It has been a long, somewhat difficult year, but fortunately, things have ended on a high note finally. We started in Kentucky ended in Florida, and seem to hopefully be getting things under control and in check.
Our year started in Kentucky with a dead transmission still. It was at least at a reputable mechanics shop though, so it was getting worked on, but the original “mechanic” had messed this up so poorly that they had to fix things he did wrong, find missing parts, do all sorts of other issues to get it working. We finally got to them and got it taken care of in mid-January, though I don’t remember the actual date. We spent one night in their parking lot and then they spent the entire next day working on it. They got it installed, it was working, but then we also found out there may have been something wrong with our brakes.
We drove towards Florida without incident. We were able to stay with a family friend for about a week and replaced the master brake cylinder with my brother’s help. Since then, the brakes have worked fine.
We then decided to go to a campground in central Florida and spent a few days there. No issues there either. We then were scheduled to head north to visit my sister’s family in North Carolina. Things again went wrong. Not far north of our former home, things did not feel right. We went to a Walmart for supplies, came out, and it just felt like something was wrong. There was a Cracker Barrel nearby, so we drove there, stayed the night, and left the next morning.
Then we had a fire. It seems when the transmission was either being installed or removed, the oil pan was damaged. It was dripping oil onto the exhaust, which caught on fire. We got out, got it put out, had to get towed to a local mechanic and had that issue, along with a host of others, repaired. We had an exhaust leak and they recommended someone who specialized in exhausts to repair it.
We went to a campground near the beach to spend a couple of days until we could get into the exhaust specialist. I hit a small wooden pole and knocked it over, dealt with an asshole who lived across the street, and ended up never talking to the owner of the site we had damaged, despite leaving all my contact info. No harm really.
We went to the exhaust specialist who looked. He spent about thirty minutes and basically said he wasn’t going to do it because it would be too much work. No discussion, no offers of anything he could do, just a flat out nope-not gonna deal with it.
We then spent a few nights in a church parking lot and had to go back to the original mechanic to get a few more things repaired. We told him we’d go to Red Bay, Alabama where the Tiffin factory is and get the work done there. I figured we’d be able to have a mechanic who specialized on these motorhomes do the work for us. Made the appointment and headed up there.
We stayed at a campground for a few weeks, and when we went to leave, the RV would move. Had to stay a couple more weeks and ended up getting towed to the mechanic. They spent a few days working on it, then said they would need some new parts, but I told them we’d go to a campground about an hour away, give them three weeks to get the parts, come back, get the work done, and be set.
We spent Easter at the mechanics parking lot and found a very bad leak. It took awhile, but we managed to get that taken care of. We headed north again to the next campground, assuming we’d be coming back in a few weeks to get everything taken care.
We ended up spending Tiffany’s birthday there and her parents even managed to come by since they were headed north anyway.
As for the mechanic, I gave them a week to find the parts. The second week, I called every day. Every single day, trying to talk to the owner so he could confirm he had the parts. He never once called back. Never bother to email, leave a message, nothing. I said screw it, he obviously wasn’t going to do anything, but for some stupid reason, no one was telling us that and just admitting it.
We decided to head north again, back to Kentucky to the mechanic who had done the transmission. Got to the same campground we had spent the winter at, and was referred to a different mechanic by the locals there. We ended up going there and getting the exhaust leak fixed, as well as replacing the half-assed job the mechanic in Red Bay had done.
Headed south again. Things were going well, the engine was running nicely, seemed okay. Seemed like things were finally looking up. We stopped for gas about an hour away from our campground, went back to start, and… nothing. Would not start at all. Tried jumping it, nothing. Called for a tow. It took almost nine hours from the time we called to when the truck arrived. Bullshit from AAA to say the least.
Got to our campground around 5am. Towed in in the middle of the night, in the dark, and set up camp. Had to get towed to a mechanic in town and found out that apparently the gear selector had been just out of its slot by enough to not allow it to start. They also found out one of the tires had been incorrectly installed, so they fixed that.
Went back thinking all was well. Headed to a campground somewhere near home again, had a schedule all setup to head to North Carolina YET AGAIN.
On our way, engine started overheating. Had to get towed again. We were able to drive our RV into the campground at least since they do not allow them to be towed in. Had to have a local RV specialist repair the coolant system for way more than it should have cost.
At this point, I was terrified of driving this RV. So much went wrong so fast that I hate driving it, not knowing what will go wrong next. So I started looking for workamping jobs in the area where we could settle down for awhile, take a break from driving, fix some things, upgrade some things, and just not have to drive for awhile.
I found one in northern Alabama that seemed promising. Was all scheduled to head up there, but also found one much, much closer. We ended up going to the one in Florida, which was about 50 miles from our current location, instead of driving 700 miles to Alabama and praying nothing went wrong.
The beginning of August was the last time I drove it, and that drive was terrifying. I was expecting something to go wrong, anything really, but we got here. I’ve been working a few hours a week since we got here to pay for our site, so we can finally lower our debt without increasing it and repair some things.
We had our black tank cleaned completely. Had to replace the toilet. Had a small leak in the same location, but finally got that under control. Replaced our air conditioner with a used one (and finally paying for it this month). Killed two TVs and finally got one working. Got some other stuff to install, installed some of it, trying to get the parts and tools together to do the rest.
All in all, it was a difficult, stressful year, at least for the first 7 months. Things seem to have calmed down though and we are stationary for now. While we’d like to travel, get a newer, nicer RV, we really can’t afford it yet. We can hopefully get our debts to our parents paid off soon, as well as some other debts, and hopefully start saving for something new. It may take awhile, but I hope things are looking up.