For those of you interested Only in TRAVEL, I (Jack) wrote the blog between March 2010 and October 2010 during our travels west. We saw the most beautiful places and had the best time in our big truck and little trailer. See Blog Archive below.

Aug 27, 2016

First Day-Westward Ho!

This will be a fairly short post. I'm tired after the first day of driving. I took the back roads, as I like to do, and I'm staying a delightful little park; Cross City RV. It's small and quiet. It was only $18 dollars for the night. One of the best things about the park are Jim and Debra, the owners. Very nice people. The only bad thing about traveling the route I took, today, was that there was no place to pull over to take pictures. I passed a couple of lakes and followed the Coosa River for a bit.

The hitch was great. Thank you, again, Three Way Campers. The few trucks that passed me were a good test--I didn't feel a thing.

Just before Piedmont, I passed a large junk yard and some old VW buses that looked like the were just waiting to be bought and restored. I also passed Wheeler Wild Life Preserve which would have been nice to stop to see. Maybe on the way back. Passed through some towns with what seemed to be named for family names. I saw a sign that pointed to "Coon Dog Cemetery". I wonder what it was.

I tried to figure out the TV, but don't have the patience at the moment. With the help of Wilson on the Arkansas trip, we figured it out, but I have forgotten how. DOH

When I first got here, I saw some deer in the field. I got as close as I could, which wasn't very close, and I spooked them. My first wildlife siting although I did see two dead armadillos on the way over.

That's about it for, now. I feel my eyes getting heavy. Oh, before I close, I downloaded some books on tape and they made the hours go faster.

Blogger won't let me upload the few pictures that I have. I don't know what it's problem is. It may be slow wifi. I'll try again in the a.m.

Aug 23, 2016

Jumping Hurdles and Avoiding Road Blocks to Get on the Road

First, I have to say once, again, that I can't say enough about Three Way Campers. The awning over my slide has been installed, and I feel better now that I have it. My worry was not only leaking, but debris collecting on the top of the slide and interfering with the operation. Problem solved. The dealer that I purchased the trailer from said it would probably take 3-6 weeks to get done. Three Way Campers goes way above the call of duty in everything they do. My new hitch works beautifully, and they refused to take the reimbursement that Hensley sent to me on top of installing my new hitch without making a dime on it.

On to next hurdle. Truck air conditioner quit. I won't go into how it was "fixed" to the tune of $1500 two-three years ago. There were winters where I wouldn't have noticed and one whole summer after surgery when I drove very little. When I went in for oil changes and said I didn't think it was running cold enough, I was told it probably just needed a shot of freon--no problems. It stopped recently when I made a trip to NY. Fortunately, I have a nephew who is a great mechanic. He measured the freon and put some in and it got me back home with air. I called the Dodge dealer the other day because it was blowing very cold one minute and hot air the next. The first thing the dealer said to me was that my warranty had run out--sure it did--enough stalling and he was right, it did, and the tune changed to "It could be the compressor which could cost up to $2000," over the phone.

In the meantime, I ran into a neighbor who told me that he stopped going to Palmer Dodge because he felt they were ripping him off. There is a Chevron station in my town that has been here since we moved here in 1978. I didn't think they worked on diesels because they don't sell diesel fuel. At any rate my neighbor suggested I give him a call. As it turns out, it has nothing to do with the compressor. There is a short between the Fuse Box and the compressor. Is it expensive to fix, yes, but I'd bet my life that this mechanic is right. When I picked the trailer up from Three Way Camper, the trailer wasn't getting any juice from the truck. It turned out that a fuse had blown, and they replaced it in two seconds. I also had lost the light in my radio a while back and just lived with it. I won't get the truck back until tomorrow if the parts get to them in time, but I'm glad this happened now, not on the way to Colorado.

So, hopefully, this is the last issue. I was starting to feel like I shouldn't make this trip, but if all things go right from now on, I'll be on my way Friday or Saturday. Westward Ho!!

(I hate writing a post without a picture)

Hope you'll see this in a campground somewhere on the way to Colorado by Saturday night. Sorry for the repeat.

Aug 9, 2016

I'm Getting Excited

I took the trailer back to Three Way Campers to have an awning put over the slide. I couldn't believe that I was hitched up and ready to go in less than ten minutes. In fact, it was so easy that I kept looking for something I had overlooked. The ride over was great--didn't know the trailer was in back of me. When I got there, I pulled off to the side and unhitched; again in less then five minutes. One of the gentleman came out and was going to unhitch for me, but saw I had already done it.

I picked up a couple of things I had neglected to get--one being the reflective triangles in the event I breakdown somewhere. I also bought a neat thing called Tank. Used with a smart phone, it keeps track of how much propane is in the tanks. Takes the guesswork out without my having to lift them. I had a gauge with the Jayco, but it came undone and I lost it.

I've made reservations for when Susan comes out to visit the last week of September 23rd to October 3rd. She loved Durango so that's where we'll spend four days. I'll pick her up at the airport in Albuquerque and drive up through Chimayo (which I want her to see) and have lunch in Rancho de Chimayo. When my camping friends met me in 2010, we ate there and it was so pretty and very good food. When we leave Durango we will head to Taos for 2 days, then on to Santa Fe for another few. I'll leave my trailer and drive her down to the airport for her return flight. I think she'll enjoy this. I'm not used to making reservations, but with her limited time I'm forced to have an itinerary. Before and after seeing Susan I have no idea where I'm going to be. I'd like to get over to Arizona to see some family, but I'm not sure that's feasible. I suspect I'll do some more Colorado wandering.

I'm going to try to beat altitude sickness this time. I'll stay a couple of days in Amarillo, then in Albuquerque before picking Susan up and heading to higher ground. I'll hydrate all the time, which I do any way, but I'll step it up. I also got something to take to ward off "evil spirits". Susan said there were oxygen bars in Breckenridge when she visited a friend. Maybe they have them now in New Mexico and Durango. I'd like to take a drive over to Telluride, but we are going to play some by ear.

Just felt like writing as it's been so long since I've seen the light at the end of the tunnel, and I feel I'm finally on the brink of getting back into traveling. It's been a long, long road. I'm hoping to make a cross country trip in the spring if all goes well, and also to camp with friends, here in the east. I'd like my sister to meet me in Charleston in March. I know she'd love it.

Oldest House--I've forgotten in Santa Fe or the country?

Molas Lake on the way to Silverton

Santa Fe

Taos Plaza

Vietnam Memorial on the Enchanted Loop near Angel Fire - Incredible.

Old house on the way from Taos to Chama

Chama NM--we don't have time for this one, but I want to take take the scenic route 64 over across the top of NM to Durango. That's how I went when I left this campground.

Over near Bayfield. Jack and Lizzie both swam in Lemon Reservoir. The first time I went with Rich and it had just been through a massive fire. Six years ago there were signs of recovery. I'm wondering how much more recovery it has made.

Great Place to Eat - I sat on the deck overlooking the Lake. People working there were so much fun.  

Susan likes all the amenities so I made reservations in places that had wifi and cable ($$$)...and let's not forget nail salons fairly close. LOL
These were just some pictures from my last trip. Hope to show Susan and also see some new things.
It's six years since Jack and I set out for the west in my Jayco. It was really a very good trailer. I would have bought another, but they didn't have the all four hard sided models in the length I wanted like they did then plus I imagine it would have cost more than the trailer I have.

Jul 29, 2016

The Jeff Couch Salesman Just Called and Was Irate

He was foaming at the mouth as he shouted, called me names, asked me what was wrong with me and tried to intimidate me. Forest River had contacted him about my blog so I guess he caught some heat when it should have been the service department. "Do you think Forest River is going to pay you for any warranty work that was done, now? Do you think I will ever help you, again?" he screamed. 

I have always been reasonable in my communication with the dealer and the Hensley Hitch people. I couldn't get the owner, Jeff Couch, to call me back, but the salesman had always been civil. I'm very surprised that he didn't consult with the service department before calling me and acting like a complete moron.

The roof was the straw that broke my back. I guess my blog was the straw that broke his.  More proof of what kind of organization Jeff Couch RV Nation is. I'm glad they are in my rear view window.

Jul 27, 2016

End of Nightmare--Three Way Campers Comes Through

This morning I got a call that my trailer was ready. I was shocked. I really didn't expect to get a call for a month. If you have read recent posts, you know this is all about my 2016 Forest River Surveyor travel trailer bought From Jeff Couch RV Nation in Ohio.
The Place to Go

All issues including the bad (brand new from factory) roof fixed thanks to Three Way Campers (link) in Marietta, GA. They were wonderful. They fixed my slide and my roof, and installed a new hitch. Keep in mind that this is a brand new trailer that has been out once. Here are some pictures of the roof when I brought it in.

I can't say enough about every person I came in contact with or worked on my trailer at Three Way Campers. I'd like to try to name all names, but there's always the pitfall of leaving someone off. Trust me, though, there isn't one of them that didn't treat me with friendly and courteous service. The trailer pulled just fine all the way home in horrific traffic on I75 and open road on I285 and curves. Didn't even know the camper was back there. I cannot begin to tell you the stress that's off my back. Three Way Campers also has a great store--everything from soup to nuts. I will be having all my service performed here, and if I were younger I'd buy another trailer. I watched them deal with customers who had humongous 5th Wheels, Class As and Cs, and little trailers like my own. All customers, including me, walked out with smiles on their faces. I just can't thank everyone enough.

I took one big lesson away from this nightmare and I hope anyone who reads this knows how important it is to KNOW your dealer before buying, and will pass it along to anyone who is thinking of buying a Forest River or any trailer, really. Don't go for the lowest price. Go to a dealer you know. Fortunately, now I have the pleasure of knowing that I can take my trailer to a place, nearby, that I trust. They went above and beyond to treat and charge me more than fairly. I'll be going back in, soon, to have a slide topper installed.

Colorado, Here I Come!

Jul 25, 2016

Really Forest River?

I won't go into all of the harrowing experiences that I've had since my last update. I finally was able to get my Forest River 2016 Surveyor to an honest dealer about 20 miles from my home. He's fixing the slide which is under warranty. However, he took pictures of the roof and the whole roof needs to be redone. He said he'd never seen a sloppier job on a roof. I'm not sure if this is covered under warranty or not. In either case, it needs to be done and I'm having a topper installed over the slide. This is on a trailer not a year old and one camping trip and a terrifying trip home. If nothing else, I have learned that I should have purchased the trailer locally; not based on the best price. I wasn't aware that dealers don't really like to do warranty work on a product that wasn't purchased from them. This is the last trailer I'll be buying because of my age, but this is a warning to all, for what it's worth, about the Forest River Product. Don't buy it!

The hitch was never installed correctly by the Forest River Dealer in Ohio (Jeff Couch RV Nation). Not only did they install the hitch incorrectly, the service guy was so lazy that he told me that I didn't need chains or a break with a Hensley Hitch. He said he didn't have the extra links to add. I suggested (with the help of a very nice gentleman customer) that he get in his vehicle and get them from wherever he needed to get them from. Had I not owned a trailer before, I might have believed him and people might have been killed on I75 or I285 on my way back home to Atlanta. Fortunately, I stood my ground. The walk through was a joke, too. If it weren't for questions I asked and had to drag out of the guy, he would have just handed me my keys and waved good bye.

I've had three Mobile RV Services try to correct the installation because I was unable to hitch up. Last Thursday I managed to get hitched up after four hours in 90+ degrees heat. The wild ride to the dealer was the icing on the cake. When the lady checking me in, she told me they stopped doing warranty work on Forest River (Forest River gave me their name via an email response) three years ago, I was ready to sell the trailer right there and then. Fortunately, I had spoken to the owner or service manager on the phone and he said he would help me and happened to walk by as I arrived and told her that he had okayed this one.

As I stood at the door with the service manager and several other gentleman, "I can see from here that that hitch is not installed correctly." I almost fell over. As it turned out...two more pins had never been installed which was the reason for the wild ride. That makes it the four main bolts to keep the trailer hitched and three pins. The dealer claimed they had no left over parts and it took the 9 hours to install. The quality of my Jayco trailer on a scale from 1-10 (10 being the highest) was a 9-1/2 (tail lights were a problem). The Jayco dealer a 10. The quality of the Forest River product and dealer = 1. 

I had to give up the Hensley Hitch. This local dealer said he could install it correctly, but the injury to my arm and wrist will not allow me to pull and push the OCL adjustments. My wrist swelled up when I was hitching. It's being replaced with an Equalizer. Hensley was cooperative giving me directions by phone, but did not have a representative to send to help me. The hitch was very expensive but I put safety first. I knew they had a buy back program. I'm embarrassed to say that the buy back amount was only $600 on a hitch that cost me over $3K so that's pretty much of a joke. They will sell it to someone else for 3K by their own admittance. The dealer has assured me that with my one ton truck and small trailer that I will be just as safe with the equalizer and it will be easier for me to hitch up. He verified that I had hitched the Hensley correctly, but said with it moving around so much and that it did nothing as it was installed--just dead weight on the trailer. The part in the process they say is the hardest is backing the truck into the hitch. After all my practicing, I found that to be the easiest part.

So, I'm feeling pretty stupid, right now. I couldn't take what might wind up being the last trip to the west coast in my life, have a broken wrist and arm (soft cast, now), lost at least 3K on the hitch (includes the mobile service charges), The slide cover is my choice and I would have gotten it even if everything was fine.

I'm hoping to go to Colorado for September and October which will ease my pain somewhat, and of course do some winter and spring camping on the east coast with good friends and cross my fingers that I can take off again for the Pacific Northwest next spring. I'm waiting to leave reviews at Couch RV until after everything is said and done. My kids told me to just cut my losses (their inheritance) :) and be glad that I finally found an honest dealer, and that other than my own injuries no one else was hurt.  I could take legal action, but as my kids agreed with me saying the trailer is for my enjoyment and relaxation, not for more stress.

If this post is helpful to only one person who visits my blog, I'm glad I wrote it. To them, I ask, please spread the word. Hope everyone out in blogland is well and happy.

The Good Old Days

Jul 6, 2016


I'm posting from my iPhone for the first time so who knows how it will turn out. This is an update. Finally got the hitch fixed. Arm still in limbo-hope to get cast off tomorrow and start physical therapy. I went to open the slide on my forest river surveyor 2016 and the slide wouldn't open. I finally got someone to take a look at it, and he tried his best to get it to work but it would only go out about 3 inches. He told me I'd be best taking it to a warrantee dealer.

Because of my arm, and though the hitch is fixed, I still can't hitch up because of my arm so I'll have to have AAA tow it to a dealer. So here it sits in the driveway, brand-new and only one trip under its belt and a dangerous drive home.

I know they're are much sadder things going on in this country and in this world and I have a very good friend who just lost her dog – – I can't even find words to write about things like that anymore, but for those of you contemplating buying a trailer, buy from a reputable dealer, and make sure you can wind the slide in yourself if it fails. I had no slides in my last trailer but in our motorhomes, we had hydraulic slides and never had a problem. Just to catch up and hi to everyone or anyone if they're left reading.

May 9, 2016


Sorry.blogger glitch

Hitch was installed completely wrong by dealer - Jeff Couch RV Nation

Warning to all. I was lucky I didn't kill anyone on the road. Hensley being cooperative. Please make sure if you buy a Hensley that your dealer knows how to install it. I thought not putting the pin in was the worst of it. The four main bolts that keep the hitch on the trailer were never installed. It took 1K miles for the hitch to slide down far enough to give me trouble on the way home. There is so much more to the story but I can"t write it with one finger on my left hand. Just wanted to warn my friends in blogland. This has ruined everything for me including being able to get in the water to keep my back and SI joints from reverting back to a painful situation. So a brand new trailer sits in my driveway looking perfectly normal, but is a LETHAL WEAPON.

No trip west for me. :(


May 8, 2016


I got a black cast so no one could sign it! Right!

May 2, 2016

What No Sleep Will Do To You

I went back to correct grammar, etc., in the past three posts and even I couldn't follow what I had written. My kids will get a laugh out of this one day. So, I'm sitting here waiting for a mobile RV guy to come.

The sun came out this morning, I got some sleep, so I decided to try to fix the hitch. I started by cleaning it up as I had grease all over the place. Then I loosened the spring bar and...


Hensley is being very cooperative although they have no representative in the area that could come out to fix it but whoever I can find to fix it will have their full attention over the phone. They are concerned since I didn't touch the latch for the ball and hitch that whoever put the ball into the hitch put the wrong size. The saga continues...