“Mobile estates” are just that – mobile. They shimmy and shake and flex and bend as they hurtle down the highway. And those highways are not helping. For example, the stretch of Interstate 5 between Federal Way and Lacey, Washington (BOTH directions) feels like driving in a perpendicular direction over a field of freshly-plowed rows ready for planting. It was so bad just outside Fife that I was convinced I had blown at least one tire, when suddenly the roadway became smooth again.
Therefore, during the two months of my occupancy, things inside and outside the RV have shifted and swayed and broken. That is just the nature of the lifestyle, but I think, especially for Nellie. Her prior owners took her to Palm Springs once a year, parked her for five months, then drove back to Canada and warehoused her for another seven. I, on the other hand, am moving every few days, to various camp-outs and service appointments. The slides go in, the slides go out. The steps extend and retract. The jacks go up and down. Nellie hasn’t seen this much action in years.
I get it, I really do. But, dammit, I am pretty tired of busted stuff. The tool bay door tore away from the wall. The driver’s side window shade is currently holding on by one small screw. (Together with duct tape, bungee cords are officially my new best friends.) The rubber baseboard is separating from the wall at the entrance. The dash air conditioner blew room-temp air until it was repaired last week. The propane tank was not grounded, making for some nervous fill-ups at the local LP distributor (don’t worry – fixed). I have had nothing but trouble with DirecTV and the satellite dish, which is another blog for another day.
Some damaged things are my own fault. I wrote about the tension bar/shower fiasco, and of course the bedroom slides. I haven’t yet told you about the craters in the vinyl ceiling left by the antlers of an oh-so-hip cast resin deer head, which I mounted in the center of the slide when it was out, then promptly forgot to monitor as I retracted it a few days later. (The sound of the antlers breaking off caught my attention, after they had already left long gouges in the vinyl.) I found a guy to mend that, by the way – a miracle worker with leather and vinyl who operates a mobile service. Thank you, Tim at Fibrenew.
Two weeks ago, while backing into a spot at Lake Wenatchee, Nellie’s passenger side front fender had a too-close encounter with a big effing boulder. I haven’t yet had the energy to take Nellie to the body shop recommended by the local mechanic, and thankfully the damage was only cosmetic. The damage to my ego for failing to maneuver around the boulder was frankly more severe.
Other things are busted too. The CR-V driver’s side door stopped locking. I dropped my iPhone and busted the face. (I have an upgrade currently available, but I am trying to hold out for the iPhone 7, which will hopefully launch next month.) The new carpet runners are unraveling, and Olive faced the tail-end consequences of eating a thick, 12-inch string of that (chasing her down the road, trying to step on the string while she yelped is funny only in retrospect). The old saying is certainly true, “When it rains, it pours.”
Today, one of the automatic leveling jacks gave up the ghost. A mobile RV repair service removed it, promising to order and install a new one, but giving absolutely no indication as to when. Until that repair, I must level Nellie the old-fashioned way, with leveling blocks. This will seriously hamper some upcoming plans, if the sites I have reserved are not fairly level already, or are grassy and soft like where I am parked in Port Orchard. Today FOUR levelers placed under the rear tires disappeared into the soil when I attempted to level back to front; at present I am at a full trot by the time I reach the bedroom. But not only that; the leveling system registers the now-removed jack as over-extended and stuck, resulting in flashing lights and deafening alarms each time I turn over the engine.
It feels as though the Universe giveth, then taketh away. Two days after repairing the vinyl ceiling, I hit the boulder. One day after the flawless installation of a new sofa-bed which fits like a glove in Nellie, the leveling jack failed. And I wonder as I wander: What will be next?