As I type it is a beautiful fall day here in southeast PA. The leaves are in full color mode and the temps are getting chilly enough that we are looking forward to going south!
When I left off last time, we were still thinking we were on schedule and would be back here in PA for Sunday Oct 5. Ha! Joke was on us! I try to take even the most annoying and frustrating, even infuriating experiences and find the good in it, or at the very least learn a valuable lesson that I can take with me and use in the future. Our trip to IN proved to be a learning experience for sure, but also allowed for a silver lining!
We arrived Sunday, Sept. 28, like we were supposed to, and we turned over our rig to the shop early Monday morning. John (from Heartland) had come out and checked the slide toppers, and it was determined we needed 2 new slide toppers b/c 2 of the 3 that the dealer installed were the wrong ones for our rig. John communicated with Dena (the owner of Crossroads Trailers – where we bought our rig) and convinced her the right thing for her to do was to warranty the toppers and allow Heartland to install the correct ones, and adjust the 3rd (it was the correct type, just over tightened.) Score one for John, we were very happy about that!
Tuesday went by and we hadn’t heard anything, and we incorrectly assumed no news was good news. Wednesday we decided to check in and see how things were coming along. Come to find out – they hadn’t even started! I went from 0 to 100 in like a minute – what to you mean “it hasn’t been started yet”? Evidently, they don’t order parts until the rig is on-site and Paul (the shop manager at Precision Painting) does his own estimate. I still don’t understand why the very detailed and thorough estimate and 20 pics my insurance adjuster sent him was not enough to order obviously needed parts. I realize something might have been missed or they may be a difference of opinion on how a repair should be handled, but most of the parts were OBVIOUS – I posted pics when it happened here on the blog – even a layman can tell the skirting needed to be replaced. Guess the estimate and pics weren’t enough and no parts had been ordered. UGH! And, since they completely changed the design of the Landmark, they didn’t have the parts on hand. Lesson for the rest of you – ask a lot of questions! “when will parts be ordered?” Finally, late Wednesday, they started the prep work on our home. They got the parts on Thursday. Work on it was completed late Tuesday. Paul tried to get someone to come in on the weekend to work on our rig, but guess they don’t believe in mandatory over-time if a job isn’t completed on time. We were both furious! They finally finished work on our home late Tuesday. To be fair, Paul did “make it right” for us with regards to final costs, we didn’t owe our deductible and he made some adjustments to help us with the cost of the hotel we stayed at for 4 nights.
We spent the other 5 nights we were in IN in our rig, either in the shop or on the lot. NOT a fun experience at all, which is why we got the hotel. We had to get out of the hotel Friday morning b/c there was a home game at Notre Dame and the hotel was sold out. I do not recommend staying in your rig while having work done if you can help it. At least not if it is being painted. When they worked on it Friday, Monday and Tuesday, we had to have Raskal and Callie in their crates in the truck with us, and Cocoa too. They were very unhappy kitties, let me tell you! Not that I blame them! At least it wasn’t hot and we could actually leave them locked in while we went to see things and get a bite to eat.
We got to Heartland about 9am Wednesday morning and they were ready for us. They got right to work and installed 2 new slide toppers, adjusted a piece of wood on the inside that was rubbing too much on the rug, fixed 2 cabinet doors that had come undone (Bill has already fixed 5 of them that the exact same thing happened to – the hinge comes apart from the screw assembly). They also adjusted the one slide topper they didn’t replace, and also listened to our water pump run, as I thought it was too loud. John (the tech) said yes it is too loud and gave Bill a few suggestions on things to look for. If we had been planning to be in the area longer, they would have scheduled more time for us and fixed it, but we were anxious to get back to PA. Excellent experience dealing with the Heartland folks!
While we were in the northwest part of IN, we did some looking around at the local sites. We visited the RV/MH Museum and Hall of Fame in Elkhart. Very interesting and cool place! Lots of vintage and a couple new RV’s to tour.
We also visited Notre Dame campus and of course the cathedral, which was amazing! The whole campus was just beautiful!
We needed new front tires on the truck and Bill decided to take care of that since there was a Sam’s Club nearby the hotel. $500+ and 2 hours later – new tires Michelin tires were ready to go!
We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit Heartland and take a factory tour while in the Elkhart area! Bill and I had our tour guide all to ourselves and we sure did learn a lot about how our rig was made. Bill asked a bunch of questions and took a ton of pics – I am just glad that all we learned confirmed we made a good decision is purchasing our Landmark vs causing us to possibly regret it. That would have been bad! We were both surprised how much is actually done by hand, hardly any automation at all! Including when they move the rigs from station to station – the chassis is on rollers and they literally just push them into the next spot!
We had dinner one night with Howard and Linda Payne, who are the owners of RV-Dreams.com. They are at least partly responsible for Bill and I being out here living our dream at this time! Their willingness to be so open with how they make it work on the road is what convinced me (and later Bill) that we can do this! We had dinner at a place called Hennies, which Howard had heard about from somewhere. It was very good! Casual, full-time RV’ers don’t have many (or any) fancy clothes – so casual is a must!, and very comfortable. The waitress was very good, attentive but not annoying. We ordered almost the exact same meals – actually I think the only difference was the salad dressings. Each couple ordered only one meal and an extra salad. We got the rib eye, medium rare (perfect!), and baked potato with butter and sour cream. Even splitting the meal, there was still left-overs for Cocoa. Linda even gave us her piece – and Cocoa was one grateful doggie! We caught up on news, mostly ours since Howard posts most of their happenings on their blog – and since we are brand new full-timers they were happy to listen to us go on and on about how excited we are about the whole thing! We ended the evening with hugs all around and see you soons! We will be attending their boondocking (camping with no hook-ups) rally in February in south FL.
We visited some local grocery stores in the area. At Woodies in Bremen, we purchased ingredients to make potato soup.
Monday (our first day with the kitties and Cocoa in the truck with us all day) we drove out to Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. We got out and walked along the banks of Lake Michigan. It was a very nice walk in the still early morning (we had to be out of the rig by 6:30am – so even after the hour drive, it was still early). We stopped at a place I found on TripAdvisor called Third Coast Spice Cafe. It was very yummy! Bill had an omelet and I had their specialty – Raspberry Cheesecake French Toast – WOW was it good! I normally don’t eat that much anymore, but I just couldn’t stop myself – I ate the whole thing!
Well, somehow a HUGE chunk of what I typed for todays post got deleted – I usually type out all I want to say then add the pics at the end and after I added the above pic, I couldn’t find the rest of the words – weird! So now I have to retype it – here we go!
Tuesday we followed signs for what turned out to be a local Amish owned warehouse-type store. It is called Rentown Country Store. They had a homemade baked goods section, a grocery section and also some housewares. Best part was a little snack bar area where we got a HUGE plate of homemade biscuits and gravy for $5 and a 12oz fresh squeezed OJ for $.75! What a bargain!
Precision Painting was finally done with our rig late Tuesday afternoon. I must say the repairs look great!
We spent the night on their lot – and left in time to be at Heartland by 9am. They had us out of there by about 1:30pm, so we had plenty of daylight left to get moving! It felt so good to be on the IN Turnpike and on our way!
After a stop-over on the OH Turnpike – we took off for PA. Here comes the silver lining I mentioned at the beginning – go look back if you have to! If we had left on time, Friday Oct 3, we would not have been able to see our daughter, who lives in Pittsburgh. Since we didn’t leave until Wed Oct 8, which put us going by Pittsburgh on Thursday, we were able to stop and have breakfast with her b/c she was off that day! See – always have to be looking for the positive! We ate at an Eat & Park, which is a diner type place, reminded me of a Perkins or Dennys. Michelle didn’t want her pic taken but I took it anyway.
I think that about covers our trip to IN! We arrived back here Thursday late afternoon – and Bill parked the rig on the first try! No backing up/pulling forward, etc. First shot!
Bill and Greg have been working on our solar installation, and it’s going well. Greg says easiest so far for him, so that’s good news! He and Bill are really doing it together, working side-by-side, and I know Bill is happy about that, as he likes to be involved and know how things work, etc.
So, that’s all for today, consider yourselves caught up with Bill and Kelly! Thanks for joining us today!