We Made It

Our first casino camp experience. At the Presque Isle Downs and Casino in Erie, Pennsylvania.

After being stranded for almost six weeks, the awning was finally replaced and we left the dealer in Barrie, Ontario yesterday at 4:15pm and arrived at the Casino parking lot around 9:30pm.

Difficult driving conditions for the most part. Heavy rains and heavy traffic all the way down to the Canada – U.S. border.

Despite all my preparation for the border crossing including investment statements, banking statements, utility bills, travel history, inventory of valuables, travel insurance policies, heck even the dog’s medical history, the U.S. customs officer simply took our Nexus cards, asked us how long we were going to be in the U.S. and whether we had anything to declare. Oh, and could I give him the license plate of our toad.

We are now at the Stonewall Jackson State Park, having logged another day of driving. Much easier drive today. No rain and no eye strain. Man is it hard to drive at night with torrential downpours. I could barely make out the lane markings.

The drive itself was uneventful although we did track a few dozen miles with another Class A from Ontario. They were quite enthusiastic and waved energetically as they finally elected to pass us on I-79.

Tomorrow we land at the beautiful Mountain Falls Luxury Motorcoach Resort in North Carolina where we will be spending a couple of days to get ready for the next leg of the southward trip.

By the way, I found out more about the awning issue that has plagued our motorhome. It seems to be a widespread issue. I’ll post more on the issue in the next few days.

In the meantime, if you are driving a recent model Newmar, you may want to unplug the 110V lines to your Girard awnings while you are traveling in your coach.

Even though we have received a new controller and awning assembly, I think the problem is potentially so severe and widespread that Newmar should do a product recall.

Until then, we are driving with the Girard awnings unplugged.

Better safe than sorry.



Still Here Waiting

We were not able to leave the dealer yesterday as we had hoped.

After a 4pm meeting with the service manager, we started calling all of our reserved bookings to see if we could move them out a day.

And we could.

Except for the first night. Tonight. No sites available. Sites in the north that can handle a rig our size have now closed for the season.

Assuming that we do get out today — the dealer is hoping to have us on our way by 2pm — we plan to stop overnight at a Casino in Erie, Pennsylvania. I’ll try my hand at the horse races and the casino and recoup my recent losses in the stock market.

It will be a bit of a different experience as we won’t have much room in the coach with the slides in. No services either. We will be boondocking for the night. The generator will get a good workout.

If we manage to be on the road by 3pm today, we’ll have the joy of battling some of the most congested highways in North America during peak traffic hours.

We’ll be crossing the border sometime between 6 and 7 pm. And we’ll stop overnight around 8pm.

Still Stranded

Status as of 3:30pm today?

Well, not sure. We came back on Monday, hoping to be on our way today. You can see in the photo above that the awning is, well, still not quite right.

Some technical issues that the dealer had to work through with Newmar related to wiring and the new Girard controller unit.

Here’s another shot of the awning getting repaired.

If they do get it finished by end of day today, we will have a pretty tough drive in the dark back to Sherkston Shores and we will get in pretty late. But at least we would be able to keep to our original schedule if we leave for the U.S. tomorrow morning.

If not, then we lose a day and that introduces some challenges to our downward leg.

We will be meeting with the service manager at 4pm today.

Hoping that it will be good news.

Back To The Dealer

It was warmer atop that glacier in Norway when we there than it is here at the dealership.

We came back to the dealer yesterday to have our awning replaced.

The dealer had damaged the awning almost six weeks ago now when bringing the coach into the service bay. We were stranded here for almost four weeks waiting on the status of the repair. When we determined that the parts would take another two weeks to arrive, we headed down to Sherkston Shores, the site we had booked originally, and set our jacks down there for 10 days. Even though it was unseasonably cold down there, the temperatures were above freezing.

Not here.

We came into snow when we drove into the dealership.

And this morning?

Minus 4 Celsius, or 24 Fahrenheit.

Doesn’t much matter the scale. That is cold. So cold that our heat pumps won’t operate. We have been burning diesel throughout the night to keep the coach warm with our hydronic heating system. And the radiant heat from our floor makes a big difference in terms of how warm the coach feels inside.

Thank heavens we opted for the tank heaters. I had them on overnight as well.

The coach goes in for service first thing this morning. The only complication? The awning is not the correct size. They sent an 18 foot 6 inch awning. Our coach takes an 18 foot awning.

The dealer tells me that they can work around the difference in size.

I’m hoping to learn a bit more on how that is going to work. Maybe the awning extends in front of the coach by six inches?

They plan to have us out Wednesday afternoon.

Replace Broken Drawer Catch

This drawer now shuts properly.

Getting it to do so involved a little bit of detective work.

Let’s take a look, shall we? Just in case a fellow Newmar RVer needs to replace a broken plastic catch.

Here is a picture of the broken plastic catch after I removed it from the cabinet. When it broke, it remained in the locked position which prevented the drawer from closing. You can see how the catch is closed in the casing towards the left side of the part.

I tried to return it to the unlocked position but it was a temporary fix. As long as I did not need to open the drawer, the temporary fix worked flawlessly. Of little value, arguably, as a drawer should be opened from time to time.

We have about ten new plastic catches in the coach now. It seems to be a common enough problem, these broken plastic catches. I’ve replaced two of them over the past few months. One of them this evening.

The part costs about $1.50 so there really isn’t a good reason not to keep a few in stock on board the coach.

To replace the plastic latch requires removal of the drawer to allow for ready access to the old catch and to make it easier to install the new catch.

It is not all that obvious how to remove the drawer. It took a bit of research to find out how to do so.

Let me give you the trade secret. There is a plastic lever where the drawer slide stop engages. You can see it here:

That little tab that sticks out on the right hand side? That is the lever. You will see it when you open the drawer fully. Flipping it up, or sometimes flipping it down, disengages the drawer slide stop allowing you to easily and completely remove the drawer from the drawer slide.

I thought you had to pull out the drawer and then lift it up off the drawer rails. That will not end well on a Newmar drawer. At least not with our coach.

Once the drawer is removed, it is very easy to replace the catch. Two screws hold it in place. As long as you have the same part, it is a very quick repair.

When completed, you will once again have a happy drawer. As you can see in the picture below, the new plastic latch is in the unlocked position, waiting to clasp the drawer when the drawer is closed.