Time To Head South

Plus 1.

34 degrees Fahrenheit for our U.S. friends.

That is starting to get cold. Way too cold.

Average temperatures for this area at this time of year? 14 Celsius or 57 Fahrenheit.

Just our luck. We got caught up in an early deep freeze.

We have been running our heat pumps and our in-floor radiant heating system. We have heaters for our tanks and I had them on last night. Although, from what I have read, uninsulated pipes won’t start freezing until the temperatures reach -6 Celsius or 20 Fahrenheit.

The high today is only 7 Celsius or 44 Fahrenheit. And, for the next two weeks, the temperatures will remain well below seasonal values.

The geese have been making their way south.

We’ll need to follow them soon.

We are checking with our dealer on the status of our awning repair later today. Hopefully the parts arrive on time. Looks like we might have an early start to winter in Canada.

On My Own

Guarding the fort for a few days as Lorraine travels across southern Ontario tackling a few tasks that we need to clear off before we head south.

One of them we should have looked after while our youngest son was still at home.

I posted about our experience updating our Nexus records online here. Nexus is a trusted traveller program that we highly value and we wanted to make sure that my change of employment status to retired was registered with them. Lorraine and I went in, updated all of the relevant information required by the two governments, interviewed again with the border officials from both countries and all is well with our Nexus membership.

Our youngest son has to go through the same process only this time at Pearson Airport. Could take the better part of a day I suspect. Pearson is a very, very busy place.

Lorraine will make the three-hour drive out to Toronto, stay overnight with family, and then take Matthew out to get his Nexus records updated tomorrow. Matthew will be joining us in Florida over Christmas and the Nexus card will make his travel a bit easier.

Yours truly gets to safeguard the coach along with our trusty golden retriever.

I have yet to find a better guard dog.

Drive to Sherkston Shores

We left the dealer on Saturday and made our way down to Sherkston Shores. We had originally booked this site for six weeks.

We will wind up staying here for ten or twelve days due to some issues that we had at our dealer.

Last week our timeline for the replacement parts for the damaged forward awning was set to October 26th. Our decision was to sit and wait for the parts to arrive or to head down to Sherkston Shores and circle back.

A bit of an expensive decision. We use toll roads to get down to Sherkston Shores and the downward leg is $80. As we now have to go back and forth to get the awning issue resolved, this will add an extra $160 in tolls. The extra fuel costs to make that trip? About $350. All in our short stay at Sherkston Shores will add an extra $500 in costs. And that was one reason why we debated waiting at the dealer. Unlike a car, travelling even relatively short distances in our coach can be expensive.

But the lure of full hookups and being in a tourist area — Niagra Falls — will make the next week or so more enjoyable than hanging out at the dealer’s parking lot.

Our trip down offered a bit of excitement. Our planned exit was closed due to construction and we almost wound up at the U.S. border.

Aside from that little bit of excitement, the drive was fine. Our toad tracked perfectly and we had no issues navigating our new length. Coach plus car puts us about 60 feet in length.

Here is a video summary of the drive down and a brief overview of Sherkston Shores.

Planning and Organizing

Being stranded has turned out to be a great opportunity to really focus on getting things organized in the coach. With limited space, how and where things get stored can make a big difference in daily life.

Clearly, a small space forces a certain level of minimalism. That said, we have everything we need. Hard pressed to highlight anything that we are missing aside from a repaired awning.

Being retired means that I have a lot more time available to help smooth out the ride, as it were. And one area that really needed some smoothing?

Our checklists.

There are a lot of things to remember when getting a coach ready to leave and getting it ready to arrive. I’m surprised that the manufacturers of motorhomes don’t publish checklists for their customers. I have some general documentation about our coach from the manufacturer but it is really, really superficial and it is generalized to the point of being irrelevant.

I have been revising our checklists for our coach and I am printing them out and placing them into a binder. I will follow the same protocol that pilots use when preparing an aircraft for takeoff and for landing. I will work through all of the checklist items. There are so many of them that I can’t remember them all and there is a tendency on my part to assume everything is okay and make haste to get on the road. Forgetting something in the process without a checklist is highly possible. For me.

Here is the departure checklist (still under development as I need to add the checklist items for getting our car ready for towing behind our coach):

One for testing air brakes:

One for arrival:

 

I have several other checklists. One related to getting our access point to WiFi and LTE for Internet access. Others for maintaining subsystems like our generator and heating system.

We’ll have two copies on board, one for me in the cockpit and one for Lorraine as she helps out with the circle check.

I’ve seen first hand several accidents that occurred simply because the owner of the coach was in a hurry to get going. Preventing unnecessary damage to the coach by trying to exit a site too quickly is one thing. The consequence of a critical system failure while driving could be catastrophic.

Safety first.

Otherwise we wind up in the House of Blues.

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.