Road To Nowhere (Nappanee)

Well, we know where we’re goin’

But we don’t know where we’ve been

And we know what we’re knowin’

But we can’t say what we’ve seen 

And we’re not little children

And we know what we want

And the future is certain

Give us time to work it out

We’re on a road to nowhere

Come on inside

Takin’ that ride to nowhere (Nappanee)

We’ll take that ride

David Byrne (Talking Heads)

With lyrics of Jimmy Buffett’s “Living My Life Like A Song” and Talking Heads’ “Road To Nowhere” competing for air time in my head….it’s time to share our most recent development…..We just cancelled all of our reservations – are not headed to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Wisconsin or Minnesota. Instead, we are headed to the one place we’ve already spent too much time… The Newmar factory in Nappanee, Indiana. While the “new me” rationally tries to suggest that 1) We are retired, so who cares, 2) the UP, Wisconsin and Minnesota will still be there in the future to visit and 3) We really do miss JoAnne, our favorite bartender and the fried pickles at Hunters Cafe in Nappanee….the “old me” is quite disgusted. Disgusted that 1) More than twenty hours of Lynn’s hard work researching potential campgrounds and driving routes are wasted, 2) We have incurred cancellation penalties from some campgrounds, 3) I really wanted to see a few 3M buddies and introduce Lynn to some MN friends that have never met her before.

The “new me” and “old me” are wrestling with how to convey the scope of our situation to family and close friends, via this blog and even to Newmar. I called on the RV industry for years while at 3M, gaining a keen understanding of both industry and individual manufacturer trends, reputations and shortcomings. A RV industry insider once described to me the RV industry as, “Take the worst of the home building industry and the worst of the automotive industry….then combine them and that’s the RV industry.” Based on my first hand knowledge of the industry, materials of construction, floor plans and owner reviews, we considered only two RV manufacturers – Tiffin and Newmar. We’re coming into this fully cognizant that 1) Mechanical things break, 2) It’s a house on wheels, so things really will break and 3) We’re in this together and we’ll make adjustments and everything will be OK.

So, I still have not said why we are doing a 180 turn back to the factory and I’m getting more pissed off by the minute even documenting this in the blog. So, contrary to my usual self….short and sweet. The drivers seat….yes, the seat used to drive this nearly 60 feet / 48,000 pound monster down the road at 65 mph was not installed correctly. (Boy, did I just amend that sentence about 5 times removing previously-inserted vulgarities.)

As soon as we left the factory….yes, that factory we are about to go back to…I felt uncomfortable in the seat. Thinking it was nerves or the height above the road, I shrugged it off as me, not the vehicle. During each drive, I’d squirm in the seat, fiddle with the lumbar support, rub my right lower back…all trying to get comfortable. I kept asking Lynn if her seat felt good and she’d say that it felt great. Finally, while sitting at the kitchen table where I’m at now, I looked forward, out the windshield and then something caught my eye….something seemed “off”. Comparing the tops of the drivers and passengers seats, clearly Lynn’s seat back is straight (horizontally- speaking) and mine is tilted so that the right side is lower than the left. Looking under the seat at the area where it’s bolted to the floor reveals more evidence that something is amiss.

I emailed Newmar and included photos, followed up with a lengthy phone conversation and they agree that something appears wrong. They suggested I bring it to the Minnesota dealer where I purchased it from but that would involve driving it another 20 hours + on our current route. Or, based on the factory’s current scheduling, I could bring it back to the factory “some time in August”. I can only imaging if Jeep, Audi, Ford or any automobile manufacturer realized that the driving seat had a manufacturing defect, they’d say, “How’s this afternoon sound?”

As I’m getting more pissed off by the keystroke, I’ll end it here by saying we are lucky enough to love our current location and campground – so we are here for a few more weeks. Given the upcoming 4th of July holiday, we were lucky to find another campground near Kalamazoo, Michigan that we can stay a few weeks before driving back to Nappanee for service. Hopefully in the next few days we’ll be able to firm up our schedule.

Now we have to start all over again, given the fact that it’ll be probably mid July – early August when repairs are done. It’s too late to go to WI and MN because we have to be back in the Southeast for October doctors appointments and then becoming Florida residents in November. So, stay tuned for developments and at exactly 900 words, who says I can’t keep a blog under 1,000? Apparently I just have to be so frustrated that I don’t want to talk about it.

It’s a strange situation,

a wild occupation,

Living my life like a song.

Jimmy Buffett

Lynn’s 2 cents – Well it has been a frustrating few days. We are both really disappointed that we had to cancel all of our summer plans. But we just keep reminding ourselves that we really don’t have anywhere we need to be and our home has wheels. It is important for us (Jim) to get comfortable driving and in order to get to that point we need to fix the driver’s seat. I have actually been impressed with how Jim has handled this unexpected surprise. Although he is mad, he is dealing with is really well. Retirement has been good for him. So this little change in plans shall pass and we will be on our way soon enough. We truly do love living in this rig, so another couple weeks here in MI at fancy RV resorts won’t be too bad at all!

4 Comments on “Road To Nowhere (Nappanee)

  1. Ohhhhhh I can only imagine how pissed off I would be but I’d grab a wrench ab see if I could fix it. Yes I know that’s wrong but to screw up all your plans I’d try it. Good luck Jim, stay cool.


  2. It’s so very sad that everything in today’s world seems to be this way. I would likely feel the exact same way you do. On a positive note, I love following the two of you, even in “tough” situations. You are teaching us that we’ll keep a home base in FL and simply “travel” by air/train/car to the places we want to see….if we ever retire! 😉 I find at times like these, heading to the local pub really helps. We’ll drink to you this evening!


  3. Oh no!! So sorry that you have to deal with this so soon into your trip, but you can’t continue on being uncomfortable while driving. At least you have the time and can rearrange your schedule. Shit happens – maybe for a reason. Stay strong and make the most of your next few weeks. Love you!


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