Photo taken near Monument Valley, Utah

Friday, October 9, 2015

Fixing Stuff is Part of RVing

At the Sandpiper RV Resort, Galveston, Texas...

One thing for which you should be prepared when you own an RV is the need to make repairs as you travel. No rig, big or small, is immune. It is, after all, a house and a vehicle, both of which have lots of things that can break or go bad. The extent to which you can perform repairs yourself will have a proportional effect on your pocketbook: The more things you can fix, the more cash you can keep. 

There are those RVers who have a great deal of skill in troubleshooting and fixing complex problems and the motivation to stick with it until a solution is found. I am not one of them, unfortunately. I'm pretty good at simple tasks, like fixing things that break or come loose inside the coach, replacing bulbs and fuses, and doing routine maintenance outside, but when I read of those folks who can do things like overhaul a generator or repair a suspension system, I just tend to sulk. Then I get up and try to find some comfort food. (Could that have something to do with my weight problem?)

Because I recognize the money that can be saved by preventive maintenance, I am careful to take care of routine service items and follow the manufacturer's recommendations. And years of flying airplanes got me into the habit of checking critical items before departure, as I rather liked the idea of returning to the ground on my terms. It was in Salado, during a pre-departure check of Phannie, that I found one of the rear turn signals inoperative. This confirmed a suspicion that Eddie had voiced when we met in Waco a few days ago; I remembered his mentioning that he thought one of my turn signals might be out. I didn't think it was all that critical at the time, as Mae's turn signal was working on that side, so I elected to continue the short trip to our destination. Luckily, I had a spare bulb in the coach, and I removed the rear light assembly to get at the bulbs. As soon as I did, I noticed that the bulb had exploded and created enough heat to distort rather badly the receptacle that holds the bulb in place. Seeing that another light assembly would need to be ordered, I decided to secure the new bulb in place temporarily with duct tape. (Now I ask you, is there anything any more useful than duct tape? I suppose WD-40 comes close.) If you don't have duct tape in your rig, it's only a matter of time until you wish you did. It is almost essential if your skill level is low like mine.

Leaving Salado was tricky due to heavy construction on I-35 in the area. Furthermore, the feeder roads were also torn up and extremely rough. At one point, Phannie's sway in a particularly uneven area was so great that I wasn't entirely sure that we weren't going to tip over! Even though we were going slow, we heard all sorts of commotion in the back as the coach whipsawed from side to side. When we reached Galveston and looked in the bedroom, we could see evidence of the rough ride. The latched doors of the cabinet upon which the bedroom TV is attached had opened, allowing the TV to swing back and forth in midair and, when Sandy opened the rear closet doors, she shrieked, as the closet rod had bent and fallen. All of our clothes were in a heap in the floor of the closet. 

Now there was an opportunity at this point for me to make a comment about the size of her wardrobe and the carrying capacity of the bent closet rod, but I didn't take it. (That's why I am still alive to write this post.) In all honesty, I couldn't comment because she has made enormous strides in paring down her clothing as she realizes with each trip how much less she really needs. Even so, the closet rod has always seemed too flimsy; I'm surprised that it lasted this long. I'll bet we're not the first to have experienced this problem, and the chances are probably good that the design was improved in later model coaches.

A quick trip to Home Depot allowed me to secure and install a much more substantial rod, so there should be no more clothes on the floor, hopefully.

More about our arrival and stay in Galveston next time.

Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful life; please forgive me if I do not appreciate it enough each day.

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