Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Glamorous Retirement Life Takes A Nosedive

Ozzie on the left, Lexie on the right.
Standing at the top of the steps.

On Monday, September 12th, we left Rifle, Colorado increased in number by one Ozzie Smalley.  Our route took us through some beautiful Rocky Mountain scenes as we traveled parallel to rapids of the Colorado River and the railroad bed.

If not for being so busy with my two babies, I would have snapped a few dozen pictures.  Instead I got this one photo. Wayne took it.
Look closely to see two sleeping dogs on my lap. Lexie on bottom, Ozzie on top.
Ozzie was still afraid of me so he lay real close to Lexie.
Just before rush hour we got through Denver and onto the flat part of eastern Colorado. Exhausted, we opted to stop overnight at a truck stop at Limon, Colorado.  We were moving quickly now as Wayne's college football fever is full bloom. The night air in Limon was cool and sometime during the night, the winds picked up and for the first time ever, I was actually afraid we'd get tossed over. The slides rattled and moved.
Ozzie at the top, Lexie at the bottom.

Ozzie. Posing for the camera.

Next morning we were up before the sun. We walked Lexie and Ozzie and then pulled out, headed east.  The winds were as high as any we've ever driven though and they were relentless. We rocked along and felt the pushing and pulling effect of the wind gusts. Less than five miles down I-70, a cannon-like sound caused us all to jump in fear. Unable to determine the source of the problem the only option was to pull onto the road shoulder to take a look.  I stayed inside while Wayne walked the length of the coach and saw that our largest slide cover (road side) was hanging off the curb side of the roof.  Climbing onto the roof, he found the whole slide cover and the damaged it had caused as it flew off the brackets and flopped around. Although the wind almost blew Wayne off the top of the coach,  traffic was light and he managed to tear the remaining 16" of canvas and remove the entire slide cover. The early morning sun was bright and I feared some tired trucker would be blinded by it and slam into our rear -- killing us all.

In short order, though, Wayne got the huge slide cover off the coach, rolled up and put into the car.  Leaving the rear liftgate glass open, the slide was as long as the car and rested on the bicycle frames on the car's backend.  Near the end of the process, a Colorado State Trooper stopped to see if we needed help. We did not.

We looked at our maps and opted to backtrack about 5 miles on I-70 to a road that would take us to Colorado Springs instead of returning to Denver.  Our destination was Camping World there.

The slide minus it's cover except for the 16" piece of canvas. The nylon strap was in too tight to remove.
It had to be duck taped to keep it from flapping in the wind.

The highway from Limon was a good one and it's wasn't long until we reached Camping World in Fountain, just south of Colorado Springs. We pulled into a parking spot and went to unhook the car only to find the battery was dead -- again. This makes about four times the battery has died while being towed.
A frustrated full-timer.  Dead battery. Charger on the ground.

Wayne is good to start the car every 3-4 hours to let the battery recharge so we can't figure this trouble. We called Ford's Roadside Assistance and they sent a wrecker to tow Blackie to the local dealer.  Our luck seems to be in a bit of a slump.  Wayne rode with the wrecker driver to the Ford dealer while Lexie, Ozzie and I stayed with the coach.
Close-up of a frustrated full-timer.
He really took it all in rather good humor, I must say.
Never lost his cool. 

The tow truck who took Wayne and Blackie away.....
We seem to have gotten the worst of Camping World's service technicans to deal with our slide cover problem.  He seemed preoccupied with telling us all about how bad this was going to be.

The bright spot in all this was about to be realized. Fortunately, there was a good "dog walk" place around Camping World. I took the dogs out several times as we're working on Ozzie's housebreaking. During one of those walks, I saw someone watching me and heard my name called.  The familiar voice and face of Connie, a friend from Tombstone Territories Campground who we met last winter. She and Dave were staying at a nearby campground. We enjoyed catching up on one each other's travels and we shared our miserable bad news with them.  They offered to help us and we appreciated it. It's amazing how much an offer like that can help one's spirits during these anxious moments.
Dave and Connie saved us. 
They are full-timers from Texas.  I always say the people in Texas are the most hospitable.
Waiting for word about the car while waiting in Camping World's parking lot, we decided to make a few personal business calls.  This resulted in the horrifying news that my medical insurance coverage had been cancelled for non-payment.  Interesting development since an electronic funds transfer (EFT) was drafted every month for the payment.  Furthermore, the payment was accepted by the vendor.  Several telephone calls later, we learned that all the medical payment funds had been misapplied to our dental plan (same company) but they refused to reinstate my medical coverage.  That's the thing with these COBRA plans, they look for ways to get insureds off the roster.  We're sure we're being punished today for some unknown wrongdoing.

By the day's end, we had secured ourselves a reservation at Mountaindale Campground where Connie and Dave were staying.  The drive to the campground was longer than we expected -- some 20 miles out of town, but we arrived and got setup well before dark.  Wayne turned on the TV and got a new message "AV FAULT" -- first time for that message!   We tried to entertain ourselves with the computer only to find we have no Internet signal.  Checking the phones, we see we have no cell coverage either.  Horrors! We're dead in the water.

Our friend and neighbor, Dave, climbed onto our roof the next morning and saw signs of the slide cover hitting the satellite and he also found that the thing had punched a hole in Mona's roof.  Ugh -- this is getting worse all the time.  Everything's broken and we can't make a call, send an email or drive ourselves to a cliff to jump off.  Remember, the car's still at the Ford dealer in town. Dave is quite good at DIY fixes and he patched the hole in the roof so well it should last for several weeks until we can get a permanent fix. 
Wayne and Dave surveying the damage to the roof and satellite.

The hole in our roof.

The slide cover surely "whacked" the satellite, although no sign of damage could be seen outside the dome.

Early that afternoon, Dave also helped me get onto the campground wi-fi. We sent an email message to the Ford dealer who responded quickly with our first good news in days.  Blackie's battery is still good -- just drained completely. It's been charged and the car is ready to pick up -- NO CHARGE! Even the tow was paid by Ford's Roadside Assistance. Dave again came to the rescue and drove Wayne into town to retrieve the car. We made plans to move out the very next morning. Originally, our though had been to stay on in Colorado Springs for several days but our "gut" feeling about the Camping World technician changed our minds.  We'll head back to middle-Tennessee to get our repairs done by people we know and trust at Columbia Campers.  Our satellite people are in Nashville, so we'll go there first...

1 comment:

  1. did i see you are coming to TENNESSEE?????? and how long have you been away????? be safe!