Monday, August 26, 2013

The Little RV Visits Portland

Our son-in-law, Ryan came to the campground on Saturday to help us with a couple of RV maintenance items.  He climbed up on the roof and swept it off (they don't allow washing in the campground) and he installed our gutter extensions. We so appreciate his help with things we just can't do ourselves.  Maybe we won't the those nasty black streaks on the Little RV.  Thanks Ryan! 

Today we leave the Portland area and head back to Junction City.  I'm hoping our special order part has arrived or will arrive soon.  

Rob is exhausted from so much activity over the past few days.  So, yesterday I took my sewing machine to my daughter's house to make curtains for the breakfast nook in her new house.  Now that the painting is finished, curtains were in order. Christina loves to decorate in a retro style.  Note the jello molds on the wall and the old Formica dining set that belonged to Ryan's grandparents. 

Once that was accomplished Ryan, Christina, Camden and I went on an adventure.  

Christina is allergic to dairy, gluten and soy so her food choices are very limited.  Portland is a foodie town so there are many more opportunities for her to find food she can eat.  

One of her food discoveries is Cultured Caveman.  It's a food cart that produces Paleo food.  She can actually eat everything they sell.  We tried the bacon wrapped, almond stuffed dates.  Excellent!  Camden had the Paleo chicken tenders which are breaded with coconut flour.  

Christina and I are suckers for a swanky market.  So, after a quick snack we went across the street to New Season Market where they feature natural, organic and locally sourced foods and an amazing bakery section. This bakery rivals some of the bakeries we visited in Europe.  Camden agrees.  

Christina found a Chai Spice Cupcake free of dairy, gluten and soy.  Camden got a gluten free chocolate cupcake!

After grocery shopping we headed back to her house, said our goodbyes and I drove home to start preparing for today's short trip south. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Grant Visits the Tar Pits and an Epic Pinterest Fail for the Little RV

The first thing I do when I get up in the morning is take Grant out to conduct his business.  Yesterday was no exception.  However, things did not go as planned.  We were meandering around the campground looking for the perfect spot when Grant stepped into a boggy area in some trees.  Before I could blink he was up to his chest in black, sticky, oily muck.  It was all he could do to get himself out.  I thought I was going to have to go in after him.  Of course he immediately shook it all over me too. 

Once I got him back up to the Little RV I took the outside shower sprayer to him.  Plain water was completely useless so I went inside to get his shampoo.  I scrubbed him thoroughly and got some of it off but he was till too filthy to go inside.  Then I remembered the Dawn commercial for the oil spills.  It made a huge difference.  I think it took me at least an hour to get him clean enough to bring him inside and it wasn't even 7am.   

The reason we are camped in the greater Portland area is to visit with my daughter Christina and her family and to help her prepare their new home for the arrival of their second child who is due in just a few weeks.  For the past two days we have been painting her kitchen, dining area, living room and hall.  She chose to paint the majority of those areas with a shade of paint called Rainwashed.  I have renamed the color Brainwashed.  I'm just quirky like that.  
Christina and I both love to peruse Pinterest.  If you've never heard of it, check it out.  A few months ago we both found an idea on Pinterest that we thought would be great in her new home.  This is the photo we saw.
Pretty, isn't it?  
Christina choose her paint colors and when we were finished with all of the edging and most of the other painting, I started on the hombre wall.  Following the instructions associated with the pin I worked away measuring and marking the wall in preparation for the fabulousness that would be our hombre wall.  I'd paint then stand back and look, paint and look, ask Christina her opinion and paint and look.  The more I painted the worse it began to look.  By the end, we had a full scale Pinterest fail on our hands. Ugh!
That's Camden, my grandson.  He says "Grammie made a big mess." Let me just say, I do not fear paint.  If you hate it, just cover it up with more paint.  But, I am not used to project failure so I set to work finding out what I did wrong online.  I turns out there are a few things we didn't know that would have made the end result much better.  The most important being the use of oil based paint because it dries much more slowly and blends better.  I think Christina has decided to paint that wall just the darkest shade you see in the photo at the bottom of the wall rather than buy more paint.  Hey, Grammie tried!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Observing Youth from the Little RV

Yesterday we spent a couple of hours sitting outside in the shade in a deserted RV park.  The park is completely full of RVs and tents but the people were all gone.  Why?  They are here to attend a huge country music festival with big name performers like Darius Rucker, Carrie Underwood, Brad Paisley and The Eli Young Band.  No, we did not attend as the tickets were sold out months ago. 

 Friday afternoon they started to arrive in droves.  Most of our fellow campers are late teen and early 20-somethings.  They generally arrive in cars or SUVs, pour out of the vehicle and tents begin to spring up.
By 5 pm nearly all of them were gone leaving their belongings strewn around their sites.

Early then next morning when Grant and I went outside there were even more tents.  They sprang up in the dark like mushrooms.  Rob said he herd them arriving during the night after all of the concerts were finished.  I heard nothing.  

I worked on some minor repairs Saturday.  One of our blinds broke and needed to be repaired and I needed to add a secure catch to the new cabinet we purchased recently.  Rob spent some time outside making the truck shine like a new penny.  It was interesting to watch our fellow campers go about their day.  The girls, as girls will, do everything in groups.  Once they wake up they all pile into the car and leave the campground.  It appears they make a beeline to the nearest Starbucks to use the facilities and get their morning caffeine fixes.  They all come back with large cups of latte's, frappucchinos, cappuccinos, mochas and the like.  

About mid-afternoon the activity ramps up.  The girls start their preening.  They change clothes donning short skirts with bare midriffs and cowboy boots. 
Curling irons are plugged into the power posts in their campsites.  They line up while one of them  curls their hair and then her own.  While they are preening, phone are being charged.  Everyone takes a turn at the charging cord.  By 4 pm almost everyone has cleared out.  

This morning they seem to be getting an earlier start.  I see them stumbling out of their tents and into their cars to make the pilgrimage to Starbucks.  Several car alarms have been set off by sleepwalking teens.  Slamming car doors are the background music for this morning.  

All in all, I have to say they have been more well behaved and considerate than campers many years their senior.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Repair Episode # 7,537 for the Little RV

We got the Little RV back yesterday and are currently residing in an RV park near the repair shop.  We have a little cosmetic work to be done and are trying to get worked into their schedule.  I really don't want this post to be negative but I don't know how to avoid it.  It's just the way things are. 

Now about those other repairs...
The rear window was removed, the old couch removed and the new couch was installed.  The new couch was supposed to be chocolate brown but it's really black.  However, I really like it and it goes well with the fabric on the cornices.  Grant says he likes it too.

Still contains broken glass!
Unfortunately they broke one of the light sconces while installing it so a new one is on order.  I' m a bit concerned about what color the metal will be when they arrive because the last new fixtures were brushed nickel and all of the originals are oil rubbed bronze.
These fixtures are also stripped and the bulbs will not come out.  They are being replaced.  

One of the offending fixture
Fix lights over island that keep coming down while moving and hanging by the wires. Part of the new light fixtures were apparently stripped during the installation in Arkansas.  They both have to be replaced.  New lights are on order. They were able to remove the damaged parts and make the light functional in the mean time. 

Purdy, no?

Secure seam molding on the ceiling.  As it turns out the the molding was coming down because the entire ceiling panel was coming down.  It's a 4'x8' panel.  Can you imagine the damage if it had actually fallen during travel? The trim was damaged during repair and has to be replaced.  It is also on order.

Empty but shows 2/3 full...still.
Investigate tank sensors that still don't work.  They tried everything to get the tank sensors to work but were not successful.  They flushed the tanks, cleaned the sensors, reset the panel which showed zero for a moment then went right back to full.  They plan to install a new panel and it is also on order.
Replace the broken living room A/C filter cover.  This has been ordered.
Fix the leaking gray tank(s). Fix the black tank valve that is so hard to open and close that it is breaking the wall behind the handle. This may not be possible.  Apparently the cables that run from the control panel to the gate valves are just too long to function correctly.  They replaced the cables and rerouted them numerous times and they are better but the repair people are not convinced it will stay that way.  They told us at the first sign of problems we should let them know immediately.  The only other thing that can be done is to install electric valves and that will be expensive.  Because this is an ongoing warranty issue we would attempt to get DRV to foot the bill but I feel like that would be a long shot.  

Given all of the above and the fact that our factory warranty actually ended on June 15th, it seems that DRV, the manufacturer, is covering these repairs. I had written to ask for an extension of the factory warranty back in June but was denied.  They did tell me they would take our repairs on a case by case  basis.  I'm sure there will be an end to that generosity at some point but for now they seem to be playing nicely.  

For those of you who keep telling me that RVs have problems and have to be repaired, thank you and I understand.  However, there comes a point when the problems are excessive and completely unacceptable. We are at that point.  I am thankful that DRV has stood behind their product thus far but it won't last forever.  These repair stops tend to take over your life for days or weeks at a time. The amount of time we have lost in delays and the stress over these problems have become too much. Yesterday I was an emotional wreck because this never seems to end and takes our freedom and ability to do what we wish.

In an effort to recover emotionally from the past few days or perhaps months, I plan to sleep, cook, clean, do laundry, organize and feel like I have some control over my life.  

Monday, August 12, 2013

I'd Prefer Not to Explode Tonight, Thank You Very Much!

We are in Junction City, Oregon again.  You know what that means, right?  We're getting more repair work done.  

We left the Casino campground on Thursday morning and were parked in Woodburn, Oregon (directly behind a huge outlet mall) by 1:30 pm.  We registered for three nights and once we got parked we couldn't wait to get out.  This place was so cramped that they have parallel parking along both sides of the streets which leaves about one narrow lane to drive through the park.  We literally had to ask people to move cars and trucks in order to get into and out of our space.  Never again!  It wasn't a bad park, the staff were friendly, the WiFi was great and the water pressure was good too.  It was just way too crowded and there were lots of long term residents.

Saturday was the day of our annual family reunion just outside Salem.  We visited, ate, visited, ate and then headed back to the Little RV.  It was fun to see everyone.  We didn't get any photos except for one of our cousins new puppy.  Meet Pippa!  She's 12 weeks old and completely adorable. 
Sunday we got up bright and early and drove to Junction City.  We parked in the campground/parking lot here at the dealership.  The lot was so full it took us more than an hour to find a spot we could fit in and have electricity for air conditioning.   Someone was just leaving and we snagged their space. 

We were up bright and early this morning, getting ready to vacate the RV for the day.  Once we were ready we had to dump the tanks and drive across the street to the service department.  We checked in at 8am and went through out list of issues with our service person. 

  • Replace couch, the old one is peeling
  • Fix lights over island that keep coming down while moving and hanging by the wires. 
  • Secure seam molding on the ceiling.
  • Investigate tank sensors that still don't work.
  • Replace the broken living room A/C filter cover.
  • Fix the leaking gray tank(s).
  • Fix the black tank valve that is so hard to open and close that it is breaking the wall behind the handle.
We left the repair shop at about 9:30, went to get coffee and fill the tank with diesel.  After that we headed over to Camping World.  Sadly it's not Camping World any more. 

We puttered around killing time as best we could and decided to drop back by the shop to see if any progress had been made.  It was just before 1 pm and the Little RV was still sitting all alone in the drop-off lot where we left her.  Nothing had been done and the work day was 1/2 over.  I went to see our service person who was still at lunch.  after waiting for a bit, he was back and let us know that they had just gotten the go ahead from DRV (the manufacturer) to diagnose the problems.  You see, our warranty ran out on June 15th and if you are a regular reader you know that we have had countless problems with the Little RV.  The problems on the list above are ongoing and were reported before the warranty expired.  I believe they finally took her into the shop at around 2 pm.  

There is a nice little park just a couple of blocks down the street from the repair shop so we took Grant to play ball for a while.  I'm sure he was getting sick of waiting in the truck all day too.  He showed his appreciation by rolling in the grass, a lot!

He's a happy dog!

Just before 5:00 we returned to find them pushing the RV out of the bay so we could move back in until morning when we start waiting all over again.

Apparently DRV is indeed working with the shop to get these repairs made and cover them under warranty. 

Here are updates on the check list of repairs.

Repairs Updated End of Day 1
  • Replace couch, the old one is peeling.  The new couch has to come in through a window. This means they have to remove a window to install it.  This will be done tomorrow 
  • Fix lights over island that keep coming down while moving and hanging by the wires. The new fixtures that were installed in Arkansas are stripped and cannot be used anymore.  New lights have to be ordered.  
  • Secure seam molding on the ceiling.
  • Investigate tank sensors that still don't work.
  • Replace the broken living room A/C filter cover.
  • Fix the leaking gray tank(s). The routing and length of the valve cables is being blamed for the problems with the gray leak.
  • Fix the black tank valve that is so hard to open and close that it is breaking the wall behind the handle.  The routing and length of the valve cables is being blamed for the problems with the black tank valve.  I've seen the spaghetti bowl that is our basement and this is a very valid observation.  This repair is partially done but will be continued tomorrow.  The repairman told us he's prefer we didn't use the black tank.  My response was "But we're sleeping here and there is no other restroom."  His response was "That's why I said prefer."  I thought to myself, I'd prefer not to explode tonight, thank you very much.  
To be continued...

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Discovering RVing "Types" in the Little RV

Since the house officially closed we are in an RV park again.  I actually really like this park because it's a  stop-over park and we get a whole new set of "neighbors" every day.  The price is great here for a longer stay.  It's $25 a day but if you stay 5 nights you get two free so it's $125 a week.  Quite a bargain if you ask me. 

All of these neighbor changes have got me thinking about RVing types of people. 

Velcro RVers - These folks can pull into a nearly empty RV park and will always choose the space closest to another rig.  Even if all of the other spaces are larger and nicer they will park right next to you as though you serve as an anchor or wind break of some sort. 

Phantom RVers - They arrive like phantoms at dusk hooking up only the most necessary utilities.  Then the whole place goes dark and they are gone when you wake up in the morning.  Like it never even happened. 

Early Exit RVers - These are the folks that have to be somewhere NOW!  They get up early and start preparing to depart immediately.  They tend to start somewhere around the time when if woken you can't go back to sleep.  They also tend to open and close every bay door at least 5 times.  

Slammers - These are the RVers who slam every door including cabinet doors and bay doors without fail.  When parked near a slammer, you will hear what sounds like thunder in the distance when their rig is inhabited.  It is particularly unfortunate to be parked next to a slammer who is also an early exit RVer.

Clown Car - This is the RV that pulls in and when the door opens more people and pets pour out than clowns at the circus.  You can't imagine how they all fit in there.  It's like an awful accident, you shouldn't look but you can't look away. 

Thrill Seeker - This is the RV that pulls in with sporting gear sprouting like warts from any flat surface on the RV.  They generally tow something as well. You'll see a toy hauler RV with kayaks attached, hauling a couple of motorcycles on a trailer or towing a boat, jet skis, or perhaps snowmobiles.  These RVers tend to be clown car RVers as well.  Sometimes you need a lot of friends and/or family to use all of that equipment.
Puttering RVers - These folks just can't seem to relax.  I tend to be the same way so I kind of understand.  Generally you'll notice these RVers outside, under the awning working away at some hobby or even inside a utility trailer full of wood working equipment.  They keep busy and tend to be very quiet.  

Yappy Dog RVers - These folks have little, yappy dogs who bark incessantly when their owners are not home.  Generally I assume the owner has no idea Yappy does this.  This is particularly annoying if they leave their windows open and yappy likes to sit on the back of a chair and yap. 

Partying RVers - These are usually folks who travel in packs.  Two or more rigs will arrive at the same time and within an hour they are set up next to each other with the ice maker spitting out cubes in an effort to keep up with the demand.  Open up the bay door and it looks like a fully stocked bar.  These folks tend to make friends quickly and before you know it there's a party going on. The party starts like this:
But turns into this:

Last but not least there is the CIA RVer.  These folks see, hear and know everything going on in the campground.  These RVers are never the camp host. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

More Plumbing Lessons in the Little RV

Disclaimer:  Many details were left out of this post in order to protect those with weak stomachs.

Yesterday before I showered (thank goodness) I went out to dump the black tank.  We've used the macerator quite a few times now and have a routine that works pretty well for us. We needed a couple of parts from the RV Parts store here in town so Rob and Grant went to pick get them.  I got started with the tanks and within minutes I had a full fledged disaster on my hands (and a lot of other places).

The sewer outlet under the RV has bayonet fittings that hold the hoses on to the outlet so that the waste can be directed to the appropriate place.  The fitting is held on with the tabs you see in the photo below.

When I attempted to attach the macerator to the sewer outlet one of the tabs broke off.  This is not a good thing.  As it turned out the part that broke was permanently affixed to the RV.  

Using extreme caution I continued my task.  

We tried to get a repair person to come out and replace the fitting but nobody was available on such short notice.  When Rob returned we took a look at the damage and decided how to proceed.

We decided we could fix it ourselves.  While I finished pumping the tank and cleaning up Rob went back to the RV Parts store to get a replacement fitting and stopped by my Dad's to get a couple of saws.

I was able to crawl under the RV and cut the pipe off directly behind the broken fitting and replace the offending part with a brand new one which I glued into place.   

It's working like a champ with no leaks.  Another plumbing lesson learned. Maybe we should open a mobile RV repair business.