Posts Tagged RV repairs

What’s the Hold Up-PART II

 

Rise N Roll

Thinking positive about getting out of here!

I know that the gripping tale of RV modifications in Part I had you sleepless for nights on end until I provided the rest of the story! So before you lose any more sleep, here is the final shop talk of our RV modifications!

Quadra Big Foot leveling jacks

Quadra didn’t have an appointment available for a couple of weeks, so we camped at MorRyde a bit longer, then move to the driveway of some VERY gracious friends.

T-s place

Driveway surfing with very gracious friends

We met our friend Tom a year ago at the Hersey RV Show. Jeff had is bike in our hotel room and just across the hall Tom had his bike in his room. They both noticed each others bikes. Jeff and Tom got to talking and found out that they were both Ironman Triathletes, and an instant bond was formed.

We’ve kept touch in with Tom (who also works in the RV industry) and have made a point to go to dinner whenever we were in Elkhart.

Since we have been in Elkhart for so long Jeff started riding with Tom and his cycling group each morning at 4:50AM. We got to spend a lot of time with Tom, his wife Tera and their 3 girls. It was so fun being a part of their family while driveway surfing. I’m not going to lie…I’m going to miss those girls. I just might have shed a little tear when we left.

We vacated our delightful accommodations in Elkhart and headed over to Quadra in White Pigeon, MI and camped in their parking lot while they installed our leveling system over two days. We thought that Big Foot was just an exaggerated name for their system, but after seeing the plate sized pads of the levels, BIG Foot is no joke.

Big Foot Leveling

It’s a giant saucer perfect for Boondocking in the desert

Bontrager Rv Surplus

White Pigeon is a two stop light town that is home to an amazing RV surplus store called Bontragers. They have axles, thousands of RV windows, RV electric and plumbing parts, lights, windshield wiper blades, appliances, furniture and even the tiniest screw, plug and spring. They even had stuff you didn’t know you needed until you saw it! It’s a very organized flea market feel with great prices.

We found a replacement porch light (the only one it’s kind) for the Domani for $35. We were having a hard time finding it online…and there it was!

My biggest find was the coveted MCD dual roller shades  that every RV’er dreams of owning. We had a quote from MasterTech for $1,800 for ten windows, so pricy that we opted not to get them. I was able to find 9 MCD’s shades out of my 10 windows for $270…TOTAL. The kick is good, SCORE!

Fox RV

Of course, while Quadra was installing our leveling system they informed us that we needed a new underbelly cover. Most RV’s have a covering on the underbelly to prevent water and

Fox RV

Fox RV Mission Statement…they keep their promises

road debre from damage. When Quadra opened up the covering water was dripping out…which meant that it has been compromised.

Quadra recommended driving to Middlebury, IN to have a new covering installed by Fox RV. Of course Fox RV couldn’t get us in until the following week. AND, since we are going to be there we will have them replace our 3 step fold up entry stairs with a 4 step.

Why a 4 step? When we raised the RV with new axles it caused our 3 steps to be raised too high. Plus, the last step was unstable from previous use. The 4 step entry was another bargain find at another RV salvage yard for $65 (reg $299).

Rise N Roll Bakery

Ok. So this was not an RV upgrade, but it was one of the most memorable stops of our trip. This is an Amish bakery with the most amazing pastries we have EVER tasted. After having their famous cinnamon donuts we were speechless. Literally speechless! Pure melt-in-your-mouth gooey dough with just the right amount of sweetness. No wonder the locals call it “Amish Crack”! Instant addiction and I want it bad!

If you ever come to this area you have to make every effort possible to stop a Rise N Roll. Really. YOU. HAVE. TO.

One thing has led to another on our RV project and we have this last appointment to make this week before heading back to St. Louis, then on to Arkansas. By then we will have missed the annual World Championship Squirrel Cook Off ), The Weiner Dog Races and Mule Jumping Competition.

We were supposed to be back in Arkansas for about 4-6 weeks before heading West, but now we are down to less than 2 weeks.

What do we have planned for 2 weeks? ONE MORE PROJECT…I SWEAR!

Solar panels!

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Lake Levels, Trail Runs and RV Repairs

Beaver Lake AR

Catching up on the morning news

It’s been VERY wet here in Bentonville AR. We’ve been hammered with a lot of rain. So much so that Beaver Lake is at its maximum level of 1130ft. It’s been a few years since we have seen the lake this high…and we like it this way.

Beaver Lake AR

Beaver Dam Spillway, the gates are open!

Beaver Lake was created by damming up the White River nine miles northwest of Eureka Springs Arkansas. It was constructed by the US Army Corps of Engineers from 1960-1966 and the lake did not reach its normal operational pool until 1968. It provides electricity, flood control, drinking water and recreation to the area.

With around 30,000 acres, 487 miles of shoreline and pristine clear water, it’s a popular place in the summer for sure.

My 87 year old neighbor, Ellis, told us about when the lake was going in that many cemeteries had to be relocated. He helped with digging up and moving some of the plots and commented that sometimes all they would find would be a pine knot or an old hipbone. Ellis spent many years fishing the white river and still refers to Beaver Lake as, “the crick”. (That’s hillbilly for creek)

The water is so clear on this lake that we have gone scuba diving with 25-35 feet of visibility. There isn’t much to see down there except a couple of house foundations and a school bus that was submerged to give divers something interesting to look at.

Jeff and I bought our first lakefront cabin here in 2000 and then sold the first cabin when we bought the neighboring cabin in 2009.

Our current cabin was built in 1968 right around the time that the lake was filling up. Back then dark paneling and pink appliances were all the rage. Jeff and I gutted the entire cabin down to the studs. And after 9 months of weekends and vacations working our tails off, we finally moved in to one of the cutest cabins ever, with one of the best views on the lake. But then again I may be a bit biased.

The cabin had been neglected for years and was another one of those smelly, dirty, rodent infested projects that left us scratching our heads at times. We had never seen more acorns and mud dauber nests INSIDE a house before. It took me a week to remove the dauber nests from the ceiling beams with a hand grinder. They had been beautifully baked and preserved through the years and were not coming down without power tools. Maybe that’s why we aren’t scared of a “little” RV project (see below).

War Eagle Tailtwister

While home this round Jeff and I signed up for the War Eagle Tailtwister 50k, 25k, 10k at Hobbs State Park (Jeff 50K. Deb 10K) on Beaver Lake. This is the only trail race allowed at Hobbs and is an amazing event run on some great trails through the hills of the Ozark Mountains. This was my first trail race and I definitely want to do another one. My favorite sport is hiking so this, for me, was a hike in the woods…only faster.

The course was a single track trail with around 600 runners. So navigating around other runners was a bit of a challenge. Mix in some poison ivy, heat, humid, drenching sweat, the taste of bug spray and a resident timber rattler at aid station #1, we had us a bonafide trail race in the Ozarks. (Banjo not included)

RV Repair Update

Carriage Domani

Roof still exposed

Jeff and I made a trip to Elkhart Indiana for a business trip and to check on the progress of our RV repairs.

We had little communication from MasterTech RV despite our emails and phone messages over the course of the last 4 weeks, which has been quite frustrating. We had a sense that not much was happening on our rig. But with our announced trip a fire was lit and they managed to get more done in two days while we were there than in the previous 8-9 weeks that it has been in their shop.

The mold has been sanded off the walls and new foam insulation has been sprayed. The top two inches of the walls at the roofline have been spliced in to replace all the rotten wood. Since the entire roof was leaking around the perimeter I noticed other inside walls that were warped. So out they came to reveal more mold and water damage. The smell continues to improve drastically with each removal of anything that resembles fabric or vinyl.

Carriage Domani

More wet moldy walls found

The flooring is now out of the RV, blinds have been removed and the new refrigerator, hot water heater and furnace have been installed. Since our long list of pre-wiring for things like audio video, wi-fi and solar had not been communicated by one of the managers, our roof still has not been installed because no work orders were produced instructing the guys what to do. So everyone moved on to other projects.

So we have met with the owner and have a new foreman who will oversee the rest of our project to ensure that it keeps moving in the right direction.

On a positive note, the work that we did see done is of really good quality and they are committed to doing things the right way.

We remain skeptical that it will all be completed by the first week in July. There is a pile of work that remains. We are still hoping to hit the road around July 6 to kick off our summer travels with RAGBRAI, the bike ride across Iowa.

Until then we remain cautiously optimistic.

Carriage Domani

Does this foam make my butt look big?

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Major RV Repairs Commence

Sam

We’ve got a hot mess on our hands!

While in Elkhart last week we got our first look at the full spectrum of our repairs at MasterTech RV for our new-to-us RV.

MasterTech RV

MasterTech RV mega workshop

This will be a costly process, so I thought I would include costs on our project for those of you who may be considering an RV renovation yourself.

We purchased our 2009 Carriage Domani ($25,000 + $688 AR sales tax) from an individual in North Carolina and had an inspected by a local dealer. The inspection (shipping, inspection and some repairs $1,688) revealed a substantial roof leak and water damage to the interior. We were able to renegotiate the price on the Domani in order to help offset the cost of the repairs. Then we shipped the RV to MasterTech in Elkhart, IN ($1,220)

We were given the heads up that the full extent of the damage wouldn’t be known until they started to pull the roof off. That’s where we started last week and the news was not good.

The entire rear seam at the end cap had been leaking for quite a long time. The roof decking was rotted so badly that the wood was reduced to toothpicks. And because of deferred maintenance on the rest of the roof it was leaking along the sides as well.

Carriage Domani

End cap removed

Removing the roof was just the beginning that led to removing the end cap, which led to pulling out the interior cabinets, which led to the removal of insulation in the roof and rear wall, which led to removing the interior walls in the rear, which led to removal of furniture and carpet. Do you see where this is going?

Nothing like seeing the entire rear end of your coach exposed to send a wave of regret over your senses.

The walls and insulation were soaking wet, which also led to the spread of mold. Once the roof was opened up the smell was overwhelming. Jeff and I both woke at 3AM one morning thinking out loud, “Oh crap. What have we gotten ourselves into!”.

This led to a panicked conversation with MasterTech about whether or not we needed to stop the project, cap our losses and move on. But cooler heads prevailed and the guys assured us that we have a quality rig on our hands and that everything is fixable.

I have to say, that as most of the fabric, flooring and wallboards came out the smell started to improve rebuilding our confidence to keep moving forward despite some reservation.

So (deep breath) here is where we are going with this project.

Phase I: Remove roof, replace roof decking, insulation, replace the rear end cap. Run new pre-wire for solar & audio/video & technology. Cost: $10,000

Phase II: Replace all appliances, toilet, roof vents, AC’s, and awning with Dometic & Atwood products.

These are items that would not have necessarily needed to be changed as they were still in good condition. However, since we represent Dometic/Atwood and their aftermarket products we felt it was important for our rig to be a showpiece for their awesome line. I am not including cost here since this was purely optional.

Phase III: Replace halogen lights with LED’s, flooring, blinds, mattress and possibly furnishings.

There was carpeting in the living room and bedroom. We new that we would like to replace the flooring with linoleum throughout the coach, but thought we could wait for a little while. But with the smell, water and mold it was impossible to wait. Cost: TBD

Additionally, we were going to make-due with the lightly used furniture that came with the coach since it was high quality and super comfortable. But once again, the smell may be too much to overcome. MasterTech is planning on running an Ozone treatment on the entire coach, but since we are talking about fabric, the smell may not come out. Cost: TBD

We removed all the pleated shades and would like to get MCD shades. This is a pricy consideration, so I will be waiting for one of their big sales to order. And after seeing Wheeling It install some MCD shades themselves, and knowing that my husband has skills, we will install ourselves. Cost: TBD

Carriage Domani

Our girl with her rear exposed

Phase IV: Installing optional items…solar system & batteries, MorRyde stabilizer jacks, hitch, garage trey, outside & inside speakers and other misc items.

This will all depend on what transpires with Phases I-III, the costs involved and where we are on the budget.

Our goal is to have our projected completed by July 6 so that we can take it to RAGBAI (Bike ride across Iowa).

I have to say that it’s been a roller coaster of emotions so far with this project and I have not bonded yet with our Domani. When I can hug my RV (yes, actually hug it) I know I’ve fallen in love.

But since she is currently flashing us the moon with her exposed rear end I will wait until she pulls up her pants before going in for some love!

Till next time…

Inspiration

Loving “someday”!

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On The Road Again

St. Louis

St. Louis Arch

We’ve spent the last two weeks traveling out west and back again.

Our trip started with driving to St. Louis to drop Sammy-do off at my Mom’s for a little paw sitting. Sam loves going to his grandma’s because the food scoop overflows, the squirrels are plentiful in a fenced in back yard and the cute factor gains a little extra loving. We hate traveling without him, but it’s comforting to know he is being super spoiled while we are gone.

While we were in St. Louis Jeff and I decided to try something new. We took a running tour of downtown. After 3 hours and 6 miles I learned things about St. Louis that I never knew. We went with St. Louis Running Tour, THE ONLY running tour in St. Louis. Our tour guide Joe showed us iconic buildings like Union Station, The Arch and Cardinal Stadium. Joe also gave the behind the scenes facts and sometimes seedy drama that unfolds during the development of the new frontier.

It is a run and it is a tour so there are lots of stops to talk with bursts of running to the next destination. Our longest stretch of running was no more that ¼ mile, so if you do this thinking you are going to get your 4-6 mile solid run in, you won’t.

We didn’t take the tour for the run, but to learn & see more about the city that I grew up around…while getting a little low-key exercise. Definitely a very fun morning with Joe!

Hardware Show

The super awesome CFX refrigerator/freezer by Dometic

That afternoon we flew off to Las Vegas for the National Hardware Show. Dometic had a huge display of their new portable refrigerator/freezers (CFX) that run off of 12V, 24V or 120 and their super insulated coolers. They are great for tailgating, RV’ing and boating. We have a CFX frig/freezer that is the best! You can set it to freeze or refrigerate anywhere from 50 degrees down to -8 degrees. That’s a lot of frozen solid ice cream…on 12volts of power no less! It makes up for the small refrigerators that RV’s typically have.

Las Vegas is an interesting town and one that neither of us is particularly comfortable in. I recharge in tranquility and nature. So when you go out for a run at 5AM and the street department is already at work with jack hammers and the all night partiers are just reaching their peak volume, my soul is just piled on with more noise that I went out to decompress from. Throw in a couple of propositions from some ladies of the night (Jeff) and we were ready to get rolling.

From Las Vegas we drove the Dometic RV back to Elkhart Indiana. We were going to hit the central, most direct route through Colorado, but with forecasted snow in the mountains we redirected to the southern route. Our first stop was in Flagstaff where we drove though sleet, snow and rain.

Saturday morning we woke to 1” of snow. The sun popped out and we decided to wash the Vegas grime off our running shoes with a trail run before hitting the road. We stayed at the Flagstaff KOA and they have access to trails right out the back gate. It was a stunning 5-mile run as the sun filtered through the snow-covered foliage. Now this is what I’m talking about! Running through the woods fully alive…nothing is better for the soul. I love this KOA for its convenience to town, trails right out back and very little road noise.

Our other stops

Albuquerque, New Mexico– Long push day to the KOA. Very nice park with level sites, good spacing but very close to the highway. I was able to get a 3.5-mile walk in just within the park by making 3 loops. It was a big RV park! We met a group of French Canadians who where traveling together. One of them had a Heartland Edge, similar to our Ironman Can we just sold. We are hoping to come back here in October for the Xscapers very first Convergence at the Balloon Fiesta.

Amarillo TX

Oasis RV Park just down the road from the Cadillac Ranch

Amarillo, Texas-Oasis RV Resort. This was a really nice RV park as well. Very level and spacious sites with weight room, hot tub and pool. We didn’t use any of the amenities and reviews are mixed on this RV Park as it relates to smell. There are a couple of VERY LARGE cow farms nearby. So the prevailing winds has a directed correlation to the type of experience you will have here.

Luckily the temps were cold and the wind was blowing from the North, so we had no issues of smell.

Tulsa, Oklahoma-Long push day to KOA at Will Rogers horse racing track. This is mostly grass covered RV parking. A lot of the sites were flooded with the recent rains, so we were upgraded to a raised gravel site that backed right up to the horse track. We arrived at 4pm so we were able to catch the last 3 horse races.

It was entertaining as the horses made their 90-second run (if that) around the track, then a water truck and 3 tractors made their way around grading the course with diligence and speed. Their job took about 15 minutes that was repeated after each 90 second run. We found it quite humorous and had more fun watching the tractors than we did the horses. I know…we are strange that way.

We went out for a run the next morning at 6AM to soothing country music over the loud speakers while the horse trainers were already out running the horses. We definitely felt like we were back in our part of the country where people wave as they drive by. If you are from the country you know the wave…one or two fingers just barely lifted off the steering wheel just to give you a friendly hello.

Tulsa OK

Horse Races at the Will Rogers Downs KOA Park

St. Louis, Missouri-Long push day to Mom’s house. We got to see our fur baby and stayed two nights so that Jeff could put in a solid workday that didn’t involve the swerving and jostling that comes with driving a can of marbles down the road at 70 mph. It was hard to leave Sam again especially when he was lying in front of doors, at our feet and around our shoes to ensure that he is not left behind. 😦

Elkhart, Indiana-Long push day to our final destination, MasterTech RV. They are doing the work on our personal RV project. The slide on the Dometic RV decided to stop working in Albuquerque so MasterTech is going to work on it for us. And they provide free parking with electric hookups.

It’s been a long trip with a few memorable moments. Now that we are here in Elkhart we get to check on the progress on our personal RV project over the weekend. The water damage on our roof was much more extensive than we originally thought…but everything is fixable.

More on our project in the next post. Until then…get out and play!

Elkhart, IN

The new rolling crib will be good as new…we hope!

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