Well, I wish I could say our next stop was a favorite destination of ours but I can’t – we were headed for Lazydays in Seffner, Fl (near Tampa) for some service work. The Lazydays campground is adequate but its not our most favorite place to be. The service bays are even less fun. However, stuff happens and we had a few things that needed fixing:
- as mentioned in a previous post, our dash AC had conked out several months ago. Not a big deal since we could run the generator while driving, but that isn’t very fuel efficient. At least it kept us cool in the brutal Florida sun.
- the auto retract feature on the main awning wasn’t working which is of concern if strong winds kick up unexpectedly. The auto retract senses movement of the awning arms and triggers it to roll itself up. Letting it flop around in a strong wind would eventually do damage to the awning and/or the coach.
- a minor issue with the rear stabilizer jacks not retracting fully during a “retract all” sequence. Not a big deal since they could be retracted via the individual jack control buttons.
- a very minor oil leak.
Since none of these were major, when we made the appointment back in April we figured it would be at best a two day stop. WRONG! What threw a wrench into that plan was that Rob had noticed a leak from the radiator during the latter part of our stay at Riverbend. Say what? Didn’t we just have our radiator replaced last June when we were at Spartan? Here we were 10 months later and we have another leak???? Was this going to be an annual event? Rob said it most likely would require replacing the radiator, but I told myself (I wonder why – I don’t have any type of mechanical aptitude), let’s not jump to conclusions, let’s wait for it to be diagnosed.
So we left Riverbend on Monday, May 4th headed to Seffner about a 2 hour drive north on I-75. Every time we have been to Lazydays over the past few years, it’s been in the midst of snowbird season so it has always been very, very, very busy. But what a difference a month or two makes! During check-in at the registration office, no one else was there and we were given a choice of sites, finally choosing site #26 which was a back in against the fence on the north side of the campground. As we drove to the site, we were totally shocked that the majority of sites were empty. No complaints from us!
As luck would have it, across from our site was another motor home (practically the only other one on our street) having some repair work done onsite on his windshield so there was a golf cart and truck parked directly across from the site we were going to. But not a problem as we approached, one of the worker bees quickly moved his golf cart out of the way so Rob could maneuver into our site more easily.
Of course we have been here before but I guess the “hugeness” of the place had faded from our memory. 126 acres, over 1200 RV’s for sale, 220 full service bays and more than 130 staff members! Yikes! That’s pretty big for a dealership. To find out more about Lazy Days, read our detailed review (coming soon).
Once again we were confronted with the “what to do with the kitties” dilemma while the coach was in service. We had been told that we could stay overnight on our coach in the service bay where they have full hookups, but what would we do during the day? Leaving them in the coach wouldn’t work and it was too hot to leave them in the car for any length of time. Sitting with them in the pet section of the waiting room surrounded by pooches for hours at a time didn’t make sense, not to mention it would be pretty tough on mom and dad too. And then there is the litter box issue, it’s not like we can just take the little buggers for a walk…
But not to worry, when we mentioned it at the registration office, the woman told us that the Country Inn & Suites across the street was pet friendly so off we went to check it out. Yes, they had pet friendly rooms available. No, the staff wouldn’t enter the room as long as the “Do Not Disturb” sign was on the door. Yes, they offer a Lazydays rate ($75) and better yet they waive the non refundable $25/pet/day (ouch!) fee if you are a Lazydays customer. And yes, they even offer a free breakfast. Sold! We quickly made a reservation for Tuesday through Friday.
Now that the kitty dilemma was resolved, back we went to the campground where we spent a quiet night.
Knowing that we would be staying at the hotel beginning on Tuesday afternoon, that morning we packed up all our stuff as well as the kitties paraphernalia (food, dishes, litter box, toys, scratching post, etc.) which ended up being equivalent to half the contents of the coach. Well, not really – maybe that’s a slight exaggeration but it sure seemed like a lot of stuff.
After we had everything (except the kitties) loaded, we then headed over in the van to the service area and the Front Porch Restaurant for our free complimentary breakfast (complimentary breakfast and lunch is included when you stay at the campground).
With the free breakfast coupon, you are limited to a breakfast sandwich (egg with sausage or bacon on a muffin) or the Daily Special which is usually scrambled eggs with a meat (bacon, sausage or corned beef hash) and perhaps a pancake. On this particular day we tried the breakfast sandwich which wasn’t very good since it had apparently been sitting around wrapped in paper for awhile (the cheese stuck to the paper it was wrapped in – yuck). On other days, we had the Daily Special which was much better. Lunches usually consisted of some type of sandwich with fries or chips – they were all much more edible than the breakfast sandwich.
After breakfast, at 10:00 a.m. we met with our Service Advisor, Chad, to review what needed to be done. They would work on the AC, the awning and the radiator but not the oil leak, we would have to make a separate trip to a Cummins shop for that. Huh? Another service stop? That stinks – we thought we would be able to get everything done here. As it turns out only Crown Club members get on site Cummins service – wish we had known that upfront. Crown Club is only available to owners that bought their (usually high end) RV at Lazydays – more about this further below.
After we were done with Chad, we headed back to the coach, capturing our very unhappy kitties and whisking them into their carriers. Then we drove back to service, parking the coach as instructed in the service spaces, then carried the kids to the waiting area for an hour or so – the earliest time we could check into the hotel was noon.
Shortly after noon we checked in to the hotel, unloaded the van and the kitties, then relaxed for awhile, we were pretty exhausted by all the activity that morning. As you can see from the picture to the left, they seemed to adapt to their new surroundings quite nicely. Without going into a lot of detail, the next two days were spent having breakfast in the hotel, then going back and forth to the service area for updates and retrieving the things we had forgotten from the coach.
Sigh…I hate it when I’m wrong and Rob is right but it turned out that the radiator did in fact have a leak (luckily it was still under warranty) and an entire new cooling package had to be ordered from Spartan Chassis in Michigan. The 330 pound item was shipped via freight on Wednesday but we were told it most likely wouldn’t arrive until the following Monday, May 11th and even that was iffy. Oh, joy! If we hadn’t been to the Tampa area before and if the weather was a little cooler (well a lot cooler), it would have been a perfect opportunity for some sightseeing. But been here/done that several times so the only temps I wanted to feel were cool ones in our air conditioned room at the Country Inn and Suites.
BTW if you purchase a Crown Club-qualifying luxury coach at Lazy Days, you automatically become a member of their Crown Club. One night we walked around this special “resort” and into the clubhouse just to check it out but there was some type of event going on so we didn’t intrude.
What we saw looked very nice. They have a dedicated campground which is quite different than the one we were staying at as a non-Crown Club member. With wider, longer, shady sites, it is according to their website “a well-appointed oasis similar to a private resort, separate swimming, outdoor lounge facilities, and a comfortable library. Complimentary breakfast, lunch and dinner tapas are provided as well as happy hour Monday-Saturday at our full service bar.” Plus from what we read on one of the forums, if you are a Crown Club member, Cummins will send a tech to you in the Crown Club campsite. Boy, were we wishing we were Crown Club members!
Anyway, back to our saga. Lazy Days [supposedly] finished some of the other items within two days at which point it turned into a waiting game for us. Since they were done with the coach until the radiator came in, there was no sense staying in the hotel. So we packed everything up, loaded up the van, checked out of the motel (making a reservation for the following Tuesday night), drove to the coach and threw everything on board to be put away later. Checked in for another 4 nights stay at the campground (more breakfast & lunch coupons), this time choosing site #255 which is towards the back of the campground.
Wish I had something more exciting to write about but I don’t. Spent time putting away all of our stuff, followed by a lot of running back and forth to the Front Porch for our complimentary breakfast and lunch and checking with Chad on the status of the radiator. Oh, and yes the dash AC seemed to be working again, but the part they though they needed for the stabilizer jacks hadn’t arrived yet. And get this, when Rob tested the awning auto retract, it still didn’t work! Grrrr.
Here’s some excitement – dinner at the Exit 10 restaurant. Well only relatively exciting, but at least I didn’t have to cook that night. We both had a delicious “I’m not in Philly” burger with sauteed onions, mushrooms and cheese (if that sounds familiar that’s what we had the last time we visited Lazydays), served with either sweet potato fries (my choice) or regular fries (Rob’s choice). Everything was delicious. The restaurant is kind of cute – from the outside it looks like a real RV parked inside a building and the indoor decor is very RV like.
More excitement – on Wednesday we went to the nearby Cracker Barrel so we could have their Chicken Pot Pie Special for $5.99. Very good.
But even more exciting – on Monday, our cooling package had arrived. Woo hoo! Chad told us that it would take between 12 – 18 hours for the service guys to take out the old one and install the new one.
For safety reasons, while the coach is in the chassis bays, no one is allowed to stay on board (not that we would anyway). So once again we packed up what we needed from the coach, loaded the van and headed over to the hotel around 9:00 a.m. Thankfully they let us check in early which made us as well as the kitties very, very happy. After unloading our stuff and the kitties, we returned to the campground and checked out from there, then moved the coach back to the service parking area. Whew, this is exhausting!
Later around 3:00 p.m. we drove over to the chassis shop to see if anything was happening. Surprisingly, they had it on the portable lift, had the tag wheel off and were in the process of removing the old cooling package. According to Chad, the new one had been checked to make sure it hadn’t been damaged during the shipment – everything looked good! Whew! That was a relief. We had read on the forums about someone else who had the same problem and when the new one was installed it leaked in the same place. That had me kind of worried! I didn’t want to spend the entire month there!
More of the same routine over the next few days. By late Tuesday afternoon, our new shiny cooling package had been installed (in only about 10 hours, much faster than expected). The tech who took it out for a test drive discovered there was a leak. Oh, no! But it turned out just to be a broken clamp on one of the hoses so it was quickly fixed. Another test drive the next day proved that everything was fine. Since they were still waiting on a part for the stabilizer jacks, and they were supposed to reexamine the awning issue, we decided to wait until Wednesday to check out of the hotel.
Wednesday morning we packed everything up again, made several trips between the hotel and coach, threw everything on board, leaving the kitties comfortable in the hotel room until we were ready. The part for the jacks had still not come in. And they tried to sell us a story that the awning auto retract was actually working – it wasn’t, but we were in no mood to argue (or stay another day), so knowing those repairs could wait, we decided to leave. We reviewed everything with Chad, signed all the necessary paperwork and returned to the hotel just before noon to get the kitties and check out. BTW our Lazydays cost was $0.00. The hotel & campground are a different matter but Entegra/Spartan have graciously offered to cover our costs – how many other RV makers would do that?
Although the hotel was comfy, we can’t say we were sorry to be leaving! After hitching up the toad we were ready to make our escape. Yippee! Note the outside temperature that registered on dashboard thermometer – 102 degrees! Yep, it was hot! Sure glad to start our journey north!
Where did we go next? Not very far but more about that later.