Test Drive – Part Two

We awoke and raised the front screen to a beautiful view of the lake, just as we had hoped. Of course the night was not uneventful. Issue three was the rental company – to prevent from being sued for slander, they will remain nameless. During the overnight we discovered the TVs didn’t work, the DVD player wouldn’t play, we couldn’t even get the radio in the dash to play, the three plugs around the kitchen had no power, (am I glad I brought extension cords) and the three AC units had nothing to do with setting the thermostat. Set it at whatever temp you want, it will freeze you out. Set the fan to low, and it stays on high all the way. We had to chisel the ice off our guests. Hot coffee anyone? Don’t trip on the extension cord from the one plug that we have to use.

Given all this you might think we had a terrible time. Not true. You have to laugh. You have to roll with the circumstances. This is life whether it is at home or on the road. Mission accomplished, I now have 300 miles of driving experience. I like the lifestyle. Living in an RV is like being in a cozy cottage, except you can change the location and see new things. The KOA experience was fabulous. We enjoyed the heated pool and hot tub, used the spotlessly clean showers, roasted marshmallows over the campfire, constantly enjoyed the view and immaculate campgrounds and met some great people. Especially Julie and Howard one site away. They have been RVr’s for ten years and had so many tips to offer the newbies. Julie spent time with Kathryn pointing out what to look for and what to avoid in a floorplan. They were leaving the day before us, so Howard shared his years of experience and let me follow him around as he broke down his site, so I could create a check list to follow the next day and pack up with confidence.

Tuesday morning arrived, we defrosted our friends, enjoyed hot coffee, don’t trip on the extension cord from the one plug we have to use, enjoyed a great microwaved breakfast, and got ready for the process of leaving. I was dutifully following my check list and had only three more steps to go. Pull in the slides, raise the levelers, and drive away.

Issue four was the rental company – oh what the hell, I don’t have anything to loose. That was Mid Florida RV Rental, Tampa. They deserve the negative publicity. Besides I have already learned and was about to really appreciate how the RV community helps each other. I pushed the slides in button and nothing. What am I doing wrong? I tried every combination I could think of, start the motor, start the generator, reconnect back to shore power, still nothing. We called Wess, aka the delivery guy, and he calmly said, “that never happened before.” Next he astutely offered, “have you tried . . . yes! How about . . . yes! And . . .YES!” that too. He had nothing. He was going to call the office who would call Lazy Days in Tampa to try and get a tech to come out, which if we were lucky would take three hours or more. “I don’t think so. Have I mentioned I am the customer?”

KOA staff Art and Mike came to the rescue. They crawled all over this coach and even consulted the manuals. Please don’t revoke their Men Don’t Do That membership card. They discovered the hydraulic fluid reservoir was empty. Nothing. Not low, empty. Slides work on hydraulic fluid! Poor or NO maintenance mean you are stranded. With that diagnosis we were able to call a local onsite RV repairman and Juan had us fixed in less than two hours. But the levelers still would not retract. Juan discovered those are electronic and needed to be reprogrammed. After a series of buttons, key on, key off, we were able to leave! Thank you KOA for not charging us extra for overstaying our time.

Just to complete the new guy knows nothing weekend, I pulled into a truck stop to top off the fuel and made the mistake of going into the truck section and not the RV section. Did you know it is not like buying gas? You just don’t swipe your card, raise the handle and pump. There are satellite pumps which go directly to your company. After a series of six trips to the office, we were fueled and ready for the last leg of the trip. Mr. Trucker behind me, I do apologize for taking so long. Yes, I know you are not making any money unless the wheels are rolling. I truly am sorry.

After much discussion with the rental company, they so graciously agreed to reimburse me for the preparation fee and the repair bill I paid. Really? You are going to give me back my own money I never should have paid? Have I mentioned I am the customer just trying to get what I paid for? Yes, I think I mentioned that!!

UPDATE: After much complaining, many phone calls, and negotiations, I am pleased to update that Mid Florida RV Rental honored what Wess said and “made it right financially” by rebating one night’s rental for our misadventure. I would tell you to stay away from these guys if they didn’t, so I will also tell you it’s OK to walk out on the ice, just be aware where it might get thin.

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