Sunday, December 23, 2012

Bushnell With Friends

The bright spot in our month long stay at Alliance Coach in Wildwood would be reuniting with  friends we met last year in Bushnell.  We met Pam and Joe last year when we had side-by-side campsites. Joe and Pam have two dogs, a Tibetan Spaniel named Izzy and a Maltese named Ally. We've stayed in touch with Joe and Pam throughout the year and looked forward to reconnecting in Florida. 

Our rendezvous this year was at the Monday Flea Market at Webster, a tiny town not far from Bushnell and Wildwood.  The weather is real warm (mid-70's). It was a great reunion and we spent several hours strolling among other flea marketers, eating junk and catching up on news we hadn't already shared on Facebook.  It was great. 
Pam and Joe on the left. Wayne with Lexie and Ozzie on the right.

Another day while we were at Alliance, Joe and Pam brought Izzy and Ally over for a visit and and to try out my new dog clippers on Izzy, who desperately needed a haircut.  I'd been anxious for Joe to try them as he and I commiserate over dog grooming.   Here are some of the scenes of Izzy's haircut.

Joe is serious when he trims his girls.

That's Pam and Ally -- Wayne holding Ozzie, who's glad he's not getting another haircut!

Izzy is really relaxed.

When we finally left Alliance on Saturday, December 8th, we drove the few short miles south to Bushnell where we joined Pam and Joe at Paradise Oaks Golf and RV Resort. Other friends and familiar faces were there too.  It's a nice thing to run into friends in travel.

First order of business for our group was preparation of our "Poor Man's Dinner" on Monday afternoon.  Joe and I like mixed greens, Wayne and Pam do not. Another trip to the flea market at Webster and I had more turnip, mustard and collard greens than we'd ever eat.  I also fried potatoes while Pam made cornbread and 15 bean soup  We invited our pal Billie to join us.  All four guest dogs joined Lexie and Ozzie in the outside pen while we ate.

Only Joe would be brazen enough for this picture. 
A bottle of Beano in which everyone would partake before supper.

Izzy looking for a cool spot.

Ally looking for a lap on which to perch.

Joe is in charge of stirring the fried potatoes.
Ozzie, the only boy dog in the area, takes respite in Pop's lap.

Another day we'd return to Catfish Johnny's, a local fish house we discovered last year. We all ordered catfish and we began lunch with alligator bites and onion rings.  While Pam and I enjoyed our meal, both Joe and Wayne complained that their lunch wasn't as good as last year.

The resident Paradise Oaks turtle.

Joe telling some kind of Marine Corps lie -- Wayne isn't buying any of it.

Lexie and Ozzie got holiday baths on a warm, sunny day. Both are good dogs on bath day, Ozzie gets a little nervous so Wayne puts him on the counter to watch as Lexie gets the first scrub. 

Lexie always enjoys an "after bath" nap.  She's still damp and asleep under a dry towel.
Ozzie is getting the rub down from Pop.

As our week winds down at Paradise Oaks, we enjoyed a final evening together with Joe and Pam and Billie.  Once more all the dogs visited as we had a house full of excitement, running and play.

The view out our coach window just before the rain and wind blew through.

Joe and Pam came by with Izzy and Ally.
Billie is on her way with her pug name Zoey and Tadora, her 3 pound Yorkie.

Pop treated all the pups to his nighttime treat of baked sweet potato.
Every single dog loved 'em.

Later that evening, high winds and rain moved in followed by a terribly cold snap -- in the very low 30's.  By Friday afternoon, Billie had departed to visit family in North Florida.  On Saturday morning, Joe and Pam pulled out for a week-long visit with family in Hollywood. We moved on down to Bradenton.

We will remain in this general vicinity until mid-January when we'll take in the 2013 Tampa RV Supershow.

Friday, December 21, 2012

My Final Analysis of Alliance Coach

In the end, our stay at Alliance Coach in Wildwood would be one complete month and end rather disastrously. The Thetford toilet part was never actually ordered, I found out during the fourth week when I finally spoke to Mike Hawkins, manager of the service department.  Seems our service advisor, an idiot named Will, closed out our service order on Wednesday before Thanksgiving and never re-opened another service order when we told him the toilet was not fixed.  Hawkins never told me the truth about the part, but I realized it later in the week. 

On our 28th day at Alliance, the black tank sensor was unattached from the tank and that is the remedy we're using. Disappointing but certainly workable.  The same day we learned our replacement faucet had arrived at Alliance over two weeks ago and was being held in the parts department -- again our service advisor failed to manage the process.  We had asked to have the coach washed (at $2 per foot), but that was never done either.

The new matching faucet was installed on Thursday afternoon and we did several checks for leaks before we replaced the towels in the cabinet and retired for the night.  The next morning we awoke to a flooded bathroom and water pouring from the underside of the coach.  Wayne mistakenly thought the outside dripping was due to overflow of the fresh water tank, which he decided to disinfect while we're here.  It was not.  The water was rushing out from the underside of the faucet, down the cabinet wall and into the lower section of the coach. 

Alliance service technicians arrived on the scene within minutes of my panicked call. The leak was repaired and we were advised that we should use our propane heat to dry the coach. Bummer.... Guess who pays for that propane.  Oh yeah.  Guess Alliance Coach doesn't have a fan -- we'll use ours.

Adding insult to injury, the service manager never contacted me to see that our repairs had been made. Furthermore, after Friday morning, not a single service technician ever came back to the coach to reconnect the furnace vent, the cabinet floor, to offer to pay for the heap of towel laundry I'd do that afternoon or to acknowledge our order to have the coach washed. Seems a complimentary wash would have been in order after that anyway, but it didn't happen.  We've truly fallen between the cracks.

On Saturday morning, we pulled the coach together ourselves and left Alliance Coach.  I did ask to have a service order opened for the probable damage to the floor as a result of the flooding in case it occurs after the new coach warranty period is over.

Where, I wondered, is the trouble with this order for service? Perhaps Wayne and I are not demanding enough though we're certainly learning that service is dead almost everywhere. If it were to do over, I'd be more demanding and stay in the face of those involved every step of the way.  Our service advisor, Will, is more likely the culprit as I've concluded his work is sloppy and interest in his customers is existent only when he is threatened.  Finally, my greatest disappointment is in the service manager, Mike Hawkins, to whom I went in frustration. He never made an attempt to check to see if we had received the service we'd waited so long to receive.

Did we complain further to management?  No we didn't and maybe we should have done that but in the end we were so exhausted we just wanted to leave.