Friday, June 11, 2010

The Right Place At The Right Time

Sometimes we get a bit of good luck coming our way.  We found some of that good luck here at the Cascade Meadows RV Resort recently.  A little background first.....

Back in 1997 and 1999 we weren't taking full time care of our elderly parents yet and so we were able to take off on a 6-month trip each of those years.  Each year we had traveled back to the East.  On each trip we seemed to end up near Asheville, North Carolina for a few days.  We had checked out RV parks there and found them to be a little pricey for our small budget.  We checked in our Trailer Life Directory and found a small park in nearby Hendersonville.  It was called "Phil and Ann's RV" and we drove over. 

It turned out to be a great find in 1997 and we returned there in 1999 for several days.  Phil and Ann lived in their 5th wheel on a large piece of property and had opened a campground that was especially great for our needs.  It didn't have a pool or clubhouse and so that made their daily rate fantastic.  They kept their CG open from April 1st to around mid-October.  They closed for the winter months and took off on some boondocking adventures in Arizona and California deserts each year.  Phil tows his 5er with a big honkin' Freighliner tractor and has a huge workshop on it.  He suppliments their income by doing RV repairs on the road while they travel.  Then in the fall they had to leave their bookdocking adventures in the southwest and return to Hendersonville to open the campground.

Anyhoo....we had not been back to Phil and Ann's RV since 1999 and we always remembered them fondly. They were the first RVer's we knew who did the full boondocking thing.  They had the whole solar panel stuff going on and everything.  We got here to the Cascade Meadows Resort and got ourselves settled into our site.  Bruce and I took Annie for a walk and we saw a 5er and Freightliner that sure looked familiar.  However, this is June.  Phil and Ann are usually back in Hendersonville for the summer.  We walked closer and saw a North Carolina plate on the 5er.  Could it be?  A man came out just then and I asked, "Are you Phil?"  He seemed surprised and answered, "yes". 


We explained then how we knew him and Ann.  He didn't remember us, of course, as they had dealt with thousands of campers since 1999 but that was OK.  We talked for a while and then Ann came out and we talked with her, too.  During the recent economic disaster our country saw, they decided to close up the RV park and hit the road fulltime now.  They go to a lot of Good Sam rallies and FMCA rallies and do RV repairs for folks that might have an issue they need resolved or for an emergency situation. They are not just snowbirds anymore.

Fast forward a day or two.....Bruce is washing the MH and Phil walks by to the trash dumpster.  They start talking and in the process Bruce mentions a problem we have with our gas furnace.  Phil asked if we wanted him to take a look at it.  Sure, why not?  This front propane furnace of ours (we have 2) has never worked properly.  In fact, sometimes it will not even work at all.  We have the heat pump heater and that has worked fine...when it is above freezing.  We've had some issues! 

Since buying this MH we have had occasion to be at the Winnebago factory twice.  During both visits we've mentioned the sporadic operation of the furnace.  They can never find anything wrong and it worked when they turned it on.  (frustrating!)  Then we get back to Tumwater and it will not work again.  So, we took it to a local dealer 3 times for work....same story.   Cannot duplicate problem.  We were tearing our hair out but were getting nowhere. 

Present day.....along comes Phil.  Was he riding up on his white horse dressed as a knight in shining armour?  No, but he may as well have been.  Phil spent about 3 hours going over this furnace after we explained the problem.  He took apart the smart panel with the thermostat inside the house.  He checked everything at least 5 times.  He tried all sorts of things.  He went outdoors to inspect the furnace itself.  Again, he checked everything and did several things to repair it.  Guess what???   Phil fixed the dang furnace!!!!!   He took no money at that point for the repairs.  He told us to use it that night to make sure it would work as it is supposed to do on a thermostat situation.   We turned off the heat pump and left the propane furnace itself on thermostat all night.  We had efficient heat all night long.  It went on.  It went off.  It went on.  It went off.  Just like it was meant to do.

I didn't get a very good photo of Phil.  He drove his big Freightliner to our site.  He was unloading some of his equipment to begin checking our furnace.


The next morning Phil called to see how things went and I told him everything worked perfectly.   So exciting!!  A furnace that really works like it is supposed to.   He charged us $200.00 for his work, parts and labor.  It was worth every single penny.   Phil and Ann will be going up to Redmond, OR for a rally soon.  They are great folks and I hope if you ever see them out there and need a fast repair job on your RV, you will give Phil the opportunity. 


Our propane furnace is a 2-speed furnace with a low and high setting.  We always just kept it on the high setting.  After Phil checked everything under the sun, he came to the conclusion that the furnace could not handle operating with the 2-speed wiring in place.  It would not work on Low at all.  So, he eliminated the wiring on the low speed and connected everything to only the high speed capability.  He also said that later that evening he did some online research and found out that only 500 of these furnaces had been installed during our model year and on 2 different RV manufacturers.  They do not use this furnace anymore.  Gee....wonder why???  Everything works great now.  Each time we had it in for service and investigation those techs just did not, or would not, do a thorough job of trying to isolate the problem.  It worked when they turned it on...end of story for them.  We'd drive 100 miles away and ....nothing...no heat AGAIN.   Thank God for Phil.
THANK YOU, PHIL. I think we were definitely in the right place at the right time!!!   Phil to the rescue.

Until next time.....so long for now!

24 comments:

THE BAYFIELD BUNCH said...

With so many grumbly thngs seeming to be the norm sometimes isn't it a great feeling when things come together in such a positive way like like that. We are all so fortunate to have repair people who know how to do things & don't mind doing them. What a lucky break that was for you.

Sam&Donna Weibel said...

Here again another example of what I call, Good things happen to good people, what were the odds on Phil being at the same park you chose during a period of time he would have been in NC. All the stars were lined up and you guys connected,We are so glad you were able to getthe furnace fixed at a reasonable rate, that works out to two hours at a dealer, I'm sure Phil spent a lot more time with his thorough troublshooting and research on your unit. Plus you got to renew a freinship and aquaintance you hadn't seen in ten years. What a great day. Be safe out there, Sam & Donna.

Laurie said...

Great story! You so perfectly captured the frustration of so many of us RV'ers who have those intermittant, hard-to-solve problems. With each repair attempt, we describe all the symptoms we've so carefully recorded, only to have each repair facility either not find any problem, or "fix" the problem for the next 100 miles. An experienced, thorough RV tech is worth his/her weight in gold!

Hooray for Phil! I'll bet you are thrilled.

Karen and Al said...

Great story. I'm so glad you got your furnace fixed. It's too bad they sold their Campground though. I was ready to write it down for future use!

Jerry and Suzy said...

Phil also fixed our furnace, at a Gypsy Journal Gathering a couple years ago. Good fellow, decent and honest. Golly, is he the last of a breed?

Rick and Paulette said...

I know Phil!! We had the good fortune to run across him in Quartzsite a few years ago when we experienced a strange noise coming from our electrical panel. I was told by a few people that it was probably our converter. Driving into QZ, I happened to see an "Mobile RV Repair" poster pointing to a boondocking site. I followed it in to meet Phil. He was just terrific. He checked our rig from top to bottom, declared our converter and entire electrical system just fine. The noise I heard was probably the result of a faulty power source at the CG we had stayed at. He did a bunch of routine maintenance, charged us only $75 and we were on our way. He was right too as that electrical noise never returned.

It's a small world isn't it? I heartily endorse your recommendation as Phil is both a great RV repair man and an honest worker too - a nice combination!!

Happytrails said...

Great story! The world needs more Phils!! People don't seem to care about the quality of their work anymore. We've had a similar problem trying to get our laptop fixed...we are on our second trip to HP because they didn't do the job the first time.
We will definitely keep Phil in mind if we ever need help and he's nearby. :)

Mike & Gerri (happytrails)

Carol K said...

Serendipity strikes again. What a great story! I'm so glad that Phil was able to fix your furnace. Just meeting up with him and Ann again after all these years would have been a treat, but to have your furnace finally fixed, too, that's icing on the cake!

Gypsy said...

I'm so glad you ran into Phil again and that he was able to solve your furnace problem. I had a couple of things on my 5th wheel that never worked properly, but NOBODY wanted to take the trouble to find out why. It's the most frustrating thing.

Judy and Emma said...

What a wonderful story. Isn't it great when things work out for the better? :)

KarenInTheWoods and Steveio said...

If Phil has a website or a blog, it might be helpful to post it, as then RVers could follow it and know whereabouts he is if they have items on their own *punch list* that the dealers or manufactureres have not been able to fix!

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Karen and Steve
(Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard
http://kareninthewoods-kareninthewoods.blogspot.com

Levonne said...

Hi Margie,
I'm a WW too by the way though I have gained all the weight back that I lost the first time around (about 30 lbs). I'll keep my eye out for Phil in our travels. He sounds like a great guy to know! Thanks for the story. By the way, I have changed the name of my blog to A Camp Host Housewife's Meanderings http://acamphosthousewifesmeanderings.blogspot.com/. (Was: Stand Still With Levonne.)

Phyllis said...

How great was that!

As I was first reading your blog, I was reminded we will be in the Henderson NC area (Marion to be exact) beginning of Oct at a NOMADS conference. Too bad they no longer have the park as I will be looking for a good park mid October in that area. But - they are off to bigger and better things.

Thanks for telling us about Phil. Always good to hear a positive experience.

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