RV Travels: Weekly Wanderings #22 – Central Oregon, Dayville
What a crappy week with a capitol “C.” I feel really bad writing that given the two horrific events that took place in Orlando this week (as well as the terrible shooting in Paris).
But it’s the truth.
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Worst week thus far with the RV.
We hit our 6-months on the road anniversary and to celebrate, our big guy (I know vehicles are usually female, but I get a male vibe from ours) decided to flip out.
We left Phoenix on Sunday morning and drove to Las Vegas without issue. The entire time we were strategizing about when to stop to eat lunch so as to not ruin our Vegas dinner. We were swaying back and forth as to where to eat as well, cycling through our list of favorites.
We landed at the Sam’s Town RV Park (a KOA site) at around 1:30 in the afternoon. I was annoyed at having to pay for internet. I’ve stayed in parks without wifi, but I’ve never stayed in one in which we had to pay like it was a hotel, total B.S. But no matter. We got into our spot and began our “landing procedures.”
Once everything was hooked up and slid out, I turned on the hot water heater so that we would have hot water for dishes and showers. Right after pressing that on, I looked at our grey/black/fresh water gauge and noticed it wasn’t displaying anything, I tried to turn the hall light on so I could get a better look at it, but the entire light panel was out.
All the light panels were dead. No lights. And more importantly, no way to control the slideouts. They were out, but we could not put them in. Which means we couldn’t leave. Everything connected to 12V was out.
We called roadside assistance and they dispatched someone to come to us within an hour. Two hours later I called back, no one had shown up yet. Another 30 minutes later, we had a local RV repair guy to help. I don’t think he had much experience working on big Class A coaches, because he wasn’t a lot of help. He looked through different panels, tested wires, but we got to a point where he was stuck and needed to speak with a technician from our manufacturer. Given it was Sunday, and they are back east, we sent him home to return on Monday (we were paying him $140 an hour to do nothing).
Monday morning we (the Misadventures plus the local RV repair guy) got on the phone with technical support and spent an hour with him trying to fix the issue. After pulling the whole interior of the RV apart we isolated the issue to a bad cable.
When that bad cable was pulled off the grid, all the rest of our panels worked. So we decided to leave that one unplugged, thereby rendering one light panel non-functioning. The good news is, of all the light control panels, the non-functioning one was the least important of the whole coach and only controlled some non-essential lights. It could have been one that controlled the slideouts or the hot water heater.
We took off Monday midday to continue to our next stop on our 4-day journey, Provo. A few hours in, we stopped at a rest stop for lunch and a break to stretch our legs. I went back to the kitchen to put together our meal. I passed over Jessica’s food and water mat and put my foot down.
And into a patch of water that must have spilled during the drive. My foot slipped out from under me and underneath the part of the kitchen slideout, where there is metal. I ripped off a quarter-sized chunk of the top of my foot (I didn’t have any shoes on), and scraped another patch of skin as well.
I never knew how sensitive the top of your foot is. It has been a pain all week. I can’t put my foot into a hiking shoe or boot without screaming which has curtailed my ability to hike. Plus, I am just under five feet tall so every time I go on my tiptoes I bend the injury on the top of my foot and it is painful. I go on my tiptoes a lot in the RV as the cabinets are high. I also do that to get into the Jeep. Not fun.
But I digress.
We arrived in Provo on Monday evening and stopped for fuel before heading to our park. We got diesel and then pulled up to get DEF (diesel exhaust fluid, which makes us burn fuel cleanly), located in a different spot on the RV. We filled up and went to leave. We couldn’t move. The air was out of our air brake! After we sat there a few minutes panicking, the brake refilled with air (not the technical description, but the best I can do!) and we were fixed and could move.
We got to our site (actually the first one they gave us had someone in it), made a quick dinner and fell into bed. When we woke up Tuesday morning we realized we no longer had hot water. I had used the last of it to wash dishes and take a shower in Vegas, but that emptied the tank and we weren’t getting fresh hot water.
We decided to deal with that at our next stop near Boise. We left in the morning and started listening to an audiobook, an idea we got from a fellow passenger on our Viking River Cruise (those posts are coming!), and it kept us distracted until we got to our RV park. We pulled in and registered, got our spot and headed to park in it, only to discover that it was too small.
I went back to the office and asked about my reservation, we have stayed in over a dozen KOAs without issue, I use the same process every time to make a reservation without fail. The office manager said I had only made a reservation for a 40-foot slot with no tow vehicle. The slot they gave us was supposedly 50 feet (it looked like a small 50 feet to me) and that there were no other sites available.
I asked for our money back, which they gladly did and they even gave us a recommendation for another park 20 minutes away. We called them, Ambassador RV Park in Caldwell, and they had a huge site for us in a beautiful park for cheaper than what we were going to pay. Bonus.
We “unpacked” and went to turn on the A/C to cool the interior off a bit. One of our thermostats was dead. What next?
Our site was so lovely we decided to push off our problems until the next day. We barbecued a nice dinner while drinking whiskey then wine and went to bed.
Wednesday morning we called our manufacturer’s support line again and tried to troubleshoot the hot water, thermostat issue. We got into the cabling panel and tested a bunch of stuff. Then we noticed that one set of cables was unplugged. We can only guess that the RV repair guy that helped us in Vegas didn’t plug it back in after he checked it.
We plugged that back in, but it didn’t seem to fix anything. After 90 minutes on the phone, we came to the end of our technician’s ability to do more so we packed up and decided to continue our drive to our final destination, Dayville, in Central Oregon.
As we were packing up to leave, I turned on the water in the sink and miracles upon miracles, we had hot water. My theory is that once we plugged that set of cables back in, the hot water heater needed a good chunk of time to get working again. Whatever the explanation, it’s working. The one A/C thermostat is not, but it is one of three and it is the one in the very front of the RV, so again, minimal impact.
We arrived in Dayville Wednesday afternoon, but not until after I gave Mr. Misadventures the wrong direction to turn into the RV Park. We turned into a tiny (wrong) RV park down a hill and thank goodness it had a turnaround, albeit a small one. We got ourselves turned around into the right direction and into the right park that is absolutely adorable but has NO cell service and a one-bar wifi. In fact, there is no cell service in the entire region, about 100-mile radius!
So I’ve not been on the internet for the most part for five days and I am way behind on anything blogging or social media related. Not awesome as I am working on content for a big campaign coming up, making things pretty difficult.
But we are here. In one place. And one piece. For five days. Yesterday we went scouting to the Painted Hills, part of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, and even though I couldn’t wear a hiking boot and do a lot of walking, the hills are very accessible from the road.
We are trying to be thankful. For the hot water. For the fact that what is broken doesn’t have a huge impact on us and can wait until we visit the manufacturer in October, but we are cautious too and have a skeptical eye turned on our big guy.
Really, if you are considering RV, it is a TON of fun and we have really enjoyed our first six months, but you should know, no matter the shape, size or price point of your RV, there will be problems and you have to be able to roll with it.
Fish House Inn, Dayville Oregon.
Well, that was my week, how about yours?
OMG, this must be the month of bad luck! My friends Joe and Rhonda, who left the same week you two did, also broke down in NorCal for five weeks while their brand new Airstream is being ripped apart. Bummer!
Hope things start to look up.
@Kristin, I have been watching their drama unfold on Instagram. I feel so bad because the Bay Area is a super expensive place to have to spend some unplanned time in (as you know well) and that could add up on the expenditure side. On the positive side, there is so much to do there. but I do feel so bad for them! I am hoping since it is brand new that all that work is under warranty!
UGH. I’m sorry you had such a bad week!! This is why I’m terrified of buying a new car and still drive my ’99 Chevy Tracker. The newer a vehicle and the more electric gadgets it has, the more stuff there is to break. And I can’t find a new vehicle with roll-down windows. (Seriously — the one thing to ever solidly break on the Tracker is one of the electric windows.) Justin really wants to go RVing for a while when he retires from the military in 3.5 years, but I’m not sure I’d be as good at “rolling with it” as you are — especially when you pay so much money for something — it should work for a decent amount of time! Rawr.
@Katie, I know what you mean. My parents had an Amana microwave, one of the first which they used for 20 years, buy one today and its dead in three. They purposely make things that won’t last too long so you can buy, buy, buy! I will say on RVs young and old, they all seem to have issues, but even with ours, the adventures outweighs the nuisance. Plus your hubby is pretty freaking handy, I think he could handle anything!
Oh wow… Talk about bad luck! I experienced some this month as well. I once turned to the wrong direction and didn’t realize it until after a few kilometers. Glad you’re okay!
@Matthew, funny you should say that. My hubby did that yesterday. We didn’t drive for very long, just long enough to have a mini heart attack!
Wow, a great trip, and meet friendly friends. I dream of such a trip.
Oh, such a bad luck. But I have some good experiences with RV travel. Sometimes it needs to handle some bad situation.
I also have a Mr Misadventure. We can’t seem to take a trip without some problems, ie hole in radiator, trailer brake stopped working, blown trailer tire that took out a chunk of the bottom of the trailer and Water heater, propane ran out leaving us a very cold night, backing into the water spigot leaving a waterfall on to the next door camping site, and that was just our last trip. We have been together 53 years so there are too many to mention here. I need a nap !. Mostly RV related but also on cruises!