10.11.18 Renting Out Dora – Part Four

Thursday, October 11, 2018 – This one is pretty long.  Three rentals covered in one blog post. Buckle up and let’s go!

The sweet couple that we now call our friends, picked Dora up in late July. They came twice for their training and it very much paid off in the fact that they didn’t damage Dora in anyway!  They took excellent care of her even when she acted up. Their party included the couple, her sister and their college age daughter and boyfriend. I think their time with Dora didn’t go down hill until around the second or third day.

Before they even left our home with Dora she started acting up.  The master bedroom slide out wouldn’t come in so they could get on the road.  With them sitting there for a couple of hours Roy tried everything he knew of to get it fixed.  I enjoyed talking with and getting to know the dad and his daughter’s boyfriend while my hubby frantically tried to fix it.  After calls to Dixie RV and to Berryland Motors he learned from Berryland that there are fuses that are hidden in one of the outside compartments.  Never knew that before!  Those fuses control the slides.  After replacing that little bitty fuse everything worked fine and they were able to leave with Dora very happy. This wonderful family bought some extra fuses just in case.  They are now stored very safely inside the motor home to hopefully never be needed!

They also experienced the back up in the toilet due to paper, poop, paper poop, paper, poop with little water.  This happening again lead us to add very graphic warnings in our instruction manual to not do this. It’s also now in our rental contract and as part of the in person training they get in all things Dora.  We now call it “toilet training.” Since all of that has been implemented there haven’t been any poop backups.  Sadly, this couple had to bring a hose through the bathroom window from outside.  Put it in the toilet and push everything down. This was just the beginning of these wonderful people’s experience with Dora acting out.

Next we received a call from them saying that Dora seemed to be slowly losing power as they were driving her.  None of us knew at that moment how that would affect their trip or our pocketbook.

They brought Dora to Mid America Diesel in North Platte, Nebraska.  They wound up living at Mid America Diesel in the repair shop for three days . Roy was in touch with the husband and the repair shop several times each day.  Finally it was determined that the injectors in the engine had failed.  The initial price quoted to us was over $5,000 but the shop took the time (good for us financially but not good for the renters who had to stay there longer) to figure out that only 3 of the 6 injectors had to be replaced.  Including labor the final bill was $3,500.  This is almost twice what we made off of that rental. Are you starting to see why this has not been profitable for us!?

Roy and I were so upset that yet again Dora seemed to be trying to spoil someone’s vacation.  I know it sounds odd to say that we felt that Dora was acting out because we weren’t living in her and she didn’t know the families she was going off with.  Once she got to know the families and did her thing to put a huge cloud over their time with her, she seemed to come out of it and allowed them all to have a wonderful time on the road with her.  We’ve heard from all the renters that they love Dora.  Even after the first renters who had a very upsetting accident, the second couple who put up with stink, poop, and a lot of hard work on their part, and this third couple who lived in the repair shop for three long long days.  They all ended up saying they love Dora.  That makes my heart so happy to know!

We told the third renters (with the power problem) to ignore our 4 hours of free generator use a day and use as much as they needed to.  They left the repair shop August 3rd to head north and finally begin the happy part of their vacation.  We offered three additional days at the end of their scheduled time.  They ended up using two days and we refunded them for the third one.

The final disaster for these guys was when the water heater stopped heating the water a few days before the end of their trip. It would not work on electricity or gas. After trying everything Roy knew over the phone they just weren’t able to use hot water for the last few days.  Figuring it was the control board he ordered a new one before they got back and a thermostat kit.  Not cheap.  Once Dora was home Roy decided to do more trouble shooting before changing the control panel to figure out what was really going on.  It turned out that the control board was not getting power and he found another fuse that was blown.  That fuse was in a place he never thought it would be.  After changing the fuse, little bitty fuse, everything worked fine.  Thank goodness we were able to return the control board but we did keep the thermostat for possible future use as that part has gone out before.

When the first couple of renters lifted the bed to get to the storage underneath, some circuit breakers would trip when lowering the bed, if not lowered very lightly.  We got calls from them saying electrical things weren’t working all of a sudden.  At some point Roy changed all of the circuit breakers in the fuse panel inside as a precautionary measure.  I think that was before this rental but didn’t want anyone to have problems in that respect.  More money gone, just in case!!

My knee surgery was done one of the first days of their trip.  Knowing that I’d still be recovering when they returned, the wonderful wife (with help I am sure) cleaned our motor home top to bottom, washed, dried and folded all of the sheets and towels.  She said she didn’t want me to have anything to do since I was recovering.  What a kind, kind lady she is.  They were so intent on cleaning everything that they left lots of clothing behind in several of the drawers! That was kinda funny!

This families positive spirit was woven into every aspect of all they went through, and in all of our conversations and communications since they returned from their trip.  We quickly became friends on Facebook and yet again they are a special amazing family whom we are happy to say are new Christian friends.

When Dora came back she again went to Dixie RV to try to get more of her work done from the accident.  Dixie had to actually see the awning to get ordering information off of the awning since now it needs to be totally replaced.  There are other parts and other painting to be done.  She was there several days but no actual work was done.  At least the information needed to order the awning was obtained and that is now on order.

I haven’t said this before but as all of this mess has been going on affecting our renters, every time someone sent an inquiry about renting or actually booked their rental Roy and I started saying to each other.  “Well we have another family whose life we can destroy.”  Not us obviously, but it seemed Dora’s bad behavior was getting worse and worse.

The next renters were two young couples with three little children.  The two dads came for their walk through right before Dora went to Dixie RV the second time.  I was so thankful that the third renters had cleaned Dora so well that I didn’t have to do anything to show it to them.  These two young men paid attention really well and really took seriously learning about Dora. We did have a couple of calls from these renters.  The first was a simple question about the air conditioning.  The second was that Dora’s front left jack wouldn’t retract which meant they couldn’t move from where they were.  Over the phone Roy walked them through manually retracting them.  The rest of their trip, according to them, was quite enjoyable!  And even with three little children they didn’t have any problem with the toilet back up problem.  Yay, no one’s life ruined on that one!

Since the jacks are important to the stability of Dora when she is parked, the one that wasn’t working had to receive a lot of Roy’s brain power and hours of hard work to fix it on his own.  He couldn’t and several hundred dollars later (yes for just one of four jacks) the new jack arrived and Roy spent time replacing it.

Next Dora went with a young man, his girlfriend and a couple of friends to a football game out of state, tailgating.  Our first tailgating rental, our first Outdoorsy rental, our first delivery and pick up of Dora.  Nothing bad happened to them.  They did however switch out our outside television for their larger television and destroyed the HDMI cable.  They were charged for that and for Roy to repair it.  That repair turned out to take much longer than it should have but it is fixed, thanks to Roy’s crazy fix it skills!

That rental was a great example of someone not understanding motor homes and misunderstanding things because of the lack of understanding.  Their review of Dora was less than stellar even though they didn’t have any real problems.  When they left with Dora I think there were four people in the motor home, when they returned there were at least 10 people exiting Dora with lots of baggage, ice chests, BBQ pits, tents, etc.  Wow, we did not expect that! At least no one’s life was destroyed on that one also!  We’re on a positive roll now!

Next I’m going to share more about lessons learned and where we stand with renting Dora in the future!

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!

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