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Friday, May 22, 2015

Update on Hazel's Pets and Our Motorhome Repair

I am thinking that Hazel would be pleased at all of the kind words and thoughts expressed on the blog.  Of course, with Hazel being a avid blogger, she really made many, many friends in the "blog world" of both RVing and Greyhound Dogs.

Do you know I had
 over TWO THOUSAND hits
yesterday on the blog????   
Yes, over 2,000 of you wonderful folks tuned in to find out about Hazel.  

She would probably be embarrassed a little bit, not wanting too much attention.  But on the other hand, I think she would be smiling about how many lives she has touched over the years with her blog and friendliness in volunteering at various RV campgrounds. 

As for the pets.... I have good news to update with.  Chica the cat is now settling into a new home with two sisters, and two kitties as playmates.  Hera and Power are happy and getting great attention with the rescue group.  Applications are being processed.  If you care to make a donation to help with their care, the rescue group is:
Monica  Davis
Adoption Coordinator
Greyhounds Verde Valley
(928) 634-7250

Knowing what I know with the Wisconsin Sheltie Rescue that I help with.... It takes a while for a rescue group to match up the right dog with the right home.  For example, they don't place an active young dog with an older sedentary person.  They don't place a nervous anxious dog in a household busy with kids and visitors coming and going.  They don't place a dog with a lot of health issues with a family who is gone most of the day, instead of finding a home with someone who can observe, administer meds and be available for vet visits.  

I know a gentleman in our sheltie rescue who ONLY takes the older geriatric dogs. It's amazing how many people give up a beloved dog when it get old and has age-related health problems.  The excuses are usually lame, and in many cases it's just that they don't want to deal with the problems of an aging dog!  Sometimes it's breeders who don't want to have an old "unproductive" dog on their hands anymore taking up their kennel space and vet costs.  ARGGHHH!!!   Well, John Stiever opens his heart and home to those elegant old geriatric dogs and gives them a comfortable loving home for whatever time they have left.  People like John are a treasure in the rescue world! 

So matching up the right person for the right dog is an important step.  I wrote to Monica at the Greyhound Rescue with some of the "likes" and "dislikes" that I know of both Hera and Power, hoping to help the foster folks figure them out and make them comfortable.  A friend is helping to find the rest of Hera's vet records so they get a good picture and history of the dogs. 

I think Hazel would be pleased that this many people are helping her wonderful pets to adjust to her untimely passing.  Maybe she can really rest in peace now.  

Yesterday I kept myself busy.  

We had a slow leaking hub seal on the motorhome rear axle on the driver's side.  Steve had contacted a big truck repair place about 20 miles away to see if they could do the job.  We ran the motorhome over there last week for a quick "look see" and make sure they had the parts in stock.  (better than bringing it in, having it torn down and setting there in the way for days on end)  Our motorhome is built on a custom diesel chassis from the Safari company, from it's own division called Magnum Chassis.  So it is not common, nor found in most, if any, parts books to just look up a part number and be good to go.

They said they could do the work and get the parts, and made an appointment for us to come in on Thursday at 7 a.m. Since Steve doesn't have to be to work until 8 a.m., he drove it over there and I followed in the Tracker.  

B & C Repair
3339 Brodtke Rd. 
Reedsville, WI 54230

We arrived to a neat clean shop, with multiple bays plenty large enough to take our motorhome.  It is located out in a country setting next to the owners home, about a mile off a main highway. We were escorted into our spot in a service bay at 7:05 a.m.  

Steve went over the work order with the guys, then he chocked the front tires, and raised our back axle up on our own hydraulic levelling jacks.  (rather than risk someone putting a floor jack through a part of our underbelly)  Chocking the tires is necessary because our emergency brake is the type that clamps around the driveshaft, so the front wheels are free to wheel if the back wheels are off the ground.  Some RVers are not aware of that and can run into troubles with a rolling vehicle or collapsed hydraulic jacks if they don't chock the front wheels securely.

Then Steve had to leave and head out for work at the park.  I stayed behind with the dogs, my coffee cup, my laptop...  inside the rig and comfy cozy while they went to work on our rig! I could even pull in tv stations while inside of the building.  So I could watch my quilting shows on PBS at 9 a.m.  It was comforting to be able to glance out at any time and see what they were doing.  (the dogs slept) 

I watched some of the progress from time to time.  The tech working on our rig was friendly, informative, and didn't treat me like a "dumb woman" if you know what I mean?  He was working diligently on our rig, and other techs were buzzing all around us with other jobs.  I think about 6 big semi and diesel trucks were being serviced at the same time as our motorhome.  

The two wheels were removed and the parts torn down to change out the seal on the driver's side.  He was working and I noticed all the tools were clean, organized and neat as he worked.  That is a good sign.  A tech who respects his tools is going to hopefully respect your rig and do a good job too. 

I noticed the drips on the very clean floor... oh my! 
Not to worry, he soon took out a steam cleaning device and not only cleaned off the hub and brakes and wheel rims, but also the floor was cleaned up right away too.  The entire shop was clean and as each big diesel truck was backed out, the floor underneath was cleaned with a big scrubbing machine!

Once the seal was replaced and the tires put back on.. now it was job number two that we asked for.  We had the tech drain out the old fluid in our differential and replace it with new synthetic fluid.  Yes, it's costly, but it is worth doing the changout at the same time as the other work being done.  It took 13 quarts at $10.75 a quart.... almost $140.00 for that fluid.  Since our rig is almost 20 years old, it's a safe bet that with only 67,000 miles it's never been replaced by the previous owners.  Now was a good time. 

The repairs were complete before 11 a.m.  The tech even pointed out some other things to me to watch underneath along the drivetrain and engine.  Yup, I crawled right underneath there with him and saw what he was talking about.  The floors were clean so it was not a problem at all.  We set the rig down on the floor and the job was done! 

I removed the chocks, locked up the compartment with the controls of the levellers, and cautiously backed the rig out of the bay.  

Then it was time to go pay the bill.....  ack!   That is never a good time.   It wasn't as bad as I thought, and with 3.5 hours of labor, all the fluid and parts, it came to just over $500.00 with tax.  As I was going out the door, they double checked that I had locked the latches on the compartment door for the leveller controls.  How thoughtful was that?  

I drove it on home, with two snoozing doggers at my side.  It was a sunny morning to wind along the country roads.  Through farm land and fresh tilled soil.  I noticed some of the fields have tiny rows of shiny leafed-out plants poking up already.  Corn!   There are even some places cutting their first crop of hay!  I couldn't take any pics of course, because I was driving 40 ft of big diesel power down a crowned country road.  Have to pay attention, ya know!    Wandered my way through the tiny towns of Clarks Mills, Valders and Hayton... and home to Chilton.  

Normally it takes two people to back our rig into our driveway.  We live in town, but it's right on hwy 57 and four lanes of traffic.  It's only 25 mph, so I usually block the traffic as Steve backs the rig in.  Since I was by myself, I just drove it nose first into the drive.  Next time that we go out, we will have to back it out into the street instead.  

Soooo all in all, B & C Repair gets five stars from us! 

Why am I giving it such a glowing report?  Well, you would think nowadays that kind of service would be the norm in a professional industry.  Sadly, that good service and reliable work is usually the exception.  

With a motorhome that cost us more than our current home, we ARE cautious whenever subjecting it to someone else's care and workmanship.

Here is a previous experience we had with our Coachmen gas motorhome: 

One time (with our last gasser Coachman motorhome) we brought it over on a Thursday to a local guy in Oconto for manifold gasket replacement and grinding.  Well, they broke studs on the manifold, and it took longer, and then it turned into maybe Friday.... then maybe after the weekend ....    our rig was not being done in a timely manner at all.

Well, we drove past on Friday night after their place was closed, but our rig was left in the parking lot with parts strewn all over the ground, wide open compartment doors, and then we drove up closer to look, and sure enough, on the other side our entry door was WIDE open!  For the whole weekend our contents could have been subject to theft, vandalism, or wild animals getting inside. WHEW!  

We locked it up ourselves with our extra key, and secured what parts we could.  Our calls to the owner went on his answering machine.  It turns out he left out of state and our rig was going to be finished up by "the boys"!!!!   It was left in the lot because when it was up on jacks it would have been too tall for his repair bay!  

When it was finally done, there was grease tracked in by shoes on the light green carpeting and my handwoven woolen rugs, big greasy hand prints on the white wall board by the door, and the icing in the cake?? Fifty miles down the road all the oil pressure dropped and we were dead on the side of the road!!!!!   

It seems they didn't seat a rocker arm or something flat before putting on the manifold and we lost all our oil pressure!   That necessitated a costly $500 big rig tow back to the shop... and the owner had to now take responsibility to pay for it, and fix it RIGHT.  We had to cancel our weekend plans of setting up at a craft show 200 miles away and make other arrangements. We were NOT happy! 

In his defense, he did have a funeral in Kentucky to go to, and he did end up paying for the tow truck, the new repair, and also did the other manifold gasket and reground for us on the other side too, making sure we didn't have any more damage. He at first asked for additional fees.  But after our determined refusal---  Free of charge. 

Soooo THAT is why we don't trust repair places, and we sit and wait with our rig and get a one day repair promise.  LOL


  1. Yes! a good experience is worth telling others about. We go to one place in Lousiana that is also in a rural, at home setting and really appreciate the excellent work. These guys don't need big corperate add budgets. Our good words help others find them.

    1. and we can post both Positive and Negative experiences on http://rvservicereviews.com/ and use it as a handy reference when travelling and in need of an RV repair

  2. Thank you for the update on the fur kids. So happy to know they are being well taken care of. Don't you just love it when you find a repair place that you really like and feel like you can trust. One of the best feelings ever.

    1. Yup.. it should be normal to have great service at the prices we pay for it.... but sadly it's not the norm. We have to keep supporting the good ones and tell others the best we can!

  3. Thank you so much for posting about the status of Hazels pets. As a pet owner, I know that if something happened to us, I would want someone to care for our cats. (please remember that if something should happen) :) I'm sure Hazel would be concerned about them too.

    I'm going to make a donation to the rescue group now. I have seen from little Binney that these groups do a wonderful job.

  4. Thanks for the update Karen. Although the situation is a sad one, it's good to see from a single pet owner, that her dogs are taken care of after no one was around ... plus from people she may have not known well. Also thanks again for letting the "blog world" know about Hazel. I remember the first time I read her blog and saw pictures of her driving with the greyhounds getting their excising along side her SUV .... I thought that was a great idea for that breed of dog and their background. She sounds like a great person and friend.

    1. Yes, she gently taught them to pace alongside of her SUV slowly in campgrounds or side roads. Her previous greyhounds also did this too. Her recumbent trike was perfect for this task, and both dogs learned to not cross over in front, and keep pacing along. Being retired racing hounds, they know the drill. LOL

  5. I had an outer axle gasket leak on our motorhome with 34k miles. I went to a truck shop down the road from the campground and he told me to check the axle vent, even let me use his tools. Turned out the axle vent was stopped up (I had to take it off to check it). You may want to get Steveio to check it. The shop sold me one say and inexpensive to replace. After I replaced it I took it to them and they changed out the outer axle gasket.

  6. The thing that really worries me is if my wife and I pass away before our beloved Shih-Tzu pups do, what will become of them. They are spoiled and on special diets that my wife cooks for them every day. The oldest one is snuggled next to me in my rocker/recliner as I write this.

  7. Thank you for the update on the pets, Karen. I'm sure all three of Hazel's pets will find great homes. She had them trained well, and they are used to close quarters as well as being left alone in her motor home when she was out for the day, so they should fit in with any loving family. And if we can "nudge" things down on earth from heaven, maybe her hand will be in the choice of families. I like to think so. :)

  8. Thanks for the update Karen. hazel sure was much loved, aye? You have dogs too! I think I like you RV'ers a lot. So many of you are animal people. I travel with Mum and Dad. I LOVE it! Cities freak me out. Give me the bush! That workshop sounded great and you could stay in your vehicle while it was being fixed. How good is that? Thanks again for keeping us informed about Hazel and her pets.

  9. Wonderful filling us in about Hazel. I was fairly new to her blog, but loved it and followed her and the animals closely. I was just amazed at the courage of this wonderful woman, and her love for her family of the dogs and cat. Thank you so, so much for notifying us and easing our minds about her "family.!" Bless you and love your blog.

  10. Hi Karen, Thank you so much for the update about Hazel's fur babies--it's a comfort knowing they will be cared for and loved as much as she did. Loved seeing so much care & professionalism put into the work done on your beautiful motorhome--that seems to be a rarity these days. And you--you're a Wonder Girl! Not only do you know how to drive that 40-footer but you know her inner workings on an awe-inspiring level! Well done! I loved the flower pot you decorated with your Grands footprints! I'm going to be out in Ohio with my 2 youngest Grands in August & that project is now on our list of fun things to do! I'm painting one of the bedrooms today--hope your day is fun also!


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