Two RV Gypsies: Full-Time RVers
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The two RV Gypsies had RV mechanical problems
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A summary of major RV problems
June 17, 2016 - August 9, 2016

June 17th: On the way from Liard Hot Springs to Watson Lake and the Sign Post Forest, the RV overheated and spit oil out all over the front of their tow car. But the two RV Gypsies made it to a repair place near the Sign Post Forest (Eramie Trucking LTD, 824 Adela Trail, Watson Lake) and had to boondock for one night in the lot behind the Sign Post Forest which was also across the street from the repair place.

June 18th: When the Eramie Trucking opened in the morning, Lee Duquette turned their only home over to the mechanics. A few things were fixed (including a tire), but Lee had to drove the RV to the nearby Downtown RV Park and Brian, so mechanic, took a part out of the RV and gave the part to Lee.

Since it was a week-end, Lee had to wait until Monday June 20th, then he drove the tow car all the way to Whitehorse and back to get the part (about 200 miles each way). Karen stayed in the RV.

On the way to and from Whitehorse, Lee saw 4 bears, 6 porcupines and 17 rabbits but did not have a camera to photograph them, and even if he had a camera, he can not photograph wildlife and drive.

Brian returned and put the new part in the RV. However, he had to weld the hose and said it was a bit stiff and a new hose should be made in Whitehorse because the stiff hose could possibly crack.

On June 21, the two RV Gypsies left Downtown RV Park in Watson Lake early in the morning and headed to Whitehorse, but all gas stations were closed and they ran too low on diesel. Lee pulled the RV over to the side of the road and Karen stayed in the RV while Lee drove to Teslin for diesel. It took awhile because he had to wait for the gas station to open that morning. Very little traffic passed by the RV while Karen waited for Lee's return.

As the two RV Gypsies headed out in their RV again, they stopped at a gas station to put even more diesel into the RV. It was a cloudy, dreary day, but no rain or anything. UNTIL Lee pulled into the gas station. And then guess what! It HAILED on him as he was putting diesel into the RV. Karen handed Lee an umbrella so the hail would not bop Lee in the head. As soon as the RV was full of diesel and the two RV Gypsies hit the road again, the hail stopped. Say What!

So the two RV Gypsies started on their way in the RV again, but a warning light kept saying "Stop Engine" even though all signals said all fluids were okay. The RV ran very sluggish, but eventually made it to the Yukon Hotel and Campground in Teslin. And as bad luck would have it, both tow companies Lee called that were capable of towing a 40-foot RV, had their own tow trucks broken down.

Two days later, on Thursday, June 23, Capital Towing sent a big tow truck to rescue the two RV Gypsies and towed the RV from Teslin to Whitehorse.

Lee found a nice ad in the yellow pages so they had their RV towed to New North Truck and Equipment at 91317C Alaska Highway in Whitehorse which said they specialize in servicing all Freightliner equipment and that they are a full-service repair shop, with fast and reliable repair service and work on motorhomes and more. But after the tow truck dropped them off it did not appear that it was a very professional place. The outside of the building was nice, but the inside was a very unorganized disaster. But the owner said not to worry, he would have the RV fixed in one day. WRONG! On Friday June 24th, they did an oil change and that was about it. Then they were closed for the week-end. Lee tried to pay the overtime charges to get the mechanic to work on the week-end, but that did not happen.

Anyway, on June 23, Lee and Karen went to find a hotel for the night but hotels were full. They finally got the last available room at Days Inn, 2288 Second Avenue in Whitehorse. The hotel was okay, not great, but better than no hotel. There was no swimming pool, no nice lobby to hang out in, no nice restaurant only a cafe grill. The room was adequate, with a bed, couch, small computer desk, TV, dresser, closet, microwave and refrigerator, and of course a bathroom, shower, coffee pot. It did not have a safe or even a TV guide. It was a clean room, but not the most comfortable hotel. Had to sit on the bed to watch TV. Somebody in the room directly above the room that the two RV Gypsies were in, kept walking back-and-forth in his room a lot, even late at night, and his footsteps could be heard and the ceiling creaked.

Lee had to keep extending the amount of nights in the hotel because New North Truck and Equipment could not get the "Stop Engine" light to go off and said they didn't know what was wrong.

On June 29, Lee paid New North Truck Equipment what they charged, and drove the sluggish RV to another repair place, Inland at 227 Range Road in Whitehorse. Their ad in the yellow pages was small, but their place appeared to be much more professional. Lee and Karen were starting to get very concerned about how they were going to get to Fairbanks, Alaska in time to meet Renee, John and Ilse when they arrive to spend two weeks with them in Alaska. However, all this meant was another few thousand dollars on a repair bill and the RV still was not fixed.

July 6

The two RV Gypsies finally got their RV towed over 600 miles from Whitehorse, Yukon to Fairbanks, Alaska (at a cost of $10,300). Capital Towing said they would meet the two RV Gypsies to pick up their RV between 6:30 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. so the two RV Gypsies were dressed and ready to go, but the tow truck did not arrive until around 8:30 a.m. The two RV Gypsies watched their RV get loaded onto the tow truck, but then the tow truck had a hydraulic problem that had to be taken care of, plus the driver said that he had to go home first to get his passport and his wife before he could hit the road. (His wife wanted to shop in Fairbanks because there was not enough shopping in Whitehorse). So the two RV Gypsies left in their car which gave them plenty of time to stop along the way on the very long drive.

After a short stop at Burwash Landing, the two RV Gypsies saw a mother bear and two cubs by the side of the road. Several cars and people were taking photos, so Karen joined the crowd taking photos, always keeping other people in-between herself and the bear. Then they got on their way again.

The two RV Gypsies then stopped at Pickhandle Lake, and Beaver Creek. The roads were mostly decent, but of course there was some construction roads, dirt roads, gravel roads, nasty frost heaves, and at one point the two RV Gypsies had to wait 15 minutes for a pilot car to lead them and other vehicles through a very big road construction area.

Arriving in Alaska, the two RV Gypsies made several other stops, a lunch break at a restaurant, Tok, and more, plus they took some photos under the Alaska Pipeline at the Tanana River. By then it was 9:25 Alaska time (10:25 Yukon time). They arrived in Fairbanks around 11 p.m. Alaska time and parked their car in the front of the RV repair shop, which of course was closed at that hour. Two other RVs were already there for service.

Along the way, the two RV Gypsies had noted three bridges that would be a problem for the tow truck to fit under with their RV. So they called the tow truck driver Jason several times to tell him where the problems would be, but Jason did not return calls. The two RV Gypsies sat in their car, always thinking the tow truck was maybe two hours behind them. But 2 a.m. rolled around and no call from Jason and no tow truck and RV. The sun had "set" around 12:30 that night but it was still very light outside, not even dusk. The sun rose at 3:30 a.m. And the two RV Gypsies had no sleep while sitting in their small, uncomfortable car and still had not heard from Jason.

Eventually the two RV Gypsies drove to the northern-most Denny's in the world for some food, which was terrible and the place was dirty. To make this long story shorter, the tow truck and RV arrived at NOON on July 8th.

It took from July 7, 2016 to August 7, 2016 for the RV to finally be repaired at Cummins, 1921 Sanduri Ave in Fairbanks, Alaska - that's a full month, not to mention the problem really began on June 17th in Canada. Estimated cost $40,000. So the two RV Gypsies drove off and headed towards Tok, Alaska. However, 26 miles down the road (just past North Pole) the RV blew the front passenger side tire. (The one that was fixed in Watson Lake - ha ha.) They were right by Eielson Air Force base. Signs all said, "NO parking, NO stopping, NO photography." Yet it took about 1-1/2 hour before two military personnel with big rifles came by to ask why the two RV Gypsies parked their RV there. By then, the tire repair truck was already there putting a new tire on the RV at a cost around $800 (it was a Sunday).

About 95 miles further down the road, the two RV Gypsies took a break in Delta Junction and Lee checked to see if everything was okay with the RV and toad. And sad to say, the RV had an oil leak, so Lee had to drive the RV back to Fairbanks. A part had to be ordered, so that meant another delay leaving town. But on August 9, 2016, the two RV Gypsies got to leave Fairbanks and head out of Alaska. Unfortunately all of this delay meant that they did not get to some of the places they wanted to get to while in Alaska.

August 10, 2016, the two RV Gypsies got 26 miles out of Tok, and the dreaded "Stop Engine" light came on. Again, work was not done properly because a hose was against something hot and melted which caused the coolant to leak. Lee Duquette had to get under the RV and drain out the rest of the leak, then take a part of the hose back into town (good thing they had a car). He bought a hose, coolant and clamps and drove back to the RV. He did get it fixed, but it was a rough job and a lot of work, plus a total of five-hours.

So they drove their RV back to Tok and parked at Sourdough Campground for the night. The RV was fine for awhile, but they still had to get to Forest City, Iowa because they had 3 slide-outs that would not go out. They called the Winnebago Factory in April and the best they could do was to get a September 12th appointment. So the two RV Gypsies headed on out of Alaska and worked their way to that repair.

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