Sunday, November 30, 2014

My First Hike of the Season & A Surprise Visitor

Nov. 26.  Oh, boy!  I was more than ready to get back into the weekly Wednesday hikes!  I love being outdoors, and when away from town, the desert scenery is just so pretty.  It was the day before Thanksgiving and another beautiful day in Tucson.  It was a bit cold early in the morning at 7:00 AM so that is why I wore earmuffs.  The hiking group meets at 7:15 AM,  we sign in so we know who is with us, then car pool and leave at 7:30 AM.  Yep, that means getting up at the crack of dawn, literally!  I don’t like to rush so I am up at 5:45 AM, have breakfast, and quietly get dressed in the den so I don’t wake up Doug.  But, alas, sometimes I do wake him up around 6: 15 PM when I use the sink to fix my hair and put on my makeup.  SORRY!  But I do NOT go anywhere without my hair done and my “face” on!!  Without that, one look from the wildlife and there would be a mass stampede!  Including my fellow hikers!

We didn’t travel very far for this hike.  We just hiked a couple of times around a lake at a park just up the street from the RV park.  It was nice with the sun just beginning to show reflections in the lake and several hearty souls were out early fishing.  Love the mountains in the background. 

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Several different types of ducks were all over the lake.  Some acted like they were partly tamed because whenever we got right next to the water, they would all rush over and make lots of noise expecting us to feed them.  I am sure some of the fishermen share their bait with them.  Seeing the ducks on the water made for a pretty setting. 

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The next day was Thanksgiving.  We got to the park too late to sign up for the park’s dinner so we spent the day just relaxing.   Doug cooked a turkey in our new oven and it turned out great.  He found a recipe that worked well.  I tried to bake one last season but it turned out looking more like a fat chicken!  I miss my electric oven!  Guess I need to practice.

The day after Thanksgiving, I was just sitting at the table looking out the window and was surprised at what I saw!  A coyote! He was a nice looking one.  So I grabbed the camera and took his picture through the window.  Apparently he squeezed through a fence opening at a site across the street from us where the park is adding a new wall and has only reached a pole and remaining chain linked fence.  He stopped in front of us and then just meandered on through the park among the RVs as if he owned the place.  After all, he was here first!  He came from the neighborhood on the other side of the fence, so he was probably out looking for cat or small dog for breakfast!!  It was a real treat to see that coyote close up. 

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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Oh, It Is So Good To Be Settled In For the Winter in Tucson Again!

Nov. 15 and 16.  With Mesa and the RV repairs behind us, we were certainly glad to move on!  We stopped for the weekend in Casa Grand, AZ.  There is an Escapee RV park there and we needed a place to stay before our reservation kicked in at the park in Tucson.  We pulled in at 11:00 AM and just happened to make to the grilled hamburger lunch at 11:30!  Sure was good!  We met the nicest couple at our table and wound up talking hours after everyone else had left.  They even wiped off the table around our hands and elbows as we continued to talk!  RVing sure gives us the opportunity to make new friends and long lasting friendships. 

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Nov. 17.  We’re baaa….ck!! Right where we were last year.  We are having beautiful weather! Plus, I have my favorite view of Mt.Lemmon right from my doorway.  The sunrises and sunsets are so nice because I can see them perfectly before other RVers pull in next to us and block our views. 

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I have already been busy with the digital photography class since I volunteered to be the vice-president and I have only been here for 5 days!  We have already visited with returning friends, which is always fun.  One of our friends is a “wanna-be chef” so we were treated to a late afternoon snack of his pumpkin pie recipe.  Umm!  He is a good cook and we look forward to being his guinea pigs on his other recipes!!  Even the hummingbirds have returned to our feeder, so we are just happy as can be to stay put for awhile.   The blogs will not be as often but I can hardly wait to start hiking with the park’s club again and will certainly post those pictures.  That old camera is all set again..

Photography is an art of observation.  It has little to do with things you see and everything to do with the way you see them. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Funny Adventures in an RV Repair Lot

Silly me, anxiety makes me do funny things!  Obviously our 3 week stay was too long in the RV Renovators repair lot!

I noticed that when we returned to the lot one afternoon, the front cap was leaning up against the fence.   Umm… I just cleaned the outside with my waterless cleaner before we arrived at the lot.  Idea struck!  “The cap is low enough that I can reach the top area using my step ladder.  This would be a great time to get the bugs off in the area I can’t reach with the brush and cloth!”  Doug may be able to get up high or even on the roof to reach certain areas, but not this kid!!  I gathered my ladder, spray, and rags.  Out I went!  I bet the guys working wondered “what in the world is that old lady doing?”  A few gave me some questioning stares as I was holding on to the barbed wire fence leaning to get to the hard spots!  They could laugh all they wanted, I wanted it clean and it was the perfect height to get the job done.   It would be so great if we could just tilt the front end cap down anytime we wanted to clean it!  Sure would be easier.  Sad part is that, when putting the front cap back on, they left finger prints that I now have to go back and clean off the cap AGAIN!  Of course now, it is back up high again!  Oh well,  a little arm exercise won’t hurt!

Towards the end of our stay, my senility really kicked in!  All the guys had left for the day and locked the gate for the night.  Remember, we have a gate key.  We decided we would go out for dinner again.  So we get in the truck.  Drive to the gate that uses our key.  I get out.  Unlock the gate, and roll it open.  Doug drives the truck through.  I roll the gate closed.  I have the lock though the hole so the gate can’t be opened.  I just about have the lock closed.  “Wait a minute!” “There is something wrong with this picture!”  “Ummm, why is Doug on that side of the fence and I am still on the inside of the fence!?”  Then I just burst our laughing.  I caught myself!  I was locking myself back inside the gate!  I forgot to go through to the other side!  Geeze, what a dummy!  So, still laughing,  I reopened the gate and walked through to lock it with me on the right side this time!  When I opened the door to the truck, Doug was just grinning at me because he knew, that I knew, what I had done!  Then we both just broke out in a good laugh.  He said “wait until I tell our friends at the RV park in Tucson at our get togethers about this!”  He is not going to let me forget this one!

Hey, I am entitled to a few crazy antics once in a while!  I just tell everyone is just A-G-E kicking in!

Ending Our Saga with Problem #3 & Saving the Worst Repair for Last

Nov. 10-15.  My, oh my!  My little home on wheels was torn apart.  The anxiety kicked in and I was just so worried that the external repair would make the RV look so ugly!  But I need not have worried so.    The issue with the front left side hitch area was the sliding up and down of the cover molding strip.   When the RV was hooked to the truck, everything looked normal.  But when unhitched, the molding slid to the point of breaking off the screw heads underneath and scratching the fiberglass.

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As stated in the post about the floor, as soon as the estimator saw the problem, he immediately said it may be a claim issue.  We took pictures and called our insurance company for a claim number and to get an adjuster to come and look at the RV.  Even from the beginning, the insurance adjuster started talking about “normal wear and tear” even before he had any pictures.  Fortunately, he was able to come out a day or two later for another customer and look at our RV as well instead of the a week’s wait originally indicated.   It was several days before we heard back from him and the news was bad.  Our claim was denied.  (So was the other customer’s claim.)   The adjuster said that because there was no visible damage to the truck, he was going to stick with the “normal wear and tear” story.  Gee, thanks!  We spent thousands of dollars in premiums, and they readily take the money!  But when you need THEIR help, they are not there for you!

We gave RV Renovators the go ahead because we had no choice.  The problem was serious and had to be fixed.  The front cap was pulled off and it was found that a weld had broken.  Watching that cap come off sure gave me a sinking feeling.  Our RV may be getting old but She is still “home”. 

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Somehow we think we twisted the RV sideways, but have no idea when or how we could have done that kind of damage.  We knew the plastic under cover of the hitch area was cracked on one side, so we figured the truck did indeed hit the undercover at some point.  More pictures were sent to the insurance company, including previous pictures of the cracked undercover, hoping that clearly seeing more evidence of the problem would change their minds on our claim.   No go!!  That was rather sickening.  So we will change insurance companies as soon as possible!

It only got much worse!  After looking at the first weld problem, the technicians said we really should cut out a square further back on the side wall to make sure there were no other problems.  Oh, my gosh! They want to cut my fiberglass wall?!?  That is when the anxiety went up another several notches!!  I was ASSURED everything would be fine and the final fiberglass repair would not even be noticed.   All I could see was an ugly line on the outside of my RV!  Good call though.  Sure enough, there was ANOTHER weld break!   We were really disheartened.

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Hey, at least we learned how our RV was made!!  Guys worked on the repair all week long, adding more structure, nailing, and welding.  Even an iron bar was added around the curve on the end for extra support.  I have to say that the attention to detail in fixing this problem was outstanding!  That frame wasn’t ever going to move again!!

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So now it was time to close everything up and repair the fiberglass.  Of course, I was out there every step of the way with my camera!  The young man who specialized in fiberglass did an AMAZING job!! I can’t say enough about what a fantastic job he did.  We were so relieved and I think the repairman could tell from my huge sigh and our wide smiles, that we were well pleased.  

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I even photographed the guys putting the front cap back on!  I was scared but at the same time my curiosity, and photo taking, in watching the process got the better of me!!!  Oh! Please don’t drop it!!

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Whew! Thank goodness all the repairs were over with!  I think that was one of the most stressful times I have ever had!   We finally got to leave the lot after 3 weeks!  There were a few things I would have done differently, but that is me and too much of my perfectionism showing!  I wanted the RV, by some miracle, to look brand new!  We still didn’t receive some roller shade parts by the end of the week, so they will be forwarded to us in Tucson and Doug will take care of the rest.  We are pleased with the work that was done.  For serious repairs, RV Renovators would be the place to go.  They are very expensive, but you get what you pay for.  They have the skill to make any repair.  As an example, the repair to the front cap was $3,000. 

So we stayed one more night on “security duty” and left Mesa on Saturday morning poorer and the wallet much lighter than when we arrived.  We were more than ready to leave the place!  After 3 weeks, I wonder if the guys missed us on Monday when they saw that we were gone!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Week 2–The Saga of the Entertainment Slide Replacement

Yep, still another week of “camping” in the RV repair lot.  Work was done this week on fixing the crooked entertainment slide and replacing the torn rubber seal.  First was finding out why the slide had tilted so much.  The floor on the rear end had dropped down.  A metal gusset, a bracket or angular piece of metal fastened in the angles of a structure to give strength or stiffness, had to be welded to the RV frame underbody.  A gusset was put on one end of the frame at the slide when new, but not the other. 
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You can see in the picture above where the slide was hitting the side of the RV at the top and the rubber was torn away.  Where at the bottom, the slide and rubber were further apart.  The slide was jacked up, and the old seal was removed both inside and out.  We had a couple more days of having to be away from the RV, so we sure have become familiar with the town of MESA! 
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We wanted the black seal because RV manufacturers are no longer using the white.  Sure wish they used it back in 2008!  We already had the black seal put on the dinning slide when that seal was tearing several years ago.  Nobody really notices,  so changing the remaining seals on other slides will have to be at another time.   At least the black seals look much cleaner.  I never did find a product that would clean the white ones.  So the slide is fixed and I cleaned off the sticky residue from the old one.  It would have been done for me, but that is just the way I am.  I wanted it cleaned and polished with my method.  It looks nice, now that it is done. 
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One more item off the work order and on to the BIG problem……….

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Repair Number One and It Only Got Worse From There!

Monday, Oct. 28 .  Well, the first repair on order was the leak under the kitchen floor.   The technicians tore up the old floor, which was replaced once at the Hitchhiker factory for the same problem. On the 2nd repair, RV Renovators discovered an opening in the underbelly above a tire.  That is where they believe rain water and moisture got up under the flooring and loosened it.  So the hole was was fixed, new sub-flooring and flooring put down.  Looks nice.  A little darker than the sample I chose, but I can live with it.  Here is our little home all torn up.
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For three days, we had to be away from the RV during the daytime.  That was fun trying to find things to do!  Let’s see-library, Wal-Mart, shop the craft stores, walk the mall, order a few truck parts, shop the craft stores, eat every meal out.  Did I mention shop the craft stores!??!  Not a problem for ME! 
After Wednesday, we have been able to come and go as we please.  The floor is in and so is the new stove/stovetop.  We wanted a new microwave, but they don’t make them anymore in the same size as what we have now.  It would be too complicated and expensive to refigure the cabinet area, so we will go with what we have.  
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The painful part of our repair process is something we didn’t expect.  After a strip of covering was removed on the side of the hitch area, the estimator immediately said we may have an insurance claim involved.  There is movement in the hitch part of the RV and that could be anything from a broken weld joint to a break in the frame.   We are talking another couple thousand dollars.  Good grief!  The insurance adjuster came by Thursday, and we are still waiting for word for approval to open up the front of our RV and see what is going on.  Hopefully that will be on Monday.  Just the thought of doing that makes me ill.   Will the repair shop be able to get it back together as good as new?  I am holding my breath.   Think I’ll stand on the street corner and hold up my sign that reads “will work for repairs”! 

In the meantime, no further work has been done since Wednesday at noon, and the shop doesn’t work on Saturdays.  So here we sit through the weekend as if we are security guards!  We still have the gate key to come and go, but it is getting very frustrating waiting around for work to be completed.  This gives true meaning to patience being a virtue!!  I am still a little uneasy at night being backed up to a neighborhood and barking dogs and on a rather busy street.

Saga to be continued ………..