Hello, Anyone There?

OK, we guess we’ll catch you up on what’s been going on the last 2 1/2 weeks.

Location: Our RV Lot at Deer Creek RV Golf and Country Club

Dates: Mar. 11 – 14, 2018

Not much going on here. We drove over to Disney Springs on Sunday afternoon and ended up over at Saratoga Springs for dinner at the Turf Club restaurant (don’t we sound fancy?)

Monday through Wednesday was a combination of Malcolm catching up on some work and us packing up suitcases for our upcoming trip out to Washington state. We also arranged with our neighbors across the street to watch our cat. They had us bring her and all her stuff over to their place. We left her with them on Wednesday evening since we were flying out early on Thursday morning.

We got to the Orlando airport a couple hours ahead of our flight (we need to practice our timing a little better), quickly checked our luggage (Alaska Airlines pre-printed luggage tags for the win), breezed through security (TSA PreCheck is a life-saver) and got to our gate first.

Once on board our flight, we were treated to a nice sunrise over the airport.

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Location: Washington State visiting Grandchildren

Dates: Mar. 15 – 22, 2018

We arrived at the Seattle airport mid-morning, west coast time. Our daughter Elizabeth  came to the airport and picked us up and took us home.

We made a quick trip down the street with our younger granddaughter, Scarlet, and fed the local goats some carrots.

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Thursday afternoons, Violet goes to rock climbing class at the local YMCA. She’s a really good climber.

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Malcolm took our son-in-law Cole to the airport on Friday afternoon. Cole is flying to India for business and will be there a couple weeks. That’s one reason we flew out here to help out our daughter and to visit the grandkids. Speaking of grandkids, Malcolm was challenged to several games of Mario Kart.

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One of our experiments was making a Lucky Charms pie. The jury is still out on this one. We all had a piece after it was frozen overnight. It’s not bad, but not the best.

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Nana and Pa took Scarlet out to lunch one day at the girls’ favorite restaurant – Trackside Pizza. We weren’t disappointed with the amount of rail traffic during our meal.

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Malcolm got some work done during the week and we ran errands with or for our daughter.

Location: The Grey Gull, Ocean Shores, Washington

Dates: Mar. 22 – 25, 2018

On Thursday, Violet got off school early and had Friday off, so we all piled into the car and drove out to Ocean Shores, Washington for a long weekend.

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We arrived late in the evening and checked into our room, which is actually a one-bedroom condo with a full kitchen. We brought food and drinks so we could eat some meals in. Our condo was a beach view (Pacific Ocean), but having arrived after dark, we didn’t get to see it until the next morning.

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While admiring our view on Friday morning, we had a visitor land on our balcony railing. Our seagull friend hung around for a good half hour before figuring out we weren’t going to feed him anything.

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We did some kite flying on the beach and did some shopping in town. The weather was in the 40’s during the day and there was off and on rain.

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On Saturday, we stopped by the beach and there were horses out there. They were giving horseback rides on the beach. Violet talked her grandfather into accompanying her on a ride. She didn’t have to twist his arm too much.

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It was Violet’s first ride where she was in control and she did a super job. She was ready to ride again as soon as we got back.

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On Saturday night we were treated to a nice sunset for our last night at the beach.

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On Sunday, we packed up everything into the car, checked out of the room and headed to the beach to fly kites one last time before heading home.

Location: Washington State visiting Grandchildren

Dates: Mar. 25 – 27, 2018

Back at home, we’ve been falling back into everyday stuff. Malcolm has been working, the girls are back in school and Elizabeth is back to being Mommy. We’ll be here about another week. We promise an update when we get back home.

 

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Christmas and New Year

Location: Our RV Lot at Deer Creek RV Golf and Country Club

Dates: Dec. 20 – 21, 2017

We spent Wednesday, the 20th, getting ready for our trip on the 21st. We got everything all packed up and ready to go as well as checking in, printing boarding passes and luggage tags (yay for Alaska Airlines). Malcolm even had time to get in a pretty full day of work.

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Callie supervising Malcolm’s work

We also met our neighbors who would be watching Callie while we were gone. They came by to meet Callie and grab a key for the trailer. They ended up doing a super job of watching Callie. We would have been happy just having someone pop in once a day to feed her and clean out her litter box. They stopped by twice a day, often staying for a while and brushing her fur and loving on her.

Our flight on the 21st was scheduled to leave Orlando at 5:20 PM. We decided to leave the trailer around noon, catch some lunch and wander over to the airport around 2:00 or so. We ended up at Disney Springs for lunch. Malcolm realized the only warm clothing he brought was his very heavy winter jacket and nothing in between that and a couple light long sleeve shirts, so he picked up a sweatshirt.

Malcolm happened to check his Alaska Airlines app and found out that the flight had been delayed another hour or so and was now scheduled to leave at 6:37 PM. We took our time at Disney Springs since we were now in no rush. We ended up at the car park around 4:00 or so, parked and rode the shuttle to the airport. When we checked in at the Alaska counter, the agent reprinted our boarding passes with the new, further delayed departure time of 7:42 PM. He also handed us two meal vouchers so we could grab dinner in the airport.

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Val’s Build-a-bear got its own seat on the plane

We breezed through security thanks to our new TSA PreCheck privileges and found our gate. With a few hours to waste now, we went ahead and ate dinner at a nicer sit-down restaurant. The meal vouchers covered about half of our meal and drinks ($12 a person maximum). While eating dinner, we found that our flight had yet again been delayed to a 9:00 PM departure. We spent a lot of time at the gate sitting around, reading, etc.

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Our flight ended up landing in Seattle after midnight their time. Elizabeth came out to pick us up and we gladly plopped down in our bed at almost 1:00 AM Pacific Time (around 4:00 AM our time). The granddaughters had expertly prepared our sleeping arrangements for us, including some nice chocolates (that we ate later).

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Our luxury accomodations

Location: Edgewood, Washington

Dates: Dec. 22, 2017 – Jan. 1, 2018

Friday and Saturday involved a lot of family time, running to the store for groceries and so forth.

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Story time with Nana

On Sunday morning, we all went to church. Val’s sister, Anne, was there, as well. She came over to visit for a while afterwards before heading on home. On Sunday evening, we went over to Cole’s parents’ house for Christmas Eve dinner and visiting. It started snowing right as we were leaving to go their house Sunday afternoon.

On Christmas day, we awoke to a pretty decent amount of snow. It started snowing again pretty heavily all morning. By late morning, there was about 3-4 inches of snow on the ground.

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But first, it was time to see what Santa brought everyone.

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Santa was here!

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Mid-opening of presents

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Still opening presents

After all the presents were opened and the wrapping paper cleaned up, it was time for lunch and then an afternoon of playing in the snow. Elizabeth and Scarlet made a small snowman out front before lunch. This was before the snow really accumulated a bunch more.

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Mini snowman

Of course, the requisite snow angels needed to be made.

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Violet making a snow angel

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Scarlet making her own snow angel (who needs a hat?)

The horses across the street got their Christmas treats as well.

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After it snowed some more, Pa showed the girls how to roll up larger snow balls for making a snowman. It started out as a snow unicorn.

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Snow unicorn?

Later on, we found proper attire for the snowman and put the finishing touches on him.

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Pa and the girls showing off their work

After all the snow fun, we all cleaned up and headed over to Cole’s parents’ house again, this time for their traditional Christmas dinner, followed by the gift exchange. It was a fun time, as usual.

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On Tuesday and Wednesday, we hung around the house and did family stuff. Violet baked some cupcakes up for all of us. Scarlet helped decorate them.

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On Wednesday evening, Malcolm, Elizabeth and Cole headed out to see the new Star Wars movie. Nana and the girls had a girls night planned. It started out with a trip to DQ for ice cream treats.

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After Malcolm, Cole and Elizabeth got to the movie theater, they found that all the shows were pretty much sold out, so they bought tickets for Thursday night. After finding out that the grandchildren got ice cream, a stop by Wendys for Frosties and Fries was in order.

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On Thursday, Val and Elizabeth headed out for some shopping and lunch while Malcolm and Cole watched the children. That evening Malcolm, Cole and Elizabeth headed back to the movies. Nana and the girls had their own little party at home. On Friday, it was more of the same as we hung around the house. Elizabeth babysits a couple children on Fridays and they were over for the day, so we mainly stayed home.

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On Saturday, Elizabeth headed out to the airport to pick up our son, David, at the airport. He flew in to visit for several days. It was fun having the entire family together in one place.

On Sunday morning, we all went to church. Anne was there, too and came home with us all to enjoy Sunday dinner. Malcolm and Elizabeth whipped up the now-traditional stir fry dinner. It was yummy.

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After an afternoon of football watching, we all decided to have game night. There was plenty of popcorn and lots of fun. Before we went to bed, we said our goodbyes to everyone since we had an early flight out the next morning.

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On Monday, the 1st, Cole took us to the airport for our 7:50 AM flight back home. While we were waiting at the gate, our flight’s pilot walked around talking to everyone. He talked with the children and gave a few of them some pilot wings. He also provided the pre-flight announcement once we were all on board the plane.

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Our flight left Seattle on time and made good time across the country. We arrived a few minutes early in Orlando, close to dinner time. Since we didn’t have any groceries at home, we stopped on the way and ate dinner, then headed on home.

 

 

 

 

Out of Town Travel

Location: Our RV Lot at Deer Creek RV Golf and Country Club

Dates: Dec. 10 – 15, 2017

The early part of the week was a mix of work, relaxing and getting ready for upcoming trips out of town. The weather slowly warmed up through the week. The cool weather managed to help us finish off a propane tank over the weekend. Malcolm drove it over to a nearby Love’s truck stop and had it filled. There is a service that comes around our neighborhood to fill tanks, but we missed the cut-off on that (plus, Love’s is cheaper).

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Callie, taking the relaxing part seriously

One area we were having problems was finding a cat sitter (as mentioned at the end of our last blog entry). Fortunately, we had some folks step up to the plate after a second plea for help on our neighborhood’s Facebook page. We’ll have one lady covering the Nashville trip and another covering our Seattle trip.

Our last big thing to do before heading out for Nashville was to attend the Candlelight Processional at Disney’s Epcot. We bought a lunch package at the Biergarten Restaurant at Epcot which included preferred seating at the processional later in the afternoon.

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Entertainment at the Biergarten

Val hooked us both up with some fancy duds to wear for the day. We stopped on the way to Epcot to pick up a hat for Malcolm to go with his outfit.

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Fancy Duds

The service was exceptional. Choirs from local schools join together with a full orchestra and a guest narrator to put on a fantastic musical performance. The guest narrator for our evening there was Warwick Davis, who read the story of the birth of Jesus from the bible in between various Christmas song selections.

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Candlelight Processional

We left a little bit after the show to get home in preparation for our early morning departure for the airport. We had a 7:50 am flight and Orlando airport recommends arriving between 2 and 3 hours before your flight. We were through security pretty quick due to our new PreCheck numbers and were at our gate two hours before the flight.

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Sunrise at the Orlando Airport

We had an uneventful flight, with a short layover in Atlanta. Fortunately our first flight arrived, and our second flight departed from the same concourse. We just walked from one end to the other.

Location: Marriott Nashville Vanderbilt, Nashville, Tennessee

Dates: Dec. 15 – 18, 2017

We arrived in Nashville around noon, rented our car and tossed our stuff inside. We drove downtown, parked in a garage and had lunch at Demos’ Steak & Spaghetti restaurant downtown. After lunch, we headed up to Malcolm’s office and said our hellos and handed out Christmas cards and gifts to various employees. From there, we went on to our hotel and checked in. We left the car in the garage and walked over to a nearby P.F. Chang’s restaurant for dinner.

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Cool wallpaper in our hotel room

On Saturday, we headed out early to the Opry Mills Mall to pick up a couple things, the Kroger’s to get a couple items we needed there. From there, we headed across town and had lunch and shopped around at McKay’s Used Books. We headed on back to the hotel to get ready for the company Christmas Party that evening.

The party was fun. Malcolm got to see a lot of co-workers he hadn’t seen in a while and met at least one that had started working since we were in the office last (this spring). Everyone won a gift at the party. We got a big basket of things to make martinis with, including a big ice pail. This presented a problem of where we might stow the items to fly back home.

On Sunday morning, we were too lazy to even head downstairs to the hotel restaurant for breakfast, so we ordered room service. It was actually cheaper than having the breakfast buffet in the restaurant at the hotel (which we did Saturday morning).

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Room Service breakfast

After debating different methods of getting our new martini set home, we decided we would look at luggage at Target. We only checked on bag coming up and the airline allows us to check one bag per person, so another bag going home wouldn’t cost any extra. Plus, we could use another good suitcase. We ended up finding one on clearance that was also marked another 10% off. We stopped by McNamara’s Irish Pub to have lunch, then headed back to the hotel to begin the task of packing stuff in two suitcases.

Val had just read a news story about a massive power failure at the Atlanta airport on Sunday when Malcolm received the bad news message from Delta airlines – our flight out of Nashville on Monday was cancelled. They were working on a replacement flight for us. Malcolm checked online and found that the next available flight would leave on Tuesday and get in to Orlando very late Tuesday night.

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Oops. Bad news.

We looked at various options. Staying another day would be fairly costly at the hotel we were in in Nashville. Flying one-way on another airline would have been around $500 or so. We called Enterprise car rental, where we had rented the car we had there in Nashville and asked about keeping the car and driving it back to Orlando, but they wanted nearly $500 extra to do that. Malcolm finally found a deal on a one-way rental through Avis for around $150 and booked a car for Monday morning to drop off in Orlando on Tuesday afternoon.

Monday morning, we packed up our rental car and headed over to the Nashville airport to drop it off at Enterprise. We headed into the terminal to complete the registration on our Avis rental car, then back out to Avis to pick up our car and head on our way south. We drove as far as Valdosta, Georgia (about 2/3 of the way home) on Monday.

Location: Country Inn & Suites, Valdosta, Georgia

Dates: Dec. 18 – 19, 2017

We stayed at the Country Inn & Suites overnight on Monday after eating dinner at a nearby Mellow Mushroom pizza restaurant. We were up early, had breakfast downstairs and hopped in the car by around 8:00 am to head on towards Orlando.

We arrived at the Orlando airport around noon and checked in our rental car. We rode the shuttle out to the parking lot and picked up our own car and headed towards home. Malcolm called Delta Airlines on the shuttle and arranged for a callback in a couple hours. We stopped by Panera Bread for lunch on the way.

Location: Our RV Lot at Deer Creek RV Golf and Country Club

Dates: Dec. 19, 2017

Once home, Delta Airlines returned Malcolm’s call. Malcolm told them that we had rented a car instead of flying back home. The representative was nice and said he would process a refund to the credit card on which we had bought the tickets. Not sure how much of a refund that will be, but it was a nice gesture.

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Callie was glad we were home

We paid our cat sitter and Malcolm sat down to do some work while Val headed up to the laundry room to catch up laundry. We headed to fill up the car with gas later in the afternoon and picked up some groceries at Target before enjoying dinner at home and relaxing.

Tomorrow is pack-up day for our upcoming trip to Seattle on Thursday. That flight leaves in the afternoon, so no early departures this time. Plus, it is a direct flight from Orlando to Seattle, so no worries about Atlanta airport either way.

 

Anatomy Of An Accident

Photo Sep 28, 4 10 21 PM

Two years ago, on Monday, September 28th, 2015 at around 4:00 PM, we were involved in a traffic accident while pulling our fifth wheel. We posted about the accident back when it happened but we haven’t really said much else about it here on the blog.

As we run across people from time to time, they’ll ask how everything ended up coming out. So, we figured this would be a good time to post about the whole incident from start to finish. We hope there is some good takeaway information here that you can use. Looking back over the whole incident, there are a few issues we possibly could have handled differently armed with what we know now.

The Accident

We were heading south on US 41 just north of Evansville, Indiana on a clear, sunny Monday afternoon. We had been driving from Odessa, Missouri with our destination for the night at Diamond Lake Resort near Owensboro, Kentucky. We were about an hour away from there.

US 41 is a four-lane divided highway north of Evansville, with a 60 MPH speed limit. We were approaching an intersection that had dedicated turn lanes both north and south. The traffic signals for both turn lanes were red arrows. Our southbound lanes had a green signal. We were in the passing lane as Malcolm had just recently passed a slower moving vehicle. Because the intersection was in a construction zone, we had slowed to around 50 MPH.

As we neared the intersection, we both noticed the lead vehicle in the northbound turn lane had started moving slowly straight forward into the center portion of the intersection. Malcolm slowed some as we watched that vehicle move slowly forward. We thought maybe they had decided not to turn and were possibly wanting to merge back into the northbound (opposite to us) straight through lanes and continue north.

When we were probably about 100 feet from the intersection, the minivan we had seen moving forward suddenly turned left, directly into our path. We were still traveling probably 40-45 mph and had nowhere to go. Malcolm did try to swerve to the right, but with the van moving left to right there was no way to avoid hitting them. We braced for impact.

We t-boned the minivan squarely on the two side doors. All of the glass on the passenger side of the minivan shattered and rained over the top of the cab of our pickup, landing mostly in the bed behind us. Our momentum pushed the van sideways and with our steering wheel turned to the right, the whole assembly of minivan, truck and trailer slowly slid to a stop in the grass to our right, just past the intersection. The tail end of the trailer was just out of the main traffic lanes.

During the crash, the minivan cushioned our collision enough that the airbags in the truck did not deploy. The seat belt tensioners did their job, though. Val couldn’t get her door open and ended up crawling out the driver’s door. Upon later inspection, we realized that the trailer hitch had broken loose from the bed of the truck and the trailer slammed into the back of the truck when the collision occurred. This pushed the whole bed of the truck forward just enough to tweak the cab so that the passenger door couldn’t be opened all the way.

Malcolm was not injured. His elbows were sore for a few days afterwards since he locked both arms and braced for the impact of the accident. The top half of the steering wheel was slightly bent forward. Val got some seat belt rash from the belt tensioner doing its job. Our cat, Callie, was riding in her carrier in the back seat of the truck and seemed to fare just fine. Two of the minivan occupants, both of whom were riding on the passenger side of the van where the impact occurred, were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The front seat passenger, we later found out, had surgery because he was bleeding around his brain.

The minivan and the truck were both towed away. As fate would have it, our friends Lou and Bette Dick were staying in a campground a mere ¼ mile away from the accident scene. After we called 911, we called them and they came right over with their car and their truck. We loaded all we could out of the truck into their car and Lou hooked up our trailer to his truck and pulled it up to the campground where they were staying. Malcolm called the truck (State Farm) and trailer (Good Sam/National General) insurance companies and started the claims processes.

The Next Few Days

It was pretty obvious to us that our truck was a total. The front part of the frame was pushed over to the side and the rear bed was tilted forward into the back of the cab. Even if it wasn’t totaled, it wasn’t something we would want to drive after it was repaired, so we set about finding a new truck. Malcolm found one at a great price a few hours away in Nicholasville, Kentucky. We ended up driving our rental car over to buy the truck on Wednesday, dropping the rental off at the airport on the way back to Evansville.

Looking at the front of our trailer in the daylight, it was pretty obvious that the front drop-frame rails were bent inward as the landing gear was toed in. The front compartment metal floor was bent upward in an inverted “V” and the first crossmember back was bent, as well. Our MorRyde pinbox was mangled up, but serviceable enough to pull the trailer short distances. We thought to ourselves that maybe the trailer would be totaled, but weren’t sure. Also, if they fixed it, would we trust it traveling long distances on the road? Things to ponder.

We were ultimately heading to a family get-together in Durham, North Carolina when we were sidelined by the wreck, so Malcolm talked to the trailer insurance agent and asked if we could defer having it looked at until we returned in a week or so. They were fine with that. We drove on to North Carolina in the truck after making hotel reservations, leaving the trailer behind. Callie stayed in the trailer and Lou and Bette were given a key. They took care of feeding Callie while we were away.

On the way back to Indiana from North Carolina, we stopped at a few RV dealers and looked at various trailers, figuring we might end up having to buy one to replace the current one. We ended up choosing one at Derby City RV in Clarksville, Indiana. We called the next day and put a small refundable deposit on it pending what insurance worked out with the existing trailer.

While we were traveling back from North Carolina, State Farm officially declared the truck a total loss and started working on cutting checks – paying off our truck loan and sending us a check for the remainder of the claim minus our $500 deductible. We got a very good payoff on the truck, only a few thousand less than we paid for it when we bought it two years and 70,000 miles earlier.

Malcolm also obtained the accident report via the internet. We were pleased to see that no less than four witnesses on our behalf were listed on the report, complete with phone numbers and addresses. They all verified our story details, that the other vehicle ran a red arrow. We knew that at least two witnesses walked over to talk to us, with one personally giving us his information in case the police didn’t get to them.

Trailer Insurance

When Malcolm called our claims agent to get the ball rolling once we were back in Indiana, the agent told him that they didn’t have any adjusters in the area. The agent checked her list of contract agents and found that the nearest one was three hours away (probably in Indianapolis). At that point, the agent asked Malcolm if he knew of any RV repair places nearby that might have an adjuster that could come out and look at the trailer.

This was the biggest red flag of the whole process. If your insurance company can’t get someone they know and work with to come out and look at your wrecked vehicle, then you may be in for a long ride. Looking back, we wished we could have pushed for them to send someone out. Instead, we called the RV dealer about two miles up the road and they agreed to do the adjusting and would send someone down in a couple days to look over the damage, take pictures, fill out insurance forms and send it all in to the insurance company.

After they came and went, we drove over to the RV dealer to see what they had heard, if anything. It had been a few days and no word from anyone. One of the employees that had been out looking at the trailer indicated that they were writing the whole thing up as a total loss. They supposedly had talked to both Heartland RVs (the trailer manufacturer) and Lippert Components (the frame manufacturer) and neither wanted to work on it. The RV dealer was not set up to work on frames, so they decided to write up a really high repair estimate and submit that.

Based on that information (let’s call this a yellow flag), we went ahead and moved forward with buying the other trailer that we had put a deposit down on. Malcolm also set up an appointment with the RV dealer that did the damage estimate to put a hitch in the truck. That was about a week away since they were fairly booked up.

Moving To a New Trailer

On Tuesday, October 13, two weeks after the accident, we rented a small U-Haul truck and bought a bunch of boxes to pack things in. We started the process of moving everything out to the U-Haul from the trailer.

On Wednesday, October 14, we finished loading all our belongings into the U-Haul. We took our new truck and the U-Haul and drove the two hours east to Clarksville, Indiana to check into the hotel across the street from our RV dealer. Our walk-through of the new trailer was set for Friday, the 16th.

On Thursday, October 15, Malcolm drove the truck back over to Evansville to get the hitch put in at the RV dealer. Once they were done, he drove over to the campground and hitched the trailer up to the truck and pulled it back to the RV dealer. They agreed to store it for us while we waited on insurance. With the hitch put in and the trailer safely in storage, Malcolm headed back to Clarksville to the hotel.

On Friday morning, October 16th, we did our walk-through on the trailer. Once that was done, they pulled it outside and we brought the U-Haul over and unloaded everything into the trailer. We took the U-Haul back and headed back to the dealer, hooked up the trailer and headed out towards Nashville to meet up with friends at a rally there.

The Trailer Insurance Process

Over the next month or so, Malcolm would check on the trailer insurance only to be told that they were still working on processing the estimate. This drug on for about six weeks before Malcolm posted something expressing his dissatisfaction with the process on the RV.Net forums which are run by Good Sam, which is where our trailer insurance was sourced (it was underwritten initially by GMAC, but moved to National General Insurance after GMAC got out of the insurance business). A Good Sam representative followed up to get more information from Malcolm and indicated that someone would get with him to escalate the process.

A couple days later, Malcolm received a call from the head of the trailer insurance division at National General who gave Malcolm his personal phone number and vowed to move things forward. This was during Thanksgiving week. Though this gentleman was good at getting back with Malcolm to keep him up to date on what was going on, he was having a difficult time getting call-backs from places that could work on RV frames (i.e. Lippert Components).

It wasn’t until mid-January of 2016 (almost 4 months after the wreck), that insurance informed us that Lippert Components in Goshen, Indiana would look at the trailer, give a quote and, if fixable, would do the repair work. Insurance paid for a transporter to take the trailer to Goshen.

Insurance called us in early February to let us know that the estimate from Lippert was around $6,000 and that they could repair the trailer. We gave a verbal go-ahead. The insurance company sent a check directly to Lippert for the repair. (Usually, the check goes to the insured who then brings it the repair shop and pays for the repair with the check if satisfied with the results – another yellow flag).

Malcolm was given a contact at Lippert to check on progress. That contact called him to let him know that they were starting to work on it right away (early- to mid-February) and that they expected the repairs to take a couple weeks since they needed parts from Heartland (bodywork, etc.) to finish the repairs.

The “couple weeks” slowly turned into months. The initial contact phone number eventually ended up going to a “this number is no longer in service” recording. Malcolm finally found someone else at Lippert that could keep him updated on progress. That person indicated that the frame and pinbox were finished and that they were just waiting on a few parts from Heartland to finish up. This was probably in mid-March.

We kept getting the same “we’re waiting on parts from Heartland” story over and over through March, April and May. Finally, about mid-June, Lippert called and indicated that the trailer would be ready in a couple days. Malcolm called insurance to find out how to proceed. That’s when he found out that they had already paid for the repairs back in February.

Malcolm drove up to Goshen, arriving at Lippert mid-afternoon to pick up the trailer. They knew he was coming but indicated when he got there that they couldn’t find the check from the insurance company. Lippert decided that they would contact insurance and have another check sent and the other one voided so that Malcolm could hit the road with the trailer. The trailer batteries were dead, so they jump-started the trailer enough to get the landing gear retracted.

We were camped at Fort Toulouse in Wetumpka, Alabama, so Malcolm brought the old trailer there and set it up on the site next to the new trailer. We cleaned the old trailer up really well, made sure everything was working and swapped some items from the old trailer to the new trailer and vice-versa. Mainly modifications we had made that we wanted to move forward, but also the Flex-Air pinbox that Lippert put on the old trailer during the repairs. Our son, David, was in town during that time (July 4th holiday) and helped Malcolm with the heavy work of swapping pinboxes.

After the 4th of July holiday was over, Malcolm hitched up the old trailer and pulled it down to PPL Motorhomes in Houston, Texas to sell the trailer via consignment. The trailer finally sold in late September for what we considered a fair offer. After all consignment fees were paid, we owed a couple thousand dollars to pay off the trailer loan. We decided not to pursue any diminished value claims on the trailer since it had been a year after the wreck and we were just glad to get the last piece of the puzzle put behind us.

The Lawsuit

A couple months after the accident, in November, a lawsuit was started on behalf of the front seat passenger of the minivan (the one that had surgery after the wreck) primarily to recoup his medical costs. As is typical with a lawsuit, everyone that is potentially at fault is named as a defendant, so the defendants included the driver of the van, the owner of the van (who was riding in the van at the time) and Malcolm.

Malcolm found the lawsuit details online (since such things are open records) and bookmarked it so he could follow the progress. A lawyer representing State Farm Insurance (our insurance and the other two defendants, as well) contacted Malcolm to let him know what to expect and that they were confident we were zero percent at fault. We basically had to wait until we were served with our summons and then contact the lawyer once that occurred.

The issue with serving us papers arose since we are full-time RV’ers with (at the time) an address in Texas that was only a mailbox at an Escapees mail facility. Since we weren’t physically there, we couldn’t be served our summons. Our State Farm lawyer indicated that it was contingent on the plaintiff’s lawyer to determine where we were and where to serve papers.

Ultimately, in August, 2016, the suit was released “with prejudice”. We were never served any summons. The attorney indicated that the “with prejudice” part indicated that State Farm settled with the plaintiff out of court and that we were officially released from the suit. He sent us a copy of the final settlement document and told us to keep it indefinitely to prevent being named in any future suits.

Summary

Essentially, with the suit released in August, 2016 and the trailer sold in September, 2016, we were pretty much done with the accident. The only follow-up after that is that we did receive our $500 deductible back from State Farm for the truck this summer, about 22 months after the accident.

Since the accident, we’ve switched insurance carriers for the trailer. Even before we found out how long it was going to take to get something done via our Good Sam/National General insurance policy on the old trailer, we insured the new trailer through Blue Sky Insurance (since then, we’ve switched to Progressive for better rates).

Another thing to note if you decide to put your trailer out on a consignment lot is that you should have it insured while there. The consignment lot should make that clear. Check your insurance to see if they have a consignment rider available. Good Sam/National General did not, but Blue Sky did, so we ended up switching the old trailer to Blue Sky insurance after picking it up from Lippert and before dropping it off at PPL Motorhomes.

If we didn’t buy a new trailer but instead decided to ride out the old one through the repair process, how would that have gone? The trailer was towable, so we probably could have traveled in it while waiting for them to sent it to Goshen to have it repaired, though we weren’t sure if there was any unseen frame damage. Given the length of time it was in the shop for repairs, though, we would have been living somewhere else for five months (i.e. an apartment or other accommodations).

Wouldn’t insurance have reimbursed that, though? Not for the entire time. The insurance policy provided for up to $100 a day for alternate housing and other expenses but for only a maximum of five days. Something to consider if something like this happens to you. If we were not full-timers, it would have been a simple matter of packing up necessities and driving home to wait out the repairs. The $100 a day would have worked for paying hotel and restaurant costs on the way home and back to pick up the trailer in that situation, but as a full-timer with nowhere else to go, you’re essentially stuck.

We hope this long post helps you understand what happened and how things were handled. The biggest takeaway we hope this provides is that you consider your options ahead of time in case this happens to you. Where would you go if you had to wait for your home to be repaired? How would you pay for it? Do you have the ability to purchase a new trailer even though you still own the old one while it is being repaired?

Feel free to post any additional questions in the comments. If we left out some details, we’ll add it into the post over time.

 

 

Passing Through Wyoming

Location: Douglas KOA, Douglas, Wyoming

Dates: Aug. 2 to 3, 2017

After leaving the Denver area, we went as far as Douglas, Wyoming and stayed overnight in the KOA there. We’ve stayed here before and not much has changed. It is a nice campground with lots of long sites. We were placed down in the corner near the horse pasture, which Malcolm liked. The horses preferred the other end of the pasture, though, so no bucolic views of horses grazing outside the back window.

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The only “sightseeing” we did was to head into town and get groceries and fuel at the Safeway. Other than that, it was just relaxing and resting.