We are fully set up at our destination – Bandera’s Bunkhouse in Howard, CO. Here’s the view from our porch:
Not too shabby! Bob even got a chance to relax in his new hammock and watch the Arkansas river:
The process of getting to this wonderful place, was not so fun. We left our friends’ house yesterday afternoon with plans to be set up by dark. However, our motorcycle mounted on the CruiserLift on the back was giving us fits! We stopped after 10 miles or so to check all the tie downs, only to find that one was totally missing. Scary! So, we replaced it with our one spare, checked that all the others were tight and rolled on. Since we started carrying the Harley on the lift, the amount of bounce in the lift every time we hit a slight dip in the road has been really disconcerting. On I25 from Castle Rock to Colorado Spring the bounce was even worse. It actually got so bad that the bike movement caused one tie down strap to break off one of the passenger footboard mounts we were using as a tie down point – and another strap was gone. We pulled off the highway in Colorado Springs to find the bike leaning against the back of the coach. Yikes! The Wal-Mart where we tried to stop for more straps was blocked off by police for some reason – naturally! Fortunately, there was an empty Hobby Lobby just down the street within walking distance to an AutoZone. Bought 5 new tie downs and got the bike resecured. By now, though it’s getting late and the last thing we want to do is carry this “problem” into the mountains after dark, so we decided to drive about 20 or 30 more miles down the interstate toward Pueblo to a rest area for the night. We made it without further incident, but it was probably the most stressful miles we’ve ever driven.
As soon as we were parked, and I could stop watching the bike bounce on the back, my heart sunk. How would this ever work for our life? We bought this coach in part BECAUSE of the lift. Why couldn’t I find anyone else online with this problem before we’d made this big step? As a last ditch effort, I decided to re-read the FAQs on the CruiserLift site. I found a reference to a dampener shock that was replaced with a turnbuckle in 2005. Turnbuckle?! Our lift doesn’t have a turnbuckle! Or does it? We’ve had one in the basement since we bought the coach, but never known its purpose. In the giant set of owners manuals that came with the bus, the CruiserLift was not included. We got a “lesson” from the dealer on using the lift and thought we were good to go. I finally sourced the owners manual online and found a last step to install the turnbuckle between the lift and the receiver for the tow dolly. We got ours out of the basement and installed it with ease. It did a wonderful job today reducing the road shock while driving.
So, what’s the lesson? Read. Read all instructions. If you buy ANYTHING used that doesn’t come with a manual, get one and read it BEFORE you use your new toy. Lesson learned. Cost $325 for a replacement footboard and mount we should be picking up from the Harley dealer tomorrow, $50 in extra/replacement tie downs, some paint damage to the back of the coach and some scary, heartsick minutes/hours. All in all, it could have cost much more.
We are glad to be “home” for the month and look forward to sharing more about our place here and the local area in the coming days.