It’s been a month since our last blog entry, sorry about that. It’s been a busy month, with plenty of drama, but I didn’t want to make a post until things were mostly back to normal. We’ve been to Florida again, visited relatives, back to the dealer where we bought our home for a bit of service work, back to Atlanta where it all started, and now we’ve made it to Kentucky, our first real trip “off the map” of places we have spent our lives.
Oh wait, more details? Very well then, you shall have cake!
When we left our intrepid travelers, we were leaving Charleston headed for parts unknown. We had just had an epic foodie pub crawl including drinks at the amazing RoofTop Bar and really didn’t want to leave, but we had no choice.
We were headed to Orlando, land of The Mouse. But we weren’t going to see The Mouse, we were going to see Peggy’s brother Steve as opposed to my brother Steve, and neither one are very mouse-like. The trip was really for three reasons. First we did want to see Steve but the main things were to get the rig its first real service and some warranty work done, and to get our Subaru set up for towing behind – the “Toad” as it were. Yes we are finally towing so we can ride up front together, but it wasn’t without its drama.
I didn’t want to post about our full service appointment until everything was settled, but it did take a while to get there. I will say Independence RV did an outstanding job with everything, and when something went wrong they took care of it. We had scheduled the service appointment to take care of a couple recalls (which were done), some warranty items (most of which didn’t get done), and the towing setup. About those warranty items, they were the most disappointing part of the trip since we had scheduled them so far in advance. But the right parts didn’t get ordered in time, and we couldn’t stay another week for other reasons which I’ll get to in a minute. But they did get the tow setup completed (with one hiccup), and it’s really a very cool piece of kit.
It is really two major things – the tow bar stuff, and the brake stuff. The tow bar stuff consists of a Blue Ox tow bar for the motorhome, and the Blue Ox base plate and various connection pieces for the car. The bumper had to come off to install all that stuff, and now we have a very easy connection to make when we’re ready to travel. Not cheap, but this is definitely an area you don’t want to skimp! The brake stuff is an Air Force One towed-vehicle braking system – also not cheap, but a really well-engineered system. It uses the air brakes from the coach to actuate the brakes in the car, and is all progressive-force so the car brakes itself in proportion to the coach brakes.
In order to install all that, they did have to disassemble the front end of the car, make a few cuts and holes, and install a fully-independent secondary wiring harness to handle the lights, brakes, and all necessary connections for everything to work. And they did a beautiful job with it, except for one little slip of the cutting wheel. Unfortunately that slip cut into the car’s wiring harness, and could have caused all kinds of problems. We didn’t realize it when we left the dealer, headed back to Atlanta, because everything seemed to be working fine.
All but one thing. When we got to Sawnee Campground Lake Lanier (very nice park, but older and not a lot of space for big rigs), it was dark and the site we had reserved wasn’t big enough to handle us, at least not without raising the front end about two feet off the ground! And I wasn’t going to do that. So we unhooked the car and Peggy went looking for another site we could just park for the night. That’s when a kind soul noticed the rear lights on the car weren’t working, and let us know. We JUST had all that stuff installed, and the lights weren’t working? Crap.
We did find a temporary place to park and spend the night (another storm blew through of course), and then found a site that fit and we could spend the week. So we started phone calls to Independence and Troncalli Subaru in Cumming GA, and worked out a deal to get the car taken care of. Unfortunately it meant the car’s wiring harness had to be replaced and believe me that was not cheap! Independence paid the bill 100% and were absolutely stand-up about it. Troncalli was also just great to work with, and handled the job very well.
Getting the new wiring harness installed took more than a week, meaning our one-week stay in the Atlanta area unexpectedly turned into two weeks, and Sawnee was completely booked. But Peggy found a really nice place called Twin Lakes that was nearby and had an opening for the week. I’ll have to write more about it, but it’s a beautiful private RV park, very well run, and super nice folks running it.
Why were we back in Atlanta? Our daughter had joined the Marine Corps, but for various reasons that didn’t work out. So we returned to Atlanta to help her get grounded again, find a job and a place to live. The bonus was that we got to spend some time with her, and our son too – took him to dinner and to see the movie Logan. Very good movie, not your typical super-hero story at all, more human and definitely a little darker. It’s going to be a while before we see them again, so it was good to be there.
After a 330 mile drive, we arrived in Cave City, KY yesterday afternoon. We’ll be here for the next three months, enjoying somewhere new. Neither one of us have been here before, but I was born in this state so it’s pretty cool to be here with my wife and see what’s what. But more about that in another post.