Off of the Grid

Posts tagged “RV Repair

Waiting, waiting, waiting…

This is always the hardest part of any remodel I think. It doesn’t seem to matter if it is traditional home based or a home on wheels. At some point in the process, there is a period of time where you are just waiting. You fill your hands with busy work that needs to be done but honestly you are pretty much just waiting.

We cannot move forward until the chassis repairs are made. We have had trouble finding a welder. Turns out, this area is a bit old fashioned about welding and no-one would respond to my calls all last week. Over the weekend, I told Daniel that he would need to call since I wasn’t getting anywhere. It was probably a combination of luck and timing that he made one call and was able to immediately speak to a mobile welder (I sent him the number) who will be coming out later this week. Arg. I am very glad we finally have someone coming out to take a look at the job but so very frustrated that it took Daniel to get someone out here. Regardless, the important fact is we will be able to move forward.

During this slow period Daniel has been treating the steel with rust reformer. We didn’t have any terrible rust but a significant enough amount that we wanted to treat it. With the entire undercarriage protected against water, salt, and grime, our home will last that much longer. Xander and I have been spending time scraping off the old butylated rubber from around the windows. Talk about a thankless task! We don’t want to use a chemical solvent since Xander is helping with this task, so we are doing it the old fashioned way. A flathead screw driver and patience. First you scrape with the screwdriver and get the sticky black stuff to release. Then you just grab it. Turns out, once you get a nice sized ball in your fingers, you use that to ‘grab’ the rest. Lifts right out and leaves the metal as clean as can be. Your fingers are stickier than all get out, but it does the trick and no chemicals needed. Thank heavens for goop hand cleaner!

Next week I should have more news for you but for now, we are just keeping busy. Thanks for stopping by!


Teardown Complete!

YAY! We finally got the last of the old flooring out. Now there is just the frame and the chassis of the trailer. We have some wood cobbled together in-case we need to make the RV street safe but that is off to the side.

WOW! Just had to get that off my chest. OK. Here is what we found.

  • We found both steel beams bent by the passenger side rear dullies. Not sure what would have caused this kind of damage in this spot. Massive over burden? Improperly placed jacks? Accident? These will need to be removed and replaced.
  • Rust – a bunch of rust but fortunately less than we were expecting. You can tell this rig was not an East Coast vehicle. I was terrified we would get everything off only to discover that road salt had eaten away the very base of our home. At that point, we would be game over and homeless. There is a reason I haven’t been sleeping very well at night. The rust that we did find is treatable. PHEW!
  • The back steel beam going across the rear of the RV is slightly bowed up. You can see from the pictures. Again, not sure what would have caused this damage. We know from the people we bought the RV from there was extensive back end damage from them backing into something. I can’t remember what. This damage could have been caused by that. It looks like something we can hammer back into place but I will defer that to the hubby and a body shop.
  • We still have that one steel beam that is broken off the ‘C’ bracket extension. I showed that image previously but will edit the photo to make it a bit more obvious.

Otherwise, things look good! Everything from this point forward is a step towards putting Winnie back together. Stronger, and Better than before. When we are done, we will have a custom brand new 2017 RV.  🙂

That Pesky Leak!

Well, you all know we have to replace the roof. We have had this pesky leak where the air conditioner was since forever! When we had Winnie sitting for two years, this leak got worse. Caused some damage to the floor as well, of course. Well, we have patched and patched and patched – all to no avail. Everything we do seems to open up other leaks. We know! We Know! We need to replace the roof! Tell that to the weather here in CO! Snow one day, sunny 60F+ day, rain the following hovering around 40F. ARG! Can’t do it here. We HAVE to get a patch that works until we can get to WA in June.

So – my amazing hubby and I had some serious discussion about what we could do to finally seal the leak so we can put in the new floor and cabinets without water dripping on them for a couple of months. Some of the options we discussed included building a roof on-top of the roof, getting a heavy tarp to cover the roof and stapling the heck out of it to prevent it from becoming a sail or cover the leaky section with Fylon and seal the edges. The fylon solution won. Daniel found out that we could purchase a 4′ x 8′ section from Lowes and some roofing material adhesive (I will have to go outside and get the name off the tubes).


While Daniel was up on the roof, I was inside, literally holding the roof up while he was shimmying around installing the panel and glue. Good thing we haven’t raised the roof yet! We will let you know if this repair/patch was successful or not but we are pretty sure it is. It’s raining today so we’ll know soon enough. LOL! It just has to hold till June! That’s all we need! 🙂

Hopefully the following posts will be showing some improvement on the interior. Otherwise my anxiety level will be through the roof! Winnie has to be livable by the end of the month and we still have to do the wiring and plumbing! <breath><breath> We can do it, no problem.

Leave a comment, tell us what you think. See you out there!

Remodeling Again

It seems we are at it again! We have ripped apart Winnie in order to rebuild her. We thought we were going to have all summer to do this and instead have only 4 weeks! We desperately need to rip off the entire roof but that repair is going to have to wait until June when we get to our ‘remodel’ location; the home of our incredibly kind and generous friends in Eastern Washington. Right now we had to repair a wall to wall sized leak in the roof where the air-conditioner used to be. Daniel was creative in his kludging of a water-proof repair. However, it just reinforces the need to rip the whole thing off. In 2011 we took off the back half and replaced it. We should have taken the whole thing off at that time. Can’t remember why we didn’t. Time? Money? Can’t remember. Anyway, we need to get it done now.

In other news, the interior remodel is super exciting! More cooking/eating/family space. As time has shown, we like to collectively gather around the kitchen and visit. Our favorite living space had an island that we all gathered around. We are recreating that in the RV! We are moving the hallway from the center of the rig to one side. The kitchen space is now an “L” shape and we are creating a full bathroom instead of the wee WC and shower across from each other. Built in bookshelves and a bigger bed are among some of the changes. Exciting! We need to draw a to-scale diagram. Once we do, I will post. 🙂

I am going to see if I can get pictures on this post of where we are right now. Keep checking back!

P.S. Check out the images of how we ripped apart Winnie the first time we did this to check out what’s possible. Go to the menu and select RV Remodel. Then I would suggest ‘Tear down Complete’.  Here is a link Tear Down Complete

Hentze Farms

  What a wonderous place is Hentze farms.  Everything you could want in a local grocer, everything you could hope to see in a local farm.  A wonderful place to hang out for the afternoon, to go for a walk, or to shop.  The owners and employees/volunteers are helpful and friendly, the animals and farm well cared for.  You can tell this is a labor of love and of family.

Every October they have an Octoberfest celebration.  This year it was the 22nd and 23rd.  We didn’t get to Junction City in time to see it, but I can imagine it is quite the festival knowing  the farm.  In October, they also have an amazing haunted forest trail that takes you to a carefully cultivated giant pumpkin patch.  Select pumpkins are carved with friendly or frightening faces.  The pumpkin patch is surrounded by giant sunflowers, rows of corn and the forest you emerge from.  Each night, the pumpkins are lit with candles and left to flicker and glow for the evenings guests.  Tiki torches are lit and line the trail going to the pumpkin patch and if you don’t want to walk, the hay ride to the patch is FREE!  Yup – FREE!

Most people recommend Lone Pine which is about 4 miles further down the highway and it’s right on the highway.  We went to both and here are my observations.

  • Lone Pine was expensive.  The hay ride wasn’t free.  The only animals to see were the goats in the goat pens.  You couldn’t really interact with them as they were in one of those ‘Place .25 in the slot to feed the goats’ things so I’m not really sure how humane the conditions are.  No other livestock could be seen.  The pumpkin patch was at the base of some power line towers.  Theoretically not a big deal, but certainly distracting.  Lone Pine’s setup was definitely more commercial.
  • Hentze was more affordable.  It’s closer to Junction City and is off the freeway a bit.  They have plenty of parking and access is easy.  I liked that it wasn’t RIGHT off the highway.  Hentze has more animals.  There are chickens and roosters, a couple different types of geese, long and short horned cattle, goats running around with the cows (the cows nudge them, it’s super cute.  They herd the goats), and lots of friendly dogs roaming around.  My favorite was the basset.  They have a cool collection of older tractors scattered here and there providing great photo ops.  They have princess pumpkins, white pumpkins, mottled pumpkins, big pumpkins, little pumpkins, round pumpkins – if you and your family are looking for a pumpkin – GO TO HENTZE!  They have way more of a selection fresh off the vine than I saw at Lone Pine.
Here are some photos of Hentze.  Enjoy!  And if you are anywhere near Eugene, Junction City, or Albany OR – go check them out.  Their farm store is open through Christmas and then by appointment.  They have grass fed beef and pork!  Email or call them if you have any questions.  Daniel, Alexander and I loved the place.  We went back twice!

Adventures in Junction City, OR

While we didn’t intend to stop here in Junction City, we have certainly enjoyed our stay.  First, we have to thank some incredible people who went out of their to rescue us.  Many, many thanks to

  • Tow truck guy (Cant find the receipt but will get the name and update later with all their pertinent info.  You all will want that should you ever need a tow in or around Albany, Eugene, or Junction City.)
  • Gene, AAA Oregon representative (He wasn’t able to help and was the bearer of really bad news, but he did go out of his way to try and help, even after my hysterical screaming on the side of the road.  Most people would have hung up – including ME!)
  • Guaranty RV Sales and Service (Matt and Jeff especially.  Talk about going out of your way!)
  • Levi the Mobile Bike Repair Guy!
  • Ron out at the philly steak booth at Lone Pine
  • Hentze Farm

Visualize this:

  • Perimenopasual woman, really tired fussy 18 month old, broken down class C RV on side of road in the middle of nothing, two dogs, 20 something daughter trying not to freak out and husband ‘holding it all together.’

Yup, chaos!  LOL!  Actually, It wasn’t that bad.  Daniel, dogs and baby were in the rig.  I was down calling every RV place I could find in the phone book from a chevron station that was just off the highway on the off chance we would find someone open on a Saturday night after 5pm.   I left about 6 messages for various mechanics and shops till my finger hit upon Guaranty RV Service and Sales.  I called and was transferred to Matt, the Sales Manager.  I think perhaps because the person who answered the phone was a bit alarmed at my presentation. 

     “Matt!  There is a crazy lady on the phone saying something about her RV being stuck on the side of the road.  I’m afraid to talk to her!”

Matt got on the phone and calmly let me know that they not only have a service center, they have a campground where we could stay until the service center opened Monday morning.  YAY!  Salvation!  I had already called a tow truck but had no idea where to have us towed too.  We were at the junction of I-5 Southbound and OR-34…translation-middle of no-where!  As I walked back to the RV to tell Daniel the good news – we had a destination that wasn’t too far away, it occurred to me we should use our AAA RV service to get the tow instead of paying the local fee’s.  DUH!  I got Daniel’s AAA card and called to request a tow.  Meanwhile the tow truck I called from the Chevron station arrived.  I hashed things out with AAA and felt confident that we would have a AAA tow truck soon to take us to Guaranty in Junction City, so sent the non-AAA tow truck away.  The fact that he came all the way from Albany on a Saturday night and did not make us pay the on-site fee was AWESOME!  He takes off.  An hour later, I get a call from AAA Oregon (our service was purchased in WA), saying they aren’t sure they have a tow truck that can handle our RV. 

Huh?  We have one of the smallest RV’s you can purchase.  11′  to 12′ high and 28′ long.  Sounds pretty big till you compare to the Class A’s and the 5th wheels out there.  In many of the Class A’s you can fit two of our RV’s to their one!  They are HUGE!  While I pointed this out to the phone rep – confirming that I had, indeed purchased the RV AAA service, I provided the needed dimensions of our rig.  She then informed me that they would only have room for two people in the tow truck so the remaining people would have to find alternate means to the tow destination.   Now if we were towing a car, this wouldn’t have been a problem.  But we don’t have a car.  So at 6:45pm on a  Saturday night in the Fall, in the middle of no-where, I was going to have to find a way for Meg and I to get to Guaranty. 

“Are their cabs here?”  I start asking the Chevron station manager where I’ve been making my calls.  The only structure around this location.

“Nope.  You’d have to get one from Eugene so you’d be looking at about $50.00 or so minimum.”

“huh…k.”  I literally started going up to people and asking for rides.  In desperation, at 6:55pm, I called Matt at Guaranty again knowing they closed at 7pm.  “Please, I am appealing to your sense of humanity.  We have no ride, no means to get a ride, and we are 34 miles away.  Given that we are going to be spending hundreds, possibly thousands at Guaranty, surely someone there can give us a ride.”

Matt came through.  A Guaranty employee showed up to take Meg and I to the camp area.  All this was great!  With a guarantee that a guy would be around to pick up my daughter and I in about 45 min, I get a call from AAA OR again.   The nice rep informs me that since my policy was purchased in WA, the OR fee’s for our tow would be 5 free miles (they would tow us to a local bar) and then it would then cost $175.00 per hour and they were going to start the clock from when they left their center.  So we’d be looking at a tow cost of $300.00+ … from AAA RV.  Um, excuse me?  Isn’t this why we purchased AAA RV?  So that we wouldn’t have to pay astronomical fee’s like this?  Needless to say, this is where the hysterical woman comes into play.  It’s now after 7pm on Saturday night.  We still don’t have a tow.  Our funds were limited, and with a looming transmission repair bill $300.00 was WAY too much to spend on a tow for 34 miles.  I’ve been towed 100 miles and not paid that much.  Gene, the AAA rep, after listening to my hysterical screaming then tried to get AAA OR to use HIS premium AAA RV membership # so we wouldn’t get charged for the tow.  No go, but it was sure nice of him to try. 

So, who do I call?  The original tow truck guy that came out in the first place two hours ago.  After pleading with them on the phone, we negotiated a reasonable fee for them to come back out.  The guy was awesome.  The Guaranty employee showed up and gave Meg and I a ride, and Daniel and the tow followed about 45 minutes later.  After 4 grueling stress filled hours, we arrived at what would be our temporary home for the next week. 

This post is getting really long so let me shorten it to this:

  • If your RV breaks down within 100 miles of Guaranty, go there.  They are great people, easy to work with, do a great job and demonstrate compassion as well as professionalism.
  • Junction City is a fun place to hang out.  Check out the library, Max’s Coffee Cafe, Hentze Farm, and Abby’s Legendary Pizza.  We were directed to a local pizza place right as we were leaving town.  We’ll have to check that out when we are in Junction City again sometime.

Hentze Farms will be a seperate post.  Yup – they are truly that awesome! 

See you around!


Closure, Ready for Skin

The back wall is complete, with insulation, and the skirting is ready to support installation of the Fylon skin. We used some extra carpet pad to insulate the curved portion of wall at the top. The cross-beams seem to be doing a great job of supporting my weight as I work on the roof.