Saturday, April 30, 2011

Got Fun?


First night out--found a nice friendly Cracker Barrel and settled down for a rerun of House.  Tripped my inverter with the TV after 5 minutes.    Reset it.  Tripped again.  Uh oh.  All I'm running is a TV which is a very tiny load.   Got out the Manual and read the Troubleshooting section.   Looks like it is a Load problem.  Decided to troubleshoot with the manufacturer, TrippLite, when I got in at the campground I was staying at in Long Beach MS.

(Anyone curious about what an inverter does; short version, it converts battery power into AC electric so I can charge my cell, laptop, TV etc.)

Until then, I simply used my generator when I needed power to charge my stuff, heat my oatmeal and pop my popcorn.   I had a lovely drive and great weather.  

Took my rebounder out for a romp in a gorgeous Rest Stop with a picnic loop and got a little exercise.  It is very portable and folds into a quarter and rides in my hitch.  I don't want to get clots in my legs from too much sitting like they warn you about on airplanes!

Did I know I would be surrounded by the most insane storms in 100 years...and that the campground's elevation was 1 ft above the river?  No I did not!  Fortunately, I was on the MS coast and all the storm action was north so no problem.  But, I was advised on arrival that evacuation would be sudden and absolute!

The campground, Magic River, was beautiful--like a forest campground with amenities.   More photos >>
 Magic River Long Beach MS pictures by MovinSue - Photobucket
It also wins the prize for the most adorable Dump Station I have ever seen in 8 years of traveling!   A covered station with a stainless steel sink and running water for washing up and the hose hung up instead of lying in the funkified drain area.  Flowers planted around it and a cute sign completed the look and won it my "Best of Class".

The Passport America gang had someone pick me up and I spent a few hours touring their office and meeting people that I had worked with.   Very young, laid back crew; they brought in pizzas for everyone to share.   

HQ in the middle of nowhere; everyone seems to have at least an hour commute to work with no traffic.

My main contact is Tiffany who is moving to downtown New Orleans next week and will be working remotely from her apartment.

While there, I spent the better part of a day on the phone with the inverter manufacturer, TrippLite and also with the dealer's installer, Sam.  Sam and I go back 2 rigs and he also helped me fix something while I was on the road.  I think of him as my personal RV Wizard.   Very capable fella.  I went through the tedious troubleshooting with each of them and, after crawling around the floor where the circuit breakers are (on the base of the bed) and bending over double to access the electric compartment outside, TrippLite finally agreed to replace the inverter under warranty.  This is an $800 part so even though my body ached from contorting into unspeakable positions, I was very happy.  

However, something told me that it wasn't the inverter.  These things have no moving parts to fail and mine was only 18 months old.  Warranty on them is generous.  Even over the phone, I sensed "body language" from Sam...

Next began the daunting task of finding a service repair shop ahead of me that could do the installation "quickly".  That brought me to Camping World in Hammond LA--a truly lovely place.  In fact, I stop here to rest frequently during my travels.  

I had the manufacturer ship the replacement equipment to Camping World (a miracle of coordination and patience!).  

While they had my rig, Cassie & I hung out in the Customer Lounge where they had coffee and wifi.  They also had a Big Screen TV but it could only be tuned to one station--the Travel Channel.  That was fine until that weird bald guy came on and starting eating his exotic critter food--some of it alive and moving!  

Cassie had to hang out in the shopping cart but I put her pillow in there and she was comfy.   

They dutifully installed the inverter-$263-and gave me the bum's rush.  I asked to see the Manager and requested him to keep my ticket open until I ran the rig on inverter, since the Technician did not test it.  Whaddayaknow!  Problem still exists! 

Called the Manager again and tersely communicated with him to have someone "take ownership of the problem!" and test it thoroughly before molesting my credit card and sending me off with the same problem I came in about.  

Technician supervisor assigned to my issue and they did a moderate diagnostic and found my batteries were FRIED!   Today, they replaced the fried batteries $241.  Problem still exists.

They finally cried "Uncle" and took me over to the adjacent Dixie RV Dealer, an authorized dealer for Forest River for a comprehensive diagnostic under warranty.  (All my costs are recoverable under warranty).

Today is Saturday; I booked an appointment for Monday and they said I could use one of their "orientation" hookups for the weekend so I could have a little TV (which I hadn't had since last Weds.)  They will get manufacturer authorization for warranty work as the problem obviously is not the inverter or the batteries and may be (shudder) faulty wiring.

So that is a report on the fun I have been having with my new RV.

Actually, life could be much worse than sitting in a beautiful RV campus with electric, a pond and fountain outside my window, security guards at night and nice neighbors all excited and happy to be "trading out" their old rigs.  I will be 5 days behind my driving schedule if they can get me back out on the road on Tuesday. 

And, I found another Reality Show to get addicted to--The Voice--watched the audition episode on and I am hooked already.  


  1. OMG, faulty wiring sounds like it will take someone "smart" to fix it...what are your chances of finding that! I am thinking about changing the Dump Site at my Park after hearing what an attraction that can be. Thumbs up for calling out those guys for molesting your credit card!

  2. Sue, I don't know how you manage it, but somehow, you can even make problems sound like fun and adventure! Amazing!

    And, as Sharon said, you certainly handled things well!