Meanwhile . . . back at the RV travails.
We were scheduled to be at the Goshen, Indiana fairgrounds for a huge rally beginning on June 16, sponsored by Heartland, the manufacturers of our Bighorn trailer. Goshen and neighboring Elkhart are the center of the RV manufacturing universe. Goshen is also the home of Lippert Components, the company that manufactures the complete chassis for Heartland and many other RV trailer companies.
The shop I visited in Maryland reported serious damage, including a bent frame. They couldn’t do the frame work, but they has a neighboring company quote on it, at $1900. At that point, I would still have to have significant damage to the suspension and running gear repaired. I contracted for the work, but at the eleventh hour, I smelled a rat.
I called Lippert to see if they could repair (actually replace) our running gear prior to the rally, and I got an appointment. On Monday, June 9, alone and with two extra tires aboard, I aimed for another 600 mile run, this time to Goshen. I passed nothing on the road, travelling between 40 and 50 mph as though I was driving on eggs. I stopped in Streetsboro, Ohio, after 385 incident free miles, and I ate the biggest steak I could find! The additional 240 miles on Tuesday got me in early enough to arrange to occupy space in the fairgrounds during the Rally’s advanced days.
On Thursday, Lippert fixed the “frame damage” for $100 and replaced the entire undercarriage with a new, heavier duty package. Total cost: $1400 — $500 less than the quoted frame straightening alone in Maryland. I was so relieved that I splurged on the addition of air ride. In the end, I spent about the same for all new stuff that I would have just to have repairs made in Maryland.
As soon as the Rally was underway and the unit was in its reserved space, I drove back to Maryland – a 1,300 mile, 24 hour round trip – to bring Dot and the family aboard.