First, thanks for all the friendly advice. I will definitely look up Flying J's for road trips. Seems the one stop place to get what I would need.
And now for the maiden voyage report. The trip out was a failure but the 2nd day was mostly a success. The rig though performed flawlessly. I learned that the rig does not like rough pavement and dirt roads even less. I also learned that cross winds are a bear but that is to be expected on a box on wheels and here in New Mexico one gets used to stiff breezes.
The first bad omen was when I started filling the white water tank right before take off and all the water started pouring out of the bottom of the rig. For a fraction of a second I thought the tank was busted but common sense kicked in and I realized the drain was left open. It is still winter after all. 30 minutes of cursing and crawling around later I gave up and figured it wouldn't matter any way since our reserved camp site had water and electric hook up anyway. Let me point out the owner's manual was completely useless since they make them generic for all their models.
So off we went on our first motor home trip. I took it easy and drove at a relaxed pace since it was the first time I was putting any real time behind the wheel. My route was the chosen because it was more scenic and had lower speed limits. That turned out to be a bad idea because the pavement was poorly maintained and it made for about 60% of our 4 hour trip out there rough and loud. It also made my wife pretty motion sick to the point that by the time we got to Alamogordo and I realized my GPS route to the Oliver Lee State Park was wrong (we ended up on a dirt road and it's paved all the way to the state park having been there a couple of times before) that I disgustedly threw in the towel and headed to our usual stop at the Motel 6. It was pitch black or I would have tried circling around to find the right exit but when you have a crying baby and motion sick wife you have to know when enough is enough.
The next morning we woke up early and moved back to the motor home. I whipped up a fresh breakfast of strawberry pancakes and sausage and we all felt better with home cooked hot meal in our bellies. Then it was off to White Sands National Memorial where we like to visit during the winter months to do some hiking/sledding and other wise just let the dogs runs crazy once we are a bit off the beaten path. We pull up and there are military uniforms every where and the park is closed. Apparently a drone was shot down on Saturday and it crashed into the park some where.
I felt bad for the couple with their 5th wheel that had driven 3000Km all the way down from Canada. Back to Alamogordo we went to their city park where we let the dogs stretch their legs and our daughter played on the play ground. We hung out there for an hour before I remembered the Space History Museum there and mentioned it to my wife. She gave the thumbs up so off we went. We spent another hour walking around and looking at all the various displays and history of our space exploration programs and I even took a hand at landing the space shuttle on one their simulator. You'll be happy to know that everyone survived the landing with only one hop on touch down. More than I can say from the previous pilot.
So instead of our usual play time in the great white sand box we got in a nice tour, our daughter got to play with the switches in the International Space Station capsule, and we spent some family time in the rather nice open park Alamogordo has right off the main strip. I grew up there as a kid so I was pretty familiar with local turf. It was a nice sunny morning and it made for a good start on the day. Around 11 am we decided to head on back home so I filled up at just above a quarter tank averaging 8.65 mpg for the first leg of our trip. I will need more fill ups to get a real average but it's a good start.
The return trip was a little less direct but was the faster route going mostly highway speeds. A little more hilly too where I kept the engine from down shifting as much as possible by taking over from cruise control on the steeper inclines and other wise just cruised about 70 mph top speed. The roads were much smoother and we made pretty good time. By the time I pulled up to the house we still had half a tank of gas and a full tank of propane even though the fridge had been on all weekend and the furnace used in the morning to warm up the place.
After unloading I did the post trip clean up and there it was, the bypass valve I believe is for the white water tank under the sink. At least I hope it is. It was set to bypass so before we head out in March I plan on testing out the water heater and pump to make sure the next trip means we can dry camp if we have to.
For the weekend I have a wash planned along with a new head unit (mp3 player) and entertainment set up so our over whelmed laptop can take a break.
If you've read this far thanks again for all the friendly advice and the warm welcome. Next time I will take pictures to include in my road report.