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Saturday, September 14, 2013

A Speed Bump And A Hitchhiker

Finally, the day came!  We hit the road and the wheels actually rolled with no flat spots.  An 8:45 am departure, it would have been a little sooner but we had to say goodbye to some of our friends at the campground.

In no time we were headed west towards Atlanta, GA and then planned to head Northwest.  But a speed bump came along.

Marti asked me if I smelled something funny.  I knew I was wearing shoes, I had recently showered and even had put on deodorant when I dressed this morning.  I said “No”.

Marti said that she smelled something burning.  I didn’t smell anything, no wait, I did smell something burning.   Spying  a dumptruck pulled off to the side of the road, I said it must be the source of the smell.

Except  the smell didn’t go away.  Marti had to investigate, so she started from the front seat of the Journey to the back bedroom.  She said there was a bad burning smell from the bedroom.

I knew it couldn’t be my dirty socks because I had done the laundry, so I found a rest area and pulled over.

Sure enough, there was a burning smell coming from under the bed.

Uh oh.  In the compartment under the bed resides the battery charger/inverter.  I had read that many Winnebago owners have had this component fail.


There is a cooling fan on top of the unit and it is vented up into the bedroom, under the bed.  There is a vent hole there.  And the fan was blowing a hot, burning smell up into the vent hole.

  I did some experiments to see if this was going to stop our trip, I ran the generator, slight smell.  I touched the unit, warm but not hot.  I ran the inverter.  Bad smell!  I shut off the invertor and opened our Fantastic Fan and set it on High.  Soon the burning smell dissipated.

I turned off the charger part of the unit too and we kept going.  Then we started talking about how can we get this fixed.

For one, we didn’t want to go back and cancel our trip.  We decided it was best to push on.  Since the Journey’s diesel engine does charge both the chassis and house batteries when running, we were not going to be disabled and stuck.  We can run the generator and still use all the 120V devices, the TV, some lights, the A/C, etc.

So we ran down different plans.  One was I could get another unit from the Lichtsinn Motors where I buy my parts, have it overnighted to my son Ryan’s house and install it myself.  Not a good idea.  The part is expensive, around a thousand dollars.  I have an extended warranty and the company would not pay me to fix it myself.

Next was do an Internet search for a Camping World near Ryan’s house and see if we could stop on the way. That way we could use the extended warranty.  Nope, the nearest one is 150 miles away in the wrong direction.

Then the idea came up to head up to the Winnebago factory service center, about 400 miles North of Ryan’s house.  That would mess up our visit unless I dropped Marti off to stay with the granddaughters and visit while I drove up, got the work done and came back.  Maybe.

Then we Googled around and found a Winnebago dealer in St. Louis.  Of course, being a Saturday, and late in the afternoon, it was closed when we called.

So we’re pressing on and will get settled in the closest campground (25 minutes) by Ryan’s and attack the problem on Monday.

What are we going to do?  We’ll tell you when we figure it all out.  Stay tuned.

In the meantime, we’ve stopped for the night in Kentucky after a short PDD driving day, only 550 miles.  The Flying J was a welcome sight indeed.

I parked and did a walk around, checking the Journey over and I found something really odd on one of the basement compartment doors.


A closer look.


Don’t know where we picked up this hitchhiker, but he sure hung on tight.  It took a bit of a struggle to get him off and safely on the Flying J’s lawn.  After hanging with us for who knows how long, I wanted him to be safe. 

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.



  1. Darn it, Paul, you just have to love these MHs. Hopefully, it will be something that either a shop (or hopefully you) can take care of quickly.
    It sounds like you have gotten your money's worth out of that extended warranty.
    Here's hoping for a speedy repair. Keep us posted.

  2. Oh no Paul. After being in one place for SO long where it would have been at least fairly easy to get the problem fixed, it HAD to happen just as you finally start out. You sure have my sympathies. And so does poor Mr. Toad. I'll bet he's mighty confused about being at a flying J instead of home with the Mrs. Hope he doesn't get squished by an 18 wheeler poor fella.

  3. Hope everything works out OK. Sounds like you're making lemonade :)

    Those little tree frogs can hold on for weeks and many miles. They'll even sing to you every day. Now you're going to miss that :)

  4. It just seems there's one little thing after another that needs to get fix for us. Looks like our luck might be heading your way. Hopefully, you can get it fixed quick and without too many out of pocket dollars.

  5. That's a lot of miles for one day it's no wonder things are burning up!

    Glad to hear you have a warranty as that's an expensive part to replace.

    Here's hoping you have safe and trouble free driving tomorrow.

  6. It's always something isn't it? Sure hope this is easily fixed and doesn't mess up your visit with your granddaughters.

  7. Yep, you haven't forgot how to be a full-timer on the road. When you get hit with a lemon...just keep stirring till you get it right;o)) But it really is a bumming on your first day out:o((

    Safe Travels and enjoy your visit with the granddaughters.

  8. Hope you get your repairs done soon and all else goes well.
    Our travel day was relatively short too, 6 miles!

  9. Hope you can find a place to get it fixed quickly.

  10. We used Rec Tech in St. Louis for several repairs on the Suncruiser and liked them. We never used the dealer but heard good things about them.

  11. well I hope that is rectified and fixed asap..maybe they can fix it versus replace it? heres hoping...glad you travelled on :)

  12. Could it just be the dust from sitting so long that's burning?

  13. Sorry to hear about your RV troubles but full-timers know that this is all part of the adventure. Hope it doesn't tie you up for too long.
    Love the little tree frog.

  14. Sure hope you are able to get that fixed without too much trouble. Paul, you need to take a lesson from Russ - we drove 58 miles today. Perhaps between the two of you, you could reach a happy medium!! Glad you helped the little hitchhiker. Cute fella.

  15. Good luck with that. I'm glad Marti has a good nose.

  16. I think we both know every Camping World between coasts. That extended warranty comes in handy! Hope it all works out tomorrow.

  17. Oh my. I am the one with the good nose in our duo and often freak out my DH with my concerns. Sounds like in this case Marti was right and the important thing is that you did not catch on fire! You seem to be pretty "chill" about how to handle it which is sure lucky for those granddaughters who are looking forward to your visit. Thank goodness for those extended warranties.

  18. Really? We must carry a lucky horseshoe up our a-- because Maggie is a champ and makes it mile after mile and does not have even a quarter of the issues those new rigs have. Now we are thinking there is something to not being able to afford the newer ones...hmmm!

  19. It seems that no matter how hard we try to keep ahead of Murphy, he sometimes sneaks past us. Sorry about the inverter. I am so thankful that the smoke did not turn into a fire. Looking forward to reading what your next step is.