Wednesday, November 27, 2013

All's Well that Ends Well in the Little RV

Sunday afternoon with the failed repairs looming over us the three of us packed up and headed back to Junction City.  We got a spot in the camping lot with electricity. The service guys always make sure you have 2/3 tank of fresh water when you leave the shop and we had just left there on Saturday morning so we should have had more than enough water for the night. Unfortunately, during the night we ran out of water in our fresh water tank. There would be no showers.  Rob went down to turn the water pump off after he discovered we were out of water and the water pump light went off.  If you remember, Saturday the light would not go off no matter what we did.     

The plan was to be at the service office door at 8 am, and we were with coffee in hand.  We explained the situation and we were told to sit tight until they could arrange to get the the service tech over to the dump station.  They wanted to try to dump the tanks to see what the problem was.  

Exterior Control Panel
45 minutes or so later we were assembled at the dump station, sewer hose hooked up and the tech pushed the gray valve button and it worked like a champ.  

He kept asking us questions and pushing the button to open and close it.  We explained how the water pump light wouldn't go off and he kept saying, "I don't know what to tell you.  It's working fine." 
   The two switches on the right are the new electric switches and directly to the right is the existing pull for the third tank
Our service consultant, John was standing back watching this whole thing play out and finally told the tech to look at the water pump light which was also going on and off but we were in direct sunlight and couldn't see it.  

The tech mumbled something about being told to wire the switches into the water pump switch and walked away in the general direction of the shop.  We were sent off to "enjoy the day" while the Little RV was moved to the shop.  Now what?  

We ended up at the local camping store where we blew and hour and $60.  While we were in the store John called and asked us to come back to the shop to meet the boss.  I had been asking to talk to him for days and finally it was going to happen.  It was about 10:30 am.  

We sat down in Tim's office and talked through what had been happening during this visit and several other prior visits.  We talked about the poor service, lack of clean up after service, finding broken glass and copper wire bits on the floor where they can be stepped on and imbed in feet that have no feeling.  We talked about people breaking things and trying to hide it by slapping it back together in a very sloppy way.  

In the end Tim is going to try to get DRV to pay for more of the valve replacement and the shop is going to pony up more as well.  The did not charge us for the service we received but there may be a balance after all of the negotiations are complete.   At least we feel that someone listened to us with empathy and is trying to help in some small way.  
Our pretty campsite

The valves are now wired correctly and we are back in Olympia in the lot we rented for the remainder of the year.  We dumped the tanks and it worked flawlessly.  Perhaps now we can get on with our lives?  You'll be the first to know if we continue to have problems.  

Snuggled into our roomy space for the rest of the year.

Thanksgiving is tomorrow! 

Rob and I (and Grant) wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

There are no Words...

Here in Troutdale we settled in to our site and got comfortable.  We are still having wind gusts of 50 mph or more.  

Before we left Junction City we added some tank cleaner to the gray tanks.  We drove up with them half full so the cleaner would slosh around and clean things up.   After we got set up I did two loads of laundry to fill the tank and clean the whole thing out really well.  When the gray tanks were full I went out to dump them.  I pushed the fancy new electric valve button.... wait for it... 


It doesn't work.  Nothing happened, no light, no sound, no water, nothing.  To top that off, the water pump light seems to be on permanently.  We have no literature, no packaging, and I have searched the interwebs high and low for some type of manual or installation instructions so we can get more information but I cannot find anything. 

So here we are on Thanksgiving week with a full gray tank, looking at driving back to Junction City tonight to get this thing functioning.  By the way, the tank that is full is the one that holds the water from the shower.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Reparis Complete in the Little RV - Sort of

I know you've all been on the edge of your seats waiting for yet another update on our repairs.  After three nights in the motel, we got the call around noon yesterday that the Little RV was all buttoned up and ready to go.  We were surprised because just the previous evening we had been told we would be need to stay the weekend and it looked like they would finish up on Monday afternoon. 

We packed our things and headed over to the shop to settle the bill and move back in.  To make a long story short, the new valves were installed and are functioning correctly, the tank level gauges are said to be working properly, the light the shop broke on our last visit has been replaced but they ordered another one because when you turn the lights on, one globe looks yellow and the other looks white.  I'm not seeing much of a difference in the color.  The light fixtures for over the kitchen island were not the correct ones and have to be returned for yet another set.  The trim that was sent to fix the crown over the refrigerator was the wrong type so it has to go back as well.  They tired to fix the old molding but it looks pretty bad so they have to order that again. 

Fortunately the things that didn't get fixed are mostly cosmetic and can wait.  I don't expect the parts to arrive before the end of the year and I don't see us waiting around for  and trim instead of heading south to warmer weather, do you? 

We moved from Junction City to Troutdale, Oregon today.  We in the same park we spent several weeks in earlier this fall.  We enjoy it here and are glad to be back.  I have to say, it's really windy here and so cold.  The wind is gusting hard enough to push the top of the driver side slide in a bit.  I personally find it a bit creepy when the walls move and I'm not pushing the button.  

Tomorrow we will be spending the day with our daughter and her family.  Camden will turn 5 on Friday and we are going to help his daddy build him a new bed. Mommy and I are going to redecorate his bedroom.  

Monday we head back to Olympia to prepare for Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Baby it's Cold Outside the Little RV!

I believe I underestimated the number of layers of clothing I'd be needing while we're moteling it!  It was cold yesterday when I took Grant out for his morning business appointment but this morning it's brutal.  Sure the thermometer says 27 degrees but the wind takes it to a whole new level.  The tears were freezing on my cheeks this morning.    Grant seemed unscathed by the cold and frankly he was mighty perky.  

After he finished up we jumped into the truck and headed our for big, hot lattes'.   Since I just didn't think I could cope with the rude kid at the OTHER coffee place I decided to try Dutch Bros.  I had never been there before but it was a very good experience and the employees were very friendly.

Mission accomplished!

We dropped the Little RV off at the repair shop on Tuesday afternoon and checked into the motel.  Nice place and lots of room for Grant. 

As of yesterday at 1:30 pm the Little RV was still sitting outside the bay at the shop waiting to be worked on.  Upon questioning this discovery, I was informed for the first time that our 8:30 am appointment was simply to check in and get the ticket written up but it was by no means the time they would begin the repairs.  This is not looking good!

On the flip side, yesterday's morning shower was LONG and HOT and I'll be taking another just like it today.  If I have learned anything at all these past 18 months, it's enjoy the little things. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Hopeful and Wary all at the Same Time in the Little RV

Tomorrow we are heading for Junction City, Oregon for ongoing repairs. The parts are in and ready to be installed.  It takes a couple of days for us to get ready when we have to move out of our home. This time should only be for two nights (keep your fingers crossed). Rob and Grant both require a special diet so that has to be prepared and packed.  We need a motel room with a microwave and a refrigerator for those special diets.  When we have a longer stay we have to get a room with a full kitchen so I can cook for all of us. We also have some medical equipment to take along and of course our clothing and toiletries.  

I'll be cooking and packing things up most of the day.  We're trying out some new vegetarian recipes like muffin pan frittatas and marinated, baked tofu bites and spicy Indian dahl. We also have to get the Little RV ready to go.  Hopefully it won't rain all day today.  

We spent a lot of time in Harrisburg at the River Bend Resort this summer in their RV Park.  

Rob remembered they have rooms available as well so we will be staying there.  Grant is welcome there and there is plenty of room for him outside for exercise and those necessary business transactions.

During our upcoming trip to Oregon we are having the holding tank valves replaced with electric valves.   We currently have manual cable valves with cables that run many feet from the actual pull handle.  They look like this.

We have three holding tanks.  Two of them have such long cables that are routed over, under, around and through so much they just don't work properly.  We have had them replaced twice and we continue to have the same problem.  They don't close all the way and they leak.

The electric valves look like this.
We are very hopeful this will solve our problem once and for all.  The service provider does keep warning us that these are not trouble free either and if one stops working the RV's belly pan has to be removed in order to gain access.  

In addition to the valves we are having our tank monitor panel replaced.  Something has been wonky with it since the beginning and it was replaced once but they are going to try again.  Even our fresh water tank level is not accurate so we know it is not the sensors.  We are having 5 light fixtures replaced, the molding that was broken during out last service visit is being replaced and the trim strips on the ceiling that were damaged when the ceiling panel that was falling down was secured are being replaced.  The repairs are mostly cosmetic and it will be nice to have them fixed.  It will be especially nice to have adequate light in the kitchen.  

Rob and I are so ready to be finished with all of these repairs.  We are fully aware that "it's always something" but this has been ridiculous.  We are hoping in January when we head off into the warm sunset, we'll be leaving the holding tank woes behind us.  

At least we'll be well fed while we are displaced.  Of course there are some really exciting things to look forward to while we are staying at the resort.  We can take the longest, hottest showers and enjoy that luxuriously thick toilet paper.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Waiving the White Flag of Surrender in the Little RV

You win!
We surrender!

Yesterday I called the Oregon Attorney General Office to check on the status of our complaint against DRV.  I was told they referred the complaint to the Washington AG office.  The Washington AG office says that is extremely off since 
the purchase was made in Oregon.  Washington suggested I file a new claim on their online system and start over because it may take a while for the complaint to get forwarded to their offices.  When I finally got off the phone I was so angry and frustrated.  I had waited for three weeks to hear from the Oregon AG office only to find nothing had been or would be done.  

While I was fuming I started thinking about how many hours, days and even weeks this holding tank situation had stolen from our lives.   I decided it has to end even if we have to foot the bill.  We really need to start the new year with a fully functional RV.  

If you haven't been following along this post should bring you up to speed.  

Don't get me wrong, I haven't let go of the idea that this is wrong and to me right and wrong are very black and white.  DRV should fix this problem once and for all or failing their willingness to fix the problem they should be made to fix it.  BUT... it's just not worth any more angst, heartache, anger, tears or time.  

So, when we go to Oregon next week to get our repairs done we are going to have electric valves put on the two holding tanks that have been giving us fits.  DRV will only pay for the replacement of the current mechanical style valves so we have to pay for the "upgrade" as DRV calls it.  The repair shop quoted us $500 to $800 for the "upgrade". I'm sure this will officially end DRV's obligation for any further problems we may have with these two valves.  That kind of rubs me the wrong way too.  

Guess it's just time to waive the white flag and move along.  After all, life is too short to deal with this any longer.

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Little RV Enjoys "Shrooms"

Fungus, fungi, mushrooms, toadstools...I know nothing about these things but here in this beautiful campground the moisture loving growths catch my attention whenever I go outside.  I find them fascinating.  

A few weeks ago Rob had a major accident with his old Canon camera shattering the viewing screen so he needed a new camera.  It arrived last week and since he was snoozing this afternoon when the sun came out I sort of borrowed it.  Grant and I took a long walk and lots of photos.

I shall call him Mini Me

Looks like velvet

Pushing up through the dirt and needles is hard work

Fancy edges

The Black Sheep?

Prom Queen

Appears to have been slimed

Average Joe

Lilly Pads

Something from Star Wars?

The forest has eyes!

Reminds me of a gnome hat!

One of these things is not like the others...

The small one looks sad to me

Pretty sure these are magic!


Growing in the gravel

Hope you enjoy them as much as I do.  Don't judge now!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Loving the New Diggs in The Little RV

On Halloween we moved north to Olympia.  We found a lot to rent on a monthly basis at Lost Lake Resort.  This is a gated, ownership resort and so far we are really enjoying it here.  Everyone has been very friendly and helpful from the start. We have ample space to walk Grant and it is so quiet here.  Most of the owners seem to have followed the sun elsewhere.  
Our street in the park
Many of the lots here have been personalized to the owner's taste.  Some have park models or large roofed spaces for their RVs. Many have storage sheds on them. Landscaping varies but everything is log or natural wood with green tin roofs.  Some even have covered outdoor kitchens and lounge areas.  
Lots of outdoor living space here.
There are lots for sale in the resort.  In fact, the lot we are renting is for sale.  We are going to look around and see what is available because it would be nice to have our own place here in town when we come home.  When we're not home, we can rent our lot to help cover the costs. 

We are renting a lot that has not had any improvements since it was purchased so it's bare bones gravel with full hookups for $450 a month plus electricity.  We can't get a satellite signal because the resort is densely treed but we are able to purchase cable through the resort for only $10 a month. 

It is pretty wet here this time of the year so we put our dirt sifting rug out in hopes of keeping some of the mess from being tracked into the Little RV.  We also had a long run to the sewer outlet which is about 12" off the ground so we picked up a 10' piece of vinyl gutter for $6 to support the sewer hose and make it drain better.  

Here's an exciting bit of information.  If we need a propane refill we can just set out tank(s) by the road and one of the staff will take them, refill them and bring them back for us.  We can just go to the office and pay for the propane afterward.  To me, that's such a helpful service. 

And yes, there really is a lost lake but we found it.
So, we're all set until we head back to Eugene for more repairs which are scheduled for the 20th of November.  Then we'll return here for the rest of the year.