Perfect day on the Oregon Coast
When I left you we were having a perfectly wonderful dinner at King Estate Winery with the Arcuri family. The following morning we loaded up our coaches (they just took possession of a new Monaco Dynasty...beautiful thing!) and headed to the Oregon coast. Last year John and I spent two days at Outdoor Resorts in Newport. It was where Ransom found freedom from the leash for the first time since we adopted him and is without question the nicest RV resort that we've been to anywhere. Once again we had perfect weather and a beautiful view of the ocean, lighthouse and coastal range. And great company! John, Ryan and Tim played horseshoes, we all walked on the beach and the dogs all had a blast.
Horseshoes on the coast
On Tuesday we got up and drove back over the Coast Range to Junction City to drop off both coaches at Guaranty RV Service. Tim and Jeanne's coach needed work on the satellite television and Mary had a long list of issues that had piled up over the nearly two years that we have had her. As we traveled I compiled the list. At the bottom I added, "Vibration in center of coach." John read the list and when he got to the bottom he gave me the skeptical look. I honestly felt like a terrible nag about the whole thing so I told him that if they look and don't find anything I will shut up about it. Then I added that I KNOW something is wrong because all of that shaking isn't normal for any vehicle. Okay. So we pulled into the Guaranty parking lot and a nice man named Dean arrived with his clipboard to go over our list. One by one he jotted the issues down on his sheet. When John got to the vibration issue I almost cringed. John said, "My wife says...and I know she is probably right but...she says that there is a vibration in the back when we are traveling down the road. I can't feel it but she says it vibrates." Dean immediately said, "I believe you have a ridite issue." Puzzled I asked, "What is ridite??" He smiled. "Ride height," he said. "When I walked up to your coach I saw that it is leaning hard to the right. When it isn't level it torques the drive line and you can experience a severe vibration." I had to smirk. I really tried not to but I just had to. And I was immensely relieved that I hadn't lost my mind and imagined the shaking. He told us that leveling the airbags would probably take care of the problem.
Sidebar: I drove the Mercedes home from Florida in July when we sold the house. I followed John, Mary and the Camry roughly 900 miles from Vero Beach to Lexington and a couple of times I mentioned that it looked as though the coach was leaning to the right. I didn't get a response. I mentioned it again when I looked at her parked in her spot at the farm. "The ground isn't level." Okay. I mentioned it again when we left for our trip and I drove behind her to hook up the car in Indiana. I got a scowl so I didn't mention it again until we got to Joseph and I followed her into the campground. "It's really leaning to the right." I was also pointing out that there was a severe banging noise in the engine so the "leaning to the right" thing fell on deaf ears.
So we got into the Camry and drove to the Arcuri's farm where they so graciously put us up for the three days that it was supposed to take to fix Mary's laundry list of problems. Dean also said that they would do a free roof inspection while they had her there. Great!
Three days later we were headed for Junction City again, not to pick up the coach but to pick up some more clothes because they didn't expect to have the work done for another three days. When we arrived Mary was in the shop. We got our things and left, planning to spend part of the upcoming weekend at the Arcuri's home in Terrebonne, Oregon with some friends of theirs. We expected to pick Mary up when we got back. John called first thing on Monday morning. She still wasn't done but he was assured that the work would be done very soon. "How soon is very soon?" I asked. He frowned and said, "I don't know but they better get it done SOON".
In the next three days John's mission was to harass Dean at Guaranty to get the work done on the coach and get it back to us. I know he called at least three times a day. Every time he called he got another reason why the work that yesterday was "being done right now" was actually not done and there were still five things left to do. It was frustrating and bordering on ridiculous.
Nine days as house guests of the Arcuri's was making us feel like freeloaders (they were so gracious) not to mention the problem with Ransom and Andy the cat. Ransom being the little ratter that he is just can't resist chasing things that will run (remember the rabbit up in Pennsylvania?). Well Andy is a wise old black cat who lives in the house full time. Arcuri's have several dogs, one of which lives in the house (her name is Pocket and she doesn't have any teeth) and Pebbles, a highly energetic Border Collie type who sleeps in the kennel but is a house dog when Jeanne is home. So Andy gets dogs. But neither Ransom nor I knew that.
So the first day we moved into the guest room Jeanne was gone and I was busy unpacking with the guest room door open when out of the corner of my eye I saw Ransom and Andy squaring off. Ransom was locked on and Andy's hair was standing up on his arched back. Arcuri's house is a multi-level home with lovely hardwood floors throughout and lots of small landings and steps. The guest room was at the top level and the master bedroom and living room at the bottom level. I opened my mouth to warn Ransom to leave the cat alone but before I could utter a sound he took off after Andy. I jetted after the two of them, hollering "RANSOM YOU STOP NOW!!!" but before I could catch up with them they disappeared into the master bedroom. All I heard was the sound of Ransom's toenails on the hardwood and Andy's growl and then it was quiet. "Ransom!!!" I hollered repeatedly. Still dead quiet. I had visions of him with nothing but Andy's tail hanging out of his mouth as I stormed through the bedroom looking for him. I found him cowering in the walk-in closet and Andy was no where to be found. "Get your little ratter ass out of this closet!" I pointed at the door and he scampered out and made a dash for the guest room.
Ransom "Ratter-Catter" Jones
I couldn't find Andy. I was panicked. Where was the poor cat? Was he permanently traumatized by my prison-escapee dog? How would I explain this to the Arcuris?
A little later I went out to the kitchen to fill the dog water bowl and there was Andy sitting on the top of the breakfast bar. If I didn't know better I would say that he was smiling. I looked him over and he looked fine.
When Jeanne got home I explained what happened and how sorry I was that Ransom behaved so badly. She just laughed. And laughed some more. Then she explained that if Andy didn't want to be chased he would have held his own with Ransom. I thought she was being polite. The Ransom/Andy scene played itself out two more times in the next two days. I was mortified. Finally I was home when Jeanne brought Pebbles in the house. Pebbles is about the size of Breezy but a little lighter weight. She and Andy went to boxing and playing with Pebbles knocking Andy around and then Andy smacking Pebbles around. After that I would keep Ransom with me and Andy would come around and tease Ransom. I know he knew that Ransom would get into trouble if he chased him and that became the game for Andy...get Ransom in trouble. He succeeded on several more occasions before we got Mary back.
Finally the day came to pick Mary up. We were both so happy. She would be all fixed and we would have our space back and not have to be under foot at Arcuri's house. I drove John over to Guaranty and followed him back to the farm. After we pulled out on to Hwy 99 a little voice said, "The coach is still listing to the right." I said out loud, "Shut up. It's fine." We got on the freeway and the voice came back. "It's not level." I shook my head hard to silence what my eyes and brain were telling me. We parked her and moved back in. It felt great. The next day I got out and looked at her from behind. Not level. But I wasn't going to say anything.
Arcuri's left for the Morgan Grand Nationals in Oklahoma City a few days later and John took over working the Saddlebreds and a few of the Morgans that were left at home until they got back. One day I went to town to get groceries and when I came back I found John sitting in front of Mary with a completely dejected look on his face. I got out of the car. "What's the matter?" I asked. "I"m beat. I'm whipped. I can't deal with this anymore," he said as he led me around to the driver's side of the coach and pointed up to the top. "Look," he said slump shouldered. I squinted and when I saw what he was pointing at I felt weakness in my knees. The roof is put on the coach like a cap with the edges attached six or eight inches down the side and then covered with a bead. From the middle of the cap on the driver's side all the way to the back (keep in mind she is 42 feet long) the cap had pulled away from the coach. There was a big space between where it used to be attached and where it was now located. It appeared to me that the cap was coming off. More visions of disaster loomed in my mind. Cap peeling off...water getting into the sides of the coach...thousands and thousands of dollars worth of damage. I said in a weak voice, "It might not be as bad as it looks," while my internal doomsday voice screamed, "This thing is going to bankrupt us!!!". John made some calls to try to figure out what in the hell was happening but in the end we were left with only one option. Guaranty...again. Dean was kind and said to bring her in first thing in the morning and he would look at her. When we sat down for dinner that night I looked across the table at John and said, "Gee, I'm sure glad that they did that free roof inspection. They resealed the skylight over the shower (the one that our coach washer stepped through and broke in March) for $650.00 but missed the fact that the f**king roof is peeling off." It was a lost night for sleep.
The following morning I followed him back to Guaranty again making note of the fact that the coach was not level. When we arrived Dean came out, looked at the roof and told us not to panic, that it may not be as bad as it looked. By this time I had brought up the fact that they needed to check the ride height again so Dean made note of it and we left to go back to the farm. John worked horses that day and then we got the call. It truly was not as bad as it looked. They blamed it on Monaco for not putting long enough screws in to attach it securely. They also said that they checked the ride height and it was fine.
"No it isn't," the voice in my head said. "Just shut the hell up," I said back. "This thing is going to drive me into the nut house before it is over," I said to my other voice. No shit.
View from Mary at Arcuri's farm
We settled in for two really beautiful weeks on the farm. The weather was so cooperative and the fall colors were stunning. I got to see lots of my family and friends and we just enjoyed the stay so much. And then it happened.
A day before we were supposed to pick Arcuri's up at the airport I got up in the morning and did my usual thing. I started the coffee, took the dogs out for a spin and fed them. When I opened the utensil drawer to get the can opener out I froze. Goose bumps ran up my arms. "Uh oh." John was sipping his tea and his head snapped around. "What is it?" I stepped back and pointed to the drawer. "We have a mouse." He must have been sleepy because he asked me an odd question. "What do we do about that?" I looked at him and said, "I don't know about you but I'm moving out." I slammed the drawer shut and willed my goose bumps to go away. They weren't cooperating.
I have a long history of mouse encounters. They are not my favorite creatures in the world. To say that I loathe mice is the understatement of the universe. They are filthy, can get in anywhere, will eat anything and poop all over EVERYTHING.
I'll stop here and take up with the mouse saga next time. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!