Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Second Day

The second day of owning the Roadtrek- after a sleepless night (not to the fault of the Roadtrek).

A little after nine I gave up the idea of sleeping and got up. We needed to get unhooked and everything outside put away anyway and we had to get to the dealer to have him fix what had to be fixed including the TV which I tried for another hour that morning to get a signal to lock without success.

Dressed and outside I went in to pay the lady at the campground for our night- which normally would have been done when we arrived. I paid her and asked about the digital TV reception there. She told me that it is very strong. She gets strong signals in her home which is there at the campground and also that the RV a few spaces down from us gets 19 strong and clear channels without putting up an antenna. I told her that I could not get any. She got a little angered as if I was saying that what she was telling me was not true. I quickly told her that I did not doubt her but I wanted to know because I thought there was something wrong with the TV or antenna in my new RV. She suggested that I have it looked at because I should have at least gotten the Lancaster channel that is just eight miles away. I thanked her and went out to unhook.

I wanted to dump our sewerage tank and our "gray water" tank (that is the sink and shower water tank). I needed to make sure that worked. To do that I had to get those tanks full as they are not to be dumped without at least being 2/3s full. I started running the faucet and flushing the toilet. We were getting no where fast. I filled a gallon jug outside at another campsite's spigot and dumped that down the toilet and the sink. This took over an hour before we had filled the tanks to be able to dump it all right then and there. The black tank monitor panel went from a third full to full - we never saw the 2/3 light. And once full you should see all the lights on. The 2/3 led remained dark. There was something else to tell the dealer service.

We were ready to dump. With thoughts of Robin Williams and the movie RV in both of our comments we set that up. And it was the easiest thing that we did. The two tanks dumped. There was no terrible odor when we opened the CG sewer pipe and it was all fairly clean. Rubber gloves are worn at all times, of course! Now, our friend, the salesman, told us to close the blank tank before opening the gray tank and draining that. This went against all that I had read, but we did it his way - which is wrong (of course).

Meryl called the salesman to tell him that we were coming back and what was wrong. We had a list. He started to tell her to make an appointment and come back. I did not make the call as she can control herself much better than I can when I am angry. She told him again as I had before the sale and during the sale and during the delivery, that we were here on this day because we could not make the 400 mile round trip with 150 dollars in gas and tolls for two vehicles back again. OK- he said get here as fast as possible. As fast as possible is an hour and a half.

We left the campground with Meryl driving the Roadtrek following me in the SUV back to the dealer. Not only was the day unseasonably warm but it was forecast for severe storms and the sky showed it. I kept hoping that the rain would hold off - maybe to tomorrow. It was almost Noon when we got on the road heading northeast to the dealership service center. We made our way to the turnpike and moved along in convoy. I was pumping with adrenalin which was good because it would be later that afternoon before I would be able to eat lunch. We don't eat breakfast and I maintain a pretty close schedule of meals due to my Diabetes. As I drove, I watched behind me to make sure that Meryl and the Roadtrek were in sight. We were able to keep close together most of the trip which is good because the dealer is not located off a main road and the GPS in my car was taking us through back roads to get us there once we got off the parkway. Along the way, Meryl called the salesman again - as he had asked her to when we were close to arrival. We pulled into the service center lot at almost two that afternoon. The sky was thick with storm clouds but it had not rained.

Inside we told the service desk what was wrong. They were expecting us. She took the keys, filled out her forms, and asked where we would be waiting. She took the cell number and would call us. We had the SUV and told her that we had to go and have lunch. As soon as we were about to walk out the door, there was a downpour. The rain came down fast and heavy. We made a run for the car and the rain stopped shortly after as fast as it started.

There is a Wendy's very close by and we drove over and sat down to lunch at almost 2:45 pm. I was just holding on at that point. The thing about adrenalin effecting your blood sugar is that when the stress level starts to subside you suddenly drop in blood glucose level to where you normally should be and if there has been no food that drop can be harsh. The drop happened at the restaurant and if it has to happen that is one of the better places for it to.

There is not a great deal to do in this area without traveling further than we wanted to go from the dealer. We walked around a Home Depot. Then we walked around a dollar store. From there we went into a Staples Office store. I really did not pay much attention to anything that we walked past in these stores as my mind was on the Roadtrek. I was pretty sure that they were going to tell us that we had to leave it and come back another day to get it. That would mean 200 miles home and then 200 miles back with gas and tolls. I did notice, however, in the Home Depot how the wood was of so much better quality than the same wood sold at the Home Depot stores at home - but that is another story for another website. While we were aimlessly walking around Staples the phone rang. Come back and talk to us we were told. This did not sound good to me.

We rushed to the car and drove back. The Roadtrek was parked next to the service building. We went inside and were told that a service rep would come out and talk to us. He came out and took us outside to the Roadtrek. He told us that he filled the black tank and it showed 2/3 fill on the monitor lights, insisting that it lit for him. Why it did not light for us he could not explain - and we will not know if this is truly fixed until the next time we fill that tank. He told us that he replaced the light bulb that had burned out in the hose compartment which we reported was not working. He showed us that it now worked. He took us into the TV and showed me the channels that he could tune in. He showed me a switch box that I already had changed to each setting while I was trying to tune in channels. He insisted that it was set wrong and look - there is TV. And yes there was.

I will stop the story here and jump ahead a few days back at home. We went out to the Roadtrek on the driveway to try to tune in TV channels. After a half hour of trying there was nothing tuning in. I am not unfamiliar with wiring and I started to trace the visible wires from the TV to the switch box to a splitter to the cable that went up to the ceiling toward the antenna. It did not look right to me and it wasn't. The switch box has two inputs and an output and that output goes to the TV. One input is the antenna and the other is for cable service. The connector for the cable service was plugged into the OUTPUT to the TV and the cable that should have gone to the TV was plugged into one of the inputs on the two way switch. There was NO wire with a signal going to the TV. Digital TV channels can be pulled in and tuned with a wire alone acting as an antenna providing the signal to be decoded is strong enough. Apparently, near the dealer, the signals are strong and he was tuning them in on the wire alone. No antenna was connected. For that matter, no cable service could have made its way to the TV either. I reversed the two wires on the switch. I started to scan for channels and they came in quickly and in quantity. So why didn't the service guy look at the box and find the problem?

Back to our story... The service center acknowledged that the front tires were out of alignment but they could not do the alignment there. I would have to take it to be aligned at home and they would get authorization from Roadtrek to pay for it. I was not thrilled with this. I was hoping to take this home all set and done, but there was nothing that could be done. They bid us good bye and off we went.

It was almost dinner time - even though it seemed that we just had lunch. We decided to go to a restaurant that we know near Philadelphia that was easy to park at and we headed south. We had the walkie-talkies working so that we could communicate. Before we left the area we stopped for gas to fill up both vehicles. The Roadtrek has used a quarter tank of gas in the day we had it. For the four hours of driving that it did I suppose that is not bad. Just to be sure we were in good communication as we would be traveling now to the restaurant on unfamiliar roads, I changed the batteries in the walkie-talkies. Right after I did along the road they stopped working. Of course. We stopped to try to fix them and got them working again with another set of batteries and off we went.

We arrived at the restaurant, had dinner and started on our way home. The trip home was uneventful until we got to the Veranzano Bridge. A heavy fog came over the roadway and the wind was picking up a heavy mist from the ocean and tossing it on the road and the cars. It was very difficult to see out the windshield and everything was being covered with salt water. I have never really seen anything like that before. I have, of course, driven in fog, but never where it was like waves crashing over the side of a ship on the deck. We got over the bridge and move on. The next highway that we needed to take is under construction and the lanes have been narrowed. I watched the wide Roadtrek in my rearview mirror making its way through these tight lanes. Meryl told me later that it really was no problem. The Roadtrek has a very distinct light pattern on top and in the dark - and in the fog it looked like a large truck on this narrow-laned road. At one point I looked in my mirror and wondered what that mac truck was doing on this road and then I realized it was the Roadtrek. There is a point now that we had to get off the highway and take the streets because the continuation of the highway to our home has overpasses on the road that are too low for the 8'9" height of the Roadtrek. We both got off the road where we knew we had to. We have practiced taking this new route several times before and it would be no problem - unless there was an accident on the road almost to home and we both had to weave slowly around the police cars and tow trucks which did not leave very much room to drive through. I could see the RT making these really tight turns and thought to myself that we came all this way to have it damaged not four miles from home. It got through fine and we arrived home at almost 11. I was exhausted. Remember that I had not slept and the frenzy of the past two days was taking its toll on me. I had looked forward to what should have happened on this day. I had planned some sight seeing and some fun things that we like to do in Lancaster County. While we had a great dinner, I had planned dinner in our favorite restaurant. Well, we were home and the Roadtrek was now ours. And now, I would have to find someplace to have it aligned in an area where no one has ever seen such a vehicle...

1 comment:

  1. Hi,
    We went through the back and forth with Roadtrek and Dodge on a number of issues, first of all being alignment. It is very convenient for both manufactures to use the other guy as justification not to fix something. I am sure you will get it all worked out.

    I just want to warn you about something I experienced at a dealership in Los Angeles that could have happened anywhere due to them not working on vans of that design much or at all. I luckily was watching a tech drive the van into a bay to remove oil (he had overfilled during an oil change- unbelievable). He seemed to be having a problem getting it to work on the lift so he decided to back out and move to another bay I guess. He came within 7 or 8 inches of taking out the whole plumbing system below the van with part of the lift that he forgot to put down. Only my yelling and running stopped the destruction. Ours was an older design but even now on Roadtreks there is a lot hanging under there that could get damaged. Another dealer bent some support pieces underneath when doing a brake job. I finally got so fed up that I just did everything myself. If anyone is going to use a lift rather than a pit or jacks, I suggest watch them like a hawk!