Thursday, April 19, 2007

Campground Curse

We moved less than a month ago from Tallapoosa, GA to Culpeper, VA. It was a nice uneventful two-day trip. Stopped in at our dealer near Hickory, NC and had the furnace fixed. Minor issue, another loose wire.

Things changed once we pulled into the campground. We are nearly convinced that we are in a campground that must be cursed by the ghosts of Civil War soldiers. It is named after a local battle. Just don't know where Cedar Mt. Battlefield is located. But it must be fairly close.

Problems started when we drove through the gates of the CG. A telephone pole that used to hold part of the sign makes it quite narrow to pull in. We were doing fine, but David went slightly off the pavement into the soft dirt. I was watching the RV through the side mirror. The coach was fine the first half, then leaned and BANG, it hit the pole. Didn't see anything until we pulled in farther to look for our site. The pole had hit the awning above the dining slide. The metal cover had been pushed 2/3rds of the way off. Luckily, we weren't on our way OUT of the park. We would have had some drivers waving frantically to us. All though, I may have noticed it on one of the right turns.

The first week was rather uneventful after arriving. Got our internet & DirecTV set up fairly easy. Found out the CG doesn't have any 50 amp sites, so we were trying to make due with 30 amps since this is the closest spot to the new jobsite in Culpeper. But for some reason, after the first week, we started flipping the breaker almost every other day. It also turned colder. We had used the main AC while here, but only for a couple of days.

The first time it happened, David walked over 2 spaces to the main breaker and got power back. The second time, just flipping the breaker didn't get us power. So we thought it was our Franks Voltage Booster. But it was only doing it's job because of low voltage. Once David discovered the 30 amp plug wasn't making a good connection, he used duct tape to attach the plug to the outlet. We were back up and running again.

Thought we had everything under control, when one morning, David came home for lunch. I was using the microwave and had just started the computer. Power went off and we couldn't reboot to pull up windows. After multiple tries, I tried a recovery using the recovery disks. It deleted all programs and took us back to the day we bought the HP. It never asked for disk 2 or 3, so imagine that was part of the problem. Everything had to be redownloaded. It took 2 1/2 days because I had to reconstruct 2 weeks of Quicken in multiple accounts. Thank goodness everything can be accessed online. Lost pictures, but they were on another computer. So really nothing important.

From the beginning, we noticed the water pressure would be quite low at times. This is fairly standard in many CG's, so didn't think much of it. But it started to smell atrocious, especially the hot water. The sink was getting brown stains at the bottom. So we did some investigation and decided it was time to check the water filters. When David opened the outside filter, there was brown slime floating through the water. We couldn't recall if we had changed it since we left Williamsburg, VA last fall, the last time we'd used it. Thought Ooops, have to add that on our checklist when we move.

Then a few days later, we had a good rain start after dark. Around midnight, I got up too warm and realized I had forgotten to turn down the heat. So I lowered the thermostat and went to turn on the radio to go back to sleep. It helps to drown out the noise of the rain, so it's a common practice.

But when I stood there in the dark, I heard the sound of dripping. It sounded like it was right on the dresser at the radio. So I turned on the light. There was water coming out from under the Oreck Air Cleaner, dripping down the side of the dresser onto the Oreck Vacuum. The carpet under the vacuum was saturated and as the water hit it, it was quite loud.

I unplugged everything and cleared off the dresser so I could figure out where the water was coming from. There was just a slight bit of water running down the wall under the electrical outlet. Then while watching closer, the water started dripping out the bottom of the plug. The ground hole was the exit. So I woke David up.

He looked, I looked and finally pulled off the plate. The wall insulation was damp and the water started flowing out faster now that the outlet was hanging lower. Got a bowl, then a bigger bowl. Finally got a big pan since the rain didn't sound like it was going to stop anytime soon. A second smaller leak was found along the woodwork above the TV.

We laid in bed for over an hour trying to figure out where the water would be getting in. He finally got dressed and took the flashlight up on the roof around 2:00AM. I laid in bed cringing listening to him walk up above me. Thinking he could very easily slip off the roof. He couldn't see much because it was so dark, so came back in quite wet.

When he crawled back into bed icy cold, that's when he gave me his Civil War Curse Theory. We laid there for awhile longer talking, laughing and agreeing on his theory. Finally, we went to sleep. Two hours later around 4:30AM, I got up to check on the pan. It was half full by then, but the rain had finally stopped.

David took off early the next day. He got up on the roof and couldn't really see any problems with the caulk. But to be on the safe side, since the Nor'Easter was coming over the weekend, he caulked all along both sides and the front cap. Plus around the vents and antenna. Anywhere that it looks like water could be running into our unit.

Since then, no more leaks, even with the heavier 2 or mo days of rain over the weekend. But we are still experiencing the breaker flipping. Even today, the power turned off and came right back on. Enough of a reminder, that someone wants us out of here.

Fortunately, on Easter weekend, we located a new CG that has a long term spot for us. They do have a 50 amp site. It's not much farther down the road in Madison. We are moving tomorrow after lunch. Let's hope this one is less eventful.

Monday, April 02, 2007

New tow vehicle

After looking for over a year, we decided it was time to upgrade the tow vehicle. There was an article in the January issue of Trailer Life on the 2008 F450. It looked like maybe this could be the best truck for our needs.

We decided to stop in at a Ford dealership in Bremen, GA on our way to WalMart for the weekly groceries. We were looking for a brochure on the 2008 F450 & hoping they might have one to look at. They had the brochure, but their F450's were still 6-8 weeks away from being shipped. They had a few F250's & F350's. We only looked at the F250. Sat inside, ran the motor, checked over the storage, upgraded features & went home. Much improved from the 1999 F350 model. Engine was extemely quiet. Seats more comfortable & great looking tow mirrors.

At home, I began to do some more online research. It only took us a couple of days to decide. David stopped in at the dealership on his way home from work & asked about doing a search. The power went out just as he pulled up. But after about 20 calls, our salesman found a White 2-tone one in TN. But unfortunately, they couldn't coax them to give it up. So David came home & just after dinner we got a phone call from the salesman. Who knows how many more phone calls were made, but they had located one in the Dark Stone Metallic in AL. It even had a Navigation system, which we've come to rely on during traveling. So we made the deal over the phone. Took delivery on Friday, March 2.

After the purchase, we added remote start, ceiling DVD player, bed liner, tonneau cover & 22k Reese hitch. Time was short as we were heading for the next project before the end of the month.

We put on over 2500 miles on the odometer before we did our first towing. Towing the 18.5k Suite was quite comfortable. No bucking even on the rough roads. David could go 65 easily. In the Silverado, at 65 or higher it made an uncomfortable bucking. I did miss my leather seats in the Silverado at first. But David didn't hear me complain once during our trip. It took us two days & 650 miles to get to our current destination. Quite a good test for the new truck.

Getting the ULSD 15ppm fuel was more stressful than taking the long trip. It was a hit & miss on some parts of our route.

We still think we made "A GREAT DEAL".