Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Motor Home is Back in Texas!!!

It's been a little while since I posted. The biggest bit of news was my quick trip to Indiana to retreive our motorhome.

All I can say is "Wow!"

We did not realize how much we were missing it. The small truck camper worked fine for the seven months full-timed in it but Robin really missed her washer and dryer. I don't think they have been idle a day since I returned on Wednesday, February 29.

I flew to Southbend, Indiana on Sunday, Feb 26.

I made a connection in Minneapolis, MN. It was COLD there!! Hey, we've been in Texas for crying out loud. What the heck is that white stuff on the ground? I thought I was not going to see any more of that. I sure was glad I did not have to spend much time there!

From Minneapolis I connected to Southbend. It is way up north near the Michigan border. How many ways can you spell "Brrrrr?"

I got to Southbend at 1:00pm. Rented a car and started looking for a hotel/motel (what the heck is the difference???).

Anyway, I got a room at the Day's Inn. After checking in it occurred to me that it was a "guy's room." Not exactly a man-cave but I know Robin would not have approved. It was not tooooo bad. I was glad I did not have my black light and I did not see anything crawling on the bed, so, what the heck. Hey, I used to drive for Greyhound.  Believe me, they did not put us in 5 star places for our layovers. I think they wanted us to be able to relate to the passengers. We had to draw the line at sleeping on the benches in the lobby.

Meanwhile, back to the trip...

I got to the storage place Monday morning. The rig looked great. When I stepped in it sure felt good. I could not believe how roomy it felt! I guess living in a box that is 7 feet wide and 16 1/2 feet long makes one appreciate the space in one that is 10 feet wide (with the slide out) and 37 feet long! It really is amazing the difference.

I hooked up the batteries. I put the key in the ignition, the dash came fully alive. The heater blower blew, lights lit. Hooray!!

Turn the key - click. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, shut off. What th'... This was not supposed to happen.  Rats.

I turned the key multiple times. Nothing.

Looked at the fuse and relay box. All appeared in order.

They guy who owns the storage place (real nice guy) came over to see what was going on. We talked a bit and considered a possible bad cell in the battery. It was brand new when we stored it 7 month ago. Hopefully, it was OK.

He suggested hooking up his booster box. Things not starting after a long storage happens and he was prepared.

We hooked up the booster. Nothing. I was seeing $$$$ flash before my eyes as I visualized someone I do not know in a strange city trying to troubleshoot a complicated electrical problem. Jeez.

We switched from boost to charge. After a moment I hit the ignition again. The same click clicked and she started right up!!! Yay, with a capital YAY!

We surmized that a relay was stuck and the charge popped it open. Perhaps there was some sulfating in the battery. Who knows, all I cared about was "will it start repeatedly?"

We disconnected the charger and tried starting a few more times.  She started perfectly each time. Seems the battery was still fully charged - pretty good for 7 months.

I took it for a short drive. All was well. Yay #2!

I still had a rental car to return. I had discussed how to do this with the Hertz guy when I rented it. He told me that for $25 they would pick up the car if I left it somewhere where I felt secure leaving it.

I called and asked if rather than leave it someplace, could I come to their location and pick up someone who then could take me back to the rig. We agreed that would be the best way to do it.

$25 would be much cheaper than a taxi.

I picked up the guy and we returned to the rig. I got inside and he left. Then...  I could not find my keys!!! Panic!!!!!

I called Hertz and asked if they could call the driver and see if I left the keys in his car. They put me on hold.

I stood inside the RV and waited -- Now don't get ahead of me here...

I am inside the RV... I had to unlock the door to get in... Where oh where could those pesky keys be???

Yup - hanging outside in the door lock. Sheesh.

Hertz comes back online. The guy swears they are not in his car. "Yeah, I know. I'm a dork. Thanks for checking. Have a good day!!!"

I'm on my way!!

I headed to Muncie where I was supposed to have dinner with Robin's parents, our two girls, Michelle and Jessica, our grand daughters Shelby and Katie and our two great-grandsons.

The rig ran great! I was having a ball. Back in trucker mode after all these years.

Dinner was a lot of fun.

I opted not to go to Richard and Norma's hotel (or was it a motel) to visit. It was 8:30 and I wanted to head south. Remember, it was COLD up there. I had not winterized the rig because it was stored inside. If I could get 300 miles south there would be no chance of freezing PLUS, those horrible storms that devastated the midwest last week were headed my way.

BTW - This was a few days before they actually hit.  No one had any idea they would be so disastrous.  I passed right by Henryville, IN, the town that was pretty much wiped out.  Scary stuff.

The night was beautiful. No clouds. Cold weather. Good coffee and great highways. South I shot.

I kept thinking I would stop but was having so much fun. If you have not driven big rigs (buses - 3 1/2 years and then semi-trucks - 10 years) you really are missing something. As I said, I was back in trucker mode.

Should I stop? - Nah. Keep going.

Next thing I knew I was south of Nashville, TN and it was 3:30 in the morning. Time to stop.

Slept for four hours. Man-o-man. That Tempurpedic mattress felt great! Sure wish Robin was here so we both could have slept on it the first night. That cheap foam pad mattress in the camper does not even come close to comfortable...

Next morning I took off. The rest of the drive was a lot of fun and uneventful. Until...

I stopped in Hillsboro, TX, just north of Waco, to get gas at Wallmart. The parking lot was a bit difficult to get into.

As I was exiting a guy pulling a big trailer with a pick-up was headed in. No problem, I'll swing out of the way and give him room.

I misjudged and the right front tire went off the pavement. Again, no problem. Just gently back up and ease it back on.

The pavement was a few inches thick. The tire grabbed the edge of the pavement and ripped the tread right off!!!

The trucker lingo came right back: @#$%^&*!!

This started a whole new adventure. I called our road service (no-service??) Remember when we were stranded in Arkansas last year? Same outfit. Coach Net.

Here's how it went:
I called and explained that I lost a tire. I don't carry a spare. I needed a new tire and it needed to be mounted. They weren't optimistic. They would call around and see what they could do. Now remember, I was a few miles north of Waco.

Yeah, I know - you are asking "doesn't Walmart sell tires?" Yes, they do but nothing big enough for a motorhome. But - there was a Ford dealer next to Walmart. The motorhome is on a Ford chassis. Perhaps....

I walked over and talked to the service department. Nope. Again, nothing that big BUT - The friendly service guy gave me some LOCAL tire dealers' names and numbers who may be able to help. Cool!!

Remember, Coach Net was trying to find something...

I called the LOCAL dealer.  They had a tire and a guy to come change it out. The tire was $313 and the service call/labor was $75. They could be there literally, in a few minutes.

Coach Net finally called back. "Man, we are having real trouble finding a tire. The best we can do is in Waco and the tire alone is $450. That does not include the service call from Waco."  We're looking at $600!

Hmmmm - Here's an idea - I just got off the phone with a LOCAL tire dealer who can do it all for less than $400. How about you deal with him? I have all the phone numbers and names right here.

Sorry, he is not one of our preferred venders...

You have to be kidding me. I found a LOCAL dealer, found a tire and can arrange for immediate assistance and you, who I paid for a three year membership with, cannot help????

Here is what I am going to do, I'll get the LOCAL dealer to fix me and we will talk when I get home.

OK - Sorry we could not help.

Yeah, I'm sorry too. Bye.

Within and hour, I was back on the road. I paid for everything.

Austin appeared. It was great to be back. Robin walked into the rig and could not stop smiling. She loves the camper but this is "home."

I have not gotten with Coach Net yet. I'll keep you posted.

Well, we have moved in. The camper is again a camper. The motorhome is again a home. We do have a lot of equipment now. We certainly are prepared for "Chasin' Our Dreams!"

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