Monday, January 26, 2004

The 2004 Adventure, January 26 2004, Locked IN Tana in New Orleans

The day starts sunny and warm, we are both in short sleeved shirts. It ends, cooler, gray, overcast and as a pure example of why when you live the Rver life you need to be handy with your hands, creative, careful, always on guard for the unexpected.

We stop for lunch at a Cracker Barrel and fill up personal engines. Food was great, and later in the day we were glad we had loaded up on protein and carbs (to deal with the stress).

The roads are rough, only road we have had the 5er on that was as bad or close to being as bad was I-94 from Jackson Michigan to Kalamazoo Michigan. The ride is not bumpy as in holes in the road, but rather is a surging type of motion, pushing forward, pulling backward. This continues for miles and miles. We slow down to 50 MPH and get in the left lane, which is marginally better (smoother). The traffic is rather light, so, we figure, let em pass us on the right.

We stop one time and check inside the trailer, of prime concern is the large TV. The trip on I-94, resulted in sheared screws holding it into the cabinet, it all but fell out. We are concerned that even tho we put it back with 4 screws instead of 2 that this road may have sheared the 4 new screws. Happy to report, that is not so.

We have reservations in a nice campground on the south side of New Orleans. In no particular hurry to set up, we are just plugging along at the process. We have learned from many years of Rving, that to hurry is to invite trouble.

This trip, I have for the first time, loaded a lot of books in the cabinets over the desk (in the rear of the unit). I am not sure why, but, I did not secure the doors. Other doors in the 5er that tend to open while under way, we have secured with long strips of velcro (thanks Mary and Larry). Anyway, the rear desk cabinets were not secured, as you can probably guess from the sounds of this report, they will be secured from hence forth!

One of the lessons we have learned from reading the Montana’s Owner Club forum is that if these doors come open, there is a chance you can damage the slides, IF you open the slides without closing the doors first. One of the safety checks we do BEFORE we open the slides is to check around all three slides for anything that has moved, fallen, or jammed. I check the desk doors by standing in the bedroom and looking over the slide. This time I saw that one of the doors was open. I had Tilly in my arms (the other 3 were in the truck) and Al was outside. I called him inside and showed him the door.

Solution, Carol climbed over the kitchen cabinets and sink and closed the door. I now see that several items have fallen OUT of the cabinet and are on the floor. And, yes, if we had moved the slide, those items would have jammed when the slide went out; we would have had big trouble. Al handed me a pole we use for opening ceiling vents and I used it to slide all the items on the floor to a safe place under the desk.

We put the slides out, all is well.

UNTIL - - - - - - - - - - - - - we try to go outside to finish setting up. Now mind you, 3 of the dogs are in the truck, as is my purse, computer, camera and other stuff. The truck is not locked! We cannot get OUT of the trailer. The door handle is broken. We are locked IN the trailer.

We put the slides back in, thinking that possibly, the door is jammed somehow. Nope, that did not help.

We open the emergency window behind the couch to note that to jump out we would land on the sewer hose and that it is a really long drop and that unless the 5er is burning, we really don’t want to JUMP! UGH.

Next, Al asks me, do you have the cell phone, we can call the office. Well, yes, I have the cell phone, but the phone number is IN the truck!

So, running out of options, we creatively (?) decide to set off the alarm on the truck. I do have my truck keys in my pocket. And, that is exactly what we do. We set the alarm off several times until the owner of the campground came over to investigate.

Al explained the situation, and the owner gently, but easily opened the door from the outside. Yes, HUGE SIGH OF RELIEF goes here. Another fellow came along with a terrific little pocket knife, with other kinds of tools packed in. With that, we examined the situation. Boiled down, there is a pin that holds the inside door handle together. The pin had slipped out, in effect making the inside handle inoperative. We could not get to that pin while the door was closed due to the screen door. Al pulled the pin all the way out, adjusted the handle so that it would function, replaced pin, and then put some silicone caulk on both ends of the pin, hoping that would hold said pin in place FOREVER!

Got to say, we have been locked out of the trailer at least once, and now we have been locked IN the trailer. In a way, I think I prefer being locked OUT! But, my preference is to never have to repeat either experience!

We purchase tickets for a tour of New Orleans (N’Awlins) tomorrow, so, the rest of the evening is spent collecting our nerves, setting up, a small dinner and rest.

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