October 13, 2021
A lot happened in this past week so I’ll tell the story in order. We started out on October 7th moving into a better hotel. We really had to do a lot of talking to executives about the condition of the hotel we were staying in currently, the hardship that not having our RV was causing us, the promises that had been made on their company website and by the dealership when we bought this rig, and our unrelenting willingness to let everyone we could know just how awful our experience had been.
They finally agreed to listen to us and do the right thing. Before we came to an agreement though we repeatedly heard them make excuses, blame the people who made the parts and take no responsibility for their own quality control, and tell us what they were or were not legally obligated to deal with. It was so discouraging to deal with a company who only cared about what they had to do according to the paperwork, and not at all about what they should do. It’s not as if we had a broken cabinet (we had those too, but fixed it ourselves. We had a broken axle…on a brand new top o’ the line rig.
When you live in a moving home, you do expect that things will break…like trim, cabinets, handles, etc…. Just like any home, these always needs some maintenance and things shake loose when you’re bumping down the road. We also began to learn though that many new RVs are “just not built like they used to be”. We began to really understand and appreciate that often the people building these have little training and that the RV companies are focused on quantity over quality. Also, the parts shortage is effecting them as well. We know this now because these are some of the things the manufacturer and dealership told us to justify how we had a bad axle in the first place and why we had to wait for them to get a new one.
Some people are still good though. The service tech at the dealership was very kind, patient, and caring. We were sure to tip him at the end.
I will say that my whole attitude and stress level changed immediately when we moved to the better hotel. We accepted that we needed to wait and were grateful we could do so comfortably. We took a little time to sight see and enjoy ourselves. We went to the Indiana sand dune national park and we drove by the childhood home of Michael Jackson.
I also finished making my miniature fruit stand which is amazing. I love doing these things and am so proud to see how they turn out in the end. Side tangent, my mother just recently visited Germany and went to a place in Hamburg called Miniature Wonderland. I watched the YouTube video for that place about 7 times and now think that making miniatures for them may be my dream job. I didn’t really have a good way to keep this once it was finished so I gifted it to the front desk staff at our hotel.
We got our RV back on October 11th. I had spaghetti pie as my last supper in Indiana since I had never had it before and the Italian place nearby made it. I didn’t really think it was anything special, but it felt like middle America. We spent the night in a Walk-Mart parking lot in Black River Falls, Wisconsin and the next day made it to South Dakota. As our time in Indiana was so unpleasant, we went ahead and scratched that state off the map…no need to go back! As we tried to put this mess behind us we began thinking about and discussing the idea of starting an RV advocacy group. We knew that many are not effective in fighting with these big companies for justice when they find themselves with a product failure. We’ve heard lots of these stories and they are confirmed by struggle and by what we hear from the service technicians.
Driving through Minnesota so easy and pleasant. We saw a whole lot of corn and praries. We boondocked that night with a lovely retired couple who also spent time RVing in Renner, South Dakota. They had trails behind their home that we could let the dogs run around on. They loved this after spending the past week in hotels and parking lots. I don’t know if I have ever seen our dog Dobby that happy before. We experienced the wind that occurs in South Dakota for the first time that night and realized that the house shakes when it’s windy!
The next day we had planned to drive to Spearfish, South Dakota as that is where we planned to establish our residency. Along the way, I called the campground we were booked at to let them know we were running late and learned that they were in the midst of a blizzard. We had a bit of a scare when a piece of sheet metal flipped up in the wind from the side of the RV and was flapping around so we had to get off the road anyhow. I found a campground in Interior, South Dakota that is right next to the Badlands National Park which is where we will stay. Once we were parked and settled we also realized that the sewer storage pipe we had attached to the undercarriage of the rig had also ripped off in the wind. You have not experienced wind until you’ve done so in an RV. Everything shakes and rattles. We were totally fine, but it was scary at the time. It sounded like the whole thing was going to shake apart or blow over. It wasn’t a hurricane or anything, just a windy day in South Dakota.
Jennifer MacNeil is currently traveling the US with her husband and two dogs. She loves to have adventures, explore, meet fascinating people, and see amazing places. She strives to learn every day and spread kindness to others. She documents the journey through her photography and blog to share with others.