Stranded

We arrived at the dealer last Tuesday to get our towbar installed on our Lincoln MKX. They had told us that they would need two days to get the baseplate installed on our car. We had arranged to stay at the dealer’s campsite Tuesday night and Wednesday night expecting to leave on the Thursday.

It is now Monday.

We may not get out of here before the end of this week.

Turns out the installation was a bit more involved with the Lincoln and, as part of the process, there was some damage to the car: broken chrome trim on the front grill and a punctured oil pan. Not sure how the oil pan got damaged in the process.

Parts to repair the damage won’t arrive until tomorrow (maybe). Then a day or two to make good the repairs and to finish the installation.

Lorraine and I have been on a hybrid boondock since last Tuesday. We have 50 amp power and water but no sewage. We’ve already made one trip to the local KOA to dump our tanks as the dealer does not have any dump facilities.

We weren’t really following water restriction protocols because we had only planned to be here for two nights as opposed to 10 or 12 nights.

I had arrived to the dealer a wee bit low on fuel. They did some servicing work on the coach which included a bit of driving around and the tank had reached a level where the Low Fuel Alarm was buzzing.

Before dumping our tanks, we had to refuel.

There is a gas station next to the dealership. The clearance is 4.1 metres or about 161 inches. We are about 154 inches at ride height however we had a cellular booster installed and an antenna now extends above our roofline by what appears to be about 6 inches or so.

I wasn’t sure we would get the coach underneath the overhang.

We would not have had enough fuel to get to the local KOA to dump our tanks, return back to the dealership and perhaps go to the local KOA a second time before a refuelling stop at a truck centre.

I gave the gas station a try. We were able to fit. Pumped about $450 of diesel into the tank. We were probably down to about 50 litres of fuel or about 150 kms of driving distance. Way too low for our rig.

The dealer has been great though. They provided us with a car and the site itself is very nice and private.

I’ve been able to get out on the bike and train although the after workout shower is not much fun. We are rationing the water until we get to a full hook-up site.

Showers, to quote Hobbes, are nasty, brutish and short.

It is very cold at night now. Lows are hitting about 5 Celsius or 41 Fahrenheit. Radiant floor heating is on during the evening and our furnace has also kicked in a few times overnight.

5 more weeks before we head south. Hopefully we beat the onset of the winter weather!

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.

Moved In (Almost)

What a day!

We’ve been at it since 6am and we are calling it a night.

Here is what the move looked like after we had everything packed up and ready to go.

22 boxes. Computers, consoles, guitars, pedals, cameras, a bike and a bike trainer were also part of the move.

When I looked at all of the stuff we were taking with us, I did not think it would all fit.

We had rented a 10-foot box truck to do the move from Kingston to our coach — the coach was being serviced in Barrie, Ontario and we decided to make the move happen there as it was a bit more convenient.

Once the truck was packed, this is what it looked like:

Does not seem like very much stuff at all once everything was in the truck. That stuff should easily fit into a 40-foot coach.

There was enough stuff to keep us busy unboxing and organizing for the past five hours. And we are about halfway done.

I have the truck for another day so we will be using tomorrow to get our basement bays organized and complete the rest of the unboxing and organizing then.

I will definitely sleep well tonight.

Be Careful Out There

In my news feed this morning. A motorhome, with three adults and six children, drove off Interstate 90 in Ellensburg killing one of the adults and one of the children.

It looks as though the motorhome chassis separated itself from its outer shell. And it was pulling a very large trailer. Could loss of control been due to an issue with the tires? Or perhaps being overweight? We might never know.

Where were the passengers? Were they in the motorhome? Would they have been wearing seat belts?

A sad and tragic event.

We are always very diligent with our circle checks and ensuring that our tires are in good shape and properly inflated for the weight of our coach.

I remember pulling up to a Class A at a fuel stop a few years back. The owner had a massive trailer that he was towing. I asked him about the weight of his rig and he told me, without any concern, that he was running overweight.

Some owners do take risks.

Maintenance Check

Our coach has been with the dealer since early August dealing with a number of issues and recalls and a few additional items.

The issue list:

  • Side radiator lower grill almost disconnected from body of coach
  • Oasis hot water heater pump failure which requires a replacement pump
  • Full wall slideout uneven and the slideout floor rises up after it has been deployed
  • Front passenger side levelling jack leaking hydraulic fluid
  • HWH levelling system not operating correctly
  • Full length of Girard Awning Casing on top of passenger side of coach overhangs coach body by about an inch (Girard Awning Casing/Housing is not fully retracted)
  • Hole in roof (very front and centre of roof membrane where the front cap angles down and meets the roof line)

The technical service bulletin and recall list:

  • 472 TSB: Slideout Motor Mounting Bolts (this is the second TSB related to slideout motor mounting bolts so we need to validate that they are appropriately secured)
  • 483 RSB (Recall 17V 420): Driver Passenger Shade may operate with ignition on
  • 485 TSB: Freightliner Wiper Control Software Update
  • 486 TSB: MCD Remote Shade Motor Replacement
  • 488 RSB (Recall 17V 497): Battery Cable May Rub Against Frame (potential fire hazard)
  • 493 PIB: Freightliner Lightbar: instrument panel odometer value may reset and not match the engine ECU odometer value
  • 512 RSB: Recall 18V 245: Low Beams Do Not Illuminate with High Beams

New items to be installed:

We received the following update from our dealer:

I just wanted to drop a quick note to let you know we have received the Oasis pump for your coach. We are still on track with your timeline.

As I may have mentioned before on the phone, most of the tasks have been completed with few exceptions: We are waiting on parts for one of the recall issues (a wiring harness) that has not yet arrived. The issue with the levelling jack is tied with the issue of the slide floor raising, both having to do with a failed solenoid at the hydraulic pump. That has been covered by the extended warranty, with the exception that you will have to cover the shipping on the part along with your deductible. And of course, we now have the Oasis pump which can be installed.

I will continue to keep you informed as we progress with your coach. Have a great weekend!

We had contacted ITR about the issue we had with the Oasis Heating System. Last fall, I had spent several hours in the basement of our coach, on the phone with ITR technical support, attempting to get the pump working so that we could get hot water. No joy. There were known issues with the pumps that ITR had used in our model year and they either changed the design or the supplier or perhaps both. ITR agreed to send us a new pump without charge — thank you ITR — and the only concern was whether the pump would arrive in time for us to get it installed in our coach.

It has arrived so we will have hot water on demand again. We did have hot water after the pump failed but we had to hack the system by changing the loops through a bypass switch. It meant that whenever we needed hot water, we had to exit the coach, open the bay to the Oasis system and turn a hidden switch on the main control unit. Once we were finished using the hot water, we had to go back outside the coach and turn the hidden switch off. Inconvenient.

A failed solenoid is a bit of a surprise to me and hopefully that resolves the slideout issue and the HWH levelling issue. Our extended warranty has a $200 deductible. I’ll be interested to see how much it cost to resolve the issue under extended warranty.

Looks like most of the items have been completed now with about two weeks left to go.

We take our car in to the dealer on September 19th to have the Blue Ox system installation completed. They will walk us through the process of hooking up our toad and making sure that the system is working properly.

Haven’t pulled a toad behind our coach as yet. I will be interested to see what it is like.

September 21st we leave the dealer and make our way to Sherkston Shores for a few weeks before heading south.

The adventures begin.