Borrego Springs, CA

Friday, September 30, 2011

This is really getting to me.

I think I’m generally a pretty upbeat person, but I have to admit that today I’m really feeling tired of all this brake stuff.  The repair facility is frustrated because the insurance company has not given the okay to order the needed computer board.  They came to me this morning and asked if I would consider calling the insurance company and complaining about the delays since they had tried everything they could to get them to move on this case.  I did and reiterated to them the litany of events since Sept. 12.,  and my circumstances of having to live in a parking lot for the last three weeks.  I’m afraid  I was close to breaking down and my voice was rather shaky as the stress from the last three weeks came boiling up inside me.  I won’t go into all of the details of that conversation, but I’m very disappointed that it changed nothing, and no decision will be made until next week. 

I think the fact that it is once again pouring rain outside for the sixth day in a row isn’t helping my mood any.  I just want this to be over with.  Sorry this is such a downer tonight.  I just needed to vent my frustrations a little to someone. 

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Encountered another character today

A number of commenters to my recent posts have expressed that they would be very upset with the service I have received here, and would be throwing a fit to speed things up.  Well, to begin with, I am basically a non-confrontational person, and have found that best for my well being and blood pressure.  Secondly, I really don’t think I’ve been treated poorly here.  I have a different opinion of my stay at Brown and Brown in Illinois.  Here at Austgen, they have upgraded their diagnostic system (at their cost) in order to solve my problem.  Yes, there have been screw ups by the shipping company, but I think that was out of their control.  Once the system arrived, they immediately began working on the rig.   The extended warranty people then put a halt on progress until their inspection this afternoon. 

When I expressed my concerns about using a forklift to get the tanks drained this afternoon, they did it without the forklift.  The entire shop went into motion to assure a favorable outcome.  I won’t go into those details.  Now it is a matter of waiting for the extended warranty decision.  Am I looking through rose colored glasses at this experience?  Perhaps, but I’m a pretty down to earth person, and though it has been frustrating being stuck in this parking lot, I recall what the manager told me the first day, “We will not allow you to be hauled out of here by a wrecker, you will leave under your own steam and safely head to Texas!”  Enough said about that.

There was a knock at my door this evening around 5:30.  (the shop closes at 3:30 and most everyone is gone by 4:00)  There was a man at the door asking if I knew any way to contact the business. 


He had arrived in this vehicle, and I thought he was an exterminator.  Not so.  He was supposed to start work here today, and had gone off the road and gotten stuck on his way here.  It turned out that he had all of his mechanic tools in the back of this truck, and was hoping to drop them off.  He has been out of work for four months and really needed this job.  He didn’t have a cell phone, and asked if I could call the owner to explain his predicament. 

He had borrowed the truck from some union to haul his tools.  Apparently, besides his tools, there was a big inflatable rat in the back that is used along picket lines.


He told me unions were very big in this area.  I had noticed this bumper sticker on an electrical post where I take Emma for walks.  I also heard way more information about his life than I needed to know.  We were able to contact an owner, and he will try again for the job tomorrow.  There was another guy that wanted to talk to me in the pouring rain this afternoon about my being from South Dakota while the warranty inspector guy was here.  How is it I meet these unusual people?  Egad!

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Interjection signifying exhaustion, weariness, resignation, overwhelm, sorrow, or frustration, generally used by those of Scandinavian (particularly Norwegian descent).
Having lived 13+ years in Minnesota, and being of Swedish decent, I have often used this word/phrase.  As in “Uff-dah! I might be in this parking lot another week?!?”  Please, say it isn’t so!  Well, they couldn’t say it wasn’t so, and here are the reasons.
IMG_3482Yesterday, the computer program to analyze the rig’s systems arrived, and the president of the company installed it on their laptop and came into the rig to set it up for use on reading the Adventurer’s innards.  That’s my tech, Ken, in the background.
It hooks into the rig somewhere under the steering wheel.  It took some tinkering, but they got it working, and the fault warnings began showing up.  To shorten the story a bit, they got different readings today than they got late yesterday which resulted in a call to the manufacturer’s tech department.  It was then determined that the motherboard computer in the rig is toast, and needs to be replaced.  Okay, let’s order the new board. 
In steps the extended warranty company.  They apparently don’t understand everything the tech, Ken, is telling them, so they have decided to send out their own inspector to see if the replacement is required.   (Uff-dah!)  That inspector will be here within 24 hours; meaning by late tomorrow afternoon.  Assuming they agree, the part will take 3-4 days to get here unless I would like to pay for overnight shipping fees.          (Uff-dah!)  Well, I’ve asked where the part is coming from.  If not too far away, I’ll compare the cost of me driving there to get it to the overnight shipping fee.  (I’ve had experience with those overnight fees last year)
Next, Ken and I discussed the fact that I have not dumped the holding tanks in 17 days, and pretty soon it’s going to be mandatory.  (Uff-dah!)  It has also been raining for three days straight, so I essentially haven’t left the rig.  So, the plan is for Ken to move the rig with a forklift tomorrow to the spot I can dump.   We have been playing that one by ear, since we all hoped I would be on the road by now.  Ah yes, the many      uff-dahs of fulltiming.  Confused smile
Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

Saturday, September 24, 2011

A walk, a harvest festival, and model trains.

Number one on my itinerary today was to get out of the house and parking lot.  My friend, Jack, who’s now in Deming,NM, emailed me today with a couple of suggestions of where I could take Emma (the gog) for an outing.  He even provided exact driving instructions.  So off we went this morning to find the very close by county park.  Turned out that the fee for non-residents was $8.  When I asked the gate attendant what the park had to offer, she was a little vague, so I opted not to pay that kind of a fee just to take Emma for a walk. 

Instead, I went a little further down the road to a parking lot for the Erie Lackawanna Rails to Trails path.


What a pleasant biking/running/walking path this is!

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There were still a few things blooming along the way, and some of the leaves have begun to turn.

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One of the nice things about this walk was that it was absolutely free.  Smile  One of the not so nice things about it is that it was obvious that many large dogs are also walked along this paved path, and their owners were negligent in cleaning up after them.  Free plastic bags are even provided on the trail for such purposes.  I just don’t understand that.


The trail winds along for a total of twenty miles.  We only did a couple of those miles this morning.  Even so, it took us a couple of hours for two reasons.  The first is that I brought my camera along, and that means lots of stops.  Secondly, a choice to do this on a Saturday morning was probably not the best decision.  I think half the people in northern Indiana were on that path this morning…jogging, walking, biking, and rollerblading.  Now throw the wild child into their midst, along with the squirrels and even a raccoon crossing our path, and the pleasant walk turned out to be a real workout for me trying to keep Emma in line.  It’s no wonder my right arm is stronger than my left.  Smile


My favorite pic today was finding this shy sunflower peeking out from behind a tree.  Anyway, when we got back to the car, I noticed a sign for the Griffith Harvest Festival that was happening today.  So, I dropped Emma off at the rig, and headed to that.  Now when I think of a harvest festival, I think of pumpkins, apples, maybe some tomatoes and corn.  Stuff like that.  Well, this turned out to be a craft fair.  I would normally have to be dragged to something like that.  I was very disappointed to say the least.  I did the whole thing in about a half hour, and headed back down the road.

63 On the way to Anahuac, 20117There was also a sign out for a model train show at the elementary school so I stopped to see what that was all about.  I found that much more enjoyable than the Harvest Festival.  SAM, that top left pic in the collage is for you.  Smile  Overall, it was a very good day today.

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

Friday, September 23, 2011

The beat goes on…

Well, my latest estimate is that the earliest I’ll be leaving the repair parking lot is next Wednesday.  Even though the needed diagnostic tool was ordered with overnight delivery on this Wednesday, someone at the shipping company screwed up, and it wasn’t sent out until today.  Since it’s Friday, that means it won’t be delivered until Monday.  Then, after the analysis, parts will no doubt have to be ordered.  The optimistic view is that they would arrive and be installed on Tuesday.  I’m not holding my breath. 

Since I dumped the tanks on Sept. 12th  and it is now the 23rd, the holding tanks are filling up, and the fresh water tank was on the low side of 1/3.  Austgen helped me fill the fresh water today, and on Monday, they will somehow get the rig to a dump station here.

IMG_3455This afternoon, I decided that since I’ll be here at least another five nights at this marvelous site, I was going to put out the DISH.  Might as well be able to doze off listening to the Walton's each night from shows I’ve DVR’d.  At least there aren’t any trees to obscure the satellite signal.  Smile

This little adventure has also been a learning experience for me as to how much I can do on 20 amps of electricity.  Turns out I can use the computer, run the fridge, have propane heat, and run the TV without blowing a fuse.  So far, so good.  I heat the water once a day on propane, and should be good as long as I get out of here before the snow flies.

I emailed Stephanie at Anahuac NWR today to let her know that an Oct. 1 arrival is very doubtful. 

IMG_3457I can’t wait to get there to change the view out my front window.  I’m also hoping that the 18 wheeler traffic will lessen through the parking lot because of the weekend.  Perhaps there will be an apple festival or something that Emma and I can attend this weekend.  I really need to find somewhere to take her on a long walk.  The patch of grass in front of this facility is just loaded with sand burrs, and she ends up limping along with one foot in the air each time I take her out.

My brother, Kurt, called me last night with a question about one of our ancestors.  He’s into genealogy, and I’m not.  I doubted I could help, but when he asked how adopted Great Uncle Herman lost his leg way back in the early 1900’s, I actually knew the answer…in a bicycle accident!  That’s why my mother was never allowed to have a bicycle growing up, and never learned to ride one.  My grandfather said she could have a pony, but not a bicycle.  I suppose in those days you could keep a pony in the back yard around Humboldt Park in Chicago.

Enough rambling for tonight!  Goodnight, John-Boy…

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Getting brakes off of my mind

Since it looked like I’ll be stuck here for at least another night, I decided to do something other than think about brakes today.  I met Robyn for lunch at Red Lobster to enjoy their unlimited shrimp campaign.  You can order as much as you like for $15.99, but a serving of two kinds of prepared shrimp was enough for me.  We had a great visit as well.  Robyn got a call to do a life vest fitting, so on my drive home I decided to stop at the Munster, IN, Community Veterans Memorial.

63 On the way to Anahuac, 20116I’ve visited a few Veteran’s Memorials along my travels, but this one was an especially memorable experience.  It seems each one of these memorials honors veterans in a unique way.  Munsing chooses to honor all veterans of the wars waged in the twentieth century.

63 On the way to Anahuac, 20112

The well groomed brick paved path begins with World War I, my grandparent’s war.  At each station along the path, you can punch a button for an oral history of the war complete with introductory music of the time, and ending with the cost in human lives of the conflict.

63 On the way to Anahuac, 20113Each stop has very moving sculptures depicting the times.  World War II was my parent’s war.  The narrative that accompanies each stop points out each of the things depicted and explains them.  I sat and listened to each one. 

63 On the way to Anahuac, 20114

It was quite windy today, and the clanging of the unknown soldier’s dog tags in the wind from the Korean War monument was especially eerie.

63 On the way to Anahuac, 20115Then, it was on to Vietnam, my generation’s war. 

IMG_3438 IMG_3439

I probably spent my most time here.

IMG_3440 IMG_3432

It’s never an easy visit for me to any of these veteran’s memorials.  My emotions just seem to bubble to the surface, but what an honorable place this was.

63 On the way to Anahuac, 20111

The Desert Storm memorial.

63 On the way to Anahuac, 2011

The future?  A young, proud boy holds his father’s army shirt and dog tags in his hand as he gazes through the broken glass to the future.  What will become of him?

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sleepless in Griffith

First I was too cold, than I was too hot.  Add to that the trains going by not too far away, and the seemingly constant 18 wheeler traffic that had to stop 20’ from my bedroom to wait for the gate to open, it’s not too surprising I slept poorly last night.  I’m hoping I’ll be exhausted enough tonight to not notice all the goings on.

Yes, you guessed it, I’m not out of here yet.  I’ll try to condense down what I learned today.  It seems there are four computers in the workings of my rig.  One is the Mother Board that the others ‘speak’ to.  The other three concern the braking system, the transmission system, and I’m afraid I can’t remember the other system.  Anyway, they’re not talking to each other.  The tech was unable to figure out which one is being standoffish.  It’s either the braking system computer or the mother board.  He needs to receive a new upload for his computer from Workhorse to determine which computer is being recalcitrant.  That, of course, won’t happen until tomorrow morning. 

I’m kind of hoping it’s the mother board (my name) since they have a brand new one right here.  If it’s the brake one, it will have to ordered, and I’ll sit and wait since there’s nothing else I can do. 

I’d like to take a moment and thank everyone for their comments on my latest challenge.  I especially appreciate  the humor some of you jokesters have passed along to me.  I get by with a little help from my friends, and a good chuckle is good for the heart and the soul.  Can you hear the blasts from that train?  It won’t be long before the trucks start their visitation!  Ugh.

The tech working on my rig helped me hook up to electricity today.  It took my 25’/50amp cord attached to a 25’/30 amp extension cord that I have, with a converter plug to 110 on the end.  It just made it to the plug.  I’m only going to run my fridge and computer off of it for the duration, but it beats running the generator and using up gas so much.  Am I correct in assuming that a 110 regular household outlet is the same as 20 amps?  It’s 86* in the rig right now, but I don’t dare turn on the AC. 

All my digits are crossed hoping that it will be a mother board replacement tomorrow morning so I can finally be on my way!

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

Monday, September 19, 2011

Brake problem–day 8

As it neared 9:00 this morning with no tow truck arriving, I wandered into the Brown and Brown office to see what was up.  I was greeted with, “How are you today?”  I said, “nervous.”  I was told I needed to call the roadside assistance number again, and tell them who I wanted to tow me, and where I  wanted to go.  What??  Of course, the emergency roadside tech told me I couldn’t do that.  THEY would decide who would tow me, and where I would go.  Ack!!  They said they would call me back.  Yeah right!  A little before 11:00, the original tow company showed up.  Turns out Coach Net called them, and yes, I was still going to Austgen Fleet Service in Griffith, IN.  Don’t you think they could have called me back, and told me that?  However, I’m happy to report that this second tow job will be fully covered by my policy.  Phew!

Then there was the adventure of once again following the tow truck.  Austgen Fleet Service was about 45 miles away, and it took us over two hours to get there.  At one point, the tow truck and my rig stopped in the right hand lane of a busy four lane road and stopped.  I immediately put on my flasher lights.  After several minutes, he started driving again.  Turned out he was lost!  After another three or four miles going around in what seemed like circles, we finally arrived at our destination.  The result of all this is that I am so turned around that I don’t know where I am. 

Of course, by the time we arrived, it was too late for them to look at my rig.  So, I’m in a new parking lot with no hookups until they can give the rig a look in the morning.  They do seem to know much more about the Workhorse chassis than B & B did.  I’ve got the generator running, but will have to wait until tomorrow for any more information.  It was about time I exercised the generator anyway.  Sarcastic smile

I think it’s time for a glass of wine…

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Playing the waiting game

After six days of not much progress on resolving my brake problems, I was getting a bit of cabin fever.  So, I sent an email off to JIM and Linda last night to see if they were up for a visitor today.  Last Monday, I was supposed to drive the rig to the campground they’re in for an overnight stay while heading south.  That obviously didn’t happen, and they’re pulling out on their winter journey tomorrow morning.  They said, “Come on down!”, so I did.  It was about a 67 mile drive to Rantoul, but at least it got me out of the parking lot. 

These folks have been fulltimers for more than ten years, and I’ve enjoyed previous visits with them.  If you remember, Linda and I have the same birthday, and we met for dinner in Sioux Falls in July while we were both there to get our driver’s licenses renewed.  As many of you know, meeting up with other RV bloggers is like just continuing an ongoing conversation.  I appreciated their willingness to let me vent about my frustrations this past week.  After a while, we headed out to Pizza Hut for lunch and more conversation, and then I was on my way back to the rig.  I’m sure they had plenty to do to get ready to hit the road tomorrow.  Wish I could say the same.  Shifty

Since I had time on my hands yesterday, I decided to check out the new blogger interface.  I’ve read mixed reviews on it from other bloggers.  Well, I gave it a try.  Everything is there from the old interface, just in a different location.  After tinkering with it for a bit, I’ve decided to stay with the new, and forget about the old.  I actually like the new list of latest posts that I read.  I think it gives a better preview of each post.  I really don’t think it’s much of a learning curve to switch. 

I do have a question for you techies out there though.  Why is it that I have the most bars on my air card than anywhere I’ve ever been, but it’s like a snail’s pace to open anything compared to when I’m out in the boonies with only one or two bars?  Uploading my posts with any pictures in them is hit or miss also with the full bars.  I don’t get it.  I thought having full bars would mean things would work faster. 

I’m sure glad I made the trip down to Rantoul today, as the rain has been almost constant, and we’re pretty much stuck inside.  I looked up where they are towing me to tomorrow, and it is not very far from Robyn’s house.  Go figure.  At least I should be able to get some laundry done there.  Smile  I haven’t told any of these facilities that I have a daughter in the area since I don’t want them to think I can wait around forever.  I’ve got my fingers crossed for positive results tomorrow.

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

Friday, September 16, 2011

Moving on down the road

Along about 5:30 this morning, I noticed that my little fan that I have on my bed stand wasn’t working.  I rolled over to check the time, and the clock was out.  The rig was pitch black… no nightlights.  Ugh.  The electricity had gone out.  I got up, got dressed, and staggered out the door with Emma.  I took my flashlight, and found our way out of the service building.  It seemed that Brown and Brown was the only place that was dark.  Eventually, the electric came back on about 7:00.  By that time, I had gathered what I needed out of the rig, and moved out to the car as the workers began showing up.  I decided I needed a change in scenery from the parking lot today.

_MG_3392Using my GPS, I found the state park about 10 miles away.  I needed to take Emma on a hike and decompress from the stress of this week.


There is a great, mostly paved, bike/hike trail that follows the Kankakee River for about 10 miles. 


We started out at the Rock Creek Bridge and went a ways that direction.


What a nice peaceful view from the middle of the bridge.  Rock Creek empties into the Kankakee River.  It was so peaceful walking through the woods that I nearly jumped out of my skin when I suddenly heard a male voice say, “Passing on the left!”  Two bicyclists were coming down hill upon me pretty quickly.  I must have looked like a deer caught in the headlights as I scrambled to get myself and Emma out of the way, because the cyclist said, “It’s okay, you’re alright.” 


As we headed back and went the other direction down the trail, we came upon an enjoyable overlook of the river.  I later figured out this is the handicapped fishing pier.  Even though it was a cloudy and chilly morning, being here refreshed me.

62 Pioneer Campground, IN summer20119

Another discovery along the way was the Smith Cemetery (notice how the sign is misspelled) in the park.  By what I could find, the earliest grave appears to be from 1844, and the most recent marker was from the 1870’s.  Most of the markers lie flat on the ground in cement.  I don’t know if that is how they did things in those days, or the markers were later placed that way.  I tried to pick up information at the visitor’s center, but it was closed for the season. 

Robyn didn’t have any Life Vest appointments today, so we were able to meet for lunch at another one of those little hotdog places found around Chicago, and both enjoyed an Italian Beef sandwich.  At this place you stood outside to order, and then sat outside or in your car to eat.  We chose the car since it was in the 50’s today.  I’m thinking it will be quite some time before I have another Italian Beef.

I’d like to report that my moving on down the road title means that the rig is all fixed, but I’m afraid it just isn’t so.  In this continuing saga of how Murphy’s Law works, Brown and Brown RV has thrown in the towel on trying to fix my brake problem.  It seems the brake business is not of the normal type that is done on  the Workhorse Chassis.  This repair place does not have the proper equipment to read the brand that was installed.  According to Rich, this is the type of brakes that are usually installed in upper level RV’s and they don’t have the equipment to analyze it.  Sigh Sad smile

So, what does that mean?  It means they VERY carefully drove my rig out of the service bay and placed it back out in the parking lot, with lots of wheel chocks, where I now have a 50 amp hookup for the weekend.  On Monday morning, a tow truck will arrive, and I’ll be towed back to a repair facility in Indiana that has the proper equipment.  Will I ever get back on the road to Texas?  Who knows.

I’m not going to let this all get me down, but my goodness, isn’t it someone else’s turn to deal with Murphy?   Any volunteers??  Sorry this post was so long; hope you made it to THE END!

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Quick and easy fix? NOT!!

By the time there was an open bay in the repair facility today, it was 2:30 in the afternoon.  The tech came over to reinstall the drive line (?), and then hopped behind the wheel to drive the rig into the shop.  He stepped on the gas and here’s what I heard next, “Holy shXX!  You don’t have any brakes at all!”  MY response?  “That’s what I tried to tell you yesterday.”  Somehow, he was able to maneuver the rig through four turns and into a bay, and roll to a stop at just the right place. 

Seems everyone thought it was just a stuck parking brake, even though I told them the messages on the dashboard computer said hydraulic brake failure and check ABS.  The tow truck driver also told them about the brakes.  After all, that’s why he towed it and didn’t drive it.  My non-mechanic’s guess is that the rig did exactly what it was supposed to do… it wouldn’t let me put it in gear without working brakes.  Halleluiah! 

After six this evening, I found out about all the possibilities of what caused this.  Further investigation is needed, which will begin tomorrow.  After my asking, it is a possibility that I will be here over the weekend since tomorrow is Friday.  Needless to say, I’m not going anywhere tonight.  They don’t even want to chance backing the rig out of the bay.  After they consulted about what to do with me and Emma, I was given two choices.  The first was to stay in one of the new rigs out next to the fence by the hookups.  The other was to stay in my own rig inside the repair building.  I chose to stay home. 

Can’t say that this experience is on my bucket list, but both of us will be more comfortable in our own beds.  With one of their extension cords, I have 30 amps, and the heater and fridge are humming away.  No TV inside here, but I seem to have good internet reception.  Now, if I can just figure out how to turn off the three different radios that are blasting in the building after the car mechanics go home!

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy “Murphy” Bell  Smile

Some not so good news, some good news, and some no news

NOT SO GOOD NEWS:  After waiting at the campground gate for 90 minutes, I found out that the tow company that was supposed to have arrived, was detoured by the police to handle a severe auto accident rather than come to get me.  Ugh!  (I did get a call from them this evening asking if I was still stranded at the campground)

GOOD NEWS:  After waiting another 90 minutes, a different tow company from Kankakee (very close to Brown and Brown RV repair) showed up at the gait.  I led them slowly to my site.  Then came the levity for the day.  After getting out of the truck, the driver asked, “Are you sure this is the right rig?”  Hmmm… let me see, yes, I’m pretty darn sure this is where I live. (???)  I’m not sure what he was expecting when he was told it was a 38’ Winnebago motorhome, but he sure seemed perplexed.  I guess he thought it looked like a diesel pusher, but I assured him it was a gas pusher.  That’s when the fun (?) began.  We went inside the rig, and I showed him what happened when I put it in gear.  After a lot of crawling around under the rig, and a phone call to the RV repair place, he was able to finally disengage the parking brake.  That took over an hour.  Then he suggested I just drive the rig to the repair place, as he wasn’t sure he could get it out with the tow truck.  I told him I was more than a little nervous about that since the onboard computer thing still showed hydraulic brake failure.  He had brought his father-in-law with him and both were CDL drivers, so they volunteered to drive the rig while I followed in the car.  He then got in the rig to back it out of the site.  He stopped after three feet.  He came back out and said, “Nope, we’re going to tow it; those brakes are too spongy!”

IMG_3388I was surprised he was able to get his big truck around in front of the rig for the hookup.


Then he climbed underneath to secure the front.  What a time he had getting the rig and truck out of the site.  He had to back it up and then turn it around on the skinny roads.  We couldn’t go out the way I had three times before because of a sharp turn up the road that I didn’t think he could make with the rig in tow.

The father-in-law and I ran around trying to bend tree branches out of the way so the sides of the rig wouldn’t sport new pin striping.  We ended up making a loop through a neighbor’s campsite.  There just wasn’t any other way to get out of there.

IMG_3390After another hour, we were finally on our way.  It was pretty hairy, but we finally made it to the paved roads. 

NO NEWS:  By the time we got to Brown and Brown, it was a little after 2:00.  They had, of course, expected us in the morning, and it was too late in the day to take the rig into the shop.  All the techs were busy on other rigs.  So, the rig was deposited in the parking lot, and I have a 30 amp electrical hookup.  I’ll have to wait until tomorrow to see what they think about the repairs.  Since the parking brake has been disabled, I cannot put the levelers down or open the slides.  That means I can listen to the TV tonight but I can’t see it since it is behind one of the slides.  Just like overnighting at Wal-Mart.  Smile  I’m happy I finally got out of Dodge.

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

No luck this morning

Well, Village Motors came back this morning to hopefully fix the brake problem, but as it turned out the things we tried had no effect on the problem.  It became obvious to me that they really don’t work on motorhomes, and especially not the Workhorse chassis.  To their credit, they didn’t charge me anything even though they put in about four hours trying to fix things.  What to do next?

For this challenge, I hauled out my rocker and sat outside for a moment to think things through.  It sure would have been nice to have a second person to discuss things with, but that’s not the way it is.  I got out my card for the extended warranty policy I have and tried calling them.  Turns out you have to have the rig into a repair facility to give an estimate for the fix, and then ask permission to have it done.  That, I couldn’t do.  I then noticed a road side assistance number on the card.  I hadn’t realized I had this coverage with the warranty.  I tried to explain the situation to them, and they said they’d have a tech call me back for suggestions.  I can tell you that I was reluctant to hang up, but they assured me they wouldn’t leave me hanging.

About ten minutes later, the tech called with suggestions of things like checking the fuses and the brake fluid level.  I interrupted him  to let him know that all that had been done by the mechanic from Village Motors.  He then said he would look up the nearest Workhorse repair facility and call me back.  And call back he did.  He said I would be towed to Brown and Brown RV in Bourbonnais, IL, for repairs.  Ha! That’s where I had the awning and basement door repairs done last month.  He also said they couldn’t work on it until tomorrow.  That’s when I asked if they were towing it today or tomorrow.  They were going to tow it today, but he said he would call to see if I could stay in the campground tonight with full hookups, and get towed tomorrow. 

When he called me back again, here’s what he said, “You must be some kind of celebrity!”  They remembered me, and will be here first thing tomorrow for the towing, and told him they’d take me in immediately to work on the brakes.  I guess Emma and I sitting outside the place in the heat of summer made an impression on them.  I was happy with their work then, and they know I live in the rig fulltime, so I’m relieved that’s where we’re going.  All this is probably TMI for some folks, but maybe it will help someone to know how these problems evolve.

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As Emma and I sat outside this afternoon, I watched this wasp carry what I think may be a pupa across my campsite, and then back again.  I don’t know what it was doing, but it covered more than 100’ carrying it’s burden back and forth and up and down a tree.  Crazy!  It was definitely too heavy for it to fly with it.

So I’ll be packing up once more tomorrow morning in preparation for the tow.  I broke down all the branches of a dead tree that I could reach trying to avoid pin striping on the rig on the route I think they’ll pull my home out.  More tomorrow.

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

Monday, September 12, 2011

“What a revolting development this turned out to be!”

Wasn’t it Laurel and Hardy that used that line?  Well, today I experienced just that.  My plan was to pull out of the campground around 10:00 since I only had about 100 miles to go to a campground in Rantoul, IL.  I was going to spend the night there visiting with my friends, and fellow fulltime bloggers,  JIM and Linda.  They stay there every summer.  Linda and I have the same birthday, and the last time we met we were all in Sioux Falls, SD, to renew our driver’s licenses.  They were successful with that venture, and as you know, I was not.

Anyway, I had everything packed and ready by 9:45.  I backed the toad down the road far enough away so I wouldn’t crash into it as I backed the rig out of the campsite.  Emma was in her crate, and everything was a go until I tried to put the rig into reverse.  Then bells and whistles went off and several lights were blinking on the dash.  Instant nervous wreck for me!  I got out the owner’s manual to check what all the lights meant.  Eventually, I noticed the rig computer was sending me messages that indicated a brake failure.  Grrr!  What did that mean?

I sat on the rig’s steps outside a few moments to regain my composure, and then called my emergency road service.  I explained what had happened, and then the gal asked me what exactly was wrong.  Duh!  I told her I was not a mechanic, but I was unable to move the rig, and the owner’s manual said not to try.  Within about 40 minutes, the mobile RV tech arrived to diagnose the problem.  He figured it was just low brake fluid.  Turned out, that was not the problem, and he was stumped.  He checked the fuses, and then called his boss.  The boss came out, and also was stumped since everything checked out as working except the parking brake wouldn’t disengage.  If you can’t disengage the parking brake, you can’t move.  He contacted Workhorse, and they said they would send him information for the repair in an email.  The boss is also the owner of the towing and repair company.  They then both left and told me they would return when they had the information from Workhorse.

I just got a call a few minutes ago, and he said he would be back out early tomorrow morning to work on the rig.   He really doesn’t want to try towing the rig out if he doesn’t have to.  I agree with that, as I can’t imagine how they would get it out of here without me being able to back it up. 

IMG_3353So, what am I doing tonight?  Well, I called Jim and Linda to tell them I wouldn’t be arriving today, and I cancelled my reservations at Rend Lake COE campground for the next six days.  Bummer!   I put down the levelers, put out the slides, and unpacked one chair so I could sit outside this evening.  I suppose if you’re going to have a brake failure, the best place to have it is in an already paid for campground rather than on the road!  Revolting development?  Yes.  Life changing experience?  No.  Just another day in the life…

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The AJ-Belt and Buckle Wildlife Refuge

About the only thing I collect in this fulltime lifestyle is tee shirts from places I’ve visited or volunteered.  That habit is how I ended up with my memory quilt.  Several weeks ago, I mentioned to Robyn that this is the first time I’ve stayed in a place so long, and never bought a tee shirt.  I had thought about buying one at Brookfield Zoo the second time we were there, but just couldn’t talk myself into doing that.  I know zoos serve their purpose for educating young ones and providing research, but I just feel sorry for the caged animals.  If it weren’t for the grandgirls, I never would have gone there.

Since I’m pulling out tomorrow, I made a final trip for this summer to visit Robyn and her family.  She was making NY BBQ chicken, and I couldn’t pass that up.  None of that red BBQ sauce for me; I love the NY style.

I was in for a surprise when I got there.

IMG_3345 Robyn, Avery (AJ), and Phoebe (Buckle), had made a tee shirt for me (Belt) to remember the summer.


It aptly had the name of the AJ-Belt and Buckle Wildlife Refuge.  What a hoot!  Front and back of the tee shirt depicted the stages of a monarch butterfly that I had introduced the grandgirls to.  But, it was more than that.


Each butterfly was made with the hand prints of the grandgirls…Avery on top, and Phoebe the bottom wings.

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AJ’s foot made the chrysalis, and Buckle’s foot made the newly emerged butterfly.  I can just imagine the chaos there was with the girls having that paint all over their hands and feet!  Rolling on the floor laughing

IMG_3350The caterpillars going into the J formation before changing to a chrysalis were made with the side of their little clenched hands.  I don’t know how Robyn ever came up with this idea.  She is one special, talented, daughter!  What a keepsake I have from this summer.  It’s my favorite tee shirt ever, and I will wear it proudly.

The girls even had two gifts for ‘Emma the Gog.’  Two toys for her to play with: a skunk and a fox, those dog toys with no stuffing.  Emma loves them, and pranced around giving them each a good shake.  The girls have grown to love Emma, and Emma has learned to be less rambunctious with the little ones.  Overall, it’s been a marvelous summer.

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy