Thursday, September 11, 2008

Winnebago: That's Not Cool. Chapter Six

The last trip we took in the Winnebago Journey was mid-June, during a drought, in blazing hot weather. We went to Lake Texoma to camp with his brothers and families. When I opened the refrigerator door to fix lunch, we realized that the refrigerator had stopped working.

We drove to Sherman, to North Texas RV, to see if they could fix it. They thought they could. As it turned out, they couldn't.

We made three trips over there, and each time they thought they had it fixed. Wick finally figured out that the fan was not working. So he went to Wal-mart, bought a couple of clip-on fans, and rigged them up to keep the refrigerator working at least temporarily.

Mid-week, the inverter blew out. It took out most of the electrical and electronic equipment, including the microwave, both tvs, the radio sitting on the dash (the one we had to use because the built-in dash radio never worked right, even after being replaced), and the sleep number mattress.

We said to ourselves, well, it could be worse. At least we have insurance through First Extended.

Wrong. Well....we did pay for the coverage. It was in force. But the company refused to pay. Their representative promised to come look at the Winnebago, if we would take it to an "authorized service center"--so we took it to Tyler RV, the closest "authorized" service center to our lake home.

It sat there for over two months, and the representative never arrived. When we called, we were told repeatedly, "He'll be there next week."

Finally, we were notified that the claim had been denied, since the Extended Warranty rep said he thought the damage had been caused by a lightning strike, and we should file a claim with our auto insurance company.

Lightning. In the middle of a drought. There had not been a cloud as big as my hand in months.

A couple of years earlier, lightning struck our pickup. It was quite noticeable. Loud. And scary. It blew out the tires, cracked the windshield, and left a big burn mark on the truck and on the ground, as well as blowing out the electrical system. We knew when it struck, even though we were not actually in the truck at the time.

And we were living in the RV. I think we would have noticed, if lightning had struck the Winnebago.

Our auto insurance company said there was no sign of lightning striking. The man at Tyler RV said he couldn't find any sign of a lightning strike. So we told Extended Warranty. They finally sent someone to actually look at the Winnebago.

He said there was no sign of lightning striking. He was their guy, and he told them they were wrong.

They still refused to pay.

So, when we talked to our attorney, we asked him to add Extended Warranty to the lawsuit.

We had to pay for having the tvs, the microwave, and the refrigerator fixed ourselves.

Because the Winnebago sat on the Tyler RV lot for more than two months, we had to rent an apartment. We live too far from our teaching jobs to commute, and the Winnebago was still at Tyler RV, waiting for someone from Extended Warranty to look at it and make a decision.

The furniture in an RV is pretty much built in. When you move in, you bring your clothes, your cooking utensils, and food, and you are pretty much set. Unlike moving into an apartment.

Renting an apartment involved signing a year-long lease.
And buying furniture.
A bed.
A washer and dryer.

So...there we were, still paying a thousand dollars a month for a Winnebago that was immobile, plus rent on an apartment,and furniture we didn't really want or need when we eventually moved back into the RV.

We bought a Winnebago so we could travel.

But whenever we actually traveled, something broke. Every time.

So we were paying for a vehicle that was stationary.

I have to say, I quite resented paying that much every month to live in roughly 300 square feet of space, unable to use the Winnebago for what we bought it for---traveling.

We had the refrigerator fixed, and the tvs, and the microwave. The water heater still was only working intermittently. The rest, we decided, we could live without.

We are still living without those things, nearly three years later, because all our money had gone to pay our lawyer.

And that is the next chapter in our saga.