Tag Archive for: Flying J

Fuel Stops


After our little adventure with being locked inside our coach, we were a bit tentative in terms of how to operate the door of our coach. On our return leg from the Hershey RV show, we were a bit nervous every time we went to open the door from the inside.

We now understand what caused the door mechanism to jam: we must unlock the door first before trying to open it. We just did not learn that until after we got back home.

Refueling a large coach like the Castaway means planning ahead. Most gas stations are too tight for a coach our size. We generally look for a Flying J on our route and we make our fuel stop there. We have gone into the truck stops and used the fueling stations there but it is a bit of a different experience.

Here is a short video of me leaving the RV fueling station at the New Milford, Pennsylvania Flying J:

I find the Flying Js to be a lot calmer than the truck stops. We have a Flying J credit card which allows us to pay at the pump and we get a small discount off the cost of fuel. Most of the truck stops require a pay first, pump after protocol. I also find the RV lanes at the Flying J to be cleaner than the truck stops. In the truck lanes there is usually a lot of spillage around the pump area.

One thing that I have learned when fueling the Castaway is to watch out when topping up the tank. I make an educated guess as to how much fuel I need for the coach and I ease back considerably on the pump when I get close to that estimate. My first time out I filled at a truck stop and I had the fuel spill out all over me. This was due to the higher pressure for the pump and the tendency for the diesel fuel to foam. By the time the tank had filled there was simply too much fuel still on its way. It spilled all over my hands and feet.

The smell of diesel stays on you for quite a while.

I now use disposable gloves when I fill the tank. I add fuel from the side of the coach well behind the fuel cap as opposed to directly in front of it. And I am fine to be close to a full tank. Not completely full. Not over full. Just close enough.

Not Enough Air


We had to replace a bad tire on our travels to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan last month. That tire, located on the front driver’s side, now checks in at 101 PSI cold. The tire on the other side of the steer axle checks in at 110 PSI cold.

My sense of balance requires both tires to be at the same pressure: 110 PSI cold.

No problem. On our way to the Flying J a few nights back, we planned to check the pressures running hot and level the driver’s side to match the passenger’s side.

Only I did not have enough air from the air pump.

Frustrating really.

I took the air hose, connected it to the tire valve, and waited. Not long, probably 10 – 20 seconds. I had no idea how quickly the tire pressure would change but when I checked, it had not changed at all.

I spent a bit longer, perhaps a minute or so. Checked the tire pressure. And still no change.

I tried 5 minutes. No change in tire pressure.

I then went to the Flying J counter to settle the fuel and dumping charges and to ask them about the air pump. It was working except that 115 PSI was the max. And, as the heat had increased the tire pressure on the driver’s side from 101 PSI to 111 PSI, I was trying to get the tire up to 120 PSI to match the level on the passenger’s side.

With a 115 PSI air pump, that was not going to happen in my lifetime.

They told us to go into the trucker area and use those air pumps.

We made our way over to the trucker area. We are basically the same size as a big diesel bus so we were not entirely out of place. Just mostly out of place. There were at least a dozen lanes and every lane was full. We queued behind one tractor trailer. He pulled out of the lane and stopped about 50 feet or so in front of the pumps.

We pulled in and got to work on the front tire.

Same exact experience as before. Could not move the tire pressure north of 115 PSI.

Time to leave. Except for one little problem, the tractor trailer still stopped about 50 feet or so in front of us. No way out.

I had to do something that I did not really want to do, namely, back the coach out of the pump lane. Lorraine stepped out to spot and we figured out a way to retreat without impacting a truck.

I had no idea as to how to exit the trucker area. It took us another 5-10 minutes of roaming around to finally break free of the Flying J trucker area. I am very sure that I entertained a few truckers as we drove in random patterns around the parking area looking for a way out.

Getting our own air compressor has suddenly jumped to the top of the must have list for our motorcoach.

The Ride


Our coach has been spending most of its time at a site we created on our property in the country. We have a 30 Amp service for the coach. No other hookups although we did install a water bypass to allow treated water to go to our outside faucets. We can fill our freshwater tank by connecting to the faucet in our garage.

When the coach is at home, we do spend quite a bit of time living in it. It is where we have been sleeping and, when we have those few rare moments, relaxing. We still do our cooking and personal care in our house.

That allows us to keep our gray tank use way down. Our black tank does fill over a two to three week period and, if we do not have a trip planned, we need to find a dump station.

We have two choices: use the station at our local KOA where they charge us $35 to dump our tanks, or drive about 30 kilometres (18 miles) to a Flying J where they charge us $5 to dump our tanks.

Last night the choice was easy. We needed to top up our fuel and add some air to one of the tires.

We also wanted the ride.

We love to travel in the coach. It really is a unique experience and it is so much fun. We take about 45 minutes or so to get the coach ready for travel. When I got home from work, Lorraine and I got busy with preparing the Castaway for the trip.

I have become quite comfortable with manoeuvring the coach so backing out of our site and navigating down the long, narrow and winding drive is almost second nature.

We had a beautiful evening to enjoy the short drive out to the Flying J and back.

There was another motorcoach beside us when we pulled in to the Flying J. A 2003 Monaco Dynasty hauling a massive toy hauler that weighed about 18,000 pounds. A 2003 Dynasty, despite being 13 years old, still commands about $150,000 CAD in the used market. Very nice looking coach.

I asked the owner if he was comfortable hauling 18,000 pounds on a hitch that is rated for 10,000 pounds. He seemed fine with it. I wouldn’t take the chance. Our coach can haul 15,000 pounds.

He spends most of his time travelling to racing events — he had a car in his toy hauler — and he told me that I had to take my rig out to a NASCAR event.

And I thought to myself, that would be a cool ride.