Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Octotber 16 - November 7, 2016 - Fleetwood Warranty Service in Decatur, IN

Well, after much waiting the day finally drew upon us to go to the Fleetwood Factory Warranty Service Center in Decatur, IN. By this time we had already sent them two (2) lists of about 20 different issues each, and by the time we arrived there on October 16 for our appointment on Monday we already had another 9 new issues to have worked on. Granted most were minute items that really didn't have much impact on the operation of the coach; however, as it was a new coach and since it was under warranty, we let the factory deal with them, especially since these were items that the selling dealer could have fixed but chose to disregard.

Our Coast Guard friends that we had met at the Thousand Trails (TT) Lake Conroe Resort in Lake Conroe TX also arrived the same day we did and were having their American Eagle worked on some Post-Warranty items. Though their list was significantly smaller than ours, they ended up having to leave and come back later, and then leave and come back again, due to parts not being available right away and arriving at different times, plus having  different items to fix that required different shops, like Spartan Chassis in Charlotte MI, and an Amish furniture company in Elkhart, as well as the Fleetwood brand service where we were. By the time we left on November 4th they still weren't finished with their coach. They say that a NEW class A diesel motor home takes about 12-18 months of adjustments to get it into tip top shape; however I think that it is more in actuality an on-going process with a lot of normal maintenance involved to keep it running smoothly. However, we got a 72 month Extended Warranty that covers EVERYTHING for just a $100 deductible. Yes it was expensive, but it gives a lot of peace of mind for when the Warranty expires (June 2017).

Anyway, we had a good time in Decatur. Given all the troubles we had with our motor home, and the fact that most of them were due to the dealer not having had the responsibility to take care of them when we took delivery of the motor home, following a very detailed letter of complaint to the President/Owner of the dealership, to the Vice President and to the Store Manager, they offered to host our stay at Decatur at a hotel nearby, as the alternative of staying in the coach overnight would involve having to get u at 5:00AM EVERY DAY in order to have it ready to be picked up to be worked on by Service at 6:00AM, and then getting it back by 2:00PM. We still have no clue WHY those UNGODLY work hours, so we were happy to have been able to stay at the hotel. At the hotel they also had no 'regular' room available downstairs (for us old folks with bad knees, so we said), so they offered us a mini-suite with a Jacuzzi Spa bathtub in the bedroom for the regular price (which we were not even paying for ourselves). After two weeks they said our coach was ready, but NO WAY. We called them up on about 12 issues that they still had not fixed and within 3 days they were all fixed (as much as it seemed that they were willing to do anyway) so we left as we both had doctor appointments that we had to get back to Apopka and The Villages for. When we leave FL in 2017 our initial aim (so far) is to travel up I-75 to the north end of Michigan before heading West, and on that northward trek we'll undoubtedly make an appointment with Factory Warranty Service in Decatur (again) to fix whatever else has developed by then, like the Exterior TV/Stereo CD Player which did not have a problem before taking it to Warranty Service, yet now has bad sounding speakers.

TOP: View of the exterior of the Fleetwood Warranty
Service Center (REV Group) in Decatur IN 
BOTTOM: Inside, computer stations for owners to use
while their coaches are being worked on in Service. 

 Partial view of the coach while being worked on in Service.

Outside view of the Parking Lot where the coaches are hooked up to
50Amp electric service for overnighting. They are picked up at 06:00AM
every morning and returned about 2:00PM every afternoon M-F.

Mary at the Reception Desk, with our friend Susan. In the background there was even a Laundry Room with washers and dryers FREE for the RV'ers.
While at Decatur we spent a lot of time visiting with our Coast Guard friends, Brett and Susan (Hyde) Wickett from Oklahoma. He retired in 2014 having served our nation gallantly for over 24 years and at retirement was the Command Master Chief of  is that it is the largest CG complex in the US, the USCG Base in Elizabeth City NC, attaining the rank of E-9, which is as high as one can go in the Enlisted ranks. An interesting fact of that Base, which opened in 1940 is that it is the largest USCG installation in the US, housing 6 Commands: National Strike Force Coordination Center, Base Support Unit, Aviation Technical Training Center, Air Station Elizabeth City, Station Elizabeth City (Base), and the Aviation Logistics Center. Some scenes from the motion picture The Guardian were filmed at the Air Station there.. After the Coast Guard he worked temporarily as a maritime firefighter trainer at Texas A&M University (where Bill graduated from), but due to health complications from his Coast Guard exploits had to fully retire and now is a full-time RV'er like we are preparing for. We looked him up online and the stories of his exploits and decorations are very impressive. Susan  Is a mobile licensed Clinical Social Worker, who continues to work as an independent contractor from their motor home. After serving in the US Army (last stationed at HHC, 1st Brigade, 7th Infantry Division at Ft. Ord CA (now closed), Bill also served in the USCGR at Station Key West, Sector Key West in (of course) Key West FL. Talk about a cushy job, LOL! Hence the connection and natural friendship with Brett when we all met at Lake Conroe in Texas.

Sitting outside in about 48degrees F. There was a gas fire pit about 10 feet away, but someone at Fleetwood forgot to leave it hooked up to work, so we froze our asses off. 

At a Mexican Restaurant in Decatur, not far from our
coaches with our good friends Brett and Susan(Hyde) Wickett
We also drove around the area and photographed the beautiful foliage colors of Fall. One day we also visited the River Greenway Trail, which is part of a Rails to Trails development where old rail lines (no longer in use) are transformed into paved trails for hiking or biking or general non-motorized enjoyment. That day we even found some Amish (or Menonite) children skating along this trail and having a blast.   
An old storefront on Main Street in downtown Decatur IN
BELOW: Various views of the gorgeous Fall colors
both in town and in the surrounding countryside.


An old tree trunk showing signs of either termites
or some other insects which crawled around under the bark.

A boat ramp to the St. Mary River along the trail.

Mary says "Who says the City Maintenance people don't have a sense of humor?" They were filling cracks in the pavement in the Trail and came up with this along it. 

Amish (or Mennonite) children skating along the River Greenway Trail.

I see you... I see you... I see y...

Ha! I GOT you!


Bill enjoying the cool air and beauty all around.

A maple leaf which fell at Mary's feet and
presented a photo opportunity for this shot.

The Decatur area is very pretty and somewhat remote. Its population is only about 9,500 of which about 2,900 are Fleetwood employees, so you can imagine what impact the Fleetwood factories and Service Centers have on this community. In our photos hopefully you have enjoyed some of the gorgeous scenery that abounds in this area of Indiana. Of our good friends Brett and Susan, we hope to run into you guys again in the near future.

NEXT Post:  November 7, 2016 - The trip HOME (TT Orlando in Clermont FL)


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