This moment in time…

A journal of our travels and how we arrived at this moment in time!

Homeward bound…

14 Comments

San Felipe, TX

By Saturday, January 30, we had thrown all of our belongings into the rig and planned our departure from Shipshewana, IN.  We were headed home to Texas!  When I say “thrown”, that is exactly what we did. There was no time to put anything in its place as we had, understandably, grown weary of the whole situation we had found ourselves in and were more than ready to get “home”.  And, after all, home is where the heart is, right?  Besides, Bill and Kelly were passing through Texas on their way to Arizona and we certainly did not want to miss out on another opportunity to spend time with friends of a feather.  After all, how many ‘plans’ have we already had to cancel since last summer while our lives were put on lockdown?

Our plan was to take 3 days getting home.  We did not leave Shipshewana until around noon, and drove 8-9 hours the first day.  The second day we drove 13.5 hours, and 4 hours the third day.  The last day also included a stopover in Livingston, TX where we had our new home and the truck inspected, and the rig registered.  We stayed in hotels along the way for the simple reason we did not have a bed to sleep in.  Actually, we do have a bed but it was rendered unusable because it was heaping with stuff we had thrown on it when we threw everything in!  Lucky for us, Lifestyle paid for our hotel rooms along the way!

Although our trip home was long, it was pure relief to be back on the road again.  And even though we had a lot of work ahead of us setting up our new home on wheels, we were finally able to relax and take things… one day at a time. But not before we experienced this at a truck stop.

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Oh, poor fella!

I was so overwhelmed with embarrassment for him that I had a conversation with Craig about whether I should inform him that he had a hitch hiker on his back… or not.  Craig said “not”!  So, I kept my mouth shut.  But, I’m still humiliated for the guy!

We had reservations at our favorite state park in close proximity to family.  Our original reservations were two weeks in my name, two weeks in Craig’s name, and the final two weeks, again, in my name.  (A fancy way of skinning the cat, as they say!)  Well, that was our original plan!  As many of you know, state parks generally limit a stay for two weeks at a time, then you must leave for two weeks before you can return.  That was not the rule in our case.  The staff at this park have come to know us as not only past guests, but for the things Craig (mostly) does for others while we are staying there.  For example, the park director was fresh out of surgery and back home when she noticed a leak in the house she lives in at the park.  Craig was summoned to check it out. In no time at all, he had the leak fixed, preventing a major disaster. On another occasion, a park visitor had just arrived at the park for the weekend to celebrate her teenage daughter’s birthday when she locked her keys in her car.  The park host (who was parked next to us) told the lady, “No problem.  I know just who to call!”  A short while later, Craig had broken into her car, retrieved her keys, and they were happy campers!  “They can stay as long as they want”, the director told the entire staff. And that’s what we did.  We ended up staying there for two solid months, and loved every minute of it.

Upon arrival at the park this time around, we had our work cut out for us.  I was working on the inside while Craig was outside.  Did I say “working”?

 

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Working hard… or hardly working?

Soon, I began to overhear conversation. “Who in the world has he found to talk to already?”  So, I stuck my head outside just to see a couple of familiar faces.  It was Peg and Michelle whom we met at the 2014 Spring RV-Dreams Rally in Sevierville, TN!  Yes, folks, it is a very small world!  They were originally going to stay at another campground, but decided to go a bit farther down the highway and check out this park.  When they parked across the street from our site, they saw “Lifestyle” on our rig and thought it might be us.  Then they looked at our truck and decided it probably was us.  That is when they walked over and I heard Craig chatting with them outside.  Needless to say, I was shocked to see them standing there!

Now, the Class of 2014 (consisting of those of us who met at an RV-Dreams rally in Sevierville, TN and went full-time in 2014) has an unspoken rule of etiquette whereby if it is a travel day, dinner is cooked for the travelers by those they are traveling to meet.  Not in this instance, however.  It was obvious to Peg and Michelle that we were in over our heads and in no shape to even think about dinner, much less cook it.  So, they offered to have us over for dinner.  And it was de‑lish!  Thank you Peg and Michelle for the scrumptious dinner and wonderful hospitality! (Sorry! I was too tired to even think about pics.)

Still plodding along, we only had 2.5 days remaining to get set up enough to welcome Bill and Kelly who would be visiting us for about 4 days.  By the time they arrived, we were settled ‘enough’ to cook for them.

A couple of days later we all decided to check out Mardi Gras in Galveston, TX…

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… and had a nice lunch together at Yaga’s on the Strand…

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Liquid lunch?

… just across the street from the Galveston cruise ship terminal.

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The photo below is for the benefit of our inner circle.  You see, our friend Greg has been “licking” things along his and Cori’s journey, so some of us will occasionally “lick” things for Greg’s benefit.  This one’s for you, Greg!

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Kelly licking the smoke stack of a Carnival cruise ship

It was great seeing Bill and Kelly, again, and catching up.  So long, friends.  Until we meet again… 20160208_112012 (2)

During our two months back home, we had many opportunities to visit with family.  Usually, we have as many of the family out to the park to visit so they can “experience” our lifestyle.

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We were so very pleased that our nieces and nephews got so excited about camping that they came back the next weekend to camp with us; however, not before purchasing a tent, etc. on Amazon Prime.  They were so excited that they cut their work day short on Friday to get to the park.

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We were even home to celebrate my sister’s birthday…

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I love you!

… and Easter!

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Each time we return home, it makes it just that much more difficult to leave.  Especially this time around.  Two months is a long time to be with those you love.  In a GOOD way!  I must say… I do not miss the traffic or the traffic jams!  Give me a cornfield in the middle of Shipshewana, IN any day of the week!

A few days before leaving Texas Craig was having trouble pushing the handle to the black (sewer) tank back in. We didn’t think anything major was wrong… that it just wasn’t working the way it should.  The day before our departure was a different story, however.  While emptying and cleaning out the tanks, Craig found a 6” screw in the hose.  OMG!  So that’s what the problem was… or was it? The next morning as we were packing up and getting ready to lift the jacks and hit the road, we noticed the black tank was leaking.  Oh, geez.  What to do now…

As I was walking to the dumpster to offload the last bit of trash, I said a prayer.  I told God that I just couldn’t do this anymore and asked for a sign, a resolution… something.  We are so tired of the issues we have had over the past 9 months.  Where do we go from here?  Well, I returned to the rig, hopped in the truck, Craig put it in “drive”, and we were headed off.  Where, we had no clue.  Lo and behold, at that very moment a mobile RV tech pulled into the site directly across the street.  Literally within minutes of praying, my prayers were answered!

Craig spoke with the guy about our issue.  Turns out, he was the owner of the RV repair company.  He said if we would go to his shop he would be there as soon as possible.  So, we drove the 7.4 miles away and waited.  And waited.  And waited some more.  Finally, he showed up, but had not eaten lunch.  So after his lunch we were finally able to back into his shop to find out why the black tank was leaking.

While waiting in the truck, Craig decided to go into the rig and get us something to drink.  The windows were down and we were “enjoying” the beautiful weather.  Shortly thereafter, I heard Craig calling me with a panicked voice.  “Dear, you need to come here quick!”  I ran back to the rig to find out what was wrong.  He said, “You’re not going to believe this!”  I said, “What?”  He replied, “Take a look at the refrigerator.”  I did.  The refrigerator had fallen backward and the doors were pinched opened slightly.  WHAT??? Yep, the framing around the empty space at the bottom that supports the flooring (if you want to call it that) under the refrigerator had busted loose and the entire surface had collapsed, causing the refrigerator to fall backwards. Uh, REALLY?  No way. Yes, WAY!  The shop would look at that, too… maybe.

20160331_121126Getting back to the black tank issue, the RV tech crawled under our rig and began working on the black tank.  As he was pulling the gate valve off the black tank he noticed something quite unusual.  Something he had never seen before.  Neither had we!

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Yes, that is what you see!  The other end of the 6” screw Craig found just the day before.  A full-size screwdriver in the black tank!!!  WHO in their right mind…? Oh, never mind!  So, a new gate valve was installed prior to the final clean-out of the contents insulating the black tank.

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Can you see stuff running off at the bottom?

Words cannot describe how very sorry we felt for the poor fella who had no idea what kind of $hitty job he would run in to that day.

There was just enough time to fix the black tank, but not the refrigerator.  They did, however, prop it up enough for us to travel to our next destination, but not before someone’s knee used to push the refrigerator back put a big dent in the front of the freezer door.  Having finished repairs for the day, it was already 5:30 by the time we left.  And we still needed to fuel up.  After a quick stop for fuel and fuel (pizza to go), we were on our way to Livingston.  Luckily, the new section of the tollway had just opened a couple of days earlier, saving us at least 30 minutes in time, not to mention avoiding traffic all the way around Houston.  Who needed that?

See.  There is a silver lining to every cloud!

 

14 thoughts on “Homeward bound…

  1. Glad you were able to visit your family.

    A Keystone Montana rep. told me you can design a great trailer but its only as good as the meth head that puts it together. He suggested factories are full of drug users. But I wonder if it has more to do with the construction process, work expectations or plan lack of quality control. Obviously accountability is an issue.

    Nice you are back in your home and got right into the shop.

    • LOL! In all fairness, I wouldn’t put everyone in the same box. Take, for instance, Jesse. (See a previous blog.) He feels the same about the people who builds these things. Not that they are all drug users, but they have attitudes and “if you look at them the wrong way, they will turn around and walk out”. These workers never seem to stay anywhere long enough to learn their job, much less do it well. We learned a LOT throughout this entire experience, and it’s NOT good, IMHO!! As you can see, we pay the price. A mighty high price, I might add!

  2. I still say that something exists in the management of that company that is allowing this stuff to happen, Jo. There are plenty of good workers out there and plenty of bad apples….but good management will spot them and send them down the road. I was a manufacturing manager for many years, so I can just imagine what’s going on there.

    Jim

    • I believe that because the Indiana area is so saturated with RV manufacturers, that workers just keep rotating from one plant to another. It’s not as though “new” blood with new enthusiasm ever comes in. So, things become stale and I really don’t see any way out, other than opening a plant, say, in Texas? Catch my drift? Up in Indiana, it’s nothing more than a swinging door, IMHO! And we, of course, lose. By the time they get it all figured out, I’ll be too old to care. Sad.

  3. Good to see you are on the road and visiting friends and family. The new rig looks great, hopefully the bugs will be worked out soon!

  4. Surely trust the next leg of your journey will be smoother. You are due for a few months without mishap.

  5. Geez. Glad you are keeping up the blogging! I would MISS it/you guys too much if you didn’t! It’ll get better! Just get a nice fridge magnet for that dent. Have you added an additional paddle valve on the end of your clean out pipe? If there is a leak in the gray/black, it gives you an extra valve so nothing will leak onto the ground. Works great! Just a nice back-up.

  6. Hi. Have been following your journey since we heard about you on RV-Dreams. Since we also have a Lifestyle, we were interested in your experience. We too have had some problems (not anything close to your experience) and had a difficult time getting things repaired. We are on the west coast, so had to deal with dealers and finally an RV repair shop (J&L RV in Fontana, Ca). J & L did a great job and Lifestyle let them do our warranty work. Now that we have had the rig since July 2014, and all the repairs have been made, things are going well. We are happy with it now. Hopefully you will have no more issues, and may see you in the future on the road or at an RV-Dreams rally.

    • Hi, Cheryl and Bob! I sincerely apologize for the very long delay in responding to your comment. Things have settled down, somewhat, but we are not happy with Lifestyle AT ALL! It doesn’t really matter anymore, however, under the circumstances. My plan is to work on updating my blog throughout the coming week, so I hope you will follow along. Stay tuned!

      • I truly understand your frustrations with Lifestyle. Although we eventually got things taken care of, it took a lot of persistence on our part. Not surprised to hear of their demise. Will continue to watch for your blog updates and hope to meet you sometime in the future. We are currently in No. California, heading to Oregon. Arizona this winter.

  7. “Persistence” is the name of the game, but it shouldn’t have to be that way. Glad to hear everything has been taken care of, and hope to see you somewhere down the road!

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