Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Trip Without a Challenge? Part 1: The Service Appointment

We have not taken many trips in our Roadtrek since we got it in April and it seems that all but one trip - our trip during Fourth of July weekend has faced us with some type of challenge. In April, our first overnight trip, it was the various things that we found wrong after delivery - and this required an immediate trip back to the dealer for service to correct - or try to correct what was wrong from the factory. The second trip - Fourth of July - to my recollection was fine. The third trip was our long, summer vacation trip, and on that trip we discovered that the tank sensors on our black tank do not work, so we thought that we needed to empty that tank every two days when in actuality it was not even a third full. That trip also brought us into an earthquake, a freak storm on I95, and a hurricane that caused us to cut the trip two days short. We then took a trip to Pennsylvania for the Hershey RV show and before that trip a tropical storm came up the coast and flooded much of Pennsylvania - and during that trip we had a leak in our toilet valve that resulted in an immediate trip to the service center at the dealer to stop our own flood inside the Roadtrek. After our summer vacation trip I contacted dealer service to make an appointment to have the black tank sensors inspected and repaired. That service appointment was made to coincide with a trip to Pennsylvania that we used to do every year for my wife's birthday at the end of October.

I made reservations at Old Mill Stream Campground in Lancaster, PA for that weekend. We would go for the service appointment on Thursday and after that drive over to Lancaster and start a nice and relaxing four night, five day mini-vacation. I was really looking forward to this trip and a chance to just enjoy the Roadtrek.

A few weeks before the trip we took the Roadtrek to the local dump station to empty the waste tanks that were still full from our interrupted trip in September to the RV show. The plan has been to dump the tanks the last day of that trip, but if we did that we would never have made it to the show so we just left them semi-full. At the dump station, when we opened the exterior door that covers the two dump valve handles, I found the grey handle sticking out about half way. I tried pushing it in all of the way to close it but it just sprung back out. Several tries resulted in the same thing. We went ahead and dumped the black tank and it seemed to take an unusually long time to empty. When done, I pushed that handle closed and pulled the grey handle out all of the way - almost nothing came out of the grey tank. The monitor panel showed it as empty. It had been 2/3 full before we started. Hmm. Evidently, with that handle out half way, the gate valve was open half way and the grey emptied with the black. I pushed the handle in the close it and this time it went in to about an inch sticking out. Again, when I tried pushing it in all of the way, it sprung back out. Great - another problem.

I contacted the service center and informed them that there was an additional problem that needed to be attended to when we came for our service appointment at the end of the month. Let me take a moment right here to say that the people at the service center are especailly nice and try to be as accommodating as they can. They are always pleasant and friendly.

There would be no problem dealing with the grey tank valve when we come, however, since when we travel from home to the service center it takes us about three hours or more to get there - depending upon traffic, there may be a time problem in being able to fix everything. We generally make appointments for one o'clock hoping to get there earlier. I was told that we may need to keep the Roadtrek there overnight so that it could be worked on again the next day. Now, we had a new problem. At best what we would have to do is have them put it all back together at the end of the first day so that we could travel the hour and a half down to Lancaster to stay at the campground with our reservation, and then travel back the hour and a half plus gas and tolls, to go back again late in the morning, for them to finish the work. Another new challenge. The question was, would the Roadtrek be able to be put back together to allow us to go ahead and back? And this meant spending two days at the dealer - with no way to go anywhere but on foot in a location with nothing to do but visit the Home Depot, the Giant Supermarket, and the Staples Office store, all of which are the only things within walking distance. So much for my idea of a relaxing weekend.

I had the idea that perhaps, if we could get there the night before, we could stay in the parking lot of the service center. They had mentioned to me once that they had electrical outlets to hookup outside. We contacted them back and suggested this. Good idea. In one day they could do all of the repairs - and there were two outlets outside if we wanted to hook up. Since we carry our own water, all that we needed was the electricity to power the Roadtrek for heat, light, and television to stay the night.

All was set, perhaps, the challenge that this trip was presenting so far was averted...

NEXT WEEK - PART 2: The Day of Service

1 comment:

  1. wow, Am looking at roadtreks on Sunday. My partner and I are looking at the 190 popular 2012. we are first time campers as well. Your blog has been VERY VERY helpful! I will keep checking up on you two!!