Home Away From Home

Learning How to “Dewinterize” a Motor Home

We left Kinston a little after 9:00 heading for Charlotte to pick up the motor home at Performance Ford. Three brief stops and five hours later we finally arrived and what a welcomed sight when we pulled in. There sat our motor home ready to go, extremely dirty but all repaired.

We quickly got everything settled with Performance and took off, happy campers. Other than a stop for gas we had an uneventful trip to Clemmons where we going to visit with our children before leaving for Perry.

We arrived just before 5:00 and began the set up and then the fun began. Fun? Oh well, let’s just say the learning experience began. If you’ve read my earlier blogs you will remember that I said we learn something about our motor home on every trip. Yep, but today had a steep learning curve.

When we left the coach in Concord in February it had been snowing and sleeting and we were worried about getting home safely. Normally we clean everything at the end of a trip so it’s ready to go for the next time but in the interest of getting away quickly we did not clean up this time so I was inside beginning the cleaning process (which by the way doesn’t take that long and isn’t that difficult). Jerry completed all of the hook-ups and then came inside and realized that our water pressure was very low. He checked the hydrant outside and everything seemed fine so we knew the problem was with the coach.

He finally went outside and there was water pouring from the bottom of the coach! Oh my – he had closed all of the low drain lines (yeah – I didn’t even know about them). The next 30 minutes were to say the least interesting. He called Newmar and got a recording saying that they were closed until Monday. Well sure – he called the wrong number! I finally got on FaceBook and went to the Newmar site and asked for advice and quickly got some good suggestions. Just as I was calling the correct Newmar number Jerry yelled “I’ve got it”. The valve to the water tank was open. Since we never carry extra water (I know we should) we do not usually open it. Once he got that closed everything worked fine.

Oh, except the ice machine. Of course it had been winterized also and we knew it wouldn’t make ice because it had anti-freeze in it and we couldn’t figure out what to do. Let me just say, by this time we were beyond exhausted and our brains were fried. We had gone out for a hasty dinner with our children and one very unhappy grandson earlier and we hadn’t even unpacked. Beyond exhaustion, Jerry suddenly realized that he could just empty the ice maker of water thus flushing the line. Does that tell you how tired we both were?

To add injury to insult the cable wouldn’t work and the ACC tournament was on. The good thing is that although Carolina was playing Jerry is definitely not a Carolina fan so with no television and very poor Internet we just called it a night on this very long day.

Home Away From Home

Are We Going?

What a week! Are we going to Perry, Ga for the FMCA rally? Maybe, maybe not. Each day was a wait and see meaning not much got accomplished towards getting things ready.

When we returned from our Louisiana trip we dropped the motor home off in Concord to get some warranty work done. We had told them that we had a trip planned and asked them to please have the work completed by March 11 (we dropped it off February 15). We knew there was a real possibility that the work wouldn’t be completed by then but we were hopeful. We had also asked them to change the oil and winterize it and that was done immediately. In fact, the technician got the keys to the coach while we were standing there and assured us that his part would be done.

Before I explain our frustration perhaps I should explain that we were returning the coach for the fifth time to have the same issue addressed. Just taking a unit to the repair shop for five times for the same issue is frustrating enough but add to that we live four hours away and two of the times we had to unpack everything in the coach and put it into our Toyota Avalon for the trip home. Yes, we looked like the Beverly Hilllbillies but the appearance not withstanding just imagine riding four hours in such “comfort”! One trip we even had to pack at home and then go up there to pic the coach up to leave for a trip. I know – there are much worse problems in the world than being unable to get your motor home!

A couple of weeks after we dropped the coach off we began to call to find out the status but unfortunately could not talk with anyone. We repeatedly left messages but the calls were not returned. Do you know how frustrating that is? Even if the answer is no just please tell me. Don’t ignore my calls.

We finally learned on Monday, March 7 that the technician had received the work order that day. After having been given the run around plus returning the coach for the fifth – yes, fifth time to fix a problem we were just disgusted so I sat down that night and wrote Newmar to let them know how the entire process had been mishandled. I will add this caveat in their defense. Motor home technicians are difficult to find.

The very next day, Tuesday, March 8 we got a phone call from Newmar and after saying that this kind of service or lack of was unacceptable they arranged a conference call with the dealer. To make a long story shorter we got a phone call on Wednesday evening around 7:00 (yes, the shop had closed earlier – apparently they were working overtime to get our coach repaired) saying our coach was ready. Yay – we were going to get to go to Perry. Oops – they had found another problem that they were unable to repair and it was a Ford issue.

The sway bar was broken. It was suggested that we take it to an authorized Ford dealer to have it repaired and voila, there is one in Kinston however the coach was not safe to drive and Kinston was two hundred miles away. The Newmar representative finally convinced them to tow the coach to an approved Ford dealer in Charlotte to have the sway bar repaired. We talked with Performance and they said it was an easy fix and they would get right on it. We might go to Perry!

Finally Friday morning Performance Ford called and said the coach was ready so we jumped up and began to frantically prepare to go to Charlotte. Jerry suddenly very wisely said, let’s just go tomorrow and spend the day getting ready. That sounded like a wonderful idea to me if the service department was opened. Jerry called and they were opened on Saturdays so our trip to Perry was on.

Since we finally knew we were going to make the trip we began to get food and clothes ready. We had spent the week working on the house getting it ready to put on the market but it was time to change directions.

Since we rarely eat out when we’re traveling I usually make up several dishes ahead of time. Today I made a meatloaf, stuffed peppers, meatballs, spaghetti sauce and sloppy joes. Yep, a lot of beef! Jerry made some sausage balls and then we began to pack a couple of weeks’ worth of clothes and food into the Avalon! Quite a feat since I do tend to over pack. Hey, you never know what you might need and since we were leaving Perry to go to a horse show I had to be prepared to both. Right?

On to Georgia!

Home Away From Home

Where Are We Going Next?

As usual when we’re on the way home from a trip I am thinking of where we will be going next. Finding time for a trip gets to be challenging because at this point our rule (really mine) is to be home for the grands’ birthdays plus we have two dance recitals and this year a kindergarten graduation. In addition to that we are expecting two more grands, one in April and one in August! Trying to work out a trip around those days gets to be a little perplexing. Keep in mind though I am surely not complaining. Our grands are the lights of our eyes and nothing, not even RVing, takes the place of precious time with them.

We’re headed to Perry in a couple weeks for the FMCA Rally and will leave there and go to Raleigh for a horse show ending up back home by Easter Sunday. Of course while in Raleigh we will make a quick trip home one night for the birthday of our youngest granddaughter. Got to make those birthdays!

Jerry and I sat down with the calendars yesterday trying to figure out when we could travel and he gave me three dates reminding me that we didn’t have to travel just because he came up with those dates! The first date meant traveling to Clemmons for the birth of our sixth grandchild, stay there a few days and then head out. Our stay in Clemmons got extended a bit when I realized that our oldest granddaughter has a dance competition that week-end and since her mom probably won’t be able to go (having just had the baby) she asked her other grandmother and me to take charge of that, meaning hair and make-up. Oh my.

Anyway, I have several trips in my data bank that I work on occasionally hoping the time will magically appear to go on one of them. One trip is to Maine and yea – we had just enough time to go where we wanted to go and half of the trip was already planned. Since I had a good start on where we were going I started looking at campgrounds only to discover Maine is not opened yet! Campgrounds in Maine generally do not open until after Memorial Day. Oops – that does not fit into our travel dates as May is dance recital and kindergarten graduation time.

Oh well, pick another destination. Michigan is too far for our time frame plus the weather could be a little iffy in April so I decided on Ohio. I want to go to the Newmar factory in Elkhart, Indiana so I added that stop in. Keeping with our initial plan of visiting one state at a time most of our stops will be in Ohio except for traveling days. I’m excited to see what adventures we may find in Ohio! I’ll keep you posted. Ideas?