You know that we know that stuff happens. Things that we can’t control. Things that we wish didn’t happen but that you just have to deal with. We’ve experienced it before. Remember the refrigerator story or the deer altercation? Sometimes, you are dealt lemons. It happens. You can control only what you do about it. We chose to turn the lemons into lemonade.
Well, this time it’s a small electric motor that plays a big part in the operation of our RV when it’s not on the road that let us down. Our coach has two slides (or bump-outs) that are used to expand the living space while stationary. The first one is on the drivers side and extends the wall outward to make the kitchen and living area wider. The second one is on the passenger side and extends the bedroom wall out so that the dresser drawers, closets and hampers are accessible while stationary.
It’s the bedroom wall that uses electric motors to extend and retract (the living room wall is hydraulic) the wall. You can probably guess that when one of these motors conks out, the slide will not operate. If you can’t extend the wall, you can’t get to any of your clean clothes. And, if you happen to be active people and have not done laundry for a few days when this happens, well, the clothes in the hamper might not smell too good!
We were visiting Redwood National and State Parks and camping in Klamath when this incident happened. It was no big deal since the bedroom slide was closed. We just could not open it. Just an inconvenience. At least it wasn’t the other way around, stuck in the out position which would have kept us from driving. We contacted Tiffin (the manufacturer of our RV) for support and tried everything we could do on our own. Then it became obvious that we were going to need an RV mechanic to get this one resolved.
Our contact at Tiffin, Justin, searched for qualified shops along our intended route and shared the info with us. We contacted them only to find out that both shops were already booked three weeks out and could not even take a look at our coach to diagnose it until then. We just couldn’t spend that much time waiting around because we had plans to meet our daughter and niece in Grand Tetons National Park in three weeks.
We asked the people at these two shops for recommendations of anyone they knew that might be able to get to us more quickly and ended up driving to a shop in Eugene, Oregon based on their recommendation. Eugene was certainly not part of our planned travels but this shop could diagnose it the very next day. Justin had the electric motors overnighted from Tiffin to Carrier & Sons RV Service and Repair shop where Tony got to work on the issue first thing Friday morning!
He removed the original electric motor, installed the replacement motor and tested the slide to find that it still would not work. Now, we were going to be here for a while! Looked like we had to have more diagnosis conducted and await additional parts from the factory. And, we were going be spending the weekend in the shop’s parking lot, oh joy!
After we washed the coach (that’s a three hour job!) and had a cold one, we got bored and decided to get to work on the lemonade. Turns out that Eugene is a college town, proud host of the University of Oregon. Not sure if these two things are related, but, Eugene also has many local breweries. We decided to take a tour while we were going to be in town and see what we could find. The pics will show you some of the places we checked out.
We also happened to drive the Jeep past a body shop that had a “Free Estimates” sign out front, so I quickly volunteered to get this task done while Siobhan did the laundry at the nearby laundromat. This was an enormous help since we were able to send that to our insurance adjustor and get the entire repair process underway.
We had heard from many people, including our parking lot neighbor at Carrier RV, that the coast of Oregon is too beautiful to miss so we took a drive out to the coast on Sunday. There we saw exactly what they were all talking about. Absolutely worth the ride. Our first stop was Sea Lion Caves, America’s largest sea cave, a naturally formed underwater cave accessible by elevator. Although the numbers do change with the seasons, we saw 10 – 15 Stellar Sea Lions lounging around inside the cave and close to one hundred playing on the rocks visible from the lookout.
The most photographed lighthouse in the world, Heceta Head Lightstation was the next stop as we traveled the coast north. The original five-wick oil lamp was first lit in 1894 to provide navigation assistance to the mariners. We happened into an extremely informative Ranger-led tour of this National Register of Historic Places facility for a great education on lighthouses before continuing north up the coast to Yachats, OR. Here we enjoyed a late lunch at a seaside restaurant and relaxed for a bit. The last stop was Devil’s Churn where the Pacific Ocean relentlessly pounds into this chasm (started as a crack in the volcanic rock eons ago) with thunderous waves.
Tony took another shot at the RV repair on Monday morning, figured out what had really happened was that the metal rod running from the motor at the top of the slide down to a track on the bottom of the slide had somehow “dropped” out of the motor. The motor was turning but it was not engaging with the track to push the slide out or pull it back in. Tony discussed it with Justin to get approval to do the repair. This approach avoided the needed to await more parts from the factory and got us back on the road on Monday afternoon. We are really grateful to both Justin and Tony for finding a way to get this problem resolved so quickly.
So we not only had a fun time on our Eugene brewery tour and got our Jeep estimate and insurance process underway, we also got back on our way much sooner than anticipated and most importantly, back on schedule to meet up with Ericca and Stella in Wyoming in a few weeks.
Lemons into lemonade!