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Shakedown Cruise and Finishing Touches

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We had some preventive maintenance completed on our motorhome by Freightliner in Westbrook, Maine, and they did an outstanding job. Maintenance included replacing all the Cat engine belts, replacing the upper fuel filter, and changing the oil and all filters on the generator. We also had the ABS system checked out as the light came on and found out it was a loose sensor on the rear right. Just one more major PM to complete -- the Allison transmission needs to have its fluid and filters changed -- and then we’ll be set to go.

We took a shakedown cruise to a three-chapter FMCA rally at Scussett Beach in Sagamore, Mass. What a great place right on the eastern end to the Cape Cod Canal. The rally was put on by the Cape Codders, Northeastern, and the Yankee Travelers. What a great time and a great bunch of people.

The rally took place at the Scussett Beach group area, which is a fairly large field adjacent to the Cape Cod Canal. You have the entire beach there plus the canal, which is a great fishing spot for Striped Bass. On the Fourth of July the chapters put on a great cookout with chicken, salads and, of course, corn on the cob. Yummy! This bunch always puts on a great rally and they all love to eat!

All and all, there were about 60 coaches there and fun was had by all. You can check out their Web sites for pictures of the rally from past years and probably soon to have pictures from this year's rally.

The state park at Scussett Beach has a great campground as well, with water and electric hookups and a nice dump station that is open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day. There is a paved bike/walking path that runs the entire length of the canal, which is lots of fun and always interesting with the boat traffic passing through to canal. The campground does have some sites for large rigs. Some of them are shaded and some are more open field type, but most are well spaced apart. The beach there is awesome as well, and there are good facilities at both the beach and campgrounds. If you travel through southern Massachusetts, Scussett Beach is a great spot to stop. If you like a nice, quiet and relaxing camping area this is the place for you.

This was Peg’s first solo trip, which was 4½ hours long down Route 95, Route 128 and Route 3, and there was plenty of traffic south of Boston headed for the Cape. She did a superb job and handled the traffic like a pro. For me it was the first time I could be the copilot and sit there and enjoy the view. I think I could get used to copiloting, because you get to enjoy the scenery instead of watching all the traffic.

Peg was a bit leery of driving the motorhome in rain showers, and of course, we ran into them the minute we hit the Maine Turnpike. So she made it over that hurdle with flying colors. However, the passenger-side windshield wiper arm started acting up. We stopped and I had to extend the wiper arm straight out as I couldn’t find the problem and it was pouring rain. Just found out that the problem was the acorn nut that holds the main arm on is stripped, so it isn’t holding the arm on the shaft tight enough. Not sure how it got stripped as I have never touched it. I have ordered a new acorn nut, so we should be all set when I get the part. It’s the old fifty-cent part thing. LOL!

We are still dealing with a bit more “stuff,†but the major stuff is all done. I still have bunches of pictures to scan and a few odds and ends. We have about four weeks to go before we head out on our great adventure and I have to admit I’m getting anxious to get on the road. Hopefully, this foot of mine will be good enough so I can drive and walk on it. Two more weeks and the doc will give me the go-ahead and have a week or so of physical therapy. I can’t wait to be able to be fully mobile again!

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Hi Jack & Peg, We left IL on July 20th for the big RV rally in Louisville. Unfortunately we didn't have enough time to move everything to the RV in a timely manor & put stuff away as we went. Our RV was filled with tubs & boxes of stuff to put away. You could hardly walk from front to back & the basement was filled to the gills. We had decided we would go to the Rally, then take the RV to Lexington, where my sister lives, to have the repair work done. I called & told the guy our problem, the part # for the jack & made an appt for the 26th. Our first day out was a DISASTER!!. Collins forgot to connect the the line from the RV to the car for the brake lites, etc. About an hour out, someone next to us on the expressway started pointing at the back. Of course we panicked & pulled over as soon as possible. When we realized what happened, we hooked it up & went on our way. A couple hours later we stopped at a rest stop to change drivers & as we were checking all the tow connections we realized there was a break in the wire for the lights. It must have happened as it dragged on the ground before we connected it. We knew we needed to get it fixed before we stopped for the night because it would be dark. So...... we checked our gps for a Walmart & got off where it showed. Guess what, it was a Sam's club, which we don't belong to & it probably wouldn't have the part anyway. We drove a little farther, thinking maybe there was also a walmart but there wasn't. This was kind of a small town & we did a really stupid thing. We pulled into the drive of a company that was set back, thinking we could turn around there. Unfortunately it came to a dead end at a fenced parking lot. I wanted to take the car off the tow dolly & remove the dolly so we could back up & turn around but my husband thought he could turn it in a huge sweep in the grass. Well, there was a gully, but he did get it turned around. Well we thought we had solved the problem & were on our way again, trying to figure out where to find a walmart. As we got on the expressway again, we noticed something was wrong with the way the dolly was tracking. So, we pulled over again & realized the we had bent the trailer hitch going thru the gully. We got off at the next exit & stopped at a truck stop. We figured we'd take the car off the dolly & try to get a new hitch or drive the car the rest of the way & the dolly would probably be ok to tow. Surprise!!! In the process of all this, the rachet end of the tire strap had come loose & wedged between the tire & the dolly. It caused the tires to lock so we couldn't get it loose. It was getting dark, & we were getting very frustrated. Then we met our guardian angel. Another RV had pulled in & was going to stay overnight. The gentleman came over to ask what had happened. To make a long story short, he got out his jack & a few other things, helped us get the car off the dolly & the bent hitch off the RV. It was too late to buy a new hitch & we weren't sure where we would have to go to get it. We did go to a walmart & buy a new hookup for the lights. We met up with our guardian angel & returned his hitch. Wanted to take them out for dinner but it just didn't work out. We told him we would pay it forward some day. The Rally was good, although I thought most of the classes at the RMCA rally were better. The trade show was great & we were able to buy a new hitch. I learned about the use of Velco in one class. I'm amazed at all the uses I had for it since that class. It's my new "duct tape". Thank God, our trip to Lexinton was uneventful. We have spent the past week at my sister's house while they've been on vacation. We took the RV in for repair on Monday only to find out they had just shipped the jack that morning & it would take a week to arrive. It's supposed to get here some time Monday. After a few days or so, we decided to bring the bring the RV back to my sister's for a couple days & put everything where it needed to go. Luckily her house is at the end of a cul-de-sac so we were able to let it be off the driveway into the street. We checked with the neighbors to make sure they didn't mind. We were able to put everything away, consolidate tons of stuff in the basement & clean the whole thing inside & out. It looked great when we took it back to the repair shop today. I have to say, I'm amazed at the storage we have in there. We bought a MIFI (it's a wireless aircard from Verizon for more than one computer to use at a time. I was able to spend this week setting that up with our wireless printer, so we should be in good shape. I put unlimited minutes on the cell phone becuse I got tired of worrying how much time I was spending trying to take care of so many things. We also have a magicjack but I haven't put that to usethis tr on ip yet We mostly use that in the dominican republic. . My sister & her husband come home tomorrow but they don't mind us being here next week til the repair is done. We're hoping for Wed, but I've come to realize these RV repair places don't know the word "hurry". We've also come to realize that most repair shops don't repair everything. Our dash air isn't working as well as it should, but it would have to go to another shop for that. We tried to get that in this week, but they were too busy. We may do that when we visit friends in Nashville. As soon as we know when we're gettingout of here, I'll set up that appt. It's kind of crummy because you then have to pay another deductable on your extended warranty. When we leave Lexington we're planning to visit Mammoth Cave State Park. That looks very interesting. I'm just not sure how much cave exploring we'll be able to do because there are a lot of steps & I'm not sure how much Collins can do with his knee yet. It is healing well, but I'm not sure a lot of steps will be helpful. We also learned at the rally that you can camp very reasonably at a lot of military bases. Many of them have very nice campgrounds. We plan to check that out. I hope you're able to leave soon & hopefully a little more settled than we were. We would have stayed home longer & organized everything but we want to go to that rally. We ended up dry camping there, which I never would have chosen, but it worked out fine. The first night they made us turn off the generators at 11pm. I thought I was going to die it was so hot there. The next day they lifted that ban. We had plenty of water & I now feel a lot more comfortable about dry camping. I think it's sometimes good to be forced into some things. I'm looking forward to your updates & hope that we can meet somewhere along the line. And yes, I love the forums & Lazy Days was at the rally & they talked about their website at forums.betterrving.com for questions.

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Hi Karen & Collin, Wow! Sounds like you had quite the experience on your first day out! You two must have been beside yourselves by the days end. Hopefully, that will be the worst day you have for the remainder of you motor homing experiences. At least you did not damage the motor home like I did the first day we had ours when a clobbered the roof. Ouch! Glad you ran into another motorhomer that helped you out. One great thing about RVing is there is always more experienced people to help you out. For the most part we are a pretty tight and friendly community. One thing I really love about going to chapter rallies there is always someone more experienced to answer your questions and lend you a hand. Sounds like you had a great time at the Louisville Rally. We haven't been to one that large yet. The largest rally we have been to was the Norhteast Rally at Essex Junction, Vermont last year. We really enjoyed the seminars and learned a lot plus bought stuff for the motor home.

We know what you mean about finding areas to stow everything. The 34H Journey maybe small compared to other rigs, however, it has lots of storage inside and out. Compacting everything and having all our gear organized is quite the chore. I'm sure we will leave here with things left to be done as there are so many things to remember and do. I have made check off lists to remember everything we have to do before we pullout so we don't forget to hook something up or something.

Hope you get your maintenance issues taken care of. Some RV places aren't the greatest at getting work done on time or to the quality one would like or expect. I found Freightliner shops very good and the quality of their work excellent. We had our toad wired and faceplate done at Seacoast RV in Saco, Maine and they did excellent work and were very helpful and friendly. Finding good maintenance facilities can be a challenge but asking at forums is a big help.

I'm a big fan of Velco myself and use it a lot for anchoring items down in the motor home. Great stuff! Again I hope all is going smoothly for you two now. I'm finally being able to walk around taking it slowly and I can drive now as well. I still have to be very careful though. I hope we can meet up some place along the way and I'm sure we will. Best to you! Jack, Peg, Oliver, & Annie (our 2 goldens)

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