Dec 11, 2009

Moving out of AL – Exodus II

The wait is over

Tuesday 12/8/2009 - Finally got the phone call from the shop! the doors are there. We waited over a month for these doors to arrive.
So the guy calls and ask us to be there before 10:00 AM. 2-3 weeks I am after him and now he is in a rush! The place is almost 2 hours away, and we need to pack, unhook and drop the dog at the kennel before that. No way!

iphone-alarmDell did not dispatch the box as they promised, so now I need to wait until we get to out next campground before I can send it again. With a broken RV and a broken laptop it feels like everything breaks down on me.
We get up at 7:30 to the sound of the sinking ship alarm shouting from Patti’s iPhone. Patti still had to pack yet for 2 days for the hotel. I said – pack for 3… just in case. I had no idea what was coming.
We started our unhooking procedure. By this time we are really trained, and it doesn’t take us that long…

Here is how we unhook the RV and getting it ready to go

Unhooking Checklist

  • First – get the inside organized – The espresso machine, TV, Printer, anything that can fall – goes to a secured location. Fold the TV Antenna, Wash dishes, Get the garbage out.
  • In the meantime – take care of, Moe, our dog – let him out for a short walk, give him water and food.
  • Any furniture or item that needs to go to outside storage, is packed folded and put into place. We have our folding chairs, grill, and outdoor carpet usually we store in them in the in the front storage for easy access.
  • If you are hooked to sewer - run water through the toilet to wash the black water tank out.
  • Before you pull the slide-outs in, make sure the roof is clear of any debris. Those can get caught between the slide-out and the rubber seal and cause a lot of damage. I am telling you from experience (Hickory Nuts can cause a lot of damage)…
  • Get the slide-out in. It is important, and we learned it the hard way. You have to bring the the slide-outs in while the RV is still leveled. You can get lots of damage if you try to pull it in after you folded your stabilizers.
  • awning-rvFold the awning: Release the side beams to lower the awning all the way down. Loosen the screws on the side rods and fold them down. Flip the rolling lever and hold the strap. Slowly roll the awning up. Finally Lock the side beams.
  • Next we start folding the outside connections:
  • First – The back jack stabilizers. I roll them up. Don’t try to back your truck and hook to your fifth wheel with the stabilizer down. They can get bent and damaged.
  • Fold the sewer hose – we have a washing valve – we hook it to the water and wash it as much as we can – it stinks! Then, I fold the hoses, the hose support and store them away.
  • Fresh water hose comes next. I empty it from water, fold it and store it.
  • The electricity I leave last, to provide power while I use the power front levelers
  • so next step is to hook up the truck. We open the tail gate, and back up slowly keeping the king pin aligned. When we are close enough, we lower the RV so that the pin plate is about 1/2 inch below the receptor plate on the truck. We close the tail gate, and latch the RV. I connect the cable, the emergency brake wire, and latch the lever. I go back to the truck and manually lock the RV breaks and try to pull forward. If anything goes wrong – the front legs are still down and the RV will not get damage.
  • I then lift the front levelers leg up and lock them into place.
  • and last i disconnect electricity and fold the cable in.
  • Now the dog goes in, the stairs and the rail are folded.
  • I always go around the RV make sure that all compartments are locked, all jacks are up, and nothing sticks out or up.

So as we go through our checklist, we get to the point we need to hook the RV to the truck, but the truck is dead. Never happened before, and no idea why. The lights are off, and nothing is connected. The campground is empty and there is no one to jump start from.
I do have a battery charger that I keep in my compartment for my boat, or just in case, and this came in handy. Not a bad idea to have one with you.
We connected the charger and stepped in for another 30 minutes wait. I was very lucky this time. After 30 minutes the truck started right up! I hope it’s the end of our troubles for the day. I don’t like days that start wrong.
So we are hooked up, got ready to go, paid our balance and were on our way to drop Moe, our Boxer, at the kennels. It is already 8:45 AM – no way we will be at the shop by 10:00 AM.
After we dropped the dog we continued to the shop. Went through the roof vinyl damage with the manager and were out of there. Homeless :(

Our house is in the Shop

Where are we going now? We did not even make a reservation!
We had our laptops with us and looked for hotel. The wireless modem and Google maps came to our help again, and we were on our way to La-Quinta hotel in mobile. Some 20 miles away. It had great reviews, and we learned to appreciate those travelers that take the time and leave their reviews on hotels, campgrounds, and almost everything else.
After a 2 mile drive – we saw an exit with many hotels, including La-Quinta, and wondered how come Google did not report it. We pulled out to this exit and found out a brand new hotel, with reasonable price, and nice inviting staff. We decided to stay there close to the repair shop.
It is an unpleasant feeling knowing that you have no where to go. Out only ‘home’ was out of our possession. Kind of a homeless feeling. OK, it is only for couple days, but still… Can you imagine they come and take your home away for couple days?

Hickory Dickory Dock – Are you Nuts?

Later in the day, the shop manager called and told us that Hickory Nuts destroyed our roof, and we may have to replace the roof. $3,000 cost. This came really on a bad timing.
Hickory Nuts Attack, destroyed our home – I can’t believe it! According to the manager, when he opened the slide-out, he saw that nuts got caught in the seal and ripped the vinyl sealing. Not sure what to do now.. Not exactly the right time to spend extra 3 grand (when is the right time to spend this kind of money)
I called the insurance adjustor, and asked him if such damage is covered. He promised to call the shop and get more details. Still waiting for an answer. Hopefully.
We are still in ALABAMA!

Creative Thinking

We sat in the hotel contemplating what to do. We wanted to upgrade the RV in the near future, and counted on the tax return money to do that, so to put 3,000 on a unit just before trade in, just did not sound right.
We thought that if the insurance will cover the damage we will have a better unit to trade but on the other side it would be the third claim on the unit, and they may raise our premium or cancel the policy altogether.
We were not ready to trade now. Or so I thought. Patti suggested that we take a look at what’s out there and maybe within our budget we can trade in now. I responded – do a research and see what you can get for what we have and compare it to what we could get if we add our tax return. If there is no big difference – let’s do it. And Patti did start. We sat all evening looking at pictures and sites of RVs.
Wednesday 12/9/2009 - The next day we spent the whole day looking at RVs at the dealership around the hotels. We could not find anything we liked. The only other place was Camping World at Robertsdale, AL. It took us around 40 minutes but we got there. I explained the situation to the salesperson and we looked at 3 units that were within our range. We fell in love with one unit in particular. It was 2006 34’ with king size bed and fireplace in the living area. The previous owner took the dinette and couch and practically emptied the furniture. That for us was a great advantage – it took the price of the unit way below market price, and gave us the opportunity to choose our own furniture. The market price of RV dropped recently and caused many manufacturers and dealers to go out of business, so this unit was a bargain.
Now the tough part. We go back to the office, Big Bob and me, and start talking back and forth.
>I can give only this
>I will not accept less than that
The deal almost exploded, but with some patience, creativity and the intervention of the sales manager and the branch manager – we got to an agreement. We promised to come tomorrow with the RV and finalize the deal.
Thursday 12/10/2009 - We woke up in the morning and went to meet the insurance adjustor in the shop. The front doors were already assembled – that was the original reason for the RV to get there, and they looked like new. The guy did an excellent job. adjustor looked at the damage and made some phone calls, sat in his car for a long while and finally told us that he will not have an answer today. Maybe in 2-3 days. That is a good thing we thought – it gives us some time, just in case the deal would not come through.
Full of hopes and dreams on our new big RV we drove again to Robertsdale. I think we drove through Mobile in the last couple days maybe 10 times back and forth.

We have a new home

iPhone 001If there is a will – there is a way.
Friday 12/11/2009 - You have to believe in that. We had to stay overnight so that the new RV will be ready, and we camped in the store front yard. They provided us with full hookups, but camping in a parking lot?
Tonight is Chanukah – it is a great holiday – it is the holiday of lights and miracles. Literally the word means “to dedicate” like for a new house. So it was a perfect time to dedicate our new home, and a miracle we got it!.
All morning I jumped back and forth between the trailers moving our belongings, while Patti drove to get Moe.
We were finally ready to go at about 4:00 PM heading out of Alabama – to Mississippi. We spent here in the gulf area of Alabama from 11/16 till 12/11 that is 26 days – almost a month! And tonight – first candle of Chanukah in a new place in a new RV.

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