Romance, WV - Events of Wednesday, October 3 to Sunday, October 7, 2012
As much as we hated leaving Berlin, OH, it was definitely time to start heading south since the cool days and nights were becoming more frequent. A possible freeze was even predicted for the following weekend. We pulled out of Scenic Hills about 10:00 AM on Wednesday, headed a few miles east to pick up I-77 in Dover, OH, then drove south to Rippling Waters Campground in Romance, WV near Charleston.
We have never stayed in West Virginia in our motor home because it is so close to Pittsburgh where we used to live. We always just passed right through on our way to or from Pittsburgh, so this time we made a point of stopping just so we could say we did...and so we could add it to our states visited map.
We stayed at Rippling Waters, which is a conference center and campground that is owned and operated by the Church of God. The RV campground has full-hookup sites for $25 a night, pop-up trailer sites with water and electric only for $20 a night and primitive tent sites for $15.
The campground is located about 3 miles from the interstate. Unfortunately, the road to the campground is narrow, winding and a bit rough; but once you arrive at Rippling Waters, it is nice and quiet.
The roads and pads are gravel, and there is grass between the sites. We got a site in the one area that has about 8 or 10 extra-long pull-throughs. The electric service, at least in the pull-through sites where we were located, is 30/50 amps. The site spacing isn't too bad for a private campground, but the sites feel a little closer together than they are because they are straight instead of at an angle. When the sites sit at an angle, they feel a little more spaceous because your RV isn't lined up directly with the one next to you.
sites are located in several different areas. Although the pull-throughs seem to be used primarily for transients, many of the other areas
have numerous seasonals. All the sites are well maintained.
On the way to Rippling Waters, we experienced a problem with our motor home. As we were climbing one of the many hills in southern Ohio, the sound of the exhaust suddenly got very loud. The noise was coming from the front, so we knew it wasn't a muffler. It also seemed to be coming from the side of the engine where we recently had the exhaust manifold studs and gasket replaced.
Fortunately, there was rest stop a short distance away, so we pulled off. Paul couldn't tell exactly where the leak was, but the exhaust manifold studs looked to be intact. There were also no holes in the exhaust pipe, so Paul suspected it was a problem with the gasket between the exhaust pipe and the exhaust manifold.
We started up our Verizon air card and searched for repair shops. There were none in the immediate area, so we decided to soldier on to Rippling Waters because if was the gasket as Paul suspected, he thought he could probably replace it himself.
As soon as we arrived at Rippling Waters and got set up, Paul put on his old clothes and climbed under the motor home. Sure enough, the gasket that was supposed to be between the exhaust pipe and the exhaust manifold had blown out and was completely gone.
The shop that repaired the broken manifold bolts had to disconnect the exhaust pipe from the manifold. When they reattached the exhaust pipe, they apparently either reused the old gasket, which may have had undetected damage, or the the new gasket they used was the wrong one.
Our motor home has a Workhorse chassis, so while Paul was removing the nuts that held the exhaust pipe to the manifold, Margery did an internet search for Workhorse service centers. Unfortunately, the closest one was about an hour and a half away in Kentucky.
The Workhorse chassis has an 8.1 liter GM engine, which was also used on heavy duty Chevrolet and GMC pickup trucks, so Paul hoped the exhaust gasket he needed was the same as the ones used in the pickups. The closest auto parts store was Advance Auto Parts about 20 minutes away in Sissonville, WV, and they had a gasket in stock.
To make a long story short, the exhaust gasket used for the pickups is different from what we needed. Paul was able to find a source for the correct replacement gasket through an online RV forum that he participates in called iRV2.com. The replacement gasket, which is available from Car Quest Auto Parts, is supposed to be even better than the original because it is a little thicker. Unfortunately, the closest Car Quest was over an hour away in Ohio, and they didn't have the gasket in stock. However, they were able to get it by the following morning.
We drove over to Ohio on Friday morning, and Paul was able to install the new gasket in the afternoon. There were also some wires from the generator start button that had melted because of the leaking, hot exhaust gas, so Paul had to cut out the melted section and splice in some new wires.
We had planned to play tourist on Thursday and Friday in nearby Charleston and see the West Virginia State Capitol building and the West Virginia State Museum, but that obviously went out the window when we had to hunt down parts for the motor home and make repairs. We could have done our sightseeing over the weekend, but a cold front moved in Friday night and brought with it clouds and rain, plus Charleston was hosting three big events over the weekend - the World's Championship Chili Contest, the 7th Annual Rod Run and Doo Wop Car Show, and University of Charleston's Homecoming. All things considered, we decided to skip the sightseeing and just hang around the motor home and relax. That was fine with Paul since his muscles were a little sore from climbing under and back out from under the motor home for the better part of two and a half days. You know how that goes - climb under, need a different tool, climb back out to get the tool, then climb back under. Repeat dozens of times.
While we were relaxing, Margery had to take time out to repair one of Freeway's toys. He loves fabric toys, and he loves to try to pull them apart. We have bought several that we thought were going to be nice and strong, but they only lasted 10 minutes. His Krazy Kitty, however, has lasted a long time. Unfortunately, it was missing one leg and now it is missing an arm, too. Margery had previously cut off and sewn up one of the legs because it was dangling by a thread, and she did the same with the arm. Freeway was very concerned about his kitty.
With spending so much time tracking down parts and working on the motor home, the only sights Paul got to see were several auto parts stores and the underside of the motor home.
We did take time for a walk around Rippling Waters Conference Center and Campground before the clouds rolled in. The property is huge, and the facilities can easily accommodate several groups at the same time. There is a conference center, a couple of open-air pavilions, two dorm-style cottages and several groups of cabins.
The chapel across the lake is very picturesque.
On Monday morning, we headed out to a new destination. Look for our next post to see where we ended up.