Sunday, June 4, 2017

2017 May 20 to June 8 - Rev Group (Fleetwood) Warranty Service, Decatur IN

We were scheduled to leave the Thousand Trails Indian Lakes campground in Batesville (Morris) Indiana on Sunday, May 21st for our appointment at Fleetwood on Monday at 06:00am, but we opted to leave on Saturday instead to be sure we got a good parking space at Fleetwood. As we were leaving TT Indian Lakes campground we drove a little off the pavement in trying to set up for hooking up the car and we managed to dig in the right rear tires a foot deep. It had rained quite a bit the day before and the sod was apparently extra soft. We tried rocking it out but only dug it deeper, so we called Coach Net (our RV tow and service company,) which called a tow company (Myers Tow). These guys first sent a Chevy Tahoe to try to pull us out. A Chevy Tahoe (7,200 Lbs GVW) to pull a 33,400 lbs. motor home… stuck in a foot of mud. A struggle between David and Goliath. Really?? Finally they upped the ante to a flatbed tow truck (with a 25,500 lbs GVW). It also tried to pull us out unsuccessfully, but were successful in at least winching us free. However, in the interim, waiting for the tow trucks we received 6 different offers to pull us out from other RVers with 5th-wheel 3/4 and 1-ton 4x4 pickup trucks, but we waited for the tow truck(s) so as not to damage someone else's transmission.  The fact that we received so many offers of “free” help, sort of restores one’s faith in people.  Finally, we were free and on our way to the REV Group (Fleetwood) in Decatur IN.

The square hole is from the hydraulic jack with a square piece of wood as a base in an attempt to raise the coach to put boards under it for traction. The tow company couldn't take my word that if a double wheel sank into the sod a 12"x12" jack would sink in a lot easier. But some people need to be shown when words are not heard. Not the best referral for Myers Towing.

The initial roads from Hwy 46 to SR-101 and US-27N (St. Peters Rd, and US-52W) were scary as they were barely a two lane road (for cars) and involved many blind curves and bridges with weight limits of 12-15 tons (while we are a 16.5T coach),  but after digging into the grass once already there was no way we were going to risk getting off the pavement again, so when cars came up to us we would pull to the right and stop, let the cars drive by and then continue our drive. After about 26 miles the road widened and it was smooth sailing from then on.

Later, on US-27N we also started seeing the Amish (or Mennonite) horse and buggies on the roads. It is probably not too bad to get around them when driving a car, but driving a 41 foot motor home plus another 20 feet for the toad, is a horse of a different color (no pun intended). One has to slow down when coming up on them when an oncoming car is visible or in case they are turning, then speed up and get enough space between them so as not to hit them with a wave of wind... and get back into our own lane before the next oncoming car approaches. Still, they seem to take this in stride, and are not bothered by it, so why should we be.

We arrived at the REV Technical Service facility in Decatur around 5:30pm, just in time for a quick set-up and… ‘happy hour’. Wooo hooo!! We parked across the driveway from another Discovery 40E and with the exact same paint job as ours. Looking around there were 8 other coaches from Florida and over the following weekend another 5-6 from FL came in as well. We met wonderful people like Ray and Pauline, Jim and Carmen Justice, Dennis and Donna Baril, Kip and Deb Eiger, Bill and Betty Bamba, and Tom and Tina Crawford, among others, who were also having their coaches serviced as well.



After the stink we created with the numerous letters to management requesting specifically NOT to be assigned ‘Ted’ as our service advisor given all the negative experiences with him, we were assigned Gary (Tech) and Gregg (Service Advisor). These guys are truly on the ball and a pleasure to work with. They did in fact replace the microwave/convection oven (which Ted had refused to do), and did so with a more powerful and bigger unit.  We had prepared a fully descriptive listing of all our issues, with paragraph and sub-paragraph itemization, indexed with photos and video of each deficiency. It is a common law of RV’ing that what goes wrong on the road, will never present itself the same way when one gets to a service center or dealer. So we always photo/video issues when they happen, so we can always support having had the issues. Here is our Service Advisor, Greg Hancock, who through his professional manner, excellent communication keeping us always advised of what was going on, and ability to keep everything working expeditiously, has restored our faith in Fleetwood and our coach. Our Tech, Gary Sautbine, is also worthy of our praise as he was always willing to tackle any and every issue we had (and even some that weren't on our original list, but developed later during our stay. Thanks Greg and Gary. Our thanks as well to Joy Higginbotham, our Customer Service (initial contact, passed down from Josh Hanicq) for seeing our frustration over our last (Oct 2016) visit and finding 'positive' people to restore our faith.

From within the Service facility watching our coach being returned one afternoon. They picked up the coaches at 06:00AM and returned them around 2:30PM M-F.
 Front of the REV Group Technical (Service) facility (from our site #104).
 Rear (to street) from our site, to show how many Class A gas and diesel pushers are here.
 This is an odd ball. Actually the ONLY 5th Wheel here, probably for an emergency repair. 
This coach from SC is the same Year, Make, Model and color as ours.
Just the toad and owners are different.

Our service issues (allotted 2 weeks of work) were comprised of:
1.      Refrigerator – Ice Maker: Leaks solidifying ice cubes and blocking dispenser. Needs replacing. REPLACED
2.      Microwave/Convection had water running through it due to a missing slide seal above it, which has been repaired, but the oven is still working on and off again as it chooses. REPLACED
3.      ALL slides have openings which allow light (and bugs) in. All SEALED.
4.      The windshield wipers seem to work on and off as they please also. Right now they are working except on just one speed. We found out that even the wipers need to be REBOOTED. Then they worked.
5.      The surround sound on the main TV is not working. Even when it was working the base was so strong that it rattled everything and distorted the sound. FIXED.
6.      The exterior TV and CD Player sounds are garbled. FIXED.
7.      Footrests on salon seating have a screw that keeps falling out and will not allow footrest to be secured. BOTH FOOTRESTS SECURED.
8.      Driver’s cockpit seat flakes from bottom. Taken to an upholsterer and REPAIRED.
9.      Pantry inner shelved door mounted too low where it rubs on bottom trim. REMOUNTED HIGHER and adjusted the locking latch.
10.   Washing Machine / Dryer closet was incorrectly fixed in 10/17/16 not allowing bedroom door to close properly when extended. Trim was also damaged at that time. REPAIRED CORRECTLY.
11.   Satellite hookup for Rear TV does not receive satellite signal. Is not working. Also HDMI 6” cable was broken. REPAIRED.
12.   Headlights LED Trim missing lamps and coming apart. REPLACED.
13.   Outside trim at lower left corner of full wall slide, repaired incorrectly on 10/17/16. RE-GLUED.
14.   Full wall slide awning is always loose and flapping. TIGHTENED.
15.   Half-Bath lighting – 2 lights flicker. REPLACED BULBS.
16.   Utility Bay blue hose needs supporting behind panel. SECURED BEHIND PANEL
17.   Satellite Switch (lighted) above driver’s seat works to turn on the satellite but the switch light no longer works. When it did work it would get very hot which is probably why it burned out. REPLACED with a lower intensity bulb, that is cool to the touch.
18.   Red light on water heater lights on ‘Electric’ instead of on Propane when pilot doesn’t light. Also when the Propane water heater is on it sputters as if getting too much or too little air. Water heater had overheating sensors which were REPLACED.
19.   Awning Weather Pro Wind Sensor retracts the awning even when the sensor is turned off. The control unit was moved so that the Wind Sensor could be disconnected and re-connected at will, solving the problem.

Added (on our dime)
·       110v outlet next to Passenger cockpit seat, which we then converted to 6-outlets.
·       Checked on Cummins Recall on our ISL9 380hp engine. Thankfully it did not apply to our engine's serial no.
·        Changed Oil on Generator at 200 hrs.

Since we complained about the driver's seat, they offered us an alternate seat that is guaranteed not to flake. Mary tried it for size but we both turned it down and asked for our original seat back... FIXED.( LOL!!)

During our stay at the REV Group we connected with several nice couples, such as Dennis and Donna Baril, Jim and Carmen Justice, Ray and Pauline and others. We had remembered that the Indiana Pancake House was a great place to eat but several of these folks now at REV Grp told us that it was not good at all. So we opted to give them the benefit of doubt and try it anyway. They were right. OMG!! The food was TERRIBLE. When here last time in October they were at their old location hoping to move soon. This time they had moved , but apparently forgot to bring their good cooking with them. Bill had talked with the owner back in October 2016 to congratulate him, so he asked to speak to him again this time and showed him a photo of one of his pancakes that Bill was unable to eat, and suggested to the owner to add club soda (as Perkins does to their pancakes). The owner had no idea about the club soda ingredient despite many references online about it. He did admit that other people have also complained about their food. He also admitted that in the old location he used to prepare the food by hand (including their pancake batter) whereas now they are prepared by machine. It just goes to prove that there is nothing like the personal touch to make things better.
Anyway, we started visiting other local restaurants and as is usually the case, the local Mom and Pop establishments are the best places to eat. As such we found a place called GIANNI’s Place, which has become our #1 place to eat. They are open 6:00am to 3:00pm and serve only Breakfast and Lunch, but with all the food they serve (at very modest prices) one is generally not hungry for dinner. See the photos of our great meals. The Country Fried Steak breakfast (which Bill pointed out to the waitress is shown as a “County” Fried Steak… no “r”) was HUGE, and smothered in delicious gravy. The second plate was full of hash brown casserole infused with onions, and to top it off, a third plate full of huge and fluffy pancakes with HOT syrup. Also important to note that rather than include butter for one to spread over them, the butter was already melted over them. What a delight to visit Gianni’s every day. For lunch, Chris (the owner) makes a different ‘homemade’ soup for every day of the week. Though we never had it, Saturday is French Onion Soup, which the waiter and waitress assert that customers travel from other cities to sample their soups. Mary had the Cream of Potato on Friday and two bowls of Chicken and Rice on Sunday… and loved them. The owner, Chris, is a very nice man who is also the only cook, yet takes the time to check on all his customers and chat with those more gabby, like us. The restaurant is named after his son, Gianni, who also works with dad at times. See the photo of Chris between Mary and me, at his place. If you find yourself in Decatur for service at REV Group (for Fleetwood, Holiday Rambler, Monaco or American Coach), do not hesitate to stop at Gianni’s Place, 916 N 13th St, Decatur, IN46733 Tel. (260) 724-4216 (directly in front of the Matador Motel).

These were the DRY and TASTELESS machine-made pancakes from the Indiana Pancake House. This is how they broke apart when Bill picked them up to add butter to them. The "hash browns" were also just as bad. The owner says that they are now machine-made which probably accounts for the difference since 10/2016 when they were hand-made at their old location.  Do yourselves a favor and stay away from that place.

If you find yourselves in Decatur for RV service or any other reason and want a great place to eat, do yourselves a favor and go to Gianni's Place, 916 N. 13th Street, Decatur, Indiana 46733-1124, Tel: (260) 724-4216. Ask for Chris (the owner), Gianni (his son), Alisa (waitress) and Joe (waiter). Be ready for exceptional prices, excellent food and generous portions, unlike most.
Just see Mary's eyes of disbelief.

Or look at the portion sizes, if you don't believe us.

Here we are with the owner, Chris.

Alisa was our regular waitress, but she is anything but 'regular'. She was always cheerful and attentive... a pleasure to have her take care of us. 

And Joe, our occasional waiter would also delight us with his tips and ideas of things to do in the area to keep us occupied. Another great thing about Gianni's Place is that all the staff pitches in. There are no assigned tables that we could see but both Alisa and Joe would take care of the customers in each other's tables, so as to give the best care of the patrons.

A worthy story to tell you concerns these two gentlemen (below). The first day that we went to Gianni's Place we sat at that same table (in the corner) that they are at. As we are having breakfast, Bruce  (in the blue striped shirt) came in and told us (jokingly) that we had snagged their table as he is a regular there; as he sat in  the table next to us. Then his friend Rick (seated next to him) came in and during our breakfasts we shared very friendly conversation. As they were getting up to leave, Bruce grabbed our bill from our table and treated us to breakfast. The way he did it was so unobtrusive and unexpected that his generous gesture stuck with us for the next few days, as we wondered who he was and where he worked to find a way to reciprocate. A few days later we found out how we could do just that. As we showed up to breakfast at Gianni's we noticed Bruce's white Honda pickup there, and upon entering saw that he was having breakfast with his wife. We told Chris (the owner) and Alisa, (Bruce's waitress) to give US Bruce's check, instead of putting it on the table. Not seeing his check, Bruce went to the counter for it and we told him that what goes around comes back around, as we had his bill and were taking care of it. These are all truly wonderful people, as are most Hoosiers.    

Home made soups... a different one for every day of the week. A cup of soup and fries and drink are included with most lunches.

This is Gianni (owner's son) in the red cap, who the restaurant is named after.

Kudos to Kroger Grocers (below) for adding a lean-to shelter outside their store for the Amish or Menonites to keep their horses and buggies under cover (of rain and sun).

On Friday, June 2, 2017 we were done with our repairs, however since we need to wait for the closing of the house, which will be done for Mary on Friday June 9th, by a mobile closer who will visit her location, we figured we were better off just staying at REV until then. This will also give us a chance to check that everything repaired is actually 'fixed'. So on Saturday June 3rd all the RV'ers still here got together in the parking lot and had a 'picnic' to get to know each other better. A wonderful time was had by all.
Mary bringing two drinks with our Silver Bullet behind her.
Paul and Diane
Talking with Gregg and Vivian Wilson, who are also full-timers (sitting just Right of Mary). Believe it or not, Bill is here too, but rarely seen as he is the main 'social' photographer, whereas Mary is the primary 'landscape' photographer. Bill and Betty Bamba (below) were unaware of the picnic and thus did not attend, and left a few days thereafter. 
This week we'll wax and polish the coach, re-organize it for travel and wait for Mary's house's closing on June 9th, then hopefully head out June 10th for.... (Mary is working on it).

1 comment:

  1. I was just looking at the food from Giana's place and realized I had not had lunch yet. Now I am starved. Off to Las Vegas and Grand Canyon tomorrow. Safe travels !!!!!


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