When Reality Interferes with Fun RV Travels and Blogging!

This week was one of those weeks where our idyllic lifestyle of sightseeing and playing in beautiful places had to be put on hold while we took care of some important repairs on our fifth wheel trailer. We have been waiting for these repairs since we were in Nova Scotia three months ago where the rough roads bent an axle on our trailer and caused a leak in our fresh water holding tank.

Kansas Sunrise

A stunning Kansas sunrise!

We were able to replace our trailer axle in Maine over two months ago at Harvey RVs, an outstanding RV repair facility in Bangor. Unfortunately, they did not have a fresh water tank in stock that would fit our trailer. I doubt any RV repair facility would stock such a tank, as they are generally custom made to fit between the floor joists, with fixtures and plumbing connections placed in locations that are unique to each RV.

RV fresh water tank in fifth wheel trailer underbelly

Getting ready to remove the fresh water tank.

So, we decided to return to Chanute, Kansas, where our trailer was built in 2007, to have the fresh water tank replacement done at the NuWa service center. We were assured they had the proper fresh water tank in stock.

Since we were relying on our RV extended warranty to cover the fresh water tank replacement cost, we decided to have a few other broken things taken care of at the same time. We had been living with these broken items for a while, as they weren’t too critical, but because each one qualified to be repaired under warranty, we could bundle the repairs together and get them all fixed at once while paying just one warranty deductible for everything.

RV toilet replacement repair

RV toilet rebuild — fun fun fun!!

The day of our repair appointment in Kansas finally came on Monday this week, and we have had a whirlwind (tornado?) of a week as we watched and assisted as many as five mechanics working on our rig at once, all day long, for three days. To add to our own personal confusion, we had to move out of our trailer and into a motel for a few days.

Turmoil in our RV

Chaos reins!

All of our repairs were related to water in some way, with most of them having to do with either our fresh water or sewer water plumbing systems. For the entire job, our precious rolling home straddled an open grate in the floor that serves as the RV dump station for the shop. This is where they fix clogged black tanks and replace broken ones. They had just replaced five black tanks the week before we got there!

RV fresh water holding tank replacement

Our new fresh water tank gets installed.

This meant that for three days both we and the mechanics were lying on and scooting around on the (often wet) floor that was layered with who knows what kind of muck, from who knows whose rigs.

RV holding tank valve replacement

New black tank valve…nice!

Of course, most people don’t hang out with their mechanics when their RV is being worked on, but we were with them every step of the way. We learned a lot about how RVs are put together, and we were able to catch quite a few bloopers that would have bitten us big time down the road.

RV kitchen faucet replacement

A new kitchen faucet goes in.

Being present throughout the repair process ensured us that everything was installed correctly using best practices (i.e., using teflon tape and hose clamps where needed, installing all the o-rings that came with the replacement parts not just some of them, and testing each repair after it was finished). Several projects on our list were done two or three times to get them to 100%.

This was awesome for us in the long run, because we knew our repairs were being done well, but it was exhausting to live through. Needless to say, there wasn’t any creative writing or blogging going on!

Fifth wheel RV window removed

Rear window removed.

But life is groovy once again and our buggy is back together and fully functional. NuWa provides an awesome cleaning service after a repair job, and Sharon did a terrific job making sure our living areas were clean before we left. Once we were back in the wonderful (and nearly free) city RV park, we followed her lead and shampooed the carpets and detailed the exterior of the rig too.

Washing our fifth wheel RV

Working hard…well, one of us is!

With this big interruption behind us, and with a huge sigh of relief, we are now planning to leave Kansas in our wake and head south through Oklahoma and Texas over the next few weeks before turning west. Yay!

Oh yes — and that Trailer Warranty we have through Wholesale Warranties? What great fortune that we had it, as these repairs came to $1,242, and all we had to pay was the $100 deductible.

Note added later: Sadly, we had another major repair waiting for us just a few weeks in the future when our trailer suspension failed when we got to Phoenix, Arizona for the holidays. Here’s how the warranty has worked for us to date:

Here's a summary of what our four year RV warranty through Wholesale Warranties cost, what our repairs WOULD HAVE cost, and what our warranty reimbursements have been to date:

Cost of Warranty $1,904
Total Cost of Repairs we've had done $7,834
Total Out of Pocket Costs for those repairs $1,145
Repair Reimbursements:
Trailer Axle Replacement $1,036
RV Refrigerator Replacement $1,647
Plumbing Issues & Window Leak $1,142
Suspension Replacement $2,550
RV Toilet Replacement $314
Total Repair Reimbursements $6,689

Our trailer warranty has paid for itself 3.5 times over, and there's still lots of time left on the contract!

If you are thinking about getting a warranty for your trailer or motorhome, Wholesale Warranties is offering a $50 discount to our readers. Just mention that you heard about them from our website, Roads Less Traveled, and the discount will come off the quoted price at the time of purchase. You can get a quote from them here:

Wholesale Warranties Quote Form

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14 thoughts on “When Reality Interferes with Fun RV Travels and Blogging!

  1. Hi folks, I have followed your posts for over a year along with your magnificent published articles. My question is not directed to this post but more of a general question about fulltiming.
    My wife and I started fulltiming about 1 Mar this year. After driving away from the Central Valley of CA, we moved east to TX, bought a beautiful 2008 Monaco Motorhome and continued up toward Montana, Washington, and currently outside of Coos Bay, Oregon. With all of this information, here’s my question; how do you folks decide where to go? I see where you’re here or there and post beautiful stories me photos, but what led you to that event or location?
    I really appreciate your simpler lifestyle and value your opinion.
    Thanks so much
    John

    • Thank you for following our travels, John, and for reading all our various postings, both here and elsewhere.

      Over the years, we have perfected the art of not planning. Each season we paint a picture ahead of time in broad brush strokes. This year was “Nova Scotia” with “Texas” and “Florida” thrown in so we could do our disc brake conversion upgrade (at a specific shop in TX) and our electrical system upgrade (at our friend’s house in FL). We knew what months we wanted to be in each place. Other than that, we simply drove the scenic roads from one place to the next, letting the adventures come to us.

      We like towns with 10,000 people or less and we like pretty scenery. If a map has a dotted line (scenic road) it will likely pass through cute towns and/or pretty scenery. The “Images” on a Google search will show what a town looks like. TripAdvisor will give ideas of what there is to do there. Blocks of green on a map mean state parks or public land of some kind that is usually very attractive. Once we get somewhere, we rely a lot on the locals to tell us what’s good to see nearby (folks on the street, in restaurants/bars/stores/barbers, etc.). We also get tips from people at the visitors centers and from fellow travelers we meet on the road.

      Simply walking down the street and talking to people teaches us a lot about a town and its people and helps us decide whether we want to stick around. On summer weekends most communities have something going on, and if they don’t the next town over does. Posters around town usually alert us to what’s up. The best is when we stumble into something going on right in front of us, which happens a lot. On the other hand, all too often a phenomenal sounding event happened last week or is happening in two weeks. Oh well!

      We know we can’t see it all in one go, so we’ll pick and choose areas and themes. In Georgia we chose “antebellum mansions” as our theme and discovered there is an “Antebellum trail” that goes in the direction we were heading through some of their cutest towns. Perfect! On the Blue Ridge Parkway we chose “waterfalls” as our theme and stopped in places where there were beautiful waterfalls. We knew we couldn’t see PA and southern NY/NE if we wanted to get to Nova Scotia in time, so we blasted through that. But we ended up staying in Nova Scotia 2 months less than expected so we had lots of time to explore northern Maine and upstate NY. In Maysville, KY, we just happened to get a beer at a bar where the locals welcomed us like long lost family. Who could ask for more in their travels, and what a blessing not to have to leave right away.

      I think the trick is finding that delicate balance between seeing too much and not seeing enough. We now know very well the tell-tale signs of crankiness when we’ve been doing too much sightseeing and need to stop and catch our breath. We also know the itchy feeling when it’s time to hit the road. Understanding these sides of ourselves took 3 years of RVing plus 2 years of cruising to master.

      I also think that (for us) not having any agenda or schedule is really important. We are extremely free spirited. That’s why boondocking works for us — there are no reservations involved. But it’s the self-discovery of what works for you that is at the heart of all this. Our free wheeling style isn’t for everyone, and most people like to have a sense of where they are going and what their next month or 6 months will look like.

      Tomorrow we are heading towards Oklahoma with no idea where we are going other than the names of the places where fall foliage is best (from a Google search). We don’t know if we’ll be driving 50 miles or 150 miles. It depends on how late we leave Chanute! We’ll be a few weeks early for the peak of color in Oklahoma, so we have no idea how our Oklahoma fall foliage tour will work out. We also have the names of a few places in Texas we’d like to see that we saw on a PBS travel show the last time we turned on the TV a few months ago.

      We haven’t painted our broad brush strokes for 2016 yet, other than that it will be in the western side of the continent.

      I know this is all pretty vague, but perhaps it will help you out. It’s all about finding what works for you and makes you happy. The resources for us are simple: Maps, Google, TripAdvisor, locals and fellow travelers.

      Have fun in your beautiful Monaco coach, and happy travels!!

      • LOVE the way you plan (or don’t plan) your trips. You are an inspiration on how to get the most from RV-ing. We learn so much from your blogs. Thank you for sharing your travels!

  2. Mark and Emily, These posts have been helpful w/ knowing that we will be running into repairs in the future when beginning our full time traveling the middle of December. Still finishing up with moving off of our 4.5 acre hydrangea farm , getting rid of everything we’ve accumulated over 35 years. (But we are making good headway) Plan to take the 36′ Alpha to it’s repair facility in Fontana CA. end of Nov. to get a complete go over. And have all repairs taken care of before we head out. Will definitely be looking into the warranties for our rig after we take care of the repairs.

    • Repairs are inevitable, and the older a rig, the more repairs it will need if you want to have everything working correctly. Getting hit with three biggies in three months is really unusual, though, and hopefully we will be repair-free for a while. The warranty has certainly made a huge difference for us and has alleviated much of the stress that would have been a part of all this! Have fun with the Alpha and hang tough through the downsizing…you’re on your way to freedom!!

  3. My husband and I have been moving toward full time RVing for the last year. We are now selling off our belongings and plan to put our house on the market the first of next year. We have picked out the 5th wheel we will purchase when we sell the house. We have always camped and now have a travel trailer that is going to our daughter and her family. Your blog has helped us in so many ways as we move toward our dream. I feel we will be at least 3/4 prepared for what is to come! Thanks for all the ideas and sharing your experiences about full time RVing with this novice! We can’t wait.

    • Congrats on the big move, Karen, this is an exciting time for you! I don’t know if anyone is ever much more than 3/4 prepared for a life transition as significant as this. It sounds like you are in really good shape, and we’re happy to have been a part of your preparation. Good luck with your downsizing and house selling, and have a blast once you hit the road next year!!

  4. I’m interested in doing full time RVing but have no idea on the way to relieve my mail change address etc. Any ideas on how and what to do?

    • That’s how the Pink and Blue jobs get divvied up in our rig!!! (just kidding) But repairs are a part of the package if you decide to run around in an RV, and we’ve been lucky and have gotten away with years of being almost repair-free…

  5. Boy do I know how this feels. Our boat is in the shop right now for some repairs. Really thankful for that warranty right about now because of this major repair! I can’t wait to get back out there.

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