Saturday, September 22, 2012

Interesting Week End (That's not an error.)

Terry and I had an...interesting short trip over the last few days.

Thursday we left the Aerie in two vehicles. Terry drove the Aveo and I had the Winnie Access as we headed to Camping World in Bath to have the shower caddy replaced (part of our purchase agreement) and to pick up a dolly to haul the Aveo behind the Winnie. We also asked that they repair the power cord that hooks the Winnie to either the campground's power or to the generator. (The plug on that cord was separated from the heavy duty insulating portion of the cord exposing the smaller wires.)

We sat for nearly three hours while they fixed the cord and the shower and wired the dolly to be connected to the Winnie. We finally got things hooked up in the Camping World lot, put the Aveo on the dolly and headed down the road toward Corning and the Watkins Glen KOA. The wiring connecting the Winnie and the dolly seemed a little strange to me, but I let it go.

We never got to the KOA. As I pulled off Route 17 in Corning, I looked in the rear view mirror and saw smoke pouring out of the left tire of the dolly. I jumped out of the cab of the Winnie as the driver of the semi behind me did the same. We met at the dolly and the trucker said he thought the bearings or the brake had seized up based upon the smell. I agreed. We had gone only 25 miles. Terry and I went another eighth of a mile on Route 414 to a place that was safe to pull over and called Camping World. They sent someone out with a trailer to take the dolly back to the shop and try to figure out what was wrong.

While we waited for them to arrive--something that took almost two hours--Terry and I took the Aveo off the dolly. (The hubs of the dolly were still hot to the touch.) That's when I really noticed how screwed up the wiring was. Instead of cutting the wires to a reasonably short length, the installer had left them very, very long and used zip ties to attach them to the undercarriage of the Winnie. I thought I might have to cut the wires to unhook the dolly. So I left them for the guys from Camping World to see what had been done. The lead man on the rescue squad was an assistant manager in the service department and his jaw dropped when he looked at the wiring. Then he crawled under the Winnie and cut the zip ties hauling the ball of wires out from underneath. Now we could simply unplug the dolly and leave it with them.

Terry and I went on to the Watkins Glen KOA Camping Resort--in two vehicles. We checked in and set up the Winnie. Then headed up to Watkins Glen to have  a scrumptious dinner at Seneca Station (Captain Bill's) in town. Nice steaks, seafood and strong alcoholic beverages...which I needed. The rest of Thursday night was uneventful. (Although we just can not get the bloody TV to work properly despite following the directions in the owner's manual. All I get is an "unusable signal" message.) The campground was quiet and peaceful and we slept well.

Friday I was expecting a call from Camping World all day. Something that would tell me what was going on with the dolly. But I wasn't going to hang around in the campground waiting for it. They had my cell number. Terry and I had planned to hit a couple of places on the Seneca Lake Wine Trail.

We ended up going to just one winery--3 Brothers' -- and the Finger Lakes' Distillery. We've been to the 3 Brothers' before. The Brothers were not able to agree on the type of winery they wanted to operate--so they have three wineries at the one site. One is somewhat formal (Stony Lonesome), one used to be a somewhat risque 1920's (Passion Feet)--although they've opened up the shop area more with a loss of ambiance, and the third is Bagg Dare which is modeled after a Louisiana Bayou hangout. The last two have rather humorous names for their vintages. All three have very, very good wines. Apparently the brothers can agree on one thing for they also have a micro brewery on site--The War Horse--modeled in 1940s WWII style with several beers and ales available as well as root beer. We ended up buying three and a half cases of wine and some beer.

We stopped for lunch at Ginny Lee's at the Wagner Winery on Route 414 before driving to the Finger Lakes Distilling. They make some wonderful vodkas, liqueurs and whiskeys. We got a couple of bottles of liqueurs and a bottle of bourbon.

Then we went to walk a bit in Watkins Glen before heading back to the campground. I made a couple of calls to Camping World but my calls were dropped by weak signals and/or directed to answering machines. As the end of the working day arrived I had learned nothing about the condition of the dolly.

Friday night, the campground was more crowded, but our area was still quiet...until someone's car alarm went off at 2 AM. It took them several minutes to realize that it was their car, find the keys and then get outside and get it shut off. Having several hours of solid sleep, I had some difficulty getting back to  sleep.

Saturday morning dawned with on and off showers. After breakfast we broke camp draining the black and grey water tanks, unhooking the water and power. That's when I found out that the plug attached to the power cord was incompatible with the generator's outlet. Another thing that needed to be corrected ASAP.

When we headed out, I was going to Camping World to see about the dolly and get the plug fixed, Terry was going to go home. We got as far as Route 17 in Corning and were heading west toward Route 15 when I got a phone call from Camping World. "We've figured out what went wrong and got your dolly repaired but need you to bring your camper in so we can check one more thing out." "Not a problem," I said. "I'll be there in less than 30 minutes." Then I called Terry to tell her to head to Camping World.

At Camping World, they checked the wiring on the Winnie and confirmed that the problem was with the job done on the dolly. They had replaced the brakes AND the bearings. The service manager apologized profusely and wanted to know what he could do to make it right. We ended up getting an auxiliary brake controller installed. This little project took a little time so Terry and I went to lunch.

Once again, we had everything hooked up in the Camping World lot and we headed home to the Aerie. For some reason, the stupid Aveo's alarm kept going off as we drove along. (It hadn't done that on Thursday.) Terry kept her keys in hand and repeatedly pushed the buttons to kill the alarm. We got to the dirt road on which we live and the alarm didn't go off once despite all the jouncing and bouncing along the way. I pulled up to the driveway and parked on the road so Terry could take the Aveo off the dolly and park it. I backed the dolly and Winnie into the driveway, separated them and parked the Winnie so we could unpack.

With the dolly and auxiliary brake, we're ready to go on our next adventure. Hopefully it will not include any mechanical failures.


Rev. Paul said...

You know, most people just have weekends ... you two have adventures. I don't know whether to be envious, or glad at having safely escaped your fate. :)

joated said...

Well, we DID have a nice time at the winery and distillery and the places we went to eat...and next time I'll have my bathing suit so as to enjoy the indoor pool and hot tub at the camp ground.