HomeOur JourneyOn the RoadWooHoo! Heading “Home” – Again!

It was on June 24th, the day before we left Spartan, that we learned that Rob’s Dad had had a routine stress test – the cardiologist didn’t like what he saw so he was immediately admitted to Albany Medical Center so more tests could be run. Long story short, a catheterization showed that he had at least 3 blockages. Because he was a ticking time bomb, the recommendation was that he have bypass surgery. Initially he didn’t want to have it but then he finally was convinced that even at 85 it was the only alternative for him, otherwise his quality of life might be greatly diminished. So we began our journey home, not knowing when we would need to be in Albany for his surgery.

We spent the next few days trying to find a place to stay in Albany. Not a fun thing to do during the 4th of July holiday week, especially in an area where campgrounds are far and few between. We called Arrowhead Marina and RV Park first since we had stayed there before – the woman just laughed when we asked her about availability.

Rob’s brother finally suggested that we contact Stone’s Mobile Manor in Valatie – he drives by there every day on his way to his office (he’s a podiatrist) and had noticed some RV’s parked there even though it’s not listed in any campground directories. Over the next few days, Rob called once, no return call, he called a second time, still no call back, he called a third time, still nothing. Finally he called the emergency number given in their message and that worked – he received a call from Tom, the owner and yes, he had one site left (#9), not a great one he said but we weren’t in a position to be picky. Tom told us the rate would be $40 per day plus electricity (ugh), but when Rob questioned him about a weekly rate, it would be $150 plus electricity ($.20/KWH).  We’ll take the weekly rate, thank you very much!

So on Sunday morning, we left Shipshewana Campground South for what would be the last time for awhile. Despite the fact that our stays were just overnight as we bounced back and forth between Entegra and Spartan, we enjoyed our time there.

Our first scheduled stop would be at Indian Creek in Geneva On The Lake, OH – there did not seem to be much else around that area. Since we stayed there on our way out to Chicago with Rob’s Dad I won’t bore you with any of the details about our stay this time, except to say that when we arrived it wasn’t raining – this was the first time our arrival was in the sun! Funny how the weather can change your perspective on a place. See this post for our revised review of this campground.

The next morning we went to Mary’s Diner again for breakfast. One good thing about this place is that there is ample, easy peasy parking behind the diner for the rig and the toad.

IMAG8033.jpgOn Monday night, we stopped at the Villages of Turning Stone in Verona, NY where we stayed last year. When we checked in, we IMAG8048.jpgwere assigned a pull thru site, #305. The rate here is $45 per night but they do give a 10% AAA and Good Sam’s discount or a 15% Escapee discount (which is what we received). Lovely, very well maintained campground which offers a 24 hour a day shuttle service to the casino across the street.

Thinking that we could easily pull into our site without unhitching, we headed off to #305 with the car attached. Wrong assumption! IMAG8046.jpgWith the tight angle of the pull thru to the road, it was impossible to make the swing. So we had to unhitch so we could back up and maneuver into the site. On the other hand, while the length and access to the pull-thru was not ideal, the spacing between sites here is enormous for a private campground. Even though we were given a $10 credit at check in (good for food or gambling) we didn’t get up enough ambition to visit the casino and just spent an uneventful relaxing evening on board.

The next morning as we prepared for our departure, our bedroom vanity side slide wouldn’t go in all the way – it stopped with 3 to 4 inches still to go. What the heck? After trying to muscle it back into alignment without success and then making a call to Entegra to find out if it was okay to drive with it like that (it was), we headed out. Entegra suggested that we might want to contact a service center once we arrived in Albany.

IMAG8060.jpgAfter another uneventful drive along I-90, we finally arrived in Valatie at Stone’s Mobile Manor mid afternoon. Making the turn into the entrance was a little tricky but Rob did his usual great job handling the beast. We then hooked a right towards the RV area where we stopped to unhitch the toad. Oh, oh backing into our “site” was going to be tough. Big, huge tree with low hanging branches on the driver’s side and a Class C camper really close on the other. Across the way there was an old, unoccupied, “mobile home” but there was a large area of grass next to it so at least we would have some maneuvering space.

Well, it didn’t take long before Rob stopped trying to get into the site. Out came the ladder and his saw and up he climbed to trim away the low IMAG8138.jpghanging branches. After about 45 minutes of trimming, he was satisfied that he could finally back into the site without totally scratching the top and sides of the coach.

Tom had told us that IMAG8144.jpgsite #9 would be a full hookup site with water, electric and sewer. Hmmm, there were spigots but no water… nothing, no drip, no splash, nothing. Luckily just about that time, Tom showed up. He had to use a special tool to turn on the water below ground level. Success! Before Tom left, Rob decided he better try the electric hookup. Seemed to work okay so Tom left. BTW, when Rob mentioned that he had to cut some branches, his attitude was “no problem, cut away”!

Realize that it was a hot, humid day with temps in the 90’s so we obviously had the AC on. Well, we had barely gone inside the coach, when POP, the breaker tripped. Rob went out to the breaker panel ( mounted on a house several yards away), flipped the breaker and we were good. Oops, not really, a few minutes later, POP again. Oh peachy!

After doing a little more investigation, Rob realized that our 50A outlet was being fed by a 30A double pole breaker. Rob called Tom again who said his father-in-law would be right over. Well, the father-in-law had a 50 amp breaker with him but Rob noted that the wiring was only 10 gauge, good for a 30 amp circuit, so it could overheat, melt or even cause a fire with 50 amps running thru it (50A service normally requires 6 gauge wiring). Get the feeling there are some wiring issues here? So now what? Fortunately the guy in the Class C next to us (a contractor by himself temporarily working on a project at a local school) had a properly wired 50 amp circuit but only needed 30 amp – so we swapped. Only issue was that both sites were metered so we both had to re-calculate our usage on two different meters.

Our site was about 50 feet from busy SR-9 so with the windows open it was kinda noisy, but most of the time we were there it was either hot and humid or stormy so that wasn’t much of an issue for us. When we arrived, an older man came over introducing himself as “Mr. V” (never found out what the V stood for) and within 5 minutes had given us the scoop on the owner and everyone staying LEGO,Breaking Bad, Orion Pax, LEGO, Orion Pax, Breaking Badthere. He also mentioned that there were 13 cats and a dog in the big, white house behind us. All week long cars with teenagers/twenty somethings would come and go – hmmm, wonder what that was all about? Were they coming to Stone’s to get stoned? Could we be parked next to a meth lab? Maybe we should have asked Mr. V, but instead our imaginations ran wild with speculation. Ultimately, it all seemed to turn out innocently enough.

Despite our initial set up issues, Stone’s wasn’t really too terrible, especially considering we got the last “overflow” (aka “the one no one else wants”) site they had. Some of the other sites here look like they could be pretty decent and Stone’s is open all year so that gives us options for visiting Dad after October 15 when everything else shuts down. If the owners would perhaps give a little more attention to detail and clean up some of the utilities and site layouts, this could actually be a real nice place.

IMAG8135.jpgFinally, we learned that Bob’s surgery would be on Thursday, July 3rd. Since he was still in the hospital going through some tests, we spent most of our time visiting him at Albany Medical Center helping him deal with the emotional aspects of the surgery. On Thursday he was wheeled away around 9:00 a.m. – it lasted until 3:00 p.m. Obviously a worrisome day for the family. Good news though the surgery went well – it ended up being a quadruple bypass! Yikes!  He stayed in the ICU for 3 days then was moved to a regular room. Have to say the care there was excellent to the point where he was getting a little spoiled by all the constant attention from the nurses!

Several times during our stay in the Albany area, we had severe storms with torrential downpours and lots of lightning – we were caught on the highway during one of the storms. Visibility was so bad, people were pulling over to the side of the road waiting for it to let up. A tornado touched down near Syracuse where 4 people were killed – glad we weren’t anywhere near there. Haven’t forgotten the fright we experienced from our close encounter with a tornado in Alabama!

The following Tuesday, July 8th, we cleared out of our site at Stone’s without too much drama and drove the beast to Albany RV (RV One) for our 1:00 p.m. appointment to have them adjust our bedroom slide. Being a very hot humid day, we opted to put the kitties in their carriers and bring them into the service waiting room which consisted of two very uncomfortable chairs next to a few desks where the customer service reps answered phones and scheduled the technicians. It was going to be a long, boring afternoon for us and for the kitties but by the end of the day, the slide appeared to be fixed.

IMAG8081.jpgBecause it was a little painful getting into the site at Stone’s, plus the questionable utilities there, we called Arrowhead that morning to see if they had any available sites – they did but only until Friday. Great! So when we left Albany RV, we IMAG8085.jpgheaded there where this time we were assigned to site #24, the best site we’ve had there so far. As  you can tell from the photo, our next door neighbors obviously were staying for extended time frame and had a green thumb! Nice looking out the window seeing the lovely gardens.

Unfortunately we had more problems with the slide – it would come in fine but now it wouldn’t go back out all the way. So we made another appointment with Albany RV for 9:00 a.m. on Thursday. And spent another long, boring half day with the kitties in the service waiting room. Based on guidance from Entegra, more adjustments were made – finally it was working the way it should be!

All in all, Albany RV exceeded our expectations. They worked long and hard on the resolution and ultimately got it fixed correctly. Special kudos to Mark Maylath (a roving RV One Senior Technical Advisor) and local tech, Chip, for all their expertise and dedication to detail. We will definitely use Albany RV Service again in the future, particularly when they move to their new location this fall which will have much easier access.

IMAG8166.jpgBy this time, Rob’s Dad had been moved to the Our Daughters of Sarah rehab facility right near his apartment complex at Avila. What a lovely place! Hopefully he’ll only be there for several weeks but that of course is dependent on his progress. It had only been a week since his surgery – amazing how the body heals even at the age of 85!

IMAG8090.jpgSince we had no place to stay over the weekend, on Friday morning, we continued our journey back to RI, knowing his Dad was in good hands and Rob’s brother, Dave, would be around to help him out if need be.

An uneventful 3-1/2 hour drive on I-90 until at last we were “home”. Ah, how good that felt! When we left on June 2nd, we thought we would be back well before the 4th but our three week trip had turned into a very unexpected six week trip. As we pulled into the entrance at Sun Valley, Rob’s uncle greeted us ready to give some help backing into our site. IMAG7474.jpgThen once we were parked, several of our neighbors came out to welcome us home and to ask us why we had been gone so long to which we replied “it’s a very, very long story!”

Time to settle into one spot for a bit until we get the urge to go somewhere. But in the meantime, maybe we will have some time to enjoy the boat!

 

 


Comments

WooHoo! Heading “Home” – Again! — 2 Comments

  1. How did you choose Entegra and your model and floor plan? What other makes and models made your short list? Thanks for your comments and stories. After all these Spartan related issues, would you go a different direction?

    • Hi Jack, thanks for following our adventures! Guess we should do a detailed post on how we decided to go with Entegra and our thought processes. I replied in more detail via email and I do have some other articles that I will email you that you might find interesting.

      In 2013 Entegra was the best bang for the buck and IMO still is. My complete short list at the moment (just my opinion formulated on our experiences) is Entegra, American Coach, Newmar & Tiffin in that order.

      As for the chassis, yes we had a bunch of issues with Spartan but they stepped up to the plate in every case and made things right. On the flip side I have talked to many a Freightliner owner that had significant issues as well. I still think Spartan makes a superior chassis but I also liked the Freightliner we had under our 2006 Fleetwood, they are a great company. It’s interesting to note that you will find Spartan only on higher end mid range luxury coaches, like the Newmar King Aire, Foretravel Realm – and Entegra.

      So yes I would stay with Spartan for sure because that’s what Entegra’s are built on and we would not want to leave the Entegra family – really can not express enough the value of that two year warranty and how Entegra will go to bat for you. In fact, stay tuned, we are currently considering a new coach – guess what brand it will be?

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