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  • Writer's pictureInger and Jeff Latreille

We're Back!!

Sorry to be MIA lately but a few unexpected things came our way which will reveal themselves as you keep reading in the coming days. We’ve decided to post 2 reads per day until we’re caught up (around January 20th). Thanks for staying patient as we rehash our Christmas and New Year’s celebration a bit delayed. Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and a smashing New Year celebration. Here’s to 2️⃣0️⃣2️⃣2️⃣‼︎‼️

Not All Built Alike

~Wednesday, December 15, 2021~

Day 549 (Travel Day)

Though two weeks in Napa was a good chunk of time in comparison to our fast paced moving as of late, it WASN’T enough when revisiting our hometown, trying to spend quality time with family and friends. We’ll definitely be planning a greater chunk of time on our next visit. We were so grateful that the rain decided to bow out while we broke down camp (never fun when it’s wet). Because of our recent sifting through the trailer, removing whatever didn’t get much use this past year, the truck would be carrying more weight today for the 90-minute drive to my mom’s. Being first time RVer’s, we did pretty good in terms of using most everything, not carrying too much added weight; about 200 pounds of excess. The plan is to eventually take the surplus to our storage unit in Sacramento in the coming days.

First thing on the list for today was to confirm our appointment with the RV frame shop in San Leandro….about a 90-minute drive from our first stop in Acampo, CA. All good. But within 10 minutes, I received a call back from them asking if we had torsion axles or spring axles? All Lance trailers have torsion suspension. His reply, “Oh, we can’t work on those”. What??? We made this appointment over 3 weeks ago and you didn’t think to ask us then? Wouldn’t that be the very first question you’d ask? Evidently you cannot adjust torsion axles since they are one unit fixed to the trailer. Now mind you, we were counting on this as our “storage” place while staying at my mom’s in El Dorado Hills. She has absolutely no space for a trailer. Since they thought they’d have a slight delay in getting parts for the brakes and alignment fix, leaving the trailer there for a week wasn’t a problem. Another Plan B and quick!! I don’t think I’ve heard my husband use so many expletives 🤣While we continued on to Acampo, I made a few phone calls to storage facilities near my mom’s place. With a few candidates, we found one only 5 minutes from my mom’s and only $100 for the month (though we only need it for a few weeks). At least we had a hopefully safe place for Billie Jean.

Back to the alignment issue which we’ll address after the Holidays…..Ever since we’ve owned the trailer, the wheels never appeared to be straight. But what do we know being first time RVer’s, right? With torsion suspension and double axles, the wheels move independently from one another, meant to move in different ways, different directions. I remember the first time we drove it off the lot, I was directing Jeff in backing up and saw the tires doing their weird looking contortion, with me basically freaking out thinking we’d bent the axles….a strange looking sight for a newbie. The only reason we’ve lately had concerns is because of the wear pattern on our trailer tires (inside wear). And here’s the other problem…..we’re getting different advice from everyone. Some say, oh you’re tires shouldn’t be wearing that way, others say that’s expected with the type of suspension we have. Some say rotate, others say don’t. I guess this can be said for a lot of things. All we’re trying to do is make it right.

First stop….Meek’s RV, about a 90-minute drive from Napa. About a year after we bought the rig, we began having problems with our living room TV (a Jensen). When turned on, the screen image would be mostly pink and upside down for about 30 seconds until it warmed up. It was tolerable, but annoying. Plus we had a new rig and wanted everything in working order. And the TV was rarely used. So, a few months back, we called Meeks to see if they could help us with installing a new TV. And as luck would have it, we were within the warranty period by 1 week. Whew! The bad part was Meeks having to hold the new TV for 5 months until our arrival back in California. The manufacturer usually requests faulty items be returned soon after a claim is issued, so felt bad that Meeks had to deal with naggy phone calls by Jensen. Dometic also had a recall item on 47,000 of their 3-burner stoves. We thought the possibility of a continuous gas leak warranted getting this fixed. 😉 The fix… little part and a 5-minute job. Lance has since pulled Dometic stoves/ovens from their units. They are now using the much better quality Suburban brand which we may buy down the road to replace the Dometic. Joe and his wife L’Donna are the proud owners of Meeks and are the nicest, most helpful people you’d ever want to meet. Jeff remembered meeting Joe on his past quests in finding the perfect Lance trailer. While L’Donna and I got to know each other in her nice warm, toasty office, the guys were outside in the cold, troubleshooting a few problems we were having with the trailer. Jeff learned so much with his crash course on tires and alignments as well as how to replace a few parts on the heater and water tank. Meanwhile, L’Donna had me sign a few papers for the recall and even offered to call a local dairy facility in the area to fulfill my request in getting the truck and trailer weighed (a first). Thank you L’Donna and Joe for going above and beyond.

So off to the dairy we went to have Billie Jean and Hank weighed. Could excess weight be the culprit to our tire issues or possible ruined alignment? We were minutes away from finding out. I would recommend doing this sooner than later, not waiting 18 months in, like we have. And scales are everywhere, so it’s not a big deal. We paid our $10 then drove the truck onto the scale first…..10,200 pounds. Next, the trailer….6,840 pounds. It was perfect that all the tanks were completely empty. We already knew the truck’s towing capacity (15,400 pounds) was huge in comparison to the weight of the trailer. So we were good there. The truck really should not be over 10,000 pounds gross weight, but with the excess stuff we are about to bring to the storage unit, this should keep things in line. But our big question was how are we doing on trailer weight?? Dry weight on the trailer is 5,875 and the gross weight (GVWR) should be no more than 7,800 pounds. Yeh!!! Even hauling water, we’d still be within range. Taking the actual weight of the trailer (6,840 pounds) and subtracting the dry weight (5,875 pounds) means we’re carrying about 1,000 pounds worth of stuff in the rig which we feel is pretty evenly distributed simply by the design of the rig and being conscientious of where we place things inside. Anyway, the mystery has been solved.

We arrived at the storage place about 3:00 and though it wasn’t quite what we expected, we felt comfortable enough with leaving it there. It’s basically a parking lot behind the facility, not gated, but with 24-hour surveillance. After Ashley got us all checked in and assured me that they’ve never had a problem, we were all squared away with battening down the hatches and getting what we needed from the trailer before heading to my mom’s.

Thinking we’d never get there, we finally arrived at my mom’s, greeted with open arms and big hugs. It will be so great having these 2 weeks with her, sharing all the hustle bustle of the season 🔔🎄🎅🎁 before heading back into the “wide blue yonder”. Fun, fun, fun!!

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