Sunday, April 28, 2013

An Odyssey...

After a nine-day odyssey of two thousand-plus miles, encountering a variety of problems, we are now the proud owners of a Montana 3900FB 5th wheel!  We thought it would be a simple, fun, week-long trip.  Who knew?

We headed to Elkhart, Indiana...RV pick up our rig.  The trip took two days with a stop over in Charleston, WV.  The GPS got a bit stubborn on day two taking us down roads in Ohio little better than cowpaths and leading us through residential neighborhoods; then a warning light, ordering us to Drain Water Separator, appeared.  Jack tried and couldn't get it to budge, so we continued to Elkhart.

First thing the following morning, we found a Ford dealer in Elkhart (Harold Zeigler Ford) and had the separator drained and the filters changed but, later into our trip, the water separator light would continue to come on intermittently.  Then on to Tiara RV to claim our rig.  We went on a three hour walk-thru and learned everything we ever wanted to know about 5th wheels.  My brain was overflowing!

Just before dinner time, they pulled our 5th wheel out of the garage to a spot with water and electricity, where we were would stay until we were comfortable with our new rig.  We proceeded to level and hook up and settled in for our first night in our camper. The next day and a half were spent practicing all we had learned, while the techs made minor tweaks to our rig.

Finally, we wrote out all the checks, said good-bye and headed South.  I had been chatting with a nice man on RV Network Escapees Forum who lived 90 minutes south of Elkhart and he invited us to meet him and his wife and spend the night in their driveway. They turned out to be great people!  We plugged in to their 50 amp plug and started to level the 5er...not going to happen!  The jacks moved a little and stopped...and there was a burning smell coming from the compartment that housed the battery and the pump!  Got the jacks up manually and left the rig hitched to the truck...we were able to get the bedroom slide out with electricity but the other slides would not move.  It was a night...with raging thunderstorms and tornado warnings...and us in an unleveled 5th wheel!  The next morning we said good-bye and thanks to our wonderful hosts and headed north the same 90 miles back the the dealer.

The dealer replaced the burned out hydraulics motor and got everything working again.  We headed back out at the pouring rain.  Drove about a hundred & fifty miles and spent the night at Toledo East KOA in Perrysburg, OH.  Our first night in a campground :) 

The following morning we set off towards Charleston, WV.  It was no longer raining...though we heard about flooding in the Midwestern area we'd just left...and we started enjoying our trip.  West Virginia is full of beautiful mountain countryside.  Then the turbo on the truck stopped working!  Climbing those mountains at 30 mph gets old very quickly.  To add to the mix, my credit card stopped working...a security block due to so many out of area charges!  After 30 minutes on the phone, answering questions about what cars I drove five years ago and who had shared my household in the last ten years, my credit card was back in action!  All this while Jack is trudging up and down the mountains at 35 mph!

There are very few campgrounds in that area of WV, but I found a lovely one south of Charleston, Rippling Waters Campground in Sissonville, and only four miles off the highway...four miles of narrow, twisting, steep roads...lots of switchbacks!  I held my breath until we got there, then we settled in amidst some beautiful scenery (I should have taken pictures) and went to find some dinner.  The only place for about 10 miles was Gino's Pizza; it was some of the worst Italian food I have ever tasted!

Back on the road the next morning...still no turbo, of course, and many miles of mountains left!  We decided to stop in Greensboro, NC that night.  My brothers live there and we knew it would be easier to do the last  three hours home after a good night's sleep.  Set up in Greensboro Campground, the only campground in town...we were getting pretty good at it by then...and had dinner with my brother and his girlfriend.  A nice respite from our exhausting travels...and the first time we had a decent wifi signal!

Before we took off the next morning, we discovered we had gone through an entire 30 lb. tank of propane running the furnace all week in the 40 degree weather!  Home looked so good when we finally got there, but the house seemed SO big...and it felt a bit strange not to be spending the night in our 5th wheel!

We got a bit of a baptism by fire to RVing, but we LOVE our fifth wheel and can't wait to get on the road (more pictures to come)!

PS - truck is fixed.  The malfunctioning water separator sensor caused the truck to go into what they called "limp home" mode...aptly named!!!