It is Halloween, October 31st, and I am supposed to be in Oklahoma at my Harvest Hosts llama/alpaca farm enjoying those wonderful creatures. Instead, I am back in Asheville, NC, where I started. How did that happen?? Unfortunately, the RV nightmare continues.
As you might recall, I purchased a used 2015 Newmar Class A from a dealer. It had suspension problems, making it unsafe to drive. My local Ford dealer did a wonderful job diagnosing and fixing the problems – overinflated tires, a loose sway bar with broken brackets, and cracked and burnt front brake rotors. It also hadn’t been “lubed” for a very long time.
I brought it home to my unlevel driveway. I had gone to great lengths to try to level it with blocks, but since I was only loading up to leave in a few days, I elected to not extend both slides. These slides were functioning previously although the big slide seemed temperamental and would work intermittently. I chalked it up to not being perfectly level, but what did I know? Obviously nothing.
I loaded my beast: I set up the garage with kitty paraphernalia and shelves holding tools, supplies and bedding, stocked the kitchen, loaded the cabinets, and lastly the cats. Finally, I filled the fresh water tank with filtered water and checked other tank levels – all good. I admit to stuffing stuff in a bit haphazardly in my rush to get going.
Time to go!
Time to go. The small slide was brought in. I had upgraded my mattress and it was a tighter fit than the trashed one that came with the RV. I did not think it was a problem.
The RV was driving very well – the work done was effective: no more hitting the ceiling and loose steering. It wasn’t a smooth ride, but it was what I expected in an RV. A few things hit the floor because I didn’t secure them properly. I made a point to tighten up my pre-trip procedures.
We arrived at our first park – Nashville Shores just outside of Nashville in Hermitage, a beautiful park on a lake with lovely pull-through sites. I plugged in using my Progressive EMS system and engaged my leveling system – it reads: “excess slope.” It is a relatively flat site, so I am now sure my leveling system is not working properly.
The problems begin…
I went to extend the slides. The bedroom slide, which I had brought in that morning, started its journey and then 1/3 of the way, stopped with a huge, violent “thump!” What the heck??!! The big slide with the kitchen and living room would not even engage! What the heck again???!!! I was sitting in a 40-foot RV that I couldn’t walk through without climbing over the bed. To top it all off, I was missing a cat. Talk about stress!
I made some calls and decided to return to Asheville the next morning, where I had made an appointment at RV Services on Tuesday (in four days). I was thankful for the time slot. They were slammed because it is peak leaf-peeping season in Western North Carolina, and there was a plethora of campers in town. I could not book a site but had to park in a parking lot of a friend’s business where I could plug in.
So here I sit – managing my crew and waiting for rescue. Fortunately, there’s a taco place down the street: Tacos make the world a better place. Woody, my 39-year-old parrot, agrees with me and demands I share my tacos with him. The cats can stick to cat food.
So I will admit that I swore a lot and vowed I was selling the RV and quitting the camping life forever. It is so difficult when you are traveling alone (I mean without another person or two) to help. This is not for the weak-hearted! And, I also admit, I have made the mistake of buying the RV and not testing it thoroughly before I set off on an important trip. After $3,000 for the chassis work and four new AGM deep cycle house batteries, I believed it safe to drive. I was prepared to fix little things when I got to California. I honestly thought the slides were working. Oh, and I did find the cat – he was under the bed. Whew.
Tacos to the rescue!
This morning I woke up with a bit brighter outlook and UFO (another cat) telling me it was time for breakfast. I know I have a lot to learn about RVing and I am hopeful the slides can be fixed and I will be on my journey soon.
I’ll keep y’all updated as I deal with this and make my way to California.
Read Dr. Karel’s last article – It’s a good precautionary tale for buyers.