Leaving Tennessee, our ultimate destination was Goshen, IN, for the Chapter 419 Holiday Rambler RV Club Maintenance Rally. With 5 days to get there, we spent 2 stormy days outside Cincinnati on the Ohio/Indiana state line, and then a couple of days at the REV (Monaco/Fleetwood/HR) Service Center in Decatur, IN.
Our stop at REV was only supposed to be a stopover for us to go on the factory tour, but when we arrived we were surprised to find that our living room driver’s side slide wouldn’t go out! We spent some time checking fuses and the Intellitec system, but ultimately resigned ourselves to living with the slide in – fortunately, we could still get to everything. We spent the days visiting with Bill & Linda (who we had met in Bradenton, and who are also headed to the 419 Rally), and enjoyed a delicious dinner at the Back Forty REstaurant. On Monday morning, we got added to the “drop-in” list at the service center, but our chances of having somebody look at it were not good.
Tom did get to go on the factory tour, but we didn’t get our slide worked on, and on Tuesday we were able to move up to Goshen and get on our site a day early for the Rally.
It was pretty quiet at the fairground, with only the Rally organizers and parking team on site so far. Early arrival has its benefits – we got a good site on gravel, and were able to move up our oil change appointment so that we weren’t getting it done in the rain on Thursday!
Parking areas are assigned in the order that registrations are received, so as late registrants we were parked in the center of the horse track, at the far eastern edge of the fairgrounds. It was the furthest location from all of the rally action, but other than the muddy drive across the track (especially on the rainy arrival day for most attendees), it was actually a nice location – very quiet, no traffic, and we got to watch horses practicing all day long!
We were surrounded by lots of friends, too . . . both old and new!
By the time the rally officially started, we had a full house at the horse track!
The Maintenance Rally is all about caring for your coach – learning about how to care for it in many educational seminars, as well as obtaining maintenance or repairs from a variety of service providers who come to the rally specifically to provide services.
We had oil changes (engine and generator) completed by Cummins, during which they also changed our air filter, fuel filter and hydraulic filter. They also uncovered an exhaust leak (we actually suspected that there might be one) and discovered algae in our diesel fuel. Wow – that was all on Tuesday – two days before the rally even started!
We had our Aqua-Hot system serviced, eliminating the black soot that we had been getting from the exhaust pipe, had our Roadmaster Tow-Bar inspected and cleaned, and bought a new LED porch light for outside our door.
It’s really bright! We can actually see outside now!
A REV technician arrived on Thursday morning to look at the slide, but didn’t think they could work on it at the rally (I guess it didn’t help that it was raining!). We got a Duncan RV Repair technician to come over then, and he wasn’t deterred by a little rain.
He spent some time diagnosing the problem, more time researching it on the internet and calling HWH for advice, and on Friday finally determined that we had a bad relay on the slide control panel (which is located in the generator compartment). They did not have any in stock, and none of the parts suppliers around town had them either. He was able to add a jumper from another relay to get the slide out for the weekend, while we continued to search for the part. We finally located one (just one!) at Napa, and picked it up for him to install the next day. Whew – we were glad to have that puzzle solved!
With all of our maintenance and repairs complete (except for the exhaust leak, which was going to be tackled on Monday), we attended seminars over the weekend, and had fun with our new friends.
Darren & Tyler live in Florida, and have never been to Shipshewana before, so we took them to Das Dutchman Essenhaus for some delicious Amish food.
But first we had to rescue Tom from the motorhome! After “adjusting” the door, he managed to get himself locked inside. After quite a bit of struggling, and several threats to leave him behind while we went to dinner, Dave & Lynn managed to find a REV technician who saved the day with a little plastic tool!
Finally, we were on our way through the Amish countryside!
We did a little shopping first at the Dutch Country Market, and then walked through the Village Shops at Essenhaus before dinner.
Tom had to try milking the concrete cow,
but had a little more luck making friends with the Amish horse.
Tom & I, and Darren& Tyler, climbed to the top of the silo, where we had a 360-degree view of the countryside surrounding Middlebury.
At the Essenhaus, we all enjoyed a wonderful salad bar and buffet . . . and left there so stuffed, we could barely enjoy the ice cream social back at the rally!
On Tuesday, the Cummins technician came to replace our leaky exhaust gaskets, and discovered that the manifolds were actually warped . . . so we were going to have to wait one more day for that fix! On Wednesday, he got the manifolds installed (with a fair amount of struggle and swearing), but broke a cooler line in the process! One more part to order – I guess we wouldn’t be getting an early start out of there on Thursday!
Darren and Tyler were attempting to sell some spare parts at the RV flea market, without much luck,
so we decided to take another trip to Shipshewana to visit E&S Bulk Foods and the Yoder Meat & Cheese Store. It was Flea Market day, and there was a good crowd in town, including Amish.
We all bought lots of goodies, and couldn’t leave town without getting pretzels at Jo-Jo’s!
Back at the rally, everyone gathered for the closing dinner. Tom & I, Darren & Tyler, and Dave & Lynn, as all First-Timers at the rally, were assigned a “First-Timer Guide couple” to help us manage the many activities during the week of the rally. Arthur and Rita were great guides, and quickly became friends . . . and now we have a place to stay when we visit New Orleans!!
Dinner was delicious, and a great way to wrap up a fun rally! I think the general consensus (at least among the horse track crowd) was that this was one of the friendliest and most informative rallies we’ve been to, and everybody is looking forward to attending again . . . and we’re all going to request parking at the horse track!
Between Wednesday night and Thursday morning, we said good-bye to everyone while Tom and I waited for Cummins to arrive. It was 1pm when they did, and we were just about the last RV left in our area, but we were quickly fixed up and our engine was ready to go!
One of our slides. however, was not! The bedroom passenger-side slide would not come in . . . seriously??!! Tom and the Cummins technician did some quick diagnosis and determined that we had another bad relay! They were able to move the new relay around to get all the slides in, and we would be ordering all new relays as soon as we got to Monroe!
We finally got on the road around 3:30 and made our way across Indiana and Ohio, and into Michigan. We pulled into Camp Lord Willing around 7pm, and quickly got set up before we lost daylight.
It’ll be nice to sit still for a month . . . although we’ve got a lot to do while we’re here!