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The Long Weekend

This is home for the Thanksgiving weekend. Not exactly as per plan.

No status on our timeline. The parts have been ordered but we do not know when they will arrive. Obviously not today. Hopefully sometime next week.

Here are a couple of shots of our current site. We are nestled amongst the trees with a large, open area that, for most of our time here, has been ours alone.

There have been a few coaches that have set up beside us for an overnight stay here and there. Four coaches over three nights. Otherwise, it has been a very private spot at the Hitch House.

Here is a shot of the baseplate on our Lincoln.

We were supposed to be here for two days to have this base plate installed for our Blue Ox tow bar system. We will have spent at least three or perhaps four weeks before resuming our journey due to a series of unexpected issues which you can read about here.

The base plate on our car is discrete. From a few feet away you would hardly know that it is there.

We have a Blue Ox Patriot II as our supplemental braking system.

To legally tow a vehicle behind a motorhome, in any State or Province, the following is required: a base plate bracket to connect to a tow bar, a tow bar with safety cables, a supplemental braking system, a break away system and the ability to display stop, turn and running lights on the towed vehicle.

Platinum Award

Our motorcoach dealership, The Hitch House, was honoured by Newmar for achieving a Platinum Service Award. John Summat, Newmar’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing and Matt Utley, Newmar’s Vice President of Service Operations were both on hand for the event.

The Hitch House was kind enough to extend an invitation to Lorraine and I to join the event and we had a chance to meet and chat with both John and Matt.

It was interesting to hear their perspective on the Canadian market for Newmar. John described the past five years as soft for Newmar in Canada which would be in sharp contrast to the explosive sales results for the industry generally in the United States.

For Canadians, the combination of our devalued currency, high taxes on personal income and consumption and a smaller population all factor into the decision-making for such an expensive purchase. Sites are limited to a season which, in most parts of Canada, runs only from May to September. Although there are lots of options for camping in Canada, we do not have the same range of options that you would see in the United States. For example, I’m not aware of a single Class A resort in Canada.

I shared those perspectives with John. Not that he hadn’t reflected on those challenges for Canada but it must seem odd that in one country, sales have experienced nine years of growth and in Canada, flat.

If the Canadian government continues to mishandle economic files, I would not be surprised to see the country go into recession. Doubtful that high-end coaches will be flying off the shelves anytime soon.

Oh well. We had a chance to walk through a King Tire, a New Aire, a London Aire and a Mountain Aire. All wonderful coaches.

We even had cake.

At 11 in the morning.

Retirement. LoL.

Congratulations to the team at The Hitch House. They have been great to work with from our experience.

Well deserved award.

The Outpost

Not really.

The dealer for our coach, the Hitch House, is located in Barrie, Ontario and, while the city itself is well north of Toronto, it seems to be firmly in the grasp of the Greater Toronto Region. It is a tough drive through some of the most heavily congested roads in all of Canada.

We dropped the coach off last weekend and it will be with the dealer for about three weeks. We will pick the coach up sometime during the week of May 7th.

We have a few outings planned in May including our very first Newmar Kountry Klub outing with the Muskoka Ramblers. The rally will be held May 26-28 at the Milton Heights Campground.

Looking forward to getting our coach back home though. Here is where we left the Castaway.

Warranty Service

Our coach came out of storage last week and we took the Castaway over the the dealer for some scheduled service and warranty items.

This was our list:

Warranty Items

1. Kitchen Sink Leak: drain pipe leaks where drain meets down pipe immediately underneath the sink.
2. Loose Fabric Trim: fabric trim by pantry drawer leading into bedroom has come loose in a couple of areas.
3. Cracked Floor Tile: cracked floor tile driver side behind the recliner that is closest to the kitchen galley.
4. MCD Day/Night Shades: MCD Day/Night Shades over dining area appear to require reprogramming. Day shade inoperative over main dining area window and night shades over main dining area window and small dining area window out of synch.
5. Winegard Rayzar Digital TV Antenna: Unit is producing an E3 error during operation (motor movement error).
6. Sofa Bed Latch: Latch for inflating sofa bed doesn’t stay closed when inflating.
7. Passenger Side Basement Door: When door side slideout is open, first basement door rubs bottom of slideout (door out of alignment).
8. Front Wheel Vibration: At highway speed, roughly 100km and above, front exhibits a vibration that is characteristic of unbalanced wheels.
9. Driver Side Fuel Cover: Missing clearcoat?

Technical Service Bulletins

1. 467 RSB – Recall 16V 826: Power Steering Fluid Leak (potential fire hazard)
2. 472 TSB – Slideout Motor Mounting Bolts (under-torqued). We hear loose mounting bolts on both front slideouts (Full Wall Slideout and Off Driver Slideout) while driving the coach.

Other

1. Trim Edge: Trim Edge popped off door side woodwork. Small piece of trim was placed beside the passenger seat in front of coach.
2. Service of Coach: As required (fluid levels, lubrication, etc).
3. Coach Detailing

The service team at the Hitch House has been hard at work on the coach. We received some good news with respect to the potential fire hazard recall item. Freightliner inspected the coach and our build was fine. We did not have the issue and no remediation work was required.

Given the overall complexity of the coach, we are pleased that we have not experienced a substantial number of issues after our first year of ownership.

One negative though. The detailing team is backlogged and unable to work on our coach.

I will have to do the detailing work myself, which I had done last year. Very time consuming.

I ordered some new product from McKee’s. Lots of positive press on their RV specific products. Once the coach comes home, I will be hard at work detailing the Castaway for the 2017 touring season.

Checklist

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We are heading out tomorrow to pick up our new coach. We will be at the Hitch House for two days. I expect that the process will be a touch overwhelming.

There will be lots of paperwork and lots of information to process. The technician will be spending quite a bit of time with us to go through the operations of the coach. We will be living in the coach for a few days before we bring our motorhome, the Castaway, home. And we have to complete a thorough inspection of the coach.

We have our own checklist thanks to Norm and Ellen over at the iRV2 forum. You can download a copy of it here.

Their checklist is very comprehensive and it will help us identify any initial delivery issues with the coach.

Lorraine and I are also planning an initial trip with the coach later this summer to shake it down and to see if there are any other issues that need to be addressed.

We are quite realistic about what to expect: there will be issues. This was true when we bought our first home. This was true when we built our first home. This will be true with our new coach.

We went with the Hitch House and Newmar because both companies have great reputations for customer service. Although it is a couple of hours drive to the Hitch House, I am hoping that we can capture all of the initial issues with the coach, review it with them beforehand and bring the coach out to get them addressed all at one time as opposed to making several trips back and forth.

We will report on our initial experiences over the next few days.

Should be fun.