2018 Travel Journey begins Trip #1 (Part 1)

SEASON 2018:  Trip #1 (Part 1)

We finally were able to get the “ORAH” Chalet out of storage and out for its first outing for the 2018 season.  AND  . . . without any major issues!!!  WHOO HOO!!!  At least none that ruined our trip!!!

As we get to travel the country, I will try to post as many pictures of the campgrounds that we stay at and give a review for them as well.  On this trip, there were several campgrounds that we would definitely return to and one that we will NEVER go to again!

I hope you enjoy this journey as we travel this beautiful country.

THURSDAY, MAY 17, 2018

Thursday and Friday were spent in Amarillo (our home) gathering all the stuff from the apartment that we had not been able to take to the RV.  We also got the truck and RV inspected.  Then we took the RV to our local RV park, Fort Amarillo RV Park, . . . our favorite “staging” park . . . where we gave it a much-needed bath and got her all loaded up.  We love having this nice RV park fairly close to us but it sure stinks that we have to pay for 2 nights just to load and unload the RV when we leave or return from a trip.  Since we don’t have anywhere at the apartment to park the RV to do that chore, we just don’t have any other option.  It just another cost that we factor into our trips.

A little bit about Fort Amarillo RV Park:

Per the Website:  At Fort Amarillo RV Park & Resort, you’ll enjoy an authentic western setting, complete with a stream-fed fishing pond, illuminated walking paths and sunsets so breathtaking, even the most eloquent cowboy poets don’t do them justice. Huge pull thru sites, free WiFi & be sure to shop at Lizzie Mae’s Mercantile.  10% discount to members of Good Sam, AAA, AARP, KOA, FMCA, TACO and the Military.  Daily Rate: $42 | Weekly Rate: $210  If you need more than 2 weeks, please call for price and availability.

My Review:  The staff is very friendly and helpful.  It is a really clean park, there are trees on most sites, full hookups, large level gravel sites, most are pull thru (I believe the back in ones are mostly for live-ins), laundry, really clean bathrooms/showers (hotel quality), there are two spaces that can be rented for parties, one of them is for guests with tables for cards, there are movies/books, a small kitchen (I believe it’s free to use but rentable for parties), a lit courtyard with BBQ, basketball court, tennis court, playground, indoor pool, game room, a small fish pond with nice grassy area and BEST of ALL there is an AWESOME gift shop called Lizzie Maes!!  It is soooo cool!!

All of the sites have a concrete patio with a table and a fence that blocks the other site.  They are gravel but they are level.  AND, the roads around the park are gravel and well kept as well.  Even tho the sites are close together, the fence blocks the utilities from your campsite so you are not staring at the sewer or hoses while you are enjoying your patio.

It is near I-40 making it an easy on/off stop but far enough away that it’s not noisy.  Because of the wind in Amarillo, the trees and fence around the park help to serve as a slight wind block.  You are close to a lot of eating places and shopping.  If you are into walking, you could walk but it would be easier to drive because most everything is South of the I-40 (the park is on the Northside of I-40) CONS:  No firepits or grills (but many bring/use their portable grills), all gravel roads inside and at the sites but they are level.

 

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On Saturday morning we got all hooked up and headed out of town only to have a tiny issue just as we got on the highway . . . the rubber stripping around the front Cap was flapping in the wind!!!  I guess the power washer from the RV wash pushed it out of the track.  We pulled off the road and hubby stuck it back into place.  Hopefully, this would be our only issue this trip.  Well . . . actually, we did have one issue that hubby would try to fix when we get or our first major stop . . . the water to the ice maker wasn’t coming on because the cut off valve must be broken.  No matter which way you turn it, there was no water to the icemaker.  He used to fix valves like that on coffee makers in his previous life . . . so he felt confident that it would be an easy fix . . . if he can get is big hands in that tiny space to fix it.

Sportmans RV Park & Horse Motel
Lamar, Colorado

Our first overnight stop was in Lamar, Co at Sportsman’s RV Park and Horse Hotel.  Normally when we go to Castle Rock, CO to see hubby’s sister, we go thru Raton Pass.  This time we decided to take another route to AVOID the Pass!  Not sure we wanted to take that pass for our first outing after having so many other truck issues.  We thought that staying on flat ground was the better option this time out and chose to take Highway 287 thru Boise City, OK up to Lamar, Colorado.

As soon as we hit Oklahoma on Highway 287, the roads were REALLY ROUGH!!  The expansion joints were rough and the tire lanes were really rough.  I actually drove with my passenger tires on the shoulder and my drivers’ side tires in the middle of the lane . . . it was still rough!!!  No potholes . . . just washboard type roads.  In any case, they SUCKED!!!

We thought it was going to shake everything out of the cabinets of the trailer and shake all the bolts loose.  The only disaster we encountered was a 12 pack of cokes that fell out of the case inside the truck.  The case was open and they all fell between the seat and door.   I had to open the window so hubby could use his long arms to reach them instead of opening the door and having them all roll out and ‘spew’ everywhere.   The only thing that happened inside the trailer was that the bedroom closet door opened and two small items fell out . . . nothing major!  WHEW!!  Oh . . . later, we found out that a cabinet shelf where we had more 12 packs of Coke had broken.  No worries on that one tho . . . we only put our cases of drinks in that one.  They can be stacked.  Once we hit the Colorado border, the roads were like “butter” . . . either that or they just seemed like “butter” after the Oklahoma roads.   So . . . for reference, try to stay off Highway 287 from just North of Stratford, Texas to the Colorado border!!  Seriously, when you hit Colorado, the roads were AWESOME . . . 2 lane but wide lanes with wide shoulders.  THANKFULLY it was only about 50 miles of bad roads.

Instead of driving all the way to Cherry Creek in Aurora, CO in one day, which was about a 7 hr drive from Amarillo, we decided to break the trip up and spend a night in Lamar, Co.  That way IF the roads were really slow or we ran into trouble, we’d have plenty of time to adjust and adapt.  It’s nice to get somewhere and not be really tired from driving all day and just sit back and relax . . . which we both needed desperately.  In fact, we have decided to drive about 200-300 miles per day OR to be parked somewhere by around 3pm.  . . . whichever comes first.  That way we have time to set up and relax. . . or adapt our plans if needed.

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Highway 287 – Lamar, CO to I-70  Nice 2 lane, nonbusy, flat road

The weather was AWESOME in Lamar, Co.  . . . nice and cool!!  They apparently they had some major wind, rain and hail come thru here the night before.  We went from the 99-degree weather at home to the 60’s here!! AWESOME!!!  We had the windows open with no A/C running . . . GLORIOUS weather!!  There was a little bit of wind but nothing like we are used to.  They say that Chicago is the “Windy City”!!  I beg to differ!!!

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One of the first things we had to do was to cancel a Retirement Gift for my husband from our daughter.  She knows that he has always wanted a Porche 911, 6 speed, Convertible. This was her 3rd attempt to get him a Retirement Gift.  The first attempt was an Alaska fishing trip with her husband, Jon Nite, who was going there to write songs with someone.  But it fell through.  Her second attempt was a trip to St. John.  However, the Hurricanes had other plans.  Her third attempt was to rent a Porche 911 Convertible for him to drive for a day.   She knows that he has always wanted a Porche 911 and thought it would make a great gift for him.   However, once we realized the dates she rented it for, where the dealership was in relation to where we were camped, the logistics just were not workable, we had to cancel it.  The dealership was about 87 miles from where we were going to be and that day was going to be a “moving day” or us.  Had we gone to get it, the entire day would have been driving back and forth to the dealership.  Which would be over the allotted 100 miles per day limit and we’d have to pay $1/mile after that for the gas  . . . waste of money to not fully be able to enjoy it.   Some may say “Third time is the charm” . . . not in this case . . . for now.  Maybe next time we go to the Denver area he can get it.  When he first heard he was getting this gift, he was all ready to take it up Pikes Peak . . . which, after seeing a video of that road, he would be going without me!!!!  There is NO WAY I’d go up that in a ‘race car’!!!  Apparently, it wouldn’t have happened anyway because later in the trip we found out that they have actually closed Pikes Peak to most traffic.  You have to park and ride a passenger van up to the Summit now.  The only ones that can drive up Pikes Peak are anyone with kids who need a car seat and the elderly who need assistance.  Their vans cannot accommodate those persons.

UPDATE on Pikes Peak as of July 10, 018:  

Shuttle no longer required for all drivers on Pikes Peak Highway

In the next episode,  we will continue on Highway 287 and pick up I-70 to Cherry Creek where we stayed for 4-5 days.  We have family in that area who we visited and even celebrated with a Niece who had just graduated from college.

Stay tuned for more excitement to come from “The Ole Rooster and his Hen” . . .

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FINALLY – Trip #1 (2017): Part 1

NOVEMBER 7, 2017

50 amp power cord

If you’ve been following this series of blog posts, you’ll remember that in It’s Getting Closer – Part 2 we left off with us being at RV General Store picking up our 5th Wheel after being in the shop for some repairs to the electrical system.  In short, it turned out that it was as simple fix . . . a new power cord and a new converter, that the old power cord fried, was all it needed.  This is the second one that has been replace because of a bad power cord.  The power cord had a burnt out the ground and it was unable to charge the batteries correctly.  So when we thought we were ‘plugged in’, we were not.  Thankfully, it wasn’t something worse!!  Just frustrating that it has kept us from being able to use our brand new 2016 Vilano 325RL for 5 months. . . until now!!!  We are FINALLY getting to take a real trip in our new baby!!

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In one of our trips back and forth from Amarillo, TX to Oklahoma City, OK to RV General Store, we decided to explore a State Park we kept seeing . . . Foss Lake State Park.  It is half way between Amarillo & Oklahoma City and we thought it might be a place we could stay to give the RV a good trial run.  Plus, we’d be close enough to RV General Store if we had any issues.   We LOVED it this State Park!!  There are several nice pull thru spots right on the lake and there are trees on most of them.  The only disappointment is there are no sewer connections at the sites but they do have a dump station.  Being new to this RVing thing, we’ll soon find out that is pretty much the case at most State Parks.

We picked up the RV and headed to Foss Lake State Park.  Once we got to the campground, we picked out our spot, #9, and then went up to the station to pay for our stay.  Our original plan was to stay 4 days.  However, with our one day delay at dealership, we could only stay 3 days.  The site we picked was booked on that fourth day.  We were okay with it because we really wanted to get back to Amarillo to pick up some more things before heading out to our next destination.  Each “trip” we’ve made, we have brought a few things.  We can’t really call them trips because they were full of issues and we ended up back at the dealership . . . so this was a REAL TRIP.   This trip to Foss Lake State Park was also to help us see what else we might need to load into or purchase for the RV since it was our first time to actually use the RV for any length of time over 1.5 days . . . that has been the time frame when all HELL would break loose!!

When we purchased our 2016 Vilano 324RL in May, we had planned on having to deal with HOT weather on our first trip(s).  This trip was so different . . . it was COLD! and WINDY!  Our first day there was spent inside the RV enjoying our beautiful views of the lake and just relaxing while we enjoyed finally getting to spend time in our new RV.  At first we just listened to music because we couldn’t figure out how to find TV Channels.  I had found them before at Fort Amarillo RV Park but for some reason I couldn’t figure it out here.  It was the second day before I finally figured out what to do.  OH . . . and we finally got to open up the nice bottle of Champagne that our realtor gave us when he sold our home to make this journey possible.

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I should be hanging out by the cozy fire, instead it’s via an electric heater.

Since this was our first trip to actually spend more than 1.5 days in the RV, we wanted to use this time to test out as many of the features and systems as we could.  Since it was so cold, the first thing we tried was the fireplace.  Guess what?  Yep, it didn’t work.  So we had to break out the small space heater that I threw in . . . just in case.  However, everything else seemed to work just fine.  It seems kind of silly to point out things like the TV, shower, the toilet, the stove, microwave/convection combo, refrigerator, furnace, water pump, black/grey tanks switches and the Maxx vents all worked.  Because the power cord fried two converters, we were surprised that nothing else got fried.  That we knew of at the time.  More about that later.  However, during this trip, those items didn’t hinder us from enjoying it.

Speaking of cold and heat . . . we were very impressed how ‘cozy’ we were in this Rig.  When we had a trailer before . . .  years and years and years ago, it was not insulated.  Knowing this is a recreational vehicle and not a home, we didn’t expect it to be so insulated. . . even tho it is advertised as being insulated for “full time living”.  It also helps that we have double pane windows as well as having the night shades to block even more cold air out.  So we were pleasantly surprised how comfortable we were in this colder weather.  We shall see how it holds up in the heat later on in the summer.

 

 

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Our second and third days were much better.  We got to walk around and explore the area.  It was kind of weird . . . when we first got there, we had two neighbors.  One left the second day and the other left on the third day.  So at one time, we were the only one in the campground.  In fact, the rangers (I think that’s what they were) drove by and when I stopped them to ask about a fishing license, one said “Did you run everyone off?”  LOL!!  I guess we did.

We never did get a fishing license because Walmart told us that Oklahoma no longer sold one day licenses.  Then when I talked to the ranger, he said they did.  By that time, it was too late to get one because we were leaving the next day.  However, next Spring, we will be back and will be doing some fishing.

 

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This was just the beginning of our “first trip” . . .

Stay tuned for more excitement to come from “The Ole Rooster and his Hen” . . .

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It’s Getting Closer; Part 2

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I know . . . it’s been a little over a month since my last . . . update.  I bet you thought I was going to say something else huh?

Well, a lot has happened in a month and it’s all . . . mostly . . . good news!  I hope you enjoy our journey on this “real” first maiden trip as I divide it into parts for easier reading at your leisure.  Enjoy!

 

Continuing from the previous post of our RVing saga,  we were in Dallas getting the truck fitted with a new computer system and cruise control and our stay in Carrollton, Tx was longer than we wanted it to be but pretty much how I expected it to be.  Instead of just a couple of days, we were there for about a week.  As I explained in my last post, we got a GREAT deal on a room at a Homewood Suites nearby the dealership.  And that they gave us a loaner to use while we were there.

The  Homewood Suites, as I mentioned in my previous post of our RVing saga, was an AWESOME place to stay.  It had a full kitchen, a separate bedroom w/TV, large bathroom and large closet.  The other amenities included an AWESOME hot breakfast every morning and a SUPER AWESOME Evening Social Mon thru Thurs. nights.  Each night was a themed . . . Cheese/Fruit, Octoberfest, build your own PHO and Nacho night that included a soup, salad, beer and wine . . . for FREE!!!  Oh . . . how could I forget . . . bottomless coffee, tea and lemon water at the front. As well as, all the freshly baked cookies you could eat!!!  Unfortunately, I ate way too many of them . . . they were soooo yummy!!!

The day after we got to Dallas, we met with some friends for lunch.  It was so great to get caught up since we haven’t seen each other in several years.  Then we pretty much hung around the hotel the rest of the week.  Why?  Well . . . to save money and we hate driving in this town!!  But we love Zoos and it’s been years since we’ve been to the Dallas Zoo . . . so we ventured out one day to check it out.  It was a beautiful day and it was cool enough that the animals were out and about.  We have NEVER been to a Zoo where the animals were so active.  We also grabbed lunch there too and got to see the lion family while we ate.  It was a great day!  Until we headed back to the hotel . . .

Dallas . . .didn’t disappoint, traffic wise!!!!  On the way back to the hotel, we had to get off the highway because my nerves were fraying due to the crazy traffic . . . not to mention the wreck that happened right behind us before getting off.

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I saw this on a car in Dallas and thought it was funny!! If you need this bumper sticker, you probably shouldn’t be driving!! Just sayin’ !!

We decided to take the slower back roads back to the hotel!!!!!  Just as we got onto the frontage road . . . which was also crazy busy . . .  we had to squeeze over . . .  not move over . . . SQUUEEEZZEEE over . . . to let an ambulance get by us.

Geeze Louise!!!

Once we got out of that traffic, I used the GPS to weave in/out of the side streets to get us back to the hotel.  Of course the GPS is telling me to get back towards the highway . . . NO WAY!!!

 

On Saturday, we picked up the truck and, even though the RV General Store service center wouldn’t have anyone we were dealing with working over the weekend, we headed to Oklahoma.  We wanted to be there when the doors opened on Monday . . . can you tell we’re excited to get our RV back and actually use it?  LOL!  We are so confident that we’ll be able to use the RV that we have the truck loaded with boxes that have items to be loaded into the RV to use on this first trip.

We found a hotel a little closer to the dealership in Norman, OK.  The Embassy Suites Hotel & Convention Center  which was beautiful but the rooms were not as nice as the Homewood Suites . . . it only had a microwave and mini refrigerator.  Having said that . . . the breakfast was better.  Not only did you have a buffet of items to choose from, they had ‘cook to order’ omelets!!  Their “Evening Reception” wasn’t any where near as good as the  Homewood Suites.  They only had cheese, fruit, hummus, chips and dip every night.  Nor did they have the bottomless coffee, tea and lemon water . . . and, the most sad part was . . . no cookies!!  However, it was pretty much a full bar service for 2 hrs . . . for FREE!!  Who doesn’t love FREE cocktails?

Our trip from Dallas to Oklahoma wasn’t without incident!!  We were about 15 miles from Norman and traffic came to a stand still!!  It took us about an hour to go that last 15 miles!!!  We never saw what happened but the traffic never got above 60 mph but mostly we were able to go about 50 mpg or less!! What is with us and wrecks???  It’s kind of scary . . . knowing that we’re going to be doing a lot of traveling once we get our RV back.  We just try not to think about . . . but it’s always in the back of both of our minds.

Unfortunately, when we arrived at RV General Store, the lady we’d been dealing with was out sick and nobody knew what was going on.  Apparently, she didn’t inform anyone that we were coming and the reception lady in the service center couldn’t believe that we didn’t have an appointment!!

We decided to get a hotel for another night.  Here we are supposed to be saving money by having an RV to travel and stay in, yet we are paying for hotels!!  NO BUENO!!!

We found an inexpensive hotel near by called the Candlewood Suites (no website to link to) in Moore, OK.   Even tho this one didn’t have all the ‘swanky’ amenities as the other two hotels we stayed at, this was a great place for a lot less money.  It is mainly ‘rented’ out to people who live there and this room was the last one they had for us.  That was all we needed.  It had some GREAT amenities for an inexpensive hotel thought.  For example . . . the guest laundry facilities are FREE!!!  Did you read that?  FREE!!!  AND they were nice ones too. We looked to do laundry at one of the other places we stayed at but it was like $2 per load.  We decided to wait until we got home.  That is, until we found this place. If you live there, you get weekly maid service, there is a really nice fitness center, however, no pool.  They have a convenience store that is open 24/7 and there is a nice propane BBQ grill under a gazebo with a table for guests to use.  The guy at the front desk was super friendly and helpful.

We hope that is our last hotel that we will have to stay in.  Because tomorrow we pick up the RV . . . hopefully, for the last time.

Stay tuned for more excitement to come from “The Ole Rooster and his Hen” . . .

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It’s Getting Closer

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When will the issues with this truck ever end??  It has been a crazy ride but I think we are getting closer to actually being able to take a trip before winter sets in.

During this time we’ve had the truck in the shop a couple of times for basically the same thing . . . a new transmission.  Well, we had a lot more work done on it but this woman has no idea what was done . . . just that everything should be . . . “should” being the operative word . . . should be brand new.  However, after a trip to take the RV back to Oklahoma City for the needed repairs, we had to put the truck back in the shop.  Why?  Well, initially, we were taking it in to get a ‘blinker light’ replaced.  As I was leaving the apartment complex the truck made a terrible ‘clunk’ sound.  Then I noticed that I was in 4th gear and when I’d try to put it into Drive, it dropped back to 4th gear.  I pulled over and hubby, who was following me, saw me and pulled over to see what was wrong.   I told him what happened and he said “Just go ahead and take it in to the mechanic and we’ll have him fix the bulb and see what else is going on.”  Almost 2 weeks later and a new ‘solenoid’ installed, we get the truck back.  Thankfully, it was covered by the warranty on the new transmission we had put it.

At the writing of this post, we are in Dallas getting the cruise control put in the truck.  This is something that we’ve been waiting to do since we purchased it in May 2017!!  On our way home from purchasing it, we realized that the cruise control didn’t work and we’ve been in contact with the dealer ever since to get it fixed.  However, with all the time the truck and RV have been at their respective shops we haven’t been able to make it back to Dallas to get it done.

We got to Dallas on Sunday and dropped the truck off at the shop on Monday.  They were able to get a loaner vehicle for us to use.  It was funny because they didn’t realize that we were going to stay here while they worked on the truck.  At first, they weren’t going to give us a loaner because they’d have to take their ‘inventory’ offline . . . they deal with mostly online sales  . . . which is how we found the truck we bought from them.  Then when they found out we were staying in Dallas, they found an SUV for us to use.

The auto dealer did their own diagnosis on the truck, tried one fix that didn’t work and ended up putting a new computer system in the truck yesterday.  Now they are waiting on a company to come program it.  Again, we are waiting.

When we made hotel arrangements before coming here, we were unsure of how long it would take them but assumed that we would be here until Thursday and then head to OKC to get the RV.  Well, it’s Friday and we are still here. Which means we’ve extended our hotel stay.   Even tho we are paying for a hotel for a week, we are saving lots of money on food.  This hotel not only has a great breakfast in the morning but they have a themed ‘Social Hour’ in the evening.  We have had Oktoberfest night, make your own Pho night, Nacho night and Cheese & Fruit night.  Each night has a make your own salad, freshly baked cookies, beer, wine, lemonade, tea and coffee.  So far, not including the cost of the room, we have only spend $50!!  That includes going the the Dallas Zoo, lunch at the Zoo and a small trip to Walmart for some drinks and snacks for the room.

Speaking of the Zoo . . . we had a great afternoon there.  When we travel, we try to go see the local Zoo because we both love animals!!  Yet when we go, we never really get to see many animals being very active.  Mainly because we go in the summer time when we would take our vacations and it was just too hot and the animals were hot and just laid around.  This time they were ALL active!!  It was awesome!!

The drive to the Zoo wasn’t bad . . . remember, we are in Dallas!!!!  The drive back to the hotel was AWFUL!!!  We were on the highway and it was 5 o’clock traffic . . . well, it was actually only about 4:15pm!!!!  At one point, we had to come to a pretty quick stop and we heard screeching of tires and then a crash behind us!!!  I never saw the wreck but I saw a truck & car pull off the road beside us.  I quickly got off the highway and took the back roads back to the hotel!!  We will continue to stay off the highways while here in Dallas . . . they are just too dangerous!!!  On the plus side . . . when we came into Dallas, all the construction that was going on in this area when we were here in May was completed.  Thank GOODNESS!!!!

Our next hurdle is to get the Vilano back.  After we get done here, we have made reservations in Norman, Ok, which is near the RV Dealership, to stay a couple of nights while we go check out the repairs on the Vilano.  If all goes well, the repairs will be completed and acceptable and we can head to Foss State Park, between Clinton & Elk City, OK, to spend our first week in the Vilano.  Hopefully we will be able to check out all the other features of the RV that we haven’t been able to try.  This will also give us a chance to take inventory and access what else we might need to load into the RV from home, or what we may need to purchase, before our next trip.  If everything works, we’ll head back to Amarillo for a night to get those additional items and then head to New Mexico for a couple of weeks where we hope to spend Thanksgiving with our family.

I’m hoping that my next post will be from Foss State Park next week.  Until then . . .

Stay tuned for more excitement to come from “The Ole Rooster and his Hen” . . .

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UPDATE: on Truck & RV situation

blogupdateHubby retired 2 months ago and we’ve been busy dealing with trying to get our 2016 Taxes done, setting up all of the insurance, social security, pensions and medicare plans for hubby and I since he retired.  I can’t believe that was 2 months ago next week!!  Time is flying by so fast and we still haven’t been able to take a trip!!

Looking on the bright side . . . which I tried to do as much as possible . . .  since we haven’t been able to leave on a trip, we are able to watch our 2 grand sons play football.  The 10 yr old is playing tackle football and is doing really well . . . to our surprise!!  He is a very ‘sensitive’ boy but he’s showing his ‘tough side’ in football and he’s loving it.  The 6 yr old is playing flag football.  At this age it’s pretty much just watching them run around the field trying to grab a flag.  And the baby, who is 3, gets to watch his big brothers waiting for his turn to get on the field.

 

The RAM has been in the shop for about a month due to all kinds of complications.  I am not a mechanical kind of person.  So I will give you the short version . . . drive shaft and transmission are brand new.  (I think that’s what hubby told me).  I just know that he kept telling me “When he gets done with it, we’ll have a brand new truck”.  That is all that matters to me.  That and the fact that now we are safe to pull the 5th Wheel!!!  Especially since she got some new shoes too.  Yep . . . we took off the really cool tires and opted for more safe and a more highway friendly tires.

(Top picture – mud tires; Bottom Picture – more highway friendly tires)

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Now that the truck is out of the shop, we could FINALLY get the 5th wheel inspected and tagged!!  But doing so wasn’t without problems. Why would anything we do concerning this truck and RV be easy???  When we went to the storage unit to just check on the RV . . . you know, since it’s been so long since we’ve seen her . . . guess what we find?  The batteries were completely dead!!  AND, that was with the battery disconnect off (or is it on?)!!  In any case, we were told that when you use that switch, the batteries will not discharge . . . WRONG!!  Thanks to the Vilano Facebook group I’m in, I found out that the hydraulic lifts can still drain the battery even with you use the disconnect switch.  So you should disconnect the ground (black) terminal on the batteries when it’s in storage.  WHY OH WHY did the dealership not tell us this????  I purposely asked them several time “So?  When you use this battery disconnect switch, you will not be using any power . . . correct?”  I got the same answer every time “That is correct.”  Oh well . . .

One of the men on the Vilano Facebook group showed me the battery jumper/charger that he uses and we decided to get one too.  Even tho we already bought one with our first fiasco in Oklahoma City (see story here).  But that one needs power to plug it in.  This new one we purchased doesn’t need power.  You just charge it up and then it’s ready when you need it.  If you don’t use it within 30 days, they say you need to recharge it.  The STANLEY is what the man said he uses and we purchased the SCHUMACHER.  Which worked PERFECTLY I might add.  It got the batteries charged up enough to raise the legs so we could take it to get it inspected.

 

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Once we got it inspected, we took it back to storage and then took the paperwork to the ANNEX to get the tags where we got a ‘not so good’ surprise.  We thought we were just getting the tags for the 5th Wheel.  What we forgot . . . since we bought this RV at the end of May . . . is that we hadn’t paid the tax on the 5th Wheel yet!!!!  When you are expecting to hear “That’ll be $xx.xx ” but instead you hear “That’ll be $x,xxx.xx”, it’s quit a shock!!!  As hubby said “Well . . . there went the Tax refund!!”  FYI . . . I had just filed our 2016 Tax return a few days before this!!!!!

There are two more hurdles we need to cross over before we can actually take a trip . . . 1) Get the electrical issues on the 5th wheel fixed and all the ‘parts’ installed that were missing when we picked her up months ago and 2) get the cruise control put into the truck at the dealer we purchased it from.  The #1 issue should be easy peasy . . .we hope!!!  Probably just a bad power cord.  Keep fingers crossed that’s all it is and they don’t have to keep it for some major electrical wiring issue.  However, the #2 issue is already a problem.  Yep . . . we can’t have anything go smoothly now can we?

Hubby had been in contact with the RAM dealer in Dallas were we purchased the truck and they said they’d make good on it and replace the computer and get the cruise put in vs us doing it here and they reimbursing us for it.  However, that meant that we had to take the truck to Dallas.  Which is fine but we’ve been waiting on the parts for the RV to come in so we can make the trip to OKC, drop off the 5th Wheel, then go on to Dallas to get the truck fixed and then back to OKC to pick up the 5th Wheel.  We’ve just been so busy, we haven’t had the time to leave.  Now that we do, guess what?  Yep . . . more problems . . . the guy hubby has been talking to no longer works there.  THANKFULLY, one of the mechanics remembered hubby and the salesman conversations.  So we are waiting to hear if they are still going to honor the deal the original salesman made with us.  Just when we thought we were seeing light at the end of the tunnel . . . we see a train coming instead!!!!

Monday morning we are headed to OKC to get the 5th Wheel items handled.  It’s up in the air as to what will happen with the truck and whether we head to Dallas or not.  But we are getting closer to taking our first trip.  It may not be where we originally planned it to be, but we will take one before the end of the year . . . WE HOPE!!!!

Stay tuned for more excitement to come from “The Ole Rooster and his Hen” . . .

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Is it a Complicated or Easy Fix?

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So exciting!!  We finally got our new 2016 Vanleigh Vilano 325RL home.  Since we live in an apartment and will be putting her in storage before our trip in August, we decided to rent a space in one of our local RV Parks called Fort Amarillo RV Park  & Resort for a few days.  Originally we were going to stay Monday to Thursday then change it to leave on Saturday.  After thinking about it, hubby wanted to be able to spend some time in it over the weekend since he had to work all week which included a meeting out of town.  So I check if we could checkout the following Monday instead.  The lady worked hard to rearrange everyone so that we could stay there and not have to move.  Even tho we could use the practice hooking and unhooking, we really didn’t want to have to do it.  Especially since I had set everything up so nice and would have to pack it up for a short drive across the park and unpack it.  I thanked her for not making us move.

Baskets &amp; Bins saved for RV

When we sold the house, I saved a bunch of bins and baskets (plastic & wicker) of various sizes and shapes.  I knew that they would come in handy in some way in the new RV and now I can finally see what I can use and what I can’t.

While hubby worked, I spent my week arranging things the way I wanted them.  I have to admit, the first day I pretty much spun my wheels and didn’t get anything accomplished which was pretty frustrating for me. I spent my time hopping from one area to another and back saying “This will work here.  Nope.  Maybe here.  Nope.  How about here. YES!”  So I just kept doing that until I found a place to use them.  Those that I didn’t find a use for, I ended up putting in the back cabinets for future use.  No reason to take them back to the apartment where I really don’t have room for them.  Then as we start using the RV, I may find uses for them.  Not getting rid of anything just yet.

We had taken some items with us on our first trip to Oklahoma when we picked up the RV and they were kind of put where I wanted them.  Some where just together in a drawer/cabinet to keep things from flying around in empty cabinets.  Now that we had the RV here, I took the items that I’ve been storing at the apartment for the RV . . . things like . . . more decorative items, dishes, pots & pans, glasses, paper goods, toiletries, towels, etc.  AND while putting these things where I think I want them, I have to keep in mind that I need to leave room for food.

The next day went much better and I was able to make some great progress and the 3rd day I was able to get it all put somewhere and actually decorate the RV.  That was so much fun and something I have been looking forward to doing for over a year.  When hubby wanted to stay another couple of days so we could just sit back and enjoy it before putting it into storage for a month, I was all for it and couldn’t wait to just sit back and enjoy it.  I was able to take some great pictures of it all decorated so that my family could see our new ‘part-time’ home since they didn’t get to see it in person when everyone was here for the Anniversary Milestone & Retirement parties.

Today hubby decided to come work from the RV.  While he worked I was able to put the finishing touches on the RV and show him around so he’d kind of know where I put things.  At least for now!  Because if you know me at all, you know that I will be making changes many times before I get things where they work best for us.  Then we sat down, looked around enjoying our new beautiful “part-time’ home and then . . . .

The lights started to blink . . . that was the beginning of the end!!

RBILOGO.JPG.w300h294To make a really long boring story as short as I can . . . we had another power failure!!  We had to call a mobile tech out to find out what the problem was this time.  FYI – 100+ degrees and no AC at the hottest part of the day!! The mobile tech checked several things:  shore power, fuses, breakers, converter, etc.  Apparently our power cord has a burned ‘leg’.  So it’s either been fried by something in the RV or the something in the RV is frying the cord.  We paid him and he went on his way.

No power . . . no more having fun in our BRAND NEW RV for the weekend.  So while hubby was out of town at a meeting on Friday, I was at the RV packing it up to put it into storage until we can find a few days to drive it back to Oklahoma City to the dealership.

THANKFULLY it was a windy and MUCH cooler day.  I was able to open windows and get a good cool breeze throughout the RV since I couldn’t run the AC or a fan.  So I was able to take my time and put things away in an un-hurried manner.  I closed up the RV and headed back to the apartment instead of staying there to spend the night at the RV Park.

Our checkout time was noon on Saturday.  So hubby and I get to the park around 10am thinking we’d have plenty of time to do a couple things I didn’t get done the day before, dump the black/grey tanks, pull the slides in and hook up to drive to the storage space.

The first thing we did when we got to the RV was to hook the truck power to the batteries to help charge them so we could pull the slides in.  I kept worrying that we wouldn’t be able to pull the slides in and hubby says “we are at 12v, we should be ok.”  Well, we weren’t!!  The second I tried to pull them in the paneled blink off and the power was gone!!!  Thankfully one of the workers at the RV park had a set up on his truck that would hook the power straight from his truck battery to the batteries on the RV (basically he jumped us).  Yay!! Slides are pulled in.  So we hook up the truck and start to raise up the jacks.  I bet you can’t possibly guess what happened!!!  YEP!!  Power was gone again!!!!  Again he was able to jump us and we got the jacks up. WHEW!!!

And I bet you all think that is the end of our saga .  . . well, you’d be wrong!!

We scoped out the storage unit space earlier in the day to see where/how we needed to pull in to angle the RV into the tight space between another RV & a pole!!  So we pull in, confident that we know exactly how we need to pull in to back into the spot.  All I can say is it didn’t go as planned but we finally got it in the space.

Ted reaches up to pull the release handle of the hitch and it releases!!!!! That is the first time it has released on the first pull!!  So we were soooo excited!!!  We lower the front jacks to barely touch the ground and then I try to slowly pull away and can’t!!  The jaws of the hitch are open but I can’t pull away from the hitch!!!  SO . . . we go try to ‘bump up’ the jacks to get some more pressure off the hitch of the truck . . . and . . . guess what?  Yep!!  NO POWER!!!!

We have the battery charger that we bought in Oklahoma City when we first lost battery power but it runs on electricity and we don’t have power at the storage unit!!!!  So I call the RV Tech to come out to jump us.  However, he’s busy and says it’ll be a couple of hours before he can come out.  However, he was able to leave the job he was on to quickly come get us unhooked.

After he left we took the batteries out  . . . which wasn’t easy . . . and have taken them to Auto Zone for a DEEP charge and then they will test them, under load, to see if they are bad or not.  The tech thinks we may have gotten 2 bad batteries that will not keep a charge.

So . . .in the end  . . . the RV is going back to the dealership and we are most likely canceling our plans for our first month long trip in August.  There is no telling what kind of electrical problems we are having and how long it will take to fix.  Looking at the bright side . . .we are glad that this has happened close enough to home and we are not out in the boonies somewhere and having these problems.

Is it going to be a complicated fix?  Or will this be an Easy Fix?

Only time will tell!!

Stay tuned for more excitement to come from “The Ole Rooster and his Hen” . . .

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Good, the bad and the ugly!

THE GOOD:

Dodge RAM 3500 Diesel Dually – We got the truck out of the shop so that we could go get our 2016 Vanleigh Vilano from the dealership, RV General Store, in Newcastle, OK.

THE BAD:

Dodge RAM 3500 Diesel Dually – it needs a new computer system, tuner and cruise control.  Apparently, the computer doesn’t match the VIN #.  What???  AND . . . there has been some kind of water damage. REALLY???

2016 Vanleigh Vilano – They didn’t get everything done as we were told on the phone before we drove for 4.5 hrs and spent a night in a hotel to get it!!!  None of the parts have been shipped to them – blinds, vent cover, awning track and the recall bolts.  LONG story short . . . there were too many people involved at this point and nobody knew what the other one was doing.  Also, they washed it  . . . well, supposedly washed it . . . before we got there.  OMG!!  I don’t know where they went to school to learn how to wash RV’s but they had to have failed that class!!!  The did rewash it . . . and still didn’t do a great job!!  The Warranty Manager at RV General Store and I have decided that from this point forward, her and I will only contact each other about ANYTHING to lessen the chance of anything ‘falling thru the cracks” again.  The did pay for our gas and hotel tho . . . so they ARE really trying to make things right by us.  But it’s sure becoming very frustrating!!

AND I was determined to bring the Vilano home . . . I was NOT leaving Oklahoma without it!!!  Here is the deal we made with them . . . we are going to Tennessee the first week of August, will drive thru Oklahoma City and planned to spend the night anyway.  So we’ll drop off the RV when we hit town, grab a hotel & dinner, check out of the hotel and go pick up the RV the next day and it better be finished!!!  FYI . . . the parts were ordered the day we took the RV home to Texas.  So we are waiting for them . . . some are coming here and some are being shipped to the dealership.  Oh . . . without any tracking codes as of today.

THE UGLY:

Dodge RAM 3500 Diesel Dually – $4,000 to put in a new computers system, tuner and cruise control

2016 Vanleigh Vilano – Had to call an RV Tech to Fort Amarillo RV Park here at home where we have it parked so that I can get it loaded for our August trip.

We parked it at the Fort Amarillo RV Park on the 19th of June.  That day the power kept shutting off and I would go reset it at the pole without checking the power cord to see if any lights were on.  The maintenance man of the Fort Amarillo RV Park was talking to our neighbor so I nabbed him when he was finished.  In short, he told me to check for lights on the power plug first.  If they are lit, then something is “thrown” inside the RIG.  The power never tripped again that day . . . nor did it the next day (yesterday). Today . . . well, that’s a different story.  It was fine all day until around 3pm . . the hottest part of the day!!!  Lights flickered and the radio would go on/off.  I get on the phone to RV General Store and we decide to call out an RV Mobile Tech.  He looked at several things and decided that our problem seems to be coming from the power cord.  It has a burned pole and he doesn’t know if that is causing the issue or if that is the result of something in the RIG causing it to burn. RV General Store is paying for the tech and will file the claim with our Extended Warranty.  Now the RV is going BACK to RV General Store to get fixed again.  We MUST get this issue fixed BEFORE we head out on our month long trip!!!  The blinds, vent cover and awing strip are small potatoes to this problem!!!

THE UPDATE:

Dodge RAM 3500 Diesel Dually – We have contacted the dealership in Dallas and they are going to fix all the issues with the truck!!!  BUT, that means we have to drive there and leave it with them for a couple of days.

2016 Vanleigh Vilano – Since we need to get the truck to Dallas, we are going to take the RV to RV General Store in Oklahoma. We’ll drop it off and continue onto Dallas in just the truck. Get it fixed and then head back to Oklahoma to pick up the RV and bring it back home.  If the parts that are being shipped do not arrive in time to get fixed on this trip, we’ll stay an extra night in Oklahoma City on our way to Tennessee and get the all done at that time.

Stay tuned for more excitement to come from “The Ole Rooster and his Hen” . . .

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Chapter 1 – Maiden Voyage: Not what we expected

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Our 2016 Vanleigh Vilano 325RL (R-L: Ted, Me, Stan Irsael our salesman)

Today is the day we go get our new Vanleigh Vilano 325RL and bring her home.  We are so excited and can’t wait to get her all filled up with the stuff we’ve packed so that we ca actually use her for a few days.  This has been a long, exciting road and it’s finally coming to fruition!!!

Today, May 25, 2017, we have the truck loaded with all the stuff we need to spend a few days in our brand new 5th Wheel. We left Amarillo and headed to Newcastle, Ok, just south of Oklahoma City to pick her up!!  We are so excited to actually be able to stay in her for a few days and then head home to show her off to everyone!

Our excitement quickly turns into frustration, heat exhaustion and days full of problems. This blog post will be a 10 Chapter series because of the length.

You might want to make some popcorn and grab your favorite beverage, this is going to be a long read.

Day #1 –

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Our truck upgrade from a Compact car that we rented

Thursday:  We arrive in OKC and go straight to Enterprise to pick-up our rental car.  We are renting one for a day so the Pull-rite hitch can be installed on our truck.  Plus, we need the rental to go back/forth from the hotel to dealership and to  drive around to find roads to take the new RV on. We’d rather not take it on the highway the first time out.  FYI – they didn’t have the compact car that we reserved, so they upgraded us to a truck.  PERFECT!!

Then we drive down the road to the Howard Johnsons to check in for the night.  We are staying here for one night because we don’t do the PDI (Pre-delivery Inspection) and paperwork until 1pm on tomorrow (Friday).  The rest of the weekend we will be in the RV testing everything out.  If we have any problems, we’ll be close to RV General Store and can have them taken care of without having to bring it back 4.5 hrs away from home.  We are so excited to spend our first nights in the RV!!!

Most of the stuff we brought this trip is for the RV, so we only unload what we need for the night at the hotel.   However, we did need to move stuff from our truck to the rental truck so we could drop off our truck at RV General Store to get the hitch installed first thing in the morning.

After we dropped our truck off at RV General Store we go back to the hotel and order pizza for dinner.  Then we begin discussing the options for other services we could purchase thru RV General Store . . . you know, all those ADD ON’s they offer.  There were only 2 that we were debating . . . the extended warranty (additional coverage for 5 yrs) and the appearance package (no waxing for 5 yrs).  After much discussion with my parents (who have been RVing my entire life. . . and still are at the age of 78) and Facebook RVing friends, we decided to only purchase the appearance package.

Everything has gone smoothly today.  However, tomorrow is a different story . . . so good night for now.

Stay tuned for more excitement to come from “The Ole Rooster and his Hen” . . .

Chapter 2

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