Wednesday, June 30, 2021

6/27 - 30, REV Group (aka Fleetwood) Customer Service Center, Decatur IN

I have had some issues with my motorhome over the past several months that I felt could not be fixed by an ordinary Fleetwood dealer.  So, knowing I would be headed back to Michigan and Ohio, I made a reservation at the Fleetwood Customer Service Center I had gone to several years ago when the dealer I bought my rig from refused to fix several warranty issues.  I had had a very good experience there, and I knew that because it was close to the factory that they would have parts.  (REV is the name of the group that purchased Fleetwood and several other RV manufacturers several years ago.)

Since then, they had paved their RV parking lot and built a new customer center, which was very nice.  

If you are not an RV owner, you probably don't know that most larger repair facilities have places for customers to park overnight and hook up to electricity, as well as get water and have the use of a dump station.  The reason for this is that many of us live in our RVs and sometimes have to wait days and weeks for parts to come in, so having a sort of RV park is very handy.   And in the case of REV's facilities in Decatur and in Coburg, OR, you have to be in the office ready to register and meet your mechanic at 6:00 am in Decatur and 7:30 am in Coburg, so this means you really have to be on site the night before!!  They also allow you to stay the night after repairs have been completed.  And the people who have body work done, sometimes stay an extra couple of days because driving their unit would damage the new paint.

I had a long list of items needing to be fixed:

  • Replacement patio awning and replacement slide topper awnings.  My big awning had torn a few months ago, and the two slide toppers are badly frayed.  After 9 years of being in the sun and weather, they all really needed replacing. Unfortunately, these did not come in on time, so I have to come back in late July when they arrive.
  • Fixing tail lights and the upper running lights required on larger vehicles.  Mine have not worked since last summer so I have not been able to drive at night.  I have had the supposedly "fixed" three times, but each time the fix lasts only an hour or so.  Decided since Fleetwood installed them, they could fix them. 
  • The part of the fiberglass coach that goes over the front cab that was provided by Ford has become loose from the metal cab.  It squeaks horribly and leaks when you spray water there.  I was pretty sure I knew what was needed, but this chassis work is not something many dealers want to deal with, hence best to get it done at the factory service center.  
  • Several small things, such as a defective GFI plug in the bathroom, missing bulb in stove cover, and an oil change.  
(I also need a new couch because the vinyl is falling apart, and I have looked at Camping World and other dealers out west, but knew these are easier to find in Indiana because so many RVs are made there.  Unfortunately, REV does not carry anything that will fit, but they did give me the name of one customer furniture manufacturer.) 

This is the new customer center in Decatur, IN.  I arrived here on Sunday afternoon, found a place to park and hook up, and got to bed early because I knew I had to be up and have my slides in and be unhooked by 6 am on Monday morning when the mechanics would come to get my vehicle.


This is the view of the RV lot from the second floor.  Note that all of the RVs were very expensive Class A buses.  Mine was the only Class C in the lot because they don't really advertise this service center to Class C owners! 


This is the center walkway with all the electric hookups.  By the way, any RV in this lot during the day means that they are waiting for parts or for paint to dry--literally.  A few people do leave their vehicles while waiting for parts, but most much prefer to stay in their very comfortable homes on wheels than go to a hotel or drive their cars to a distant home.  

Another view of the RV parking lot. 
Here is my "little" rig alongside the big expensive rigs!  Makes one feel like a poor relative. 
I forgot to take a photo of the two big customer lounges, but one is on the second floor and has several big TVs and some computer areas, along with a refrigerator and microwave, and is dog-free.  The lounge on the first floor has similar furniture but allows dogs and other pets.  

One really nice perk that I have not seen in other service centers, but is much appreciated, is a small, free laundromat.  I did three loads of laundry here.  Much nicer than most campground laundromats and very handy. 


My repairs were done on Tuesday afternoon, but I spent the night here because, frankly, I had no reservations anywhere else since I had not know how long all these things would take.  When I left on Wednesday morning, I stopped by the furniture place and ordered a new mattress, and also learned they could not supply a couch that would fit in my unit.  Will probably have to just get this one re-upholstered.  

Anyway, I have a reservation for Maumee Bay State Park for Thursday, but that left tonight, Wednesday, open.  Did you know that the Ohio Turnpike has overnight RV parking with electrical hookups in half of their service centers?  They are very convenient if you need a place to stay at the last minute and are on your way on the turnpike.  I have used them before and found them safe and fairly quiet places to stay.  Cost is $20 but you are only allowed to stay one night.

So, here I am tonight.  Nice because there are fast food restaurants in the service centers.

Nice to have company in this RV lot on the turnpike tonight!  I am all plugged in with my satellite TV on and AC when needed.  There is a potable water faucet, so I also added some water to my tank before parking, and I can use the dump station in the morning when I leave.

In the meantime, I have a good view of an Ohio cornfield!! 



6/17 Drive from Nebraska to Indiana

 I've been very lazy, but it has been a lot of driving across country.  I left Denver on June 17 and arrived in Indiana at the REV Group/Fleetwood RV customer service center in Decatur on June 27.  (More about that later.)

Anyway, I did not take very many photos on my trip east because mostly I was just trying to get to my destination on time without much sightseeing.  Anyway, here are a few photos of my adventures on the way. 

If you have driven through Nebraska, you know that one end of Nebraska looks a lot like the other end of Nebraska.  (Texas has that problem as well, and both are very wide states.)  Here is mostly what Nebraska looks like:

At one point, I pulled into a Walmart to pick up some groceries and discovered that shoppers with RVs were supposed to park in the dirt lot next door, which really irritated me.  First, the regular main parking lot was too small, and second, the dirt lot I was supposed to park in was full of chuck holes and very dusty.  I complained to the store manager that I was buying as many groceries as his customers who owned cars, but all he said was that if RV parked in the paved lot, there would be no room for cars!!!  

When I went out to leave, I saw that this big and very expensive Class A motorhome pulling a large cargo trailer had gotten stuck in one of the holes.  The back end of the motorhome and the front of the trailer were hung up and the wheels of the motorhome could not drag them out.  A big danger is that there is a lot of stuff like water tanks underneath a motorhome that could be easily damaged.

The driver and his family had a shovel and were trying to put dirt and anything they could find to fill up the hole so they could drive their wheels on it and get out. Finally, they spun their tires enough that they were able to back up a little.  I did not stay around to see them completely get out, but I would have been in the store afterwards yelling and screaming at the manager! 

One of the nicer campgrounds I stayed at was Prairie Flower in Iowa.  It was a Corps of Engineers campground, and I have not yet found a bad one!  They are always very well maintained and have paved roads and campsites, so are very clean and nice.

Another nice campsite was Clark's Ferry near Davenport, IA.  What was nice about this one was that it was on the Mississippi River.  It was rainy and really hot, however, so I did not go outside much.

The last campground before Decatur was Potato Creek State Park in Indiana.  It was hard, by the way, to get used to all the greenery east of the Mississippi.  And in this case, I arrived during a really strong thunderstorm that had knocked down a lot of  branches and even whole trees.  I had to wait until they camp hosts and ranger were able to clear the road.  So much rain after so much drought in the west!!

Finally, the road is clear!

When I made my reservation here, I had checked to make sure the roads were paved, and I even reserved a paved handicapped site, just in case.  Considering the rain, that was a really good decision.


Sunday, June 13, 2021

6/11 Drive to Denver & Chatfield SP

Beautiful drive today from Frisco to Denver.  I took I-70 the entire way until I got to Denver and then had to drive through rush hour to make it to my campground.  

I would have had a shorter drive with less traffic, but I decided to try to stop at the only Blue Beacon Truck Wash in Denver, which was on the northeast side of town.  Unfortunately, when I got there, there two two long lines to get into both the regular wash line and the "wash-out line."  The latter is where they wash out the inside of trucks that are going to haul things that need to have a clean space.  This could be anything from furniture to being moved or food items.  One of the employees came out and told me I had to wait in the nearby parking area until space became available in line.

Normally, I plan on an hour to get through the line with the big trucks, but based on the length of the two lines, I figured this would take at least two hours.  So, after watching nothing move for a few minutes I left.  Then of course, my campground, Chatfield SP, was southwest of the city, so that added at least another hour and 40 miles to my drive.  Whew!  Not a fun end to a beautiful drive:

There was a small brush or grass fire, but the freeway used its big electric signs to tell drivers there was a fire ahead and to please not report it.  I can imagine on a busy freeway like that, EVERYONE called 911 when they saw a fire and overran the system.

It looks like I made it past the fire just in time.  Here is an article that talks about the eastbound lanes being closed the day before and then being reopened today.   The fire is really only a couple of miles from Silverthorne.

It is a good thing the freeway reopened when it did so I could get through.   It would have been a very long and very high bypass over Loveland Pass!!

Getting above the tree line.

Here comes the Eisenhower Tunnel, which is at 11,158 feet in elevation.

After the tunnel, it is all downhill to Denver. 

Finally, after my GPS taking me the long way to the state park entrance, I filled up with water and made it to my campsite.  Huge spot with lots of space around me, and no nearby campers.  Also, space was level and had good clear satellite view.

The state park is here because of the reservoir, but lakes are something I really don't care about. 

I looked this guy up, and he was a black-billed magpie. 

Had to look it up, but it is a copper mallow. 

Saturday, June 12, 2021

6/10 Bike RIde on Dillon Reservoir Bike Trail, Frisco, CO

 One of the reasons I like this campground is that it has a paved bike trail 18 miles around the lake!  And if it very nicely wide and goes through the young lodgepole pine forest.  I found out this day why the area has nothing but young trees--apparently a few years ago they had to clear cut a huge area because the lodgepole pines were all dying because of the mountain pine beetle.  So, now the campground and the area around the lake are filled with trees that are anywhere from one foot tall to maybe 15 feet tall. 

Lodgepole pine are tall and skinny, and they did indeed make terrific poles for native Americans to use for lodges and teepees.  

Anyway, I probably rode only 10 miles on my new electric bike, but it felt good.  I had a bad fall from my bike in Napa at the end of December, and it has made me a little concerned about falling again.  The problem is that electric bikes can take off on their own when you hit gravel, especially if you are using the full-power mode or the power boost mode.  What happens is that when you hit some gravel, the bike senses that it needs to speed up, so the wheels spin and you can easily lose control.  Luckily, I did not break anything, but I landed partly in the very busy paved road and had to be rescued by some employees of the nearby auto repair shop.  

I tore a big chunk of skin off one ankle, and bruised and scraped my left knee and left elbow. The ankle scrape was the worst because it had to heal from the edges, so it took almost two months.  Also, this new bike is faster than my old one and takes off more quickly, so it is taking getting used to.  

I headed west out of the campground and into the town of Frisco to try to get my back brakes fixed, but no luck, so I had to manage with just the front brakes.  Luckily, they are disc brakes, so really do a good job of stopping me!   You can see how all the trees are small in the area.  And you can see the yellow stripe down the middle of the bike trail. 


The lake is a little low, but this marshy area will sometimes be filled with water.

Love the snow-covered mountains.  The lake is at about 9,000 feel in elevation, so I have no idea how tall these mountains are.  All I know if that this is prime skiing country.   These mountains are to the northeast of the lake.

This mountain is west of the lake and campground.

A good photo of the bike trail.  No gravel!!!

I rode all the way east to the dam.  Behind the dam is the town of Silverthorne. 

I walked across the road that goes over the dam and took this photo of Silverthorne.  It is really built up with stores, hotels, restaurants, and all that go along with them.  Breckenridge, by the way, is only a few miles south of here.

Back home to my campsite. 

And a last photo of the campground.  This is a forest service campground, so there is power for one area, but the other areas are all dry camping.  And no showers or flush toilets, either.  Most of the people in this this loop were camped in self-contained rigs, and our sites had water and electric hookups. 

Heading to Denver tomorrow.