Trusting My Gut

After my exciting laundry stop, I found a nearby park in Bluefield, Virginia. Lister was getting antsy, and I wanted to let him roam around a bit. I had no idea there was a steam locomotive and caboose here, but it was a pleasant bonus. I love such things. Lister was fascinated, too.

I also took him for a fairly long (for him) walk on the leash. We got farther away from the van than ever on one of these walks, and even out of sight. He did great and was very happy to be out and about. When we got back, he curled up inside the van even though the door was wide open. He was done with being outside, for once. So I took the opportunity to close up and head to our Chateau Walmart overnight stop, right down the street.

While I didn’t get a bad vibe about the place, it wasn’t great, either. It’s not that it was unsafe, but there was a great deal of construction going on. The building didn’t have a Walmart sign on it. I went inside to use the bathroom, and it was closed for construction. Part of the parking lot — the section where the RV Parky app advised that I should park, of course — was full of construction materials. I didn’t like it. So I looked up my route for the following day, searched for an overnight stop not too far down the road, and found a Chateau Walmart in Pearisburg, about an hour away. It was barely 4:00 pm, and the days are long right now, especially on the western edge of the time zone. My usual concern about getting settled in before it gets dark doesn’t apply when it’s still light at 9:00 pm. So I went for it.

Not far down the road, I crossed into West Virginia. My route apparently cut a small corner of it before crossing back into Virginia. I stopped at a rest area to take care of that bathroom issue. I thought about just spending the night there, but there were mixed reviews online as to whether it was allowed or not. One thing everyone agreed on was that it was loud, at the intersection of two major highways. So I kept going.

I was glad to cross back into Virginia. West Virginia is wonderful, but the 65 mph I-77 still had me going up and down steep hills and sharp corners, despite being an interstate highway! I took it slow and let everyone pass me. It got easier back in Virginia. The Pearisburg Walmart looked much better, with no construction, and quiet. I parked closer to the Dollar Tree than the Walmart, just like the instructions in the app said. I also picked up dinner at the nearby Wendy’s because I was feeling too lazy to cook at this point. Lister got his dinner, then settled in to sleep. He didn’t even beg to go outside, probably because I wore him out at the park on our long walk. That’s just as well, since I couldn’t park next to grass in this parking lot. I saw that Chris had just added John Wick 4 to his Plex server, so I made some popcorn and settled in for a parking lot movie night on Walmart’s WiFi.

In the middle of the movie, I heard a big loud engine pull in next to me and idle for a while. I looked out the window to make sure it wasn’t a tow truck, and instead, it was a seemingly unoccupied Chevy Tahoe. Eventually, the engine shut off, but at 11:00 pm it started up again, raising a racket right next to me. Fortunately, my house is on wheels, so I moved over to the next row of parking spaces so it wasn’t right next to my head. I don’t know how long the engine kept running, but I fell asleep to it, now that it was a literal dull roar. Lister woke me up at 6:00 am, but not long after I heard that loud engine start yet again. It idled for a while, then drove away.

Clearly, the person spent the night, the same as me. Maybe they parked right next to me so they’d feel a bit safer not being alone. I can understand that, and have no problem with it. But if you do that, and have a loud engine and exhaust, don’t start and run it endlessly throughout the middle of the night. Temperatures got down to about 50º, so maybe they were running the heater. Again, that’s fine, but when you’re loud, don’t do it right next to me. Fortunately, I didn’t lose much sleep to it. That was the only issue I had overnight, and it was a minor one that I could easily deal with. I probably wouldn’t have had any problems in Bluefield, either, but I’ve learned to trust my gut when it’s not feeling good about a parking situation. Better safe than sorry.

This was my first cooler night in Smokey II, and I don’t have a heater hooked up yet. Since we’re going into summer when I don’t need it, I could defer that project until I was out of Florida’s already summerlike temperatures where I definitely don’t need a heater. When I looked at my thermometer, it was 51º outside, and 57º inside — not great, not terrible, especially considering all the insulation I installed. I don’t have proper window covers on the side and back windows yet, so that’s probably where a lot of my retained heat escaped. I should find some cheap black fabric at my next Chateau Walmart stop and make some with that and my leftover Reflectix, not so much for stealth (my curtains work great for that), but to block off those windows, my biggest sources of heat loss.

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