Monday, May 24, 2021

What Have We Been Up To?

     It's been several weeks since my last blog entry. The repair work on the coach at the Freightliner shop in Ringgold, Georgia, just outside of Chattanooga, Tennessee, took much longer than expected. The delay was due to the fact that one of the parts needed to complete the repair was nowhere in the Freightliner network inventory. On Friday, April 16 we finally got the call from Premier Truck Group letting us know the part had arrived and our coach would be ready that afternoon. Not wanting to make the entire 600 mile drive in a single day, for both the dog's and our sakes, we packed a bag with the few things we would need for a night spent in a hotel and hit the road. Travelling a little over 400 miles, we spent Friday night at the Holiday Inn in Bristol, Tennessee - a very nice, very pet friendly hotel just off Interstate 81 on the Virginia/Tennessee state line. 

     It would have been a relatively short 180ish mile drive to Ringgold Saturday morning if not for the hellacious two-plus hour traffic jam. We never did see the accident as traffic was ultimately diverted off the interstate and along a long, winding country road detour. We arrived at our destination around 4pm.

     I paid the $4600 bill at the service desk and asked if it would be okay if we spent the night in their parking lot (connected to their 50 amp electrical service). I was told that would be just fine and that she would let security know what was going on. As it turned out, there were two other occupied RVs in the lot and I chatted briefly with one owner before we pulled out Sunday morning. Upon completion of their repairs they planned to head for some sort of festival in Pennsylvania. I can't recall just what sort of festival it was, but I do remember him telling me it is the largest of it's kind.


    We spent Sunday night at Anchor Down RV Resort in Dandridge, Tennessee - a very nice resort where we've stayed once before during a homeward-bound cross-country trip...

    ...and Monday night at the KOA in Natural Bridge, VA, where we have stayed a few times in the past.


    For some time now Suzanne and I have been planning to sell our townhouse in Northern Virginia and move a bit further out into the country - perhaps closer to our daughter and her family in the Frederick, MD area. It's a beautiful, rural part of the state - only about an hour drive from where we currently live but much more bucolic and serene and not too much more distant from our son and daughter-in-law in DC. Our plan was to start the ball rolling on getting the townhouse ready to sell upon our return from Ringgold - and since our return, have been docked in the parking lot of the 176 acre one-time-golf-course that my daughter and son-in-law purchased a year or so ago and where we spent a few weeks in the coach late last year before heading west on our most recent cross-country journey. It's a great place to stay! Complete with 50 amp electric, sewer and water hookups! We've been here since returning from Georgia, making several trips to the townhouse to prepare it to sell. 

    And there's more!


    My daughter and her husband have had their eye on a particular piece of property, a working sod farm on which sits a beautiful house and a small tenant house. They asked if we would be interested in becoming business partners, purchasing the property with them and continuing its operation. We could live in the tenant house, they in the main house (hey, we'd only be 25% partners, it's only fair), be close to them and our grandchildren and have a place to park the coach under cover when we're not on the road! 


     We signed the papers a few weeks ago and our townhouse just went on the market - a very hot market. I'm anticipating a quick sale.


     The old 176 acre golf course is soon to be 176 acres of corn. Actually it's already 176 acres of corn. The stalks aren't very tall yet.



    Upon arriving at Anchor Down RV Resort it had become immediately apparent that the coach's landing gear/leveling system wasn't working. Luckily our site was pretty level as was our site at Natural Bridge the next night. The parking lot at the golf course however, isn't quite as level and I had to use blocks to keep us on an even keel. I made an appointment at an RV repair facility in Manassas, VA for 5/15 (it was their earliest opening) with the hope of possibly diagnosing and making the repair myself in the intervening weeks. I called HWH, the manufacturer of the leveling system and was put on what turned out to be a 3 week tech call-back list. It was worth the wait. Frank, the tech was very knowledgeable, spending about 30 minutes walking me through a series of diagnostic steps and finally telling me what he was almost sure the problem was. I ordered a new control unit (MIOM) and conversion pigtail for $600 and crossed my fingers hoping that Frank had made the correct diagnosis and that I would be up to the task of replacing these rather intimidating looking gadgets. 
      A couple days later the parts arrived and I set about removing the old unit and installing the new. As I said, it was a little intimidating but I took my time cutting, soldering and heat-shrink wrapping the 32 pigtail wires. There were a few issues with rusted solenoid nuts and connections but once everything seemed to be properly installed I fired up the Cummins I6, dumped air and hit the auto level button on the touch pad to the left of the driver's seat. All the appropriate lights began flashing and the leveling system came to life. Yes!! Thanks Frank!


      It's nesting season for the abundant bird population here in corn country and what I think is a starling decided the coach's engine compartment would be the ideal place to start a family. I removed one nest, then another (along with two eggs) and bungeed a tarp over the louvered engine/radiator access door figuring that was the end of it. It wasn't. There's a gap at the top of the door that apparently allowed enough room for a third attempt. 

     Yesterday I removed nest #3 (and 3 eggs), pressure washed the entire area blasting the bird s%$# covered rear end of the coach and stuffed the area in which the birds were nesting with aluminum foil. My brother, on my sister's advice, tried this method at his house with good results. Fingers crossed. I felt bad about the eggs but we're thinking about doing some traveling in the next week or two and I'd rather dispose of them now than have to displace a trio of little peepers.

     Not much else going on. Frequent & fun grandkid visits, minor maintenance/repair jobs on the coach. There's a 25' flagpole here and I've been having fun ordering and flying various novelty flags.
The weather is getting warmer and with everything on the coach working as designed (for the time being anyway)... the road is calling.  

   Thanks for checking out the blog!



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