Our previous trips to Boston had been plagued by the serpentine belt coming off, which not only prevented the batteries from charging via the under-hood generator/secondary alternator, but also resulted in the engine fan failure and subsequent overheating. This situation occurred when we picked up our son in May (see Trip #6–Part II) and when we brought him back at the end of August (see Trip #7–Boston Deja Vu). To make matters worse, both days were extremely hot.
We had a much improved experience this time. After being serviced at Roadtrek, the serpentine belt seems to be secure and the batteries are now charging properly by driving and idling. We also believe the solar panels to be working to charge the batteries, based on the testing we did a few weeks ago (see E-trek Battery Log–October). We assume that the battery balancer is also helping, although we will have to do more research. In preparation for our trip to Boston, we contacted Leo, our favorite Roadtrek service technician, to help us solve the two remaining problems uncovered on our Gettysburg trip last week.
- The Webasto 6-pulse error message “overheating or exceeding gradient water temperature sensor” had been caused by the geniuses (us) failing to turn on the water pump when filling the fresh water tank in order for the 2.5-gallon Webasto holding tank to fill. In fairness to us, neither the E-trek Owner’s Manual nor the Webasto Operating Instructions indicated that the water pump had to be on in order for the Webasto hot water tank to fill.
- We confirmed that the battery does need to be “fully charged” at 26 Volts for the inverter to produce enough power to start our Keurig coffee maker, which needs 1,500 watts to heat up the water. (However, some members of the Class B Camper Vans Facebook Group have suggested that our batteries may be damaged since we are unable to brew coffee using the inverter unless the batteries are fully charged.) In the meantime, we purchased the Presto MyJo coffee maker we had read about on the Class B Forum. It arrived today, just in time for our trip and I already tried it out. Works great and should make our mornings much easier!
We drove 200 miles Thursday night to Sturbridge, MA, which is about 60 miles from Boston, and parked at our favorite Cracker Barrel for the night. Originally we had planned to stay at a rest area along Route 91 in Connecticut (about 150 miles from home), but when we saw semi-trailer trucks parked in the RV area, we decided we didn’t want to listen to their loud diesel engines all night. Even though the trucks have their own parking area at the rest stops, they still park in the car/RV area, which is disappointing.
After a comfortable night of sleep, we were awakened by a taxi driver who decided to park right next to us and start chatting with a tour bus driver early Friday morning. We were successful using the Presto MyJo coffee maker to quickly brew our morning coffee, so after the dogs were fed, we were off to Boston. There was some traffic exiting in Newton, just west of Boston, which is where we drop off the dogs for doggy day care, but we were still at Ryan’s dorm by 10:30 AM. We were glad we had driven the extra hour to Sturbridge, because it made our morning much easier. Exiting the Mass Pike to drop off the dogs adds at least 30 minutes to the drive, plus it was raining Friday morning.
For our previous trips to Boston last Spring, we used to park our E-trek on Bay State Road in front of Ryan’s old dorm. We never had any trouble finding two slots together; however, we had to make sure to keep feeding the parking meters (25 cents/12 minutes x 2 adds up pretty fast). His dorm now, a converted brown stone, is on the very busy Beacon Street. Although there were adjacent slots available, they were narrow and we didn’t want to spend all day worried that we were getting side-swiped by some double-parked delivery truck, which seem to be every where in Boston. We found a quiet road close to the dorm, and although 2-hour parking signs were randomly posted, a friendly dog-walker said that the worst we would come back to is a $30 parking ticket. Parking for the day would likely cost that much anyway, so we decided to take our chances!
By then it was time for lunch, so we ate at the restaurant next to the bicycle store where Ryan had recently purchased a city bike to ride around Boston. From there we took an Uber to Bunker Hill Monument and climbed the 294 stairs to see the view. The rain had stopped hours ago, and the weather was perfect for sightseeing.
We walked along the Freedom Trail to see the USS Constituion, which is currently being renovated. From there we took another Uber to Prudential Center and did a little shopping since I had not packed appropriately for our fancy dinner that evening. Before dinner, we went back to the RV to shower and relax for a bit, and to our amazement, no parking ticket! We had a delicious dinner at Top of the Hub, which had an even more spectacular view then the top of Bunker Hill Monument, plus we didn’t have to climb the stairs–although Ryan tried to lead us to the stairwell instead of the elevator.
After a successful visit, we were back in the RV by 7:30 PM–remarkably still no parking ticket–and after refueling we, picked up the dogs at 8:00 PM. We had planned to stop at the Route 91 rest area, about two hours from Boston; however, we decided to press on since we knew we would be glad to be home, even at 1:30 AM! We were, and we all enjoyed sleeping in Saturday morning–exhausted from our Boston adventure! We are very pleased to have taken two trips to confirm that our Roadtrek E-trek is now performing properly, according to the information we have been given by Roadtrek. We will continue to monitor the battery performance and we will also report about another upgrade we had installed by Roadtrek last month. Stay tuned!