Friday, November 24, 2017

October 2017

We had a short travel on Sunday from Howe to Elkhart, IN. 
We had an appointment scheduled for the following morning at Charger Enterprises to address our frame issue. 

 We had received permission to park in their lot overnight and while we appreciated having a 30amp hook up, we did not sleep well due to the road noise.

We were up by 6AM to in preparation for our appointment.  Lippert is the manufacturer of our frame.  When we had first contacted them several months ago about our frame issue they informed us that they would not be able to take off the panel and cap at their facility. They made arrangements with Charger to remove the panel and sent a welder.

With the front filon removed the welder did
some tack welds on the braces running front to back.
You can see where tack welds were placed. As far as
I observed this is a far cry from actually doing a complete
repair and doing as little as possible to repair the real problem. 

Originally we were told the work would take 2-3 days so we should plan on staying at a motel. 

A couple of hours after the rig was taken back into the bay we were informed that the damage wasn’t as bad as first expected and should be completed by the end of the day.  WOW, great! 
 We went off to have lunch and do some errands.  When we returned late in the afternoon we learned that the work would not be completed by closing time and we would have to go to a motel.  We spent the night at a nearby Econo Lodge.

After a leisurely morning we returned to Charger at noon.  We were instructed to drive around to the bay and hitch up and then come into the office to settle up the bill.

When we hitched up we noticed that we still had separation.
The photo shows that the panels are still flexing as
the rv is being lowered upon the pin box.  Repairs
were not completed properly. Lippert Band Air. 

 When we pointed out the obvious problem to the owner of Charger he explained that they were only responsible for the removal and reinstallation of the filon.  He called Lippert to inform them of the issue.  An appointment was made for us to bring in the RV to Lippert on Friday for an inspection.  We spent the night in the parking lot at Charger.
The following morning we had an appointment scheduled for 1PM at National RV Refrigeration to install the AFC-Automatic Fan Controller which will protect the boiler in the cooling unit from overheating and possibly causing a fire. 

As we were preparing to hitch up Monte noticed there was an alarm showing low pressure on the front passenger tire of the truck.  We drove a couple of miles to the tire service shop recommended by Charger.  When we arrived we were told there would be a 1-2 hour wait for service. 
If we waited around we would be late for our 1PM appointment so we tried our luck at Belle Tire a short drive down the road from the first place we had gone to.  They told us it would be a 15 minute wait and cost $15 to replace the value stem. 
It took less than 15 minutes and when Monte went to pay he was told there would be no charge.  WOW.  He gave the tech a $5 tip.
We arrived for our appointment in Shipshewana on time. 
Mounting the Fan Controller 
Now the controller is wired and programmed to control
temperature and bypass the automatic defrost built into
the norcold system.  This will allow the refrigerator and
freezer to maintain internal temps more consistently. 
Following the installation of the fan at National RV Refrigeration we drove to Morride and set up in one of the empty spaces where we would spend the night.  We had an appointment for 6 o’clock the next morning for a bearing repack and wheel alignment.

Wheels and hubs were removed so the axle bearing
could be cleaned and repacked with fresh grease. 
Several of the rubber suspension blocks had some separation
problems with the rubber and had to be replaced. 
On Friday morning we hitched up and drove over to Lippert for our scheduled appointment. 
It rained the entire ride over.  We met with the lippert rep.  After unhitching we were instructed to wait in he customer area while they evaluated our RV.  The service manager returned and told us that we were overweight because of all the compartments were full. (Really) They didn't have scales to weigh the rig so I guess what it comes down to is that they didn't want to take the time to actually do the repairs needed to correct the problem.  The rep told us that the front support was moving and causing the separation of the frame moldings. How can they say this without removing the front filon or cap to see what is really happening. Looks like a letter is going out to the CEO of Lippert and see what his response will be. 

The owner at Charger had graciously allowed us to return to their parking lot to spend the weekend.  As we headed back we began noticing a kind of bucking when the brake was applied.  Monte called Moryde.  The tech told us to return so he could take a look at the brake.

The tech at Moryde told us the issues was not related to the brake.  The bucking was as a result of the rear of the hitch moving up and down and it was possible there was wear in the rails of the hitch.  He recommended we take the truck to Dan's Service Center because they specialize in hitches.
Luckily Dan’s Hitches was located nearby to our destination at Charger Enterprises.
Dan the owner of the company welded the brackets of the
cross members of the hitch in the truck to remove flex in the brackets
of the pullrite hitch.
The following day we took a ride to Art Van Furniture located in Mishawaka.  We were in the market for a new couch and either two chairs or a loveseat/theater seat.

While we were still in Florida earlier in the year we had made the rounds to several furniture stores in and around Tampa.  But hadn’t had any luck finding furniture that we liked and would fit.  I wanted to put a full length couch in the rear where we had previously had two chairs with ottomans and along the slide where the couch had been we wanted to put two chairs or a theater style love seat.

We gave up looking because we knew we would be in the RV capitol in the fall and were sure we would be able to find what we were looking for.  NOT.  The RV furniture we did find did not appeal to us and was quite expensive.

I had seen an ad on TV for Art Van Furniture.  When I looked them up I discovered that Mishawaka had several furniture stores.  I think we ended up going to all of them.
We found a couch and theater seat we really liked.  Unfortunately, we encountered a couple of problems-we would not be able to pick up the furniture at their warehouse until Wednesday and we had to dispose of our current furniture.

The wonderful people at Charger came to our rescue by allowing us to stay in the parking lot until Wednesday and allowed us to leave our old furniture in their shop for disposal.

Monte taking apart the old couch.

It rained on Wednesday when we drove the rig over to Mishawaka to pick up the furniture. 
 Luckily, it was only drizzling when two of the workers at the warehouse carried the furniture into the rig.  We checked it over, signed that all was good and off we went.

Our destination was the Camping World in Greenwood, IN where we had stayed twice before.  They have several sites with electric. 

As we were going through Indianapolis, we lost power in the truck. We managed to limp through downtown and found a spot where we could pull over to find out what was going on.  We had black smoke coming out of the exhaust and no power.  Monte raised the hood and looked for something obvious-nothing.  We called AAA and they were dispatching a tow truck. 
 Monte continued to look for the problem and just as AAA showed  he discovered that the exhaust brake was stuck in the on position blocking the exhaust pipe.  He pulled the air line off the brake module the the brake released. With the power restored the AAA driver followed us for a couple of miles.  When he saw we were ok he turned off.  Dodged a major repair bullet.  Later on when we were parked Monte discovered that a control valve had froze up causing the brake to stay engaged.  

When we called Camping World to confirm they still allowed overnight parking we were informed that they did not because their parking lot was under construction.  My Overnight RV Parking app showed there was a Sam’s Club a few miles down the road that allowed parking.
We spent the weekend at Singing Hills RV Park in Cave City, Kentucky.  We had stayed at Singing Hills when we first started out full timing back in August of 2012.  The park accepts Passport America for two days with a percentage off their regular rate for additional days. 
We were just a few miles from the entrance to Mammoth Cave NP. 
Although we had visited the park on our previous stay at Singing Hills we decided to go again and explore a different cave than last time.

Continuing on south we traveled into Tennessee and stayed at Cedars of Lebanon State Park.  This was our second stay at this park.  We had chosen this park on our previous visit because of its close proximity to Nashville. 
 This trip we visited the Hermitage, home of President Andrew Jackson. 

After watching a pre-tour video we picked up our loaner headsets that offer a brief description of the significance of areas around the estate.
We also attended a guided tour of the manor house.  There was a school group in attendance acting as interpreters.  We were quite impressed at their knowledge and presentation.

While in the area we visited Stones River National Battlefield.
The battle began on the last day of 1862 and was one of the bloodiest conflicts of the Civil War. 
Our next destination was to Chester Frost Park, just outside of Chattanooga.  Chester Frost is a county park that juts out on a peninsula with a bay on one side and a lake on the other side.  I don’t usually make reservations but I did for this park and it turned out to be a good decision.  When we arrived on a Thursday there were quite a few available spots but by Friday night there was not one vacant site. 
During our stay at Chester Frost we took a ride to Point Park.  This was our second visit to the park. 
Point Park is a ten acre memorial park that overlooks the Lookout Mountain Battlefield. 
The park has historic tablets and monuments as well as a spectacular view.

We walked a short two blocks down to the Incline Railway.  The brochure for the railway boasts the thrill of riding “America’s Most Amazing Mile” has delighted guests for over a century.  That sounds great but honestly we did not think the ride was worth $15. 
The fare includes a roundtrip. You can begin the adventure from the bottom at St. Elmo’s Station or from the top at the mountain summit.

On our final day at Chester Frost we rode our bikes around the park taking several breaks because the hills were kicking out butts.

After departing Chester Frost we continued traveling down Highway 75.  We thought we would have a good chance of avoiding traffic traveling through Atlanta because it was Sunday.  Our timing was horrible as we hit gridlock with fans going to a Soccer Game.

We finally arrived at Al Sihah Shrine and RV Park in Macon, GA in the late afternoon.  We had stayed at the park a few years ago but I still checked my PA app to make sure they still accepted Passport America. 

When we arrived we were told to just pick a spot and pay in the morning before departing.  The RV Park is located in a huge grassy field.  We chose a site that didn’t have too many trees so we could receive a satellite signal on our rooftop dish.  No problem.

No problem until the next morning.  It rained all night and continued raining as we hitched up.  As we attempted to pull out of the site we got stuck.  Monte tried rocking back and forth with the result that we got deeper and deeper in the rut.

Luckily a gentleman who was camped across from us offered assistance.  We unhitched and I had to remove the special capture plate adapter from our hitch so the f450 could hitch up to our kingpin on our rv. He pulled us out with very little effort.  Wow got to luv a duelly with 4-wheel drive.

Once we were finally on our way we had a relatively easy drive to Cain’s Creekside RV Park in Hirara, GA. 
 This park is relatively new.  We paid for three nights at the PA rate of $20 night for a water and electric site.

We have a routine when unhitching and setting up as well as when we hitch up and prepare to leave that includes making sure everything inside is stowed away or strapped in.
When we arrived at the site at Cain’s Creekside RV Park we altered our routine where we narrowly escaped dire circumstances.  Usually, after unhitching, I enter the rig and bring the slides out prior to Monte plugging into the power pedestal.  This time he plugged in first.  When I entered the rig I noticed the air conditioner was on and I heard a crackling sound.  When I pushed the control to bring the slides I spotted smoke coming out of a power strip on our big slide. 

I immediately began pulling all the cords out of the strip while yelling for Monte to pull the plug at the pedestal.  He heard me yelling but wasn’t sure why so he came running inside. When he entered the rig he noticed there was smoke coming out of the receptacle that our toaster oven is plugged into.  He pulled that plug and then ran outside and disconnected from the pedestal.

The power plug on the end of the power cord had been replaced and through repeated use the neutral wire had pulled loose from the plug and the end result was 220 volts being sent through the wiring. We could have had much worse outcomes.
The end result was that we had to replace the power strip and our toaster oven.  It was a small price to pay when I think about what could have happened.

We stayed three nights at Grand Lake RV & Golf Resort in Citra, FL.  The park has 361 total RV sites.  When we checked in we were told that our site was a back in but the site go through to the next row so if there is no one on the site behind you it is easy to actually just pull through. 

The PA rate, not valid January through March, is available for six nights. 

One day we took a ride to Ocala to tour Fort King, a National Historic Site.  We watched a short film detailing the significance of the site. 
The military fort was built in 1827 during the United States tensions with the Seminole in Florida.  The fort was eventually abandoned with residents taking it apart to salvage building materials. 
 We were not able to actually visit the newly constructed re-creation as it is still under construction. 

When we departed the fort we noticed a sign for Silver Springs State Park.  The park, formerly known as Silver River State Park, contains Silver Springs, Florida’s first tourist attraction where visitors can take a cruise on a glass-bottom boat.  We had visited the park when it was still operated privately. 

This time we only were interested in visiting the section of the park that contains the campground and 19th century village.  Unfortunately, our timing was off because we visited on a Friday when the village is being used by the local school district for classes.  The village is only open to the public on the weekends. 

We did get to see a newly built kiln and speak to the operator. 

On the last Sunday of the month we drove to our final destination of Lake Manatee River State Park in Bradenton where we will be work-camping through the end of February. 

We were not due to arrive until November 1.  We asked if we could come a few days early because I had received a summons for Jury Duty with a report date of the 1st of November. 

It was wonderful to end the month with a visit to my parents who I hadn’t seen in months. 

We are going to miss adventuring the next few months while we work-camp to recoup some money from unexpected expenses but it will be great to see old friends and spend lots of time with family.