View from hotel while we were waiting for RV to be ready.
October 28 – 25 degrees
Missoula to Pocatello, Idaho
Cowboy RV Park $37 with Good Sam discount
Nice stop, clean , easy to get into on the end spot by office. 50 amp two picnic tables, and quiet.
Holy Moly we are on our way, finally! Been 6 long exhausting days at the RV dealership! Began to feel like we were in a surreal horror film, stuck in the dealership, never to surface again. Everyday it was another high pressured sales pitch for “something we absolutely needed!” or so they said. Once we had dished over the final money and got legal possession, you’d think by what they were saying that the motor coach was going to fall apart, that is unless we purchased all the goodies they were pushing.
JUST SAY “NO”!
First it was the “protective finish for the paint” because it was going to get “pitted and scratched and sun faded”. Then it was the “protective shield finish” for the windshield that was going “to develop valleys of bugs, 1000’s of bugs that would gather and harden like cement and then we won’t be able to scrape them away with the windshield wiper!” Or, another scenario that they told us…” you might be going down the highway and get a blow out and oh my, you don’t want that to happen at 80 miles per hour!!” They also told us that we “should really, to be safe, purchase this special stuff that we will inject like a filler” into the brand new Michelein tires “to prevent any blow-outs and you going into the ditch”. None of these miraculous, but “necessary items” were inexpensive costing only a mere $1000 here and a $1000 or even more there. Oh, and don’t forget the other dangers INSIDE the coach! If we didn’t buy a special treatment the coach will mildew and sun fade. “What did that treatment entail?” I asked. They would spray some mildew resistant chemicals over everything to prevent such a catastrophy (and meanwhile I think to myself,and we would be breathing that stuff in an enclosed environment!)
They hit you with all of this (Larry calls it Snake Oil) when you are totally exhausted and weak. We had been running ourselves ragged, back and forth all week to the strip mall and local hardware stores and back, getting stuff like shelf paper, dishes, towels, tools, etc. etc., everything we thought we needed for the coach. We wanted to be ready to hit the road before the first winter storm arrived;,to get south on dry flat roads to practice our nonexistent driving skills in this big Mother Ship. The last thing we don’t want to hear was a high pressured sales pitch as you are signing the final papers, ready to take possession and spend your first evening in your brand new coach, that you need to spend gobs more money and if you don’t this expensive piece of machinery is going to mildew, crash and burn.
We were also exhausted and Larry in particular was tired of arguing with the Service Manager but that’s a whole other story that Larry will have to write about. It was a constant battle to get the tow system that Larry wanted and installed the way he wanted and then on top of it he had to promise to sign a legal waver to remove the dealership of all responsibility if it fails. I was beginning to wonder if this shiny box of metal was going to fall apart as soon as we were headed down the highway in a remote area, heck even in a populated area. My fears were building. We even had to argue with the service guy about the type of enzymes we wanted to put in the holding tank. He swore that what Larry wanted to use was not going to thrive or survive in the 130 degree temps that build up from the road heat! What? No, we should buy theirs. Where in the hell are we going that will be 130 degrees? Not sure even Death Valley gets that hot.
GETTING USED TO ALL THE NEW NOISES
Once we got legal possession and after having managed to say “no” to all the high pressured sales pitches, it seemed like we were never going to get out of the dealership parking lot. Larry had nothing but arguments with the service and parts guy about the tow system.
It was going on 6 days now living in the RV parked in the RV dealership lot. It was getting to be unbearable. There was nonstop noise as tractors were going back and forth moving what seemed like 100’s of RVs for winter storage, and trucks coming and going never turning their diesel engines off, and others like us (here for service) in the same predicament but not as lucky as we to be hooked up to power and were running their generators. We had no water hook up because they had cleared the water lines for winter so the pipes wouldn’t freeze and no pump out. I was worried about that as the days grew on.
I felt tense straining trying to listen to all the new and strange sounds that the RV made in competition with all the outside noises including the nearby Interstate HWY. Little alarms would go off indicating something or other and then the Mother Ship had a tendency to shift position like a person in an uncomfortable chair. I guess as we walked around it would sometimes cause the air pressure to readjust itself. I’m used to a boat moving around at a slip but nothing like this on hard ground. All items were normal but it was a learning experience to figure out what they were and meant.
THIS DAM TOW!
It was taking way longer than we expected to get all the lose ends tweaked but mostly the install of the “notorious” tow system. I was becoming less and less confident about the tow system. I was worried and wondering if the service guy that was taking our new Denali apart; opening panels, drilling holes through the metal and moving, cutting and adding wires for the tow system, did he really know what he was doing. Larry had been talking to them for weeks, going over how the installation should be as they were unfamiliar with it. Each day we expected to be nearing completion but there were so many excuses. Larry would be talking with people one day and then the next day those people were gone and he would have to go all around the dealership to see what was going on. We got excuses like, so and so is sick, or he’s off hunting, had to go to the dentist, then fishing, or had to pick up his kid, etc. etc.
Finally the tow system was installed and we were ready for the first test and instruction on how to use it. I took a small video because there were so many things to hook up and do in a certain order. All went fine and all the concerns I had were flying out the window until they unhooked the car so we could move the van. Suddenly the car’s transmission was frozen. If you tried to put it in another gear there was a horrible grinding noise! No one seemed to know what or why or how and were washing their hands of responsibility. Nothing we tried worked to unlock it. Finally Larry called our GMC dealer in Bellingham, WA and pretty quickly they said it needed a software update for the transmission! So we had to call Auto Club and get the car towed to the nearest GMC dealership. (Don’t you love computers and their updates? What if this happened somewhere out in the wild?)
We were pretty depressed that night, I wasn’t confident that the RV place didn’t install something wrong and ruined our transmission on the car. Larry was up at the crack of dawn to the GMC dealer and to my surprise called me a few minutes later saying it was FIXED!. Now we can GO? So we were on again to get the car back and hooked up and out of here.
FINALLY, CAN WE GO? NO!
It was pretty nerve wracking thinking about driving this big RV down the highway let alone towing the big GMC behind it. We didn’t even get a driving lesson but didn’t care. We were so sick of this place we just wanted to leave. The thought of driving this thing didn’t faze Larry one bit though. He always seems in control and confident.
We didn’t even tell the dealership we got the car back. Larry immediately pulled the RV out into the street alongside the curb and told me to pull the SUV up carefully behind, lining it up to hook the tow up. Larry hooked all the “tow lines and rods” and here comes the big moment to test the transmission to see if that was the fix. Oops not working again!! DAM!
I can’t stand it. This RV thing was supposed to be fun. Will we ever get out of this place I wondered? Larry walked down street to get the mechanic to come see what was wrong. Thank goodness it was a simple mistake, Larry hadn’t pushed one of the plugs in far enough! That solved the problem instantly and we were ready to go and the transmission lock up problem seemed gone too!
We got in the motor coach, engine running and ready to go. Larry unfortunately decided to take a quick bathroom break. It was just a couple second delay that caused us a two hour delay. Larry was just coming out of the head when the Service manager was knocking on the door. What the hell?