The Best Laid Plans or … A Study in Murphy’s Law – Part 4

Rails 2

Knowing that we had a long day ahead of us, we tried to do as much repair work as we could that night. We were able to use the parts from both damaged tables to make one relatively good one, which fortunately is all we really need anyway.  We got everything turned right side up and secured for the next day’s drive, and then went about trying to figure out how to solve the ” rail off the wall” issue. What we found was quite surprising, there were holes in the rails to accommodate 8 screws, but only 4 of those holes had been used with fasteners, 2 of those fasteners were on the floor, and the other 2 were now barely holding on to the wall. It was obvious that if we took it back on the road like this, we’d end up with the whole system on the floor.

Sorry, but I have to pause the story for a minute and spend a paragraph on RV manufacturing for those of you, who like us, don’t know much about it. I have been in a construction related business most of my life, and still love to learn about how things are made, but have a fairly firm idea in my head of the basic do’s and don’ts in building. Such as if a 2″ x 2″ will do, a 2″ x 4″ is better, and if 10 screws will hold something, 20 will be stronger, stuff like that. With RV’s the opposite seems to hold true; meaning that if a 2″ x 2″ will do, you can squeak by with a 1″ x 2″., and ” as long as you don’t touch it, it will probably stay there “. Now I’m having some fun at the RV manufacturer’s expense, but in reality they have a really tough job, because their houses are on wheels. That means everything is about keeping it light. It also means trying to build something that is not only lightweight, but sturdy enough not to fall apart from the vibration of miles and miles of roads. Trust me, those two concepts just don’t go together, so all in all they do a remarkable job. What’s strange is when you realize that what you thought was a real house, turns out to be a movie set instead. A great example are the tables that were damaged. I assumed that they were your standard laminate over press-board, and boy was I wrong. As I stood looking down at the damage, what I saw was very thin laminate over Styrofoam, yes, that’s right Styrofoam. I’ve also found out that the interior walls are 1″ thick, consisting of a layer of 1/8″ plywood on either side and foam in between, and that the fasteners that are holding up cabinets, towel racks, mirrors and the like, are little 3/4″ long regular screws that are being held only by that 1 layer of 1/8″ plywood. So when you hang your towel up at night, you’d better be real careful, or rack and all will end up in the toilet. That being said, they have put supports in for the major stuff like doors and windows, but do it yourself remodeling can be tricky.

OK, back to the story. First thing the next morning, I placed a call to the Montana dealership that sold us the trailer and asked about the rail. They were quick to say that if it wasn’t dealt with before any more driving, we’d end up with a real mess. Yeh well, we pretty much had that one, so we headed to the nearest Home Depot, bought a drill, fasteners, and braces, and got started. We had borrowed a ladder from the RV park manager who told us on hearing the story,   ” Well you aren’t the first, and you won’t be the last “. His advice, and I pass this on to anyone that has an interest in RVing, is to spend about a week in the area you purchase the rig, and drive it, and drive it, and drive it during that week. He says things will need to be fixed whether it’s new or used, and it’s a lot easier to be close to the dealership, than out a million miles away from civilization. Sage advice. Anyway, about noon, we had done everything we could, including putting in those 20 screws I mentioned. Hopefully, that would get us through until we could get to a dealership that would handle checking that out, as well as the other warranty work that still needed to be finished.

With fingers crossed, we tentatively pulled out on our way to Redmond Oregon, which would be our last night in the trailer for this trip. Eastern Oregon to my surprise is mostly plains, and farming land, but about halfway though the trip the road started following the Columbia River. 20151002_162135 20151002_160829Wow, is that beautiful, and on the hills on either side overlooking the river are large wind turbines, very impressive.

We had to leave the river much too soon, and headed inland to central Oregon where you find high desert, also a surprise as I always though of Oregon as primarily wooded terrain. We were in a race with the sun at that point, and were hoping not to be out after dark having such little experience with this large of a rig, but the sun definitely had the advantage. We topped a large hill right before dark to see the lights starting to shine in the city below, and the down-slope before us was steep and curvy. Before we knew it, the weight and size of the trailer in combination with the degree of the grade, brought us up to a dangerous speed, and Don struggled to keep the vehicle under control. There were white knuckles all around for the next few minutes, but he managed to get it slowed down enough to breath again. That was one of those ” Wow, I’ll never do that again ” experiences.

We finally pulled in to the RV park about 8:45, with just minutes to spare before they closed, got set up, and then with one eye closed, peeked into the garage to see what awaited us.

To be continued …..

Heather Spencer

Mission Positive Films


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