Escaping DRV and Indiana
Coming into the DRV factory we were like small children at Christmas time, full of hope…after talking to the other people and rigs lined up to go into the Service area the nest day our illusions were slowly being shattered. They came for the trailer at 6 am. pulled it inside and by 7 you were talking to “your” tech. Ed, the service manager made a brief appearance after 7:30 repetitively telling us we could not be in the work area…was not looking good. 8 days later-leaving Howe, Indiana and the DRV factory was a relief, and also an annoyance. They need instruction on customer service, but honestly, I really don’t think they care, everything was rushed, they were short handed so I do not blame the techs at all, they were simply doing their best but had to throw things back together for lack of time, which is a sad way to run a company but there you have it. We spent a few rainy days here at the lake pulling and straightening trim, filling holes, adding more nails where new pieces were falling off, really seeing the rushed job that was done with the slides was irritating to say the least, but hey, they work, go in and out as they were meant to be, so load off of our minds at a price. The extended warranty we purchased through Camping World did come through and covered a bit more than a third of the cost, better than nothing and by the end of the 36 month warranty end I am sure we will have more than gotten our monies worth from that..Thank you Good Sam, don’t think we will make you any money;) Camping World never did return my email about the rotten floor on the bedroom slide…Thanks guys…Insurance said they would not cover as it looked to be”previous damage”. So much for insurance.
Howe wasn’t horrible, just not a place we would choose to stay, with the 10 commandments in a nearby village square we were waiting to be struck by lightning;) We made a day trip out to Shipshewanna looking for a loaf of good bread, not the puthery crap but real bread, sourdough or with all these Amish descent Germans and Dutch, perhaps a rye. Seems not, everyone here has been assimilated by wonder bread, did find some nice cheese at the Guggisberg Deutsch Kase Haus Cheese Factory, fun to see the Amish wagons lined up, must have a barn for the horses as well. It was raining off and on the day we drove over so not the best for photos but an interesting look at another way of life. Shipshewanna has done it’s best to market the Amish in the only way they can, small but effective businesses that keep a traditional look, if not exactly a traditional way.
The Holiday Inn Express where we were staying right next to the DRV factory was quite nice but noisy from the freeway being a skip and a jump away. The staff were fantastic (should send the DRV service manager here) and it was a tolerable week there. This is a no alcohol sales on Sunday state we found out so popped up to Sturgis, Michigan three miles to the North a few times and discovered TACOS! Yes, real tacos, fresh corn tortillas, carne asada, salsa verde, heaven, sigh, did I mention the chicharrónes? Fresh out of the olla? It was really interesting chatting with the owners of Carnicería Michoacan as we ate our tacos, about Sturgis, and the large Mexican population, in Spanish, we got that, OMG, you guys REALLY speak Spanish and a wonderful hour long conversation ensued about the area and Mexico and bueno…todo:) We made several trips back, laundromat right next door, what more could we ask for? The rest of the food we consumed in the area was sub-average, resorted to deli roast chickens and microwavable burritos..ugh…almost inedible take out pizza, when the buffet breakfast at the Holiday Inn is the highlight of your food day you know you are in trouble. Couldn’t wait to get back to our own kitchen:)
It is always funny how well the cats settle into hotel rooms, they explore, the old guy finds a soft pillow and makes himself comfortable, the youngster runs about the room at top speed as if he has found a racetrack and then must climb into every space, every open door, nooks, crannies, the bathtub…so exciting;) Groot discovered he could pull himself around the entire bed on his back, literally running upside down using the bed skirt as his racetrack…over and over…fascinating! By the end of the stay he was looking sadly out the window at the rain and wishing he was at a state park of some sorts….just like us. The novelty wears off quickly;)
On the plus side, the towns were quaint and there are beautiful old buildings in Sturgis and South to La Grange. We made a trip to Albion, to pick up replacement caps/o-rings for the oil bath bearings right from the factory! That was an adventure but hey, we replaced all the caps and oil and have some for extras now as well. We’re glad we stayed the weekend after they pulled the rig out late Friday afternoon, we were locked out, managed to catch Ed before he left to open our door, he then left, and the slides wouldn’t open. Here we are, checked out of the hotel and thinking we would sleep on the couch until Monday morning. Ed was no longer answering his phone…big surprise. What if we had driven away that Friday, expecting everything to be working? I think people do this. Luckily, our tech, Lloyd, had given me his number. He makes the most amazing propane heated water tanks for livestock www.horsingaroundagain.com and is a farrier as well. I called, after a 12 hour day he was kind enough to drive back and help us. It was just a fuse, it needed a bigger one and we were good as gold. Thanks Ed for getting back to us…NOT! Hope DRV can hang onto these gems that work for them…
With most issues resolved we finally left Tuesday morning Canada bound. We had hoped to head North through Michigan and then traverse Ontario but nothing was opened for RV’s. Not until May 15th in most cases…we were too early. Discovered Pinery Point Provincial Park just across the border in Sarnia was open year round so we made the dash back to Canada:) Happily. The crossing was uneventful until we came to the bridge and massive truck traffic, couldn’t see a few hundred feet in front of us, a very kind truck driver motioned us over, and made a space to the lane we should have been in for RV’s and cars. Canadian politeness…so very nice to be back we both thought out loud.
We pulled into Pinery Provincial Park after closing but found our reserved spot and let out a sigh of relief! So quiet, so nice, no one even close to us! We walked out to the edge of Lake Huron the next day and explored some of the trails to the other campgrounds.
The forest around us was full of sound. Groot and Beezil had their CTV ( Cat TV) back. Such happy cats to be out of the city and away from civilization! Got the bird feeders up and the crowds arrived! Just to sit and breathe in the air was a delight. We forget how affected we are by noise sometimes. Having the freeway 90 just outside our door for 10 days had been misery! This was paradise!
We drove to the neighboring town of Grand Bend, most everything was still closed for the season in this lake tourist town but the grocery store was delightful! So familiar, all the variety and BREAD! Rye (no carraway!) and french (real french..no puthery excuse for French) Brie and Camembert, Quebec blue and cheddar cheese, older than 6 months! Nan and pita, ethnic diversity mixed with everything else! Wonderful! We do miss this in the US which seems to assimilate all that go there, Canada tends to keep the ethnicity of it’s immigrants and do we ever get to enjoy that wonderful food! Montreal smoked meat and brisket, real Black Forest hams…we were drooling by the time we left with several grocery bags filled to the brim! Our glee came to an end at the LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario)…sticker shock…C’est la vie, always a trade off!
We had reservations until the Easter Friday at Pinery, then we had a one night stop planned in Cobourg at a hotel as every RV park was closed, before the jump to Perth. We were hoping it was dry enough to back the trailer into Sheila and Regan’s cottage on Otty Lake. It had been paradise last summer and they agreed to let us stay in this wonderful spot again. But we are taller, and longer than the Sunset Trail. I was somewhat worried about the size logistics but Mike did his amazing job of backing down the 400 plus feet very narrow dirt lane way with a few inches to spare here and there from the trees, he rocks.
Now we are settled in, we have tiled the floor where the washing machine hose leaked and the carpet had been, looks amazing with the trim now! No more horrible smelly carpet. We did try to buy all the tiles from DRV to replace them, but they wanted $15.81 a tile…for a $4.25 tile still made. Ed just shrugged when I asked if we could get a better price if we bought three cases, he said,”No, we’ll sell them or use them elsewhere” and walked away…highway robbery at it’s finest DRV, you continue to shine. But I will not let them ruin any more of my days…Spring is coming, the trees are about to leaf out, Spring is arriving by leaps and bounds. Tomorrow we are off for another visit to our big kids, Dusty and Maya, but that, is another chapter!
Stay tuned, and see you soon! Saludos amigos!