A year ago, October 2018, a group of friends decided we would plan an RV trip to the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta for October 2019. We worked out all the details, made all the reservations, added stops, and things to see. We anxiously looked forward to the adventure for the next year.
On October 3, we left Las Vegas headed toward our first stop of the trip at Meteor Crater RV Park in Winslow, Arizona. Four hours into the trip, right about Flagstaff AZ, we got an engine warning light on our motorhome. Driving Dave pulled over, made a few calls, and long story short, we headed to a nearby Freightliner service center.
At this point, I had hope that it was a loose something or other that could be tightened, and we’d be on our way.
That was not to be.
It turned out to be the exact problem we had last year on our cross country trip that cost us over a week at a service center in Colorado. The same part had failed, and that part would not be in until Monday the 7th. I scrambled to cancel the upcoming reservations and tried to deal with the idea that the trip we looked forward to wouldn’t happen. After some thought, we decided that on Friday morning we’d load the dogs in the Jeep and drive the 6 hours south to Tucson to visit family. As full-time RV’ers with no home to go to, we were thankful to have family within driving distance that still liked us enough to take us in. We spent a great five days visiting my sister and brother in law. That was the lemonade from the sour lemons. As it turns out, I’d have to make and drink a lot of lemonade in the next week or so.
On Monday, they told us the part came in, and the coach should be fixed by Tuesday. On Wednesday, we drove the 6 hours back to Flagstaff intending to pick up the coach and drive about 40 miles to Williams to spend the night before making our way back to Las Vegas the next day.
The best-laid plans…
Because it was such a short drive to Williams, I was just going to follow Dave in the car instead of going through the hassle of hooking it up to tow. He started out, I started following. He pulled over. I pulled over. He started out again, and so did I. He pulled over, I pulled over. My phone rang, and I answered with “what the #*#* is wrong?”. He said the coach wouldn’t go over 5 mph.
Back to the service center where two hours later they informed us that the turbo thingy ( I’m so technical) had failed. Different day, different part, same outcome; we weren’t going anywhere. They ordered the part and hoped it would be in on Friday.
At this point, my typically sunny disposition (I can hear some of you laughing) had hit the depths of hell, and I was beyond frustrated. They said we could stay in the RV in their parking lot, but they had no hookups for us. We parked by the dumpster and prepared to spend the next several days waiting and dry camping.
For those of you who RV, you know there is a freshwater tank, a gray water tank, and a black tank for sewage. Ours were all about half full, which is not a pleasant thing, in my humble opinion. We have solar panels on our roof so they were helping to keep the batteries charged, allowing us to use the lights, etc. but we still had to conserve as to not run them down too far. We ran the generator as needed but I worried about having enough diesel fuel. Diesel Dave kept telling me we were fine on everything, but he has been telling me that for 45 years. I know that sometimes he just doesn’t want me to worry ( or more likely, he doesn’t want to listen to me worry. )
I’m not much of a camper, which is why we have a motorhome. I like being plugged in, using as much water as I need, and being able to flush as often as I want. I couldn’t shower so I decided I’d try to find a dog-friendly motel or hotel nearby.
I booked a room for Thursday and Friday night at the Super 8 motel about 5 minutes away. I had no intention of sleeping there ( again, we have a motorhome because I’m weird and like my own bed), but I wanted to take a shower. The two nights cost us $300, which came out to $150 per shower. Totally worth it and I’d do it again.
On Friday, we decided to take the day and do some sightseeing ( again with the lemonade from lemons, I was getting pretty tired of lemonade by now). We took the dogs for a drive to Montezuma Castle National Monument and then drove home through Sedona. It was a good day despite my grumpy disposition.
The parts did come in, and our technician said he would try to get the coach finished even if he had to stay late. He finished up about 7:15 pm, we spent one last night in the parking lot and were on the road home by 6:30 am Saturday morning.
Every noise, squeak, or clunk made me cringe. I ticked off each mile in my head, but the closer we got to Las Vegas the more I relaxed. Eventually, we pulled in to our lot at Las Vegas Motorcoach Resort with the vow that we were never moving that beast again.
I’m pretty sure RV issues are a little like childbirth. I swore after each birth, I was never doing THAT again, but after an appropriate amount of time, I did.
Maybe by next October, I’ll be ready to try the Balloon Fiesta again. Until then, we are parked, and while at this point, there is no “for sale” sign on Bella Box on Wheels, I wouldn’t be too upset if she sold. I think I’m ready for a house that is attached to the ground.
I can tell you one thing though, I’m pretty much done with lemonade and intend to use this saying ( which I stole from someone’s facebook post) next time something goes wrong…