• Stephanie Olson

Stranded on St. Patrick’s Day!

Updated: Feb 4

The luck of the Irish was not with us this St. Patrick’s Day!

We talked, pondered, talked again, and pondered some more… With all of the precautions being taken for Coronavirus, should we still take our journey around the U.S. Once they announced that schools were going to an online format for at least a couple of weeks, we decided we’d be in good shape. We weren’t doing this to go out to all sorts of crazy places, we just wanted warmer weather and something besides a parking lot to look at. With Alli having an extended spring break and Ian doing his classwork online, it was perfect, and we were even preparing to leave a day early.

We put a couple of months into planning every detail of the trip, and prepped the fifth wheel for about 10 days prior to our departure date. After not moving for nearly 9 months, we tested the slides, and prepared and double checked everything. 

Finally, the day was here. Alli and I were getting our pedicures (we HAVE to be beach ready) and then we were hooking up the trailer and hitting the road.We were only driving about 2 hours south, but we’d be in a new place, and two hours closer to the warm weather. BUT… we all know the luck we’ve had traveling since purchasing the fifth wheel, so of course this didn’t go as planned and prepared for.


It was about 1:00, and we were packed up, kids were in the truck, and we were closing the slides. The next step was to raise the leveling jacks, but that never happened. We couldn’t get the power box for the auto leveling jacks to turn on. I called dad, and he came over with a battery tester, we were certain that was the problem. We called Grand Design (for the first time that day) and went through a few more troubleshooting steps. At 4:00, we were finally giving up and dad went home. I can’t lie, this was a very deflating afternoon. Zach was completely ready to give up on the life we worked so hard to prepare for, and I couldn’t blame him. We had to figure out what to do, and now we couldn’t even get the slides back out, so we had no place to sleep for the night. 

We took Ian back to his dad’s, and sent Alli and Piper to mom and dad’s for the night. We were going to head over there as well to have some dinner and really try to talk about what we were going to do. Without the fifth wheel, we no longer have a place to live, and we were supposed to be on the road for the next 6 and a half months. 

After some talking, we decided Wednesday would be spent cancelling all our reservations, and we’d look into purchasing another stationary home. Maybe we’d head to Colorado early, maybe we’d get a small place in Florida, we didn’t really know. All we knew was that we didn’t want to go through any more stress with the RV.

Wednesday morning started well. We were one our way to having all of our stays cancelled and Grand Design called back to follow up. We talked to someone new and were given a few more things to check. One of them was the magic key… we swapped out a hidden fuse, and the jacks were powering up like a charm. After some more phone calls, and what may be portrayed as begging, we finally got Grand Design to agree to let us come down to their corporate facility to double check the issues we were having, including our convection microwave that no longer works, and having them look at the upper cabinet that was pulling from the ceiling. 

We would end up rushing down to Indiana in the late afternoon, and staying in their “campground” for a service visit first thing in the morning. Well, that begging, and not so great drive turned out to be just the silver lining we needed.

Finally, Grand Design came through in a way we had wished they would have from the start. They not only fixed all of the issues we told them about, they did it at no cost, and also fixed things that we had broken ourselves. The icing on that cake? They did it all in one quick morning. Now, we have altered our travel a little bit, but we are back on the road, with a much better feeling in our guts and a renewed excitement for spending some time in the sun.

Now, in the meantime, Coronavirus hasn’t gone anywhere, so there will be no beaches and pools in our near future, but there is nothing stopping me from reading a book with a drink in hand and the hot sun on my face. We just do everything from here on out with our fingers crossed that we have some travels ahead without the stresses of something breaking, falling apart, or just plain not working… Next time you see us, we’ll be a little more tan, and much more relaxed that the last three days have led us to be!

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