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About Backpacker

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    Full Member
  • Birthday 03/03/1951

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Austin, TX
  • Interests
    Boondocking as a basecamp for backpacking in the western US and Canada. I am a long time backpacker, climber, canyoneer, and explorer in search of the next incredible view from the door of my coach and the door of my tent.

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  1. I am a full-timer, having purchased a 2015 Bounder 33C in January of 2016. My immediate problem is that my windshield wipers are not working. With the help of a Ford dealer in Provo, UT, I discovered the fuse is good so I apparently need a new motor. As I said, I am a full-timer on the way to Glacier National Park and Fleetwood customer service can locate no dealer in the Provo/Salt Lake City, Ogden area that can even offer an appointment to see me less than 10 days. Frankly, at this point, I believe Fleetwood should call their "Customer Service" center the "No Customer Service" center, which I will explain below. -------- First, I would appreciate any advice. I have an extended warranty to pay for service but, from experience, I know that waiting 10 days in the Salt Lake City area for an appointment will probably be followed by an additional wait while they order a new motor. I am on the road and passing through. -------- Second, I want to give you a history of the level of access to customer service I have had since March, both to vent my frustrations with it and to seek any advice from full-timers who have experience dealing with this. Before I begin, I am quite happy with La Mesa RV in Tucson. My huge problem is the very poor availability both of service appointments for my Bounder and long turnaround times for ordering parts. Here's what my year has looked like so far: 03/23/17 Called Fleetwood c/s for Tucson area service centers to fix stuck slide-out. Soonest appointment was 04/06/17. Boondocked 14 days waiting on appointment. 04/06/2017- 05/05/2017 Waited an additional 29 days for parts arrival and completion of repairs. 05/08/17 Having traveled 250 miles from Tucson toward Las Vegas I discovered what turned out to be a failed toilet pump. Called Fleetwood c/s and got Las Vegas dealer who never returned call. Called La Mesa RV in Phoenix and 2 month wait on appointment. Earliest appointment was at La Mesa in Phoenix for 05/18/17 (250 return miles + another 10 day wait). 05/18/2017 - 06/07/2017 an additional 19 days waiting on a pump and repair completion. 06/14/2017 I first discovered my windshield wipers didn't work. I was in Page, AZ and decided to wait to arrive in the Salt Lake City area to get service. 06/16/2017 After getting numbers to call from Fleetwood c/s, I found nobody can see me for at least 10 days and, of course, the delay will most likely result in waiting an additional time for a Fleetwood windshield wiper motor. (Note: Ford Motor service got me into a Provo Ford dealer the first thing the next morning to assure the w/s wiper fuse was good. However, the wiper motor is Fleetwood. They were kind enough to offer to replace if I got the part but that might jeopardize my extended warranty claim.) 06/16/2017 A screw fell out of a support for my driver's side shade. It is a wood screw and the threads in the wood frame are stripped. The shade is now drooping on one side ----------------- How do full-timers deal with this. All Fleetwood's customer service does is provide a list of numbers to try, period. Their tech support people didn't even know where the interior fuse box was. He assured me it was on the firewall to the left of the break pedal when it was a pop-off cover on the dash to the left of the steering wheel. Fleetwood customer service seems to be no more than a SHAM. Please help me solve my windshield wiper motor problem. I am in Provo, UT, headed north through Twin Falls, ID to Glacier National Park.
  2. Thanks so much for your advice. Maybe mine is a pipe dream but here it is. While NPS service would be a means of giving back to preserve nature's wonders for future generations, I am looking for paid work that is in line with my interests and experiences as a solo back country explorer. I have read and been fascinated by the history and pioneers of Jackson Hole and Yellowstone. I have had solo encounters with a bear and their cubs by Amphitheater Lake and a moose and her calf in Cascade Canyon. I've climbed into deep remote canyons and up mountains in Big Bend National Park and read the stories of early pioneers to that area. I've been to canyoneering school in southern Utah and climbed in Potrero Chico in Mexico. I have no great skills at these things but I love adventure, remain very committed to more, and have a high pain threshold. I want to find a way to be able to share those experiences as well as my interest in the development in lighter, more compact, backpacking gear that make my own high country experiences more enjoyable. I am looking for seasonal / part time work to allow me flexibility to seek new adventures. For this summer, I am looking at Wyoming but in the fall I will be exploring the eastern face of the sierras or the slot canyons of Utah. Let me know if you have any suggestions about what opportunities might be available.
  3. I just turned 65, retired and am now a full timer, I have a 34' class A gas rig outfitted with solar and cell signal and WiFi boosters for boondocking and a history and love western Wyoming backpacking in the Tetons and Wind River ranges in Wyoming. I would like to find seasonal work in western Wyoming, preferably with the national park service or the forest service. Could you please advise where and how to best find and apply for these jobs?
  4. I recently purchased a 2015 Fleetwood Bounder (34' class A gas coach) and added 960W of solar with 400ah of lithium storage and a cell booster and WiFi booster for remote communications so I can do considerable boondocking in the western US and Canada. I have been down about 100 miles of BLM and forest service roads in the last month and am concerned about wear and tear on the coach caused by the intermittent washboard surfaces and potholes. One trap I constantly fall into is speeding up when the road smooths out only to be going too fast when washboard suddenly reappears. I just got off of a 30 mile one way trip along FR-22 to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, averaging 10-15mph and still hitting the brakes when the road suddenly got rough. Are there equipment upgrades I can purchase to improve the suspension on these back roads?
  5. Posting 5 times was not intentional. When I clicked the "Post" icon, the command line displayed "waiting" for several minutes so I assumed the server had locked up and was not posting. I finally went on to other tasks and, when I cam back, I had a "server error" displayed. I apologize for the resulting trash.
  6. This is a follow-up to my question about tow packages that focused on brands and not specifics of the auxiliary braking system. I have read horror stories about both the Blue Ox Patriot, and the Roadmaster InvisiBrake applying the tow car brakes at the wrong time and ruining tires and brakes. I am a novice at this and would much prefer the additional cost of an expert installation to the risk of vehicle damage. I just purchased a Fleetwood Bounder in January and a Jeep Patriot tow car last week and, in about two weeks, will be taking them from Austin, TX to Springfield, OR. My RV dealer in San Antonio carries Blue Ox tow gear, and currently has the coach to correct punch list items. It would be easiest for me, a single guy, to drive the Jeep from Austin to the dealership and have the installation done there. However, I don't want to purchase a Blue Ox Patriot if it has a bad reputation for malfunctioning. Please please let me know your thoughts and experiences in this matter.
  7. I just purchased the Bounder and the Jeep and need help finding the right tow package. My biggest concern is whether I need an auxiliary brake system for the Jeep, which is about 3200 lbs. Do I need an auxiliary brake system? I was leaning toward Roadmaster's invisibrake but in searching the IRv2 forum saw repeated accounts where a short due to improperly designed wiring cause the tow cars brakes to lock and ruined both tires and breaks on the tow car. I am getting ready to tour the western US and Canada full time and have two decisions to make. Should I select a Roadmaster or a Blue Ox tow package? Do I need a auxiliary braking system installed in the Jeep? Please share your thoughts.
  8. I wanted to give an update in hopes it might prove valuable. I had insured the motor home with The Hartford though AARP and received a premium about 60% of that quoted by a Good Sam Insurance agent. I thought this might be helpful to share. I have a lease car I am about to turn in insured through Travelers and was quoted a great rate to add the Jeep. However, I decided to add the Jeep to the Hartford coverage even though it was more expensive because, since they are now insuring motor homes, they would be familiar with tow cars. I informed the agent that this would be a tow car and asked if any endorsements were required for coverage to include incidents as a tow car and was told there were none. It seems to me that these big agencies like AARP's or Good Sam Insurance, while manned by registered agents, these seem to big call centers with agents who might not be thoroughly versed in matters like insuring a tow car. While that gives me pause, at least by insuring through the same agency I have recourse for coverage gaps through their errors and ommissions policy.
  9. I just purchased a Fleetwood Bounder last month and, being a newbie, am finding out things I take for granted with a car or not so easy to take care of with a 34' motor coach that is 14' high. I am in Austin, TX but am about to travel full time in the western US and Canada. I'd like to keep my rig clean but finding a place I can fit a 14' high coach into is very difficult. Can anyone share how you find a car wash when you are on the road. Alternatively, should I, perhaps, get a power wash tool and use water at and RV park?
  10. I pick up a new Jeep next week to tow behind my Fleetwood Bounder. I retire next month and am about to become a full timer. I purchased my Bounder last month and have it insured but was planning on carrying the Jeep through my existing insurance carrier. I like the premium but am concerned there might be some exclusion on a standard auto policy for a full time tow car. Can anyone advise on this? Thanks
  11. Thank you all for your advice. It's great to be part of a "fraternity of the road".
  12. I have had my new Fleetwood Bounder gas coach for about two weeks and am a total newbie at how to best accelerate from a stop. In deference to the cars behind me I attempt to get up to speed as quickly as possible but, especially in second gear the engine RPMs get very high before the transmission shifts into third gear. It concerns me that I might be wasting gas and causing undue wear and tear on the engine. Is there a rule of thumb about what maximum RPMs I should accelerate to? If I had this information, I could let the coach accelerate at the rate it was designed for and not be so concerned about pleasing the car drivers behind me.
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