It’s only been 10 days?!? (Part 4)

Above: Florida’s Lovebugs are truly horrific only a half-hour into our drive.

Part four, the final battle.

After the usual dog walks, Sunday morning was spent getting Rover ready for travel. We have a checklist (still under construction) to make sure no steps are missed. We’ve read horror stores (and seen photos and videos) of all manner of mishap when breaking camp. Some of the most common seem to be 1) forgetting to disconnect your power, water, or sewer line from the RV park, 2) forgetting to raise your leveling jacks, 3) forgetting to release the towed car’s parking brake before towing (there’s a nice long set of skid marks right behind our coach from someone who towed their car away with the brake on), 4) pulling in the slide-outs without proper clearance (our driver’s seat needs to be pulled forward or the slide will crush it on the way in), and 5) forgetting to retract your roof antenna (ours doesn’t retract so we’re good there).

We drove Red and Rover separately to the main parking lot, checked out of the campground, and hooked the vehicles together for towing. Since the drive to Mom’s was going to be around 100 miles, we decided to split the drive so we can both get experience. I was first up, so with Kat in the co-pilot’s seat giving me pointers, I pulled out of the campground and within a minute or two we were on the interstates (I-4 and then I-75). This was nothing like driving in the parking lot! It’s a good thing there were two of us, because it took more than 100% of one person’s concentration to drive on the highway. Most of our attention was spent staying centered in our lane (we’re really wide), dealing with merging traffic, compensating for wind gusts and passing trucks, and learning how to judge our over fifty-foot length. We also spared a few minutes occasionally to check on our 10-wheel (Rover and Red) tire pressure and temperature monitoring system to be sure all our tires were doing well.

20140504-IMG_2639The rear-facing camera is great for keeping an eye on Red, and traffic approaching from the rear.

Then we had another challenge to face: the dreaded Florida Lovebugs. We’d heard about these, and even run into a few with Red on our drive down, but we were unprepared for their sheer numbers (and ickyness) in southern Florida. Within half an hour the front windshield was becoming hard to see through. We didn’t use our windshield wipers for fear of smearing them all over and making things worse. We exited the interstate and swapped drivers in a mall parking lot about halfway through. By the time we arrived at Mom’s, the windshield was plastered with the bugs. Exhausted, we stepped out of Rover and saw just how bad the front looked.

20140504-IMG_2642Rover’s shape is particularly conducive to capturing Lovebugs.

To make matters worse, Lovebugs turn acidic when squished, and it’s advised to remove them from vehicle paint as soon as possible. They also are extraordinarily sticky, almost like glue. So rather than finally relaxing when we got to Mom’s we quickly set ourselves to washing the front of Rover… a long task. When we were done, Rover looked beautiful again. Later in the week we had to go shopping for Rain-X so they don’t stick to the windows as much, 303 Aerospace Protectant for Rover’s front (the front paint is protected by Diamond Shield, a “wrap”, which requires special cleaners and waxes), and Plexus plastic cleaner and protectant for the headlights and other plastic areas. Hopefully the Lovebugs will slide right off Rover next time!

20140508-IMG_2671Rover relaxing in Mom’s driveway. We’re relaxing (and probably eating) inside the house.

The rest of our week was a nice mix of a usual Mom visit (relaxing, eating, reading, eating, watching TV, long walks with the dogs, eating) along with lots and lots of RVing chores. If you recall from an earlier episode, we shipped several large boxes of clothes and belongings to Mom’s house before we left. All that needed unpacking and storing in Rover. We’ve also been ordering lots of RV-related items over the last month or two and shipping them to Mom. It was a bit like an early Christmas! We opened our new portable BBQ grill, our lounge chairs, patio mat, and more. I think we’re now feeling ready to start roughing it!

It’s been great to spend a lot of time with Mom. We try to visit every couple years but since those are vacations from work, they’re usually brief, and  we often take a day or two to visit Busch Gardens, Universal Studios, or some other Florida attraction. This time we have a whole week together!

The dogs have also made out well, receiving lots of love and leftovers, and some nice walks (though these need to be done before 9am or after 6pm due to the Florida heat). Opie’s gotten to play in Mom’s pool a fair bit, and Max sampled the pool a couple times by accident. We need to keep a closer eye on him as his vision gets worse and worse in his old age. One time he just walked right off the patio into the pool without knowing it was there. It was a little scary and sad, but he shook it off and went about his business: “What?? I meant to do that!”


Getting organized, relaxed, and fed in Port Charlotte FL.

Michael Fischer

After a high-tech career spanning software development and systems administration to leading hundreds of engineers across cities and continents, I'm now slowing things down a bit. Traveling full-time in an RV with my awesome wife Kathie and our two big dogs Max and Opie, I'm now pursuing smaller personal software projects while seeing North America up close.


  1. Jim Sheafer   •  

    I was going to suggest rainX. Once a year with the traditional application, plus I use the rainX washer fluid (expensive, but keeps repelling) in between.

    Glad to see all is going well.


  2. Debbie   •  

    Very excited for you both. We are just behind you. Just picked up our new truck & 5er last week from Michigan (we came from CA) and are driving it back now. Almost feels like we are FT now, but still have to wait until the house sells. Hopefully this summer!! I can’t wait!
    ps. Ewe on the bugs, like your cleanser/repellent suggestions.

    • Mike   •     Author

      That’s a long drive to pick up an RV… hope you have time to see a few nice places along the way back! Good luck on the house… -Mike

  3. Mark   •  

    The good news is the lovebugs only last 2 weeks then they die until next year. They are a complete mess to deal with and not very easy to clean off. Sounds like your having a blast even with the bugs..

  4. Tomi Newcombe   •  

    We just got our new 36LA up in Michigan (General RV) where we live. We will be down in Fla with it in Oct and again next March/April. I already have the 303, but I am definitely going to get the RainX for the windshield and the washer fluid-well with it. Our coach is in the shop getting a new windshield washer pump ordered and installed. One of our ‘first-trip-inspection’ finds.
    Good tips!

    • Mike   •     Author

      Congrats on the new coach! Our windshield washer pump doesn’t work reliably either. If I tap on it lightly with a hammer it’ll start working, but just for a short time and then it stops again. I’m probably going to have Tiffin send us the replacement and I’ll try to install it myself, since that’s more convenient than taking our house in for service… -Mike

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