Friday, September 30, 2011

New Bear

Not everything is about the Alfa.

I have continued working on my animal sculptures, and last week finished a new design.  I have always made bears, but was never quite satisfied with the design.

I think on this one I'm coming closer to what I want.

I still see a couple of modifications I will make in the next one, but for now I think of him as my "Better Bear."

I think he looks just a little bit worried and not as happy as I would like him to be.

My goal is to create a trophy head that will satisfy an adult, but also say "I'm not real and I'm not dead."

Tree trimming news: Craig has been playing telephone tag with our contact at the county.  We are now getting the message that he will be out of the office until next week.  Craig has emailed our Supervisor.  I can see how tree trimming can be a low priority these days with money being so tight, but the process has been frustrating.  I wish Craig would consider an off-site parking location.  

Have a good weekend everyone!  We will be working around the house.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

No noodles

Although I  located some noodles at another Dollar store, I decided not to buy them. Having read the comments from those of you who are more experienced and wise, it seemed I could come up with something else.

What prompted the idea of getting them in the first place, was the fact that if we ever do get to go anywhere, the first half mile of our travel will be  up a  steep grade.  From my experience driving up this bit of road with a fully loaded van on my way to art shows, I know EVERYTHING will shift no mater how it is packed.

I also know that we will not be filling up the cabinets of the Alfa.  At least not until we are fulltimers.  

I'm thinking in particular about the three large cabinets in the "living room" area.  They are very big and very deep. I don't have any bins for these yet.

I have  bought a COSTCO package of paper towels that I thought I might use along the back.  I can always use the paper towels and they don't weigh much.

For now I haven't decided what I want to put in there, so packing it is theoretical at the best.

What got me to thinking about using the swim noodles as filler was the "attic" mentioned in the reviews of the Alfa line. 

The top edge of the valance on the large slide is open,  creating a long, deep, narrow space.  It is said to be a great place to store  fishing rods or other long thin items.

I thought it would be a place to store some noodles.  

Yesterday I set out for the Dollar Store in  San Jose, but as I was driving I decided on  another solution.  I know some RVers use  bubble wrap to keep things in place.  I use it all of the time for shipping my sculptures, and usually get it for free from friends or by raiding dumpsters behind retail stores.  I never buy boxes.

I did the other errands on my list and went back home.  I took a good size roll of bubble wrap up to the Alfa and cut it up into sections.   I rolled them to about the diameter of a noodle and stowed them in the valance.  

Someday when I'm packing I will have the bubble wrap available to use.  If not, I can always retrieve it and use it to pack a sculpture.

Right now, I just wish I could be packing for a short trip.  I have only taken a few things up to the Alfa. Most things that we will need are things I use every day at the house, and I don't want to start doubling "stuff."  I have also bought a few things for her.

Craig has been in contact with the county.  As of today he is playing tag with his contact and the word is they are still looking at the problem. ....  ERG!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Out of Season!

To me, it's always summer in California.  Even in December and January when the weather is rainy and the overnight temperatures drop to under 50*.  I always surprises me that in fall many of the summer items disappear from the stores.

Today I went down to the Dollar Store to buy some of those foam swim noodles.  I think they would be great to have on hand to stuff into the front, or back, of a cabinet to keep things from shifting while moving.  

I've seen them everywhere all of the time!  I used to have several that I used for a felting class and for some other craft projects.

But do you think I could find any today?  No.   All summer I have seen a big display of them outside the door of the Dollar Store in Scott's Valley.  

Stopped by but they were gone.  I asked a clerk and was told they would have them again "in spring."

I also stopped at K mart and Walgreens.  "Summer merchandise."  Will come back in spring.

I'm sure I could find them somewhere, but I'm not willing to pay more than the $1.00 each Dollar Store price. 

I did look online, but they are about $4.00 there plus shipping!  No way.  I will keep my eyes open or wait till spring.  I've got plenty of other stuff I can  substitute if I need it.

Maybe I'll call around.  

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Apple One to One

Last October when Craig bought the MacBook Pro laptop for me he also bought a one year subscription for the Apple One to One program at the Apple store.  I've been using Macs for years and at the time I did little with the computer other than using search engines, email, and Blogging.  I knew how to use my image capture to get the pictures out of my point and shoot Canon, and could do basic Photoshop manipulation.

I used the One to One membership to go to a couple of basic introductory workshops, but never did anything beyond that.

But when we bought the Alfa, Craig also went out and bought a pretty nice camcorder.  We used it to record several hours of our walk thru. Craig downloaded the video onto the laptop using iMovie.  But it  really needed to be edited, organized, and put onto a DVD for future reference.

Guess who got to do that!  I bumbled my way thru some of the editing and then came to the decision that since I still had a few weeks left on my One to One membership I would go in and get some help.

I really like the Apple Store.  There is so much energy and if you have an appointment or a product question there is a smart young person ready and willing to help you.  They even speak English as their first language!

At my first session, a personal projects table, (That’s where for two hours, up to six people work on their own and an Apple person circulates to answers individual questions.) 
The Apple guy helped me start the editing process and  set up the iDVD file. But when  I took it home,  I made a real mess of it!  

So I went back for the second personal projects session, and it was decided that the best thing to do was to trash the whole thing, go back to the raw video, and start over.  
Again I took it home,  and everything seemed to go much smoother. Until it came time to burn the DVD.  I got a warning message that all was not right,  so I booked and individual session.  Just me and an Apple guy. 

 It turned out the warning was not a problem.  I had chosen not to include some clips on the menu pages.  I was working on the KISS principle.  (Keep It Simple Stupid)  Functional, not fancy.

For the rest of my hour he showed me a number of things I could do with the iMovie program.  How to navigate and use shortcuts.

I did not really want a video camcorder. We have some really bad, boring home movies from the 70's.

But now that I have been introduced to iMovie, I think it might be a lot of fun to work with. The movies may still be boring, but I might have fun making them.

I have about three weeks left on my One to One membership.  I can use it anywhere there is an Apple Store. I think I will renew it.  I know I could muddle thru learning how to use iMovie, but I also know that if I made the effort to take advantage of the One on One training I will make much better videos. It could be a fun hobby and doesn’t take up any room!

Do you click on and watch videos in blogs?  


Friday, September 23, 2011

Deleted a couple of posts

I deleted a couple of posts today.  First I did a quick "test" post because several of the comments I had left just disappeared, and although it was after 4:00 my time (7:00 East Coast time) none of the blogs I usually see had updates.  Then I checked again and things were back to normal.  A Blogger hick-up?

The second deleted blog was called "The weekend is coming, and after it was up a short time I reconsidered it and decided it was a bit "pouty."

I just want EVERYTHING, and I want it NOW!

That's all.  Nothing wrong with Blogger, just me.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Trip Ideas

Planning is one of my favorite activities. 

Craig is going to retire at the end of the year. I hope we can mix some nice trips with some intense home repair. (Our revised goal to have the house for sale is Summer 2012.) 

But where to go?  What to do first?  We don't need to go far to find places we have never been, or would like to revisit.  Farther away trips can wait until the house is on the market.  

I have joined a couple of Alfa Yahoo groups and am delighted to find them active discussion groups.  Yesterday I posted a question about rallies coming up in the next year, and was delighted to find out about two that just might work perfectly into our post Christmas plan.

After spendingChristmas week in San Diego we are going to the Rose Bowl parade in Pasadena on the 2nd. And I have an appointment at Alfateers, (a recommended Alfa repair shop) for the spoiler repair, and who knows what else, on the 3rd.  They are very close to the KOA we will be at.

I had hoped to stay in the LA area for a few days because although I have driven thru it dozens of times, and have been to Disneyland, there are several thing I would like to see.  

The Getty museum is on the top of my list.

 I don't know if we will have any repair or maintenance issues then or not, but if we do we can get them taken care of. I also think that after Christmas, and  the parade weekend, we will be more than ready for a few "down" days!

I'm excited to say I have found two rallies that we might go to.  The first is an all Alfa "pre-rally" four day get together at a rather nice sounding resort in Palm Desert. Not far from LA.  It looks to be a social event, with dinners, breakfasts, pot lucks, and a golf day. It would be a good opportunity for us to meet other Alfa owners and learn more about our own brand.

At the end of this pre-rally they all line up and travel together to the big FMCA rally in Indo. (Craig said it sounded like the athletes walking into the Olympic opening) Once there, they all park together. 

Again, I think being part of a group would be very good for us.  It looks like dry camping to me, and having experienced friends around will be nice.  I'm also hoping that they will give us "newbies" some advice on what seminars are useful, and what might be a waste of time.  Same for some of the products that will be for sale.

I'm not saying that we will be totally dependent on other people,  but it seem to me most RVers are generous with their advice and opinions, I know I usually am.

Often, Craig doesn't like to hear me babble on about "plans and possibilities."  But I guess the time was right, because when I told him about all of this last night,  he said it sounded good to him.

We will have to become members of FMCA and one of the Alfa Owners groups. I also want to see if I can find out more about what seminars will be offered. 

After all of that, we should be quite ready for some time to ourselves.  I like people, but that many days might be pushing it.  I think we will be quite ready to come home and work hard on the house.  

But, as they say "Plans are made in Jell-o."  So we shall see.

Does anyone have any opinions about FMCA rallies?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Better Day

Sometimes if I just write down my worries I find them much less of a burden.  Thank you for the comments and encouragements on yesterday's blog.

I'm more myself today.  I think we need an umbrella.

Monday, September 19, 2011


I know I worry too much. On any given night I can find something to worry about.  I guess it's my nature.

The trouble that Judy is having with her Motorhome's breaking system, and the need to have it towed has been giving me some "worry."

I worried a lot about getting the Alfa home and getting it parked on the upper drive.  Some of those concerns were validated by the fact that we couldn't get it in until an additional tree was removed.

I still have some small misgivings about pulling it out, turning it around and driving back up our road 1/4 mile of rather steep grade, but these thoughts are not too bothersome. I'll worry about that the night before we do it the first time.

What does worry me is what of something should go wrong with the Alfa, either now or in the future year or so we expect to be here, and we can't get her out?  There is no way she could be towed.

Our road, Old Ranch Road, is a long, private, dead end road.  There is only one way out.  If we got stuck on it, we would block access to 24 other properties.  It is unlikely that this would happen, but I can't help but think about it.

We live in a wildfire prone area.  Our land  burned over sometime in the past.  We can see a few burned fence posts and charred redwoods. It could burn again.  Every so often in "fire season" we talk about it.  I'm of the mind that if a fire is threatening, I'm out of here.  It's only a house and lots of "stuff."  Craig would try to stay and run hoses.

I think that if a fire was threatening, we should be prepared to just leave the Alfa parked where she is.  She can be replaced.  If we blocked the road, the owners of the 24 down hill properties could very well sue us.

Fire, breakdowns, not imaginary potential problems, but things we should think thru before they happen.

Right now Craig is running the generator trying to bring the batteries up to a full status.  They are new batteries and we have been using the lights a bit on and off.  He has run the generator before, but not for very long.  I hope the neighbors don't get mad. They are all some distance away, but I hate to pollute the mountain air.  I can smell the diesel.   Not nice.

Do I sound "down" tonight?  I guess I am.  I want to go somewhere!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Shake Down Weekend

Today we went thru some of the systems and checked to see if they work.  Most people would do this on a "shakedown trip" but because we are driveway bound, we are doing it at home.

Craig said "we know the bed works, what more do you need?" We've slept up there several nights.

We tried the microwave. 
 I made popcorn.  

It worked fine.

I don't have any instructions for the convection oven, but my in- house ovens are convection so I guess I can figure it out.  I did run it five minutes to be sure it heated.

We located the house air filters above the cabinets over the bed,  and I brought them down to vacuum them.  They weren't very dirty. Either they were cleaned recently or the Alfa was never in a dusty desert environment.  I asked our tech where they were, but he didn't know.  I found the information in the owners manual.

We ran the hot water heater just long enough to feel the water getting warm. 

We turned on the refrigerator for the first time, and let it run on LP.  According to the owners manual you should test the temperature by putting a refrigerator thermometer in a glass of water, in the fridge for 24 hours.  We set up one in the fridge and one in the freezer and set the temp to "4."

We were going to wait until Sunday to check them, but were up relaxing in the Alfa this evening and couldn't resist looking at them.  The one in the fridge read a perfect 40* and the one in the freezer was in a frozen cup of ice reading 0* so we turned the fridge off and will be checking on the temps in the morning to see how it does holding the cold in "off." 

We also plan on going up and testing the furnace in the morning.  This morning the outside temperature was 48*  so it should be cold enough to test run the furnace.

This evening we spent a little time just relaxing and reading our books in the Alfa.

He looks happy doesn't he?

Unfortunately our WIFI doesn't reach the Alfa up at "Camp Merikay," so I can't read blogs, but I can read with my ebook application on my laptop.

I'm writing this back down at the house.  We came down so Craig could take a shower and we could have our usual evening tea. We haven't take the cups, water and tea up to the Alfa yet, and there really isn't enough water in the tank for showers.

Not everything is perfect.

 We found one light that doesn't work, either because we haven't found the right switch or the bulb is burned out.  There is also a terrible buzz in the radio when one of the kitchen overhead lights is on, something that baffles me. And Craig is certain that the refrigerator should run on AC when just the inverter is on.  I'm not.  

These are things we will have to learn about either from our good RV blog friends, the Alfa Yahoo group, or thru trial and error. They don't seem like big problems. (except for the buzz in the radio.)

So that the news from here for now.

Congratulations to Laurie and George.  They may have gotten flooded out of their house, but the bought their Fiver today!  Yipee.  

Friday, September 16, 2011

I live in Los Gatos - "the cats"

Speaking of the bobcat ...

 - Jenna at  Four Windows With a View commented:  "You sounded so ho hum about that bobcat that I'm thinking that must not be the first time you've seen one."

Yes, Jenna, I have seen him before.  My yard is part of his territory and I leave him little treats from time to time.  No, not kitty treats.  Nor people food.  You see, I have no resident cat to catch the rodents that like my garages and wood pile, so I have a number of traps set here and there which I check on a daily basis. 

 Whenever I catch a rodent, instead of putting it in a bag and putting it into the garbage, (which is what I used to do) I take it to the edge of the forest, where I have seen "Bob" and leave it for him.  

I don't know if he takes them, or if it is the raccoons or some other critter, but they always disappear.  I don't know if a bobcat will eat something already dead, but if he does I hope he will stick around and hunt.

Now then, this kitty is one I do not want to have hanging around! 

This picture was taken just before dawn along a road not far from here, by a delivery truck driver.  He reported it and posted several pictures on our local YAHOO information group.

The "kill" was a goat.  The mountain lion was then seen carrying the goat over a fence where she was joined by another cat.  Probably her half grown cub.

This was just a few days ago, less than six miles from here.  Mountain lions range well over ten miles. 

 I have never seen one myself, but one of my neighbors spotted one across the road from our front door a few years ago. I don't walk in our forest alone at dawn or dusk.  When I do, I try to make lots of noise.  They are here, but I am not afraid. 

 I am more likely to get hurt in a car accident than attacked by a Mountain Lion.  Bt I do respect their presence and practice "good sense."  I do not move or act like a deer. No jogging for me! And if one came up the drive when I was in the Alfa, I guess I should  close the door!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Alfa is Trapped

Several people have asked when and were we will be taking our first trip.  For now, until the trees on a 1/4 mile distance on a road we cannot avoid are trimmed we are staying put.

It is a County Road and we have contacted the proper department to request a trimming.  The big problem is that this 1/4 mile stretch is isolated from other county roads by a section of state highway and several private roads.

I have heard complaints from drivers of "box trucks" about these trees, but I never understood the problem.

This overhang comes from both sides.  It s particularly "evil" because it contains several large downward pointing branches that have been broken off by other vehicles.

There is no other road we can take in or out of our property.  Craig was quite shook by it coming in, and says he WILL NOT drive back out until the tree work is done.  We have already spent a few thousand on tree work on our land, I hate to spend any on a public road.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Day at the Alfa

I spent much of the day up at the Alfa today, waiting for the mattress delivery.

I have been moving firewood (from all the tree work we had done) down from the upper drive to an area near the house.  A few cartloads a day. So I did some of that. We have a DR Power Wagon (a motorized cart) that makes the task something that I can do.  I limit myself to logs I can lift easily, but I find I can handle some pretty hefty ones!  Craig will have to help me with what's left.  Some can be rolled to the driveway. But this is a two man job because the wood is uphill from the driveway, and if there isn't someone to stop the rounds they will continue past the driveway and roll off down into the forest on the other side!  Some of the rounds are so large that they will have to be split there before bringing them down.  Work for another weekend!

Then I spent a couple of hours in the Alfa doing a some little things.  I put hooks inside the cabinet door for my hot pads.  I used the new sticky hangers by 3M that promise to be removable. I put some Wonderliner on a couple of shelves.

The cabinet above the sink  has a board along the back edge of the lower shelf that is about 3 1/2" wide.  A little shelf.  As it was, I think anything put there would fall off when the coach is moving.  So I lined it with the Wonderliner and made a little front piece by covering a strip of cardboard with contact paper and used Velcro to hold it in place. It's like a  pocket now.
It's just right for a stack of plastic glasses and my boxes of zip lock bags plus who knows what else.  I thought of Barbara at Me and My Dog when I bought this contact paper at the dollar store because she calls her RV "The Palms!"

 I found a place, and installed a hanger for the broom in the corner behind the potty. But the broom handle  wasn't compatible with the hook so I designed one that was.  I used picture wire and Leopard print Duck tape. (found it at target and just had to have it)! 

A good place for the broom, but it looked awful because the stick was bright yellow.  I solved that by spray painting it a buff color very similar to the wall.  Now you hardly see it, and yet it is handy for a quick sweep. Also found a little waste basket that fits just right!

 The only other places to put the broom would have been in the large wardrobe closet, which is inaccessible when the slides are in,  or down in a basement compartment.  

I feel so clever today!

  I can't believe I'm blogging about and taking pictures of brooms and wastebaskets!  

picture from Web
While up there I saw several deer pass by the window, and was checked out by a bobcat.

I was up in the driver's area when I saw him walking up the center of the driveway straight toward me.  He must have seen me move, because he froze mid step.  He stared at the Alfa, and perhaps at me, and then came slowly forward.  I lost sight of him in the front blind spot, but the door was open and he came slowly along that side of the coach.  When he was only inches from the step, he paused again and looked in, before he continued on his way.  I hope he keeps patrolling for rodents in the area!

Finally the truck with the new mattress arrived.  Their GPS had sent them in the wrong direction, and I had given them my house phone number  so they couldn't reach me for directions!

I'm quite happy with the new mattress.  They told us it would feel a bit firmer than the one at the store, and it does, but I found it very comfortable when I tried it.  I almost took a little nap!

Monday, September 12, 2011

HELP needed

The problem described below was solved.  It seemed to require two people to push down on either side at the same time and then the strut released and glided closed.  There was no "release."

Thank you to those who gave helpful suggestions.  It made me less afraid of breaking something by forcing it down!

Before the above edit:
This may be a strange short blog, but I need some help from the other Class A owners.

I took off the mattress and raised the platform beneath it.  Just to look and carefully check it out. I was told to check for any signs of mold or mildew.  There were none, it is pristien.  Bu now the things that hold the platform up are locked in some way and I can't figure out how to release them.

I called the service manager at LA MESA and he said there was a "release" often red.  I can't for the life of me find it.

Does anyone know how to get them back down?

Craig may be able to figure it out!

This is not ours, but they look exactly like this.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

First Night

moon image from web

I wasn't eager to sleep on the rock hard mattress that was in the Alfa, but Craig was, so we did.

What can I say?  The mattress was terrible, but the location was nice.  

About half way thru the nigh I heard Craig get up and leave the coach. I thought he was giving up and going back to his own bed. 

I went back to sleep, and the next thing I knew he was back. 

Turned out he went down to the house for a midnight Ice cream snack.  (Honestly that man can snack three times a night and never gain a pound!)

Considering the mattress, I slept very well.  Then just as dawn was breaking, I was jolted awake but a "noise."  Tap ...  tap tap....   scratch ... .... ... tap, 
all from overhead, 
Possibly from the cabinets above the headboard.

Oh no!  Parked in the forest for two days and the "creatures" have found a way in.  I had bought the moth balls, but hadn't put any under the Alfa yet. We have been leaving the windows open to let in the fresh air and I was going to wait with the moth balls until it got cooler because I knew Craig might be bothered by the smell even if it was outside.  I had bought the Bounce fabric sheets, but was too busy to put them around in the bays.  

I had made eight little sachets of Irish Spring soap and tucked them here and there, 
... tap ... scratch...   

"Shush" said Craig "Did you hear that?" 
 tap... plop... plop... scratch

Now the noise was coming more often in more places than just over the headboard. We looked out the window and it was not raining. 

scratch ...

A HA!  I know what it is.  I got up and looked out the front window. Sure enough,  fog.  When it comes up from the ocean in the night, the trees catch drops of water in their leaves, and it drops down like rain

I went back to bed knowing it wasn't a mouse, but Craig wasn't quite satisfied. He went out and walked around the Alfa.  When he came back in I asked what he had seen.  The scratching sound was made by one small branch touching the Alfa. Craig broke it off.  He also agreed it was dew falling  because he was hit on the head by a large drop of water!

We went back down to the house for breakfast, coffee, and the Sunday paper.

Not all of our time is being spent on the Alfa. We worked together for several hours on a "house fixing project" before we went shopping for a new mattress!

This time it has been Craig's turn to do the research. 

 We looked at BedInABox.  We read some reviews that were both positive and negative, and were most concerned about a couple that mentioned "outgassing"  and "sleeping hot."  Both of us have trouble with "sleeping hot" and Craig is very sensitive to any chemical, plastic, or perfume. I have to be very careful about any cleaning product, and usually have to buy "fragrance free" whenever I can.  I read the return policy, and it requires waiting 60 days before sending it back.  Besides, I can't imagine getting it back into the box for return shipment!  So BedInABox was eliminated. If return is a possibility, I don't want to deal with it.

The shopping trip could be a post on its own, so I'll just say the hunt was successful and our new Serta Vera Wang will be delivered on Wednesday. It is foam, but it is a Latex foam top over a Soy base Foam inner core.  Wonderfully comfortable and no smell.

Craig wanted to go sleep up in the Alfa again tonight, but I said no.  Not until the new mattress is here.

I think he likes it.

Oh, and we also bought a PESTACATOR 2000 plus to put under the Alfa.  It broadcasts ultrasonic sound waves to discourage rodents.  There is an electrical outlet on our well up in the slab area.  I have a long "outdoor" extension cord that should reach the Alfa and I can put the Pestacator under her.  I have seen them before, but only much smaller ones.  
I think this might do the job and I won't have to deploy the moth balls.

We can take it on the road and plug it into one of the outside outlets on the Alfa.

I wage a constant battle with mice around here and the stories I've read make me aware that it can be an ongoing battle!  

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Nestled In

On Friday the tree men came again and cut down the  tree that was in the way. 

 Craig was then able to back the Alfa around the curve where the tree was and straight back onto the slab of the old shed.

We still have a problem area on the edge of the pavement where the front wheel went off a bit, and Craig is concerned that this would be a problem in we, winter weather when the ground is soggy.

We may dig in some paving stones or something along there.  Craig totally nixed my suggestion of gravel, and I'm afraid if I call a blacktop company we will end up repaving the entire drive.  It has some big cracks, but it is not a primary drive and not used very often.  Repaving would cost a lot!  So far I have spent as much on tree trimming as it would have cost to park her at a storage lot for about two years!

Plus, he says he won't take her back out until the trees up on Hutchinson get trimmed too.  It turns out the part of the road that is a problem is a county road. 

Californians are very protective of their trees, and we know we would be in big trouble if we just hired someone to trim them.  If it was a private road like ours, we could just make sure it was OK with the homeowners. 

 Craig called the county and talked to someone about it and was told that section of road was flagged for trimming, but that they were "months" behind.  Someone in a higher position is supposed to call us next week.  Sure!

But actually, the trees in question are a hazard to fire engines and should be trimmed.  Craig is more than willing to "make a contribution" to the cost.

This might be interesting.

So for now she is happy at home and we will do a bit of driveway camping. 

Last night we went up and just hung out for a while.

Tonight we are going to sleep up there!  We went and tried out a few mattresses this afternoon, but haven't bought one yet. We did get some new sheets.

 I am also looking into the BedInABox. 

 Our salesman did put a new mattress into the Alfa.  We know it's new because it was in a plastic bag and perfectly clean. 

 Unfortunately, it is not the right size, being a Queen "short"  the platform will take a regular Queen.  Also the mattress he put in doesn't seem much different than the old one.  Hard as a rock!

Should be an interesting night.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Day at the Dealers

On Tuesday the final walk thru and pick up of the Alfa was scheduled for 11:00 a.m.  I figured we would be there for a couple of hours, then go to a parking lot for some practice and be on our way home by mid-afternoon.


Our service guy was very thorough and explained every switch and item in the coach. We checked electrical outlets and lights, appliances and mirrors.  He allowed us to ask questions as we went, and we noted several things that still needed attention (one burner on the stove didn't light, and the back engine cover was still not closing right although they had worked on it.)  We video-recorded almost all of the three plus hours he spent with us.  

The water issue had been taken care of and it now doesn't have a bad smell.  We are used to using bottled water for cooking and drinking at home because our mountain water sometimes tastes off, so we will probably continue this in the RV.  

We noted a couple of things the salesman promised would be fixed in the final service check that had not been done (sliding doors not quite right).

The problem with the upper corner slide caulking had not been worked on at all.  We went to the service writer and he checked with the guy that was supposed to have done it.  He said there was nothing wrong.  We took issue and since it was one of the written to-do items, our guy took another look and spent about an hour caulking while we waited.

We were happy to see six new coach batteries, and glad we didn't have to deal with propane or fuel right off.  They filled the propane and put in a half tank of fuel.  Full would have been nicer, but we actually expected "fumes."

Supposedly all routine services, oil change, fluids topped etc. had been done as part of their standard pre delivery policy.  But we were not provided with any records.  We asked for something, but were given a bit of a run around, and were by that time feeling comfortable with the condition of the Alfa and totally overloaded with information so we let it go.

It was 5 p.m. by the time we were finished and Craig got into the Alfa and I went to the Prius.  The Prius wouldn't start! This has never happened before and we had no idea what was wrong.  

Craig looked thru the Prius owner's manual and decided it might have a dead battery.  I was going to call Coachnet (covers all of our vehicles) but one of the mechanics from La Mesa wheeled out a jump-start cart.  It took awhile for the two of them to figure out how to open the compartment under the hood of the Prius to give it a jump, but finally did, and it started right up.  Later in the evening Craig decided he must have forgotten to turn it off.  He was so stressed by the whole process that he had forgotten a simple almost automatic step in driving his own car!

By this time we figured it was best to skip the practice and just drive home.  I wrote about that yesterday.

All in all we were satisfied.  Not overly pleased, but satisfied.  At no point did we ever feel "taken care of".  We had to push for everything (except for the batteries and fuel) and were glad to see the end of the day.  Hopefully we will not have any issues in the next 15/30 days.  We bought an extended warranty plan, so if the issues are minor we might just wait and use it for help in getting repairs.  I hope we don't have any!

As usual I had a very hard time sleeping last night, but it was a different kind of wakefulness.  Instead of worry, I was kept awake by excitement!

The best part of the day was when on several occasions Craig said 

"I really like this machine!"    


The story of Tuesday's pick up of the Alfa has to start with the end...  She is home, safe, parked on the upper drive, but not quite where we want her to be.

After six hours at the dealership, a Prius that wouldn't start and needed a jump, Craig's 50 mile freeway drive, in rush hour traffic, was uneventful.  He said it was very smooth, and I found it hard to keep up with him in the Prius!

Our house is about 1 mile from the freeway.  The exit ramp is a steep hill and the next 1/2 mile of the road includes a sharp turn up a steep grade and a tight blind curve.  He managed quite well.

The next 1/4 mile  is a private road (Hutchinson) and there were several low hanging branches that Craig said dragged across the roof.  We will be paying a tree crew to cut them as soon as we get permission.

The turn onto our road (Old Ranch) is sharp and goes down a rather steep grade.  When we got there we were alarmed to find a large dump truck with a trailer hauling a bobcat front end loader parked opposite the entrance to our road.  It had broken down and was stuck. It was almost blocking our road. A car would have no problem, but the Alfa was another question. 

Craig did not handle it well, but we did manage to get turned onto our road, and with the help of one of the truck drivers we managed to get the Alfa headed in the right direction, and missed running into the telephone switching box on the corner.  It was close.

1/4 mile to go.  This included a 90* turn, but we figured he could make that without guidance, so I drove the Prius down to the house, parked and hurried up to the upper drive.  Craig said that more branches brushed his top and more tree work will be needed on our road before we try going back out.

The first part of backing into the upper drive went pretty good.  He had to back up a bit of a grade, and turn at the same time.  The space was wide enough and we both settled down enough to communicate.

But then came the big tree.  I had measured it several times and was convinced we would not be able to get by it.  it was one of my biggest worries.

Craig kept insisting he could do it. 

What you can't really see on this picture is that although the driveway is just barely wide enough to get by the tree,   it also curves, and on the left side there is a steep hill with very soft and unstable ground beyond the asphalt.  

The only way to get by the tree would have been to go off the drive and risk the hill.  We inched past it for a few feet, but there was no way to swing the back end around to follow the curve of the driveway without risking the front wheels going to far over the edge. 

That's where Alfa is tonight. Out of harms way, but not tucked into her place.

After all of that, we brought a bottle of Champagne up from the house and celebrated our first ride.

This is a view from house level.  You can see we would not want to risk going over the edge of the hill!

In the next few days, I will write a post about our experience with the dealer.  It wasn't all that bad.