October 23rd, 2020
We were up early on Friday morning and hit the road before 5 am to begin the drive to Oklahoma City in the rental car.
Driving through northwest Texas we saw fields and fields of:
We ended up driving 1617 km / 1004 mi ito the Elk City, east of Amarillo, TX in one day! Next morning we traveled the 195 km / 121 mi to the dealer and in about two hours we were on our way with our new wheels:
We have bought the “work truck” model of the 2021 Toyota Tundra SR Double Cab – it has the tow package standard and is 4×4. It doesn’t have all the fancy bells and whistles but more of those, just means more to break down. We went with a new model as the Toyota holds its value well and has a good reliability reputation. The ones with low mileage and only a few years old, were not that much cheaper and this way we get the warranty. The only extras we got were under rear seat storage and a locking spare tire attachment.
So now we are heading to Salt Lake City to see a possible three travel trailers. Today we made it as far as Denver by early evening and found a hotel.
We awoke Sunday morning to this:
We left around 6:30 as the snow fall was light but it got worse:
but as we drove north it just got much worse:
After 169 km / 105 mi we crossed the state line into Wyoming crawling along as visibility was terrible and we wondered WTH we were doing in this. We pulled off at Cheyenne right after seeing a sign that the I-80 westbound (the direction we wanted to go) was closed. We pulled into a Mickey D’s, had brekkie and then called the Quality Inn across the road to see if we could get a room and check in now: at 9:15 AM. Done; we drove across the road and hunkered down inside for the day. It’s supposed to stop snowing around 3AM so hopefully the plows can keep up with it and we’ll be good to go come morning. Had to cancel our appointments to view trailers and hopefully can make them tomorrow.
So after a day of being stuck indoors, we did enjoy not driving, but were somewhat anxious to get going. Around 9 am Doug learned the I-80 was now open with “some slick sections” and away we went. The first couple of hours there were slick sections and varying amounts of snow.
We arrived in Salt Lake City at 2pm as we hoped and went to see the first trailer; an Innsbruk Gulfstream which turned out to be a dud for us; the U-shaped dinette was too short and it turned out the awning was not the length we wanted and besides, the entire trailer was longer than we been lead to believe. (It seems some lengths are just the trailer and others include the coupler up front – it’s not consistent. We want to limit our length to a 26′.)
So as the next one in our minds also had a u-shaped dinette and no couch, we decided to skip it and see the one with the floor plan the same as the one we’d seen in Vegas but it was supposed to be shorter and newer.
So we drove south of Salt Lake to Mt Pleasant and after a quick viewing before the sun went down, we made a deal – we’d found a new “home on wheels”!
As it was now past five and the sellers had to reach out to a bank to pay off their loan and needed to deposit all the cash we’d brought, we settled on meeting at their credit union at 9am. We went to the only hotel/motel in town for the night and picked up Subway for dinner.
We met at the bank at 9 and watched as the teller counted the cash – both manually and using her machine (?). Tony then had them wire the loan amount due to the lienholder and instructed them to send the title to us (at our address in Vegas).
We returned to Tony’s place, purchased his equalizer hitch and after a quick run through on a few things Tony felt we should know, we were on our away!
The Tundra hardly felt like it was towing – we were super impressed. It was about six hours later as we were approaching Las Vegas, when a passerby honked and pointed to the underside of the trailer. We pulled over and lo and behold the soffit under the water tank was dragging! We could see no way to remove it and carry on so we called for roadside assistance through our insurer, Geico.
They arranged for someone to come out and tow the trailer and in the meantime Fran began calling around to RV service places to see where we could have it towed to. Then we received a call from the assistance company only to learn they were not equipped to tow a 25’ trailer on their flat bed – WTH? Fran had told Geico what length the trailer was.
So back on the phone she went and after a good fifteen minutes, a nice Latino man stopped to see if he could help. After he had a look he had the idea to tape up the soffit and so by the time, Fran got Geico to finally find someone who could actually help, it was temporarily repaired and she called back to cancel.
After thanking our Good Samaritan and giving him a nice tip, we continued onto to the campground where Tigger was waiting for us. After a longer than necessary registration in the office, we moved into a long pull thruspot in order to fit all three vehicles; trailer at the front, then Tigger followed by our Tundra (we’re working a name for that new acquisition).
Wednesday morning, Doug returned Tigger to the mechanic and finally midafternoon, after replacing all the other plugs, it seemed fixed again. In the meantime, since we temporarily have two sets of wheels, Fran went to storage unit twice filling the cab of the truck and went grocery shopping. That night after more discussions with a fellow from Colorado, we got an offer on Tigger for the full asking price: $38,765. This guy and his girlfriend plan to fly into Vegas on Saturday. So we’re “holding thumbs”. We have received a few other offers from lowballs of $20 up to $32K so it seems it will be sold but depends how low we want to go.
Doug had spoken to the seller of the trailer explaining the issue we’re having. He explained the soffit had been replaced last year in SLC when the water tank was leaking (he had disclosed this repair before we bought it). He said the warranty that came with the trailer for defects was three years and would transfer to us so it should be covered as Camping World (where they’d bought the trailer warranties their work). He called them for us and then called the local franchise here. Doug called and got a service appointment for November 11th.
Thursday we spent the day organizing and Doug found a mobile RV repair service and someone came out within 30 minutes. After removing the remaining pieces of the soffit, he drove to Home Depot to get parts before beginning the work. After a couple of hours, it was pretty clear he couldn’t do what was needed and gave up. Doug had quite a “dynamic” discussion with him about payment as in reality, all he’d done was remove the soffit. He left in a huff after grudgingly accepting the lower amount and we never saw him again.
Friday, we went to Camping World here to speak to the service department. Hector told us they’d “diagnose” the problem (for a fee) and then if it’s covered by the warranty we won’t have to pay the repair. We rescheduled our appointment to better suit our plans and we’ll hope for the best. Doug did some research on the warranty so it’s not clear we’re covered and Camping World’s repair rates are astronomical.
Next stop was a truck 4×4 shop that does truck improvements. Here we made an appointment for next Tuesday to have a few things done to our Tundra – a spray in bed liner, a tonneau cover, wheel to wheel side rails and heavy duty floor mats. We also inquired about a better equalizer hitch which they will look into. We’ve tried to order it ourselves, but it’s a minimum 4-5 weeks delivery time and since we are not sure where we’d be then to provide a shipping address.
Saturday morning we started the day with an early breakfast and picked up the prospective buyers at the airport. Mike and Jessica flew in from Denver. We spent over two hours discussing and showing them Tigger. Before making a decision they wanted to go for lunch and discuss it. We went to run a couple of errands after dropping them off at a local Mexican restaurant and were surprised that after two hours we’d heard nothing. By three hours, we began calling/emailing others to say it was still for sale. Then along sauntered Mike saying they’d like to offer slightly lower than asking and we talked for a bit and agreed to split the difference. Mike was to bring a bank certified Cheque for the full price (he’d already sent us a photo of it and we’d spoken to his banker) and he agreed to accept a personal cheque from us for the difference. Well what a SNAFU that turned out to be – they had forgotten the cheque at home! A few solutions were discussed briefly but the in the end, they took it as a “sign” it was not the right choice for them to buy it so they left to Uber to the airport and go home.
Just after we heard back from a few others and now a fellow from outside LA is supposed to show up on Monday. That night we spent some time discussing what things we needed to make the storage in our new home more organized.
Sunday morning we spent the morning at Home Depot, Ikea, Target, Lowes and the Dollar Store pretty much striking out everywhere but the latter where we picked up a few small things. We made another trip to the storage unit to bring home some more things. Hopefully one more trip and we’re done.
After spending some time online, we found some of what we wanted on Amazon and have begun placing orders which should begin arriving this week. Doug found a couple of 2000W generators on Craigslist and it turned out they were being sold by someone here in this campground! They came with 2 Jerry cans, a rack, the connector so you can run them in tandem and security chains. We’re not sure we’ll actually mount the rack on the back of the trailer as it will make us even longer but it may be the best way to store them.
Monday morning we awoke to our first partly cloudy day since being in Vegas. It still gets quite warm – upper 20’s to low 30’s C / 80’s to 90’s F and cools down a lot a night which is great for sleeping. The forecast shows a cooling coming next week so we’ll see how that feels.
Another prospective buyer came today but it turned out to be a bust which was annoying as Doug had spent hours on the phone with him over the past week.
So we reached out to another fellow who wanted an inspection done and he’s arranged it for tomorrow. We also received an offer a few thousand below asking from a fellow in Chicago. So hopefully after said inspection we’ll have a firm offer from either of these guys.
Tuesday Doug went to the truck place and had the spray in bed liner done:
After with the tonneau cover installed.
The wheel to wheel side rails installed:
And the front floor mats put in:
That afternoon the inspector came for the fellow in Oregon and we awaited Eric’s response while trying to hold off Adam from Chicago. We spoke to Eric and he has decided to “pass” and so we’ve contacted Adam and he’s making travel arrangements to get here later this week. Boy, this is a topsy turvy ride we’re on.
So…Wednesday instead of hearing that Adam had made travel plans, we heard that he had been exposed to COVID and had a test done; he hopes to get results tomorrow and fly here on Friday so we’ll see.
Today many Amazon items began arriving: a banana hammock for the kitchen,
Window visors for the new truck:
Closet organizers which fell apart so we’re ordering new ones – AAAAH!
A wall mounted knife holder
The time change last weekend sure has made a different here. By 4:40 the sun is down and it’s dark by about 5:10!
Our Toyota just passed the 2000 mile mark already – of course most of that was from out drive from the sales lot through SLC to here.
Thursday began with us installing many of the items that we had purchased, running errands and signing a power of attorney with an online notary! Yes, this is a thing. We need to register our new acquisitions in South Dakota and the mail box service we use offers this service via a power of attorney.
Cupboards above dinette and couch could be more useful with a shelf.
We made a trip to Home Depot to buy wood to add a shelf in four of cupboards and thank goodness they cut the sizes for us. Doug only had to install the rails and cut some notches where the shelf had to go around them. Fran sanded them and stained them to match.
We have had a few back and forth’s with a few more prospective Tigger buyers but nothing definitive.
Saturday we awoke to learn that Biden had won the election! We are very happy.
That day and Sunday, the wind began in late morning and it really cooled of; we had a tiny touch of spitting rain for a few minutes then it just got colder dropping to about 12C / 54F by dark – a big change from Thursday’s 31C / 89F!
We managed to get a few more things done around the trailer; cupboards and storage places more organized; Fran got all the new shelves in and put things away. Doug attempted to get the new back up camera to run – seems there’s no power to the mount on the back of the trailer; then he spent ages installing the new Anderson hitch system to the truck and by dark he was shy a tool that he’ll have to get tomorrow. We also mailed off our documentation to America’s Mailbox to get the truck and trailer registered.
Doug finished the new hitch install:
and tackled the backup camera again and figured out it works if the headlights are on, not the daytime running light.
It has a 7″ monitor for the dash that receives the signal wirelessly:
He also began installing the solar panel that came with the trailer onto the trailer’s roof using self-leveling sealant (which is how the panels were attached to Tigger’s roof).
At some point we’ll decide if we need more panels or not as the fridge in the trailer is a 2 way: electric or propane so at present it will not run on solar power. We’ve purchased an inverter which is the another project Doug will tackle along with a 12V power source in the trailer to run our portable fantastic fan.
Our 2019 Coleman Lantern:
A few pics of the inside of our new home:
The floor plan:
Pass through storage under the bed:
View from doorway in towards the back to the dinette and couch:
Bathroom (three times the size of our old one!):
Jack knife couch in “living room” – very comfy too:
Monday was a cold morning as predicted but sunny and it warmed up nicely to a reasonable fall day. Doug finished installing the solar panel and it’s up and running! Yeah – something went right.
We are still awaiting word from prospective buyers……
Fran finished up cupboards inside and did some shopping. We have to say we are loving our new Tundra and sometimes “squabble” about who gets to drive!
Tuesday Doug struggled to figure out how to install the inverter for solar power without making a lot of holes – that one is going to have to wait a bit but he did manage to install two 12v outlets near the couch for phones and our portable fantastic fan.
Wednesday Doug kept trying to work with Americas Mailbox on our title registrations; issue was the documentation from the dealer; we’d been told three times that the documentation has been sent only to learn it wasn’t actually sent until this past Monday. By Thursday it was still not received so they said they’d send a certified copy by overnight courier. In the afternoon we readied the truck and trailer for leaving in the morning to head to our appointment with Camping World regarding the repair of the soffit.
Thursday we left the campground early (left Tigger until check out time at noon) and upon arriving at Camping World and finally speaking to someone – Hector – the same man we’d been dealing with all along – Doug was told it was not covered by the warranty! We were so mad as we’d spoke with his man at least four times and he waits until now to tell us that! At $145 an hour for labour, we were definitely not getting the repair work done here and this company will no longer receive a dime from us.
In the meantime we got our first “check engine” light on our brand new truck – WTH? We called a local dealer and made an appointment for 1pm but it was suggested we try and remove and replace the gas cap…..We tried that but light remained on.
We then began a search for a welder; we stopped at one and the man said he could get it done on Saturday early and his rate was $90 an hour but strongly suggested that an RV outfitter was a better choice.
Knowing what we’d been quoted earlier today we were reluctant to try another RV place. About 10 days ago Doug had spoken to a place near our campground that specializes in trailers (not camper trailers) and he had been told that their welding guys might be able to help so we headed there.
They took a look and said they could weld angle brackets and thought that would work. Doug agreed and we left the trailer with them for the afternoon while we went to a Toyota dealer. Fran picked up Tigger and waited for Doug at the dealership. They used an OBD reader and found no codes so they cleared the check engine and so far, it has not returned so maybe it was the gas cap…..
Doug received a call that the trailer was ready; he went to get that while Fran drove Tigger over to the condo we’ll be staying at beginning tomorrow. Before she got there he called her and said the work was not done to his satisfaction and he’d be at least an hour. Fran arranged for the parking pass for Tigger (they had agreed we could park a vehicle there one day earlier than our stay) and then walked over to the parking lot behind Bally’s where we understood from iOverlander that we could dry camp for free. We’d walked by it many times while staying at the Carriage House and it had looked free but when Fran (it was now dark) got there she saw the parking lot entry booth arms were now down and she was told by a person in the lot parked there with a trailer (but staying in the hotel) that they believed it was $30 a night to park there. Doug arrived and Fran found a security guard and confirmed the foregoing. We just needed a place to sleep for ONE night! Fran found another casino, The Orleans, on iOverlander that was off strip that noted that the oversized lot there allowed RV’s so off went only to discover that the oversized lot was “closed for an event” from Nov 10th to Dec 20th – what event? Nothing is going on these days in Vegas.
So now we have no idea where to go and Doug turns down a side street and we see lots of cars, a couple of tractor trailers and a few large curbside parking spots. We got turned around at the corner and Doug managed quite successfully to get us parked and we spent a pretty quiet night.
We are having an issue with the weight on the new hitch – the trailer is somewhat lower in the front and that’s not good so we are going to try and redistribute the weight inside and hope that helps as the piece to make the hitch higher seems to be almost impossible to find – on back order for up to 5 weeks!
The inquiries into purchasing Tigger have dwindled; we still have the guy who got COVID interested but obviously he can’t come until his quarantine is over IF he still wants to; then there’s the guy who is working on refinancing his home who’s still interested but he thinks it may take him till the end of the month….We did receive a new query from a guy in California but he’s 6’2” so he’s really too tall. So we are seriously considering storage for the winter. We have found a cheap storage place in Pahrump so we’ve “reserved” a spot for next weekend and see if that’s the way we’ll go.
We spent some time working on this issue Friday morning and then drove over to the Bluegreen condo and parked the trailer. Fran stayed behind getting us packed up and ready while Doug went to run some errands. At 11 she called the reception and asked what time check in was (our paperwork said 4 but we hoped they would say earlier). By noon she walked over to the check in desk (as they had told here we could get the paperwork done but probably not get our suite until 2 the earliest. While she was completing this, the front desk found a suite that was ready and she was able to snag a luggage trolley and get our stuff all inside and managed to get two loads of laundry done as our condo has a washer and dryer.
We have THREE vehicles out there in the lot:
So we’re here at the Bluegreen until Friday with tentative plans to return to the same campground, Kings Row, as we’ll need an address to have our vehicle registrations and plates shipped to before we can head further south.