North Port Florida

Now in North Port, Florida

We are now in Del Rio Texas

We are now in Del Rio Texas

Checking up on my son and Grandkids, RV Repair finally and last minute trip back to NJ!

October 08 - 21, 2018:   

We figured that we would spend some time with my son and the grandkids before heading back to Florida.  We were close enough, just 180 miles after the wedding in Cincinnati, so we traveled a little west for a last visit this year.

My son Tony was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver just a couple months ago.  We were just here in Indiana visiting with him and the kids 3 months ago so it was a shock for us when he was diagnosed.  He didn’t look or really seem sick when we there last!  So we are going for a visit to see if we can help out a little.

Tony is not working and it looks like he won’t be able to in at least the near future.  They have applied for disability but that takes time to get.  Sometimes it can take 6 months to a year to get!  His mom started a Facebook fund me page to help out some for them.  We did what we could with fixing their car and getting groceries and some with the grandkids clothing.  We felt pretty good that they would be OK for a while and could focus on health.

We were in Crawfordsville for a whole of 3 days.  We wanted to stay longer but the campground was full over the weekend due to the local Covered Bridge Festival 30 miles away.  I had not been to the festival since I was in high school so I was looking forward to going.  Oh well, not this time.

On our last day Patty decided to call our RV manufacturer, Prime Time, in Wakarusa Indiana for help with the shower pan.  Wow, they came through for us!  When Patty gave her name they right away had our information as well as the VIN number of our RV.  They told us that they had a pan available and that we should give John’s RV Repair a call to put it in.  Patty called John at John’s and he said he would get the pan and install it the next day!

There is the big ugly crack on the right.  It is covered by some of the flex seal stuff as seen on TV right now.  I have been temporarily fixing this since we were in Las Vegas last summer.

First, we can’t say enough about how well we have been treated over the years by Prime Time.  All through the 2 year warranty we had a personal representative who bent over backwards to help us.  And now, 4 years past warranty and they not only still keep information on us but go all out to help us again!

And then there is John of John’s RV Repair in Elkhart Indiana who was also great.  John opened up his shop to do the shower pan replacement on Saturday with just a days’ notice!  We arrived there at 7:30am and then we went for breakfast.  By 11:30am he was done!  What a difference from the way we were treated by RV Specialties last week!

Not much to look at these RV repair facilities in Elkhart.

Our shower pan before it was installed.

After installation, no more crack.  Normally the manufacturer puts a 3/4 in of styrofoam under the pan for padding.  After a couple years of full time living the styrofoam takes a set and then the pan starts to crack.  This time John added a thin 1/8th plywood on top of the styrofoam to help spread the load out.  I would have preferred a high durometer closed cell foam but this should work for a long time.

RV friends of ours from Canada, Steve and Dianne Colibaba were also in Elkhart for work on their 5th wheel.  So then on Sunday after our RV work was done we met up with them for a long lunch and a couple drinks.  We met them at a very cool restaurant bar called the Evil Czech Brewery in Mishawaka Indiana.

The Evil Czech has a unique Sunday brunch happy hour.  You pay a set price for a food buffet but the buffet is quite different.  The food is all small amounts that are plated.  The idea is to walk around the food and just pick up the plates you want and eat at your table.  Food was very good above average stuff.  We would go again if we are back in that area.

After a couple hours of swapping road stories we headed our separate ways.  Steve and Dianne will be here for a week or two and we are heading out tomorrow for New Jersey.

We knew Steve and Dianna were there.
Their big rig was parked at the bank next door.

The back of the Evil Czech

Cool catering van

Safe travels Steve and Dianne!

While we were in Elkhart we got a message from a couple in New Jersey who were interested in purchasing our truck and RV.  Actually they had contacted us a couple weeks ago and made an offer that we believed to be too low for us.  Since we wanted more for our rig they wanted to see them.  

We agreed to head back to NJ near them in north Jersey.  We were already just off of I80 in north Indiana so all we had to do was travel the 700 miles across Ohio and Pennsylvania to a campground just inside NJ.  It was a little out of our way but not a lot.  From Indiana we still needed to head east about 150 miles anyway so what are another 550 miles and an extra 3 days to maybe sell the rig!

Just never know what you may see traveling around the country.  Looks like a homemade truck camper.

We took our time making the trip from Indiana to New Jersey.  We traveled our usual ~230 miles and stayed 2 nights.  Traveling this way it would take us 5 days with 2 stops, one in Ohio and one in PA.  The only thing was that the temperature has now dropped a lot!  We had temps in the 80s while in Indiana and as we left the temps had dropped into the 40s for highs.  Our nights in PA were near freezing so they turned off the water overnight.  They did come around and warn us about turning off the water first. It was okay as we had water in our tanks for the night.  We are way too far north for us this time of year!

Our first overnight in Ohio we had an electrical issue!  We got all set up and Patty said that the microwave was not powered.  After a little investigation we found that the refrigerator and the electric fireplace were not powered either.  CRAP!  We need that fireplace for heating at night.  I checked the obvious stuff like the circuit breakers and I tried another outside receptacle with no change.  So then for the first night we didn’t use the microwave and the fridge just continued to run on propane.  I plugged the fireplace into another outlet with an extension cord.  So we were good for the night.

Our site at the Cleveland Fairgrounds.  We stayed here about a month ago on our way to Indiana the first time for repair.  We also stayed here a few years ago.  It's a nice place to stay and see the area from.  $35 full hook up 50A site.

The next day I got busy troubleshooting the electrical issue.  At first I thought it may have something to do with the slide that was common for the fridge and the microwave.  However, the fireplace was in a different slide.  Also, the display on our power management system showed that there was power on both legs of the 50 amp line coming into the RV.  

The first thing I did was to take a look under the 2 slides and see if there was any issue there.  I had had an issue in the past with an electrical cable bundle coming in contact with the tire during travel.  I found this cable bundle with a large wear area a couple years ago and repaired it.  This cable had again dropped down and there was wear on the cable insulation.  After an hour of cutting wire ties and taking off cable hangers I was able to inspect the wear area closer.  Yes the cables needed to be rearranged to hang higher and the cables needed to be repaired.  But, this was not the answer to the problem.

Now I needed a new direction to look for the problem.  I decided to check the wiring in the breaker panel in the RV next.  A few years ago I had a problem with loose AC wires in the panel.  After removing the breaker panel cover and inspecting the wiring it all seemed good.  OK, now time for my volt meter!   I found that there was no power on one leg of the 2 legs coming into the panel.  The power management display showed that there was power at least coming to it in the RV.  So the problem must be between the power management system and the panel. 

No power on one leg of the 2 50A legs coming into the RV

Ok, now this is going to be a pain in the ass as this area is in the basement and it is loaded with stuff!  There are 2 things in between the outside of the RV and the circuit breaker panel, the power management system itself and the changeover switch for the generator.  Right here I could have saved myself a lot of time.  I should have fired up the generator to see if the problem was still there.  If it was then the problem would most likely be at the changeover switch.  If it went away then it would be either the switch or at the power management system.  Of course I didn’t run the generator because I like to be tortured! I went for the power management system first.  It was the easiest place to go first. 

I had to remove our basement stuff from just one side to start with to get at the power management system

The power management system is the black box near the center of the picture. 

To get to the management system I had to take all of our stuff out of a small part of the basement so I could take off a small wall to the cables.  Then I had to twist myself into this small hole I made to get the 6 small screws out of the management cover.  Guess what, after an hour of this torture I found nothing wrong here!  Now is when I thought about running the generator.  With the generator running the problem was still there.  This means that neither the generator nor the outside power was getting to the circuit breaker panel.  And since the wiring was perfect at the breaker panel the problem must be in the changeover switch.

OK, so now I am getting closer to finding the problem.  I now need to get closer to the changeover switch which is on the other side of the basement behind the larger wall. 

To get at the changeover switch I needed to take most everything out of the basement and then remove the large wall.

Now I have some access to the entire guts of the RV

The changeover switch is the black box with the 3 wires going into it near the center of the picture.

Inside the changeover switch.  The wire that pulled out is the center black wire on the left side.  That is the cable coming from the power management box.

Now I have the basement mostly empty and the wall removed.  The switch is next to the furnace with 6 flex heating ducts running directly on and over the cover to the switch.  Luckily there are only 2 screws to remove to get inside the switch.  After getting the cover off I can see the problem right away.  One of the output wires had come out of the switch connection.  It appeared that the 3 output wires were cut with one shorter than the other, the short one is the one coming out of the switch connection.  

In order to get this wire back into the switch I had to remove the other 2 wires and cut them shorter to all be equal in length so I could push them into place and secure them.  This was a pain to do as the wire is a large diameter and lightly stranded making it very stiff and hard to move.  Couple this with the 6 flex heating ducts over the top, it was a real pain to do this but I got it done.

Now, after about 4 hours I have the electrical fixed but I have to put everything back together.  I also need to fix the under slide cable that was coming in contact with the tire.  Just another 2 hours and I was finally done and just in time as it was nearing dark!  Just another day on the road with an RV!

After 5 days and 4 nights we finally arrived in NJ at the Triple Brook Campground near Blairstown on Friday the 19th of October.  We are here for the next 3 nights, the last night, Sunday, the place is closed.  They close for the season on the 21st but they agreed to let us stay the night.  They gave us a nice space in the front in the back row.  It is perfect to show the RV on Sunday.

Our stopover for 2 nights in PA.

It got down to 30F overnight so we had frost on the picnic table and ground this morning.

Sign for the Triple Brook Campground in NJ

We are only here in NJ to show the RV to a prospective buyer on Sunday.  They made an initial offer to which we countered.  They made an offer on the entire rig which included the truck.  With our counter offer they wanted to see the truck and the RV so we set up this appointment for them to see it.   Patty was pretty sure they would buy but me being the pessimistic one wasn’t so sure about that.  We shall see on Sunday!

Saturday we spent the day getting the RV ready to show.  It is a little hard to show an RV that you currently live in, basically because it is packed full of your stuff!  We also had the stuff we had stored at my brother’s house in Indiana that we were taking to our new house in Florida.  That was an extra 6 large bins that we had to put somewhere.  We had already steam cleaned the carpet at our last stop in PA a couple days ago. We also wanted to lessen the clutter in the basement and the closets.

We utilized the under bed storage for most of our closet stuff.  That way the walk-in closet was really a walk-in and you could actually see the second dresser in the back.  This made the under bed storage completely full but it was better to have the closet uncluttered we felt.  As for the extra 6 bins and basement stuff, they went under the RV mostly in the back.  So that took care of the clutter issue.

I washed the windows of the RV as well as the front and rear caps.  These are the things that show the most dirt and we get the most bang for our cleaning effort.  After that I took the truck to a car wash and washed and waxed it.  Now we are ready!

That night on Saturday we got together with my daughter Jennifer and Son-in-Law Christian for dinner.  They live not too far from where we are in Blairstown.  We had a nice dinner at the Walpack Inn after waiting for over 2 hours on a table.  Seems everyone had the same idea to come out on a nice Saturday fall evening for dinner.   The Walpack is only open Friday through Sundays and are closed in the winter.  The restaurant is very secluded in the northwestern section of very rural New Jersey.

We have never seen this place so full!

From l-r is son-in-law Christian, Daughter Jennifer, and Patty
all at the bar waiting for a table.

Our prospective buyers showed up on time at 2 pm on Sunday afternoon.  They first looked at the inside and then we headed outside to check the RV exterior.  On the exterior walk around it became apparent to me that they were not ready to buy yet.  They are also looking at an older 2009 Montana but with a much newer 2013 F350 truck.  Ours is a 2013 Sanibel which is pulled by a 2008 F450.  The Montana and the Sanibel are basically the same size units.  They were still thinking about which they wanted, a newer truck or a newer 5th wheel.  They just were not ready to make the leap at either one at this time.  It sucks for us but it is what it is.

Now we will need to take the rig to Florida and store the Sanibel if we don’t get it sold before we get to Florida over the next week.  Our plan is to leave on Monday and arrive back in Florida over the next weekend depending on how fast we decide to travel.  We are a little over 1200 miles away from our house in Florida here in NJ.

Stay Tuned!

Botched RV repair in Wakarusa IN / Wedding in Cincinnati OH

September 30 - October 07, 2018:  

We left New Jersey and headed west through Pennsylvania and Ohio to Elkhart Indiana, RV capital of America.  We made arrangements 3 months ago with Recreational Specialties to have our shower pan replaced on the 3rd of October.  We sent them pictures of the pan as well as the VIN number of our RV so they could get the correct part.  We were in a hurry as we were going to a wedding in Cincinnati Ohio the coming weekend.

Our first stop in Pennsylvania just off of I 80.  Not a bad state park but it only had Electric!  And was $36 for just Electric!

We arrived on the afternoon of the 2nd of October at the Elkhart County Fairgrounds for our appointment with Recreational Specialties in Wakarusa on the 3rd.  We traveled the 750 miles in a 3 day set of bump and run overnights to get here.  We were ready to get this over with and get to Ohio for the weekend.

Staying at the Elkhart fairgrounds is a different experience as far as campgrounds go.  First of all the place is huge with over 600 spaces!  Secondly, they don’t assign spaces here; they tell you where the spaces are and the type hookups available and then let you go find a place on your own.  We chose a full hookup site place inside the horse track for the next 2 nights.  The cost was $35 a night, not bad.

The next morning our appointment at Recreational Specialties was at 9am and we wanted to be early.  Since we can pick sites here we picked up our site like we wouldn’t be back; little did we know!  

Recreational Specialties was just 20 minutes away so we headed out at 8am and arrived by 8:30. Recreational Specialties is a fairly big place as far as RV repair places go.  We parked and I headed inside to get things moving.  Things were going pretty well as they knew who I was and they had the paperwork all ready.  We just had to wait on “Miss Megan” who was in a meeting.  I was told via phone and by e-mail that “Miss Megan” was the one who was in charge for the most part.  

Miss Megan came out and addressed me by name and knew I was the one for the shower pan replacement.  So far so good!  She wanted to inspect the old shower pan and see it for herself, hmmmm.  I just started to feel like this was going to go downhill.  We took a look at the shower pan in our RV and then she said she would need to see if they could get the pan today.  Ok, WTF!  We made the appointment 3 months ago so you could have the part.  You have the RV VIN number and pictures so you could make this happen.  She told me that they just can’t stock all of the shower pans that are out there.  Again, WTF!

She asked me to move the RV into their staging area while she went in to check on the pan availability.  After about 15 minutes she came out and told us that it would be 2-3 weeks before she could get the part.  She said that she was sorry that she could not help us and to have safe travels.  OK, I was pissed off!  This time I kept my cool and after telling her “we are done here” we pulled out to head south to Cincinnati a day early.

Patty, over the next few days posted on every internet site she could think of about our negative experiences at Recreational Specialties.  The next day she got a response from Scott at Recreational Specialties offering an apology of sorts.  He said that he could have gotten the part if we had not of rushed off.  W.T.F.!!  What did he think we were going to do after being told they couldn’t get the part and wished safe travels?!  He went on to say that if we come back he would install the shower pan for us at cost.  Now we are 200 miles south and have other plans.  We figure that Scott wrote this to us on a public site (Facebook) so he could look better.  Patty didn’t let that stand though and beat him up again after 4 attempts to contact him via phone and text.

Enough said for now about the botched RV repair and on to the Cincinnati wedding.  The wedding is for a childhood friend of Patty’s son Chas, Chris Chasty.  Chas and his friends used to hang out in our basement in New Jersey a lot.  Many times he had dinner with us too.  Anyway, he is marrying his longtime girlfriend Mary Thompson who he met in college at Rutgers. 

We stayed at the Oak Creek Campground in Verona Kentucky about 20 miles south of Cincinnati.  This was the closest campground we could find to Cincinnati.  It was about an hour from the wedding site but just 20 minutes from the reception which was held across the Ohio River in Kentucky.  Not the best of campgrounds either but it was adequate. It was also expensive at $35 a night without sewer and the dump station was not convenient either.  However, they did offer free pump out service, so OK.  

Our first site at Oak Creek

We only had this site the first night and then we had to move sites.

Our second site came with a black rooster

On my walk I found this decked out Halloween permanent site

On Thursday the 4th we picked Chas up at the airport in Kentucky.  He flew up from our house in Florida.  Not much of a difference in weather for him as this area was having a heat wave, hottest in over 20 years for this area!  We were having 90+ days with overnights in the 70s in October in Ohio!  The great thing was that this was to continue all through the wedding weekend!

That evening we got together with the Groom Chris and the bride Mary and Chas at a Cincinnati Brewery called the Madtree.  This place was huge and great.  Don't think I have ever been in a larger microbrewery!  Oh yeah, they have great thin crust coal-fired pizza. What more can one ask for!

Arriving at Madtree

I get hungry just looking at this picture

Basically on Friday Patty and I just did some everyday chores.  We went to Walmart in Florence KY.  Weird Walmart as it was really modern on the outside but very old on the inside!  Got what we needed so it was fine.

The wedding was at a Russian Orthodox Church.  This was a first for us as it was for most who attended.  The entire service was done standing up; the church does not have pews.  All of their services are done standing up! The actual service lasted a little over an hour but we were there about 2 hours due to an attendee falling down with a seizure in the beginning of the service! Yeah, that added some drama to the event!  The service was basically sung too!  Very different from any weddings we have been too.

Priest waiting on the groom to arrive

OK we have the groom

Then the groomsmen arrive.  Chas is fourth back

Next the bride and her maids arrive

After a short ceremony at the entrance,
the bride and groom are moved to the center of the church


Groomsmen.  Chas is third from the left.

Now the priest ties the groom and bride together and leads them around

They are led around the altar to the left a few times
and then around to the right a few times.

Lastly they complete the marriage at the front of the church.

The reception was held at the Metropolitan Club in Covington Kentucky right on the Ohio River.  The place had great views of the river!  I think the toasts were some of the most emotional we had heard at a wedding too!  Chris and his new wife certainly have some very great friends.  It was a very good time indeed and many thanks to Chris and Mary for inviting us!

The Metropolitan Club

View from the reception windows of the Ohio River

The wedding party

First dance

A great picture of the wedding party but have no idea what they are doing

The next day we are set to leave and head to Crawfordsville where my son Tony and family are.  It is just a short 180 mile trip.  However, there was an after reception party that Chas attended and now he needed a ride to the airport from where he was in Covington KY.  

So we left at 10am to get him 20 minutes away and deliver him to the airport another 20 minutes away.  Overall the trip would be an hour to hour and a half and our check out at Oak Creek was at noon.  It was doable but would be close.  

It wasn’t to be though as Chas had issues getting himself out of the hotel he was in so we got back to the campsite just a few minutes before noon.  I decided it was just too much to hurry out so we stayed another night and made an early start the next morning.

That is it from Cincinnati/Verona Kentucky.

Stay Tuned!