We had to move out of the Durango house a month earlier than planned because the house sold as I reported earlier. We used the time wisely to get some repairs done on the RV. March 1st (just as I got home from a trip to Brazil) my parents brought their van up and helped us celebrate our last evening in Durango, and helped us move everything back to the to the RV. While I was gone to Brazil the Landlord came in and took anything that wasn’t bolted down. SO we had to get a little creative with seating, and eating (no dishes, pans, couches, etc.) while my parents were there. We decided to have a nice evening meal out, and then decided to get up early and get packed up and out before going out again for breakfast and hitting the road. Very quick trip for my folks!
UPDATE: The best thing to come out of our brief stay in Durango was to meet our landlord. She (as well as her husband, Tom) turned into a new friend and we enjoyed skiing together the one day that we skied. She also treated Mike to a series of guitar lessons in thanks for some repairs he did for him on the house. We shared a meal with them at their house and one at ours, and Iris treated us to an evening of an international guitar concert… Wonderful! Always glad to add new friends into our lives.
We had a list of RV repairs. Some were issues that had been there since we bought the RV last year, but this year we had debated upgrading to a new RV, so we were just not sure that we wanted to invest. In the end, we decided to keep the RV, and drive it to Alaska. We wanted it in good shape before driving that far. After collecting it out of storage, where it had been overrun with mice for 3 months, warming it up, and cleaning it top to bottom, we dropped it off at a mechanic in Albuquerque.
They took a preliminary look at the list and the RV and told us it would take them about a day maybe two to complete the work. We also asked for estimates on a solar panel system, and needed the car fixed up to be able to tow. (We sold the trailer the day we moved to Albuquerque, so really had no choice but to get the towing package installed.)
Then we went over to my parents house to wait…. Well, 3 weeks later, and many thousands of dollars, they were finally done with the work! I guess the lesson here is to never let on to the mechanic that you are in fact going to be in town for a month…. because then it will take a month.
Some people have suggested that we should have checked on it, but we were in pretty much daily contact with them, and it was really partially our fault because we asked them to estimate the solar panels and towing package, and then when they had us in to discuss the estimate, we did want them to go ahead and do it. We suggested we would take the RV and bring it back when they had the parts, but they replied that they would rather have it stay at the shop, so they could continue to work as they had time/parts. So the RV spent most of the month in the mechanic shop.
Socializing at the mechanical yard?
Had we been paying for a motel room, we would have requested the mechanic pay for it. But when I brought that up, the mechanic (without missing a beat) offered we could stay in the RV in the mechanical yard… Obviously the comment has arisen before. I was hoping to get friends over to see the RV, and when the last weekend in town we still didn’t have it back, he suggested we have our parties in his mechanical yard…
Yeah, well… Instead we scurried around and reorganized moving the party locations, but I was still disappointed that we couldn’t show off our home. I am sure our friends in Albuquerque think the RV is just a fantasy, as we have spent a month in Albuquerque in the RV two years in a row and almost none of them can vouch for its existence.
In reality, we were staying at my parents house. So it worked out, even if we did kick my nephew out of the guest room, where he is currently living. The worst part is that we paid for a month slot at the RV Park and only used it 8 nights. Another lesson.. perhaps staying at the mechanic is the better answer. Many folk have commented that they do that, so it’s pretty common.
Tom’s RV Service and Sales – Repairs Shop
I hesitate to mention the name of the mechanic, lest you think we were unsatisfied with the repair and all this detail, but instead I want to call out Tom’s RV Repairs in Albuquerque because we found Tom to very, very knowledgeable and very professional. We want to be clear that we will go back and would recommend anyone use him. Our discontent is more a statement of the fact that when you take your house through a highway “earthquake” on a regular basis it makes it hard to keep up on the maintenance.
The water heater
On the Monday before Easter we got our home back over to the RV park. As Mike and I were drifting off to sleep that evening, with the windows open, I said half asleep “Wow, it rained harder than I thought, I can still hear water dripping off the roof.” Mike sighed and fully awake now said, “No, it didn’t rain THAT hard, and the dripping is underneath!”
So we got up (and by we I really mean he), trudged outside, and found that the water heater was leaking. He shut off the water and in the morning called the mechanic. Ever since we bought the RV, the water heater would work on gas, but not on electricity. Mike thought the “heating element” needed replacing but it was seized into place and he was afraid he might destroy the water heater trying to get it out. This was on the list of repairs, supposedly fixed now.
In the morning, they were quickly on the job and came out to the RV Park to fix it. The repairman worked all day long, even taking the heater back with him to the shop to weld on it, and finally about 5:30 pm he said, “I think you need a new water heater.” The NEXT day he came back with a new water heater and replaced it.
Easter day the kids (Kelsey & Matt, Sara & Jacob) came over for brunch and games. It was a fun morning then Kelsey and Sara and I went out to get our nails done… just a little mom/daughter time before we hit the road. I think we have only done that once before. But it was also fun cause Kelsey has been showing off her new engagement ring… she and Matt got engaged!! He’s a nice boy. We are happy for them. He took her to Universal Studios in California and proposed in Harry Potter World. She was totally surprised, and thrilled. Our socializing this month included meeting Matt’s Mom & boyfriend. The couple have not made any plans yet and I suspect it will be a long engagement.
The day after Easter the toilet quit working. So we were with out a toilet for a night. In the morning, Mike dug into it and found that it was just plugged.. Even with the emulsifier in the toilet, which I LOVE, the toilet paper was too much. Guess we need to watch how much toilet paper we use. Humm. Or upon reading more, it seems we shouldn’t have the problem if we use enough water when we flush.
Anyhow he got that working quickly. Then the lights in the bedroom quit working. Still haven’t figured that one out, but Mike is on his way today to Utah where his electrician son lives.
The Tank Meter
Another item on the repairs list was the tank level meter had never worked. We wanted that fixed before we headed up to Alaska to do a lot of boondocking and not know when we needed to visit a dump station to prevent grey water from backing up into the shower, or worse, the black water to back up in the toilets… (Yuk!) Seems reasonable, right?
Well, the mechanic assured us that there was nothing wrong with the meter, but that the tanks had been left (before we bought it) partially full for so long that the sensors were corroded. They also told us we should not leave our sewage or grey water tanks open even when hooked up. Instead we should wait until they are partially full then empty them all at once… OK, never knew that. Their “fix” was to scour out the holding tanks. and clean off the sensors. They said when they were flushing the tanks, they saw the meters go up and down.
We headed out from Albuquerque on Tuesday after Easter. The next evening Mike was taking a shower and found the tank was full. We (and by we I really mean he) went out and emptied both of them. Obviously the tanks were draining, and the grey water meter said it was going out, but the black water tank still said full (and it was not!) Aargh! Guess we are going to have to figure that one out.
The Washing Machine
In Vegas Mike started a load of laundry and discovered that the washing machine did not drain. Mike tore that out and determined it was the water pump that was bad, so he ordered a new one. When that finally came, he installed it and water poured out. He fiddled a bit did it again, and again water poured out. He took the new pump apart and discovered a screw that had been stripped. Cannibalizing the old pump and merging pieces with the new pump, it now seems to be working again in fine order. (Sure glad I have that man!).
The Wifi Booster, etc
There is always something, this month we also finally got the wifi booster and appropriate antennas mounted permanently. This should really help for staying connected on the drive to Alaska. Between this and the solar, that is my strategy to help this trip not interfere with my IBM job. There also seems to always be some broken latch or lock. We had a plethora of packages shipped to Pahrump, so I know there’s a lot more that I’m not even mentioning.
We spent the month in Albuquerque working, and visiting friends and family, repairing the RV, and preparing for our trip to Alaska. Still a month seemed too short. We did buy our nice drone in Albuquerque (a DJI Mavic Pro) and we spent a lot of time learning to fly it. The flying is SO much easier than the cheap practice drone that we lost in Durango. And it has the “home” feature so this one presumably will not fly away forever! But I also need to learn how to take videos with the drone and all about video editing… It seems our first videos are a little rough. The learning curve is surprising.. But this is what I love, just a matter of time.
We left Albuquerque and took 2 days to get to Las Vegas, boondocking at the Twin Arrows Casino just outside of Flagstaff. The solar panel performed beautifully! And I LOVE that we feel comfortable staying out without hookups, and don’t even have to change our routine.
In Vegas we stayed at the Las Vegas RV Resort, near Henderson, which was primarily a huge parking lot with hookups. But we wanted to stay in Vegas because Dan London, a friend from Los Alamos High, was getting married. We went to his house Friday evening for a party, and then the wedding was on Saturday. Nice events. I tried to take a bunch of video for him, now to try to do a decent job editing! While in Vegas we also visited a couple of other friends, worked of course, continued the RV repairs and treated ourselves to an evening of David Copperfield.
I did have an urge to sew in Albuquerque. The Rowdy Crew (my square dance group), just got new material for outfits. Previously I had sewed a dress for Jackie and ties for her boys (Husband and two sons) so I offered to do this again.
I thought this might be a good plan since I store my sewing machines in Albuquerque. But with so many distractions, I didn’t sew, and ended up bringing the sewing machines with me to finish the dress for Jackie.
So in Vegas, I set out to sew. First outside, but it’s too hot in the day, and too dark in the evening. And although morning might be an option, that is primarily when I am working… SO.. Had to figure something out, and turned the window/Dresser top in the bedroom into a sewing table and had the ironing station over the sink in the bathroom… Actually worked out just fine, and I finished the dress.
After the wedding, and the following week in Vegas, we moved back to Pahrump and took another 4-day handgun class. The school was not offering the 2-day skill builder class that we would have rather taken. But after taking the 4-day for a second time, I really like that slower pace and honing my skills. We also took advantage of the concealed carry class they offered the day following the 4-day class which qualified us in 37 states.. So that was interesting. The next day I went to Brazil, and by the time I am home the RV will be in Ogden, Utah.. In fact Mike is driving there today.. So this is where I leave you.
Leaving Albuquerque and our storage/home-base felt like we were embarking on the trip to Alaska. In a way I guess we were. Taking the slow route to Calgary, it will be here before we know it. Hope we can stay ahead of the repairs. Keep reading and watching the YouTube channel. We appreciate all of you. And if you are not subscribed, by all means do so! Later.