Wednesday, November 16, 2022 - We drive from Midland, Texas to Fort Worth and then travel across the top of the metropolitan area to the Wylie/Murphy area. Lots of freeway travel across the metro area north of Dallas, Texas. While pulling in our RV slide-outs in Midland, we experienced great difficulty with the large slide that houses our four recliners and the refrigerator. The left side of the slide did not retract at an even rate, so the top came in before the bottom and the slide was not flush with the outside of the RV. I had to push the slide out a short distance and the retract it while pulling on the bottom-right side of the slide. It made some loud popping sounds and did not like what was going on. Clearly, we had a significant malfunction to contend with and we needed professional help. We called an RV repair man who will come to your RV to make repairs. He had very good reviews online. He said that it was not smart to have any mobile technician work on the slides if they have major problems with their sliding actions. He recommended that we go to a professional who could actually remove the slider from the RV. He recommended that we call "Chris" at Coach Specialists in Plano, Texas. They, too, have very good reviews online. They told us that the earliest that we could take our RV to them was December 6th, and this was a date that had just opened up. It would then take a full week to analyze the problem with the RV. Then it could take up to two or three months to get the parts and repair the unit. We made the appointment for December 6th and are now planning what to do without our RV. Going to be interesting.
After setting up our RV, we contacted Bob and Charlotte Capp and made arrangements to meet for visiting and then dinner at The Cowboy Chicken in Wylie. To our surprise, Heidi and Kent Anderson Butler, Bob and Charlotte's daughter and son-in-law were there. We had a nice dinner and visit with Heidi and Kent along with Bob and Charlotte. After dinner, we dropped Charlotte off at her church since she had music practice for the churches weekly services. Charlotte plays the bass clarinet in the church orchestra. While Charlotte was at her lesson, we drove over to Heidi and Kent's home to get a tour of the new home. Heidi and Kent have a beautiful home and they have decorated very nicely. They are extremely proud of their new home. We then picked up Charlotte before Lisa and I returned to the RV at the East Fork Campground.
Thursday, November 17, 2022 - We drove over to Bob and Charlotte's home where we went on a four-mile walk from their home. There is a very nice bicycle/walking trail a short distance from their home so we could walk to the trail from their home. After the walk, we went to a late lunch at Jersey Mikes.
Friday, November 18, 2022 - We walked for five miles before driving around to look at houses in the region. We actually did a trip around Lake Lavon to see what the houses looked like and how much they cost. We saw lots of homes and the primary construction is brick. Prices were reasonable and within our price capability for a nice home. After looking at homes, we then drove to McKinney, Texas to have a late lunch (early dinner) at a barbeque restaurant called "Hutchins." The food was excellent and the desserts were free. This made the overall cost of the meal very reasonable, even though the meat was a little on the pricey side. So far, Hutchins is the best BBQ location that I have patronized. After lunch/dinner, we drove back to Bob and Charlotte's home where we watched videos and visited.
Saturday, November 19, 2022 - We drove to Bob and Charlottes home where Bob made "ebelskivers," which are a Danish pastry that is about the size of a tennis ball and can be filled with differing jams, jellys, syrups, or more. We also had sausage to go with them. It was a great breakfast. After breakfast, we then drove to Waxahachie, Texas that is about 40 minutes south of Dallas to go to the "Meat Church" store located there. "What is a Meat Church," you may ask. It is a store dedicated to all sorts of equipment and cooking items associated with Texas barbeque. While there, I bought a hat and some rubs for brisket and ribs. The Meat Church has a YouTube channel that covers all aspects of barbequing brisket, ribs, chicken, and more. It is a cool place and Waxahachie is a cool, historic town. After leaving the store, we walked all around the town to check out various shops. We then drove to "The Ugly Heffer" were we had a very nice lunch before heading back to Dallas. Lisa, Chrlotte, and I had burgers, and Bob had a rather large chicken-fried steak. We are definitely putting on some more weight. After we arrived back in Wylie, we went to Braums for ice cream. Braums has great ice cream and only charges $1.99 for two large scoops. A great place to go for a fun dessert.
Sunday, November 20, 2022 - The Capp's went to church and Lisa and I did some work around the RV before heading into Wylie to complete some chores. We washed our clothes and then went to WalMart to shop for groceries. We then returned to our RV where I worked on the blog for most of the afternoon.
We stayed around the RV to do some chores and also to work on the blog. We were invited to meet Bob and Charlotte, Heidi, and Kent, and Kent's dad, "Bob" and his wife Eileen for dinner at MOD Pizza. We had a very good dinner and great conversation before being invited over to Heidi and Kent's home for dessert. Heidi had made some great brownies and we consumed them covered in ice cream and caramel syrup. Yum! Yum! More great conversation until about 9:30 pm when we had to return to our RV. The East Fork Campground closes its gate at 10:00 pm and we would have to park outside the campground and walk to the RV. To preclude this happening, we made sure that we arrived at the campground before 10:00 pm. It was great fun meeting Kent's dad and his wife Eileen. The conversation was fun and the food was great.
Monday, November 21, 2022 - We drove over to Bob and Charlotte's home where I was able to upload several videos to the internet for our blog. The Capp's have a fantastic, fibre-optic WiFi system with tremendous up-and-download speeds. I have been completely spoil when I get to use their WiFi. I have loaded four new videos to the blog so far.
We then went for a four-mile walk from the Capp's home. We are averaging 18-minutes per mile on our walks. After the walk, we decided to drive to the historic, old town Wylie. We walked up and down the main street of Wylie. It turned out that many stores in Wylie are closed on Mondays. About 50 percent of the businesses were not open, so it did not take us long to walk both sides of the main street. After visiting Wylie, we drove to Jersey Mikes for lunch. After lunch, were returned to Bob and Charlotte's home where we made plans for tomorrow. Lisa and I then drove to PetSmart to get a birthday gift for my son, William. We then drove to a place to fill one of our propane tanks. It is cold here, so we do not want to run out of propane. Then it was back to the RV to work on this blog and to create some new videos for the blog.
Tuesday, November 22, 2022 - We drove over to Bob and Charlotte's home and then traveled with them to the town of Plano where we walked for four and a half miles at the Oak Park Park and Nature Trail. Part of the trail was on dirt along the small creek and the rest was on large concrete walkways. We did see some turtles on logs beside the creek. After our walk, we drove to the Coach Specialties RV repair facility where we are scheduled to take or rig on December 6th. We had questions to ask about the slide-out, crack repairs, new furniture/carpet, and other repairs needed. After leaving Coach Specialties, we drove to the Bike Mart in Frisco where we had purchased our EBike for Lisa. It is a large store with lots of bikes and maintenance facilities. We asked about road bike trails or routes and were informed that there were very few available in the area. After leaving the Bike Mart store, we traveled to Plano to a Wendy's for lunch. Then we drove to a nearby commercial park to pick up a pumpkin pie that was being given to Bob and Charlotte by the realtor who sold them their home. After picking up the pie, we drove to Bob and Charlottes home to relax. Bob and I then drove to Kroger's SuperMarket to get some ingredients for the Basic Beef Stew that I had planned to make in our Insta-Pot pressure cooker. We then drove to the RV to get the beef stew meat that I had forgotten to take to Bob's house earlier. When we got back to Bob's house, I began the process of creating the beef stew. Charlotte also made corn bread to go with the stew. We had a very nice meal of beef stew, corn bread, and pumpkin pie for dessert. Lisa and I then returned to the RV to make sure that we beat our 10:00 pm curfew where the gates to the park are closed.
Wednesday, November 23, 2022 - We drove to Bob and Charlotte's home to go on a 4.3 mile walk. Then Lisa and I did a little shopping before returning to the RV to work on the Blog and also then began to prepare a broccoli salad for our dinner planned at Heidi and Kent's home tonight.
Thursday, November 24, 2022 - Thanksgiving Day - We begin the day by working on the blog and doing chores around the RV. At 1:00 pm we are scheduled to meet Bob and Charlotte Capp to go to Ruth's Chris restaurant for Thanksgiving lunch. We will meet Bob's daughter Heidi and her husband Kent Anderson there along with Kent's dad, Bob Anderson and his wife Eileen. Kent went to the effort to set up the entire luncheon and it was a great meal and a ton of fun. It was great to meet Kent's dad and his wife Eileen. It is always fun to meet new people and learn about their history. Then to Bob's for videos
Friday, November 25, 2022 - Black Friday - Lisa, Charlotte, and Heidi go shopping. I work on the blog. Near 1:00 Wayne, Bob, and Kent join the ladies for lunch a a taco shop in Plano Texas. After lunch, the ladies shop and Bob and Wayne head back to Bob's. Bob works on sun-shade for his truck while Wayne works with the blog videos. Three more videos uploaded to the blog.
Saturday, November 26, 2022- Rainy day. We stay at the RV and I work on the blog. Four more videos done. Heavy winds, although the rain has subsided during the afternoon. Cleaned the RV.
Sunday, November 27, 2022 - Five mile walk late for lunch went to Bob's and helped decorate their Christmas tree. Shopped at WalMart on the way home.
Monday, November 28, 2022 - Walked four miles with Bob and Charlotte. Bob mowed the lawn and we went to Office Depot to pick up a new organizer. We then mailed package to Lisa's sister, "Patricia." Then back to the RV where I worked on the blog while Lisa walked a couple more miles.
Tuesday, November 29, 2022 - Meet with Bob and Charlotte to walk. Dinner and a movie planned. Going to see "Devotion."
November 30, 2022 – December 6, 2022 – We used this time to visit with Bob and Charlotte Capp, who live in Murphy, Texas (just northeast of Dallas. We went out to dinner several times at their favorite restaurants. One of the best barbeque restaurants in Texas is “Hutchins” in McKinney, Texas. Great food and free ice cream and peach cobbler for dessert. We also walked four miles per day for four days each week to stay in shape. We walk at a brisk pace and complete the four miles in about one hour and fifteen minutes. Bob is getting in much better shape by walking daily at high speed. His hear rate is coming down and he is feeling much better. Needing less insulin to manage his diabetes. This is pretty impressive.
During this period of time, we are staying in the RV at the East Fork Park north of Wylie, Texas. This is a Corps of Engineers campground that has water and power, but no sewer service. So, Lisa and I had to use the water in the RV judiciously since we did not want to pull in the slides to go dump the tanks not knowing if we could pull them in again. We made it the entire three weeks in a “dry camping” mode. During this three weeks, we also went to two Christmas tree lightings in Wylie and Sachse (pronounced, “Sack-See”). They were a lot of fun. We also visited Braums a couple of times. Braums is a hamburger/ice cream small market with emphasis on ice cream for us. Two scoops for just $1.99; what a deal.
December 6, 2022 - Bob and Charlotte Capp invite us to stay with them once we took the Seismic into the Coach Specialists facility for repair work on our slide out. Coach Specialists have a good reputation and are very honest about the situation with our RV. They said that it could be a week before our RV could be checked out to see what it needed. We left the East Fork campground to take the RV to Coach Specialists for our 9:30 am appointment. We had taken most of the clothing and travel items that we needed to use while staying with Bob and Charlotte.
December 8, 2022 – Coach Specialists ask us to come to the facility so that they could “talk” to us about the repairs needed on the coach. They said that the slide would need significant structural work and the cost would be exorbitant. They were talking in excess of $10,000 to fix the unit. They recommended that we turn it in for a new RV somewhere. That is what we decided to do. The Jayco Seismic has been a great unit, but it is showing signs of excessive wear and tear. We asked them to remove the new inverter and lithium batteries that we had just purchased and to set them aside for us to take to have installed in any new unit that we would buy. They were great. They did exactly what we asked them to do. So, after recovering from the shock, we decided to spend the next few days looking for a new rig. We checked out several different brands of RVs. One was Luxe that are magnificent, but incredibly expensive as we found out later. The cost for a Luxe could be in the $275K range. No way for us. We then thought about another Jayco or Grand Design Momentum. We went to an RV sales facility in Mesquite, Texas (which is their Dallas location) called ExploreUSA and looked at DR Suites. The DR Suites are nice, but they had just received a new 2023 50th Anniversary Edition VanLeigh Ambition on the lot. We took a look at that unit and it had everything that we were wanting on our next unit, so we bought it. VanLeigh is a division of Tiffin Industries that has been making high priced Class A coaches for 50 years. They have transferred the workmanship of the Tiffin coaches into the Ambition which is, essentially, a Beacon with a garage. Bob Tiffin started the company 50 years ago and his son, Van, took over management of the firm some years ago. Now, Van and his son Leigh (hence the name VanLeigh) have begun the fifth wheel and luxury pull-behind side of Tiffin. Leigh is Bob's grandson and he is now the manager of the company with his dad Van. The bottom line is that the quality of the Tiffin's is found in the VanLeigh line of products.
Here are some of the things that we wanted on the rig:
Full-body Paint (it has automotive paint with three coast of clear coat.)
Eight thousand pound axles with disk brakes all around
Hydraulic six-point leveling system
Hydraulic “Rack-and-Pinon” slide outs (on the two main, heavy slides and Swinteck on the lighter bedroom slide)
At least a 13-foot garage – This unit has a 15-foot garage
Bath and a half to support friends who travel with us
A dining room table along with theater seating for the TV
High definition Smart TVs
Quality workmanship in the cabinetry
This unit had all this and more. See the photos in the photo gallery. Turns out that we had to wait a week for a vacationing inverter specialist to return to get the unit serviced for departure and have the inverter installed. We traded in our Jayco to help defray the cost of the new unit. That means we will also have take everything in the Jayco and move it over to the Ambition at some point. Another interesting thing is that the company does not care whether or not we leave the propane bottles or generator in the unit when we trade it in, so we removed both to sell later. We also bought a new camera system for the Ambition that allows for seeing behind the rig while driving and off to both sides too. We are now waiting of the unit to be ready before we leave to see Brandon and Mandy and the kids near Savannah, Georgia. We hope to get there before Christmas, but it is looking more doubtful all the time.
Our game plan is that once we take possession of the new Ambition, we will head for a nearby RV resort with full services and test out the system in the unit. We especially want to test out the installation of the Victron inverter system and lithium batteries. This is a fairly complex system to install, especially since there is already a 1000 watt inverter system in the unit to provide power to the refrigerator from the batteries when we travel. We will test the tanks system, electrical, slides, leveling, and anything that could cause us major problems when on the road.
December 9, 2022 - Friday, January 6, 2022 - The technician who would be installing our inverter in the new Ambition toy hauler was on vacation for a week before Christmas. He was also not experienced with the Victron system that we wanted installed, so he needed to study the system before installing the unit. Tim was also the primary technician available over the Christmas break, so he was pulled to other units other than ours. Finally, I sent Tim some videos that would explain the installation process and, after viewing them, Tim felt that he could install the unit. I am glad that Tim wanted to be sure about the installation before attempting it. He had installed many inverters in the past. To make a long story short, nothing was done on the unit until after the holidays were over and it was into January. Once Tim began the installation, it went great and it was done right. The unit was done on the 5th of January and we were able to bring our Jayco trade-in to the dealer where we parked them side-by-side to move all of our possessions from one unit to the other. This took use two days to accomplish the transfer. Tim also installed a new rear-view camera system with side cameras too.
Thank goodness for Bob and Charlotte Capp and their hospitality. They allowed us to stay with them for the entire month and a half while we transitioned from the old Jayco to the new VanLeigh Ambition. We had a ton of fun walking nearly daily, seeing the sites of the Dallas area, and going out for great food on several occasions. Bob also help me sell the generator out of the old RV. The dealer did not care if the generator was removed from the Jayco that we turned exchanged for the new unit. We later sold the generator to a very nice family from Oklahoma for $3800. Sure helped out with the expenses of the new purchase.