RV Jail

We are here, in beautiful Anthony, Texas. In a parking lot. OK, it’s a glorified parking lot– we have hookups, after all. But our rig spent 2 days at the local Camping World service center getting a few repairs done, and it’s probably going to be back in the shop all next week. With two major mechanical repairs still waiting because the shop “doesn’t do that.”This is the complicated part about RV ownership. Part of the rig is automotive, part is living quarters. The parts that are automotive might be engine and might be chassis– and a service center that will work on the chassis might not do work on the engine and vice versa.To add to the complexity, some service centers won’t work on diesel engines (ours is diesel). And our hot water heater is a diesel-fueled AquaHot system which stopped working properly last November. Now, there are two water heating systems– one is powered by electricity, and the other is powered by the AquaHot (and there’s a third which heats the water as part of the engine cooling system, sow when we stop after driving for a day, we have lots of hot water). As a result, we have gone for a year with only the engine and electrical hot water systems. With the full system including the diesel, we never run out of hot water. Ever.Many of these repairs we can do ourselves. I defrosted the fridge and John fixed the ice maker using a service bulletin from the manufacturer. He’s been able to fix and replace lights and electrical components all over the place.But some are not so easy. Like the bedroom lights, which mysteriously stopped working after flickering for a while. Replacing the bulbs didn’t work– it seems that the ballasts had gone bad. The problem? Each ballast costs over $80 and has to be special ordered– and we were unable to find them when we took the lamps apart. Yes, it seems like a ripoff to me, too.Every day that the RV is in the service center, we go hole up at a local hotel. We didn’t used to do this, but last year we sat in a service center for 5 hours before they even touched the rig, and then another 3 or 4 while they discovered that replacing the big awning was not a 30 minute job. I was ticked off, but more than that, my cat had been inside his carrier for that whole time, without access to a litter box (and subsequently, he triggered a urinary tract infection), while we were told repeatedly “it’ll just be another 20 minutes.” We have yet to find a service center that will let us leave the cat in the RV until they’re ready to actually get someone in the rig, so now we take the cat and his litter box to a hotel room until all the repairs are done and we’re ready to go home. The hotel has Internet access, so I can work while the cat hides under the bed (or behind the microwave in this case), and we’re generally pretty content with the arrangement.Most people who own motorhomes and have service repairs done are doing so under warranty. When you buy an “as is” RV like we did, you end up paying out of pocket any time something breaks, so a lot of times, you find a way to get by without it. Whether it’s the fuel pump or the shower, entropy does occur and parts do fail eventually. This is true in stationary homes, too– you can buy an old home and spend your life fixing stuff, or you can buy a new home and spend your life fixing stuff. A home is, like a garden, a constant source of activities and chores to do.