We were awake at 6 AM and I planned to be on the road in the bus at 7 AM but it did not work out exactly that way. For starters, I needed to take a shower. Next, I really needed a haircut, which Linda does for me. Along the same lines I needed to shave. Another factor was that it was still darker at 7 AM than I wanted to drive in. We also had last minute things to assemble and load such as toiletries, technology, shoes, hats, sunglasses, baskets and bags full of essential incidentals, as well as design drawings for the custom woodworking in the coach. We were close to being ready for me to pull out at 8 AM but I still needed to check the tree limbs that hang out over the road near our house. Good thing I did; many of them had grown down and were less than 13’6″. How did we know? We set the extension handle on the pole saw so that the length from the bottom of the handle to the tip of the saw blade was 13’6″. Anything that touched the blade got trimmed.
I finally connected the chassis batteries, turned on the engine air accessories valve, and fired up the bus engine at 8:15 AM. Linda helped me check the exterior lights, all of which were OK. I pulled out at 8:25 AM and worked my way slowly down our street and was able to maneuver so as not to scratch the sides. I had not driven north on Hacker in some time. The road was in very bad condition and I thought the glass tubes in the new light fixtures would not survive the first, short leg of the trip. Two of the kitchen cabinet drawers came open, which they do not normally do. Linda had taped the refrigerator doors closed so they stayed that way. The new pull-out pantry stayed closed and so did all of the drawers on the new desk.
Once I was on M-59 the trip was much smoother but not without some bumpy road sections along the way. I-69S between Lansing and I-94 in particular is a surprisingly rough road. I thought about stopping at the rest area on I-96 westbound just before Lansing but was anxious to make up for the late start. The bus rolled along easily at 68 MPH without the car attached. The difference between towing and not towing is subtle but I am aware of it. The bus alone accelerates a little faster and stops a little easier. It is also 20 feet shorter than the bus/car combination which makes it easier to pass and merge.
I stopped at the rest area on I-69 southbound just north of I-94, as that would be my last convenient opportunity to do so, and called Josh at Coach Supply Direct to update him on my travels. I continued south on I-69 intending to exit at Coldwater and head west on US-12. I was paying attention to the truck in front of me and realized a few seconds too late that I had missed the exit. I drove three more miles to the Fenn Road exit and headed back north towards Coldwater.
Once I was on US-12 westbound, a road I have driven many times, the trip was uneventful until I got west of Sturgis. MDOT was rebuilding several miles of the highway between Sturgis and White Pigeon and had the road down to one lane. I was the first vehicle to arrive at the flagger so I figured I was in for a wait. I did not check the time but the delay was at least 20 minutes. I called Josh and updated him on my location and ETA. Bring first in line made the wait easier as I could see what was, and wasn’t, happening. Eventually it was our turn to go and I got to lead the parade except for a truck hauling dirt who they let go ahead of me. That was just as well; he was in a big hurry and quickly disappeared from site, traveling at what I considered to be much too high a speed for the conditions. All traffic was being routed on the eastbound lane and shoulder and I had to drive straddling the rumble strips to keep from knocking my fillings loose.
I finally made it to Coach Supply Direct in Edwardsburg just after noon. I had talked to Josh on Sunday about how best to get the bus into his place. Following his advice I continued past M-62 to Cass Street and turned left. Cass merged into Elkhart Road and shortly thereafter I turned left into the fenced property where his business is located. Josh had described where other motorhomes were parked and where he wanted me relative to them so I was able to get the bus situated without assistance, another advantage to not having the car attached to the back of the bus as I could back up as needed. Josh came out of the building as I was shutting down the engine.
Josh has several guys working with him at the moment; Jim, Tyler, and Tim. The first task was removing the remaining pleated shades from the side windows and installing the new MCD shades. Jim is very knowledgeable about MCD shades and was the lead installer. The shades are very nice and will be more functional than the old ones. The automatic retract speed was still a little fast on some of them and might need to be adjusted but that is a minor thing.
While the guys worked on the shades Josh and I looked at the new seats and discussed the larger set of tasks that needed to be accomplished. I was very pleased with our choice of fabric and how the seats turned out. The only apparent glitch was that the slide rails for the two captain’s chairs for the living room had come without the actuator handles. Josh made some phone calls and arranged to pick up the needed parts first thing tomorrow morning. We also measured for the Corian desk top and contacted his supplier regarding that.
I needed something to eat and drink and since the coach was being worked on I walked across the street in search of nutritional sustenance. I walked past the Taco Bell and had my sights set on the McDonald’s (French fries and a diet Coke) when I spotted the Subway, which was closer and offered better food options for me. I had a Veggie Delight Chopped Salad, chips, and a diet Coke. I dined in, refilled my drink, and then walked back.
Tyler is an experienced automotive technician and was the main guy responsible for removing the two Villa chairs from the cockpit area. He unbolted the 6-way power mechanism from the swivel pedestal but left it attached to the seat. With the seats out of the bus he removed the 6-way power base from each one and installed it on the corresponding new Flexsteel seat. There was more to this mounting than just tightening a few bolts and he was not quite done by the time he had to quit for the day. The controls still had to be mounted, the wiring connected, and the seats installed in the bus.
Since all of the seat prep work was being done on a work surface in the building I took advantage of the access I had to the cockpit area. I borrowed a scraper and scrapped off small fragments of carpet. I borrowed a spray bottle of Spic-n-Span and cleaned the swivel pedestals. I discovered a small piece of paper blocking the lower left HVAC nozzle and removed it. I also discovered that the fresh air damper was not buried deep in the front end of the coach like I thought it was. The lever by the driver’s left knee, which has been so difficult to operate, actuated a short cable that controls a damper just to the left of the steering column below the dash. I was able to use two cable ties to secure some wire bundles out of the way of the damper allowing it to open wider and to open/close more easily. I finished by borrowing a small shop vac and vacuuming up all of the loose material I had created.
I borrowed a piece of 3/4″ plywood about four feet long and put it across the two pedestals of the desk to make a temporary work surface. I got the folding chair out from under the bed, along with my computer and iPad, and got the “desk” set up to use my computer. I tried to get photos with my camera of the different aspects of the project throughout the day. I also took seven pictures with my smartphone and sent them to Linda’s smartphone so she could see the progress. Josh’s wife stopped by to check on his schedule and I gave her a tour of the remodeling project.
I got our Verizon Mi-Fi online, connected my iPad to the Wi-Fi Ranger, connected the WFR to the Mi-Fi, and then started my computer and connected it to the WFR. I checked my e-mail and there was one from RVillage regarding a new group feature, group home page feeds, and asking that group owners post to their group home page feeds and create an announcement for the group that would notify everyone in the group of the new feature.
As long as I was in RVillage I created a new private, non-searchable group called RVIG (for RVillage Investors Group) and invited Curtis, the founder/CEO of RVillage, to join. He accepted and I private messaged him, which prompted a phone call that resulted in me transferring ownership of the group to him. He wanted to change “Investors” to “stakeholders,” which I agreed was a better term. It also turns out that an a priori “friend” connection is needed to invite someone to join a group and Curtis was the only person who would have such a connection with all of the RVillage stakeholders. I always thought that Curtis should create and manage this group but he has so much on his plate that sometimes it’s easier if someone else initiates something and then hands it off to him. I was glad to be the catalyst in this case.
It was another long day but I spent a relatively small percentage of it on my hands and knees, or on my back looking under the dashboard, which I have not been physically able to do in until today because of the very confined space in front of the driver’s seat. I brought one of our folding Zip Dee chairs inside and set it up on the passenger side of the living room so I had someplace comfortable to sit and use my iPad. I spent several hours finishing yesterday’s post and writing today’s post. All four of the seats are supposed to be installed tomorrow morning and I should be on my way to Elkhart Campground by noon. Linda plans to leave between 11AM drive down in the Element with the cats. She should arrive about 3-1/2 hours after she departs from the house by which time I should have the bus parked and hooked up.