Petoskey Motorcoach Resort


This is our home for the week at the Petoskey Motorcoach Resort.

This is a small park with about 70 or so sites — although it seems to be only two-thirds full right now. It is a very quiet and relaxing property.

The resort is beautifully maintained and the landscaping details remind me of a high-end private golf course.

We have been here for a few days now and we are getting a feel for this part of the Upper Peninsula in Michigan. So far, we are very impressed with the area. Lots to see and do.

I’ll post a few more details about the resort over the next few days.


Engine Trouble



What was that sound?

Was it the GPS?


Was it one of the iPhones?


It was the coach. Specifically, a warning sound from the dash, an amber engine warning light.

It came on during our drive from Port Huron, Michigan to Petoskey, Michigan. We had perhaps three hours of driving left before getting to our site.

But then this light. This yellow light with an outline of an engine. What to do?

We were on the Interstate and there was no safe place to pull over and stop the vehicle. And I really was not sure whether it was safe to drive the coach. Amber means proceed with caution. A red warning light would be far more serious. At least, that was my thinking.

We called Newmar and our dealer. And both returned our calls promptly. Unfortunately both provided different answers.

Our dealer told us that there wasn’t anything to worry about. Yellow warning lights come on and they come off. Nothing serious. Newmar told us to connect directly with Freightliner. Freightliner told us to pull over and run a diagnostic check. Well, we couldn’t do that on the Interstate and, to be candid, I would rather be stranded 1,000 or so kilometres from our house in Canada at a beautiful resort than on the side of I-75.

Freightliner reluctantly agreed that we could probably get to our destination without blowing up our engine. We could then run the diagnostics and plan next steps from the Petoskey Motorcoach Resort.

We ran the diagnostics check.

The specific code that came up on our engine diagnostic was: SPN 3216 FMI 2 OC 1.

I know. Helpful right?

The error code has something to do with the NOX sensors although I strongly suspect that it has a lot to do with a software bug in the Engine Control Module.

After a few calls between Freightliner and Cummins, I was advised to book an appointment at an authorized Cummins to get a software update for the engine.

It means having to stay an extra night in Petoskey as we couldn’t get an appointment until next Monday.

We were very glad to arrive safely at the resort. The engine did not blow up. We’ll see what happens on Monday.


Bon Voyage


We head out on our first real road trip with the Castaway early Saturday morning. The excitement is building as we get ready to cast off. Ok, I know. That was a pretty bad pun.

We built our packing list for the trip and we have been refining it as we go. It has helped us to get the coach prepared for departure.

We expect to cross the border early afternoon on the Saturday. We will be spending one night at the Port Huron KOA before making our way to our final destination which is the Petoskey Motorcoach Resort in the upper peninsula of Michigan.

Although we are still very much newbies, we have learned to call ahead at the campgrounds to make sure our rig will fit.

We will have no issues at Petoskey. Their sites are very large and designed specifically for big rigs.

KOA sites? Well, let’s just say the ones we have used so far have turned out to be really tight for our coach.

Initially, our booking at the Port Huron KOA on the way up to Petoskey was a large super site. But then we changed our dates and we were assigned to a much smaller back-in site. We asked to be placed on a waiting list for an upgraded site. We called them up last night and success. We are back on a large super site, site 38.


On the way back, we are assigned a pull through site at the Port Huron KOA which looks to be fine for our coach. But, we will check that site out on our way up to Petoskey to make sure.

This will be our first border crossing with our coach and with our dog. Hopefully it all goes well.

Two more sleeps.


Note to self: always check clearance.



We’ve had our coach for a few months now. And we have been living in it for the most part. We have taken the Castaway out for a few trial runs, one weekend trip and one overnight trip. Later this week, we take the Castaway out for a much longer run.

This is all part of the breaking in period.

We expect things to go wrong with the coach. We expect to keep a list of things that have gone wrong and to get them fixed.

What has been our experience so far with the Newmar Dutch Star? Excellent.

Here is what we have found so far that needs to be addressed under warranty.


  • Paint flaw on the driver’s side fuel tank cover
  • Missed silicone sealant under the passenger’s side mirror


  • Slight gap in a small section of tile grout (roughly half an inch)
  • Lift of a section of fabric trim on entrance door to master bedroom (about 10 inches of trim needs to be glued back into place)
  • Tile cracked under one of the recliners on full wall slideout

And that is it so far.

We did have to repair a kitchen latch. We were a bit forceful in testing out a storage bin for one of the kitchen drawers and managed to break the upper latch mechanism. We ordered the part and I installed it last night. Easy fix.

We will be heading down to Nappanee in the spring to have the coach serviced and to make a change.

We decided that we missed something when we built the coach and Newmar is going to help us out for a small amount of money. What did we miss? Windows in our bedroom slideout. The bedroom slideout on the passenger’s side of the coach is currently windowless. Why? Well, it had something to do with the style of bed that we ordered. We ordered a bed that inclines and retracts. No one had told us that this feature would drop the two windows in the bedroom.

We’ve decided that the two windows are important to us and Newmar will fit them back into our coach. The bed won’t incline and retract which is fine. That part we won’t miss. We are missing the windows.

It will take roughly 12 hours of labour to install the windows so we will need to be at the factory for a couple of days. By then we will be close to the one year anniversary for the coach and we may as well get it serviced and deal with any warranty items at the same time.

I received the estimate from Newmar a few days back for installing the windows. I will sign off on the estimate and we will book a date to get the job done next year. I will also bring along any warranty items that need to be addressed although the list so far is pretty small. Hopefully the list stays that way.