Have you ever wanted to sell everything you own and just "take off?" Travel the country's back roads, paddle down a meandering stream, experience breath-taking mountain views, walk among 100-year old trees, and just marvel at America's beauty? That is the dream that my partner, Betsy, and I decided to make a reality. This blog describes our adventure. The food we eat, people we meet, sights we see, and the enjoyment we find in traveling.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Spirit Saves the Day!

Our intended visit to the Crystal River area was diverted due to a problem with our coach.  We knew things would go wrong with our 32,000 pound house on wheels so we just try to roll with the problems and pray the repair bill does not cause heart failure.  At $120/hour it’s expensive to use RV repairmen.  What rendered our machine inoperable was the failure of the entry steps to retract.   (For you non-RV’ers, the steps automatically retract and fold under the door when the key is in the ignition.)  It’s a great safety feature so you don’t drive off with your steps extended – although we have seen people drive with them out.

We stood around for a while scratching our heads when our friend Rhonda came over and suggested maybe it just needed a “shitload of silicone.”  Good idea, I thought!  After our attempts to silicone and push and pull parts did not work, we rooted out the manual.  No help there, unless we completely wanted to rewire the entire mechanism.  The last resort was to call our awesome service guru at Sherman RV “Benny.”  He suggested we might have road dirt lodged in the mechanism and we should get a hammer out.  What a service guy telling us to get a hammer and start banging?  Little did he know I already had the hammer out. 

It wasn’t too long after we had given up on trying to fix it ourselves when a man and his wife stopped by on their bike ride and said, “Is that Spirit?  We met her in Key Largo a few months ago.  Wow, has she grown!”  Of course Spirit relished in the attention and quickly flopped on her back for a belly rub.   After a few minutes of idle chit chat, he asked “are you having a problem with your steps?” 

“Why yes!  Do you know how to fix them?” I said. 

“I think so, I had the same problem a while back.”

So he (embarrassingly I don’t even know his name) dropped to the ground and crawled under the coach and asked if I had wrenches.  (And I thought a hammer could fix everything.)  Within a few minutes of loosening bolts, readjusting things, and cleaning out road gunk, they were fixed.  How nice he was to stop and fix our steps and saving us a chunk of change.  This is certainly not the first time complete strangers have helped us fix small problems on our coach and we are sure it will not be the last.  That is just the way RV’ers are.  But, having a cute black lab puppy sure has made us some friends and plenty of conversations.  Spirit has made so many friends along the way and just brings us along for the ride.  Hopefully, she will stay cute and nice enough to lure in handymen!
Spirit chasing pine cones and playing in the sand at Rainbow Springs State Park.


  1. You will laugh but that's exactly what my handy husband does when our steps won't retract. He read on the Country Coach forum--"hit it with a hammer!!" Seems there is some little solenoid which gets gunked and the hammer knocks all that stuff off! Spirit is growing!

  2. Good to know ... hammers and wrenches are part of the tool kit so we're prepared for the eventuality of step problems ... I've read it's par for the course to have problems with them sooner or later.

  3. I really enjoy reading your blog since we met you at Katahdin Shadows in ME. Love, love, love the pictures and stories of Spirit. Hopefully we'll get to meet her someday. Cathy (from the Adventures of Jim and Cathy)

  4. Ha! What an adorable photo.

    We shitloaded silicone, too. And then hammered. Then siliconed the hammer. Then we hammered the wrench. Then we pulled the steps, then pulled the hammer and wrenched our backs. Then, Annie built some wooden steps.


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