First Outing of the Season with Extended Crew

Tags

,

First Outing of the Season with Extended Crew

It’s a new season of camping and a new season for our family as we are now camping with two of our grandsons when we go family camping. This year we have increased the crew on the Island Time to include both, Logan and Gavin. It is such a treat and privilege to be able to have special time with them and build our relationship for the years to come.

Since our first adventure was scheduled for March 13th we needed to get the Island Time prepared for the season while still winterized. We took the trailer to Camping World of St Augustine for wheel bearing and roof maintenance and asked them to service the refrigerator and water heater as well as clean and detail the exterior. I have to tell you, I could not be more impressed with their service. When they pulled the Island Time around for us to take home, it look brand new. Everything was spotless, the exterior shined, the black on the frame was fresh and the awning stains were gone. Truly amazing.

Our season opened with a weekend trip to our favorite campground, Fort Wilderness at Disney World, but without our dogs. We were concerned that with having both Logan and Gavin on board that it might be just too much confusion for the dogs little poodle brains to manage. While Sailor is a trained therapy dog and can be very gentle, when they are both together we sometimes get more assertive pack behavior from them. Since they were not raised around children, when pushed too far they react to children as they would react to other dogs. They are usually good boys, but why add that variable to the equation.

We arrived at out campsite, #1454 around 2:00 PM and after fully un-winterizing, were ready for the fun to begin. Wes brought Logan and Gavin around 4:30 PM and the fun began! Wes stayed for burgers on the grill and then headed back home. We had a great evening, getting things sorted out, taking a golf cart ride and setting up the transformer bed. Yep, setting up the transformer bed. This is the first time we have converted the dinette table to a bed and it was an exciting event. Gavin slept in the new transformer bed, while Logan slept in the other transformer bed. A little Netflix and it was lights out for all of us.

The next day started around 6:30 AM with breakfast and some games leading to a trip to the playground and a boat ride. We rode the boat to the Magic Kingdom and had it entirely to ourselves on the return ride. After the boat ride and a little more playground time, we explored the horse stables where the boys took a pony ride. It was great fun with each boy getting their own pony which was led by an adult. The ponies were more than tame, but had a mind of their own and sometimes wanted to stop and visit with their other pony friends. Our ponies were well behaved as were the boys.

The afternoon was filled with lunch and more playground time, a few games and Logan’s birthday party. Grandma Jeannie had decorated the site with Happy Birthday banners and provided cake pops along with a special birthday candle that spun and make sparks. A good time was had by all.

In the evening after dinner everyone had their baths and then we went to the campfire to make S’mores. We even met Dale, of Chip and Dales! After the campfire it was off to bed.

Before we knew it the weekend was over. Loretta, Wes and Tyler picked up Logan and Gavin in the morning and after a brief golf cart ride headed home. Just like that the action packed weekend was over.

We had a nice and uneventful journey home with a big smile on our faces. A little tired, but already making plans for another family camping event over Memorial Day weekend. How fun!

A new year and new adventures, let’s go!

Thanks,

Captain Skip

Time to make some S'Mores at the campfire

Time to make some S’Mores at the campfire

Logan takes a ride on Blaze

Logan takes a ride on Blaze

Gavin takes a ride on Nemo

Gavin takes a ride on Nemo

Time for a boat ride to the Magic Kingdom at Ft Wilderness

Time for a boat ride to the Magic Kingdom at Ft Wilderness

Time for games at Ft Wilderness

Time for games at Ft Wilderness

Pellicer Creek in August

Tags

Pelllicer Creek in August

Here is what happens when I wait too long to make my blog entries, I do not remember the details or perhaps even the big things. Let’s start with Pellicer Creek the weekend of August 22. Looking for a little longer journey to make sure that all of the under carriage repairs were in order we decided to spend the weekend just a little farther south.

After a non-eventful drive we arrived around 8:00pm after calling at 7:30 pm to let them know we were running late but were about 30 minutes away. Pat met us at the gate and took us to site 23 which probably has the second best view in the entire park. A quick setup and were there for the weekend.

As usual Jim and Pat were more than helpful and we had a wonderful, restful weekend. Since we do not have an optimal setup to take advantage of their wonderful cable TV offerings, we used our trailer antenna and enjoyed not watching the single channel we could get over the air. I say enjoyed not watching because it was actually a nice change to unhook and find other things to do. We usually choose to use our cell for WI-FI here to get a little better speed, but even with that it is pretty slow.

When we were getting ready to breakdown the campsite, this was the first experience I had with the sewer connection to the ground being higher in elevation that the end of our trailer connection. I made the hose connection and pulled the gate valve and things did not flow with their usual enthusiasm. After realizing the issue, I managed to get the final flow out of the tank by lifting the hose about mid-point and getting it to drain. After a few times of doing that I could get the tank to be completely empty. After refilling the tank to flush it out I performed the same procedure only to have the hose come uncoupled from the trailer and dump about 2 – 3 gallons on the ground. Later Jeannie commented that it smelled like a horse stable nearby. We had a good laugh when I told her the cause of the odor. I did flush the area with clean water repeatedly to dilute any residual material.

On Sunday the only other remarkable thing to report is that we were able to make a u-turn leaving the campground, so that we did not have to travel a few miles down the road to find a wider intersection.

Next week is Labor Day at North Beach!

Thanks,

Captain Skip

A comfortable day at Pellicer Creek Campground

A comfortable day at Pellicer Creek Campground

First outing with new ML350 at Pellicer Creek

First putting with new ML350 at Pellicer Creek

Boarded by Pirates and Surrounded by Idiots

Tags

,

Boarded by Pirates and Surrounded by Idiots

Finally camping again and glad to put this chapter behind us. This weekend finds our adventure resuming at Hanna Park after a month due to interruption by events beyond our control or any test of reasonableness. Before I recap the events that have transpired since the last blog entry, let me focus on the positive and moving forward. We are camping again in space #18, a very nice back-in site with a beautiful view (though the utilities are pretty far forward in the site), a nice breeze blowing on a nice summer day. The music is playing, there is a rib eye roast in the Cobb and it is not hard to remember why we like doing this.

Now to recap the happenings that lead to the title of this entry. Yes, we were boarded by pirates! After dropping the Island Time off at the Gore RV parking lot on July 4 I called on Saturday, July 5, to make sure they were aware that the trailer was in their lot and needed to be moved to a secure area before closing that day. On Monday, I called the service department to start the repair process. They indicated that they would put an estimate together and submit a claim to CornerStone for the repairs as part of our extended warranty and repair contract. The service representative mentioned that it looked like someone had attempted to break into the trailer and had damaged the door. He indicated that it did not look like they had managed entry to the trailer.

Explaining that we had a week-long vacation planned at the end of the month, I would guarantee payment for the axle repair so that we did not have to wait for authorization from CornerStone to place the order for parts and I would pay for the door as well. The service rep indicated that it usually only took about a week to get the axle, but it may take longer for the door.

Later that week I received a call from the service rep that CornerStone had declined the axle repair on the basis of the terms of the contract. According to their rejection they did not cover nuts and fasteners, which is true, but the terms were listed in the exclusion portion of the contract not the performance portion of the agreement. The service rep also indicated that the door would be special order from the factory and be $695.00 for the parts. Here is a key clue, he suggested that we may want to file it with our insurance. I indicated that with $500 deductible, all it would really do is charge us with a claim and not really be worth the effort.

To try to shorten the misery of this recap, I called at least twice a week to see what the progress was and to make sure it is ready for vacation. I repeatedly got a story that the axle is there but they are waiting for the door. I am still not able to get a clear date for completion and we need to decide if we are going to take vacation or not. We finally decide that we are going to go on vacation as it seems likely that the trailer will be repaired the Thursday before were were planning to leave.

At the end of the week before vacation, I am still getting the same story on waiting on the door, so I called their parts department. They told me that the door had been there for over a week, but they were waiting on the axle and it would be delivered on Monday. So knowing this I check with my service rep and he assures me that it would be ready Monday or Tuesday at the latest, so we decided to take our vacation, but cancel our reservation at Hilton Head. We would just make the best use of the time that was available and go exploring in other areas.

Then on follow-up on Monday the service rep tells me that it may not be ready until the following Friday as they were still waiting on the door. Since I knew that the door had been there for at least a week and that the axle arrived on Monday, it confirmed my fears that my service rep was less than reliable, so I escalated to the General Manager who got involved and assured me that it would be ready by close of business on Thursday. I am not very happy at this point as we have wasted a large block of vacation time. Looking back I could see in fact that my service rep had been misinforming me all along and basically had a reliability problem. Great.

Boarded by pirates. Thursday morning we received a call that the trailer was ready, so we quickly got ready and went to pick it up. $2,300 later they brought the trailer around and when we open the door, we discovered that the TV was missing, to which the service rep immediately responded with “well you will just have to add it to your insurance claim”. Get the connection. He seemed close to panic when we told him that the door could only be locked with a key or from the inside, but it was not possible to lock the door from the inside and close it. Since the door had not been breached previously and it would take a key to re-lock the door, it had to be an inside job, with someone who had access to the key. The logic of this situation was impeccable, there is no other explanation that works. It happened while in their control, and as you guessed it, they denied any responsibility.

Finally, after working through the service rep and the service manager, I was able to get the General Manager involved and he agreed to reimburse us for his cost for the 32” flat screen, $170. That was better than nothing, but would not replace my Samsung 32” 1080p, 120 hz refresh rate TV.

There are so many other details to this story that support the surrounded by idiots portion that it would just be too depressing to document them all. As an example, they forgot to order a tail light replacement lens, so they were going to have to keep it another two weeks. We resolved that by buying a whole taillight assembly and they were just supposed to snap on the lens and give me the rest for parts, instead they installed the whole new assembly and charged me for the installation and forgot to give me the parts. They forgot to order a wheel cover and lost my coupler pin. The list just goes on.

I will never go back to Gore RV for service unless forced to for warranty work, no wait, the warranty did not work either.

Once we got away from Gore, we went to Discount Tire and had four new Goodyear Marathon tires mounted. This may not have been necessary, but I did not want to take a chance. Of the four, one was brand new on the ground as the spare replaced the one with the separating belt. Another tire was severely overloaded when we had the bearing failure, and the other had been subjected to high heat when the bearing hub was on fire. So four new tires please. These were mounted and balanced without any fanfare and we were headed home, finally.

I was able to find a nice replacement flat screen and mounted it on Friday morning. Same model, size and refresh rate, but this one has Smart Apps with it, so I can get Netflix for grandchildren directly on it. Oh yea, they got my Apple TV also. By the way, the new TV is great.

All of this is now in our rear view mirror. I will file an appeal with CornerStone and feel reasonably confident they will pay. Even if they do not, this is the end of the line on that. I need to move on from this and look forward to the great adventures ahead.

Here is what I have learned:

– I will never get service at Gore RV again if I can help it
– I will make sure the bearings are serviced every 12 months, needed or not
– These things will happen
– It can all be fixed
– I am way too dependent on others for my happiness
– Pirates have moved inland
– Idiots are everywhere

Thanks,

Captain Skip

Island Time Loses Bearings Runs Aground

Tags

,

Island Time Loses Bearings Runs Aground

This is not the Fourth of July weekend that we had planned, at all! All week we had been counting down the days to the long weekend at Hanna Park. We had reserved our site in February and were gathering our favorite outdoor camping meal recipes and getting the Ham Radio ready for some time.

It was not to be. Instead, we were to get an education in adventuring with a travel trailer. It should have been a warning that about half way there the new ML350 gave us a warning that the right rear trailer taillight was out. For most of the way there we thought that was our biggest worry.

About on half mile from Hanna Park someone drove up alongside us and yelled out their window something about our rear trailer tire. I looked back in the mirror and I could see smoke from the driver-side rear tire on the trailer. I slowed down because I thought we had a flat tire and limped along a few blocks until I could make a safe turn onto the road to Hanna Park. As soon as I got out of the car, I could see an occasional flame shoot out of the wheel-bearing opening. Not good.

As luck would have it, a mechanic was across the street waiting on members of his party to arrive. He and I took a look at it and it was a smoking mess. The wheel cover was gone, the grease seal was gone, the castle nut was missing, the bearings were gone and the wheel was just hanging on. We were stunned.

After calling Coach-Net for assistance and getting a mechanic on the way, we limped into the gates of Hanna Park so that we could at least have security protection. Shortly the mobile mechanic arrived and was able to cleanup the mess and get the trailer so that it could be moved for a short distance if necessary.

The Mechanic speculated that the axle had never had a cotter pin put through the castle nut that holds the bearing assembly in place. As a result, the castle nut backed off and eventually fell off releasing the bearings and grinding them to pieces. The drum got so hot that it melted a portion of the seal area, making it impossible to reuse.

Totally dejected and still in shock, we had no choice but to abandon the trailer at the gate at 9:00 PM at night, unpack and head home. I let security know what was going on and they indicated that they would watch it overnight for us and to call the office at 8:00 AM the next morning.

At 8:00 AM the next day I contacted Hanna Park Management and let them know what was going on and that I would be working on getting it out of there as soon as possible. I then started working with our extended warranty and travel interruption insurance provider CornerStone United to get the Island Time relocated to the dealer for service. The Mobile Mechanic had suggested that we limp along on three wheels to the dealer about 20 miles away. That would entail going over the Dames Point Bridge and I could just see having the overloaded tire blow out there, so that was not an option.

CornerStone did find a local towing company that tows big rigs and busses that could bring a Landoll flatbed trailer and load the Island Time and deliver to the RV dealer. We were able to maneuver the trailer out of Hanna Park and these guys were really good and were able to load the trailer onto the Landoll. Billy and his partner from Southern Crane were amazing and delivered the trailer to the RV dealer without any issue.

At this point I have talked with the RV dealer and they are going to secure the trailer in their service area and take a look at it on Monday. They are also helping to build a file to submit to CornerStone for coverage of the parts and service. We will see how that goes.

When it is all said and done, this should have never happened. It was not a lack of care or maintenance on my part, but I now know how and where to watch for problems. I will include an annual personal inspection of the bearings to be sure they are functioning properly and that they are secured properly. We also learned a great deal about how to use roadside assistance and what can be done in the field. As we travel there will be the occasional tire or even car problem and we are better prepared as a result of this. We will never have a bearing problem like this again. I will see to that.

We need a new axle because the spindle is damaged on the old one. I will have them service the other wheels while that have it and go over it with a fine-toothed comb. Everything can be fixed.

When we were done dropping the trailer at the dealer we were already starting to regain our perspective and ended up laughing at parts of it. We are going to continue our cruising on land and ended up laughing at singing road, road, road, your boat… The Island Time will be fine, we will be fine and we will continue the adventure knowing that we are wiser and more experienced and the Lord keeps us safe in the palm of his hand. Amen.

Thanks,

Captain Skip

This was all that was left of the wheel bearings

This was all that was left of the wheel bearings

Island Time being loaded on trailer

Island Time being loaded on trailer

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.