2016 Maritime Walkabout – Planning

puffinIt’s about 37 days until we take the ferry from Port Townsend, headed for Newfoundland and Labrador and we’re busy planning the trip. This will be our fourth long trip in our motor home and each journey impresses upon us the need for planning. Not that we aren’t spontaneous on the road, but this time we want to be more careful about each day.

We began planning this trip with the goal of seeing more of the Maritime Provinces of Canada than we did in 2012. Our first consideration was to not repeat the mistake we made last year by showing up before any campgrounds were open for the season!

This trip we’re going to try a daily planning form so that we can pay attention to the day and have a record for reviewing campgrounds and future trips.

Daily PlannerOften we’ll start the day’s drive with only a hazy idea of where lunch will be or where we’ll fill up the tank. Hopefully this will help us organize our thoughts more clearly. The form is in Word and we’ll print it two to a page on both sides of the paper and place them in a binder.

Next: Organizing outside storage.

Winnebago Quality

Yesterday we finally got our 2015 Navion V delivered back to us by the Winnebago dealer after three weeks in the shop, ending what has been a discouraging series of quality issues we didn’t expect from Winnebago. The experience has left us hesitant to recommend either the brand or the service department at Roy Robinson RV in Marysville even though the Navion is a dream to drive and we look forward to many more years of RV travel.

Here is the list and how each item was resolved (in no particular order of importance):

1. Gray water system would not drain totally, leaving a couple of cups of water to drain on the ground the next time the drain cover was removed. Winnebago P1000103said this was by design (!) and Roy Robinson said they’d not heard of this happening before. As a temporary fix I replace the cover with one that had a
hose connection, emptying the gray water into the sewer hose when hooking up. When we got back from our trip, Roy Robinson added an additional gate valve. The tech said he’d had to do this many times.

2. Slide out support for the king bed was too small for the side support tracks, causing the slide to collapse when weight was on it. I added thick felt dots on both support sides and consider this done.
3. The power roof vent repeatedly blew the fuse for it’s circuit. The two roof fans and the HVAC thermostat are on this circuit, so I put a piece of black tape over the switch. KIMBROUGH RO 36007105 001We ordered the power vent as Sherry couldn’t reach the manual vent in our 06 View J. It took three trips to the dealer, each time to discover the problem hadn’t been fixed. The last time it took from Sep 19 to Oct 10 to troubleshoot the problem. Three times we were told it was a pinched wire. Twice the repair was deemed as completed only it wasn’t. Here is the result.
4. The door that opens to the LP tank was missing the rear striker plate. Took two tries at this. Now that the door latches on both ends, the fit with the body trim and forward door isn’t right. I’m just going to not latch the rear end and ponder a trip to a local RV shop.
5. The AC outlet near the coach door was noticeably crooked. I fixed this.
6. The AC outlet under the thermostat was not secured to the wall. It was not installed properly. I fixed this.
7. The remote door lock remote (and the dash button) stopped working the passenger and coach doors after about a week into our first trip. I’m kind of tired of relating the story line here, but it went from initially being a “blame game” to “the owner needs to solve the problem”. Armed with that status, the Tacoma Mercedes provided me with a tech sheet on the Signal Actuation Module (SAM) and Winnebago factory provided me with the instructions on how the dealer was supposed to replace the coach door lock wiring. Lynnwood Mercedes finally replaced the SAM module after two visits and Roy Robinson RV replaced the wiring harness during one of our many visits. The result is that the passenger door works remotely and coach door works remotely – but only with the engine running. I do not have any confidence that further dealer troubleshooting will solve the problem.

My primary gripe with item number 7 was the lack of coordination, the “not me” description of the problem by Winnebago and placing leg work of the solution on the owner.

8. Dust got in the cockpit connection box for the steer by wire circuit. This caused an unholy number of warning lights and much consternation west of Douglas WY. Mercedes dealer in Salem OR gets five stars for suggesting a can of compressed air and blowing it out. Have not had a problem since.
9. The storage doors were not adjusted properly when we picked it up, causing marks above the doors. Dealer adjusted the doors, I’ll try to rub out the marks.

P1000104

10. The electrical switches by the door and driver side bed were unmarked. I labeled them using white on black tape from my Brother label maker.
11. The lighting bar above the galley came loose and dropped down. Roy Robinson glued it back in place.
12. Many of the cabinet doors, the kitchen and closet doors were not aligned properly. Roy Robinson fixed these, though some of the overhead doors still need my adjustment. One of the overhead doors was warped on delivery and was replaced.

We were also very disappointed while on the road to the East Coast at the repair time responses by both Winnebago and Mercedes. With the exception of Mercedes Salem, response involved a week or more just to be diagnosed. My dentist, doctor and barber can do better than this.

OK, I’m done now and we’re now trying to get on the road. Now we’re not just a little hesitant to turn our rig over the the dealer again. Hopefully some hot springs time in British Columbia and then south to Valley of the Sun in November will smooth things over again. On the road again!

 

First Two Weeks

Trip time 13.03.34.54 – Near Page AZ

I don’t know how anyone else rolls, but we no longer use the terms driver/passenger or pilot/copilot. As rail fans we’ve assumed the job titles of engineer (drives the train) and conductor (they ensure safety and comfort and make announcements to keep passengers informed). Using the GPS, AAA paper map, smartphone and asking a local, we manage to avoid being temporarily unsure of our position. When Sherry is the engineer, she is also the conductor!

The trip so far has included a wonderful stay with friends near South Bend WA, runs on the beach and river swimming for Allie and Kinnon in Oregon and a couple of great meet-ups with my brother Harry in Salt Lake City. The segments from the coast to Bend and from Bend to Winnemucca were over the limit of what we like to drive, which is about 275 miles.

Our Navion gives us sleeping options of two twin beds or a king size. We left home with sleeping bags and an assortment of quilts but along the way found fitting sets of sheets. The old bedding should find new homes in Draper UT.

Utah 14 in Dixie National Forest

Utah 14 in Dixie National Forest

Having been to Zion NP before, we decided to try Utah 14 and US 89 between Cedar City and Kanab. Not only is Dixie National Forest awesome to look at, but Midway Summit is just shy 10,000 feet. The Navion was more than capable and we often had to slow down behind passenger cars on the 8% grades. A great improvement over our previous 5 cylinder View!

Switchback on Utah 14

Switchback on Utah 14

A note of appreciation to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. We didn’t stop as we’ve visited before, but we did note that will all the great work they do with the animals in their care they still have time to keep a section of US 89 free of litter!

Lake Powell small

The view from my bed this morning. The Wahweap National Recreational Area near Page AZ is incredible and I grilled burgers last tonight. The conductor and I ran the numbers on the itinerary later this morning so we have plenty of East Coast time before crossing into New Brunswick on April 30th.

Off to Apache Junction AZ in the morning!

Willipa Bay

Willipa Bay

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Our first day was about three and half hours, driving down Hood Canal on US 101 to visit friends who live on Willipa Bay in Pacific County. They have  perfectly level drive with power and water. As one can see, the view is magnificent. My maternal grandfather and great grandfather moved up from Astoria and were fishermen out of South Bend and Tokeland. We have been invited back.

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First small town burger was in Elma. We don’t usually frequent chain burger places when we travel, except McD often serves good coffee.

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The dogs weathered the first day well Kinnon (above) sleeps and Allie sits and pants. Dramamine doesn’t phase her.

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Dennis and Kathy have an adopted peacock named Henry. Kinnon is a bit birdy, so Henry is now in the woods. Smart fellow!

Walkabout 2015 Preparation

route

Proposed Route

With three days and some amount of hours left until we push-back I thought I’d better offer a preview of the preparation and trip, if nothing else than to review them myself.

Above left is the most current itinerary, a counter-clockwise trip around the US and Canada. Parameters for the dates are mid-June graduation of Grandson Mitchell and the mid May opening of the Canadian Rockies.

Each walkabout we’ve taken (this will be number three) we’ve made fewer reservations and been more open to “one day at a time.” We also try to drive less each day, with 300 miles as a guideline maximum. More state, provincial and national parks.

Outfitting the new Navion has been fun, and we’ll do more rearranging on the road. The four cylinder, twin turbo diesel and 7 speed transmission make the rig a dream to drive, with 18.5 mpg so far. The floor plan (we chose the L-shaped sectional) is much more livable than our 2006 View.

floorpan

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