Feb. 4th to March 18th 2011





190 miles --- under 3 hours -- heading due east. This sure is the way to keep fuel costs under control.




From Pilot Knob to Casa Grande is along one of the nicest Interstates in the US. Interstate 8 is a 4 lane highway with little or no car traffic and even fewer trucks. You pass through some of the most picturesque desert scapes and cross the Sonora Desert National Monument which is covered with Saguaro Cactus.

Casa Grande is one of our favourite spots in the Sun Belt area. This year we decided to double our usual stay of two weeks to a month in our Park System, Western Horizon.

But, What would greet us on our arrival? Would we have heat in Périgord? Would we have TV? Would the parts ever arrive from MotoSat? Hmmm ... how would the RV Gods greet us?

Well, once again ... no heat. Out to play the Kazoo. At least the weather was nice so it wasn't too bad. As usual, we got the boiler to fire after a while and we finished setting up Périgord. Elsie tried to get her TV Satellite to work on automatic, but no luck. Fortunately, the tech had explained the rather laborious manual setup, so Elsie, after using many of the words I am so famous for, set out to get the TV Sat to work. Eventually, that too became operational, and we began to feel comfortable. The Internet Satellite continues to work well with no deployment hiccups. Go figure eh?

So, now to enjoy ourselves ... but first:

      1. Call Oasis, Steve Elwell, to ask what now to do. Every time we move ... BLOOOEEE.
      2. Wait for the parts to arrive from MotoSat for the TV Satellite. Wait for call back from Royal Lamb (yes, that is actually a name. I had met him previously through the Internet Satellite group) at MotoSat to figure out what to do if this doesn't fix things.
      3. Let Midtown know about our situation.

Then we have FUN!

We are here for a month and there are lots of friends in this area.

And it was a GREAT month! Once we got the Oasis Heater working again, and the TV Satellite on target and working, we were set! This is our type of camping ... not for us the wet tent, air mattress, camp stoves etc. NO WAY! With our endless hot water, fully automatic heat, microwave/convection oven, dish washer, 46 inch TV, washer and dryer, etc, we are ready to go camping! You don't think that we are spoiled do you?

We sure had lots of friends sail through here. Ken and Betty Oka from Sechelt were the first couple. They were here for a week and then they were putting their rig into storage so they could fly to Costa Rica for two weeks on a "birding" trip. Gary and Janice Johnstone from North Vancouver were the next here for two weeks. Then they too would be putting their rig into storage as they flew to Hawaii for a week or so. Then came the biggest surprise of all.

Just after dinner came a knock on the door ... I guess they didn't realize we had a doorbell <grin> and standing there was the guard from the front gate of the Park along with a stranger I didn't know. The stranger looks up and says, "Hi, I'm Bill Hood from Penticton and we bought your old RV."

With in a half hour, there was Harvey parked safely and securely beside Périgord. WOW!!! Now, this was Bitter Sweet!

The really good news is that Bill and his wife Sheila are taking great care of Harvey. We had a great three day visit with a couple of Happy hours thrown in for good measure.

Overlapping all the visitors were the "Oldtymers" (Geri and Bruce)who spend every winter in Palm Creek Golf and RV resort on the other side of town. One of the many highlights of visiting with them, was when I caught them on a visit to our site and presented Bruce with the Satellite parts that had finally arrived from MotoSat. Bruce, a retired electrician, was unanimously selected to climb up on the roof of Périgord and install what we hoped would be the "final solution" to our TV Sat problems. Being the brave man he is, Bruce scrambled up the ladder and headed to the Satellite. No problems installing the new parts. Just the same things going wrong. It was a total waste of time. To say I was steamed would be the polite way to put it.

But, we were having so much fun that I let it slide until the next park we would be in.

The month passed very quickly,so it finally was time to decide just where to go next as we made our way slowly north. Caliente Springs RV Resort in Desert Hot Springs -- just across the road from the Western Horizon Park where we usually stay -- was our choice. We were going to stay in the other Western Horizon Park in Indio, but they screwed up our reservations so badly that after several chosen words, we left. Our two weeks there were fun, and we thought that we would return next year.

Guess what? We pull into the Park, set up Périgord, and attack the Satellites. The Internet was fine! After the usual playing around with the Oasis, we had hot water. But, the Motosat TV satellite refused to work. Here we go again!

Back on the phone to Royal Lamb whose name had morphed into something to do with pain in a certain part of the anatomy. "No problem", he said. "We have the BEST technician, a personal friend of his, lived in the area, and he would be sent out immediately to "provide a final cure to our problems". Sure enough, the next day, a knock on the door and there stood our savior ... about 90 lbs and over 60 years old. Now why should I include a personal description, you ask? Well, that night the wind started as only the wind can in Desert Hot Springs. By the time he got there, it was blowing at over 40 mph and gusting far over that. Undaunted, he climbed the rear ladder and started his investigations on Périgord's roof.

Elsie and I glanced at each other ... we were sure that we would hear a scream and see a body blown from the top of the RV clear into the next site. Should we grab a blanket and follow him as he traveled back and forth? Maybe we could catch him before he hit the ground....?

Well 6 hours later, many cell phone calls to Royal Pain, and bleeding fingers I'm sure from trying to hang onto the roof, he admitted failure. Sigh ... Then came the clincher ... he presented a bill to us for $240.00 for his efforts, saying that Motosat would definitely repay us as we were under warranty, but if he submitted the bill, it would be doubtful if it ever got paid! He said that he was meeting with Royal at the FMCA Rally in Georgia, and they had agreed to fully discuss our problem then.He was sure that he would return with a "sure solution". To say I'm pissed, would be a criminal understatement!

But, what do you do? You are in the hands of the RV Gods, and there is "nothin you can do"! Now, we need another week in the Indio area so he could go to his Rally, talk to Royal, and get back to us.

So, we had heard about Emerald Desert RV Resort which is really close to Indio where the Techie lived. We knew that it was an extremely nice park ... read expensive ... but what the heck. We were due some luxury! After all just a week ... it couldn't be that much ... could it? Well, it could, but it was a nice park and it was away from the wind!

Back the Techie came, and he got down to work! After about 8 more hours, he again, admitted defeat. This time he said that he just could not charge us. He would try to get the money from Motosat himself. At least he was an honest man!

I had had it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I called Royal and recounted all the effort we had spent trying to fix his problem. Without using too many words of Anglo Saxon origin, but with a certain amount of barely controlled tension in my voice, I informed him that we wanted a brand new system from the Dish right through wires and controller -- the whole enchilada -- sent to Midtown in Penticton which would be installed by them when we arrived in 2 weeks. On top of that, the bills I had collected would be paid and that all installation costs would be bourn by Motosat. There was a gasp, silence, and then finally and grudging acceptance. This would be done!

Throughout this whole ordeal we had kept Midtown up-to-date. They were exceedingly supportive of us and made many calls on our behalf to Motosat demanding that they take care of us.

Now on to the Oasis. Still no return call, from Steve Elwell. Midtown had called them to add their weight to the cause. but we were being ignored. But, they promised us that they would fix the problem when we arrived in two weeks.

So, off we go. Las Vegas, snow to Jackpot, cold weather to Pendelton, snow to Penticton. But we made it. Thank God, Périgord ran like the pedigree that he is.

As we were setting up in the camping sites that Midtown has, you might guess what occurred. The Oasis, for the first time in 3 months worked as advertised. "If we can not replicate the problem, we can not fix it". We were having the tire rims replaced under warranty, and would have to drive to the tire shop in Penticton to have this done. Given the past history if we drive Périgord 10 feet the Oasis would have to be reset. I wasn't worried. On our return from the tire shop, the problem would be there for them to see it. Guess what ..... the damn thing worked flawlessly.

After the Midtown guys finished grinning at us, they did mention that the Oasis heater is made by a company in Richmond BC called ITR. Yes, it is a Canadian company located only 20 miles from where we live. I filed this information thinking that we had not heard the last of the Oasis Problems.

Now, on to the Motosat... They had not received anything from Motosat!!!! They too had the call from them that a complete system was on the way, but what to do in the interim. Again, Midtown stepped up and took a complete system from their Parts and installed it for us. The Parts Manager went to the Canadian Distributor for Motosat in Toronto and raised hell! All sort of promises were made .... only time would tell.

on edit ... it took several months for the system to arrive in Penticton, but it did arrive. I received the cheque covering my expenses from Motosat, and Midtown is no longer installing any Motosat product on any of their coaches. On top of that, the President of Motosat was fired as was Royal Lamb and the engineer that originally designed the Satellite.

So, finally it was time to head to DogPatch and home.

You know what happened ... we got to DogPatch, turned on the Oasis to keep the coach warm ... and nothing!

It is a good thing that I am a basically a calm person. But, this time I went just a little over the top. I called the phone number for the Richmond company that Midtown had given me. I didn't exactly threaten to blow up their place of employment but they did take me very seriously. I made an appointment at the factory, something that they were not really set up to do, and delivered the coach to them with the very terse words ... fix it and fire Steve Elwell.

To make a long frustrating story shorter, they found the problem -- the coolant lines had not been purged of air properly when the thing was installed by Newmar. This would cause the intermittent problems. They pronounced it fixed!

on edit ... It turned out that they were correct about the cause of the problems, but they failed to find out just what was causing it. The system worked all next winter on our trip down south, but started to fail again as we returned. The root cause was the overfill jug in the engine compartment did not have a small tube inside it that was to suck the coolant back into the system as the temperature dropped. Air was being sucked in instead. For the want of a ten cent tube .... And yes Steve Elwell no longer works with Oasis ... not because of me, I'm sure, but I can dream!!!

This Maiden Trip was sure a learning curve. We think that Périgord has "good bones"!!!! There will be many more really enjoyable trips in the future .... we hope?????????????????????????????

.... Sail on Périgord .....