Taking Care of Winnie

We are back from our 1st adventure in Winnie. The parts for the jacks came in. We scheduled our repair time and took her in. They fixed her jacks, checked the battery charge for us, and put a new tail light in. We were also informed that the reason we couldn’t get water to stay in the tank was that the hot water tank valve was left open. Frustrating, but at least we know it was flushed out.

With that taken care of its time to give her a good cleaning. Inside she was thoroughly scrubbed; floors were vacuumed, mopped, and steam cleaned. Refrigerator was cleaned, along with every other inch of her. She looks good and smells good.

Now for the outside. That was not as easy for me. I’m too old to get on the roof and the scrubber I bought attaches to the hose. It is very soft and has a place to fill it with soap. My choice was baby shampoo.  I had read from other veteran rv’ers that it was a good safe product. My problem was that filled with running water it made the scubber very heavy. It took a while,  but I  got her clean. Not as good as I would have liked, but she looks much better. I want to get her roof checked and cleaned, along with a good wash and wax all over.

We filled up the water tank, checked the hot water and what do you know. The water stayed in the tank. We could not get the gage to read full however. It only read 3/4. I turned on the refrigerator to test the ice maker. It took a while, but we did get ice cubes. That is, once I realized that the pump has to be on to make ice cubes.

My next project is organization. With our plans of selling the s & b (sticks and bricks – house) beginning of next year and going FT (full-time), I need to get very organized. The more I am able to figure out now the easier it will be next year.

Until next time,



45th Anniversary


Winnie was our 45th anniversary present to each other, so it’s only fitting that our first adventure in her would be on that weekend. On our honeymoon we went to Mackinaw City and tented on the shore next to the bridge; an area that is no longer open to campers. We thought it would be nice to revisit that area again for our 45th anniversary.


Our Campsite in 1971


View from our Campsite 1971

The destination was special to us and was also a good distance for her 1st adventure. It is just far enough to get comfortable driving a big rig and close enough at the same time. The weather was predicted to be very cold and it was. Not nice for being outside, but it did give us the opportunity to use our furnace a few times.

Being the parts for the jacks had not come in time and therefore we could not properly level her, we did not want to risk putting out the full slide. We did our best to always find level spots to park in.

Getting Winnie back the night before we were to leave gave us very little time to get everything done. We had not de-winterized her before taking her in for repairs, so that needed to be done. We weren’t sure if they had done it or not. We saw no traces of the antifreeze. But, just in case, we wanted to sanitize the tanks. Unfortunately we could not get the water to stay in the tanks. We tried everything, reading and re-reading the manuals. It was getting late and we were tired and frustrated and still had a lot to get accomplished before we could go. We would just have to get our water the old way; from the community faucet and heat it up in a kettle on the stove.

Our 1st Adventure in Winnie

Up early, like every other day, we were on the road by 7:30 am. Our first stop was to get gas.  After reading what other motorhome owners recommended, we filled up at our local Kroger’s, using the outside lane.  Success. No hiccups. Yah!  Next stop, coffee.  Need my morning coffee and right here in the shopping center is a brand new Biggby Coffee Shop.  We weren’t sure if it was open yet, but we did see someone else go in. So, I get dropped off and go in for a nice fresh cup of coffee.  Come to find out they were not yet open for business but they were training the new staff.  The manager says “that’s ok. We just made a fresh batch. Help yourself.” So, another successful stop. Two wonderfully smelling, fresh, hot coffee’s free.  Next stop around the corner to Kroger for our groceries. Normally this task would have already been done, but with all the issues the past few days we just didn’t have time. While in getting the groceries I rented a couple movies from Redbox to watch at night. Another 1st for me. I hate to admit it, but neither of us know how to operate the did player at home. I don’t even think it’s hooked up. Now out the door and groceries put away, we were happily ready to be on our way without any problems so far.  Well, maybe a small one.  Someone decided to park in front of us, which made leaving the shopping center a little tricky.  But, like a pro, he managed nicely.

Our plan was to take it slow and easy, stopping whenever we needed a stretch or bathroom break.  I also wanted to make a point to always be at our nightly destination by around 3 pm.


Day 1 – Destination:  Hartwick Pines State Park, Grayling, MI.  

  •  205 miles.  7 1/2 hrs.
  •  Left home at 7:30 am. Arrived at 3:00 pm.
  •  Site #68   $35  Full hookup, pull through site.


Day 2 -Destination:  Mackinaw City KOA, Mackinaw, MI.    

  •  107 miles.  6 1/2 hrs.
  •  Day included site seeing and souvenir shopping.
  •  Arrived at campground 3:50 pm.
  •  Site #24  $34.63 w/10% discount.  Full hookup, pull through site. Excellent showers.


Day 3 – Destination:  Wilson State Park,  Harrison,  MI.      

  •  95 miles.  6 hrs.     
  •  Day included drive over Mackinaw Bridge, site seeing, and souvenir shopping.
  • Arrived at campground 3:20 pm.        
  • Site #19  $22.00  pull through site.  Water at site. Nice view of lake.

Day 4 – Destination:  Home

  • 151 miles.  4 hrs.
  • Arrived home 12:45 pm.

Trip Totals        

  • $91.30 – Camping fees (average – $30.54 per night)      
  • $266.00 – Gas        
  • $24.13 –  Propane (8.5 gallons)  
  • $20.00 – Bridge fare ($10.00 each way)          
  • 610.6 Miles

What We Learned or Realized

  • Not extending the main slide-out is very doable but snug.
  • Slide-outs only work when emergency brake is engaged.
  • Engine only starts when chassis is on.
  • Steps can be set to go up and down with opening of door or set to remain down when camping.
  • Not having water in tank is doable as long as campground has adequate showers. Water for dishes and washing up is heated on stove.
  • You can run the furnace either by generator or electric hookup.
  • Blue Ray movies can only be played on a blue ray player.
  • Having a motorhome is very comfortable, enjoyable and fun.

I can’t wait to go full time.

 Until next time,




You would think purchasing an expensive motorhome and getting good customer service would go hand in hand. Not so in our case. From the very beginning it seemed like everything that could go wrong did. In every phase of the purchase there was something that went wrong. I would say the problem was lack of communication between departments (sales, finance and service). I felt like all they were really interested in was closing the sale and moving on to the next customer.

By the time Winnie was supposed to be ready to be brought home it was very late and we were exhausted, physically and mentally.  Following behind Winnie in our car I noticed a tail light out. That was our first inclination that the prep work we paid $1,500 for was not done. Instead they used that time to put on our $500 surge protector, vent covers and a couple other items we paid to have done before we brought her home.

We called our salesman first thing and was told to make a list and bring her back in.  Everything would be taken care of, “don’t worry” he said. Over the next few weeks we found other obvious things that should have been taken care of in their prep work, such as a number of burned out bulbs inside.

When we were ready to take her in to get all the items on our list completed, we texted our salesman to set up the time with the service department so they would be ready for us. We had not moved her since parking in the driveway 2 months earlier. Do to the extreme cold and bad weather it was hard to find time to get outside. It was then that we noticed another problem, and major one. We could not get the back jacks up.  Our son, Kevin, had to pry them up with a 2×4.

Once in the service area we learned they had no idea we were coming.  I sat down with the service writer and listed all of our concerns. He was not sure what the company would pay for, but took our list to our salesman. The lights would be covered, but they weren’t sure about the jacks. After a bit of discussion and insistence, we thought it was to be covered by our extended warranty. We left her there to be serviced.

The service department determined that 3 of the jacks were bent and needed replacement parts. They tried to blame us!  Really? How could we have caused it? We hadn’t moved her. After some persuasion they decided they would cover the cost. The parts needed to be ordered, which would take a week to 10 days. That would not do! We were supposed to be taking our maiden voyage that next weekend. They said they would put a rush on the parts and see what they could do. Meanwhile, we waited.

The parts did not come in on time. We were assured we would be okay to go on our outing and just not use the jacks. So we brought her home. It’s the night before we are to leave, which doesn’t give us much time to pack. We will go, enjoy our mini vacation and bring her back later to be fixed. That is not how we pictured our first outing, but we will make it work.

Until next time,





Yes, that’s exactly how we’ve felt for the last 2 months. We consider ourselves experienced campers. We owned a pop-up for many years and we also did our share of tent camping. But, owning a motorhome is a whole new ballgame.

After purchasing Winnie and getting her safely parked in the driveway, we were at a loss as to what to do next. We did the walk through at the dealers and have the manuals to read, but there is just so much to learn. It’s a good thing we have all summer to get familiar with all the “ins and outs” of owning a class A motorhome.  We really want to feel comfortable with how to operate everything before starting retirement.

Oh my, what did we get ourselves into?  Feeling excited, nervous and overwhelmed.

Until next time,