Our first big outing in the new motor home puts us to the test!
After much tire kicking over a few years I purchased my first motor home, a 2005 Tiffin Phaeton, (Steve has nicknamed the coach King Triten not sure why) this past summer. The dealer agreed to replace a foggy drivers side window. A surprise to both of us, it took 8 weeks to get this accomplished. I finally took possession of the Tiffin in August, only to find the batteries were not functioning, but an easy fix. Next I put some water in the tank and started the pump, only to have the faucets leak everywhere. Appears the previous owner didn't winterize her correctly. The dealer agreed to fix everything so I decided to take our first trip up to Maine to visit family, waterless, so that I could get a feel for things and find any other issues. On the whole it was a nice trip, relatively event free regarding the motor home. We did get to see a moose in front of my sisters place and a bear near my brothers. Neither my sister or brother had seen the wildlife in there yards before!
Upon return the dealer picked up the home and had everything repaired. I thought getting an extended warrantee was in order so I did a search and followed the motor home blogs to make a decision on the best company and coverage. I also took out a road service agreement. I of course hope I need neither, but if I do I hope I made the right decision. My truck mechanic went through the chassis and got everything up to date, so I made a reservation for the Catskill Mountains for Halloween weekend, additionally my 54th birthday, and billed it the official shakedown cruise. Steve and I loaded up, hitched up the tow dolly and car and off we went. We arrived at the camping area and were directed to a nice pull through site and proceeded to get situated. For some reason I could not get the slides to open. I tried everything I knew, called my brother who is pretty knowledgeable about such things, and even had the park manager try but we were unsuccessful. My brother looked online for inherent problems with Tiffin slides but still no extension. As we know, everything is still functional inside so I was not going to let the slides ruin our weekend! We also had an issue when extending the leveling 'pods'. There was an apparent air leak seemingly from the air bag, rear drivers side, when the home was up on the levelers. I never noticed this before so was concerned. Next the way the utilities were setup on the site, we could either have water and no sewer or the other way around as we didn't have long enough hoses to do both. we decided on water naturally. The first night went well except for climbing over each other all the time. Functional the home may be without the slides, life is much more pleasant with the walls out! The next morning we were made aware of the intensity of the storm heading our way. Who would have thought we would get a Nor'easter in October! We decided staying put was our best option so we went to Walmart, the only general store around, to get a few necessities and came back to reorganize. I moved the motor home to take advantage of all the utilities with the extra hoses from Walmart. We got all hooked up and were content. I decided to retry the slides and out they went! WHAT! With the snow starting to fall I didn't want to leave them out so back in they came and we hunkered down! The park had been busy most of the day as seasonal campers winterized their sites, but now we were alone! We watched videos, read and used the combo micro/bake oven, a new thing for me, to fix dinner. I made an apple pie as an oven test item and was very successful. Then I turned to grab something from the fridge and noticed "no AC" flashing on the panel. We had lost power from the land line due to the storm. No problem, I turned on the generator and felt comfortable... until I noticed the electrical/inverter panel is not showing the batteries charging. Another reason to panic. Out in the boonies, and maybe no power.... Not much we can do so we retire for the evening and hope all will be well tomorrow. I'm up around my usual 4am. and turn on the faucet for coffee water.... no water, it has frozen at the tap, and I emptied the storage tank earlier afraid that would freeze! I scoop snow to make the coffee and get out the numerous manuals to try and figure out what is going on with the power panel... a lot of information but no solutions. As it gets light out the scene is beautiful, but we have at least 8 inches of snow, and I have sneakers or sandals! I find a couple of store plastic bags, tie them over my sneakers and venture out to look over the situation. I get all our "tethers" picked up and stored and we decide to head home. The 'air leak I was concerned about is not now affecting the coach air brakes. Another fluke??? Steve and I are ready, but unfortunately, I could not find a sole around to plow a path! Trudging thru the snow in my plastic bags wasn't fun, and it was then I realized we were in the most remote sites in the park. On the third walk out, I see a plow truck plowing the pool area (go figure!) so head back to get ready to go, assuming the plow will continue to our site. An hour later we are still waiting. Patience depleted, I decide to see if Tiffin can plow through the snow, assuming any movement towards the park exit was good. We take off. No problem, she cuts right through like it was bear ground. Relieved, as I drive commercially and would have never tried this in my box truck, we get to the plowed area, by the pool!!!! and regroup for the trip home. As we know now,New England was devastated by the early nor'easter and we saw much of it going thru Connecticut and Massachusetts. As I write this 5 days later many of my neighbors are still powerless!
So that was the shake down outing! I was very happy to be home! I am still confused as too why the slides didn't work, what the apparent air leak was about and why the electric panel didn't seem to register a charge from the generator. If anyone has any suggestions I'd be thrilled to get your thoughts. My mechanic will check the air and, as he is a motor homer, look the other things over too.
Our next trip will be Florida in December/January. My brother tells me every trip will be an adventure. UGH! I need to know more than I do now about the motor home as I'm not fond of the stress. I have had 3 knowledgeable individuals take me through the motor home and its many functions, but I still find things that were not explained or not explained to cover specific events!
More importantly, Steve and I are still talking! Hopefully we will not have the tension on every trip or this dream will go back where to where it came from... E bay auction!