Saturday, June 22, 2024

The Tale of Going to Vermont

June 3-5, 2024                                                                        Most Recent Posts:
On the road                                                     A Fun Birthday and Heading North
to Moose River Campground                           New River Gorge National Park
St Johnsbury, Vermont


After leaving the farm on Sunday June 2, I got on I 81 headed north and stopped for the night in West Virginia.  No problems. 

Back on the road the next day with a gas stop planned at the Pilot just off of I 84 in Newburgh NY.  About 90 minutes from there the battery light came on the dashboard.   Remember, I just put a brand new battery in less than a week ago.

20240603_193750The battery light is RED.  It comes on and the goes off.  Stays off a while, comes on and goes off.  It’s driving me crazy so I pull over, get out the manual and read that this is electrical.  You must turn off everything like radio, AC etc and get to a repair facility in less than an hour.  GREAT!   It’s in the mid 80’s, I’m driving a metal box and it’s hot outside.

What’s going on here?

I cannot stop in less than an hour.  So I turn everything off, push on to Newburgh Pilot with the light going on and off.  I’m hoping that it won’t go solid red in which case I think I’m in real trouble.


20240603_193722I get there, get gas, pull over surrounded by tractor trailers and look up mobile mechanics.  The first one  I call says he’s 10 minutes from me and comes right over.  It’s about 1pm.

I tell him the story and he says sounds like wiring and the alternator if I just bought a new battery and the light is coming on and off.  He gets under the rig, sees that a wire on the alternator is loose, uses zip ties to shore it up and says no charge.

I’m thinking this is a lucky event until he is gone and I’m just to pull out of the gas station when the light comes back on.  Trucks behind me.  I have to turn onto the road.  I have to call him back, I have to find a place to turn all 57 feet of me around and come back to Pilot.

Takes 1/2 hour to return and Tom is there.  He tests things, says it’s the alternator.   If I’d had some place near the farm to take Winnona when the starter required a booster I could have found this out and potentially not had to spend $300 on a new battery.   It’s likely the problem all along was the alternator.

BUT calling around we cannot find this alternator.  It’s been discontinued.  I won’t bore you with how much time I spent online and calling,  I managed to find the replacement part number and found one but it would take 3 days to ship it here.  I can’t see myself in a Pilot lot for 3 days, they would not ship overnight.

But it’s clear I’m going to have to spend one night here among the truckers.


Finally Tom took the alternator off, took it home with him, continued at night looking on line to try to find one I could pay to ship overnight.  I had called all the local parts stores to see if they had this alternator or its replacement or one for this VIN number or this chassis or this engine to no avail.  



In taking the alternator off, Tom had to take the “doghouse” off too.  That’s the carpeted cover over the engine so the noise from it being right between the two seats and under where you are sitting isn’t deafening.

Next day, Tom took the part in to an Advance Auto in a nearby town where a friend works and they got out all the possible alternators and compared them to mine and BINGO


He brought the new one over, installed it, put the dog house cover back and I was good to go after barely 24 hours and  only ONE night at Pilot.  It was completely amazing what he did.

Here is my knight in shining armor. I cannot possibly recommend TOM CARBAUGH of Tom C Mobile Mechanic 845 625 9465 highly enough.   He spent hours helping me.  I would have been totally stranded without him.  How lucky am I that I called him first.


PXL_20240604_200017075AOf course having no problems was too good to last.  It turns out Tom didn’t get the heavy doghouse back on correctly and I’m serenaded by the engine until I can get to Vermont.  But things could be worse.

I’m nearing the Vermont border when the yellow jack light starts flashing and dinging.  This is a nerve wracking ding just so you won’t possibly keep driving when apparently one of your jacks is slipping.

Springs hold the jacks up when you store them and we’ve replaced springs before but I haven’t had any problems with them in a while.  SO,  I pull over on the side of the interstate, get out the wooden blocks and the crowbar and force the jack back up and pray it will stay and not drop down again.   Which it does long enough for me to get to the Vermont Welcome Center for the night.

IMG_2039The Welcome Center is a MM 5 on I 91. The very nice people there gave me permission to park overnight in their lot as I was simply too tired to go on.   After some dinner, I took a look around.  This is one of the nicest welcome centers I’ve seen.  That’s it in the background behind the great tables and chairs for a picnic if you like.

They have a very nice garden with a sun dial in the center.  Several things were in bloom and some just budding.  I’m in the land of cooool weather.  Ahhhhh


A walking trail is mowed into the field with wonderful antique farm implements from Vermont on display.


These are only a few of the equipment on display.  If you like antique farm equipment, this is your place.  Be sure to stop.  It’s in Guilford Vermont on I 91.


They also have a great playground for kids

And kids at heart.


I spent a very nice night here.  Thank you Vermont.



I arrived without incident at Moose River in the late morning.  Very happy to be here.

I came in 2021 for a month, in 2023 for 2 months and this year I’m here for 3 months.  I guess you could say I like it.   It’s a small campground of only 36 sites which I particularly like.  It’s easier to get to know people.  About half the sites are seasonal since I’m not the only person who wants to be in Vermont by the river in the summer.

The sites on the left are on the river, the ones on the right are not.  The first 9 or so sites on both sides are seasonal sites. The season runs from May to October.  Seasonal sites on the river are by seniority.  When someone does not return for the season, the next person gets to move to the river.

As I mentioned, I’m here on a monthly site for 3 months, in site 15 this year.  Like the years before, I have a river site.  Look carefully and you can see it behind Winnona.


I can have my meals at the picnic table overlooking the river.  Especially after I put the table cloth on it.


Or I can sit with my book and read in my backyard by the water.


This picture of one of my neighbors on a seasonal site is for Pam.  Read the flag.

You can see why I’m willing to come so far and put up with “troubles”.


  1. All I can say is…thank goodness for Tom. What a good man! So glad he was the first one you called and had the time to set you right. Love that you have a river spot. Vermont is a superb place to be for summer! Very pretty and cool!

    1. I was very lucky in Tom that's for sure. You are so right about Vermont being a great place for summer. Although you may have to be in "The Northern Kingdom" for it to be cool enough.

  2. What a great guy! If we were traveling, we would spread the word. Glad you are in a relatively cooler place for the summer. Let us know how the temperatures are this summer!

    1. I wish you were still traveling Jeannie. Temps were in the mid 80's for 2 or 3 days but then the rains came and it has been cool ever since. 68 right now with a high today of 75. That's perfect IMO.

  3. I'm so sorry that you had rig troubles, but how fortunate you were to find Tom. He sounds like a truly wonderful person. Your spot in Vermont is absolutely beautiful. Easy to understand why you would want to return. Enjoy your summer vacation! :-)

    1. I've accepted the fact that a 20 year old rig is going to have troubles and probably repeated ones. BUT I love this rig and until I have to spend more than I can afford, I'll keep doing it. I'd love to have something smaller but one income won't permit me to buy something else and start over with a rig I don't know. Thanks for your comment Laurel. I'm anxiously awaiting a post from you.

  4. I went through this problem once. The best cheap volt meter was ordered from Amazon, a simple two-USB charger with a power meter that plugs into a cigarette lighter socket. It is worth having as you can instantly tell if the battery is low and if the Alternator is working correctly. example: dead battery 11V, charged battery 12.8V, and when engine running 13.2 to 14.5V depending on how much it has to recharge. I keep two in my Leasure Tyme, one for the coach battery and one for the start battery. No more forgetting to pack a multimeter and you will have 4 USB charge ports.
    Enjoy your cool Summer.

    1. I'm pretty sure David has a multimeter around here somewhere. I just need to find it and learn how to use it. Thanks for the information in your comment Tom. I suspect you are having a cool summer too there in Alaska.

  5. Oh Sherry. I have no words. Thank heavens you have experience with fixing things or figuring out how to make it happen. Your site looks wonderful. I look forward to your next update as I love your Vermont posts.

    1. Thank you Pam. You are one of the people most encouraging me to keep blogging. I really appreciate it.

  6. I agree with ZippyPinHead. They sell them at auto parts as well and Napa makes a pretty good one that's usually in stock. Worth having...
    Sorry about your troubles, but wow, that is a great looking site with the River. Enjoy!!

    1. All is well that ends well I say though as I said in an earlier comment, there is bound to be something else with a 20 year old rig. Always wonderful to hear from you Shayne. Hope you and Bev are not dying of the heat.

  7. It's always something with our rolling homes. Sure glad it wasn't any worse and Tom to the rescue. Enjoy! ~Gaelyn

    1. Well put Gaelyn. If the something isn't terminal it can be figured out.

  8. It makes me really nervous when some light comes on in my car and I worry about all of the bad things that could happen. The wheels could fall off. the engine could blow up, the air conditioning stops working...... I would like a chair right next to yours overlooking the river. I will bring my own book, snacks and beverage!@##! I can see why all of the troubles were worth it in the end. xxxooo

    1. The lights really are nerve-racking especially when you're driving a 35 ft house towing a 22 ft car on an interstate. But as they say what doesn't kill us makes us stronger. I guess.

  9. We have had a few heroes in our travels who went the extra mile and I'm glad you've had your share as well - although we've both had our share of not-so-much service people :-)) I hate, hate those damn warning bells. Send my blood pressure to the moon! What a beautiful site to spend 3 months - I'm so, so envious.

  10. Thank goodness there are these great ones to compensate for the absolutely terrible shysters. Those bells mean business you just can't keep driving. Not sure how I'm going to feel about 3 months in one place I really do miss traveling. How I wish I had my driver.

  11. Ugh, those lights and bells always were so maddening when we were traveling. Don't miss that part of full timing! Glad you are safe and sound in Vermont!

    1. I've never had lights and bells before so this is all new to me and I'm glad it got taken care of. But I love the lifestyle and my 20-year-old rig is what I have so I guess I'm going to have to take my chances.

  12. Sherry…. You give new meaning to an adventure! Your spirit and perseverance are contagious!

  13. Oh my goodness, Sherry, I am finally home where I can see the photos and perhaps comment, although almost everyone has said anything I might say. Just wanted you to know I planned to read as soon as I could see the photos. and yes, that little spot in Vermont is well worth a three month stay. Although my Vermont friend Jeanne calls it the "green tunnel" and can't wait to get on the road back toward the west again. You may remember how gorgeous their 640 acres is with the magnificent timber frame home there near Dorset, and yet she loves being in the motorhome/van they bought. Heading west maybe full time maybe half time. Jeanne says half Alan says full. LOL

  14. Just got back from a cruise so sorry it took so long to respond. A little trick I used when my alternator failed on the Journey early in our FT life. I ran the generator and then stuck a pencil eraser under the MOM switch, the one that links both battery systems together for momentary starting the engine if the engine battery is dead. Not a permanent fix but good enough to get you to a safe place or a repair shop. I left the eraser on for about a 1/2 hour at a time and then off for a half hour. It got me to a Frieghtliner dealer where we stayed for three days until a replacement alternator arrived. Glad we had bought an extended warranty, the alternator cost over $1000.


Your comments help me in more ways than you can know. Thanks in advance.