Friday, January 25, 2013

A Bittersweet Time

As you recall, we had the Safari in the shop for various repairs, with a thousand dollar price tag, I might add. But the work was well done and we were quite pleased with the service and care we got at Johnnie Walker RV in Las Vegas. When the work was done, we picked our rig up and drove out to our camp site at Lake Mead National Recreation Area where we volunteer. Since we were pet/house sitting for our granddaughter at that time, we just parked the motorhome without plugging it in or hooking up water and sewer.

Then the weather took a turn for the colder, breaking records, no less, so we went down and plugged in to power so we could run some heat to protect our new water heater and old pipes. Just then, the inverter blew and the dreadful, acrid stench of burned electrical components and wiring filled us with real fear. Blessedly, our home didn't burn to the ground and very little damage was evident. Indeed, the next morning, after trickle charging the batteries that had been completely drained, we drove our beloved Safari back to the shop. The estimate for a new inverter and to rewire, etc. was over $3,500!

Then Tia came home from Korea. She couldn't get a flight out at her planned return time, so was there an extra week. So good to see her! So then it was time for us to return to our home (and avoid the 50 mile commute to our volunteer duties)... but we had no home to go to!! Our house is in the shop awaiting our decision about whether to fix it or replace it. So we are still homeless, camping out at Tia's. She is so very gracious and welcoming, but we do not like feeling homeless one bit... even though we feel quite at home here.

Time for some serious prayer and consideration. We love our wonderful Safari, but it is far from new and had sat for many years before we bought it. Not being very handy or savvy about repairs or modifications, we have depended on repairmen and mechanics. For the most part they have been fair and open with us, but even so, the expense is killing us and seems never ending.

Weighing the cost of upkeep and the fact that our rig is too big for many of the places we would like to volunteer, we began to look at smaller, newer Class A motorhomes. SO HARD TO DO!!!

Meanwhile, the two Jaspers reluctantly tolerate one another so they can share our bed and help Richard deal with the stress of homelessness. You can see he is just beside himself.

After days of looking, we made the difficult choice to let the Safari go and move into a newer, smaller coach. Tomorrow morning, we close on a 2007 Hurricane. It is only 31.5 feet long, considerably shorter that the 40 foot home we are comfortable in. We will be parked side by side in the dealer's RV park so we can move our things into the newer home. It will be a bittersweet time.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Working Vacation?

Here's Tia at the airport as she leaves to visit her military hubby in Korea. We have been staying at her house caring for their pets while she's away.

Our grandfuzzies are a Rottie, a Coon Hound and Jasper, a camera shy grey cat as cranky as our own cat Jasper.

Of course, we brought our critter crew to stay, too, so it has been a frolicking good time for all.... Well, maybe not the cats.

This house/pet sitting arrangement is working out as a blessing for Tia and for us. I love it when everybody wins! Our car needs some warrantee work and we can just leave it at Ford and use Tia's car for a day or so.

Also, our Safari  needed several things done and was in the  shop for more days. Since we are not living in it right now, this is a perfect time. We prayed and asked for leadership as we used "RV Service Reviews" to help select who to have work on our baby. Based on "Excellent" reviews, we chose Johnnie Walker RV Center in Las Vegas. Al Spurlock took care of us and was kind enough to work in an unusual way with us.

Since we bought our Safari a year and a half ago, at a very bargain price, I might add, there have a number of things we've needed to have fixed, some small, some pretty expensive, at least to us. Some things have simply gotten worse with full time use... like our sagging steps.

We had a new step motor installed last summer and it is fine, but the step mount and a metal plate associated with it are cracked... Finally, had it all dismantles, welded and reinstalled with additional and replacement bracing.

The mysterious leak that finally got really bad turned out to be the water heater. We had already learned about anode rods from the Safari email group we belong to (Look it up on YahooGroups)... but our water heater was shot, needed replaced. All I can say is, although I love pour coach's design, the person who placed that water heater under the lazy susan cabinets needs to spend the rest of their life working under there!

Now, what was unusual about how Al worked with us? As I said we had a prioritized list of things we wanted/needed done, right down to fixing a cabinet door latch. Al was happy to oblige us by calling with the total bill as each job was complete so we could decide whether to proceed to the next. Okay, but our phone does not get signal many of the places we are, such as at work at Lake Mead. He was more than cool and the work was so reasonable, we got everything done under estimate!

One or both of us have made trips to Lake Mead to take care of our recycling duties there, but our work is easy... Guess you could say we are on working vacation where ever we are. My sweetie know how to relax here or there or anywhere, as these pictures show so well.
Here is Richard in our motorhome. Usually Bingo is on his lap.
Here is Richard at Tia's house. Dogs with him is his ideal ;-)
No, he hasn't been drinking... just tired and happy.