Maintenance, Warranties, and A Drive in the Country

As I write this we're still parked at The Farm in Beaver Dam. But the calendar is advancing... the days are flipping by... and we're busily getting ready for our next "drive in the country". Sunday we're hookin' up the toad and heading out... through the Chicago Metroplex, around the southern shore of Lake Michigan, and over to Kalamazoo Michigan. We plan to be in the K-zoo area through the Labor Day weekend, visiting with Dar's sister and BIL and going through the mountain of stuff we left there when we sold the house in Illinois and hit the road in the RV. After 5 years, the value (to us) of much of that stuff has declined dramatically and we're hoping that by the time we leave the pile will be much smaller. My dream is that what's left will be easily UPS-able to wherever we decide to settle someday. Nahh... that ain't gonna happen. But a guy can dream, can't he?

During our stay near K-zoo, I'm also taking the bus-house over to Spartan Chassis in Charlotte Michigan for some service and maintenance... some things I'm not capable or willing to tackle. Like most people we run across in this lifestyle, we like the peace-of-mind that comes from having a well-maintained chassis. Our tires are also nearing the end of their comfortable life and are starting to show signs of age. Before we leave the Midwest in October, we'll have six new tires under the bus-house... another element of the peace-of-mind thing.

Since the bus-house is now over 5 years old, we have no warranty protection on anything... with the possible exception of, I'm thinking, another year on an extended warranty we bought in a weak moment for the fridge. I am not a fan of extended warranties and prefer to self-insure against calamity in most cases. Companies that write extended warranty policies are in the business to make a profit... and the only way they can do that is to pay out less in claims than they take in in premiums. Sure, here and there folks come out ahead on the deal... just like some gamblers hit a jackpot once in a while. But they don't build those big Casinos without leaving a long trail of losers, and the same can be said of extended warranty companies. Over the years I can only think of two extended warranties I've ever purchased (including the one on the fridge), and I've never collected a dime on either one. But even including those I'm sure we're way ahead of the game by not buying extended warranties.

We've made the decision to take advantage of a wider horizon and some big open spaces to do something different this coming Winter. Instead of spending three months parked at an RV Park along the Texas coast we're going to wander and explore throughout the Southwest. We've found, over the years, that we're not very good at parking (or "sitting" as I've called it in the past). Boredom sets in after a short time and we find ourselves obsessing about when we can leave and where we'll go when we do. This is especially true when we've been at the same RV Park for consecutive years, and have pretty much explored the surrounding country. There just isn't that much to do. While we do like the Coastal Bend of Texas and have developed some good friendships with the Winter Texans at Sandollar Resort in Rockport, this year we're going to mix it up a bit... try something different.

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