Pensacola to New Iberia

4/19/10


We took delivery of our new RV Valkyrie and Buzz and I drove to the marina while Cathy followed. First problems. There was a slight exhaust leak that was noticeable when accelerating and the cruise control ignored my commands. Oh well. It did drive and handle great!

We spent a fun day hauling stuff off SV Valkyrie in those big containers. Cathy put stuff up in cabinents and lockers and I stuffed the not needed now containers into the basements. Maybe I shouldn't say "stuffed"; this thing has huge basements and we had plenty of room to spare.

The next day we were ready to hit the road. Well, not quite. We decided to spend the night at
Tow Dolly an RV park in North Pensacola to rest up and return the car Anna and Tony were so nice to loan us during our stay. We had picked up a tow dolly for our van a few days before and left it at Buzz's. So off to Buzz's we went, blocking his street for a bit to hook up.

We stopped at an RV store on the way and picked up some stuff we needed, including a backup camera system. Our first case of "reverse sticker shock"! With the camera, which was $119.95 on sale, the total bill was under $200. If the stuff we bought would have been "marine", it would have probably been $800 or more.

We arrived at the nice littly RV park and I surprised myself by backing right into the site with no problems or having to pull forward. Beginner's luck!

I huffed and puffed and finally got the steps down. When we picked it up, the guy said the steps had "just gone out, must be a fuse". The steps are supposed to retract when the ignition is turned on and extend when turned off. They didn't. I figured the hard to move was from the motor gears.

Long story short. When we got to New Iberia turns out the steps haven't worked for a long time. One of the motor wires had been cut, and the smart controller had gone dumb and broke some "slugs" in the gearbox. All the bushings on the steps were so corroded it was almost impossibe to move - the motor ran, but the gearbox was free from the broken slugs. $20 for new ones, installed, and hours of PB Blaster spraying and moving the steps in and out by hand and that problem was solved. A momentary up/down switch and our steps work perfectly now manually. We think it's better - we can raise and lower them when we want.

Now the BIGGIE! Walking by the holding tank dumps I noticed a puddle of water and water dripping. There are two 50 gallon holding tanks. One for black water, toilet, and one for gray water, sink and shower drains. Well, the gray water tank was split and could hold only about 10 gallons until it started leaking. The split was pretty wide and disappeard up in a tight place by a bulkhead. Another long story short. When we got to New Iberia I called Scotty's Camper to see about getting the tank changed. Scotty told me how to fix it as they did. The tanks are ABS and he said to use ABS cement with strips of tee-shirt cloth for body.

I tried using a paint stirer stick to cram the stuff up there, to no avail. I finally cut a big opening in the tank and was successful repairing it from the inside. I was going to cement the cut out part back in, but just in case I missed something, I bought some Lexan and screwed that on as a removable panel. The whole thing was a very big job and took several days. So far so good. This is the one thing that really, really, really PO's us.

We decided to stay an extra day in Pensacola to install the new backup camera and rest up a bit more.

Cruising down I-10 as happy as can be and about a mile before the Moss Point, MS exit KA-POW!!! The right rear outer tire blew! We eased to the exit and pulled into a gas station. We found out about a tire place about 5 miles away and gave them a call, then drove there at 30 MPH.

Now, one of the selling points was new tires in the front, and the rear tires looked good. We decided to change all four rear tires and keep the best two of the three left for spares. We wound up keeping the only one that was decent, according to the very nice tire guy. He looked at the two "new" front tires and pointed out the DOT code. Seems they were made in the 29th week of 2005! We asked him if we should change them too and he said he wouldn't, that they looked very good. Thank goodness, the four tires came to about $1,200.00. Common knowledge says tires should be replaced every seven years, so looks like they've got a couple years to go.

We arrived at Bill and Jan's in New Iberia just as it was getting dark. We spent an enjoyable almost month there and got the stuff mentioned aboved fixed. Found the problem with the cruise control was that the vacuum hose had been routed right over the A/C pulley and had worn through. A new hose with different routing fixed that. Oh yeah, another "everything works perfect" that didn't is the engine A/C and fan. The compressor is not stuck, but the belt squeals when turned on and the blower doesn't work. It's obvious someone had been checking the blower. Speaking of blowers, the electric fan on the radiator didn't work. After a few hours of trying to track down that problem, I said the heck with it and put a switch on the dash. I just turn the fan on when the engine temp comes up at idle or climbing a hill.

With some difficulty, I talked nephew Craig into fixing the exhaust leaks and changing the squealing alternator belt. There were broken manifold bolts on each side. Otherwise, the exhaust system and mufflers look almost new. THANK YOU CRAIG!

We replaced the front analog TV with a new flat HD. The bedroom analog TV has a built in DVD so we kept that with a digital converter.

There were other minor things that were not quite right. It seems most of my time was spent getting those right. Thanks to Bill and Jan for having us there, with all the neat stuff and help available to fix the problems.

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