!

    1. Bill is so good at things! Thank goodness! I cannot imagine taking Queenie anywhere near NYC – I’ve advised people who’ve asked (knowing I’m from the area) – stay FAR away!
      Bill and I are both very much looking forward to showing you around our old stomping grounds!

  3. So glad you got to meet your new bosses. Also I really admire your dedication in taking pictures of all the repairs despite the cold. Really helps tell the story.

    1. Thanks! While we did meet the husband, who introduced himself of course, we both promptly forgot his name! Isn’t that awful! His wife, Lynn, was out Christmas shopping so we didn’t get to meet her, but if she’s half as nice we should be fine!

  4. Kelly, I know what you mean about the cold. I can’t imagine not having heat. Glad Bill was able to fix it. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas. Have a safe and Happy New a Year.

    1. I don’t ever want to be that cold again! With both kids living in the northeast – I cannot say with certainty we will never be north in the cold again! Why can’t they move south! Oh well! Happy New Year to you!

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