Water leaks are inevitable when you live in an RV or camper. They happen, so you get used to watching for them. Continue reading
We’ve gotten a LOT accomplished the past couple of days! I’m super proud of us! Continue reading
The leveling jacks on our camper have made an obnoxious “popping” noise (along with movement) since day one! We have a 2015 Grand Design Momentum 385TH that we bought back in March of last year. Apparently the “level-up” automatic hydraulic leveling system by Lippert is known for “popping”. Continue reading
That makes my blog official maybe?? We finally got some vinyl letters to put on the back of our camper! Continue reading
After our not-so-excellent experience with a mobile RV tech, we decided this had to be done! When Allen and I put our heads together and work to make something happen, we usually rock it. (And if we want to kill each other along the way, at least we come out the other side still in love!) Continue reading
So in my last post, I described some issues we were having with the camper. (See here…) Most of this stuff will happen no matter what kind or brand of camper you have. These things move down the road at high rates of speed, they get bumped around, all of your appliances get jiggled and everything gets bounced around on the highway. I realize all this. But, when things are of better quality and craftsmanship, they last a whole lot longer.
So when we made the long term investment to purchase our 2015 Grand Design Momentum 385TH, it was after extensive research on our part. We had a 2010 Wildwood by Forest River and so we had an idea of what we wanted and didn’t want, what we liked and disliked, and we had a feel for the quality, or lack there of, that goes into the camper making process. We were shopping for our house. Our first house we would buy together, so it was a big deal.
We looked at numerous different brands (no more Forest Rivers!) and went to multiple RV shows and dealers in different parts of the country. After we found the Momentum we did some research on Grand Design. It turned out that the company was just started in 2013 although the owners had been planning for years. They had worked for Jayco I believe and left there to start their own line, with a focus on QUALITY. This was huge for us. A smaller company, not making a billion different campers, they’ll be able to focus on us a little more. Every time we went to a show or visited a dealership, we would try our best to find something we didn’t like about the Momentum. We were trying to be objective. Although we were in love in 2014, I’m really glad they changed some things in the 2015 version. Namely the wood is darker now and there is no carpet on the steps to the bedroom. And after hearing some things, I’m glad they went to the triple axle, although we were kind of excited about the double at first.
Needless to say, because we now own a Momentum, we were hard pressed to find anything we didn’t like about it.
The last time we walked into a dealership (Palm Beach RV), we met Tony and said, “Show us the best fifth wheel toy hauler you have. We live in it full time with a puppy and travel all over the country for work.”
Guess where he led us… It was meant to be! (If he would’ve taken us to a Forest River model, I would’ve left on the spot-haha!)
So we’ve had our home on wheels for a little over 8 months now and she’s been good to us. This last trip though, kind of threw a lot of things out of whack. I’ll recap:
- The low point drain is busted. Allen was able to fix it by removing the valve and replacing it with a metal elbow and some more pex, and a plug, all with a bunch of hose clamps. I love how handy he can be sometimes.
- The bedroom slide is all out of whack. I’m pretty sure the motors are going out, in turn causing the thing to get off track, but I’m no expert on electric slides.
- The black tank in the half bath won’t drain. I think maybe the wire is broken. You pull the handle and nothing happens. So, grossly, all that is just festering back there…
- The tank valves don’t seal all the way. So when we get to a campground and take the cap off to hook up the hose, we get a good amount of nastiness that spills out. Not fun.
- The furnace has started making this awful noise when turned on. It happened in Oklahoma City and when we got here to the Dallas area. It’s really loud and it has a peculiar smell, almost like chlorine but not quite…
- The stove burner jiggled itself loose. I discovered that when we got here on Monday, but it really could’ve happened anytime as I didn’t cook this trip. We found a little tiny screw and a metal o-ring type thing but it won’t stay in place. So I’m down to 2 burners for now.
- The driver’s side tail light is LED. It’s been a little shotty since we got the camper, but it’s all the way out now. Sometimes it’ll have about 2 of 7 lights lit, sometimes more, but it’s all the way out now.
- The kitchen island is squeaky. It sounds like an old house. It squeaks when Charlie walks by! I think from reading things online that maybe some floor boards came loose and need to be glued again, but I’m not sure. This isn’t major, just a bit annoying.
- The antenna on the roof is broken. I think it’s the gear head… Remember when we stayed in Sparta at our friend’s place. The ones that have the wolf that Charlie was playing with? (Of course you do!) Well, we forgot to put the antenna down when we left, so when we stopped at a rest stop we found half a tree tangled in the antenna! Oops!
- I would also like to get the latches on the propane doors replaced with locks. They come open when we drive and we constantly have to pull over to close them. It must be from the wind and/or the vibration of the road.
When it rains, it pours….
I’d been trying to get a hold of someone who could help us sort all this out and what to do about it at Grand Design since Monday. After lots of help from Facebook (there is a Grand Design RV Owners page that Allen and I joined) I finally found some answers yesterday.
I spoke with Ray at Grand Design. We got off to a pretty rough start, I won’t go into details, but he finally gave me phone numbers to a couple mobile RV techs near us. I called and luckily Jeff from Lone Star RV is going to be able to get things done for us in time to go to Ohio for Christmas to visit family! When I called Ray back to let him know, he led with a big apology, so we are all good now. He also said he spoke to “Jerry” in the interim and Jerry had no recollection of speaking with me on Monday. Shocker! Here’s an example from a post I wrote back in August starring the infamous Jerry:
Anyway, while I was on the phone with Amanda at Grand Design I had her switch me over to Jerry in warranty (yes, I’m on a first name basis with these people). I spoke with Jerry multiple times when we were in Louisiana trying to take care of the radio/tv situation. Grand Design had the bright idea to put some Furrion products, and some Haier products in here. (To save money I presume..) But they don’t communicate well with one another. The radio in the living room is also a DVD player and that wasn’t working so Jerry sent us a new HDMI cord. It worked then, but in hindsight I don’t think the cord was the issue. We still have the same problem with having sound and no picture when we play a DVD but now we just unplug the TV then plug it back in. It’s the cheap Haier TV. In the garage (toy hauler) there is a car stereo that also plays DVDs. But it constantly sounds like it is skipping around a CD in there or trying to spit one out. Jerry also sent us a new radio that we swapped out. That worked for a while. I noticed Monday that it started making noise again. So he is supposedly sending us ANOTHER radio to swap out and says if we have more issues we will have to take it in to have it looked at. I’m trying to avoid that because we live in here full time and I’d rather not live at a dealership for days. Also, the closest Grand Design dealer is in Sacramento. And Allen will not be commuting to from Sacramento to San Francisco to work! Anyway, last time, Jerry took forever to send anything out, I mean he said he sent it then a week later I called to see where it was and he still hadn’t sent it. So fingers crossed he actually put it in the mail yesterday!
So for now we wait, and pray that the black tank doesn’t start to smell terrible in these beautifully warm temperatures we are having! I’m glad we are finally getting things resolved and I’m hoping that this turns a new page in our relationship with Grand Design. A lot of people I’ve seen online just rave about how great their customer service is… Maybe we just got the short straw with Jerry. Hopefully things will be better from here on out.
In the meantime I’m getting my tan on at the video store/pizza place/RV office/tanning salon, striving for some color before the holidays. North Dakota made me super pale! And I’m working on crazy Charlie. It seems like she’s been de-socialized in the month we spent in isolation at the North Pole! She did however make friends with a random loose pit bull that came running up to us last night on our walk. I was a little nervous, trying to play it cool, talking in a happy baby puppy voice, but Charlie seemed fine. Now if she would only befriend our neighbor’s boxer “Gator”, I would be a very happy puppy parent indeed!
We also got all of the Christmas shopping that we can do online done yesterday. And ordered our Christmas cards – super excited to get those and mail them out!
Hope everyone else is having a great week! Mine should be better now that I know help is in the works!
And if it shakes it loosens… Such is life in our home on wheels…
Since we left North Dakota on Saturday we’ve discovered:
- The low-point drain is busted. Broken. Stuck open.
- Our bedroom slide is in need of service. It won’t close all the way.
- Our gray and black tanks don’t close all the way, so when Allen (not me) removes the cap to hook the sewer hose up, all kinds of nastiness spills out. Every time.
- The tank for the half bath in the garage won’t open to drain. It’s full. The handle pulls out. Nothing happens.
When we got to Abe’s RV Park last night, we parked and attempted to plug the busted water valve with no luck. So then we went out with Karen and Bob for some food, drinks, relaxing and catching up. Love them! Then today we got the truck tires balanced and rotated first thing this morning. I called 3 different McClain’s RV Superstores to try and get the camper in for lots of service but none could do anything until at least January. I called Grand Design and spoke with “Jerry” yet again. He was not even remotely helpful.
We also want to have some other little things fixed while it’s still under our 1 year manufacturer warranty. But taking it to Grand Design is out of the question as “Jerry” told me today they aren’t scheduling any more service appointments and are backed up into February. Nice.
Allen was able to get the low point drain off and replace it with and elbow and more pex and a plug held together with lots of hose clamps. (All found at Lowe’s for a few bucks) So we at least have water. I did the manual override for the bedroom slide and got it in.
Now we’re on our way to Dallas and nothing is really fixed, just patched for now. No clue what we are going to do or when we can do it. I love traveling. I love living in a camper. I love the spontaneity of Allen’s job. But when it comes to this kind of crap, it’s frustrating to say the least! But, we have each other, and Charlie, so we will deal with whatever is thrown at us and try and make the most of it!
P.S. I love Abe’s RV Park. It’s one of my favorite places, mostly because Karen & Bob are so nice and so helpful. I was a little sad to leave… On a good note: it’s in the 60s and feels like SUMMERTIME to us! I can’t wait to open the back and have a porch again!
Now, moving onto camper-sized THINGS…
Living full-time in a camper takes some adjusting to but overall I love it. Before I moved in with Allen for good I went through all my clothes and got rid of half of them. Then I went through again and got rid of another half. I still probably have too much, and I TRY to live by the rule that when I get something new, I need to get rid of something, but that doesn’t always work out perfectly!
The biggest challenge for me is staying tidy. Just ask Allen! He sometimes starts twitching (slight exaggeration) coming in the door from work if I have crafty stuff on “his side” of the bench, and let’s not forget walking into the bathroom if I’ve forgotten to put my makeup and hair stuff away… (Let’s just say my tidiness is a work in progress!)
But in a camper, you need to be organized and live by this rule or things can get out of hand rather quickly!
So here’s a list of some of my favorite things that work well for me in our camper. Some I have, some I just really want!
- I have a set of nesting mixing bowls and measuring cups just like these, but I got mine from Aldi (it’s a discount grocery in Cincinnati) and I only paid around $15. This set is $30. The only thing I wish is that my green bowl had the same little pour spout-that’s kinda nifty!
- These Magma nesting pots and pans look SO nice! A dream come true! They all stack neatly inside of each other and there are two removable handles so they don’t get in the way! I am in love with them. I’m REALLY hoping my wonderful mother gets us these for Christmas! I saw them first on Shore Looks Nice.
- When we had the other camper, I would do dishes and set them on a dish towel on the stove, leaning against the wall to dry. But with our new camper, the sink is on the island, which means there is no wall to lean plates and things against to dry. So one of the first things I bought was this drying rack. It folds up and fits under the sink when I’m not using it.
- I’m also in DESPARATE need of a spice rack! I cook dinner almost everyday. 6 days a week, if not 7 sometimes. And I use a LOT of spices. Right now I have them all stacked/falling off of a lazy susan on a shelf in the pantry. I bought this spice rack from Kohl’s when we were in Waynesville, but when I got it home I realized how cheaply it was made so I returned it.Now I’m thinking maybe this will work out better. I can stack things on top of it, and even though it’s not as fancy looking as the one above, I can use my existing spices!
- I absolutely love our washer/dryer combo, but sometimes I don’t have the patience to wait for things to dry all the way, OR they just don’t. This mostly happens with jeans and heavy sweatshirts. So I picked up this drying rack and it gets a lot of use!
- And, even though it’s not storage related, I think it’s fair to mention that I’ve found some really decent dishes at Big Lots. I usually look in the picnic section for plastic plates and bowls. And I try to find thicker, better quality ones that will last a while. We had some black ceramic dinner plates and bowls that Allen loved, but it was just too much of a hassle to have to stack paper plates in between them every time we would travel so they wouldn’t break that I finally gave them away. He’s still a little sad about it! But it wasn’t practical (sorry babe!)
- I don’t have this shoe holder but I want to make one. My friend recently sent me some fabric and I think some of it might work out really well for a shoe holder! I’m sure it wouldn’t be TOO hard to DIY!
- I know they probably sell the “pop-a-bag” things that hold your plastic grocery bags, but you can just as easily make one yourself. I made mine out of an empty Clorox Wipes container. I just stuffed the bags inside and tore off the little plastic prong-y things. Super easy! I used to have them in a tissue box and that worked too! Here’s the pop-a-plate and pop-a-tissue. (I don’t have or want either one of these, I think they are kind of a waste of money, and now I don’t have anywhere to put them.)These are both at Camping World.
- Some kitchen appliances that I can’t really function without:
If you have any ideas that I missed or some favorite camper-sized things of your own, please share!