Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy Holidays!

Tis' the Season!  Meryl and I wish you all of the best holidays this year!

Merry Christmas!

Happy Hanukkah!

Happy New Year!

Happy Holidays to All!

We will continue our multi-part article, "It Isn't All Peaches and Cream" in two weeks.

Just in case you are disappointed in not finding a regular article, I will share a very helpful video that I recently came across about BACKING UP A MOTORHOME. Perhaps it will save your RV  from some damage.

Good Christmastide!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


The title for this article came to me early this past summer. It was during one of our trips in the Roadtrek and things were not going as we had hoped for, more due to the weather than anything else, but there had been some problems since the we had dewinterized the Roadtrek with the Roadtrek, traveling in an RV, and the weather up to that point and now looking back they just did not stop for all of 2014 right up to today. As I write this, which is about a week before you will be reading it, we have cancelled another trip because the weather this year is just not cooperating. Since the title came to me, this article has been playing out in my head more and more while we have been on each trip that we took this Spring, Summer, and Fall. I will now attempt to put all of this on paper and perhaps at the same time this will be as much an exercise in self-exploration as it is a review of a year of RVing that at best can be described as a whole as fair. Overall, this may be a look on the dark side. Maybe in the end, not, but I am taking you along with me and we shall see. Oh, yes, this will never be able to be done in one article so I will just keep on going with it until it is done and it will be divided up into parts, and right now I don't know how many.

So why "It isn't all peaches and cream!"? Well it actually started as "It ain't all peaches and cream" but in my respect for the many teachers and professors who taught me how to write - some of which I purposely ignore at times - I decided that I would change that "ain't" to "isn't". The peaches and cream part comes from a game that I played most of the summer on my tablet. When several levels were completed a little voice would speak out and say - "It's all peaches and cream!". Well, I  completed a level sitting in the Roadtrek and I heard this and with the mood that I was in I said out loud answering the voice in the game - "No, it isn't!" and thought to myself, "It ain't all peaches and cream!"

OK - so we go now all the way back to the Spring and dewinterizing. Dewinterizing started out well until we got to the same point that we have problems with every year when dewinterizing the Roadtrek. We come to flushing the sanitizing bleach out of the tanks with clean water and when we go to fill the rear tank - remember, the 190 has two fresh tanks - as soon as we start the water flowing into the empty tank, it backs up the fill tube and comes rushing out the opening. This has been consistent - year after year. In past years, after a few tries and a few tricks the water would start flowing in normally. We tried all of the tricks that we have - all of which are written down to carry over to the next year to "remember to" when filling the rear tank - and this year nothing worked. What seems to happen is that there is a massive gas bubble in the tank, perhaps from the chlorine bleach and water mix used to sanitize. We stopped trying and I came in to start researching what the problem might be and what to do about it. Asking on the forums and groups was not leading to anything. I did find some discussions on general RV forums that talked about similar problems - not necessarily relating to sanitizing - but with tanks that would not fill from the top. I tried then using the city water with the valve turned to fill to fill the rear tank - but that also did not work. I had figured that the water would go in from the bottom of the tank - or wherever that connection is in the rear tank and push the air/gas? up out of the open fill hole and clear it. That did not work either. I went back to those discussions and someone had commented about using a small hose to reach the bottom of the tank and fill from the bottom up that way - slowly. By this point it was much to late to do anything until the next day. We went out the next day to buy fittings to be able to take 1/4" inner diameter plastic tubing and connect a water hose connection to it. We found the brass fittings in Home Depot and came home with them. Just in case, I tried filling the rear tank as I had the day before and the water came right back up at me. There was still a problem. Time had not corrected it. I assembled the gizmo, added a shut off valve between it and the water hose, turned on the water to run slow and pushed the tube down to the bottom of the rear tank. As a safety precaution - I did not want to have the tube come off the fitting and be lost forever in the tank - I made the tube longer than it needed to be and kept more than a foot of the tube outside the Roadtrek. The water flowed and I waited to see if anything was coming back up and out. It didn't. It took a lot longer to fill this way but it filled. The gas/air? bubble in the tank had plenty of room to come up and out of the fill while the water displaced it. That was the good part - it worked. Getting there was more effort than it should have been.

One crisis resolved just to be followed by another shortly after. With the dewinterizing done and the tanks full we started testing out that all was well - especially as we had an appointment at dealer service to change the oil in the Onan generator in a couple of weeks and should there be anything wrong we did not want to have to make two trips to Pennsylvania. As it was I had two things I wanted them to do in addition to the oil change, and one thing to check. Meryl is the one who can get down on the floor and deal with valves, etc. She has told me that one of the bypass valves on the hot water tank has always been hard to turn. She said now that when she turned it this time it was very hard to turn. With the water in the tank and all supposedly good to go, she went down to close the door of the cabinet with the hot water tank and said that there was water on the floor. I managed to get down there and looked and there was water coming out of the base of that valve. We shut the valve and put the hot water tank back in bypass. Luckily, the valve closed without leaking. I was not going to attempt any plumbing on the Roadtrek myself and this had to be brought to dealer/service to take care of. We called the service center and added one more thing to the list for them to take care of when we came. What happened to the valve? Perhaps it froze during the winter or perhaps it was never right as it was always hard to turn and just finally gave out. I don't know.

Our first trip of the season was that trip to the dealer for service on the Roadtrek.As I had written about in June, this was not an overnight trip and that trip in June was the first real trip, but never the less we were out on the road with the Roadtrek for the first time in 2014 in April when we went for service. By now there was a list of things to be taken care - the oil change on the Onan, I wanted the filter that I devised to keep the water valve on the toilet clear of debris installed, the hot water tank valve had to be replaced, the outside shower would leak whenever the hose was attached to it, and I wanted them to replace the back up camera with a new camera that I had received from Roadtrek as the original camera from the first never had a clear picture and that picture just got worse and worse until it was unusable. They had the whole list in advance and the service was scheduled with their Roadtrek trained technician. I have written about going for service before. We drive 125 miles which takes with traffic three hours. We arrive as close to noon as we can and then wait while the work is done - usually four to five hours which we spend in their shop, looking at RVs on the sales floor, and walking to a shopping plaza about a half mile away where there is a Home Depot, a Staples, a dollar store, and a supermarket. It is not an entertaining way to spend the time but tolerable - once a year. We went over the list and we went off. We got a call to come back at 4:30. Two things had not been done. One they wanted to show us as it was apparently not a problem. That was the outside shower. They said that there is a weep hole in the place where the hose is attached to release pressure when the shower hose is connected and it is turned on. This was what appeared to us to be a leak. Since water spurts everywhere when that hose is connected and the shower is on, it did not seem right to us. The inside shower is basically the same fixture and does not do this. I have to wonder why this is necessary on the outside shower but they showed us the tiny hole that is "supposed" to be there. OK.

The other thing that was not done was the camera. One day I will tell here the entire tale of the camera. It is not to be told yet. What I will tell you now is what transpired on this day. Here is the Roadtrek service technician at the dealer telling me that the removal of the old camera and installation of the new camera is a problem because he has to remove the vent section that sits on the rear of the roof over the back of the air conditioner. The camera wires go from the camera that is installed over the cargo doors in the middle of the van, with wires that go into that vent, are attached with a putty to hold them down on the base and then go into a putty filled hole in the driver's side of the roof and inside the roof where they connect, apparently right there with the wires that go all the way to the dash and radio. The connection he tells me is not the problem. The problem is that in his "experience", as he put it, when he has taken off these vents in Roadtreks he generally finds that the screws that hold it in place have rusted solid and they sometimes will and sometimes will not remove from the plastic grommet nuts that they are secured to. If he should find that the screws are as he anticipates, the job takes hours and he never does a job like this unless he has all day. He said that he would not even attempt it unless he had a day to do it. I said that I could not understand how in three years it could possibly be that bad - and I have seen other Roadtrek owners talking about removing this vent and working on the inside of it with no problems at all. But he was insistent. He also said that when I do come back for the job he needed it first thing when they opened and before I came I should make sure they had the grommet nuts that would need to be used should the ones there need to be drilled out to get the screws out. He had them right then while we were standing there, but they are not always available.  I asked if we came back the next morning - we could find a place to stay for the night even though we had not been prepared for it - and that means with all of the medications, etc. required each day. He said no as he was booked the next day. Now, I had never asked if this was warranty work or not,but assumed that it was likely not and that I would be paying to have the new camera installed. Until this moment, that was fine. Now I started realizing that if this was an all day job, the labor would cost me more than I was able to spend. This was another big disappointment in the tale of the back up camera. I have had no decent use of the camera since the first few months and have gotten by without it. Given the tale, yet untold, it was unbelievable.

By then it was near 6 pm and we paid the bill which was a lot more than I had figured it would be and we headed back the three hours toward home. We had no more leak from the hot water tank and that was a good thing. My filter was installed and that too was good. I still had no camera and that was more than not good in my mind. For that day it was not all peaches and cream.

There is the whole year yet to come.

End of Part 1.