Sunday, June 11, 2017

Montana is The Little RV's Happy Place

             Our first view of the Rocky Mountains
Yesterday we left South Dakota behind, drove through parts of Wyoming and into Montana. I love Montana and consider it my home state. My family moved to a little town called Bonner when I was ten years old. We were just a few miles from Missoula where my brother and I attended high school. My family left Montana in the early 80's but in my heart it is my home. 
Big Sky Country

Rob has grown to love Montana as well. We visit whenever we are able. Sadly the altitude here makes it very difficult for Rob to breathe without the constant use of oxygen so living here in out of the question. 
7th Ranch Campground

We did a long 300+ mile day again but pulled out of the South Dakota campground at about 7:15 AM so we arrived at the Montana campground and were set up by 1:30 PM.  

This campground is our kind of place. It's in the middle of nowhere, has amazing views and really friendly staff. There are no fancy amenities here. Just a beautifully maintained campground in a truly awe inspiring setting. 
After we got set up Murphy and I hiked up to the flag at the top of the hill behind the campground.  There were lots of pretty things to photograph along the way.

Murphy enjoyed his romp around the hills. 
We had a great night's sleep and this morning we were once again greeted by the beauty of this amazing place.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Slide Goes In, The Slide Goes Out, Until it Won't

We left Indiana last Friday. Our day included a drive through Chicago so we tried to arrive during lighter traffic. It wasn't awful but it could have been.

It was a 300 + mile day ending in Lacrosse, Wisconsin. We found a park on the shore of the Mississippi River. Unfortunately it had just begun to dry out from some very recent flooding and the mosquitoes were thick and vicious!  When we arrived we had to unhook the our car and leave it in the main parking lot because of the damp ground.  Once we backed into our site I went out to hook up the electric and water. After getting set up Rob yelled out the door there was no electricity so I had to call the office and have them come down to determine the problem. They had simply forgotten to turn the power on at our site. The site had a really beautiful view.

After several run-ins with blood thirsty mosquitoes while taking Murphy out we decided to get out of Dodge first thing in the morning. We left early and had another 300+ mile day stopping in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. 

We pulled in to a campground right off I-90 and paid for two nights. I was outside setting up and Rob was inside. I stuck my head in and Rob told me the bedroom slide would not go out. It was 92 degrees outside and had already been a very long day. 

We discovered the slide would go out if we manually pushed it but it would come in using the button. We just pushed it out so we could function until morning.
Poor Murphy has been so cooped up for two days and was just itching to go out and run off some energy so I took him out to a big field and turned him loose. 

The next morning we started working on the slide problem. We had done some research online to see what the problem might be. We took the stairs apart and checked the breakers and fuses, the hydraulic fluid and looked for anything out of place. 

Next I called Lippert, the manufacturer of our slide and leveling equipment. They felt there may be air in the system and if we cycled it a few more times it may fix itself. It got worse, there was a very loud thump and eventually it got stuck half way open.  

About that time a neighbor, Steve walked by and asked what was happening and if he could help. I told him what was happening and we brainstormed a bit. Steve offered to help if needed and continued on his way. 

Rob and I drove to the RV Sales and Service next door to see if they could fit us in only to be told they work on towables but not motorhomes. The closest place to have someone take a look was about 6 miles away. There was no way I was driving 6 miles with the slide part way out.  

When we got back Steve came back over and we decided to tear the bed apart and see if we could figure out what the problem was. The slide mechanism is under the bed. There is also a very large storage space under the bed. Steve went home to get a couple of things and I started moving all of the things stored under the bed, the bedding and the mattress.
Steve and I disassembled the bed frame to expose the slide mechanism. When the plywood base was lifted away the problem was painfully obvious.  
The long threaded shaft should have been extended through the steel frame and the nyloc nut should have been snugly threaded on to the end of the shaft so when the mechanism runs it will pull or push the slide. Somehow the nut came off causing the shaft to pull out, get hung up on the frame and bend it badly. 
You can see how badly the frame is bent in the photo above. The red line is where the frame should be and the blue line is where the frame was after the damage. 

It took some muscle, time and ingenuity but Steve was able to bend the frame back enough to get the shaft through and reattach the nut. I would never have had the physical strength to bend that frame back.

Steve, if you're reading this I can't thank you enough for helping us out with this situation. You're a good person! People like you make the RV community something special. Our slide is functioning and Forest River has agreed to repair it properly when we can get it to a dealer so all is well again.