Lessons learned the hard way

The adventure continues, but the latest one wasn’t the fun kind. Sometimes you just learn things the hard way.This is only the second time we’ve setup, and we both follow check lists, although I find myself making edits as I go along. When it came time to put the slides out, we crunched the living room slide against an open computer drawer that is part of the entertainment center at the back of the coach. It was entirely preventable by us (mostly), by PI, and by the dealer.
When we accepted delivery of the coach last November, we went over the drill for putting the slides out and in. Our check lists made sure that everything was stowed and all the cabinets closed before we pulled the slides in. But when we put them back out again, we just ran them out. In my mind, I think I made the connection of closing everything up before pulling the slides in, but if they were already in, then everything was good to go. Adding to this misconception was the cabinets we needed to be careful with were not visible (from the slide switches) with the slides fully in. You would have to walk to the end of the coach and peek around the slides to see if everything was clear.
But that’s not what we did, and everything wasn’t clear. During the trip to our new site, the computer door had fallen down and the tray had slid into the “keep clear” zone behind the slide. Crunch time.
Of course, I reconstructed the crime from the available evidence. During our last stay, we installed the laptop in its new home in the computer drawer made especially for it. But with the added weight of the laptop, the magnets for the door to the slide out computer tray and the single friction latch for the computer tray itself were not strong enough to prevent the heavier tray from sliding forward when the rig slowed down or stopped. And I drive this rig like an old lady. (When we hauled the coach home from the dealer, we didn’t see this problem with the empty tray.)
So we were remiss in not checking, and I can accept that., but I’ll also deal out some of the blame to the dealer for not suggesting we walk down and peek around the end of the slides before we put them out, and I’ll fault PI some for under designing the latches on the computer drawer, especially for a drawer in the critical slide zone that wouldn’t be visible with the slides in. This is the only drawer we have that uses magnets for the latch, and it just about falls open. Every other cabinet in the coach uses very stiff friction latches. A drawer that short that swings down would be hard to open with those friction latches, but maybe a latch would work. And the handle needs some more thought because it blocks opening the cabinet doors under the computer tray when the tray’s out. (It made taking the damaged tray out interesting since I couldn’t open the cabinet below it.)
The computer tray slides are totaled but easily fixed. No damage to the front swing down door (amazingly). The slide took a hit. It doesn’t seal tightly on the inside seal (against the coach wall) when fully out There’s a gap I can stick four fingers into (where the slide sealing surface was bowed out) and you can see where the seam behind the trim has pulled loose. The slide’s trim is also loose, but you wouldn’t know it from looking at it. The outer seal should keep us dry, so I don’t think it’s an emergency, but I’ll have to get it fixed.
Sorry this took so long, but it’s kind of therapeutic to get this out there.
And finally, one of my favorite quotes: “Experience is a wonderful thing. It enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.” Although I don’t think we’ll be making this mistake again for awhile.


  1. Janie,
    Our first trip out with our old Travel Supreme we dropped the trailer on the sides of the pickup. I don't like breaking something but it can be fixed. We are sure enjoying our Excel, a few minor things fixed or be fixed but otherwise we believe we made the right choice. Hope to get to meet you sometime this summer.

  2. One one of our first trips, we brought in the slide but neglected to notice the drivers chair was reclined a little and the slide caught it. No damage to the slide, but the chair frame was bent a little. That's one of those lessons you have to learn the hard way.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

The Urban Life


Back in Iowa and changes ahead