Week 831-832 - A Bump in the Road - 07-24-2022

A Bump in the Road

A few years ago Pete's sister, Donnalee, was looking to buy a motorhome. One day she called crying. She had found the motorhome of her dreams. It had a light and airy interior as shown in the online photos. After driving many hundreds of miles to see it, the interior was not light, the photos were deceptive. As Pete heard her story, he said "It's okay, because after you buy a motorhome, you'll cry everyday!"

Motorhomes (RVs) are complex and need a lot of maintenance. It's a truck and a house with moving walls. It uses city water and an on-board water system. It has A/C power and D/C power with converters and inverters to go back and forth. It has propane heat and electric heat pumps. It has TVs, radios, CD, tank level gauges and other electronics. The curtains are usually day shades and night shades. There are a hundred things to learn how to use, or how to diagnose if they fail.

So we often head to Eugene, Oregon where there are dozens of RV repair shops.

Pete has been a computer programmer and data analyst for 55 years. As such we have meticulous records about the MotherShip. We made notes starting with the day of purchase. And anything we learn about the motorhome, we add to the file. Here were the beginning notes.

Coach Info
    2006 Monaco Diplomat PAQ
    Coach No #166148 Account 1027040
    Vin No: 1RF43464X62040280
    Cummins ISL400 Part CPL1096 S/N 46569517
    Allison 3000MH Part E012544 S/N 6510620621
    Purchased New 4-5-2006

Misc Notes
    Zoro.com epdm rubber no G8647396 1/8 x 6 x 36 adhesive back
    Step lube Kimball Midwest 80-925
    GE Silicone 100% for caulking

Any maintenance performed by us or a repair shop is added to the file. Some items Pete fixed are trivial, such as tightening loose screws. Others are more complex, repaired by various RV shops. Here is a sample of the current 377 items in the maintenance list. This averages about two repairs per month. So yes, there are bumps in the road. The joy of life is in how you handle the bumps. Is it something to whine about or is it just a complex motorhome? We choose the latter.

Here is a sample of 13 of the 377 maintenance items (as of July 2022). Each shows the type, date, mileage and resolution.

Maintenance History
  Scheduled Maintenance or Note or New item
F Failure after use
M Manufacturing error, weak component
A Accident

(Most recent repairs)
F 07-19-22 142851 Pete: replace water pump: Shuflo 4008-101-E65
F 07-18-22 142851 Mid-Lane Truck: replace leaking pass. side axle seal $662
F 07-15-22 142833 Elite RV: fix clicking driver side rear slide $338
F 07-12-22 142788 Mid-Lane Truck: repair exhaust gasket leak, lube, check coolant, start seal leak $1342
F 06-30-22 142581 Pete: screw in pass side slide wall panel
(Summer of 2021 repairs)
F 08-23-21 137322 EliteRV: replace floor on flat floor
A 08-20-21 137305 RV Glass, replace windshield #5
F 08-17-21 137292 Armstrong RV Replace gray/black tank valves, check front step sensor, $456
F 07-19-21 135867 Pete/Chad: build new refrigerator stand
(New purchase repairs)
F 04-09-06   2576 Pete: Ceiling light flickers, fuse out on visors
  04-07-06   2221 Pete: Water pump not pumping: open drains and it started pumping
M 04-05-06   2182 DeMartini: Torn screen, stuck fantastic fan fixed
  04-05-06   2182 Pickup at De Martini's, (Grass Valley CA)

On the way from Bend to Eugene, we stopped over at the Elks Lodge in Prineville, Oregon.

And the next day at the Springfield, Oregon Elks Lodge.

Mid-Lane Truck & RV Repair in Eugene is a full service facility for engine and "chassis". Jeff's crew does great work and costs less than the "big boys" like Cummins. We have used Cummins many times with good service and will again, but they are top dollar. Mid-Lane repaired a leaking (whistling) exhaust, which is a common problem with our Cummins ISL 400 diesel engine.

The next day we got a free check up from Source Engineering in Veneta. They are 15 miles east of Eugene. Source installed our Ride Enhancement Kit in November 2020. They provide chassis service especially for Monacos but also for other brands. As ex-Monaco employees they have decades of knowledge. That night we stayed at the Eugene, Oregon Elks Lodge.

Then off to Harrisburg, Oregon, about 18 miles north. Elite is a full service shop for the "coach" portion of motorhomes. Also, ex-Monaco employees, they have decades of knowledge. They can answer any questions we have about the MotherShip. Elite repaired all our slides in April 2021. Unknown to us the World Athletics Championships were happening in Eugene during our repairs. As such it was next to impossible to get an RV park site. While we only needed a half day of service, Elite allowed us to stay for four days with hookups!

And as so often happens, we were able to meet friends close by. Eric and Stephanie are the children of Paul, a best friend to Ellen and Pete. Eric lives in Portland, Stephanie in New York. But, as our luck has it, Stephanie was visiting Eric. We met in Salem and spent the evening for dinner at Amadeus. We love them both like our own kids. And, really love Eric, as he bought dinner!

Pickleball abounds in Eugene at Meadow Park. Play is competitive. We played two days with new friends and one day with Patty from Prineville. Not so amazing, some players know our PB friends from Arizona.

Now, back to the World Athletics Championships. These are for track and field competitors from around the world. Because of this event, all the RV parks and hotels in the area are full. We needed to return to Mid-Lane Truck to repair a rear axle oil leak. Mid-Lane said they might need the MotherShip for two days and we could not stay overnight if true. With all hotels full, we scoured for AirBnB locations. Prices were $200 and up and the $200 was in Lebanon which is 50 miles to the north. But, lo and behold, we found a off-the-grid tiny house in Veneta for just $60 and a few miles away. Even though we might not need it, we booked it so as to not sleep in the car if the MotherShip was not available. Funky, is a good word for this tiny house. Derek, the host, was great. Quick communication and ready to assist. It was tiny but complete. Kitchen, composting toilet and instant-hot shower.

A little couch downstairs and loft bedroom with a very vertical ladder.

Outside your space was shared by friendly dogs and llamas. Mandy wasn't having any and sat in the car projecting "get me out of here!"

As it turned out the MotherShip was ready in one day. Ahhh, back to our own bedroom and bathroom, which is one of the huge joys of traveling in an RV.

Those were our bumps in the road for this week. Oops, forgot one. Upon returning to the MotherShip, the on-board water pump was not working. So the next day we purchased a new Shurflo pump and Pete installed it. Oops, did we mention that our entry step will not retract. It as been intermittent for several years and now decided to just "hang out". A tragedy? No. It is just a way to make new friends as people honk at us everyday to let us know. One man at a traffic stop, even jumped out of his truck to come back to tell us. People are great, we love the people we meet, even for a few seconds.

Consider it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4

With love, Pete, Ellen and Mandy

Photos from July 2022

The Full Time Motorhome Living Guide

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