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Old 03-25-2009, 03:03 PM   #1
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Trip from H3LL!

Well, it had to happen! After enjoying 42 wonderful nights on the road during the last six months, we had to have one of these to test our patience.

We just planned a short four-day trip to Disney World/Ft. Wilderness.....simple, 425 mile one-way long weekend....no need for generators, or more than a third-of-a-tank of fresh water. Wrong! Halfway there the torque converter in the tranny decided it was too tired to go any further.....bad news! Ms. Garmin listed the nearest Dodge dealership less than 20 miles away, and we limped to the their Service Dept. Diagnostics revealed the transmission needed to be rebuilt.....really bad news! The small dealership only had one master tech.....but, he specialized in transmissions.....good news! We had 1,100 miles left on our drive train warranty....really great news! So, instead of $3k, the bill was only for the $100 deductible. We spent the night in a field behind the dealership.....sure would have been nice to have the generators and more fresh water (lesson learned). The Airstream was tight enough that it shut out most of the smell of the chicken feed plant across the street, but did little to dampen the noise of six Southbound freights during the night (wife slept soundly with earplugs). The folks at the dealership were fantastic...offering rides, etc......and, worked through lunch periods to have us back on the road in 24 hrs. (yes, they got BIG tips).

We had contacted Disney to let them know we were stranded, but would arrive a day late (of course they charged us for the first night.....after all, business is business). We finally arrived to find a motorhome occupying our site. After some explanation to the owner regarding site recognition (i.e. numbers), we helped him move his chairs, bikes, dog, golf cart, etc., etc., etc. and finally could settle in for two days of nice weather enjoying the parks. The picture is of our premium site....with accompanying premium price.

On Monday (our departure day) we awoke to the sound of steady rain.....soothing most times, but not when it's checkout time. Put on the rainsuit, a smile, and secured the outside while Jennifer (my wife) secured the (dry) inside. We drove the next 200+ miles in intermittent downpours. When we decided to stop at a rest area for a break, we discovered that the skylight had decided to start leaking.....OK, we'll keep an eye on it and do the repair after we get home. Oh, BTW, why is the temp indicator on the frig reading 46 degrees? Are we out of propane? Back outside.....yes, it's now pouring again but I'm not putting rainsuit back on because it's in the shower trying to dry out. Switch to the other propane tank.....go through the diagnostics, managed to get it to light but have an uneasy feeling about this. Next rest area.....temp is going up, not down.....won't light. Next stop is at a large RV dealership/service center in Lake City. Tech hooked up test equipment.....and, of course it lit right up! Another $20 and we're on the road again.....puzzled about why the frig is acting up, but needing to get home before anything else happened......which, we did!

It was an adventure....one that we will probably remember more than others. And, it was a learning experience. When you're unexpectedly boondocking in a field (with no transportation) in the middle-of-nowhere, you have time to think about all the things you will do differently next trip.....such as having a small library onboard to pass the time.....we ran the laptop's batteries down playing computer games, just for something to do. The bright side to all this is that it happened on a short trip, and not during our planned 30-day Westward trip in May......it's all good!

Chief
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Old 03-25-2009, 03:12 PM   #2
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Well - it is a nice looking site.... Hope that the time at Ft. Wilderness was fun. Wonder how long the motorhome had been parked there?
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Old 03-25-2009, 03:43 PM   #3
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That is a funny story.. im laughing with you as i enjoyed the way you told it rather than the tradgedy that it was.. I think we have all experienced something like this but it seems like you were a really good sport and you will have this memory for ever rather than a forgettable trip you took a few years back.. and yes.. its a nice looking site!

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Old 03-25-2009, 03:57 PM   #4
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"A" for Attitude

Into each life... IT HAPPENS. Congratulations on your attitude and on not letting it totally screw up your trip. Good lessons and good points.

Books are good, but pack along some old fashioned board games like scrabble, checkers or Parcheesi (sp?). You can tell the kids about olden times before there was TV. A 100 or 200 piece jigsaw is also good - big enough without driving you nutso.

I'm fortunate to be old enough to remember when everyone didn't have a television... and to have mastered reading before we DID get one. Reading out loud with your children - and teaching THEM to be able to read out loud is a skill that will serve them well in public - as well as provide hours of private enjoyment. So not only do I give you an "A" for attitude but for your pre-planning for the next trip.

BTW - if you remember the "Friends" episode where Rachel gave "Little Women" to Joey... that IS a great book for boys as well as girls.

Paula
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Old 03-25-2009, 06:30 PM   #5
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Old 03-25-2009, 09:11 PM   #6
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Sounds like you handled adversity with aplomb. I had a fridge issue about 6mo ago. Plenty of propane but kept ruining fridges full of food. Pilot was not lighting. Problem turned out to be the igniter was too close to the burner to get a good spark to start the flame. Rather insidious since every time it was checked it seemed to work fine. I got in their and bent up the igniter until it was further away. Now it works great.

Still sounds like fun weekend.
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Old 03-25-2009, 10:33 PM   #7
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I'm going to have to say that having your tranny go out and getting it fixed for $100 and in time to make it to the campground only a day late would qualify as THE BEST TRIP EVER!!!
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Old 03-25-2009, 11:09 PM   #8
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Trip from H3LL!

Hi, it didn't sound like that bad of a trip to me; Possibly because you handled it so well. A few lessons learned, a few dollars spent, [thanks to warranty] and a great story to share with all your Airstream forum buddies.
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Old 03-26-2009, 08:02 AM   #9
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Really, not so bad overall, particularly with such a positive attitude. We have all had these experiences, a warning from the powers that be to never assume all is going to go exactly as planned.

To give a very short glimpse into one of our bigger learning experiences, we got caught in the horrific snow and ice storm in Missouri late January. Pulling into a slightly off-the-highway campground, where we though we would just sit it out, we knew that our thermostat was not working. Dumb, Dumb, Dumb. Three days, sub-freezing temperatures and massive power outages all around us, it finally thawed enough that we were able to dig ourselves out with a folding camp shovel. (AAA wouldn't come out, roads were too bad.) Four inches of ice on top of the Interstate, several inches of snow on top of that, we drove south for several hours through a wasteland of ice, snow and downed power lines before we were out of it. First stop the next day was AS of Arkansas, who replaced the warranty-covered thermostat and tweaked a few other items which had been stressed by the depth of snow and ice we encountered. A lesson learned, and could have been much worse. Always be prepared!!
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Old 03-26-2009, 10:22 AM   #10
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Hey Chief,

Glad you made it home safe and sound!

See ya soon!

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Old 03-26-2009, 11:22 AM   #11
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WOW!!! you got a new tranny for only $100. SWEEEET!
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Old 03-26-2009, 07:56 PM   #12
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Lessons learned

Glad you made it home safe...

Lessons learned?;
  • Always leave home with a full fresh H2O tank
  • Always leave home with batteries fully charged and in good working order
  • 1/2 tons are not up to pulling a 25' for very long (see note regarding H20 above)
WB believed in all of the above...

Bill
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Old 03-26-2009, 08:28 PM   #13
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Trip Report Addendum

Thanks to everyone for the comments.....hope you enjoyed our little adventure.

It is true that a new tranny for $100 was a good deal......and, it is the gift that keeps on giving......we are now getting at least two more mpg than before. I suppose it must have been slipping for some time. The destruction of the torque converter could be attributed to my (past....I'm reformed now) bad habits. Prior to getting back into RVing, we towed around 3k of trailer/Harley all over the countryside at some, shall we say higher speeds. The hemi didn't hardly know it was back there, unless we were going up a steep grade, so I almost never used the tow/haul mode.....I know....already been lectured on that one.....'nother lesson learned.

Removed all the inside trim from the skylight, and it appears that there is more than one leak.......why in the world did AS have to install those %#&! things anyway?? Hopefully the rains will stop by this weekend so we can make some temporary repairs until it is replaced.

Chief
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Old 03-26-2009, 08:50 PM   #14
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Thanks for your story. Please share again.......
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