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9/17 - 10/11/2014 - Visiting and Rig Problems

Aunt Mary, Uncle Bob, Mary, and Marty in Huntley, IL
While staying at Paul Wolff Campground in Elgin we visited my Aunt Mary and Uncle Bob who recently sold the home they lived in for over 50 years in Addison and moved to Del Webb in Huntley.  We had a nice lunch with them at Jameson's Restaurant in their clubhouse and then they gave us a short tour of the activities available to them. There are a lot of activities!  We also got to see their new home which it turns out is actually more square footage than their old one.  The big difference is that it's all on one floor - no more going down to the basement to do laundry!   Later that evening we took a short drive to South Elgin to visit our nephew Michael at his new job - Manager of YUMZ Frozen Yogurt - YUM!

I love when my family works anywhere with food involved!

We loved our stay at Paul Wolff - it was close to family and friends and there was a nice trail which we walked on most mornings.  It was quiet and uncrowded, our favorite kind of campground. 

It wouldn't be a blog post without a picture of Sarah :)
Our final cook-out in Elgin. 

On Thursday morning we packed up the rig to head north to Chain of Lakes State Park.  We got everything put away and I pushed the button to bring in the slides and NOTHING happened!  We have a service plan so we called CoachNet and the tech was out within the hour to see what was going on.   Unfortunately, we had a melted solenoid and needed a new one.   The tech didn't have one so he gave us some recommendations where we might be able to find one and we started our search.   We called RV General in Huntley, they didn't have the part but could order it and have it in their store by Saturday.  We still wanted to see if we could get it sooner so we drove to two RV shops, Barrington RV and Camping World. Neither place had one and the soonest they could get it would be Monday.  We called RV General and got the part ordered and then notified our campground that we had a broken rig and would need to stay until Saturday.   We were supposed to leave on Thursday because there is a 14 day limit at this campground.  We explained the situation to the camp host at Paul Wolff and, although he wasn't happy about it, he agreed to let us stay until Saturday.  We had a reservation at Chain of Lakes so now we were paying for two campgrounds. 

On Saturday we were anxious to get on the road so we drove to RV General to wait for the UPS delivery of our part.  We were told that their deliveries come in anytime between 10-1 so we got there at 1 to see if it was there yet - nope.   Since RV General is right next door to the Huntley outlet mall we went shoe shopping (we both bought new gym shoes for our Amazon job).   We stopped for some lunch and then went back to RV General - still no part.  We waited until they closed at 4 but the delivery never came.  The service department was very apologetic and promised to call us as soon as it came in on Monday.   Now we have to pay for two more nights in Elgin and we still had our reservation for Chain of Lakes.   We decided to cancel our reservation and just go there whenever our rig was fixed. 

I called to cancel the reservation that we had already missed 3 nights of and expected to lose the 75.00.  I was very pleasantly surprised to see that we were credited for all but one night and the camp host in Elgin gave us one free night so we actually broke even - amazing! 

The part did come in early Monday morning and Marty was able to install it and get us back on the road around 1:00.  This was our shortest trip with the rig, it was only about 40 miles to Chain Of Lakes so we were there and all set up by 4:00.  We even had time for a quick hike.

Chain of lakes state park is near Richmond, IL and very close to the Wisconsin border.   It's a pretty park on the Fox River.  We hiked and biked almost every day and had a very nice time there relaxing.   We also talked to the park ranger about the possibility of becoming camp hosts there next fall.  They seem to need people in the fall because the summer hosts are snow birds and like to get started south.  I like the idea of being in Chicago in September/October because I know that SOMEDAY my favorite baseball team will play baseball well into October.   Yes, I've drunk the Cubbie Blue kool-aid (and if you go to Epic Deli in nearby Johnsburg you can even have it deep-fried.
Sue and Sarah - how many kids get to swing with their grandma's?

The last weekend of September was Beatles Camp for Marty.  It's a gathering of Beatles aficionados who play music, games and just have a good time catching up with each other. They do this twice a year at Camp Wonderland just over the Wisconsin border. 

While Marty was gone, Sue and Sarah Beth came to keep me company and we did some more biking and hiking. 

We've been on the road for almost a year and we thought it would be a good idea to take the rig back to Pete's RV in Dyer, IN for a general maintenance checkup.  We left Chain of Lakes on Tuesday, 9/30 and headed south.  When we got there we found out that we could leave the rig on their lot overnight but we couldn't stay in it.   Luckily we found a LaQuinta nearby that allowed pets and was very reasonably priced.  It was sooooooo nice to be able to take a loooooong, hot shower in the morning!

The truck needed an oil change so we took a ride over to Mike Anderson in nearby Merrillville where we bought it.  We had a coupon for 1/2 off so it made sense to take it back there.  We also needed our tires rotated but, surprisingly considering we bought it from them, they couldn't rotate the tires on our dually.  They didn't know how to do it so that's one thing we still have to do. 

Once we were finished with the truck we headed back to Pete's to pick up the rig and get back on the road or so we thought.  Unfortunately when we got back to Petes and went through what they had done they missed a few very important things which we pointed out to them.   The slide outs were very squeaky and when they looked underneath they discovered a problem with the gears and parts needed to be ordered.  There's also a problem with one of our levelers and a part needed to be ordered for that as well.  Oh, I forgot to mention that when the tech guy was checking under the slide he caught his hand under it and flattened his fingers - OUCH!  Marty had to get a crow bar so that he could get his hand out.  After a quick trip to the ER, he's fine but if you saw his hand you wouldn't have thought so (sorry, no pictures).

We have an extended warranty that should cover all this but Pete's  needed to confirm that and also get the parts ordered.  We ended up staying another night in Dyer but this time we got them to let us stay in the RV on their lot.  The parts will take at least 10 business days and the work will take two days so we have to come back to Dyer in about two weeks to have the work completed.  

Our campsite at Apple Creek
I can't believe he ate the whole thing!

After finally leaving Indiana Thursday morning we drove East to Jackson, Michigan - Marty's hometown.   We stayed at the Apple Creek Campground and on Saturday did some touristy things around town.  We visited the oldest continuously operating train station in the United States and then went to lunch at Coney Island hot dogs.  Marty ordered 3 Coney Island dogs and I ordered a foot long Coney Island dog.  Coney Island dogs come with mustard, onions and Coney Island sauce which I soon discovered isn't sauce but rather chili meat - interesting!
Jackson Train Station

Amber, Marty, Austin, Mary and Maddie

On Sunday we had a nice visit with Marty's brother Gene and sister-in-law Geri. Their son, Creig also came over with his two kids, Austin and Amber.   Later that evening we went out for some really good stuffed pizza with Creig, Austin and Amber at Klavons. 

Sassafras Tree along the bike trail

Jackson has a nice bike trail called "Falling Waters".  It runs about 10 miles through mostly wooded areas and is completely paved and flat.  We took a ride on it on Monday and it was one of the nicest trails we've been on since we've started our travels.  We rode about 13 miles round trip and almost made it back to our truck before the rain started.

On Tuesday we did a few more touristy things.  We went to Schlenkers for a hamburger - they've been in business since 1927.   For dessert we drove over to The Parlour for some ice cream.  We also made our second trip to Marty's favorite bakery on Page Street.

Our final tourist activity was to search out the plaque claiming Jackson as the birthplace of the Republican Party.  I say claiming because Ripon, Wisconsin (where my brother Tom lives) also claims the same thing.   I've listed both Wikipedia entries, you can decide. 


Birthplace of the Republican Party 

Meeting at a school house in Ripon on February 28, 1854, some 30 opponents of the Kansas-Nebraska Act called for the organization of a new political party (to link their cause with the Declaration of Independence). The group also took a leading role in the creation of the Republican Party in many northern states during the summer of 1854. While conservatives and many moderates were content merely to call for the restoration of the Missouri Compromise or a prohibition of slavery extension, the group insisted that no further political compromise with slavery was possible.

The February 1854 meeting was the first political meeting of the group that would become the Republican Party. The modern Ripon Society, a Republican think tank, takes its name from Ripon, Wisconsin.


Birthplace of the Republican Party – "Under the Oaks"

Jackson is one of the birthplaces of the Republican Party. Undisputed is the fact that the first official meeting of the group that actually called itself "Republican" was held in Jackson under the Oaks on July 6, 1854. A Michigan Historical Marker at what is now the northwest corner of Second and Franklin streets in Jackson commemorates an anti-slavery county convention on July 6, 1854. Meeting outside to avoid a hot, over-crowded hall, the group ultimately selected a slate of candidates for state elections. The marker identifies this as the birth of the Republican Party. The site, an oak grove on "Morgan's Forty", then on the outskirts of town, became known as "Under the Oaks".

Pete's RV Center called us while we were in Jackson letting us know that we needed to go back to Dyer, IN so that Easy Care could verify the problems with the rig and approve the cost.  The technician could not be scheduled until we had the rig back on their lot - this meant two nights in Dyer, Indiana and two nights in a hotel - we were not very happy about this.  I called Easy Care to see what we could do to make this a little easier on us.  They agreed that we could schedule the appointment before the rig was actually there as long as we made sure we were there at the scheduled time.  We set everything up for 11:00 A.M. on Wednesday and made sure we were there on time.  And then we waited, and waited and waited - the technician never showed up and when he was called to see where he was stated that he wasn't coming but would be there by noon on Thursday.  Again,  we called Easy Care to see what was going on - we did everything that we were supposed to do so why didn't the technician show up?  They had no answers but did agree to pay for our motel that night so we weren't too upset just a little frustrated.

On Thursday morning we hung out at the hotel until about 10:30 and then headed back to Pete's to be there when the tech came.  Unfortunately he was once again a no-show.   When contacted, he promised to be there by 8:30 on Friday but at this point why would we believe him.  Once again, we got on the phone with Easy Care (with a little more emphasis on how inconvenient this all is) and they agreed that pictures of the problems could be emailed and finally, around 4:30, we received approval that all our repair would be taken care of.  Since it was too late to head north we are staying in our rig at Pete's and will head out first thing in the morning - YAY!

It was very frustrating dealing with all this but everyone at Pete's and at Easy Care were very helpful.  It was the technician/adjustor who seemed to be the problem and now we don't have to worry about him (and hopefully never will). 

Our next stop is Van Buren State Park on the shores of Lake Michigan near South Haven, Michigan.  We will stay there until the parts for our rig come in and then we will finally start heading south to Campbellsville, KY to work for Amazon.  It should be beautiful in Michigan with the leaves changing, I'm sure we'll have lots of photos to share in our next post.