This has sure turned out to be a busy and productive year for Elsie and me. You long-time readers of these missives can recall the difficulties we had with Harvey this time last year. Nothing seemed to work, we were waiting for parts and I was ready to scream "Lemon Law" -- except that BC doesn't have one. Well, things seem to have changed for the better! Harvey is trying to behave....
A year ago last July, we attended a National RV Rally in Cashmire Washington. The main reason we went to this Rally was to beat the National people about the head and ears with the list of problems we had with Harvey. It turned out that after a long talk with the President of National RV, the company that made Harvey, I began to think that there may be a hope that we could fix our problems once and for all. So, with a brighter heart, Elsie and I attended a meeting that was discussing the formation of a Chapter of National Owners in the Pacific North West. Either I was too slow leaving this meeting, or Elsie had decided that I needed something to do with all my spare time (?) it ended up that I would begin the process of establishing such a club.
Well, as you all remember, we had nothing but more problems with Harvey after this Rally. The attempts that the Techies made at Cashmire did not solve anything, and in fact, actually made things worse ... if that was possible. Then we had the 6 to 7 week waiting for parts snafu. Obviously, there was no way that I would be spending a second of my time on establishing a Club for those Bozos!
In early January 2005, we finally got down to the Factory in Perris CA. for our appointment to have Harvey repaired for the LAST time! We had decided that if they could not fix the list of problems we had, Harvey was up for sale! The tremendous hit we would take on depreciation would be less painful than continuing to attempt to keep Harvey on the road. Our level of distrust had hit mythical proportions!!!!
I had written so many letters to everyone who would sit still long enough to read them, from the President through to Sales and Service Managers, that I was not sure just what kind of reception we would get on arrival. To top things off, if you remember, last January/February was the wettest time California has seen for years. Because we had been there for a week the year before, we knew where to go and where to park. We arrived on Friday for our Monday 7:00 AM appointment because they have hookups in the parking lot in front of the Repair Centre. The drive down to Perris on the 101 was a moment in hell! The rain was pouring, the roads were flooded, and LA Drivers were living up to their cantankerous reputation. As we were setting up the water and electric, it continued to rain so hard that we could not see the building about 60 feet in front of us. You can imagine the black mood Elsie and I were in as we waited for Monday. That Sunday, a large portion of the cliff beside the 101 where we had driven the day before, washed out and destroyed 20 or 30 homes. Sunday just added to our despair.
To make a long story shorter (?), check with the "Harvey's Travail" section in the previous page.
So as you all know by now, Harvey worked well from the Factory through south California, Arizona, Mexico, for 3 1/2 months, and then finally, home. Wow, we thought ... who have thought this was possible? I had previously dismissed completely the concept of beginning the Pacific North West National RV Users Club, but now that Harvey seemed like a new coach what do we do?
Well, after much rumination, and conscience searching, Elsie and I thought that we would "give it a go" -- we had said that we would after all. Several phone calls to one of our favourite Campsites on the Oregon Coast we set the first meeting for the 14th of April. We contacted National and they sent out a notice of the meeting to all the owners of their products who lived in the Pacific North West. Elsie and I had no idea of just what would happen as we headed to Cannon Beach for the April get together.
Before we left, we had decided that we would form this Chapter under the auspices of Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) so that we could use their insurance benefits for our rallies in the future. FMCA is huge! It boasts of having over 150,000 members in Canada and the US and has all sorts of other benefits for members. But that meant that I would have to come up with a set of By-Laws that not only would define our chapter but also be acceptable to their By-Laws Committee. I had all that prepared as we headed out to meet with the 11 coaches who had indicated that they were prepared to help in the formation of the Club.
The 11 coaches - 22 people - turned out to be a great group! We met for drinks and appetizers on the Friday night and had the official meeting on the Saturday morning and afternoon. We got through all the necessary "stuff" ... worked on the By-Laws, elected an Executive, chose a name for the group and laughed and joked a lot. (Once again, I didn't move fast enough and was elected President) For a basically dry and boring meeting, we all seemed to enjoy it somehow. That evening, National RV took the entire group of us out for a great dinner in a nice restaurant in Cannon Beach. We agreed to meet again in June in the Tri Cities Washington. We had become "The PacNats" -- short for Pacific North West National RV Owners Group. We had an identity!!!
Harvey took us home with not a hiccup and even posted an almost record high miles/gallon of 9.4! Will this continue is our constant question. I guess we had been so long disappointed with Harvey, that it would take a very long time indeed for us to trust him. But, we hoped...
We spent the remainder of April, the whole month of May and most of June at home, catching up on things here. I continued to work on the By-Laws and things "PacNatian" until time to go to the 2nd formation meeting in the Tri Cities of WA. This time, the arrangements were made by our newly elected Rally Director, Darell Tschacher, and had 37 Rigs attending. With 37 Rigs you are talking 74 people so this thing is getting huge! We had a great time: the golfers golfed and the eaters ate!!! I ate! We passed the By-Laws finished setting up the Executive and even ended up having a Country and Western Singer serenade us after our Pot Luck dinner. Our total paid membership now stands at 50 Rigs!!! We decided at the First Official Rally to be held in Gold Beach Oregon in late September, we would hold a contest to chose an official Logo for our club.
The PacNats were well on their way!!!!
Elsie and I stayed home for most of July, August and September doing things to the house that we had been putting off for 20 years. The same friend who did such a spectacular job on the front driveway and rock walls came back and continued his streak of excellence on replacing our front door and building a fireplace and mantle in the living room. Boy are we pleased with the job Tony did!!!! It only took us 20 years to have it finally done. Now, all we have to do is have the interior painted -- it looks like we have run out of time for this job this Fall so we will have to address it when we return from down south next Spring -- and have the back deck rebuilt then the house will be perfect!!! Hopefully, all this will not take the next 20 years!!!
Late September saw us heading south to Gold Beach on the Rogue River. For the geographically challenged this is almost on the California Oregon border. This time we had 20 Rigs and again the golfers golfed and the eaters ate. I ate! We all had a good time!!! Elsie and I got there a little early and had a chance to explore the area a little. It sure is one beautiful spot. September is a fantastic time to wander around here as the trees are turning colour and the air is crisp and clear. Along with the usual drinks and appetizers, a non ending pot luck dinner, and a wild and crazy jet boat trip on the Rogue River, we even managed to select a logo for the PacNats. All that is left is to have the name tags printed and the golf shirts made. The weekend was really fun though Hops and Stanley won an award as "looking most like their owners". I think that Stanley was a little miffed!!!
This trip out and back saw continued great mileage from Harvey. I had the valve lashings done and the engine is now getting broken in. They claim that a diesel engine is not broken in until it hits 30,000 miles. Harvey now has 56,000 kms on his clock (or 34,796 miles ... not bad for only 2 1/2 years) and it seems that now we can expect no lower than 8 MPG if I keep my big foot off the accelerator!!!
August saw Elsie and I heading towards a National Rally in Jamestown ND followed by an FMCA Rally in Minot ND. The Jamestown Rally was fun but the Minot one was .... well suffice it to say, it was similar to having Amway and the local Evangelical Chruch take on and run the PNE or the CNE. When we next meet, if you get me a couple of beer, I will gladly fill you in on what happened there, but in this medium, there is not sufficient room to explain it all. Enough to say that Elsie and I got our PacNat Charter from FMCA, after an unbelievable meeting, saw enough junk to buy for Harvey .. a real RV Candy Store... and broke both front wind shields.
And Harvey ran well .... over 4,000 miles ... are we getting cocky????
Now ... to the future ...
1. we are going to a National RV Rally this November 14th in Tucson AZ ... where many of the PacNats will also be
2. Elsie is planing the next PacNat Rally in Osoyoos BC for next June 1st to 4th
3. We will be meeting PacNats all over the south this winter
1. Leave for the SUN November 4th
2. The National RV Rally in Tucson on November 14th
3. Wander around Az and NM until Christmas
4. Christmas in Casa Grande
5. Dolphin (another National RV Club) Rally in Quartzsite AZ in Jan
6. A month in Kino Bay Mexico
7. some weeks in southern CA
8. National RV Rally in Lake Skinner CA in Mid March
9. return home for the tax man end March
We will be keeping up with the chronicles on this web page. Check back every two or three weeks and there should be something new here. Do email us as the months are long and Elsie gets tires just staring at me .....