So we picked up our (New-to-us) 1990 Foretravel Grand Villa U225 less than a week ago and we are in love. Not only with the vehicle but the nomadic lifestyle in general. I don’t want to give the impression that it is all roses and daisies but we love it nonetheless. We got a really good deal on a top of the line motorhome and even though it had some use on it, it looks great and is very comfortable for the life we plan to lead. We knew when dealing with a vehicle/home of this age there would be things along the way that needed repair, replacement or just general maintenance for us to be secure in our travels. We did our due diligence and feel comfortable with our decision no matter what comes along.
The first pocket punch came at pick up from the shop we had to give it a once over. Needed new tires! Now in RV terms you rarely wear out tires they generally need to be replaced due to time. That was our case … The account is still feeling the pain. Six RV sized tires can cost as much as a good used car. Safety is always our first concern so it was a no-brainer no matter how painful it was. Cost us an extra day to go along with the sticker shock but we were happy to be on our way!
After returning the rental car in Charlotte, NC, we drove through part of the night to Gaffney, SC, where we boondocked for the night at a 24 hour Wal-Mart. Ashton, the night manager, was super helpful in telling us where to park and giving us permission for the overnight stay! After some shopping, exuberant I might add, we settled in for the night lulled to sleep by only the distant hum of a truckers diesel engine as white noise.
The next morning was peaceful and serene as the shifts started to change and the shoppers started to pour in. We made ready for departure as we planned a rendezvous with Deidre Leaver-Dunn, a high school classmate that I had not seen since graduation in…19xx. She is a lady and a southern gentleman would never reveal the age of such. As fate would have it…more like our complete newbie status…we would not be able to keep our appointed deadline. Driving a 22K lb RV at 55-60 MPH, it is impossible to make up time as you would in a car over the course of a trip. We are a little smarter now and take that into consideration when planning our destinations. Thank you, Deidre, for the recommendations. Both Lake Lurleen and the Metro Diner were great. Leigh and I enjoyed a peaceful night’s rest with full hookups and a front door view of the lake. In a word, stunning! The breakfast at Metro Diner was awesome as well and we cannot wait to get back for a longer visit to meet Tate man and the rest of the gang!
On to Arlington, Texas… As travels would have it there are tests for any new driver and I am no exception. Heavy rain and jammed highways make for a fun day of travel. Add in a surging accelerator on a large vehicle and there were some tense moments. I was spent pulling into the Treetop RV park but the friendly folks there saw to our needs and were a great joy to deal with. The folks we met at the park were top-notch. Fast Eddie was awesome! After we connected on RVillage he came by our site and gave us the lay of the land. He introduced us to Dave whom we have dubbed Mr. Foretravel! From memory, he talked me through the mysterious systems that have alluded my grasp for the whole two weeks we have owned it! I can now fill and drain the tanks with fresh water. We also know where the secret compartment is. Mind you we had no clue it even existed! It has been such a pleasure to meet fellow RV’ers on the road and we love the community. We were so bummed we could only stay one-night RV’ers are awesome!
The next day’s journey started great. No problems and smooth sailing along…Until we were 90 miles outside of Lubbock, Texas. A loud popping sound startled us. It was the result of a suspension bolt sheering off. Luckily for us, the friends we were going to visit were in Lubbock and just so happen to work in the car industry. Crosby and Liesl were very gracious hosts. Putting us up for an extra night and giving us a quick peek into life at the home of Texas Tech Red Raiders! We will most definitely come back when we can spend more time as we treasure our friends and our friendships.
So to be clear we are over 1500 miles into our cross-country journey and we have replaced tires and had a suspension bolt break off, lost 72 hours of travel time to both issues but are having a blast still. Onward to Holbrook, Arizona. Having rested with our friends in Lubbock and the suspension issue resolved, we headed on with our plans to stay in OK RV park. Both parks we stayed at were gracious enough to allow us to move our dates back to accommodate our on-the-road issues and we are very grateful. On a fuel stop, I happened to notice hot green liquid spewing from the rear of the coach… Grrrrrrrrrr! Turns out there was a leak caused by an object of some kind hitting our radiator core. We traveled on watching the temperature gauge like a hawk. There was a TA center not far from our location and we made it. Only to find out this location only works on trucks and not potentially stranded RV owners. Luckily for us across the way was a Truck stop shop that was willing to take a look and managed to pinch off the damaged section and we were underway once again. Only 400 miles between us and OK RV park! Still mindful of the temperature gauge and stopping ever so often to check for leaks (Pleased to report there were none), We marched on. Thanks to Josie and Lorna for setting up a late check-in for 2 weary travelers! Lorna even doubled back about the time we said we would be in and showed us to our spot. We were very appreciative!
The next day we decided it prudent to call up a mobile RV service to give Stevie J’s cooling system a once over and make sure there would be no further trouble … at least from that system! We even stayed an extra night just to decompress and game plan for the next few days because our next stop would be California, a mere 615 miles away. If you are keeping score that is 3 major incidents and delays on our epic adventure!
Still in love and loving our lifestyle choice …bank account, not so much but the ever prepared Leigh Lester-Holmes put us in a position to make this dream a reality and it was all taken in stride.
The last leg of the trip went without a major incident of the breakdown sort. There were some scary moments like the awning caught hold of some pretty brutal wind gusts and partially unraveling while in motion. Imagine being on the side of the road in high winds and dust trying to manually roll up a 10-foot awning with a broken spring by hand…it ain’t for the faint of heart! Leigh was a big help and all the athletic training of my youth paid off big time as we got that thing back up in those conditions. Speaking of high winds, being in the right lane on mountain sides where you can see over the edge with said high winds forcing you closer to that edge is no day at the beach either. This made for more than a few moments of trepidation …well in real talk we were scared sh&^*less on more than one occasion!
I can tell you that there were no happier two people to arrive in Huntington Beach, Californa to stay with our friends. Special thanks to the Swaroops! We love and appreciate you so much words cannot express! We are here safe and sound. Next order of business is to get our things loaded and take care of some maintenance overlooked by the first company that checked out the vehicle. As stated earlier we are in love and we are loving the ability to take our house with us everywhere we go!
Til next time
Peace and Blessings
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