Our departures for past trips have been relatively straightforward. Wait for snow to melt (or not). Pack. Leave.
This year was a little different.
Last Sunday night, our friend Jim hosted a wonderful get-together with friends to celebrate the end of ski season and to wish us bon voyage. Thanks Jim (and Deb, virtually), Tom, Cate, Milo, Patty, Helen and Mike for a fabulous send-off! Over dinner, we joked about the new trick our RV had learned at the end of last year’s trip – random headlights. As a result, the RV was in the shop and a new part was to be installed on Monday to make the headlights a bit less interesting and more predictable. All good, so far.
Well, on Tuesday the RV was still in the shop with a team of technicians looking for gremlins in our electrical system. Twice a day, Doug would chat with Dave at Charlebois Sprinter Service. Most conversations went like this: ‘We found something else, fixed it, and the headlights still don’t work.’
No problem, right? We’re retired, have no plan, no schedule… Except that we had house sitters moving in on Thursday. They had no flexibility on their move-in date – they had been house sitting for another couple who were moving back in, also on Thursday. We had to be out of the house. We needed a contingency plan.
Brittany and Alex, our house sitters, were exceptionally helpful. They moved their boxes and stuff into the house while we consolidated our boxes and stuff into one room. Meanwhile our friends John and Rebecca offered us a place to stay if we didn’t get the RV back from the shop in time.
The whole week was a nail biter. We still had to make a few modifications and repairs to the RV. And we had to pack. Everything. Wednesday, our original target departure date came and went. And we got the word that the RV was still not fixed.
We were running out of things to do. The house was ready, our stuff was staged. There was nothing else we could do without the RV. So we went for walks, visited people, played music, read. Dave finally called with good news. The gremlins had been exorcised, and we could pick up the RV Thursday night. Woo-Hoo! (Doug’s words, surprisingly.) So we brought the rig home, parked it in the driveway and headed over to John and Rebecca’s for the night.
On Friday, we loaded up the RV (the first time we’ve even tried to do that in less than a week) AND added some helper springs (to make rough roads easier on the RV and RVers – SumoSprings, if you’re into these things), higher capacity house batteries and a hard-wired inverter (to allow for more time off the grid), reinstalled the spare tire we left at home last year (strongly advised on certain backroads in Canada where tow trucks might be 300 miles away ), updated the Tire Pressure Monitoring System sensors, reinstalled the bike rack and bikes, and fixed a few little things that needed some TLC. And de-winterized, shocked and cleaned out our water system. We’re so grateful that John stopped by to lend a hand. Also to Elizabeth and Stanley who loaned us jack stands that made working under our 6-ton truck easier and safer.
Exhausted and barely able to move, yet glad to be ready to roll, we had a great night’s sleep. In the RV. In the driveway.
We awoke bright and early on Saturday, ready to go. After a few chats with the neighbors, and our friend Jula who stopped by, we headed out. About a mile from the house, we turned a corner and the latch on the bottom drawer in the kitchen came loose. Every time we turned right the drawer would open and every time we turned left it would close. That’s not gonna last long… Fortunately, we were heading to Barb’s for lunch and hugs. We arrived a little early and used this opportunity to confirm that we indeed had the necessary tools on board to deal with on-the-road fixes. By the time Barb arrived, Doug had built in a new safety latch. Barb’s fabulous lunch also included fabulous leftovers for our first dinner on the road. Thanks Barb!
And we’re off! So far (3 hours), not a single problem!
PS. At the start of every trip, it takes some time to ‘get back on a roll.’ This time, it appears we lost focus on taking photos for our blog. So sorry we missed pix of the party at Jim’s, Brittany and Alex, and Barb! A few more of the photos we didn’t forget to take are in Flickr albums: Friday, Angels, first on-the-road repairs.