If you are a regular reader of my web page you know I just finished writing our Alaska RV tour conclusion. I am happy to say we’re starting another RV tour,…… you gotta love retirement.
It’s time for our annual spring snowbird trip to the southwest. The gang is anxious to hit the road and enjoy some warmer weather.
In the northwest, most of December and January were colder with more snow than anyone can remember. The temperatures seemed like 100 degrees colder, too cold to do much outside. Being housebound for a few days is tolerable, but a week or more is a drag.
It’s late January, we’ve been home since the end of September, enjoying the fall colors and winter sports, snowmobiling and ice fishing, when its warm enough.
Our departure date is just over a week away, final preparations are underway.
Six of us will travel together, three couples each in their respective rigs. Unfortunately, Henry and Allyson, our usual traveling friends, cannot join us this trip, family issues.
We have a brand new couple just out of their wrapping, Mike and Kris will fill the void left by Allyson and Henry, joining Lynda, myself, Ralph and Lois on this trip.
Mike and Kris are long time friends from our area who have traveled south solo in their RV. According to their stories, the trip was less than successful. Vehicle issues and bad weather almost ruined their trip.
Mike and Kris have a 27 foot 5th wheel trailer towed by their chevy diesel.
We are all looking forward to traveling together. Mike and Kris will probably fit in well, they love to boondock/drycamp, hike, fish, and ATV just like the rest of us and most importantly they enjoy the juice of the grape.
Ralph and Lois upgraded their RV to a new 30 ft. travel trailer, very exciting. They are busy moving gear from their old smaller 5th wheel.
Lynda and I upgraded our truck to a new 2016 chevy diesel with dual wheels. Our old truck served us well for over 300,000 kilometers and very few problems.
However the old girl (not Lynda), was beginning to show her age, several small problems had cropped up recently. Even though it has been a great truck our trust was beginning to wain. Besides, our children don’t want any inheritance. Wait till they read this, lol.
The Spring Tour
The last week before leaving is always busy, packing and repacking, servicing your tow vehicle and your RV. Checking RV batteries, sanitizing the fresh water holding tank, checking tires, brakes, and bearings, etc.
Checking and double checking should prevent most traveling problems.
Probably the most concern for RVers, is damage from freezing temperatures? It is always a pleasant surprise to find no damage. Unfortunately, our trailer suffered one problem, the toilet flush valve cracked.
This has happened before, (you think I would learn)? The last time the cracked valve cost $75., this time it was $100. The porcelain toilet is a Dometic brand, it works well, but an inherent flaw.
A chamber in the valve does not drain when the water system is drained. Pumping anti-freeze into the system should prevent frost damage, but the flush valve needs to be depressed to allow anti-freeze into the chamber.
Another problem, our electric tongue jack quit working, what a drag. My first trouble shoot was the fuse, it had definitely blown. I replaced it, tried the switch and again the fuse blew.
I was not sure what the problem was so I tried the manual override, a hex nut under a rubber cover on top of the jack housing. Thinking that maybe manipulating the system might help.
When I removed the cover I saw moisture under the cover, a concern. I found the appropriate size socket and tried to turn the nut which split in half with minimal effort,………. seized, hum?
I proceeded to dismantle the jack housing, water and rust were my discovery. Electric motors do not tolerate water, the motor was seized. My trailer is only three years old and used a couple of months a year, the jack should not have failed so soon.
I need a new jack, the prices range from $100 to $500 US, definitely not in the travel budget. I check every resource I could think of, Camping World had the identical jack (LCI) I clicked on the technical data and found the manufacturer, Lippert Components Inc.
I googled the name, found their website and customer service contact info and sent them an e-mail describing my problem. I offered to pay a portion of a new jack for the time I used the jack to date.
I had nothing to loose but time. As everyone knows the chance of a company backing what they sell is rare, especially after three years, when the warranty for everything is a year or less.
As consumers, we are usually greeted with double talk, excuses, how we failed as a consumer and in the end it is never the companies fault their product failed.
Anthony at Lippert Components Inc. replied to my email within a day. To my surprise, he asked for pictures and my shipping address.
I obliged the next day and within an hour Anthony replied confirming a new jack would be shipped immediately. Of course, I was overjoyed, no harsh words, no confrontation, just pure simple customer service.
Kudos to Anthony and Lippert Components Inc. suppliers of everything RV.
Back to our RV Tour
This trip will last about two months, the beginning of February to the end of March.
We plan to leave the northwest on a Saturday morning and cross the border into the US. Then hit Walmart for supplies and make our way through Seattle, Washington, one of the busiest cities in North America.
Our first night will be at the Lucky Eagle Casino near Olympia. Casinos have always been our preferred overnight stop, most are RV friendly, in fact, they usually cater to RVers.
After a day of fighting traffic, a casino is good place to wind down. A little gambling and maybe we treat ourselves to the buffet.
We are taking three ATVs, two I will haul on the snowmobile deck in the box of my pickup. They fit perfectly across the deck without extending the deck sides.
If you plan to use this method and tow a trailer DO NOT extend the sides of the snowmobile deck, as I did. If you make a sharp turn the corner of the extended deck will hit your trailer causing damage.
I discovered this the hard way puncturing a good size hole in the front of our brand new travel trailer. BAD LANGUAGE, BAD LANGUAGE.
Ralph is bringing the third ATV loaded on the deck in his pickup box. Ralph and I copied the design of my snowmobile deck constructing one for his pickup. Instead of aluminum construction like my deck, we used treated plywood and 2x4s.
A deck in the box of a pickup works well, you can haul your toys on the deck and have storage underneath.
Only three more sleeps until we hit the road.
Check back often, I will update my website several times during our trip.
Thanks for visiting.