June 2nd 2015
Wednesday, July 1st
First I travelled to the States to dispose of our motorhome of last year, the 2001 Trek, its main problem was ME, I first saw the Trek’s when they were introduced in the 90s and thought they were the ideal motorhome, very short by American standards, but with all the American amenities, that one has come to expect on American RV, the bed came down in the middle of the lounge and so this kept the length of the motorhome down to 26 feet instead of 34+.
The one I bought was on a Chevy workhorse chassis which even the Trek lovers (the group that thinks they are the ultimate) admit was not the best choice so I is pleased see it go and in its place I was intending to buy a car and wander around the states staying in medium priced motels.
That was until I worked out what that was going to cost me and I considered that to be dead money, because it’s was spent and I had nothing to show for it.
ISo was back to the drawing board and I started looking to see what I could get in the form of a European motorhome that was made in America. I discovered that they have just started making them to what I call European specifications but they are at the oldest three years old and beyond what I was prepared to spend for something that was possibly going to be two summer vacations.
It’s interesting to note that Hymer, the German company that probably makes more motorhomes every year than any other company is starting to look at America, but still going to be another two or three years before we see anything of their type of motorhome on the American roads.
They have been helped by Fiat buying Chrysler and deciding to make the Fiat Ducato in Mexico and they are looking for a company to build to their specifications in America.
But I can’t wait for that, so to cut a long story short it looked like the most practical purchase was an ex-rental 2009 Majestic 23 a which is just under 24 feet long and has all the basic items that you see on a European motorhome except it is not streamlined, uses twice as much fuel per mile, and is 700 KG heavier than the motorhome I drove to China.
Saturday, July 11
I flew out on Thursday, July 9 with an eventful flight from Christchurch to Auckland, of course that was too easy and when I arrived the international terminal I found my flight was delayed by six hours, this of course meant I would well and truly miss my connection to Phoenix, and as I was originally just going to fly into LA I had not booked the flight all the way through to Phoenix, and made a separate booking of my own, so in doing that the airline is not interested in helping you, but that is life, I found it does not matter whether you do your own booking or booked through a travel agent something often goes wrong, and if you do your own booking you know exactly who to blame and hopefully you learn.
Eventually we arrived in LA, about the time I was due to be arriving in Phoenix, so I wandered down to American Airlines which is right next door to the international terminal, and whilst I was had originally booked to fly on United it was quite a lot further so I took the easiest option. The next flight that they could put me on to Phoenix was 6:30 p.m. so I had a five hour wait and I took this time to send emails to the RV company and the taxi that was due to pick me up so that sorted that out.
Arriving in Phoenix I had the courtesy car from Days Inn collect me, collapsed into the bed with a sleeping pill, sleep was still evasive, but no matter what, morning always arrives, I had told the taxi company to collect me after 8 a.m. and they were there at 7:45 a.m. so it was all out to the RV company arriving before the sales executive, he arrived as normal starting time of 8:30 a.m. and very soon we were busy signing documents, looking over the RV, it and all was in pretty good condition having done 143,000 miles, of course there were signs of wear, but then the price was appropriate. All that took about two hours and then I was on the way to Camping World where I bought my second Rand McNally GPS, I'd left the first one with the Trek not thinking I would be buying another motorhome, but there you are it's very useful in finding parking spots and campgrounds so really is almost a must if one is are being across America.
I had a good look around all the accessories they have for motorhomes and made the decision I'd come back when Luda arrived from Minneapolis on Saturday, so from Camping World I was off to the closest Walmart and for the rest of the day I was backwards and forwards equipping the motorhome with all the things one needs, all the things I left in the Trek.
My impressions of the Majestic ex-rental so far as that is what I would call a bread-and-butter RV with no jam at all! It's obvious were going to have to put some extra bits on it, which is what I expected, but driving round Phoenix so far it has been much better than the Trek.
It is extremely hot here in Phoenix and last night was very uncomfortable with the amount of heat but I guess one comes to Phoenix in the middle of summer one must expect that.
Saturday, July 11
All morning the SES light on the dash was on indicating that one should service the engine soon so we took the RV back to Cruise America to get their comments on that, they did not like that and asked if we could wait around until Monday, we weren't quite sure what our program was so we left it that we would telephone them by 8.30am from somewhere about what to do, so we headed off back to Walmart to carry on with our shopping and equipping the motorhome for the travel, that covered bedding, cutlery, dishes, and all the other bits and pieces,
We decided to go to out motorcamp for the night as we're getting concerned about the refrigerator, was almost warmer in the deep freeze that was in the motorhome so we went to the motorcamp and connected up to electricity and that brought the temperature down the way it should but was still something to complain about on Monday. Sunday we went back to Walmart to carry on with our shopping and even in the motorcamp plugged into the electricity and with the air conditioner going it was uncomfortably hot so if you are thinking are going to Arizona in July forget it.
Monday, July 13
While they had at their we had them check over the refrigerator and they ended up cleaning out the burner system and replacing the main circuit board so hopefully we will have no more problems with a hot deep freeze!
While we were waiting I started chatting with a guy that had an knee brace to find out why, evidently had had an knee replacement and slipped on a marble floor doing some damage to one of the ligaments so is left with this knee brace for the rest of his life. Knowing the way the American's sue I asked this question and he was not into that sort of thing!
Evidently the current owners of cruise America are two brothers their father having died in the last five years or so and as they have over 2000 RVs I presume there is no shortage of money, and Mr knee brace had the interesting job of sometimes looking after their vintage car collection, so he took us out into the private area where there was a collection of classic cars, the pride of place was a $1,500,000 1959 Ferrari, and it stablemates were several Aston Martin's, several classical racing Jaguars, several Porsche and a collection of American cars which do not merit a mentioning.
As it was taking a little bit longer to finish the motorhome than we thought, so are the sales consultant took us off to Denny's for lunch, a lot of people turn up their nose at the mention of Denny's, but they serve good clean food with no fuss or bother. We did note that the American menu was substantially different to the New Zealand one, but then the real Chinese restaurants in China are vastly different to the New Zealand version.
It was then time to wander on to Camping World where we decided to buy a pure sine wave inverter to power the computer, we discovered the computer was not operational without being plugged into the power and as these vanilla RVs don't come with an inverter we had to set about and get a simple one. We purchased a 400 watt and then I set about trying to decide where to install it and worked out that I'd probably have to drill a hole in the floor which meant buying another electric drill, something I've done for every motorhome, so was off to another motorcamp to be able to plug into the power, and pulling the inverter out of the box I discovered there was a cord suitable for a cigarette lighter and the instructions said as long as the load did not exceed 150 Watt it could be used so that eliminated drilling any holes at all.
Tuesday, July 14
Today we started heading towards the Pacific Ocean and decided we want to go on as much of the scenic route as we could so decided to go through Barstow and it was interesting how we kept on running into parts of the old route 66 on the trip, we did not venture into any of the old route as the heat was so oppressive we wanted to get to the destination as quickly as we could.
We stopped off at a place called Needles with the thought of going into the motorcamp overnight and as we were driving towards it we saw lots of motels advertising a room for the night with high speed Internet put $39.95 so it was with a interesting surprise to find that the motorcamp wanted $45 price to plug in to the power and stay on their premises overnight. This sort of defeats my original thought of how much less travel costs with an RV but at the moment were in what could only be described as the desert so this is not the normal situation.
The adjustments to the refrigerator seem to have worked to a degree, we have a digital thermometer in the deep freeze and in the fridge so we are watching the temperature on a daily basis.
At petrol stations the current trend appears to be to pay for the amount of petrol you want before you place it in your vehicle so you have to guess, so the first time are filled up the RV I gave them $100 which was not enough to top the tank up, at the pump you can use a credit card but you have to enter in your ZIP Code and of course we don't have such a thing in New Zealand, that the Americans would recognise anyhow. The second time I tried to fill up I gave them my New Zealand credit card inside the shop, they put $150 onto the card size able to fill up the tank this time but it only took $68 so eventually I guess I will get it right.
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