A trip to RV land for factory repairs

Less than a year ago, we traded our Bighorn 5th wheel in for a Lifestyle 5th wheel built by Evergreen RVs. As with any new RV we had some problems, but one problem in particular was cause for us to come up to Middlebury, IN for the factory to repair. It appeared that there was a stress crack just forward of the bedroom slide out. However, that was only one of many problems that developed with this coach after we took it to Canada this past summer.

On our first day out, we found all of our clothes on the floor of the closet when we arrived at our first campground. The center bracket supporting the clothes rod came out causing the rod to bend in the middle and fall down. The first time we tried to use our built in dishwasher it leaked water all over the floor. We had water come out of the return air vent for the main air conditioner during the night. The water poured out on my wife’s iPad, ruining it. When we got to Canada and had to use the furnace for the first time, there was no heat coming out of one of the heat vents.

We had other minor things happen on that trip along with some items that we found when we were accepting the RV. Our dealer was able to fix a few items but deferred many of the items since we had to come to the factory. A few of the items they looked at and said were not broken turned out to be broken. They were just too lazy to do what they should have done.

The factory has done a great job of taking care of us. Everything has been taken care of satisfactorily.

The RV industry seems to be in great shape. I am amazed at how many RVs are being built here in this area that covers several different cities. There are hundreds of RVs sitting on factory lots waiting to be delivered across the country. The local news says that the unemployment rate here is less than 4% whereas it was about 36% during the economic downturn in 2008.

This is the first week of April and the weather here has been less than desirable. We have had rain, snow and sleet. I am ready to get back south to warmer weather. However, when July rolls around I will be ready to head for the mountains.




Another electrical event at a campground

Some time ago I wrote an article with the title “How to Protect Your RV From Electricity“. On a recent trip to Onalaska KOA campground, I had a problem with the electrical pedestal at my site that bore out the essence of that article.

We had been at the campground for a couple of days when we suddenly lost our electrical power. I just happened to be outside by the pedestal when I heard the relay on my surge protect click. When I looked at the readout, it showed that there was a low voltage ( 101 volts )on line 2 of the 50 amp plug. My Progressive EMS would not let any power into the RV. I reset the breaker at the pedestal and tried again but the EMS was still sensing a low voltage on line 2 so we had no electricity.

I went to the office and told them about the problem. They sent their electrical worker to my site. He replaced the circuit breaker and check the voltage which showed to be good. We thought we were in good shape but my EMS would not let any electricity into the RV even though it showed both lines with good voltage. There was something going on with the 50 amp circuit. I decided to try the 30 amp plug at the pedestal. My EMS sensed good voltage and allowed electricity into the RV but we were limited to 30 amps and only one air conditioner. Fortunately the temperature wasn’t bad and we were leaving the next morning.

They had to call an electrician out to take a look but we were not there to get the results of his visit. To me this proves that there is great value in having a good surge protector with the ability to check all parameters for good electricity into the RV. Had I not been protected that day, the low voltage could have caused a lot of damage to my TVs, A/Cs and other electrical equipment in the RV. This is the third time I have detected a problem at a electrical pedestal. A good surge protector and electrical management system is not cheap but well worth the cost.


A trip to the Texas Hill Country

We haven’t been to the Hill Country in almost a year. For a number of years, we kept our RV at the Farm Country RV Park close to Medina, Texas. We would leave it there for about four months out of the year and go out for about 10 days each month. We have a number of friends in the RV park so we want to stay in touch with them by visiting at least once a year. Of course, we love the Hill Country and don’t really need an excuse to go.

We also have some friends who have a place close to Garner State Park. So for this trip we went to visit them for a couple of days before heading over to the Farm Country RV Park. Garner State Park is another place that we use to visit each year when our children were young. It is a beautiful place and we never get tired of going there.

Our friends from near Garner State Park took us to a restaurant in Utopia, TX. Utopia is only about 19 miles from their place, so it was a nice drive for a great dinner. The restaurant that we went to is the Laurel Tree Restaurant which is owned by a lady Chef who seems to have some high credentials in the culinary business. They are only open Friday, Saturday and Sunday for dinner. It is very popular and reservations are required. It is also a little pricey but worth it.

So far the camping portion of this trip, we went to Medina as I said earlier. For us, a camping trip isn’t complete unless we have some sort of problem. I hate to say that because we do go camping without problems sometimes.

So on the first night at the campground, when my wife went to take a shower, we found out that we had no hot water. In this case, not hot water meant that there was no water flow from the hot water side of the faucet. I had turned on the heater for the water and confirmed that in fact the water tank was full and the gas heater was on and working normally. We just had no water flow from the hot side. The cold water was fine, but who wants to take a cold shower and wash dishes with cold water? Not me! Since it dark, there wasn’t much I could do until morning.

The next morning I got out my tool box, put on my thinking hat and got right to it. Without going into great detail, I found the problem. The check valve that allows water to flow out of the water heater but prevents water from flowing back into the water heater was stuck closed. I found another valve locally but was not able to remove the old valve because the threads were rusted preventing me from turning the valve with my limited tool set. Fortunately, I was able to stick a screw driver into the back of the old valve and free it up. The water flowed normally but I knew that this wasn’t a permanent fix. We had hot water until the last night there. It stopped flowing again but since we were leaving the next morning, I left it alone until we got home. This will be the basis for an article that I will write detailing what procedure it took to make a permanent fix.

We had to leave the Hill Country but we will be back next year if not earlier.

Bighorn fith wheel

Our Bighorn 5th wheel parked at the Farm Country RV Park

Camp Verde General Store

Camp Verde General Store and restaurant


Front view of Laurel Tree restaurant


Back of the Laurel Tree restaurant