On Or Off The Roof?

In July of this year, I made it to the top of the roof of our coach. It wasn’t the first time. I’ve been up there a few times.

I go up to clean the roof and to apply a sealant. It is always a bit of a stretch getting up there. I use a step ladder that can double as an extension ladder. The extension won’t go above the roof line so it requires a leg-over and a pull-over to get my body up and across.

Although I am still fit at sixty, I have found myself wondering about my personal safety clambering up to the top of the coach.

In coming up to Hearthside Grove, I was prepared to wash and wax our coach myself. I decided against doing so. For about $400, Superior Coach Detailing did an awesome job and I did not have to worry about getting up on the roof.

But the question remains: on or off the roof?

We have enjoyed making some new friends at the resort and one person we met had a tragedy happen in her life. When I mentioned that I was planning on doing some work on the roof of our coach, she was very blunt with me. She told me to stay off the roof.

Last year, her husband was doing some work on the roof of their motorhome. He slipped and fell from the top of their coach. He died from the injuries sustained in the fall.

I am rethinking the need to go up there now. Especially if I can hire a crew of younger and more experienced people to deal with any maintenance items on the roof.

Girard Awning Stuck?

Your Girard awnings won’t extend? They won’t retract? Are they stuck hanging outside your coach?

That happened to us a few days ago. And the solution for our coach was not something that you will find in a manual.

I was doing some outside work on our 2016 Newmar Dutch Star 4002. It is equipped with the Girard Nova Awnings.

Everything looked fine.

I went inside the coach and pressed the “IN” button to retract the awnings.

The awnings began to retract and, about halfway through the process, they stopped. They were stuck.

The awnings were partially deployed. They would not go in. They would not go out.

What could be wrong?

I did the usual: read through the manual, jumped on the Girard website, searched Google. And, after a few hours of floundering, I gave up and called the service manager at our dealer.

He knew exactly what to do.

Inside one of our bays are two Girard control devices. Our service manager called them “turtles”.

They look like this:

These two are working normally because the two indicator lights at the upper left are on. Not sure why the Girard engineers chose red LEDs as the normal condition light indicator. Wouldn’t a green LED indicator make more sense?

When our awnings became stuck, both those lights were off.

If you follow where they are plugged in, you will find something interesting marked on the outlet:

Well, look at that! They are plugged into a GFCI protected circuit.

Important to note: they are not plugged into a GFCI outlet. The plug is tied to a GFCI outlet. There is no reset button at this plug. We had to go hunting for the GFCI  outlets elsewhere in the coach.

Our service manager asked us to reset two GFCI outlets. One in our kitchen galley and one in our small washroom mid-coach.

He suspected that there was some kind of voltage issue that caused the GFCI circuits to trip. One of the awnings was tied to the GFCI outlet in the kitchen, the other was tied to the GFCI outlet in the small washroom.

Finding said GFCI outlets is a bit of a trick.

In our case, the GFCI outlet in the kitchen was directly underneath one of the top row of cabinets.

You can make out the two buttons in the middle of the GFCI outlet. It takes a bit more work to press reset than I expected. There is quite a bit of travel and you have to really press down.

The reset button for our outlets is in the top position. The other button is a test button. If you press that one, the outlet may not reset.

In the small bathroom, the GFCI outlet was located inside our medicine cabinet.

We tested both of those outlets to make sure they were working before heading back down to the bay which holds the two Girard “turtles”. The indicator lights on the Girard controllers were back on.

Pressing the “IN” button retracted the Girard awnings. Success.

Filed under “Not in the manual” and “The things they don’t tell you about maintaining your coach”.

So Many Buses

This is our coach, the Castaway. We are in our second year with the coach and we love it. It is a beautiful machine inside and out. Travelling through Canada and even through much of the U.S., we often stand out in a crowd especially if we are in a mixed park. And by that, I mean a park with other types of RVs like travel trailers and 5th wheels.

At Hearthside Grove, our bus would be in the middle of the pack between older Class A coaches and the high-end motorhomes. Hearthside Grove is a Class A park and they request coaches be 10 years of age or newer. Although they will accept Class A coaches in good condition that are older than 10 years. There are many older Class A coaches in the park right now.

I have never seen as many Prevost coaches in one place. Ever.

Some date back 10 or 15 years. Most are relatively new. The new ones price out in the $2 million range. The buses do depreciate relatively quickly however even a 10-year-old Prevost will fetch upwards of $750 thousand.

Without further ado, here are some of the Prevost buses at Hearthside.

First up, a convoy of Prevost buses leaving the resort for a Prevost rally in Quebec City. Yes, indeed, Canadian buses are the best. However, there are no conversion companies in Canada. If you want a Prevost motorcoach, you will be dealing with companies like Marathon in the U.S.

Here are a number of other coaches hidden away on various sites around the park. I have included a Newmar coach made by the same company who built our Dutch Star. The King Air is Newmar’s top of the line and easily crosses the million-dollar mark when purchased new.

A few more Prevost buses.

Hearthside Grove Site 20

A tour of our site at Hearthside Grove in Petoskey, Michigan. Absolutely love this place!

 

Arrival at Hearthside Grove

Beautiful sites everywhere you look in Hearthside Grove. We are here for two weeks. The weather is perfect and we could easily spend our entire time just on the resort property. We do have plans, though, to tour the area. However, for the first few days, we will stick pretty close to the coach.

Here is a video of our arrival into Hearthside Grove: