05/29/05
Doug and Sara left Saturday (May 21st) in the afternoon, so we packed up
and got ready for our trip back north.  We left Sunday morning and drove all
day.  We stopped at the beautiful state park in Livingston, TX.  When we
saw the relaxed wildlife, we thought we were back in Costa Rica, seeing the
squirrel monkeys, but it was only a squirrel.
The park was great, but we were anxious to get back to Diana, TX to hang
out with Jimmy and Laurel, so after breakfast on Monday, we got ready to
head out.  However, our slide out would not go in.  The motor made noise,
acted like it was turning, but refused to pull the room back in.  Now, of
course, we cannot drive with a 4 foot deep room hanging off the side of our
trailer.  I walked to a clearing, stood on one foot, cocked my head 37 degrees
to the left, and waved my arm in the air until I got a phone signal, then I stood
perfectly still while I called the manufacturer.  I had been hoping for an easy
solution, like a reset button I might have overlooked before, but according to
what I described to Stew, he thought our threaded shaft had broken off, near
the motor.  Apparently he had seen that before, weak spot.  So I asked what
we could do to put the slide back in with brute force.  He told me about the
access panel under the trailer and that if we could disconnect the shaft, we
would be able to shove her on in.  Sounded easy.

So, Richard put on his coveralls and slid under the trailer.  This access door
was between the two axels, so he had to climb over an axle and stick his torso
up in this door.  A broken shaft would have been easy, but noo.  Ours had
come unthreaded, and in order to do that in a space that was shorter than the
shaft itself, it had bent.  This put so much pressure on everything that in order
to drop the shaft down, we had to remove not only the motor, but the bracket
that was holding it.  As soon as the pressure was relieved, the shaft
straightened back out, but we could not get it rethreaded.  We decided to
proceed with the "shove her on in" plan.  Do you realize how heavy an 8 foot
slide out is?  We pushed and shoved and pushed some more.  With Richard
lifting and me shoving with all my strength we finally got her to budge, leaving
only one 3 feet 9 inches more to shove.  Finally, after 4 or 5 sweaty minutes
of strenuous shoving and pushing, we got her within 4 inches of closed.  Of
course, this was somewhere around noon, 3 hours after we had planned to
leave for Jimmy and Laurel's house.  At this point we started wondering if
they were bad luck.  I was thinking that if we needed to get a new shaft to fix
our problem, I would have to have it sent to their house.  I found it ironic that
the factory would already have that address on file, since I had to have a
window sent there 5 short months ago.

While Richard was back in the access panel, looking for a place to hook a
ratchet strap to hopefully pull in the other 4 inches, and to keep the slide from
falling out, now that nothing was holding it in place, he had another idea about
how we could fix the problem.  You know what this means right?  Do you
realize how difficult it is to pull out an 8 foot slide out, especially after a
strenuous 5 minute pushing workout?  With us on either side, and pulling in
unison with all our body weight, we decided that pulling a slide out out is
much easier than putting it in.

After more hours of drilling, filing, greasing, holding, bitching, and whining
(okay, Richard did the first three, I might be responsible for the second three
activities, at least we divided the tasks evenly) I finally pushed the button, and
watched the slide out slowly jerk back on into the living room.  We showered
and headed out at 7:00 PM, only 10 long hours after our initial attempt.  As
we were leaving, Richard noticed the trailer's taillights aren't acting right.  We'll
just have to tackle that another day.           

We pulled into Jimmy and Laurel's driveway at 10:30PM, and didn't even
unhook, we just went right to bed.  When we put the slide out out the next
morning, it worked, but it pealed the big rubber seal off the bottom.  Good,
one more thing to fix.

We tidied up the RV and waited for Jimmy and Laurel to skip out of work
early and come home so we could go to Caddo Lake.  We got to Betty's
Grocery at about 1:45, and they called Jimbo to take us out.  This time
everything was much greener.  
(If you don't remember the pictures from our
January trip to Caddo, click here.) We saw the same birds, but we also saw
turtles, an alligator, lilies and hyacinth flowers.  We had a great time.  (And we
were much warmer than last time!!)
The next day Richard put the rubber seal back on the slide out, and
determined the tail light problem was caused by a dying bulb, so those two
issues were done.  One of the best things about being at Jimmy and Laurel's
house is that we got to play with their new baby chickens.  Richard had been
missing his feathered friends.
On Thursday we drove ALL DAY in an attempt to get from north Texas to
central Missouri.  The scenery in Arkansas was beautiful, but we were anxious
to get home and see all our friends and family, so we did not make our usual
stops at all the lakes and state parks.  We pulled into Jean and Joan's family only
RV park at around 6:00.  Although we protested, the park owner insisted we put
our rig right next to Jack's.  At least we were on the correct side to see the
beautiful sunsets.