Crossing The Border

In less than a week now we hope to cross the border into New York state.

We might make it as per our original schedule.

Our car is back from the Niagara Falls Lincoln dealer. The exhaust gas sensor was the culprit for the engine warning light. The part had to be ordered from the U.S. and it took several days to reach Canada.

Not unlike the replacement awning assembly for our coach.  It needed to be ordered from the U.S. and it is taking several days to reach Canada. Or should I say several weeks?

The good news is that the parts did reach Newmar yesterday and Newmar did ship them out to the dealer same day. The tracking information puts the delivery to our dealer for Monday. That is when the dealer would like us back on site. We will be pulling up our jacks on Monday and heading back to Barrie, Ontario where it is a good deal colder than it is here in the Niagara region. The Barrie forecast is for a high of 4 Celsius, or 39 Fahrenheit on Monday. With snow.

The water service is shutdown at the dealer due to the cold weather so we will have to rely on our tanks for our stay. We did not get a chance to sanitize the fresh water tank after we pulled the coach out of storage so we are going to have to do so before we head up to the dealer.

We are spending the day today getting ready for our border crossing.

We carry the following documentation for the border crossing:

  • Passports
  • Nexus cards
  • Travel insurance certificates and policies
  • Site confirmations for all of our stateside travel
  • Income tax return
  • Investment statements
  • Bank statements
  • Utility bills
  • Inventory of valuables (including sales receipts and serial numbers)
  • Record of travel in the United States for the past five years
  • Papers for Tabby (our golden retriever)

Aside from our Nexus cards, I do not expect to use the documentation for the border crossing. Our experience crossing the border has always been straightforward and we have travelled extensively in the U.S. over the years. But you never know and it is always good to be prepared. We do not have a right to enter the U.S. as we are visitors and we need to have the evidence to prove that we intend to return to Canada and that we have the financial means to support ourselves while in the U.S.

Looking forward to starting our journey south. Hopefully the awning replacement goes well and we can be on our way as planned.

Just in time.

Seven Days

Seven days.

That is when we make our way south.

Maybe.

Seven days might be more like seven seconds given some of the delays so far.

The replacement awning has left Girard’s factory in California and it is possible that it will arrive to Newmar in Nappanee, Indiana today. If so, it will have arrived to Newmar four days later than expected.

It will take roughly four days to get from Nappanee to our dealer in Barrie, Ontario.

Assuming that Newmar drop ships it today, the earliest we could expect the parts to arrive would be Monday, October 29th. It will take two days to install.

Seven days.

But, if Newmar is late shipping it out, or the parts get delayed crossing the border, then seven days won’t matter. We will be late leaving Canada.

Leaving late means a much tougher drive south. The northernmost stops will close shortly for the season leaving us with limited choices depending on what day we actually leave. Several of our reservations would be forfeited and we would lose our money for those nights.

It has also been unseasonably cold. Overnight lows starting to fall below zero. Driving conditions might be more challenging leaving later.

We have a conference call with the dealer later today and we will find out more about our timing.

I’m hoping to get our Lincoln back today. That might be a bit of a boost to morale.

Double, Double, Toil And Trouble

Not having much luck with either the coach or the toad.

During her travels, Lorraine had the dreaded engine warning light. I received multiple alerts about the engine malfunction indicator lamp right up until 11ish last night.

Lorraine was in Toronto when it first happened. We called a local Lincoln dealer and they said the car was fine to drive and that we should get it looked at when Lorraine returned back to the coach.

We booked an appointment with the dealer for today.

Some kind of sensor issue with the exhaust system.

They need to order a part.

The part is only available in the U.S.

Won’t arrive to the dealer until next Tuesday or Wednesday.

We have another Lincoln on loan until our car gets fixed.

A bit frustrating to have both vehicles down for the count waiting on parts.

I hope the parts for the Lincoln arrive before we need to return to Barrie whenever the parts for the coach arrive.

This is starting to get a wee bit complicated.

What Now?

I’ve received a lot of email and some comments from those following our blog about our current situation. We have been stranded here for the past few weeks at the dealer. First by a punctured oil pan to our car, then by a failed heating system and then by a damaged awning.

We found out earlier this week that the parts for the awning are at least two weeks out. We had made plans to visit with some friends today and we’ve decided to pull up our jacks and head out to our originally booked site tomorrow and then return to the dealer later this month once the parts have arrived.

Obviously we never planned to be here this long. Here is a copy of a reply I made to a comment on yesterday’s post.

We had left the coach at the dealer back in early August to allow them the time to address a number of product recalls and technical bulletins issued by Newmar. We also had several items we wanted done on the coach including the tow bar system for our toad.

We had planned to be here for two days as that was the original estimate for installing the baseplate on our Lincoln. We arrived on September 18th and we thought that we would be on our way by the 20th.

The base plate installation took them much longer than expected and we were told that the car would be ready on the Friday the 21st. Unfortunately, as they brought the car down from the hoist, the area underneath the car was not clear and the oil pan was punctured. They had also done some minor cosmetic damage to the front grill.

It then took another week before the parts for the car arrived and the repairs were completed on the car. We got the car back on September 28th.

A few days before the 28th, we had the dealer follow up on a couple of issues as a result of their service work: the Oasis heating system was not operating properly and the awnings were not extending properly.

They attended to those issues at different times. The Oasis heating system issue was resolved. On the 28th, the day that we were to get our car back, they took the coach in to service the awning and that is when the awning inexplicably extended while they were bringing the coach into the service bay. The awning made contact with the service building causing severe damage to the casing and to the deployment mechanism.

Until then, we had every expectation that we would be out by September 29th. We were in limbo until October 9th as the dealer, Newmar and Girard tried to figure out what caused the unintended deployment and how to deal with the repair.

We were finally updated on the new timeline Tuesday of this week. The parts will not arrive to Newmar until October 20th. And, from there, it will take another 4 days to arrive at the dealer. Their estimate to paint the casing and to install it on the coach is another 2 days.

We might not see the awning arrive until October 26th which means we won’t be away until October 31st. Just in time to cross the border.

Unfortunately, we gain nothing by crossing the border early to save 4 days or so. Newmar is in Indiana, way out of our way. And, being Canadian snowbirds, the earlier we cross, the earlier we have to return.

Canada, in March, is still very much in winter.

Our choice is to pick up the jacks and head out to our originally booked site — roughly 6 hours round trip — and return when the parts have arrived in two weeks. Or stay here until then.

We had made plans with friends to meet up with them today which is why we are still here. We might head out to our originally booked site this weekend and then return for the 26th.

We never planned on spending 6 weeks here.

Timeline

There is our coach with both awnings intact and operating perfectly.

The only problem? That was last year. This year, during a service call, the dealer had an accident with our coach and damaged our front awning. The awning inexplicably deployed while the coach was in motion and the awning impacted the service building as the coach was being brought into a service bay.

This is the start of week four at the dealership. We were only supposed to be here for two days.

Discussions took place between Newmar, the builder of our coach, Girard, the manufacturer of our awnings and our dealer. It was agreed that Newmar would cover the expense associated with resolving the issue. Thank you Newmar. And a course of action was agreed upon by those three parties.

We only just found out the timeline yesterday.

October 24th.

Two weeks from today.

That is when the parts will arrive at the dealer. Assuming, of course, that they arrive on time at Newmar. Newmar is expected to receive the parts from Girard on the 20th. Newmar will then forward the shipment to the dealer.

Not sure why the parts are not coming direct from Girard to the dealer but there it is.

Two days to install if everything goes smoothly.

This brings us very close to our planned crossing of the border on November 1st.

It is also very close to the onset of winter conditions in this part of Ontario.

Temperatures should stay above freezing for the next two weeks. We could lose access to water in our coach if the temperatures go below freezing for any length of time. The campgrounds in this area close this weekend and shut off their water lines because of the potential for freezing temperatures at this time of year. We could boondock from our fresh water tank for a few days and I do have tank heaters to protect the coach from freezing temperatures but I would rather avoid all of that fun if possible.

We do have the option of going to our site in Sherkston Shores for the next ten to twelve days. We would incur a fairly hefty fuel cost to go back and forth.

We are in a meeting with the service manager later this morning to review the situation.

Not sure what to do right now.

Regardless, we are at least two more weeks before we get the issue resolved.