We started the beginning of the month by hitting the road. Our plan was to spend a couple of days of r&r at Chantilly Farms in Floyd, VA, followed by a Rally in West Virginia. Our plans were derailed on the way to West Virginia by a loud bang and a lot of white smoke.
We pulled over and knew we had major problems. We called Coach-Net, our roadside assistance service, and while they were very nice, we ended up waiting five hours for a tow truck. In those five hours, Coach-Net finally found a Ford Dealer in Charlottesville, VA who was willing to work on it. Did I mention that this engine only had 5400 miles on it? Our wonderful tow truck driver drove us 2 1/2 hours north to Charlottesville.
We knew by then that the engine had blown. There was a hole in the engine block the size of a fist. That was when we got our next bit of bad news. And I'm writing this in detail in the hopes that someone may learn form our mistakes. Roadside Assistance does not pay for trip interruption. That only occurs when there has been a collision, which was not our issue. We did finally find a hotel that takes dogs and tried to get some sleep.
By the next morning, we knew we were in for a long haul. We went to the rig, got out a few things that we could reach and headed back to Tennessee. We were lucky that we had my mom's place to stay at.
After two days, the first ford dealer admitted that he didn't have a bay big enough to work on our rig. Why it took him three days to figure that our, we'll never know. At this point, Ford took over and towed it to Richmond, VA where it stayed for another couple of days until this dealer also admitted that they did not have a bay high enough to work on Lulu.
So, it was moved again to Greensboro, NC. At this point I was beginning to feel that Lulu travelled more than we did! We made a day trip to Greensboro and spoke to the large engine supervisor, and learned that it would be weeks before we got her back.
While Lulu was travelling the southeast without us, we decided that after the stairs breaking and now the engine blowing up, we could not trust her to live in fulltime. So, we started looking for a used diesel pusher that we could afford and give us the features we needed as full-timers. The cloud above us disappeared as we found the coach of our dreams, right here in Knoxville, at Buddy Gregg.
I called up there and spoke to young Travis and let him know we only wanted to see the inside- we were not interested in buying yet. Talk about the consummate salesman! Travis sat quietly in his seat and let the coach sell itself to us. And did it ever.
Before we knew it, we had purchased a 2008 Monaco Dynasty Renaissance. This was truly our dream coach! Lots of space, storage, three pantries, washer and dryer and bath and a half. The only hitch in our plans is that our trade in vehicle is still in Greensboro, NC.
The wonderful staff at Buddy Gregg have bent over backwards to help us. They installed our satellite, and let us move into our new rig in their little campground they have. So, we've spent the last week getting somewhat organized and learning about our new rig, and do we love him! His name is Louis, the Renaissance King. Buddy Gregg did not have to let us move in while we await the return of our old rig. But they did and made us so happy. It's been fun, learning and decorating.
This weekend is our son's wedding. Dave's brother is flying down and we're looking forward to some family time. We're also eagerly awaiting the opportunity to get to know our new extended in-law family. Since most of them live in California, we've not yet had the pleasure of meeting them, so it should be fun. And I know the wedding will be a beautiful event.
We've been told by Piedmont Trucking in Greensboro, NC, that our old rig should be completed early next week. If so, we'll drive on over there, bring it back here and move all our things from the old to the new. That will probably be a two day process.
Veterans Day will be spent dedicating our new War Dead Memorial here in Blount County. We've been planning it and working on it for two years and it's exciting to see this new tribute to our fallen heroes.
After that, we'll head back to Whispering River RV Resort here and spend a couple of weeks getting everything put away. We plan on spending Thanksgiving here with the family and hitting the road that weekend, down to Avalon Landing, FL, where we'll spend the winter.
All in all, we started our month fairly low, but it brightened when we were able to find our dream rig. We weren't looking for one, so I guess it was fate that brought us here.
So, lessons learned:
1) Make sure you know what your roadside assistance covers, along with your insurance and extended warranty. Read the fine print
2) Have a plan B in place if you can't stay in your rig. This is even more important if you have pets. BringFido is a great app to find dog friendly places.
3) Be prepared to be out of your rig for a long period of time. Whatever time you think it will take, multiply it by four.
4) Stay on top of your service dealer. Be polite, but firm. Check in every couple of days. Ask questions. Staying in the forefront of their mind will help keep things moving.
5) Keep your mind open to new possibilities. We thought we'd get our old rig fixed, keep it a few more years before trading it in. Instead, we're now living in the MH of our dreams.
6) Keep your patience. Ranting and raving at the tow truck driver, the dealer/mechanic or your spouse will not solve anything, except make your situation worse. Things will break when you least expect it. Maintaining your sense of humor and composure will go a long way towards making this time easier than it is. Yelling at the mechanic will ensure that your rig is fixed last. Fighting with your spouse will make your blood pressure go up. We've had a few moments where we've been down this past month, but we've had each other to pull us back out of the doldrums and keep looking forward. We don't forget that we're together and that's what matters.
Stay tuned for personalized pictures and how we set it up. In the meantime, here are the dealer photos of Louis.